Ultimate New Zealand - both islands

Starts in Auckland

Ends in Christchurch

17 days

16 nights

Ultimate New Zealand Tour

Embark on a 17-day epic small-group tour across New Zealand. From the vibrant city life in Auckland, the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, to the stunning landscapes of Taupo, the unique architecture of Napier, and the cultural richness of Wellington. Dive deep into Maori culture and experience the beauty of New Zealand like never before

Prepare for the journey of a lifetime as you set off on our 17-day tour across New Zealand's striking landscapes. From the lush beauty of North Island to the untamed wilderness of South Island, every moment promises to take your breath away.

Experience the effervescence of Auckland and its bustling waterfront, filled with rich culture and vibrant city life. Immerse yourself in the charming old-world atmosphere of Nelson, a mecca for arts and crafts enthusiasts, boasting stunning natural wonders.

Thrill-seekers, get ready to indulge in adrenaline-pumping activities as you traverse the stunning Tongariro National Park, known for its unique volcanic features. Marvel at the sparkling turquoise waters of the Abel Tasman National Park and the fascinating geological formations of the Pancake Rocks.

No journey through New Zealand would be complete without a visit to Queenstown, the world's adventure capital. Here, amidst the scenic beauty, your adventurous spirit will come alive with activities like bungee jumping, skydiving, or simply exploring mesmerizing landscapes.

The soothing hot springs of Hanmer Springs will be waiting to relax your senses, while the spectacular marine life of Kaikoura will captivate your spirit.

New Zealand is more than just a travel destination; it's an explosion of experiences that will awaken every sense and evoke a sense of wonder you've never felt before. We invite you to come and make unforgettable memories on this 17-day grand adventure. Let's create your extraordinary story in New Zealand together!

Itinerary of the Ultimate NZ Tour

  •  Experienced Tour Guide
  • Small Group Tour - Max 24
  • Luxury Coach
  • 17 days / 16 nights accommodation
  • 27 meals (16 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 7 Dinners)
  • Waitomo CavesExperience
  • Buried Village in Rotorua
  • Lake Aniwhenua Cultural Experience
  • Huka Falls
  • Mission Estate Winery Lunch and Wine Tasting
  • Te Papa
  • Inter-Island Ferry
  • Wither Hills Winery Lunch in Marlborough
  • Moeraki Boulders
  • Larnach Castle visit
  • Explore the Hokonui Moonshine Museum
  • Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise
  • Visit Arrowtown
  • Greenstone and Glass Blowing Factory visit
  • TranzAlpine Train Experience

Season 2024-2025

  • Single: NZ$12,495
  • Twin-share: NZ$9,995

Prices per person, in New Zealand Dollar (NZD).

This is why So Many Travellers Love The Ultimate New Zealand Tour

Travellers worldwide still have fond memories and want to share stories of their Kirra Tour. We have been creating memorable New Zealand experiences since 1968. Our passion for this country is displayed through our unique itineraries.

See what's included in our 17-Day Ultimate New Zealand Tour.

Superior Accommodation

16 nights accommodation in high-end hotels

Premium Coach

luxury coach and world-class tour guide

Small Group Tour

minimum of 9 travellers, maximum: 28


16 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 7 dinners included.

Map of the Ultimate NZ tour by Kirra Tours

Itinerary of the Ultimate New Zealand Tour

Day 1: Arrival day to Auckland

Haere Mai and Welcome to Aotearoa/New Zealand. The first stop on your adventure is Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand. Often referred to as the ‘City of Sails’ by locals, Auckland is home to 2 harbours and over 44 volcanoes!

On arrival in the city, make your way to the Nesuto Stadium Hotel where you can check in and drop your bags. At the hotel reception, you’ll receive a welcome letter with some tour information, and this evening you’ll meet your group and welcome host at 6:15pm and head for a delicious welcome dinner at 6:30pm.

Arrival: Anytime

Accommodation: Nesuto Hotel @ 40 Beach Road, Auckland City (or similar)

Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Auckland to Rotorua

This morning we’ll be leaving Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) and making our way to Waitomo, famous for its enchanting glowworm caves. We’ll be visiting the brightest glowworm cave in Waitomo, which was even visited by Sir David Attenborough! You’ll take a spectacular boat ride through a cave lit entirely by glowworms and experience the magical sight of hundreds of glowworms shining just for you. We'll follow this with a walking tour of another amazing limestone cave shaped over millions of years.

Afterward, we’ll continue down to Rotorua, the geothermal wonderland of New Zealand. This evening we’ll enjoy a delicious dinner together and then settle in for a luxurious night’s sleep in Rotorua.

Visit: Waitomo, Rotorua

Activity: Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Accommodation: Distinction Rotorua (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: Free Day in Rotorua

This morning we’ll skirt around the edge of Lake Rotorua to a lookout point where we’ll have a view of the infamous Mount Tarawera, once the home of the renowned pink and white terraces before a violent eruption destroyed them. We’ll end with a visit to the Buried Village, New Zealand's most visited Archaeological Site, where we’ll learn about the famous 1886 eruption and visit the site of the now-buried Te Wairoa village.

This afternoon we’ll go for a walk in the Whakarewarewa forest where we’ll see towering Redwoods, magnificent Douglas firs, and New Zealand’s native Silver fern and then you have some free time to explore Rotorua on your own. If you’d like to see some geothermal activity for free, we recommend taking a walk around Kuirau Park to see boiling mud pools and steaming lakes. Go for a walk to the lake's edge and through the government gardens, spend some time relaxing at the Polynesian Spa, or take the Gondola up to see the amazing Rotorua Skyline.

Visit: Rotorua

Activity: Visit the Buried Village and take the Waitawa Walk in Whakarewarewa Forest

Accommodation: Distinction Rotorua (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4: Rotorua to Lake Aniwhenua to Taupo

This morning we’ll travel to the shores of Lake Aniwhenua in Murupara, where you’ll get to experience a slice of the real New Zealand. Owned by a passionate local Maori family who have dedicated their lives to making a difference in their local community, Kohutapu Lodge is situated on the lake, and has been helping to transform the local town of Murupara through community-driven initiatives for years.

Your experience will begin with a guided tour of the sacred Maori rock carvings and then you’ll travel to the Lodge to witness the preparation of a traditional ground cooked hangi. Once the food is ready, you’ll dine at the lodge on arguably the best meal you’ll have in New Zealand! After lunch, we’ll depart for Taupo where you’ll get to see the fiercely blue Huka Falls and explore the charming lakeside town.

Visit: Murupara, Whirinaki, Taupo

Activity: Kohutapu Lodge Tribal Tour

Accommodation: Anchorage Taupo or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Hangi Lunch + Dessert

Day 5: Taupo to Napier

After breakfast this morning we’ll head to the stunning Hawke’s Bay region. Napier boasts some of the best wineries in New Zealand/Aotearoa and a visit here would not be complete without a trip to Mission Estate Winery. After a wine tasting, you’ll sit down for lunch to enjoy an afternoon of delicious food and exceptional wines, while soaking up sunshine and the ambience of this stunning estate.

Later, it’s an easy drive into the beautiful coastal town of Napier, known for its perfectly preserved Art Deco facades. Go for a stroll along the tree-lined promenade this evening and sample some fresh seafood at one of the many restaurants overlooking the beach.

Visit: Mission Estate Winery

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Te Pania (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Napier to Wellington

This morning we’ll depart Napier and journey down to Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand and the home of the best cup of coffee in the country!

On the way down, we’ll make a stop in Greytown, Wairarapa's oldest town, for a spot of lunch. A picturesque village with restored Victorian buildings, Greytown is a charming place to stop, refuel and browse the boutiques before we continue down to Wellington.

With a population of fewer than 220,000 people, no city in NZ combines a relaxed atmosphere and a cultured, bohemian spirit better than Wellington. The afternoon is free for you to spend exploring the city - we highly recommend a visit to our national museum Te Papa which offers free entrance and boasts some incredible exhibits.

Visit: Wairarapa, Wellington

Accommodation: Novotel Wellington (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7: Wellington to Nelson

After breakfast this morning, we’ll take the Ferry across Cook Strait to the South Island. If the weather is fine, make your way up to the deck to see the spectacular Marlborough Sounds and try to spot some local wildlife. On arrival in Picton, we’ll make our way to Nelson. This evening there’s plenty of time to relax, explore the area and taste some of Nelson’s fine local food and beverages.

Visit: Picton, Nelson

Accommodation: Rutherford Nelson (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8: Free Day in Nelson

Today is a free day in the sunshine capital of New Zealand, Nelson is a small city that's full of arts & crafts and on the edge of NZ’s premier hop growing region.

Take a wine or beer tour, you can even do this by bike if you prefer some exercise or just use the day to take a stroll around the area. For those wanting to visit Abel Tasman National Park, you can take a day tour from Nelson to visit the golden sands and idyllic days.

For those wanting a good walk the track to the centre of New Zealand is a must, at the top you’ll also find lovely views of the region too!

Visit: Nelson

Optional Activities: Abel Tasman Cruise, Wine Tour, Craft Beer Tour, Queens Gardens, Centre of NZ walk

Accommodation: Rutherford Nelson (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 9: Nelson to Christchurch

This morning we’ll take a leisurely drive down to Blenheim where we’ll travel to a vineyard for a fabulous lunch among the vines in one of New Zealand’s best Sauvignon Blanc producers

After lunch, we’ll set off for our journey down the coast, soaking up the gorgeous scenery as we go, expect to see some marine life too! From Kaikoura’s rugged coastline and beautiful mountains to the rolling farmland of Canterbury, the views are wonderful today. We’ll arrive late afternoon in Christchurch and this evening, we’ll enjoy a group dinner at our hotel.

Visit: Blenheim, Kaikoura, Canterbury, Christchurch

Activity: Marlborough Cellar Door lunch

Accommodation: Distinction Christchurch (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Christchurch to Dunedin

After breakfast this morning, we’ll continue our journey south down the east coast. We’ll pass through the township of Oamaru, home to some of the best-preserved heritage buildings in New Zealand before heading onto the mystical Moeraki Boulders.

Geological marvels that began to form about 60 million years ago, the Moeraki boulders were exposed by the erosion of sedimentary rocks over time and now stand along the beach as though they are sentinels guarding the coastline. We’ll arrive in Dunedin with plenty of time for a rest and some exploration of the Scottish City.

Visit: Christchurch, Oamaru, Moeraki Boulders, Baldwin Street, Dunedin

 Optional Activities: Speight’s Brewery Tour, Dunedin Train Station, Yellow Eyed Penguin Tour

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City(or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 11: Dunedin to Te Anau

This morning we’ll visit the famous Larnach Castle of Dunedin, the only castle in the country. We’ll explore the area, stroll through the magnificent gardens and enjoy the amazing views before departing for our next destination.

We’ll make a stop in Gore where we’ll explore Gore’s colourful past as a centre for illicit whisky distilling and bootlegging at the Hokonui Moonshine Museum. Learn about the adventures of the Scottish settlers and their exploits to avoid run-ins with the law and taste Old Hokonui made from the original recipe.

Later, we’ll drive to our destination for the evening, Te Anau - the gateway to Fiordland and the spectacular Doubtful Sound.

Visit: Gore, Te Anau

 Activities: Larnach Castle, Hokonui Moonshine Museum

Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Te Anau(or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 12: Te Anau via Doubtful Sound to Queenstown

Departing Te Anau this morning we’ll travel to Manapouri, where we’ll take a leisurely cruise across the lake to West Arm. This is followed by a short coach trip on New Zealand's most expensive road, travelling over Wilmot Pass and pausing along the way to experience the dense Fiordland rainforest and view the Doubtful Sound glistening below.

At Deep Cove, we’ll board a modern catamaran and set sail into the majestic fiord - a sight that is sure to take your breath away. Listen to the onboard commentary for an insight into the region’s history as you view spectacular towering mountains and soak up the breathtaking views of this unique and beautiful area of New Zealand. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, as penguins, seals and dolphins all enjoy spending time in the sound!

Once the tour has ended, we’ll make our way to the alpine resort of Queenstown where we’ll spend the next two nights.

Visit: Lake Manapouri, West Arm, Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound, Queenstown

 Activity: Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise

Accommodation: Novotel Queenstown (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13: Day at leisure in Queenstown

Today is yours to experience Queenstown, a picturesque alpine resort town known for its vast array of adventure activities. If you’d like to explore the area, we recommend taking a ride on the world-famous Shotover Jet Boat or taking a tour of the gold mining area of Skippers Canyon.

For the best views of the town, travel to the top of Bob’s Peak by gondola and have lunch at the Skyline restaurant, why not make your way to the bungy centre to watch people hurling themselves off cliffs - bungy is a NZ invention after all! Alternatively, make your way to the lakeside and enjoy a refreshing drink or stroll through Queenstown’s lush park. 

Accommodation: Novotel Queenstown (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 14: Queenstown to Haast

This morning we’ll get to see some incredible scenery as we travel through Arrowtown, a picturesque village steeped in fascinating history relating to New Zealand's gold mining era.

Next, we’ll visit Wanaka, a popular township on the lake's edge with a spectacular mountain backdrop where we’ll enjoy lunch and spend some time enjoying the views.

Departing Wanaka, we’ll make our way north towards the east coast and the small town of Haast, a UNESCO world heritage site and home to the famous Haast River. This evening we’ll enjoy a group dinner together at our hotel.

Visit: Wanaka, Arrowtown, Haast

Accommodation: Heartland Haast (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 15: Haast to Franz Josef

Travelling north along the coast of the Westland National Park this morning, we’ll travel to the home of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. This remarkable part of the country was shaped by dynamic glaciers and boasts lush rainforest which grows beneath towering mountains.

We’ll make a stop in Fox Glacier where we have the option to walk the gentle 2.6km track around Lake Matheson. Nestled amongst ancient forests and famous for mirror views of Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, Lake Matheson aka Mirror Lake is a serene and beautiful place to enjoy a stroll.

This evening, we’ll spend the night in the township of Franz Josef, surrounded by rainforests and mountains, and enjoy a delicious group dinner together.

Visit: Franz Josef, Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson

Accommodation: Scenic Franz Josef (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 16: Franz Josef to Christchurch

This morning we’ll depart Franz Josef and travel north to the artistic town of Hokitika, famous for its beautiful Greenstone. We’ll visit the Greenstone and Glass blowing factory to see the work of some talented local artists before continuing on to Greymouth, a historic town known for jade hunting and gold mining.

From Greymouth, we’ll board the Tranzalpine train, which is considered to be one of the world’s greatest one-day train journeys. Prepare to be blown away by epic vistas of forests, rolling plains and snow-capped mountains!

At the end of the journey, we’ll transfer to our hotel in Christchurch, where we’ll enjoy a farewell meal together on our final evening of the tour.

Visit: Hokitika, Greymouth, Christchurch

Activity: Greenstone and Glass Blowing Factory visit, TranzAlpine Train Journey

Accommodation: Distinction Hotel Christchurch (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 17: Depart Christchurch

Today is the final day of the tour, our trip has come to an end. Enjoy breakfast before saying a fond farewell to your tour leader and all your travel companions.

Whether you’re travelling home today or staying in Christchurch for longer, we hope you leave this tour with some happy memories and friends for life.

Meals Included: Breakfast

What Travellers Say About Kirra

Tour Dates

7-Day Northern Explorer 9-Day Southern Dream 10-Day North & South 17-Day Ultimate NZ
SEASON 2024-2025
SEASON 2024-2025
SEASON 2024-2025
SEASON 2024-2025
6 September 202414 September 20246 September 20246 September 2024
4 October 2024
25 October 2024
12 October 20244 October 2024
25 October 2024
4 October 2024
25 October 2024
22 November 20242 November 2024
30 November 2024
22 November 202422 November 2024
-7 December 2024--
17 January 2025
31 January 2025
25 January 202517 January 2025
31 January 2025
17 January 2025
31 January 2025
7 February 2025
21 February 2025
8 February 2025
15 February 2025
7 February 2025
21 February 2025
7 February 2025
21 February 2025
7 March 2025
14 Mar 2025
28 March 2025
1 March 2025
15 March 2025
22 March 2025
7 March 2025
14 Mar 2025
28 March 2025
7 March 2025
14 Mar 2025
28 March 2025
4 April 2025
18 April 2025
5 April 2025
12 April 2025
26 April 2025
4 April 2025
18 April 2025
4 April 2025
18 April 2025
Northern Explorer InfoSouthern Dream InfoNorth & South InfoUltimate New Zealand Info

Compare our Premium Coach Tours

Cheers to the good life in Taupo

7-Day Northern Explorer Tour: from Auckland to Wellington

Adrenaline capital of the world: Queenstown

9-Day Southern Dream: starts & ends in Christchurch

Abel Tasman National Park: another NZ must-see

10-Day North & South Tour: Auckland to Christchurch

The mysterious Moeraki Boulders

17-Day Ultimate New Zealand: explore both islands

Ready to book a Kirra Premium Coach Tour?

Visit your local travel agent or contact us directly to make a booking.

Discover New Zealand's Vibrant Landscapes with Our 17-day Coach Tour

Embark on a captivating journey through New Zealand's stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, and rich Maori culture in our meticulously planned 17-day tour. From the bustling harbours of Auckland to the tranquil gardens of Christchurch, this immersive tour is designed to take you on a voyage of discovery that engages your senses and opens your mind to the beauty and diversity of this stunning country.

Our tour kicks off in the ‘City of Sails’ - Auckland, a vibrant city that harmoniously blends urban life with stunning nature. Your experience deepens as you journey south, experiencing the glowworm-lit caves of Waitomo, the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua, the sublime wineries of Napier, and the art-deco grandeur of Wellington.

Cross the Cook Strait to explore the South Island, where the sunshine in Nelson, the wildlife-rich waters of Doubtful Sound, and the adrenaline-pumping Queenstown await. Travel through the picturesque Arrowtown, experience the spectacular glaciers at Franz Josef, and conclude the adventure in the garden city - Christchurch.

Our New Zealand tour for seniors is led by experienced guides who will provide you with the stories and secrets of each destination, and our travel groups are kept small to ensure a more personalized experience. Experience traditional Maori culture firsthand with a Hangi feast, taste the finest wines in Napier, delve into the depths of Waitomo's glowworm caves, and take a breathtaking journey on the Tranzalpine train.

This 17-day, 16-night tour provides an excellent balance of organized activities and free time for personal exploration, making it ideal for those who wish to experience New Zealand in depth. Your adventure includes comfortable accommodations, delectable meals, and an array of exciting activities to choose from.

  • Day 1-2: Start in Auckland, NZ's largest city known for its vibrant urban life and harbour views.
  • Day 3-4: Visit Rotorua, famed for its geothermal activities and Maori culture.
  • Day 5-6: Explore Taupo, with its impressive lake, hot springs, and Huka Falls.
  • Day 7-8: Move to Napier in Hawke's Bay, known for its Art Deco architecture and vineyards.
  • Day 9-10: Visit Wellington, the nation's capital, filled with arts, culture, and the fascinating Te Papa Museum.
  • Day 11-12: Cross the Cook Strait to reach Picton in South Island, gateway to the stunning Marlborough Sounds.
  • Day 13-14: Finish in Christchurch, a city beautifully rebounding from the 2011 earthquake with its innovative Cardboard Cathedral and lovely botanic gardens.

This 14-day road trip will take you through New Zealand's most stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, Maori cultural experiences, vineyards, and the splendid Marlborough Sounds. It combines urban exploration with incredible natural beauty, providing a true New Zealand experience.

Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure? Join us for the experience of a lifetime in the land of the long white cloud - Aotearoa, New Zealand. Don't wait, book now, and let the adventure begin!

Scroll to Top