Day 1: Auckland – Wairakei.
We pick you up from your city hotel at 8:30 am. Further south in the Waikato farmlands, we stop for coffee in a woodland garden. We visit Waitomo’s breathtaking glow worm cave and enjoy the beauty of the Waitomo region before driving across to Wairakei. There’s time to relax with a soak in a 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 many sights. In the evening we enjoy the warmth of a Maori concert and a traditional hangi dinner. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 3: Rotorua – Napier.
We head to Taupo and skirt the lake before traveling over the ranges to Napier where Art Deco lives. We taste fine wine at local vineyards or walk the Art Deco trail. In the breeding season visiting the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers is a must for bird lovers. Includes: (B).
Day 4: Napier – Martinborough.
Hawkes Bay is known as the food basket and you’ll see why as we drive by orchards, vineyards and market gardens. We call at Mt Bruce, a renowned bird sanctuary. Martinborough is a pretty village in the centre of a wine region. Includes: (B).
Day 5: Martinborough - Queen Charlotte Sound.
Over the ranges to Wellington, the capital city, where we visit Te Papa our controversial national museum. We take the ferry across Cook Strait and up the sound to Picton. Our hideaway lodge is just a launch ride away. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 6: Queen Charlotte Sound.
Lie back in a hammock 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. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Picton - Kaikoura.
Bound for Picton and a bubbling breakfast at Cellier Le Brun vineyard in the heart of Marlborough wine country. Blenheim vineyards, gardens and art galleries lead to the coast's powerful seascapes. Famed for whale watching, Kaikoura offers close-up encounters of the marine kind. Includes: (B).
Day 8: Kaikoura - Mt. Somers.
We drive down the plains to Christchurch where at 11:30 am our Decidedly Southern travellers join us. Further south Ian and Di Mackenzie host us for lunch in their historic farm homestead. Country hospitality at its best. We head west into the landscape to Mt Somers where the Canterbury Plains meet the mountains. Includes: (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 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 the Kawarau Gorge where we can try our luck at gold panning. But you can't fight the lure of Queenstown. Stroll out from your boutique hotel to shops and restaurants. Includes: (B).
Day 11: Queenstown.
Sightsee at your leisure in this picturesque resort. Among your many choices are a day's excursion to Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound, cruising Lake Wakatipu, jet boating or bungee jumping where it all started. Or you can simply wander the town and breathe in the view. Includes: (B).
Day 12: Queenstown - Waiorau.
Goldmining history comes alive in leafy Arrowtown at the Cardrona Hotel, a treasure. We climb the mountainside to Snow Farm Lodge to join our hosts John and Mary Lee, among alpine meadows and mountain vistas. We dine on top of the world in a starkly beautiful landscape. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 13: Waiorau - Franz Josef.
We pass by Wanaka and Lake Hawea then stop for short walks through Haast Pass' dramatic mountain beech forests, waterfalls and rivers. Later we reach the lush, primeval rainforest of the West Coast. At Fox Glacier scenic flight is an option. At Franz Josef your rainforest retreat will delight. Includes: (B).
Day 14: Franz Josef - Christchurch.
The scenery is stunning - mirror lakes, dramatic rivers and glimpses of the Southern Alps. Hokitika's greenstone and glass factories offer great shopping. Turning east, the towering mountain scapes of Arthur's Pass lead back down to the Canterbury Plains and Christchurch where your tour ends. Includes: (B).
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