15 Day New Zealand Explorer 2018/2019
Starts in: Christchurch Ends in: Auckland
Experience the very best of New Zealand on this classic, all-inclusive 2 week journey from Christchurch to Auckland.
Enjoy the alpine scenery of the Mt Cook National Park, experience the breathtaking beauty and untouched wilderness of Fiordland’s Doubtful Sound and marvel at the twin glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef. View the fascinating limestone formations that are the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and cruise the Abel Tasman National Maritime Park. Travel through the stunning Marlborough Sounds to Wellington before continuing to Rotorua where you will see boiling mud pools, exploding geysers and learn about local Maori traditions. Visit the Hobbiton movie set and enjoy time in the stunning Coromandel Peninsula.
- Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd
- World Heritage listed Mt Cook National Park
- Historic Arrowtown
- Fiordland National Park
- Spectacular Southern Lakes District
- West Coast Glaciers
- Punakaiki Pancake Rocks & Blowhole
- Abel Tasman National Park
- Thermal Wonderland of Rotorua
- Stunning Coromandel Peninsula
ItineraryView Tour PDF
Kia Ora! Welcome to New Zealand. On arrival a Kirra representative will greet you at the airport with transport waiting to take you to your downtown city hotel. This evening, join your fellow travellers for a welcome cocktail party
After a brief tour of Christchurch, cross the Canterbury Plains into the MacKenzie Country. View the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog Memorial at Lake Tekapo. Visit Mt Cook National Park, a World Heritage listed site covering over 70,000 hectares of breathtaking alpine scenery before travelling on to Omarama. Optional ski-plane and helicopter flights are available subject to weather conditions.
Begin the assent over the Lindis Pass to the township of Cromwell, then continue on to the historic village of Clyde, nestled in a sheltered basin at the foot of an immense and crooked gorge. Stop for lunch at Alexandra, located on the banks of the mighty Clutha River, then travel across the farmlands of Central Otago to the township of Gore before arriving at the shores of Lake Te Anau, gateway to the Fiordland National Park.
After breakfast, travel to Manapouri and enjoy a leisurely cruise across this picturesque lake to West Arm. Travel over the Wilmot Pass and pause to experience the dense Fiordland rainforest and view Doubtful Sound glistening far below. Board ‘Patea Explorer’ for a three hour cruise through this pristine fiord. During the cruise, knowledgeable and friendly nature guides will share with you their passion for the region through their commentary. They will answer questions, point out landmarks and provide you with information about the varied wildlife you may encounter like dolphins, fur seals and the rare Fiordland crested penguin. As the majesty of Doubtful Sound unfolds before you, its vastness will take your breath away. Later this afternoon, travel on to Queenstown, regarded as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination and enjoy dinner at your hotel on arrival.
Queenstown boasts an incredible array of adventure and leisure activities in all its various forms and your Coach Captain will happily recommend and assist with any optional activities you would like to do. Alternatively, you may prefer to browse in the many shops and galleries. Tonight, ride the Skyline gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak where both the dining and the views are unsurpassed.
This morning, we visit Arrowtown. Set beneath the rugged Crown Range, this historic village was once a haven for the gold prospectors of the 1860’s and features a fascinating collection of mining cottages with an atmosphere straight out of last century. Stop at Wanaka, a picture postcard resort on the lakes edge with a spectacular mountain backdrop. View the untouched wilderness and pristine lakes of the Mt Aspiring and Westland National Parks before arriving on the rugged and wild West Coast, home to the twin glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef.
Before our departure this morning, there is the opportunity to experience an optional scenic flight over this remarkable region (subject to weather conditions). At Hokitika, we stop to visit to a Pounamu, (also known as Greenstone or Jade) factory. Pounamu is considered a treasure in Maori culture and is seen as a sign of status and power. At Punakaiki, marvel at the bizarre limestone landscapes that are the Pancake Rocks & Blowhole. Tonight’s stay is at a friendly eco resort located in the Paparoa National Park and only a stone’s throw from the beach.
Skirt the west coastline before heading inland to Murchison. Travel north through the Nelson Lakes region before arriving at Nelson, a city of charm based on a harbour that is the busiest fishing port in New Zealand. This afternoon, visit the World of Wearable Art & Classic Car Museum.
A short drive brings us to Kaiterteri where you board your vessel for a scenic cruise of the famous Abel Tasman National Maritime Park. Cruise through the Astrolabe Roadstead to Torrent Bay & Bark Bay calling in to picturesque beaches and coves. Pause to view the antics at Tonga Island Seal Colony on your way to Totaranui. An optional coastal walk may be available for those wishing to spend time ashore, see your Coach Captain for details.
A short drive brings us to the picturesque fishing village of Picton. Board the Interislander ferry and cruise through the spectacular Queen Charlotte Sound into Cook Strait. Enjoy stunning views of New Zealand’s capital city as you arrive into Wellington Harbour. Enjoy a city tour taking in all the major sights and there is free time for exploring on your own. Situated on the Wellington waterfront, a visit to Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, is highly recommended.
Leaving the city behind, we travel through rolling farmland as we enter the Tongariro National Park, dominated by the volcanic cone of Mt Ruapehu. Follow the Desert Road to the popular lakeside resort of Taupo, located on the shores of New Zealand’s largest lake. Stop to view the mighty Huka Falls and travel past massive pine forests to reach Rotorua, centre of Maori culture and famous for its geysers, boiling mud pools and steaming craters.
Today begins with a visit to the Agrodome to see a unique New Zealand farm show. This is followed by a visit to Te Puia, home to Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve and the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Centre. Here you will witness all of nature’s thermal wonders including silica terraces and the famous Pohutu Geyser. Enjoy some free time this afternoon for optional activities before visiting Tamaki Village for an evening of fun and culture. You will experience a traditionally prepared Maori Hangi (feast) followed by a cultural performance featuring Maori songs, chants and dance including the stirring haka.
Cross the Mamaku Ranges into the Waikato region, well known for its dairy farming, world famous horse studs and champion Rugby team! At Matamata, a guide will escort your group on a Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tour. Enjoy a visit to the set used in The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. On to Pauanui, a favourite New Zealand holiday beach resort for our overnight stay.
The Coromandel Peninsula is a beautiful, rugged area fringed with dozens of excellent beaches and is a place where many kiwis choose to escape the hustle and hype of city life. After breakfast you will travel on to Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’ and enjoy a city sights tour and entry to the famous Sky Tower. Tonight you will celebrate a farewell dinner with your new found friends.
Sadly, your holiday ends today and you will be transferred to Auckland airport to connect with your onward flight.