Essence of New Zealand

18 Day Guided Vacation | Christchurch to Auckland

Prices From

Code: LCCA

$4695

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.

$6325

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.

$4225

Child i A child (5-15 years) must be accompanied by a person 18 years+. Some tours have min. age requirement

Duration 18 Day Guided Holiday

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From 11 October 2018

$5350 Adult Twin $7180 Single $4815 Child

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From 1 January 2019

$5350 Adult Twin $7180 Single $4815 Child

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$4925 Adult Twin $6655 Single $4430 Child

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$5480 Adult Twin $7340 Single $4945 Child

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Essence of New Zealand

18 Day Guided Vacation | Christchurch to Auckland

Essence of New Zealand

18 Day Guided Vacation

Christchurch to Auckland

Create your perfect New Zealand holiday that will leave you a lifetime of golden memories. In the North Island, it may be the spirit and energy of a Māori cultural performance or thermal wonderland of Rotorua. Or in the South Island, the breathtaking beauty of its snow-capped mountain ranges and fiords and waterfalls of Milford Sound. Whatever your delight, there are many memories to take away and treasure.

image map
  • View the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo
  • Spend the night cruising on magical Milford Sound
  • Let loose in the adventure capital, Queenstown
  • Explore the Glowworm Caves at Te Anau by boat
  • Taste Central Otago stone fruit at a local orchard
  • See awe-inspiring Franz Josef Glacier
  • Watch artisans carving native greenstone (jade) in Hokitika
  • Punakaiki, home to Pancake Rocks & Blowholes
  • Visit Te Papa Museum of New Zealand “Maori
  • Immerse yourself in Māori culture at a Hangi & Concert “Maori
  • Explore the geothermal valley at Te Puia in Rotorua
  • Experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide

Meet your Travel Director and travelling companions this evening at a Welcome Reception and dinner.

Hotel: Ibis Hotel Christchurch

Included Meals: Dinner

Drive over the rich alluvial farmlands of the Canterbury Plains to spectacular Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki. Pause to view the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd before revelling in the magnificent alpine landscape of Mt. Cook National Park.

Hotel: Heritage Gateway Hotel

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel via Oamaru, with its famous white limestone buildings, to Dunedin, a region of unique landscapes and fascinating cultural history. Take an orientation tour, then enjoy quiet time to explore the city or relax at your hotel.

Hotel: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Be awestruck today by the glories of the superb World Heritage listed Fiordland National Park. Journey through rainforest, ancient glaciers and mountain ranges, and pass through the monumental Homer Tunnel. See Lake Matheson, Pop’s Lookout, Cleddau Valley and the Chasm before arriving in Milford Sound for your unforgettable overnight cruise.

(Please note: Cruise does not operate 21 May-15 September. During this period, there will be a day cruise on Milford Sound and accommodation in Te Anau or Queenstown).

Hotel: Cruise Overnight Milford Sound

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Depart this morning for serene, majestic Lake Te Anau. Explore the famous Te Anau Glowworm Caves by boat with a local guide before travelling on to Queenstown, the adventure capital of the South Island.

Hotel: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown , 3 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today is yours to explore Queenstown at your own pace. You may like to consider taking one of our optional experiences – you could ride the Shotover Jet boat, join a wine tour or take a 4WD minibus excursion through Skippers Canyon. This evening you have the option of taking a peaceful cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue dinner.

Included Meals: Breakfast

While Queenstown wears its ‘Global Adventure Capital’ 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.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Your destination is the wild West Coast of the South Island. Stop to visit the gold mining settlement of Arrowtown, and enjoy the serenity of the region’s vivid blue lakes. You will then travel over Haast Pass and view the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls on your way to the Franz Josef Glacier.

Hotel: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (Douglas Wing)

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Explore this astounding glacier on foot or from the air this morning (both optional). Travel to Hokitika, home of New Zealand’s famous greenstone, then on to Punakaiki to view the intriguing Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. You’ll spend the night in an eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront.

Hotel: Punakaiki Resort

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning the Heritage Highway leads you through a scenic wilderness to the plunging Buller Gorge and pristine Kahurangi National Park. This afternoon in Nelson you’ll visit the quirky World of Wearable Arts and Classic Cars Museum.

Hotel: Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco Hotel and Resort , 2 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

On this day at leisure, you’ll have the option of journeying to the top of the South Island and enjoying a cruise in the Abel Tasman National Park. Or you could take a short bush walk, or relax in sunny Nelson and explore its many art and craft galleries.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Visit the seaside village of Picton and cruise on tranquil Queen Charlotte Sound before heading across Cook Strait to the North Island and Wellington, New Zealand’s capital. “Maori Enjoy a city sights tour before a guided tour of Te Papa Museum of New Zealand, where you’ll explore New Zealand’s nature, art, history and cultural heritage.

Hotel: Travelodge Wellington, 2 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Wellington is celebrated as the country’s creative and culinary capital and today is yours to explore the city at your own pace. You might like to take a tour of Parliament or the Weta Workshop, creators of special effects for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Travel through the Wairarapa region and Hawkes Bay to Napier, a city whose unique concentration of beautiful Art Deco architecture is due to its rebuilding after the 1931 earthquake. Enjoy a walking tour with a local guide.

Hotel: Scenic Hotel Te Pania

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today, journey to Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand, and then visit mighty Huka Falls on your way to Rotorua, where a sightseeing tour will include views of Lake Rotorua.

Hotel: Ibis Rotorua Hotel, 2 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast

“Maori Visit Te Puia, the Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, where talented students carry on age-old traditions of woodcarving and weaving. A tour of Rotorua’s active geothermal fields follows: see bubbling mud pools, spectacular geysers and crater lakes. “Maori Gain a further insight into traditional Māori culture this evening while you enjoy a Highlight Dinner at the Tamaki Māori Village.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Highlight Dinner

Experience the Agrodome Farm Show, where an entertaining performance provides insights into agriculture in New Zealand. Later, travel through the lush dairy-farming district of Waikato en route to Auckland, where you’ll take a tour of the city.

Hotel: VR Queen Street Hotel & Suites

Included Meals: Breakfast

Say farewell to your fellow travellers when your holiday comes to an end this morning after breakfast.

Included Meals: Breakfast

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

For a unique experience cruise overnight on Milford Sound on a fully equipped vessel.

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

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco Hotel and Resort provides luxury boutique accommodation by the water in Nelson, New Zealand - the ideal vacation destination.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Sky TV
  • Phone
  • Free wireless internet access
  • Iron / Ironing Board
 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

Situated on the picturesque shores of Lake Rotorua, this hotel offers tranquil surroundings with sensational views. Our central location is easily accessible to cafés, restaurants and the Energy Events Convention Centre. Stunning natural scenery and geothermal wonders makes this the ultimate destination.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • Air-conditioning
  • Telephone - Voice Mail
  • Soundproofed Windows
  • TV
  • In-house movies
  • Pay TV
  • 220/240 V AC
  • Data port in room
  • High speed transmission line (pay)
  • Work Desk
  • Manual temperature control
  • Iron
  • Coffee/tea making facilities
  • Hairdryer
  • Automatic wake up call
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

A BRAND New 4.5 Qualmark rated apartment Hotel & Suites with an unbeatable location on Queen Street, contemporary styling and well-appointed modern rooms. For the convenience of travellers and visitors to Auckland, VR Queen Street Hotel & Suites is an ideal location, situated on the prime street of Auckland CBD. This brand new hotel offers excellent convenience of being in the heart of the business, shopping and food district of Auckland.

    Features

  • Air-conditioning
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Wireless Internet access
  • Hair Dryer
  • TV
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. Find out more

  • Comfortable accommodation
  • Travel by luxury coach
  • Airport transfers (see flight information below)

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.

NZ$150 Adult NZ$56 Child

Monarch Wildlife Cruise

Cruise the length of the beautiful Otago Harbour, passing by the historic fishing village of Careys Bay and the working port of Port Chalmers. Then continue your tour out to the tip of the Otago Peninsula, enjoying unrivalled wildlife viewing. See what cannot be seen from land – Albatross, New Zealand Fur Seals and up to 20 species of bird and marine life in their undisturbed and otherwise inaccessible environment.

NZ$76 Adult NZ$38 Child

Monarch Larnach Castle Tour

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.

NZ$105 Adult NZ$28 Child

Taieri Gorge Railway

Taieri Gorge Railway is one of the world’s great train trips, taking passengers from the hustle and bustle of Dunedin’s city centre to the rugged mountain interior of Central Otago, and back. Travel in comfort, cross magnificent stone and wrought iron viaducts, travel through a series of tunnels with rock walls only inches from the side of the train.

NZ$109 Adult NZ$59

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.

NZ$320 Adult NZ$224

The Helicopter Line - Twin Glacier Scenic 30min Flight

From a mantle of pure white snow, massive rivers of ice wind their way down glacier valleys. Explore the glaciers, an incredible natural phenomenon on this 30-minute scenic flight. Highlights include a snow landing at the head of the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier.

NZ$460 Adult NZ$322 Child

The Helicopter Line - Mountain Scenic Spectacular 40min Flight

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$395 Adult NZ$295 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$86 Adult NZ$38 Child

Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle Discoverer Day

Discoverer Day is the ultimate boat cruise and walk combination in the Abel Tasman National Park. With two different walk options, the Discoverer Day shows all the best the Abel Tasman has to offer with a Full Scenic Boat Cruise, visits to Split Apple Rock and a Fur Seal colony, golden beaches, forest walking and wildlife encounters all in one superb day out.

NZ$199 Adult NZ$139 Child

Queenstown 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$49 Adult NZ$24 Child

Kiwi Birdlife Park

The Kiwi Birdlife Park is a wildlife sanctuary found in the heart of Queenstown. They hold and display over 20 species of native NZ wildlife in our 5 acre Park, all of which are part of nationally managed programmes. Your entry fee supports their conservation work. They offer guaranteed kiwi viewing in our specially constructed nocturnal houses, audio tours (available in English and Japanese; allow 45min), Conservation Shows (11am, 3pm; allow 30min) and Kiwi Feedings (10am, 12pm, 1.30pm, 4.30pm; allow 15min). They offer an all-day pass and the park can be enjoyed in all weather. Experience conservation in action!

NZ$115 Adult / NZ$75 Child

The 'Lakeshore Forest and Bird' guided walk is a unique nature interpretative experience. Taken at a leisurely pace through native beech forest, with morning or afternoon tea/coffee on the lake-shore where you stop and enjoy views across the lake to The Remarkables and Cecil Peak. The walk begins in native shrub and beech forest, and the track leads down through the forest to the edge Lake Wakatipu. Great views can be had looking out through the trees and over the water to the mountains beyond. Return transfers from your Queenstown accommodation are included.

NZ$145 Adult / NZ$70 Child

Relive the elegance of turn-of-the-century travel with a cruise on Queenstown’s iconic vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. Launched in 1912, the TSS Earnslaw is the largest and grandest vessel ever to ply Lake Wakatipu. The TSS Earnslaw makes several trips daily across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm on the western shores. A cruise on this gracious heritage vessel is the perfect way to experience Queenstown’s magnificent alpine scenery. Upon reaching Walter Peak High Country Farm, you can disembark for an insight into New Zealand’s farming lifestyle. Enjoy an evening dining at the Colonel’s Homestead followed by an entertaining Sheep Show!

NZ$125 Adult / NZ$50 Child

Enjoy a quintessential Kiwi experience – a delicious gourmet BBQ lunch and a farm demo in a stunning lakeside setting. Your lunch starts with a cruise aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw across to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Once there, you can sit back on the lakeside terrace of the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant and savour the delicious aromas as our chef has the best of local produce, sizzling away on the grill. After your lunch, you can join an entertaining farm demonstration or explore the beautiful lakeside gardens. Includes cruise, Gourmet BBQ lunch and farm demo. Duration 3hrs 30mins Suitable for all ages

NZ$149 Adult NZ$79 Child

Shotover Jet Boat Ride

Enjoy a 30-minute jet boat ride down the mighty Shotover River and through Shotover Canyon with the only company permitted to operate in this area. A major highlight is experiencing the famous “Shotover Jet Turn” where your boat spins through a full 360 degrees turn. Includes return transfers from Queenstown. (Duration: 1.5 hours in total)

NZ$195 Adult NZ$115 Child

Skippers Canyon Scenic Tour & Jet Boat

Skippers Canyon Jet are the only company to offer a complete 4WD tour of Skippers Canyon and access to the unique mining relics available in the Sainsbury gold claim museum. Following the winding, yet majestic Skippers road, which carves its way down from the Coronet Peak ski road, over the saddle and down “Long gully” through to Skippers Canyon; your guide will detail the history of the road, hardships of the miners and how many miners were killed building the road over a century ago.

NZ$149 Adult / NZ$119 Child

Canopy tours zipline adventure activity is an experience of a lifetime. You’ll be transported to a long forgotten ancient forest just like the whole of New Zealand once was. Experience a low impact mode of transport to get you high in the ancient canopy! In total there are 6 ziplines totalling more than 650 metres, the highlight for most being the jawdropping 220 metre tui song zipline that departs from 22 metres up a 1000 year old tree. Beat that for a setting! There are numerous treetop platforms at varying heights above the forest floor where you can observe and take in the magic of the environment around you.

NZ$119 Adult NZ$77 Child

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Discover the real Middle-earth on the most picturesque private farmland near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand, where you can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in a fascinating two-hour guided tour.

From NZ$50 Adult NZ$30 Child

Rainbow Springs Wildlife Park

Set in 22 acres of beautiful native trees and streams, Rainbow Springs is home to a huge variety of New Zealand’s most precious inhabitants. Experience the adrenalin rush of The Big Splash, explore the many free flight aviaries, come face to face with pre-history in the eyes of the tuatara, and experience the wonder of the bird show featuring some of the funniest feathered performers you will ever see. Includes Kiwi Encounter

NZ$89 Adult NZ$55 Child

Tarawera and Lakes Tour on the Rotorua Duck

Discover Rotorua’s spectacular lakes area from the comfort of a fully restored World War II amphibious vehicle, able to travel on land and water. A 90 minute fun-filled and scenic journey that ventures onto the three Rotorua lakes, and is accompanied by an entertaining and informative commentary.

NZ$65 Adult NZ$40 Child

Weta Wellington

This movie-based experience provides a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse of Weta Workshop, the home of the special effects wizards whose work features in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies. The tour invites you to view the creative processes of a Weta technician and to touch, feel, and hold real props, weapons and models from the films the creative Weta team have worked on. Return transfers from the Wellington i-Site are included.


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.

What to Bring

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

Fitness Requirements

Dining

  • 17 Full buffet breakfasts
  • 10 Dinners
  • 1 Highlight Dinner

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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