Manuka

NZ$6,200 – $7,750pp (based on seasonality), twin share, land only

A fantastic option for those with less time on their hands but still wanting to visit both of New Zealand’s main islands. On this tour, you will experience the stunning scenery of the South Island and the geothermal and cultural highlights of the North Island.    

 

 

Day 1 Arrive Auckland

M Social Hotel, Auckland

Haere mai – welcome!  Arrive into Auckland where you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. Spend the afternoon and evening at your leisure exploring the ‘City of Sails’.

Day 2  Auckland - Rotorua

Prince's Gate Hotel, Rotorua

This morning enjoy an Auckland City tour including panoramic views from Bastion Point, the informative Maori and Pacific Islands displays at the Auckland Museum, quaint Parnell Village, and some of the most popular waterfront areas.  Departing Auckland we travel to Rotorua – the heart of New Zealand’s famous thermal and cultural region.  On arrival, we will enjoy a city tour, before checking into our central accommodation.  This afternoon we have some time out to relax before travelling to a local Marae (Maori Village).  Experience a formal welcome (powhiri) including the hongi – that is sharing breath.  Delve into Maori life, both past and contemporary. Listen to their fascinating reality – how things are and what is important to their family, their connection to their land, the importance of whakapapa (lineage) and life amongst their people.  Finally, this evening enjoy a powerful cultural performance, storytelling and Hangi (feasting).

Day 3  Rotorua - Wellington

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

Rotorua is the epicentre not only of New Zealand’s geothermal activity but of Maori heritage, and no visit to Rotorua would be complete without including Te Puia, not only an active geothermal site but the nation’s centre for indigenous arts and crafts and a Kiwi conservation project.  At Te Puia it’s part of their culture to welcome, guide, entertain, and treat you like part of the family and you are treated to a private guide throughout your time here.  Next travel out to visit the Blue and Green Lakes, and Lake Tarawera – site of the Buried Village to see remains of the Maori village Te Wairoa that was devastated by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Tarawera during the night of June 10, 1886.  The excavated village offers a first-hand insight into the chaos and destruction that ensued following the eruption of Mt. Tarawera.  This eruption also destroyed the famed Pink and White Terraces, once considered to be the eighth wonder of the world.   This afternoon fly to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city, which seems to be clinging to steep hillsides around a magnificent harbour at the southern tip of the North Island.  The geographical heart of the country, it is also the political and administrative centre.  The city has a cosmopolitan flavour with offices jostling for space with department stores, boutiques, galleries, trendy cafes and restaurants.  On arrival enjoy a city tour including viewing famous landmarks such as New Zealand’s magnificent Parliament Buildings and the iconic ‘Beehive’building.  Then into your hotel located within the central business and shopping precinct of Wellington.

Day 4  Wellington - Nelson

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Your day commences with one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world. Travelling through the waters of Cook Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound the ferry is often accompanied by dolphins riding the bow waves. Disembarking in Picton travel the short distance to Blenheim in the heart of the Marlborough wine country.  What better way to enjoy this region famous for its Sauvignon Blanc than with wine tasting at one of Marlborough’s premier wineries?   From Marlborough cross to the Nelson district a corner of the South Island blessed with a sunny microclimate and your base for the next two nights.

Day 5  Abel Tasman National Park

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Paradise found!  Abel Tasman National Park is a mosaic of golden coves and turquoise lagoons sheltered by forested ranges to the south.  With few roads in this pristine wilderness, most journeys are made by boat.

This morning from Kaiteriteri, your tour includes a choice of one activity from these three options:

a) Non – Walking Option:

Full Park Scenic Cruise (3-4 hour cruise)

Enjoy a morning cruise exploration of New Zealand’s smallest National Park.  View world-famous Split Apple Rock, New Zealand Fur Seals, golden sands and the turquoise waters of Anchorage, Bark Bay, Tonga Quarry, Awaroa and Totaranui Beach. Return to Nelson city for some time this afternoon at leisure.

b) Walking Option 1:

Astrolabe Beaches and Bays (7km, 2.5-hour walk)

After the Full Park Scenic Cruise, disembark at Apple Tree Bay for a self-guided walk to fabulous Anchorage Beach.  Late afternoon shuttle transfer back to Nelson.

c) Walking Option 2:

Forest and Swing-Bridge (10.5km, 4-hour walk)

After the Full Park Scenic Cruise, disembark at Medlands Beach for a rewarding and varied self-guided walk to Anchorage Beach including the scenic highlights of the South Head lookout, the famous Falls River swing-bridge and Cleopatra’s Pool.  Late afternoon shuttle transfer back to Nelson.

Day 6  Nelson - Punakaiki

Punakaiki Resorts, Punakaiki

Driving via the Nelson Lakes National Park – an enchanting alpine landscape of rugged peaks, forests, stunning glacial lakes and the beginning of the awe-inspiring Southern Alps make a stop at the quaint village of Saint Arnaud on the shores of Lake Rotoiti.  Turn inland to follow the Buller River Gorge – one of the world’s best but least-known scenic drives, carved out of the forest by 19th-century prospectors, it follows the deep river gorge, often crossing it on single-track bridges.  Emerging from the forest the road hugs the coastline south to the small settlement of Punakaiki – renowned for its wild, rugged coastline and the famous ‘Pancake Rocks’ – these stratified limestone stacks are an extraordinary monument of nature.

Day 7  Punakaiki - Fox Glacier 

Distinction Hotel, Fox Glacier

Journey south along the Great Coast Road which was recently voted one of the top ten coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet.  Pass through historic towns reaching Hokitika and its galleries specialising in pounamu (greenstone) jewellery and art works.   Stretch your legs at the dramatic Hokitika Gorge where the blue/green waters pass through the rugged rocks.  Continue south through forests and farmland, with views of the Alps to the east and the Tasman Sea to the west, to Franz Josef then on to the small remote village of Fox.  The huge rivers of snow and ice of the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers flow from vast snowfields high in the Southern Alps, down almost to sea level.  Weather permitting, an optional helicopter ride with a snow landing is a terrific way to experience the sheer grandeur of these West Coast glaciers (extra cost).

Day 8  Fox Glacier - Wanaka 

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

Have your camera ready for your visit to nearby Lake Matheson for a morning stroll – when conditions are right the lake perfectly mirrors beautiful Mount Cook in its still waters. Head over the Haast Pass along the river road beside the icy river and deep into Mt. Aspiring National Park.  The atmosphere lightens as we reach lovely Lake Wanaka, reflecting the mountain peaks that in winter offer superb skiing and the pretty resort town of Wanaka.

Day 9  Wanaka  

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

This morning you have the choice of two excursions:

  1. Today join a passionate local eco-guide as you depart Wanaka by boat and quickly leave civilization behind as you cruise across the lake to a predator-free island.  The walking track leads from the landing and climbs steadily through native vegetation filled with very vocal birdlife to the top to the “island’s secret”- a lake on top of the island with small islands in it!  Unique and very photogenic, the echo of birdsong here is astounding.   Carrying on a little further you come to the very top of the island and have a sweeping 360-degree view of Lake Wanaka, its surrounding mountains and valleys, and the Arethusa Pool below.  This is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the panorama. The flightless Buff Weka often join visitors on the island; this rare flightless bird has been extinct on Mainland NZ since 1920.
  2. Experience New Zealand’s most authentic 4WD adventure – the perfect mix of incredible scenery, history, heritage and farming life.  Explore remote and seldom travelled back roads of an authentic New Zealand High Country farm overlooking sparkling Lake Wanaka.  Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, glaciers and wild river valleys you’ll see farm animals including Red Deer, cattle and sheep up close and in their natural environment.  Visit historical sites and experience what life was like for Wanaka’s first farmers.  With two optional walks, through pristine alpine meadows and ancient lakeside forests, this journey offers a unique insight into Wanaka’s rich history, heritage, modern-day farming life and breath-taking scenery.

This afternoon is at your leisure to relax or enjoy your own choice of activities.

Day 10  Wanaka - Te Anau

Distinction Hotel Luxmore, Te Anau

Depart Wanaka with your first stop at the much-photographed Cardrona Pub before traversing the Crown Range road to visit historic Arrowtown – a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River.  Continue your journey via the road pinned between the base of the Remarkables mountain range and spectacular Lake Wakatipu. Journey through a glacial formed valley that is now farmland, to reach Lake Te Anau, the largest (by volume) freshwater lake in the South Island and gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Day 11 Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown

Scenic Suites, Queenstown

The journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound is one of the most scenic experiences you can have on four wheels.   Fiordland National Park, part of the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area is one of the great wilderness areas of the Southern Hemisphere.  The scenery is spectacular with lofty mountains and deep valleys carved out by Ice Age glaciers.  Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Milford Sound is breath-taking in any weather.  Board a comfortable vessel for a cruise past towering Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea.  Keep an eye peeled for seals and dolphins which are often seen in the waters of the fiord.  Following the cruise, retrace your journey back to Te Anau travelling via the Cleddeau Gorge, Homer Tunnel and the lovely Eglinton Valley then across the Southland farmlands and around spectacular Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown.

Day 12  Queenstown

If you are leaving New Zealand today, after breakfast, we transfer you to Queenstown Airport for your flight home. Alternatively, we can extend your stay in the South Island for a few days or arrange onward independent touring by car. Either way, we must say farewell and wave you off home with amazing memories of your time in New Zealand.

Delve into Maori life and enjoy a powerful cultural performance and feast
A private guide around a geothermal valley with geysers, mud pools and hot springs
Visit a volcanic valley and explore the site of a buried village devastated by an 1886 eruption
Scenic Interislander Ferry journey across the Cook Strait
Wine tasting at one of Marlborough’s premier wineries
Cruise the turquoise waters of Abel Tasman National Park
Visit world-famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes at Punakaiki
Join a local eco-guided tour or an authentic 4WD adventure
Explore the historic gold rush village of Arrowtown
Cruise, with a picnic lunch, on the breath-taking Milford Sound

M Social, Auckland

M Social is a unique contemporary hotel, appealing to the curious, the explorers and those who thrive on new experiences. It offers form and function in a casual setting, featuring spaces that are designed to be flexible to guests’ needs.  The hotel is adjacent to the Viaduct Harbour and overlooks the vibrant Princes Wharf that is home to a stunning array of dining and entertainment experiences.

Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua

Originally built in the gold mining town of Waihi, in 1917 nail by nail and board by board, the hotel was dismantled and transferred by horse-drawn wagon to the Waihi Railway Station and the timber and fittings were duly taken by rail to Rotorua.

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

Located in the heart of Wellington the hotel is minutes from the Cable Car, Parliament, and Lambton Quay’s shopping district.

Heritage Rutherford Hotel

The hotel boasts a prime spot only minutes’ walk from Nelson’s landmark cathedral and main shopping district (including, just a block away, Jens Hansen Goldsmiths; creators of the ring in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy).

Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki

This hotel is two minutes’ walk from the beach, situated in Paparoa National Park just 300 meters from the magnificent Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.

Distinction Hotel Fox Glacier

Distinction Hotel Fox Glacier hotel is situated in one of the world’s most ruggedly beautiful environments – nestled beneath the towering Southern Alps on the stunning West Coast of New Zealand.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

The hotel is in a fantastic location, directly on the shores of beautiful Lake Wanaka.

Distinction Hotel Luxmore, Te Anau

The hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Te Anau’s town shopping centre and a short stroll from Lake Te Anau, the South Island’s largest lake.

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Scenic Suites Queenstown provides one of the most sought-after locations for Queenstown hotels. The hotel’s elevated position gives fantastic views of the Southern Alps.