18 Day New Zealand Grandeur
Starts in: Christchurch Ends in: Auckland
Be inspired and embrace the wonders of New Zealand as you discover the true essence of this breathtaking country in genuine comfort and style on this luxury Platinum small group tour.
Join your fellow travellers for an exciting and unique journey through the heartland of New Zealand. Stay in boutique hotels, savour culinary delights and enjoy armchair style comfort aboard 5 star luxury touring coaches. You will experience overnight cruising in Doubtful Sound and be treated to exclusive excursions designed specifically for our small groups. Enjoy travelling by train through the mighty Southern Alps on the famous TranzAlpine and also travel through deep gorges on the spectacular Taieri Railway. Stargazing, forest walks, thermal pools, wine tastings and wildlife sanctuaries are just some of the fantastic experiences that await you.
- West Coast Glaciers
- Spectacular Southern Lakes District
- Fiordland National Park
- Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South
- World Heritage listed Mt Cook National Park
- Alpine village of Hanmer Springs
- Wellington, the nation’s capital
- Boutique wine village of Martinborough
- Stay in the Tongariro National Park
- Thermal Wonderland of Rotorua
- Auckland, the City of Sails
ItineraryView Tour PDF
Kia Ora. Welcome to New Zealand. A Kirra representative will greet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
A short drive brings us to the tiny train station of Springfield, gateway to the majestic Southern Alps. Board the award-winning TranzAlpine for the spectacular rail journey to Arthurs Pass, the South Island’s highest altitude settlement. Enjoy thrilling vistas over deep gorges as you travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River and traverse the mighty Southern Alps, where spectacular views of the chiselled alpine landscape will take your breath away at every turn. On to Franz Josef where you can relax and soak in the thermal pools after an invigorating day and sumptuous dinner.
Before our departure this morning, there is the opportunity to experience an optional scenic flight over this remarkable region (subject to weather conditions). Later, view incredible scenery as you travel past the untouched wilderness and pristine lakes of the Mt Aspiring and Westland National Parks. There is time to wander around the popular lakeside township of Wanaka before stopping at the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown, once a haven for the gold prospectors of the 1860’s and home to a fascinating collection of mining cottages. Later this afternoon, travel on to Queenstown, regarded as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination.
Today is a free day to experience this magnificent resort. Queenstown boasts an incredible array of adventure and leisure activities and your Coach Captain can assist with any optional activities you would like to do. Experience the thrills of riding on the world famous Shotover Jet Boat , perhaps cruise Lake Wakatipu on the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw, take a 4WD tour to the gold mining area of Skippers Canyon or for the adventurous, try white water rafting. Alternatively, browse in the many shops and galleries.
Skirt the shores of Lake Wakatipu and travel through lush farmland to Te Anau. On to Manapouri, where you enjoy a leisurely cruise across this picturesque 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 Doubtful Sound glistening far below. At Deep Cove, your crew and the ‘Fiordland Navigator’ await. Designed along the lines of a traditional scow, the ‘Fiordland Navigator’ blends old world charm with modern comfort and as you cruise through some of the fiord’s most stunning scenery, knowledgeable and friendly nature guides will share with you their passion for the region through their commentary. After dropping anchor in a sheltered cove, you can choose to explore the shoreline by kayak or tender boat or you can simply relax on board. As the majesty of Doubtful Sound unfolds before you, you will be struck by its silence … a silence broken only by birdsong or the rushing of a distant waterfall. Its beauty and vastness will take your breath away.
Enjoy a hearty breakfast this morning before exploring other parts of the fiord. We retrace our steps back to Manapouri where you rejoin your coach for the journey to Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South.
Enjoy spectacular views across the Otago Peninsula as you travel to Lanarch Castle. On your guided tour, learn about its tragic and mysterious history before enjoying a High Tea in the Grand Ballroom. This afternoon, board the famous Taieri Gorge Railway. From Dunedin, the train sneaks across the Taieri Plains and climbs into the Taieri Gorge, a narrow and deep gorge carved out over aeons by the ancient Taieri River. The natural wonders combined with the challenge of man-made engineering will leave you amazed.
Stop to view the mystical Moeraki Boulders before travelling up the Waitaki Valley to Omarama. Your journey continues into the World Heritage Mt Cook National Park, with its 70,000 ha of breathtaking alpine scenery. After dinner, enjoy a guided tour of the Digital Dome Planetarium before your astronomy guides take you to their outdoor stargazing site where you explore different elements of the spectacular southern sky.
At Lake Tekapo, stop to view the Church of the Good Shepherd. Then cross the fertile Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. From here, we head inland to the naturally quaint and tranquil alpine village of Hanmer Springs, nestled into the foothills of the Southern Alps.
Travel on to the picturesque fishing village of Picton where you board the Interislander Ferry and cruise through the spectacular Queens Charlotte Sound into Cook Strait. Enjoy stunning views of New Zealand’s capital city as you arrive into Wellington Harbour.
Enjoy a brief city tour taking in all the major sights and then 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. Another very popular excursion is a visit to the Weta Workshop, a world-leading design and special effects facility for major Hollywood film makers.
The town of Martinborough is located at the centre of the Wairarapa wine region and because of its close proximity to Wellington, makes it a popular weekend destination for locals. Many boutique wineries are within an easy walk of the town square and the region is particularly well known for its production of Pinot Noir wines.
This morning, enjoy a guided tour of the Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre, a captive-breeding sanctuary for some of the country’s most threatened birds and home to the only white kiwi in captivity. Continue north along the Desert Road to Tongariro, New Zealand’s oldest national park and a dual World Heritage area.
First stop today is Taupo where you will enjoy time to stroll around this popular lakeside resort. View the mighty Huka Falls & Wairakei Geothermal Project before arriving at the geothermal resort of Rotorua. This evening, we enjoy a tour of Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve and are treated to a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and cultural performance featuring Maori songs, chants and dance including the stirring haka.
Today’s highlight is an exclusive cruise across the serene, clear waters of Lake Rotoiti. Explore native bays and coves of the lake under sail on our luxury catamaran and bathe in the thermal waters of the Manupirua Pools, accessible only by boat. Later, enjoy a suspended treetop eco-walk amongst Rotorua’s gentle giants in the Redwood Forest and get a unique bird’s eye perspective of these 110 year old trees and the lush flora below.
Cross the Mamaku Ranges this morning and leave Rotorua behind, travelling into the lush farmlands of the Waikato, a peaceful and idyllic area noted for dairy farming and its horse studs. Arrive into Matamata and meet your guide who will escort your group on a fun and interesting Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tour, taking in the picturesque set locations and providing a deeper look behind the scenes of the filming for the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Later travel onto Auckland the “City of Sails” for a City Sights Tour before arriving at your hotel for an evening at leisure.
With a full day to explore the vibrant city of Auckland why not take a stroll and check out the cafe culture evident in the city’s winding laneways or the fabulous Viaduct precinct. No visit would be complete without a trip to the summit of the magnificent Skytower, at 328m the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, for superb city and harbour views. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner with your new-found friends.
Sadly, your holiday ends after breakfast this morning. Here we bid you farewell and hope you leave with many happy memories of your stay.