Day 1: Auckland - Wairakei
Leaving your city hotel at 8.30am we drive south to the Waikato farmlands, stopping for coffee in a woodland garden. We visit Waitomo’s breathtaking glow worm cave enjoy the beauty of the region before driving across to Wairakei. There’s time to relax in your hotel’s thermal pool before dinner. Included: (D).
Day 2: Wairakei - Rotorua
We stop at thundering Huka Falls and visit Orakei Korako where we cross the lake to a thermal wonderland of silica terraces and bubbling mud pools. Later we arrive in Rotorua to take in the sights. In the evening we enjoy the warmth of a Maori concert and a traditional hangi dinner. Included: (B), (D).
Day 3: Rotorua - Napier
We head to Taupo and skirt the lake before travelling over the ranges to Napier where Art Deco lives. Walk the city’s Art Deco trail or taste fine wine at vineyards at the heart of this acclaimed wine region. In the breeding season visiting the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers is a must for birdlovers. Included: (B).
Day 4: Napier - Martinborough
The Hawkes Bay region is known as a food basket and you’ll see why as we drive by orchards, vineyards and market gardens. We visit Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre, a renowned bird sanctuary, to see the kiwi’s habitat. Martinborough is a pretty village at the centre of a wine region. Included: (B).
Day 5: Martinborough – Marlborough Sounds
Over the ranges to Wellington, the capital city, where we visit Te Papa, the innovative national museum. We take the ferry across Cook Strait and up Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton. Our hideaway lodge is just a launch ride away. Included: (B), (D).
Day 6: Marlborough Sounds
Lie back and relax or perhaps walk a nearby track. We’ve arranged a packed lunch so the day is yours to explore the sound by charter launch, join a nature cruise or take a walk along Queen Charlotte Track with spectacular views of the sounds at your feet. We dine at the lodge tonight. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Marlborough Sounds - Kaikoura
Bound for Picton and a bubbling breakfast at Cellier Le Brun vineyard in the heart of Marlborough wine country. Blenheim’s gardens and galleries give way to the coast’s powerful seascapes. Famed for whale watching, Kaikoura offers close-up encounters of the marine kind. Included: (B).
Day 8: Kaikoura – Mt Somers
We drive down the plains to Christchurch where at 11.30am our Decidedly Southern travelers join us. Further south Ian and Di Mackenzie host us for lunch in their historic farm homestead. Country hospitality at its best. Later we head west into the landscape to stay the night at Mt Somers where the Canterbury Plains meet the mountains. Included: (B), (L).
Day 9: Mt Somers - Clyde
Your eyes will feast on mountain ranges and the milky turquoise lakes of Tekapo and Pukaki. Driving through the golden tussocks of the Lindis Pass we arrive at Clyde. We check into our hotel, restored to its Victorian glory, and café crawl the streets of this quaint goldmining town tonight. Included: (B).
Day 10: Clyde - Queenstown
We explore Central Otago’s craggy moonscape and wander Bannockburn’s gold and wine trails. Later we wind through rugged Kawarau Gorge where we can try our luck at goldpanning. But you can’t fight the lure of Queenstown. Stroll out from your boutique hotel to shops and restaurants. Included: (B).
Day 11: Queenstown
Sightsee at your leisure in this picturesque resort. Among your many choices is a day’s excursion to Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound, cruising Lake Wakatipu on the historic steamer “Earnslaw”, or jet boating. Perhaps even bungy jumping where it all started. Or you can simply wander the town and breathe in the view. Included: (B).
Day 12: Queenstown - Waiorau
Goldmining history comes alive in leafy Arrowtown at the quaint Cardrona Hotel, a national truer. We drive up the mountainside to Snow Farm Lodge to join our hosts John and Mary Lee among alpine meadows and a panorama of mountain peaks. We dine on top of the world in a starkly beautiful landscape. Included: (B), (D).
Day 13: Waiorau - Franz Josef
Wanaka, a favorite resort town is our first stop. We walk in Haast Pass’ stunning mountain beech forests to waterfalls and blue pools. Later we reach the lush, primeval rainforest of the West Coast. At Fox Glacier a scenic flight is an option. At Franz Josef your rainforest retreat will delight. Included: (B).
Day 14: Franz Josef - Christchurch
The scenery is enchanting – mirror lakes, dramatic rivers and glimpses of the Southern Alps. Hokitika’s greenstone and glass factories offer great shopping. Turning east, the towering mountainscapes of Arthur’s Pass lead back down to the Canterbury Plains and Christchurch where your tour ends. Included: (B).
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