18 Day New Zealand Panorama
Starts in: Auckland Ends in: Christchurch
Travel the length of New Zealand on one of our most popular coach tour itineraries. In the North Island, experience sightseeing tours of Auckland and Wellington and enjoy the Bay of Islands Hole in the Rock cruise. Down in the South Island, enhance your holiday enjoyment by choosing an optional excursion helicopter flight in the Glacier region.
During the course of our Panorama tour you will have free time in Paihia (Bay of Islands), Rotorua, Queenstown and Dunedin so you have time to either sit back and relax or choose one of the many different and diverse optional excursions such as a helicopter flight in the Glacier region, the Taieri Gorge Railway in Dunedin or the thermal pools in Rotorua to name a few.
- Historic Bay of Islands
- Thermal Wonderland of Rotorua
- Napier, the Art Deco Capital of the World
- Wellington, the nation’s capital
- World Heritage listed Mt Cook National Park
- Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South
- Fiordland National Park
- Spectacular Southern Lakes region
- West Coast Glacier region
ItineraryView Tour PDF
“Haere Mai”…. Welcome to New Zealand. A Kirra Holidays representative will greet you at the airport with transport waiting to take you to your downtown city hotel. Tonight, enjoy a welcome drinks party with your fellow travellers.
Leaving the city behind, we travel across the Auckland Harbour Bridge and drive north to Paihia in the Bay of Islands, a seaside town nestled on the foreshore of this National Maritime Park. On arrival, meet your local Maori guide who will provide an insight into the local history before visiting Waitangi, the location of the signing of the treaty between the Maori people and the British. Enjoy a self-guided tour through the Treaty House, the Maori Meeting House and war canoe. Later this afternoon, board your launch for the scenic cruise to the Cape Brett Lighthouse and the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’.
Today is a free day to explore and enjoy the beauty of the Bay of Islands. Your Coach Captain will happily assist with arranging optional activities for you. Why not try a full day tour to Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s northern most point. Alternatively, explore the township of Russell, New Zealand’s first settlement and visit its historic Church, Mission House and Museum.
Leaving Paihia, travel south through Whangarei to Warkworth and on to Auckland. Visit the Sky Tower, at 328m the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere and enjoy panoramic 360 degree views across the city and its two majestic harbours. Later, cross the Bombay Hills to the lush farmlands of the Waikato. On to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua, the 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 Rainbow Springs to learn about native flora and fauna, including the famous Kiwi bird. The spectacular Skyline Gondola offers superb views over the city, lake and mountains and for those wanting a little excitement, why not try a Luge ride with our compliments. Enjoy some free time this afternoon 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.
Orchards and vineyards give way to farmland as you travel into the rural heartland of the Wairarapa region. Stop at historic Greytown to view excellent examples of Victorian colonial architecture before travelling over the Rimutaka Ranges to Wellington, the nation’s capital, where you enjoy a city tour on arrival.
From Wellington join the Interislander Ferry for a scenic cruise to the South Island with views of Wellington city and its hillside suburbs. Cross Cook Strait into the sheltered waters of Queen Charlotte Sound before arriving into the small seaside village of Picton. Continue south to the alpine resort town of Hanmer Springs, renowned for its therapeutic natural thermal waters.
After a leisurely breakfast, stroll around the village and enjoy entry into the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools with its naturally heated thermal mineral waters. Later today, we make the short drive to the Garden City of Christchurch and visit the International Antarctic Centre before enjoying a brief orientation tour of the city.
Cross the Canterbury Plains with the Southern Alps to the west. View the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog Memorial overlooking Lake Tekapo. Visit Mt Cook National Park, with time to enjoy the scenic majesty of New Zealand’s highest snow-capped peaks and a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre before travelling around Lake Pukaki to Twizel and Omarama.
Travel down the Waitaki Valley to Oamaru. Stop to view the mystical Moeraki Boulders, then on to Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South. An early arrival allows you time to enjoy the choice of some excellent optional activities.
Enjoy spectacular views across the Otago Peninsula as you travel to Larnach Castle. On your guided tour, learn about its tragic and mysterious history. Depart Dunedin and head inland, crossing rich farmlands to the agricultural towns of Gore and Lumsden, before arriving at the shores of Lake Te Anau, gateway to the Fiordland National Park.
Follow the Hollyford Valley before descending into the Cleddau Canyon. Drive through the Homer Tunnel into spectacularMilford Sound, the world renowned natural wonder dominated by Mitre Peak. Luxuriant rainforest clings to sheer rock walls and waterfalls tumble hundreds of metres to the sea below. Cruise the entire length of the fiord and enjoy the on-board commentary that gives you detailed information on the region’s history, flora and fauna as you view spectacular waterfalls, towering mountains and wildlife.
*** Overnight cruises on Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound are also available today subject to availability – ask us for details ***
Continue north to Kingston, then skirt around the shores of Lake Wakatipu to the picturesque alpine resort of Queenstown. This evening, cruise across the lake aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw before reaching the Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue dinner.
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. Take a ride on the world famous Shotover Jet Boat, travel to the top of Bob’s Peak by gondola for spectacular views, take a 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.
Pass picturesque Lake Hayes on the way to Arrowtown, an area steeped in fascinating history relating to early settlement and the gold mining era. 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 West Coast, home to the twin glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef.
Travel from Franz Josef to Greymouth, board the famous TranzAlpine Train. Renowned as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world, this coast to coast rail adventure will take you though the Southern Alps, over massive viaducts, river valleys and gorges.
Sadly, it’s time to bid farewell to all your new friends today. You will be transferred to the airport to join your flight home.