Mid Winter Christmas Tour
Rather than stay at home this winter, why not travel with us to the Central Plateau for a mid-winter Christmas getaway. During this fabulous four day tour we spend two nights in the Central Plateau, staying in the heart of Tongariro National Park at the Chateau Tongariro. We travel to National Park on board the Northern Explorer Train. We’ll also enjoy a ride on the state-of-the-art Sky Waka, to NZ’s highest eateries at the Knoll Ridge Chalet. We then continue travelling down State Highway One to Wellington to conclude our mid-winter getaway.
Monday 27 July – Thursday 30 July 2020 (4 Days)
Day 1 Monday 27 July 2020 – HAMILTON TO NATIONAL PARK (BD)
This morning, we climb on board the Northern Explorer train and travel to National Park in the heart of the North Island. On our journey today we see fantastic views of New Zealand farmland, the volcanic plateau, Mount Ruapehu, the world-famous Raurimu Spiral, and stunning river gorges – all from the panoramic windows and open-air viewing decks allowing you the best possible views. Lunch today can be purchased on board the Northern Explorer (own cost). On arrival in National Park Village, we will be met by our tour coach and driver and our first stop will be the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre where you can see displays and learn about the natural and cultural history of the area. We’ll then make our way up the Top of the Bruce (weather permitting) to see the skiers on Happy Valley and perhaps throw a snowball or two. After our visit up the mountain, we retrace our steps to the Chateau Tongariro, where we will stay for the next two nights. The elegant Chateau Tongariro is located within Whakapapa Village – in the heart of Tongariro National Park. This iconic hotel was constructed during the ‘roaring twenties’ and was also the year that was the beginning of the world’s great depression, 1929. Tonight we enjoy a delicious dinner at our hotel.
Accommodation: Chateau Tongariro – 2 nights
Day 2 Tuesday 28 July 2020 – TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK (BLD)
This morning you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast and the remainder of the morning is at leisure for you to enjoy the hotel facilities. our Mid Winter Christmas Lunch will be the feature of the day where you will be treated to a scrumptious Christmas themed Menu in The Ruapehu Room which is the Chateau Tongariro Hotel’s signature restaurant and is located off the opulent Chateau Tongariro main lounge. The Ruapehu Room delivers the finest ambience and all the sophistication expected of the Chateau’s elegant traditions. After lunch, we will have a drive to the top of the Bruce. Tongariro National Park is dominated by the three volcanoes of Mount Ruapehu (2797m), Mount Ngauruhoe (2291m) and Mount Tongariro (1968m). The region has been formed by many volcanic eruptions over the last 300,000 years; as well as glaciers from the last ice age. This has created surreal colours, landscapes and textures. After lunch we travel up the mountain and enjoy a ride on NZ’s largest and most technically advanced gondola, Whakapapa’s NEW state-of-the-art Sky Waka, to NZ’s highest eateries at the Knoll Ridge Chalet. This spectacular ride takes you over striking volcanic terrain with views across the Tongariro National Park. There will be time available to soak up the stunning scenery on offer, before making our way back down the mountain and back to the Chateau. Dinner tonight is at your leisure in either the Ruapehu room or the Pihanga Café if you are after a lighter meal.
Day 3 Wednesday 29 July 2020 – NATIONAL PARK TO WELLINGTON (BD)
Departing National Park we travel south onwards to Wellington. On arrival in Wellington enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour of Wellington. Highlights include a drive up to the Cable Car Lookout and Wellington Botanical Gardens where you will have time to look around the rose gardens and the begonia house or perhaps relax with a coffee. We also drive past to see the magnificent Parliament Buildings and the iconic ‘Beehive’, the Executive Wing of the New Zealand Government. We then continue our sightseeing tour heading out to Kilbirnie before winding our way back into the city around Evans Bay and Oriental Bay. This afternoon is at leisure. Some may like to be dropped off at Te Papa where you can quite easily spend a couple of hours while others may like to be dropped off in Lambton Quay where you can browse around the shopping area. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: James Cook Grand Chancellor, Wellington
Day 4 Thursday 30 July 2020 – DEPART WELLINGTON (B)
Farewell from New Zealand. After breakfast today you will be transferred from the hotel to Wellington Airport for your flight back home.