Best Buys

Essence of New Zealand

18 Day Guided Vacation | Christchurch to Auckland

Culture and nature unite in this inter-island New Zealand tour. Oh, and there’s a good dose of food and wine on the side to deliver a well-rounded taste of North and South. Whether you’re into wide, open spaces – Milford Sound, we’re looking at you – bubbling geysers, gem-like glaciers or windswept coasts. Whether you’re a history, sport, architecture or culture buff. This New Zealand guided tour is for you.

Prices From Code: LCQA

$6067

Adult Twin i A person 16 years and over (note a person 16–17 years must be accompanied by a person 18 years and over). All prices are per person, land only.

$7386

Single i A person, who must be 18 years and over, travelling alone, must pay the single room price. All prices are per person, land only.
Prices above are per person in USD
Child prices are available on request

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Essence of New Zealand

Best Buys

18 Day Guided Vacation

Christchurch to Auckland

Culture and nature unite in this inter-island New Zealand tour. Oh, and there’s a good dose of food and wine on the side to deliver a well-rounded taste of North and South. Whether you’re into wide, open spaces – Milford Sound, we’re looking at you – bubbling geysers, gem-like glaciers or windswept coasts. Whether you’re a history, sport, architecture or culture buff. This New Zealand guided tour is for you.

Highlights

Flexible Vacations

It’s a bit of a luxury to have three nights in Queenstown. But then again, you need that time to discover everything this adventure playground offers

Time For You

We’ve crafted an itinerary with plenty of two-night stays, which means you can sleep in and truly take the pulse of your destination.

Iconic Sites

From the bubbling geysers of Rotorua to the gem-like surface of Franz Josef Glacier, nature and culture unite across the North and South islands.

Sustainable Travel

The ‘Eat My Lunch’ program that your travels support ensure that kids across New Zealand go to school with a packed lunch and a full stomach.

Natural Wonders

More than 97% of Stewart Island is protected national parkland – unspoilt and largely unpeopled. It’s a magnet for the kiwi bird, which thrives here.

Itinerary

image map

You’ll want to arrive early to see just how Christchurch has transformed itself since the devastating 2010/11 earthquakes. The best way to do this? Aboard the city’s tram. On its Christchurch tour, the historic tram loops past important historic attractions as well as some new ones, like the Transitional Cathedral, made largely of cardboard, and Turanga, the gold-clad central library. Your conductors provide on-board commentary – they’re a hoot.

  Hotel: Ibis Hotel Christchurch

Day two of your tour of the South Island of New Zealand sees you step out with your guide for a deeper dive into ‘The City of Gardens’ before traversing the colourful Canterbury Plains: the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo, snow-capped mountains and wildflower-strewn meadows. It’s quite the backdrop for the stone-hewn Church of Good Shepherd. Opt to take in the drama from the air on a scenic flight over Mount Cook and the Southern Alps, Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.

  Hotel: Heritage Gateway Hotel

  Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Easing through the Waitaki Valley, you’re en route toward New Zealand’s oldest public gardens. They lie in the pretty town of Oamaru, known for its stately tree-lined streets and limestone buildings. Architectural drama of a different kind awaits in Dunedin. The afternoon is yours to while away. Perhaps sipping a lager or two at Speights Brewery (a national institution). Or venturing further afield to discover Larnach Castle (the only one of its kind in the country), or cruising to spot fur seals and penguins. Trips to New Zealand don’t get much more diverse than this.   

  Hotel: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin

  Included Meals: Breakfast

If you’ve got an odd urge to listen to twanging Slim Dusty tunes while traversing rolling green pastures en route to Gore, you’re not alone. Fun fact: this is the country music capital of New Zealand. Invercargill is obsessed with something else: motor vehicles. Tributes to speed legends colour the city, telling the story of everyone from Burt Munro to Bill Richardson – his shed full of classic vehicles is the largest private collection of its type in the world.

  Hotel: Kelvin Hotel, 2 Nights

  Included Meals: Breakfast

The ferry ride out to Stewart Island is wild, wide and wonderful. When you arrive, you’re welcomed by the country’s southernmost community. It’s largely untouched – 97% is national parkland – which means that endemic flora and fauna (including a menagerie of birds) thrive here. But don’t take our word for it. Meet the locals on a South Island tour through valleys and bays and out to avian heaven at Ulva Island. Or, jump on an e-bike for a little pedal power and to discover hidden nooks at your leisure. Because some adventures are those that are not planned.   

 

  Included Meals: Breakfast

Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of New Zealand for good reason. If you’d like to discover why, we can point you in the direction of the world’s first bungy jump, the Shotover Jet to speed along the Shotover River, or 4WDs to explore Skippers Canyon. But there are also plenty of Queenstown tour alternatives for gourmands and sybarites. Like postcard-worthy vineyards, onsen hot pools with a view, and Lake Wakatipu walking trails. Speaking of which, there’s also an afternoon cruise across the lake aboard historic TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue dinner. The choice is yours.      

  Hotel: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown , 2 Nights

  Included Meals: Breakfast

You clearly need more than one day to appreciate Queenstown and its surrounds. And when we say surrounds, we mean Milford Sound. Today, sign up to dive deep into this yawning gorge within World Heritage-listed Fiordland National Park – it’s within easy reach of your base, and is best explored on an optional South Island tour that sees you jumping aboard boat to cruise the mirror-like waterway. Don’t be surprised if you see dolphins and seals playing in the wake of waterfalls. 

  Included Meals: Breakfast

Arrowtown found its riches in gold, its residents building stately homes – now filled with boutiques and restaurants – that still line the street to this day. It’s a bit like stepping onto a movie set. Around the next ben is the Alpine countryside of the Southern Lakes, from Lake Dunstan, where you’ll refuel on stone fruit picked fresh from the tree, to oh-so-blue Lake Hawea and lovely Lake Wanaka, with its Instagrammable shoreline of poplars and willows. Over the Haast Pass, Franz Josef Glacier shimmers like a gem. Get some perspective on an optional Franz Josef flight tour – if the weather behaves, you may even get to land on it. New Zealand tours don’t get much cooler than this.   

  Hotel: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (Graham Wing)

  Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Wandering Hokitika’s windswept shore on the West Coast feels a bit like you’ve discovered the end of the Earth. The town’s other natural beauty is pounamu (native greenstone or jade). In Māori tradition, it’s bad luck to buy this sacred stone for yourself; when you find a trinket you like, flutter your eyelids at your loved one. Prepare yourself for Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks and blowholes; they owe their existence to the thundering surf that will lull you to sleep.

  Hotel: Ocean View Retreat Punakaiki

  Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Sit back and relax – that’s all you have to do today as you ease along the Heritage Highway toward Nelson. Press your nose against the glass as your coach weaves through Buller Gorge – a deep canyon home to New Zealand’s longest swingbridge – and Kahurangi National Park, a place of wild rivers, high plateaus, alpine herb-fields and coastal forests.

  Hotel: The Rutherford Hotel, 2 Nights

  Included Meals: Breakfast

Sleep in or work up a sweat – today is completely at your leisure. We have a few ideas up our sleeve, of course. Lace up your hiking shoes and head off on a bushwalk, or sit back on a boat and soak up the silence of Abel Tasman National Park. This pocket in the north of the island inspires calm, its golden beaches framed by sculpted granite cliffs that all unite to create one of the country’s most legendary coastal tracks. 

  Included Meals: Breakfast

You’ll want a window seat for the cruise from the South Island to the North Island aboard the Inter-islander. This spectacle unfolds as you glide through Queen Charlotte Sound, up the Tory Channel and across Cook Strait, navigating a maze of arms and inlets into New Zealand’s cool little capital of Wellington. We’ll gladly point you in the direction of one of the city’s happening restaurants for dinner tonight.

  Hotel: Travelodge Wellington, 2 Nights

  Included Meals: Breakfast

The best way to start a Wellington day is in one of its cafes. There are too many to count, and all are fab. You’ll need it to fuel your free day, whether that sees you catching up on Māori culture at Te Papa, the city’s mindboggling museum, or perhaps taking a Wellington tour of the Parliament. Peter Jackson fans will have their sights set firmly on a Lord of the Rings movie tour or visit to Weta Workshop, where special-effects wizards work their magic creating goblins and dinosaurs for blockbuster films.  

  Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Napier has a remarkable rebirth story. After it was flattened by an earthquake in 1931, locals rallied together to rebuild it in just two years. They did a rather remarkable job, and now the city is home to the world’s greatest concentration of Art Deco, Spanish Mission and Stripped Classical buildings. Your local guide will give you the architectural lowdown on a Napier tour.

  Hotel: Scenic Hotel Te Pania

  Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Lake Taupo, the largest of its kind in the country, is rather remarkable not only for its blinding blue colour, but also for the fact that it feeds thundering Huka Falls – you’ll hear them before you see them. Nature continues to rule as you arrive in Rotorua, where mud pops and jettisons from bubbling geysers, and steam rushes skywards from cracks in the Earth. Tonight, Maori culture and traditions are in the spotlight at Te Puia. Your journey starts with a guided tour including the Maori Arts & Crafts Institute and Pohutu Geyser, followed by a hangi dinner overlooking the geothermal valley, and a Maori cultural performance in the meeting house, Te Aronui a Rua.

  Hotel: Sudima Lake Rotorua, 2 Nights

  Included Meals: Breakfast, Highlight Dinner

You could spend weeks discovering Rotorua. But you have today, so seize the moment and set out to explore. Your Travel Director can point you in the direction of a kiwi nursery and hatchery. Hobbit fans will want to take advantage of the opportunity to tour the sights featured in The Lord of the Rings movies at Hobbiton. Want a bit of down time? Bliss out at the Polynesian Spa. Arguably the best way to understand just how otherworldly your destination is, is from the air. Ask us about a scenic flight.  

  Included Meals: Breakfast

From New Zealand’s longest waterway, the Waikato River, to its largest city: welcome to Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’. You’ll understand how it got its moniker when you glimpse yachts gliding around its two harbours. But today’s Auckland tour sees your sights set firmly on the city’s other love: rugby. The interactive All Blacks Experience begins with a haka before journeying through the sporting team’s remarkable history.  

  Hotel: Holiday Inn Express, Auckland

  Included Meals: Breakfast

It’s amazing how much of two attraction-packed islands you can see in 18 days. Provided you have the right people at the helm, and like-minded company, that is.

  Included Meals: Be My Guest Lunch

Please note: This itinerary may be subject to change.


Accommodation

Your Guided Holiday includes a range of quality accommodation for your comfort.
The accommodation you will enjoy on this tour includes:

 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Ibis Christchurch is ready to welcome you. Adjacent to the new shopping heart of Christchurch, Cashell Mall. The "pop up" shopping precinct is the new vibrant heart of the city, featuring many new designer shops and modern cafes. Ibis Hotel Christchurch is very close to the famous Cathedral Square, the historic heart of the city providing easy access to the outer lying attractions and the airport. The Ibis features 155 contemporary rooms, restaurant OOPEN, a bar and meeting room.

    Features

  • 220/240 V AC
  • Data port in room
  • Air-conditioning
  • Flat Screen TV
  • Satellite/cable colour TV
  • Work Desk
  • Direct Dial Telephone
  • Manual temperature control
  • Wi-Fi in room (Pay)
  • Mini-bar (surcharge)
  • Coffee/tea making facilities
  • Ensuite
  • Shower
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron
  • Security peephole
  • Automatic wake up call
  • Operator wake up call
  • Alarm Clock
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Located in the heart of the Mackenzie/Waitaki region, a unique area of New Zealand's South Island. Set amongst landscaped gardens with views of the surrounding mountains, the Heritage Gateway Hotel is a peaceful place to stay.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Wireless Internet access
  • Phone
  • TV
  • Electric blankets
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Hairdryer
  • Refrigerator
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Located right in the heart of the city, Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin is ideal for business or leisure. When it is true hospitality and a convenient location that you desire on your travels, then this is your perfect hotel. Dunedin has few destinations to match the stylish Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin, where the accommodation reflects a total dedication to excellence in guest service, modern comfort and attention to detail.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • Broadband Internet access
  • Sky TV
  • Mini Bar
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Direct Dial Telephone
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

The Kelvin Hotel Invercargill provides comfortable well appointed accommodation with all the modern conveniences. Located in the main shopping area of Invercargill, Kelvin Hotel has the facilities to cater to all your needs while in Invercargill.

    Features

  • Private bathroom
  • Sky TV
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Mini Bar
  • Clock radio
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • In-room internet access
  • Room service
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront is located on Frankton Road, just five minutes stroll to the heart of Queenstown.

The hotel resort is close to many wonderful activities, from the town's world famous jet boat rides to radical white water rafting, bungee jumping, vineyards, international golf courses and ski fields.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • TV
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Refrigerator
  • Mini-bar (surcharge)
  • Telephone - Voice Mail
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Hairdryer
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier sits at the edge of the Westland World Heritage Park, and is just moments from one of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural attractions, the Franz Josef Glacier. Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier makes the most of its alpine location and offers quality accommodation in two separate hotel ‘wings’. Stay in either the Douglas or Graham wing, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings within Franz Josef village. Our hotel is in a premium location, making it the perfect place to base yourself while exploring the magnificent Westland region.

    Features

  • Hair Dryer
  • Wireless Internet access
  • Work Desk
  • Mini Bar
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Refrigerator
  • Four Spa Pools
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Situated on New Zealand's wild West Coast, the Punakaiki Resort is surrounded by the Paparoa National Park and is only a stone's throw from the beach. The hotel rooms are designed in harmony with the local environment to maintain a sense of privacy and seclusion and have either ocean or rainforest views.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • Shower and toilet facilities
  • Refrigerator
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Phone
  • Hairdryer
  • Wireless Internet access
  • TV
  • Satellite/cable colour TV
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Rutherford Hotel Nelson is Nelson’s only 24-hour fully-serviced hotel, offering luxurious rooms and suites. Our central location means Nelson’s many galleries and City attractions are just a stone’s throw away. All rooms have a view of the harbour, city, historic South Street or Nelson’s beautiful cathedral.

Our stylish accommodation will suit anyone looking for a great place to stay in Nelson. We also offer rooms with disabled access on request. All of our rooms have WiFi capabilities.

    Features

  • En-suite bathrooms (shower over bath)
  • Bathrobes
  • WiFi
  • Sky TV
  • Direct dial phone
  • Mini bar and tea and coffee making facilities
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

With close proximity to the city’s financial hub as well as many Wellington attractions, such as Wellington Zoo, the Wellington Cable Car, the Te Papa Museum of New Zealand, and the Wellington Botanic Gardens, Travelodge Hotel Wellington is perfectly located for both business and leisure travel.

    Features

  • Hair Dryer
  • Pay TV
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Individual heater control
  • LCD TV
  • Refrigerator
  • Internet Access
  • Microwave
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Styled to complement its remarkable location on the edge of the beautiful Hawke's Bay, our Scenic Hotel Te Pania boasts design awards for its style and offers an unmatched level of service to leisure travellers and conference guests. Hawke's Bay is one of the first places in the world to see the light each day, and Scenic Hotel Te Pania in Napier enjoys a premium waterfront location on Marine Parade. The hotel’s slender curved form echoes the shape of the bay, and guests enjoy sweeping views out over the water. A fresh, contemporary style hotel, Scenic Hotel Te Pania is just a short stroll from Napier’s main art deco style street.

    Features

  • Wireless Internet access
  • Mini Bar
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Air-conditioning
  • TV
  • Work Desk
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry/Valet service
  • Dry cleaning service
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

You can’t get any closer to the lake, Sudima Lake Rotorua sits right on the shore offering breath-taking vistas across the water.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • Tea & Coffee making facilities
  • Hair Dryer
  • Fridge
  • In-room safe
  • WiFi
  • TV
  • Individual heater control
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Clock radio
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Holiday Inn Express, Auckland is 3 km from Auckland Airport. Featuring balconies or direct garden access, rooms provide free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, safes, iPod docks and minifridges. All have tea and coffeemaking facilities. Suites add living rooms and/or whirlpool tubs. Room service is available. Amenities also include a casual restaurant, bar, an outdoor pool and a fitness centre.

Need accommodation before or after your tour?

Our special discounted rates make booking accommodation with us during your holiday both easy and affordable at selected AAT Kings hotels and resorts. Ask our friendly reservations at the time of booking.

Trip Details

What's included

  • • Specialist team of two highly experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide
  • • 1 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Fiordland National Park
  • • Centrally located premium 3.5 hotels

What to Bring

  • • Sunglasses, sunscreen and hat
  • • Water bottle
  • • Warm layers in cooler months
  • • Camera
  • • Comfortable walking shoes

Fitness Requirements

  • • Low level of fitness required

Dining

  • • 17 Full Breakfasts
  • • 1 Lunch
  • • 6 Dinners

Flight Information

  • • Day 1: Flights to arrive by 4:00pm into Christchurch Airport
  • • Day 18: Flights to depart any time form Auckland Airport

Essence of New Zealand

Best Buys

18 Day Guided Vacation

Christchurch to Auckland

This New Zealand tour earns its name – it taps into the heart of the nation, from its rich Maori culture to its culinary traditions, natural wonders to adventure activities. You traverse both North and South islands, wine and dine in 10+ cities, cruise through a World Heritage Site (Milford Sound) and bask in the beauty of the country’s tallest mountains and fiercest waterfalls.

Highlights

Flexible Vacations

From Nelson, there’s time to explore immense Abel Tasman National Park at your leisure. Hike or cruise as an optional experience.

Iconic Sites

From the natural wonders of Milford Sound and Franz Josef Glacier, to Huka Falls and Rotorua’s steamy geysers, legendary sights await.

Time For You

Get under the skin of New Zealand’s cities – Wellington or Queenstown – exploring at your leisure.

Itinerary

image map

Welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand’s Garden City. Flights can arrive any time prior to 4.00pm. Take some time to relax or explore independently. You may like to step back in time to a grand era of transport and relax on the Christchurch Tram as it takes you around the 'must-see' central attractions. The tram drivers provide a live commentary throughout the loop, identifying points of interest, historic architecture and the changes the city is under-going since the 2011 earthquake. This evening, meet your fellow travelling companions and your AAT Kings Travel Director for a welcome reception at your hotel.

  Hotel: Ibis Hotel Christchurch

After a Christchurch city sights tour, you will head out over the patchwork countryside of the Canterbury Plains to soak up some spectacular sightseeing. Sweeping views across the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo framed by a backdrop of rugged hills and snow-capped mountains provide stunning alpine photography opportunities. You will visit the little stone-hewn Church of the Good Shepherd and stop for a quick photo with the bronze statue of a collie dog, the touching tribute to the sheepdogs which helped develop the Mackenzie Country. You may want to take in Mount Cook National Park from the air this afternoon, on a scenic flight out over New Zealand’s highest peak, the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers (Optional Experience - at own expense). Your day finishes in the heart of the Mackenzie Country at Omarama. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

  Hotel: Heritage Gateway Hotel

  Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Your day starts with a journey along the Waitaki River, which marks the boundary between the regions of Canterbury and Otago, and with its large catchment it is an ideal source of hydro-electric power. From the Waitaki Valley you will then travel through to the township of Oamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and its famous white limestone buildings. As well as shipping limestone to the bigger cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin for construction of their Town Halls and various churches, Oamaru locals made sure that their own town represented the best in limestone building the mid-late 1800’s had to offer. This afternoon you will make your way down to the Southernmost New Zealand city, Dunedin. With the rest of your free afternoon you may wish to take part in an Optional Experience to see more of the region. Take a Wildlife Cruise out to Otago Peninsula, visit the Speights Brewery – a New Zealand institution or journey out to Larnach Castle – New Zealand’s only Castle. Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Dunedin’s inner city.

  Hotel: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin

  Included Meals: Breakfast

This morning we leave Dunedin and travel through lush green pastures, crossing sheep-filled farming land through to Gore, the country music capital of New Zealand for a lunch stop. As your journey continues, you arrive into Invercargill, New Zealands southernmost city. This commercial hub is full of grand architecture and gardens. A city obsessed with motoring history, there are tributes to speed legends across town, from the famous Burt Munro to Bill Richardson and his shed full of classic vehicles – the largest private collection of its type in the world. This afternoon you will have some free time to explore this city and its offerings.

  Hotel: Kelvin Hotel, 2 nights

  Included Meals: Breakfast

Board a ferry at Bluff and cruise to Stewart Island. Stewart Island is known by locals as Rakiura which is the Maori reference to Glowing Skies. It has been described as rugged, pristine and tranquil – and rightly so as 97% of the island is designated National Park and Conservation Estate.  This means the birdlife, native flora & fauna and other natural environmental features have been able to thrive. Once you arrive, you will gain an entertaining insight into New Zealand’s southernmost community and learn about the history and environment of Stewart Island on a Village and Bays tour. Later, enjoy some free time. Join a guided sail around Paterson Inlet that will take you past unique places including Acker’s Cottage before docking at Ulva Island to admire the bird life and native flora. For a more active option you could hire an E-bike and explore the Island for yourself. Travel back to Bluff by ferry before arriving back to your accommodation in Invercargill.

  Included Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a relaxed start in Invercargill before departing for Queenstown. Known for its adventure you will have a free afternoon to explore. Take the opportunity to encounter a Queenstown legend and ride the Shotover Jet Boat or venture out on a Skippers Canyon Scenic Tour. If laid-back and relaxed is more your idea of fun, then join a Wine Tour and sample some of Central Otago’s award-winning wines. Your AAT Kings Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen optional experiences. This evening, why not sit back and enjoy a peaceful evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand’s oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak Station (Optional Experience, own expense). Launched in 1912, the TSS Earnslaw is the largest and grandest vessel ever to ply Lake Wakatipu. Today, the TSS Earnslaw is believed to be the only coal-fired passenger carrying vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere. Partake in a gourmet BBQ Highlight Dinner at Walter Peaks’ Colonel’s Homestead and then enjoy an entertaining after-dinner farm show providing a glimpse into high-country farm life. On the cruise back to Queenstown, join in a vintage sing-along or grab your partner for a dance across the polished wooden floors of the Earnslaw.

  Hotel: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown , 2 nights

  Included Meals: Breakfast

While Queenstown wears its Global Adventure badge proudly, it’s also the perfect place to relax and explore. The town boasts great shopping with luxury brands, iconic New Zealand design stores and boutique fashion. If bungy jumping or tree-to-tree ziplining aren't your cup of tea, consider an Optional Experience to spectacular Milford Sound, travel to the UNESCO World Heritage Fiordland National Park. Experience magnificent scenery and many photo opportunities afforded by the Mirror Lakes, Knobs Flat, Hollyford Valley lookout (Pop’s view), Cleddau Valley and the Chasm, drive through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel towards the iconic Mitre Peak and the Bowen Falls before reaching Milford Sound for your cruise.

  Included Meals: Breakfast

This morning you will leave the alpine wonderland of Queenstown behind, and begin the passage through Central Otago and out to Westland. On the way out of the Queenstown region, you will stop and visit the faithfully restored gold mining settlement of Arrowtown. As you amble down the beautiful tree-lined avenues, past the 19th century wooden buildings, you will feel like you have stepped into a movie set. From here you will travel over to Cromwell, situated next to the sparkling pristine waters of Lake Dunstan, where you will stop in at a local orchard for a taste of some of the town’s delicious stone fruit. It is a day of gorgeous lakes, as after Dunstan, you will 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. Following an ancient greenstone trail, you will travel over Haast Pass, marking a change from the alpine scenery of the Southern Lakes, to the rainforest marvel of the wild West Coast. View the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls and the grand sight of Mt Hooker, flanked on three sides by extensive glaciers. Our destination for today is the extraordinary rivers of ice that make up Franz Josef Glacier. You may want to get up close and personal with the glaciers on a helicopter flight. Your flight will hover over the snow face and may land high up in the valley so that you can walk across the ice fall – subject to weather conditions (Optional Experience – at own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

  Hotel: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (Graham Wing)

  Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

If weather conditions are unfavourable on Day 8, you will get another chance to fly up to the glaciers this morning or you might want to take a stroll through the small but lively Franz Josef village. Then you head off to the drift-wood strewn beaches of Hokitika. As well as being one of the few West Coast communities to embrace its coastal landscape, Hokitika struck it rich in the resource's stakes. Here you will visit a pounamu factory (native greenstone or jade), for the chance to see master carvers at work creating intricate pieces of jewellery and art. 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. Then, continue to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Tonight, we stay in an eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront. Enjoy dinner while watching the thundering surf at your doorstep

  Hotel: Ocean View Retreat Punakaiki

  Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Soak up the scenic wilderness of the Heritage Highway through the impressive Buller Gorge and the Kahurangi National Park before arriving in Nelson.

  Hotel: The Rutherford Hotel, 2 nights

  Included Meals: Breakfast

On this day at leisure, you’ll have the opportunity to journey to the top of the South Island and enjoy a relaxing cruise in the Abel Tasman National Park, or perhaps take a short bush walk, relax in sunny Nelson or explore the many arts and craft shops. The choice is yours!

  Included Meals: Breakfast

This morning, we travel to the pretty seaside fishing village of Picton where you will board the Interislander for a cruise across the Cook Strait, from the South Island to the North. Surprisingly it takes longer to cruise through the Queen Charlotte Sound and up the Tory Channel than it does to cross the open ocean of Cook Strait. You will meander through a maze of arms and inlets out of Picton. Once in Wellington enjoy a City tour including viewing New Zealand’s Parliament Buildings. Tonight is an evening at leisure, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Wellington’s inner city.

  Hotel: Travelodge Wellington, 2 nights

  Included Meals: Breakfast

You have a day at leisure to see the sights of your choice. Perhaps take a tour of Parliament or one of the Lord of the Rings movie tours, or venture to Weta Workshop, the home of the special effects' wizards whose work features in many blockbuster movies. Enjoy the café lifestyle in our capital city or simply shop till you drop, there is something in Wellington for everyone! This evening enjoy dinner at your hotel.

  Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

You’ll have lunch included today provided by ‘Eat My Lunch’. ‘Eat My Lunch’ is a charity organisation that provides lunch for New Zealand school children who otherwise would be going to school without. By having lunch today, you are giving a lunch to a child in need. Travel through the dairy farming land of Manawatu to Napier. In February 1931, Napier was levelled by earthquake and fire but was rebuilt in the depths of the Great Depression in just two years. Nowhere else in the world can you see such a concentration of buildings in the styles of the 1930s: Art Deco, Spanish Mission and Stripped Classical. You’ll hear the story of the earthquake that devastated Napier in 1931 and be introduced to the Art Deco style and hear stories of the characters involved in rebuilding this city. A Local Guide will accompany you on a walking tour.

  Hotel: Scenic Hotel Te Pania

  Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Enjoy a leisurely start to our day before continuing our journey to Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand. Visit the spectacular Huka Falls, the only outlet of water from Lake Taupo and then it’s on to Rotorua.  Before dinner, we have a guided tour of Te Puia. Guides take us through the greenstone, wood carving and flax weaving schools at the New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute, Rotowhio Pā, Kiwi Conservation Centre and Te Whakarewarewa geothermal valley including the Pōhutu geyser. Tonight, we experience Te Puia's world-famous hāngī buffet dinner. Enjoy spectacular geothermal views while dining on a range of delicious New Zealand flavours. The menu is smartly sophisticated – infusing Māori flavours, with an array of global cuisines and cooking styles. After dinner you will get to enjoy a cultural performance that will take place in their beautifully carved meeting house, Te Aronui a Rua. Witness a pōwhiri (traditional welcome), waiata (song), mōteatea (traditional chant) poi and haka. The evening culminates with hot chocolate and steamed pudding surrounded by steam and the geyser terrace bathed in coloured light

 

  Hotel: Sudima Lake Rotorua, 2 nights

  Included Meals: Breakfast, Highlight Dinner

Today is your chance to experience the scenic wonders of the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. Visit Te Puia, the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, where you’ll see demonstrations of wood carving and weaving. Then tour the geothermal valley and hear the importance of the geysers and mud pools to the Maori people. Later, you may wish to travel back to Rotorua township and relax lakeside, or you may prefer to choose from one of the varied Optional Experiences on offer. Take a scenic flight out over Lake Rotorua for a bird’s eye view of the region. You may even want to stop at the top of Mt Tarawera, the site of the largest eruption in New Zealand’s living memory! Explore Rainbow Springs Nature Park & The National Kiwi Hatchery, take a ‘behind the scenes’ tour through the working kiwi nursery and hatchery. Later, why not spend a little more time experiencing the thermal wonders, with a soak in the hot mineral waters of the Polynesian Spas? Your AAT Kings Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen optional experiences.

  Included Meals: Breakfast

Today you will follow the meandering trail of the Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river, past the lush farmlands of the Waikato Region. As you journey over the Bombay Hills, the landscape changes from green, grassy meadowlands to the edges of suburbia. As you make your way into the heart of New Zealand’s largest city, you will discover what it takes to make shape and become an All Black at The All-Blacks Experience. This interactive experience celebrates New Zealand’s rugby heritage, achievements, and culture through exceptional innovation and technology. Your guided tour will feature the jaw-dropping, knee-trembling haka on a four-metre-high screen and entry to the interactive Step-Up zone where you can compare your kicking, catching, and lineout skills to current All Blacks and Black Ferns players.

  Hotel: Holiday Inn Express, Auckland

  Included Meals: Breakfast

Your holiday concludes this morning after breakfast.

  Included Meals: Breakfast

Please note: This itinerary may be subject to change.


Accommodation

Your Guided Holiday includes a range of quality accommodation for your comfort.
The accommodation you will enjoy on this tour includes:

 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Ibis Christchurch is ready to welcome you. Adjacent to the new shopping heart of Christchurch, Cashell Mall. The "pop up" shopping precinct is the new vibrant heart of the city, featuring many new designer shops and modern cafes. Ibis Hotel Christchurch is very close to the famous Cathedral Square, the historic heart of the city providing easy access to the outer lying attractions and the airport. The Ibis features 155 contemporary rooms, restaurant OOPEN, a bar and meeting room.

    Features

  • 220/240 V AC
  • Data port in room
  • Air-conditioning
  • Flat Screen TV
  • Satellite/cable colour TV
  • Work Desk
  • Direct Dial Telephone
  • Manual temperature control
  • Wi-Fi in room (Pay)
  • Mini-bar (surcharge)
  • Coffee/tea making facilities
  • Ensuite
  • Shower
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron
  • Security peephole
  • Automatic wake up call
  • Operator wake up call
  • Alarm Clock
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Located in the heart of the Mackenzie/Waitaki region, a unique area of New Zealand's South Island. Set amongst landscaped gardens with views of the surrounding mountains, the Heritage Gateway Hotel is a peaceful place to stay.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Wireless Internet access
  • Phone
  • TV
  • Electric blankets
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Hairdryer
  • Refrigerator
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Located right in the heart of the city, Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin is ideal for business or leisure. When it is true hospitality and a convenient location that you desire on your travels, then this is your perfect hotel. Dunedin has few destinations to match the stylish Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin, where the accommodation reflects a total dedication to excellence in guest service, modern comfort and attention to detail.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • Broadband Internet access
  • Sky TV
  • Mini Bar
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Direct Dial Telephone
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

The Kelvin Hotel Invercargill provides comfortable well appointed accommodation with all the modern conveniences. Located in the main shopping area of Invercargill, Kelvin Hotel has the facilities to cater to all your needs while in Invercargill.

    Features

  • Private bathroom
  • Sky TV
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Mini Bar
  • Clock radio
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • In-room internet access
  • Room service
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront is located on Frankton Road, just five minutes stroll to the heart of Queenstown.

The hotel resort is close to many wonderful activities, from the town's world famous jet boat rides to radical white water rafting, bungee jumping, vineyards, international golf courses and ski fields.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • TV
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Refrigerator
  • Mini-bar (surcharge)
  • Telephone - Voice Mail
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Hairdryer
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier sits at the edge of the Westland World Heritage Park, and is just moments from one of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural attractions, the Franz Josef Glacier. Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier makes the most of its alpine location and offers quality accommodation in two separate hotel ‘wings’. Stay in either the Douglas or Graham wing, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings within Franz Josef village. Our hotel is in a premium location, making it the perfect place to base yourself while exploring the magnificent Westland region.

    Features

  • Hair Dryer
  • Wireless Internet access
  • Work Desk
  • Mini Bar
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Refrigerator
  • Four Spa Pools
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Situated on New Zealand's wild West Coast, the Punakaiki Resort is surrounded by the Paparoa National Park and is only a stone's throw from the beach. The hotel rooms are designed in harmony with the local environment to maintain a sense of privacy and seclusion and have either ocean or rainforest views.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • Shower and toilet facilities
  • Refrigerator
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Phone
  • Hairdryer
  • Wireless Internet access
  • TV
  • Satellite/cable colour TV
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Rutherford Hotel Nelson is Nelson’s only 24-hour fully-serviced hotel, offering luxurious rooms and suites. Our central location means Nelson’s many galleries and City attractions are just a stone’s throw away. All rooms have a view of the harbour, city, historic South Street or Nelson’s beautiful cathedral.

Our stylish accommodation will suit anyone looking for a great place to stay in Nelson. We also offer rooms with disabled access on request. All of our rooms have WiFi capabilities.

    Features

  • En-suite bathrooms (shower over bath)
  • Bathrobes
  • WiFi
  • Sky TV
  • Direct dial phone
  • Mini bar and tea and coffee making facilities
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

With close proximity to the city’s financial hub as well as many Wellington attractions, such as Wellington Zoo, the Wellington Cable Car, the Te Papa Museum of New Zealand, and the Wellington Botanic Gardens, Travelodge Hotel Wellington is perfectly located for both business and leisure travel.

    Features

  • Hair Dryer
  • Pay TV
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Individual heater control
  • LCD TV
  • Refrigerator
  • Internet Access
  • Microwave
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Styled to complement its remarkable location on the edge of the beautiful Hawke's Bay, our Scenic Hotel Te Pania boasts design awards for its style and offers an unmatched level of service to leisure travellers and conference guests. Hawke's Bay is one of the first places in the world to see the light each day, and Scenic Hotel Te Pania in Napier enjoys a premium waterfront location on Marine Parade. The hotel’s slender curved form echoes the shape of the bay, and guests enjoy sweeping views out over the water. A fresh, contemporary style hotel, Scenic Hotel Te Pania is just a short stroll from Napier’s main art deco style street.

    Features

  • Wireless Internet access
  • Mini Bar
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Air-conditioning
  • TV
  • Work Desk
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry/Valet service
  • Dry cleaning service
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

You can’t get any closer to the lake, Sudima Lake Rotorua sits right on the shore offering breath-taking vistas across the water.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • Tea & Coffee making facilities
  • Hair Dryer
  • Fridge
  • In-room safe
  • WiFi
  • TV
  • Individual heater control
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Clock radio
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Holiday Inn Express, Auckland is 3 km from Auckland Airport. Featuring balconies or direct garden access, rooms provide free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, safes, iPod docks and minifridges. All have tea and coffeemaking facilities. Suites add living rooms and/or whirlpool tubs. Room service is available. Amenities also include a casual restaurant, bar, an outdoor pool and a fitness centre.

Need accommodation before or after your tour?

Our special discounted rates make booking accommodation with us during your holiday both easy and affordable at selected AAT Kings hotels and resorts. Ask our friendly reservations at the time of booking.

Optional Experiences

To ensure your holiday is filled with memorable experiences, we have included a range of quality Optional Excursions for you to choose from and partake in, if you wish, during your holiday. The excursions can be booked on tour through your Travel Director.

Adult: $145.00 NZD

Child: $70.00 NZD

Let your local driver take you on an exciting Otago Peninsula drive to New Zealand’s only castle. Your guided tour of the Larnach family home will give you insight into not only the architecture and style of the stately building, but also into William Larnach’s family life and the restoration done by the current owners during the past three decades. Enjoy views from the tower and marvel at the immaculate gardens before your return to Dunedin. Join our invigorating Wildlife Cruise around Taiaroa Head, home to the world's only mainland nesting place of royal albatross. Watch as these huge birds glide in from the ocean and soar high above their hillside nests.

NZ$109 Adult NZ$59 Child

Haast River Safari

Travel on a purpose built fully enclosed river jet boat with front-loading access. Great visibility is ensured, yet you remain warm, dry and comfortable, making this a unique and safe experience suitable for anyone of any age to participate in and enjoy.

Mountain Scenic Spectacular Flight 40min - NZ$525 Adult

The Helicopter Line

Discover the gigantic expanse of the Franz Josef and Fox snowfields on this 40-minute scenic flight. Cross the main divide for breathtaking views of Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. Highlights include a snow landing, Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and Mt Cook.

NZ$425 Adult NZ$325 Child

Air Safaris - Grand Traverse Scenic Flight

Explore the alpine wonderland of the Southern Alps’ highest peaks and glacial lakes on this 45-minute scenic flight, including Murchison Glacier, Tasman Glacier, Main Divide, Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, westland coastal rainforests and Mount Cook.

NZ$219 Adult NZ$139 Child

Appellation Central Wine Tours - Boutique Wine Tour

An afternoon amongst the boutique vineyards and splendid alpine scenery of Central Otago. Taste wines at 4 premium vineyards over two contrasting wine regions, learn about the wine and pioneering history and visit the Historic Precinct of Old Cromwell. Includes a delightful platter lunch and a glass of wine with lunch.

NZ$180 Adult NZ$90 Child

Pure Glenorchy - Lord of the Rings Scenic Tour

Lord of The Rings Scenic Tour:  Visit the stunning locations from Lord of The Rings.  Encounter lsengard, Lothlorien Forest, The Misty Mountains, Ithilien and many more.  Experience the absolute beauty of the Dart River Valley and our closest world heritage area.  Learn about the remarkable history and unique culture of Glenorchy.  Our tour feature’s some of the world’s most spectacular scenery visiting Mt Aspiring World Heritage Area, Glenorchy, The Dart River Valley and Paradise.  Encounter ancient beech forest, braided rivers and glacier carved valleys.

NZ$179 Adult NZ$35 Child

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Travel from Rotorua to Matamata then onto Hobbiton for your tour of the move set with Hobbiton Tours. Experience the real Middle-earth at the Hobbiton Movie Set, where, in the heart of the Waikato region, you can step into the lush pastures of the Shire, as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.  You will be fully guided around the 12-acre set; past Hobbit Holes, the Mill and into the world-famous Green Dragon Inn, where you will be presented with a complimentary, exclusive Hobbit South-farthing beverage to conclude your own Middle-earth adventure.


Optional Experiences indicated are Australian or New Zealand dollars. Please note that occasionally weather or seasonal conditions may not permit their operation. Some also depend on a minimum number of participants and suitable time being available. Please see your Travel Director for a full list of experiences.

Trip Details

What's included

  • • Specialist team of two highly experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide
  • • 1 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Fiordland National Park
  • • Centrally located premium 3.5 hotels

What to Bring

  • • Sunglasses, sunscreen and hat
  • • Water bottle
  • • Warm layers in cooler months
  • • Camera
  • • Comfortable walking shoes

Fitness Requirements

  • • Low level of fitness required

Dining

  • • 17 Full Breakfasts
  • • 1 Lunch
  • • 1 Highlight Dinner
  • • 4 Dinners

Flight Information

  • • Day 1 – flights to arrive prior to 4.00pm into Christchurch Airport
  • • Day 18 – flights to depart anytime from Auckland Airport

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