Rimu

NZ$7,360 – $9,200pp (based on seasonality), twin share, land only

The Rimu Boutique Journey explores the highlights of the North and South Island. Unleash your adventurous spirit in the adrenaline capital of Queenstown, cruise Milford Sound and make the most of the abundance of walking opportunities the country has to offer as you travel through New Zealand landscapes. 

 

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 - Coromandel Peninsula

Oceans Resort, Whitianga

Take to the water for a scenic cruise across the Hauraki Gulf passing many volcanic islands to the Coromandel Peninsula. Visit the nearby Driving Creek Railway climbing 120m on a narrow-gauge line to the ‘Eyefull’ Tower for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and back over the Hauraki Gulf. Drive east across the Peninsula through beautiful scenery to reach the resort of Whitianga on Mercury Bay. 

Day 3  Coromandel Peninsula

Oceans Resort, Whitianga

White cliffs, golden beaches, inviting turquoise waters and green forests are the colours of the Coromandel, with scarlet highlights courtesy of the flowers of Pohutukawa trees in summer, making this one of our favourite regions.  Rightly famous is Hot Water Beach, where warm springs bubble up through the sand, and when the tide is right you can dig out your very own ‘spa’ pool for a wallow in the warm waters.  Walk down into Cathedral Cove – your efforts are rewarded with one of the most photogenic beaches in New Zealand.  Depart by water taxi back to Hahei where your driver will be waiting to take you to Cooks Beach – named after Captain James Cook who sailed on the HMS Endeavour into Mercury Bay in 1769 – famous for its long golden sandy beach which is now a popular retreat for Kiwis during summer months. 

From Cooks Beach you can choose to: 

a) Catch the short ferry ride back to Whitianga and walk to your accommodation

b) Travel back with your driver.

Day 4  Coromandel Peninsula - Rotorua

Prince's Gate Hotel, Rotorua

Taking the Pacific Coast Highway through the beachside towns of Whangamata and Tauranga in the beautiful Bay of Plenty before turning inland to visit a well-formed bushwalk with scenic lookouts over Okere Falls.  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.

Day 5  Rotorua

Prince's Gate Hotel, Rotorua

Today you have the choice of two excursions: 

  1. Visit the Waimangu Volcanic Valley
    Site of the eruption of Mt. Tarawera in 1886 the devasting eruption buried local Maori villages and destroyed the world-famous ‘Pink and White’ silica terraces, once considered to be the eighth wonder of the world. This catastrophic event changed the landscape forever and created the valley you can now walk through, past boiling craters and jewel-coloured steaming lakes. Take a cruise across Lake Rotomahana to the site of the old silica terraces, hear the story of Guide Sophia and see the new terraces of silica slowly forming.
  2. Experience the real Middle-earth with a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set
    Visit the delightful setting for The Shire that featured in Peter Jackson’s films, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit film series. Your Hobbiton guide will escort you through the ten-acre site recounting fascinating details of how the movie set was created.  The Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, Mill and other structures created for the films can be viewed, and you will see how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth.

This evening travel to a 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 6  Rotorua - Napier 

Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier

Visit the powerful Huka Falls then view the vast Lake Taupo – more inland sea than lake, though its fresh waters teem with trout.  Across the lake stands the mighty volcanic peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro within the Tongariro National Park.  Onto Napier to view one of the world’s most complete examples of Art Deco architecture, second (arguably) only to Miami Beach.  This joyful seaside town had a tragic birth, being virtually levelled by fierce fires that followed the devastating 1931 earthquake.  Napier was rebuilt in the most up-to-date style of the time, which today is referred to as Art Deco.  This afternoon your local guide brings history and architecture alive with entertaining stories as you discover Napier on foot.  Today’s journey has brought us to the North Island’s wine country, so this evening’s treat is dinner at New Zealand’s oldest winery, Mission Estate, where you enjoy dinner in the restored seminary buildings with sweeping views of Napier. 

Day 7  Napier - Wellington 

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

Travel through the vineyards and orchards of Hawke’s Bay and the bush-clad ranges of the Wairarapa into New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington.  On arrival view New Zealand’s magnificent Parliament Buildings including the iconic ‘Beehive’ building.   From the Kelburn lookout take the Wellington Cable Car down into the central city precinct before visiting Te Papa – one of the most exciting museums in the world, featuring New Zealand insights; the shaping of its land, the spirit of its diverse peoples, its unique wildlife, landscapes and its distinctive popular culture. 

Day 8  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 9  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. Enjoy time at your leisure in Kaiteriteri and return to Nelson on the late afternoon transfer.   

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 10  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 St. 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 11  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 12  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 Mt. 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 13  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 14  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 15 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 16  Queenstown

Haere ra – farewell from New Zealand.  After breakfast, you are transferred to the Queenstown Airport for your return home taking with your fond memories of your time in New Zealand.  Alternatively, should you wish to extend your stay in New Zealand, we can assist you with additional travel arrangements. 

  • A scenic cruise from Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula
  • Narrow-gauge railway journey through native Coromandel bush
  • Visit Hot Water Beach and photogenic Cathedral Cove
  • A private guide around a geothermal valley with geysers, mud pools and hot springs
  • Visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley – or – experience Hobbiton Movie Set
  • Delve into Maori life and enjoy a powerful cultural performance and feast
  • Enjoy an evening meal at Mission Estate in Napier
  • Travel on Wellington’s famous Cable Car and visit Te Papa museum
  • 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 Hotel, 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 overlooks the vibrant Princes Wharf and is close to a stunning array of dining, entertainment and shopping experiences.

Oceans Resort, Whitianga

Nestled on the western shore of the beautiful Mercury Bay and only a stone’s throw from the golden sands of Buffalo Beach, you will find the relaxed luxury Whitianga Apartments of Oceans Resort in the heart of popular Whitianga. The resort is only a short stroll to the ferry and the picturesque marina or wander through the town centre where you will find an abundance of cafés, restaurants and bars, and boutique stores. Please note these are self-contained apartments and there is no restaurant onsite.

Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua

This boutique property is a prominent showpiece in the heart of 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. It is now sited opposite the entrance to the stunning Government Gardens. A visit to the Princes Gate Hotel is an exciting escape back in time.

Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier

The hotel enjoys a premium waterfront location on Napier's Marine Parade and is a short stroll from the main art deco style street. Styled to complement its remarkable location the hotel boasts design awards and is perfectly sited to enjoy the famous sunrises of the Hawke's Bay - one of the first places in the world to see the light each day.

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

Located in the heart of Wellington this hotel is minutes from popular landmarks and activities such as the Cable Car, Parliament buildings, and Lambton Quay's shopping district. A perfect balance between elegance and comfort, the hotel has two renowned restaurants, bars, a day spa and fitness room – so all your comforts and needs should be covered!

Heritage Rutherford Hotel

Situated in Trafalgar Square, Nelson, 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). If you choose not to venture out, the hotel has two highly regarded restaurants onsite, plus a sauna, gym and outdoor pool to work up your appetite!

Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki

Just two minutes’ walk from the beach, this comfortable and environmentally friendly hotel in Paparoa National Park is only 300 metres from the magnificent Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. The limestone stacks have been sculptured by the weather and sea leaving unique stacks resembling pancakes layered on top of each other!

Distinction Hotel Fox Glacier

Distinction Hotel Fox Glacier 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. The hotel’s location provides a real sense of privacy and peaceful seclusion, while being only a short stroll to the charming Fox Glacier village.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

The hotel is in a fantastic location, just a short walk from town, and directly on the shores of the beautiful Lake Wanaka. The hotel enjoys amazing views of the lake’s clear blue waters and with the backdrop of the Mt. Aspiring National Park it’s no surprise the area is a focal point for keen photographers.

.

Distinction Hotel Luxmore, Te Anau

Te Anau is a charming South Island town based on the eastern side of Lake Te Anau, the South Island's largest lake. The hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Te Anau and just a short stroll from the glacially formed lake. The hotel has two on-site restaurants for you to choose from, their eateries and bars are a popular choice with both visitors and locals alike.

Scenic Suites Queenstown

This inspiring resort town at the foot of the Southern Alps attracts those looking for an unforgettable trip. The 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 and Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand’s longest lake. Carved from a glacier more than 15,000 years ago, the lake has its own ‘heartbeat’- rising and falling by about 20cm every 27 minutes due to a lake seiche phenomenon.