Essence of New Zealand

18 Day Guided Vacation | Christchurch to Auckland

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$4925

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.

$6620

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.

$4435

Child i A child (5-15 years) must be accompanied by a person 18 years+. Some tours have min. age requirement
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From 1 May 2020

$5250 Adult Twin
$7100 Single
$4725 Child

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From 10 September 2021

$5250 Adult Twin
$7100 Single
$4725 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 | Travel Period: 1 Apr 2020 – 31 Mar 2021

Essence of New Zealand

18 Day Guided Vacation

Christchurch to Auckland

Create your perfect New Zealand holiday that will last a lifetime. It may be the spirit and energy of a Maori cultural performance or the breathtaking beauty of the mountain ranges and fiords of Milford Sound. There are many special memories to be made.

Choose This Trip If You'd Love To:

  • Gain insight into the finest destinations of New Zealand
  • Spot wildflowers alongside iconic lakes Tekapo and Pukaki
  • Explore the wilderness of Abel Tasman National Park
  • Tour Art Deco Napier on foot and visit Tamaki Māori Village

image map

Flexible Vacations

With 3 nights in Queenstown, you have plenty of time to tailor your holiday with our optional FLEXIBLE experiences on offer.

Iconic Sites

Explore the unique culture of the North Island and the stunning scenery of the South Island.

Time For You

With more two-night stays than any other New Zealand guided holiday, there is plenty of time to relax.

Sustainable Travel

Lunch is supplied through Eat My Lunch, supporting New Zealand children that may have gone to school without lunch.

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

Hotel: Ibis Hotel Christchurch

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

Hotel: Heritage Gateway Hotel

Included Meals: Breakfast

Travel via Oamaru, with its famous white limestone buildings, to Dunedin, a region of unique landscapes and fascinating cultural history, for an orientation tour.

Hotel: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin

Included Meals: Breakfast

Be awestruck by the glories of 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 overnight cruise

(Cruise may not operate on 10 Sep 2020 departure. On this date, you can enjoy a day cruise on Milford Sound and accommodation in Te Anau or Queenstown) 

Hotel: Cruise Overnight Milford Sound

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Depart for the majestic Lake Te Anau. Explore the famous Te Anau Glowworm Caves by boat, before travelling to Queenstown, the adventure capital.

Hotel: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown , 3 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast

Today is yours to explore at your own pace.

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. 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 (Graham 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

The Heritage Highway leads you through a scenic wilderness to the plunging Buller Gorge and pristine Kahurangi National Park.

Hotel: The Rutherford Hotel, 2 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast

Today you have free time to relax in Nelson.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Visit the seaside village of Picton with free time to explore. Cruise on tranquil Queen Charlotte Sound before heading across Cook Strait to the North Island and Wellington, New Zealand’s capital. Enjoy a city sights tour before a guided tour of Te Papa Museum of New Zealand.

Hotel: Travelodge Wellington, 2 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast

Wellington is celebrated as the country’s creative and culinary capital and today is yours to explore at your own pace.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Your special packed lunch today won’t only be wholesome, it will also feed a Kiwi child who may otherwise go without, through the charity ‘Eat My Lunch’. Travel through the Wairarapa region and Hawke’s 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, Lunch

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. Visit Te Puia, the Māori Arts and Crafts Institute. A tour of Rotorua’s active geothermal fields follows. Gain insight into traditional Māori culture this evening while you enjoy a Highlight Dinner at the Tamaki Māori Village

Hotel: Ibis Rotorua Hotel, 2 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast, Highlight dinner

Today is yours to explore at your own pace.

Included Meals: Breakfast

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

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
  • 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

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
  • Experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide
  • 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.

From NZ$45 Adult NZ$25 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.

Rotorua City and Lakes Tour - NZ$75 Adult NZ$50 Child

Tarawera and Lakes Tour - NZ$95 Adult NZ$60 Child

Rotorua Duck

Rotorua City and Lakes Tour - Our Rotorua City and Lakes tour is a fantastic sightseeing experience. Combine learning about a historically significant area with the thrill of riding in New Zealand’s only genuine operating WW2 landing crafts. Beginning in the heart of Rotorua, you’ll see historic buildings, hot springs, geothermal wonders and more. Then, head out to Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake), our most recreational lake, and Lake Okareka – nestled in the heart of a vibrant community – for two fun Splashdowns.

Tarawera and Lakes Tour - 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$119 Adult NZ$35 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.

NZ$68 Adult NZ$42 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.

NZ$86 Adult NZ$38 Child

Abel Tasman Seashuttle - 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$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$30 Adult NZ$14 Child

Speight's Brewery Tour

No visitor to Dunedin should leave without taking the Speight’s Brewery Tour. Since 1876 the brewery has been proudly producing Speight’s legendary ales from the same site in Rattray Street. On the Speight’s Brewery Tour you’ll see, smell, touch and taste the ingredients that go into making Speight’s beers – and of course, get to sample “The Pride of the South” for yourself!

NZ$154 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$109 Adult NZ$29 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$78 Adult NZ$39 Child

Larnach Castle

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$55 Adult NZ$25 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$159 Adult NZ$89 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)

Tour Only: NZ$155 Adult NZ$95 Child

Tour with Jet Boat: NZ$195 Adult NZ$115 Child

Skippers Canyon Scenic Tour

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$72 Adult NZ$30 Child

Real Journeys - TSS Earnslaw (Cruise Only)

A cruise on Lake Wakatipu aboard the iconic steamship the TSS Earnslaw is undoubtedly one of the best ways to experience Queenstown’s famed scenic beauty. The leisurely 90 minute cruise across the lake showcases some of Queenstown’s spectacular alpine scenery while offering you plenty of time to explore a piece of Queenstown’s living history – the 104 year old TSS Earnslaw. You can visit the engine room and see its giant steam engines at work, view the collection of historical photos in our mini-museum, check out the bridge or even join a sing-along with the pianist. Or if you’d much rather, kick back and enjoy a wine or beer or some café-style food at our on-board Promenade Café and Bar.

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.

Neve Discoverer Flight 20min - NZ$280 Adult NZ$196 Child

Twin Glacier Flight 30min - NZ$360 Adult NZ$252 Child

Mountain Scenic Spectacular Flight 40min - NZ$490 Adult NZ$343 Child

The Helicopter Line

Neve Discoverer Flight 20min - Lift off and fly up over the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier to land amongst this alpine wonderland on a 20-minute scenic flight. Highlights include landing at the head of the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier and a snow or icefall landing.

Twin Glacier Flight 30min - 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.

Mountain Scenic Spectacular Flight 40min - 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.


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

  • Low level of fitness required

Dining

  • 17 Full buffet breakfasts
  • 1 Lunch
  • 1 Highlight dinner
  • 5 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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