Contrasts of New Zealand
Duration: 9 nights escorted tour
Price from: £3899pp
Auckland 2 nights
Rotorua 1 night
Queenstown 3 nights
Franz Josef 1 night
Christchurch 2 nights
Days 1-2: Fly to Auckland.
Day 3 Auckland: On arrival in Auckland, you will be transferred to your hotel. This evening, meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a welcome reception followed by dinner at your hotel.
Day 4 Auckland: This morning’s sightseeing tour includes Bastion Point, the War Memorial and Viaduct Harbour. This afternoon is free to explore independently or relax.
Day 5 Auckland/Rotorua: Head out of Auckland and venture through the King Country region which was at the centre of the New Zealand Wars in the 1860s on your way to Rotorua. On arrival take a tour of the area before visiting Rainbow Springs Nature Park to discover the native flora that grows around the crystal-clear mineral water springs and, perhaps spot a kiwi or two! This evening enjoy a traditional Hangi dinner and cultural performance at the Tamaki Family Marae.
Day 6 Rotorua/Queenstown: This morning fly onwards to Queenstown. On arrival, you will be transferred to the hotel and the evening is at leisure.
Day 7 Milford Sound: Journey over the Devil’s Staircase and along the shore of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau and its lake, the largest on South Island. Travel through the rainforest of World Heritage Fiordland National Park, viewing glaciers and mountain ranges. The drive continues through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel to the numerous photo opportunities afforded by the Mirror Lake, Pop’s lookout, Cleddau Valley and the Chasm, Mitre Peak and the Bowen Falls before reaching Milford Sound. Enjoy lunch and a cruise on this wonder of nature before returning to Queenstown.
Day 8 Queenstown: Choose one from a range of optional sightseeing experiences (all additional expense). You could ride the world famous Shotover Jet or, enjoy a cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a BBQ lunch. This evening, join your Travel Director for dinner at the Boatshed which has spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables making it a perfect dinner venue.
Day 9 Queenstown/Franz Josef: Leave the alpine wonderland of Queenstown and begin the passage through Central Otago and out to Westland, stopping en route at the faithfully restored gold mining settlement of Arrowtown. From here, travel over to Cromwell, situated next to the sparkling pristine waters of Lake Dunstan, to visit a local orchard and taste some of the delicious stone fruit. It’s a day of gorgeous lakes, as after Dunstan, you travel further into Central Otago and view the vivid blue waters of Lake Hawea, followed by Lake Wanaka, where the shoreline is charmingly lined by poplars and willows. The final destination is the extraordinary rivers of ice that make up Franz Josef Glacier. If you wish, get up close and personal with the glaciers on an optional helicopter flight (weather permitting and additional expense).
Day 10 Franz Josef/Christchurch: If weather conditions were unfavourable yesterday there is another chance to fly up to the glaciers this morning. Later, head off to the driftwood strewn beaches of Hokitika to visit a pounamu factory (native greenstone or jade), for the chance to see master carvers at work. Maori tradition says it is bad luck to buy pounamu for yourself, so if you fancy a trinket of your own, make sure you have someone there to purchase it for you. From Hokitika, travel inland to the small settlement of Arthur’s Pass to board the TranzAlpine train for the spectacularly scenic journey to Christchurch.
Day 11 Christchurch: This morning see how Christchurch is rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Pop into the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square and see the world’s only cathedral made substantially of cardboard! After a city sights tour, head to the Britten Stables. Formerly a horse stables for nearby Mona Vale Gardens, it has been lovingly transformed into an exquisite home. This evening join your new-found friends for a farewell dinner.
Day 12 Christchurch: Your tour concludes this morning with a transfer to the airport for your onward journey.
Departures: On specific dates. Please ask for details.
Accommodation: 4-5* hotels throughout.
Meals: Breakfast. Lunch is also included on day 7. Dinner is also included on days 3, 5, 8, 9 & 11.
Tour price: The price shown for this AAT Kings tour includes international flights, onward flight on day 6, coach travel, accommodation, sightseeing as outlined and services of a tour director.
The itinerary is based on departures between Oct 20-Mar 21 and may vary for other dates.