Day 1: Auckland, Freedom of Choice Touring. You will be met and transferred to your hotel. Today you have the opportunity to choose an activity and we will include it! Freedom of Choice Touring Auckland: Journey to the top of the Sky Tower, cruise Waitemata Harbour, take a Waitakere Wilderness Experience, explore Auckland, visit Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World, indulge in a Bliss Royal Reflexology treatment at the Crowne Plaza. visit the Maritime or Auckland Museum. Stay: Auckland, Skycity Hotel.
Day 2: Auckland, Rotorua. Leaving the ‘City of Sails’ we travel south to Waitomo Caves to experience a guided tour of the underground limestone caverns, including the magnificent 'Cathedral' cave. Join a silent boat ride and glide through a mystical grotto, lit by millions of tiny glow worms. Emerge into daylight and continue to Rotorua and tonight enjoy a Hangi (feast) and Maori cultural performance. Two Night Stay: Rotorua, Park Heritage Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 3: Rotorua, Freedom of Choice Touring. Rotorua is New Zealand’s oldest and best known thermal resort, where generations of visitors have enjoyed its waters, marveled at its fascinating geothermal activity and experienced the region's Maori culture. Rotorua was settled by the Te Arawa iwi people and the lake shore was a prominent site of skirmishes during New Zealand's Maori wars of the 1860s. Today we give you the opportunity to choose the activity and we will include it. Freedom of Choice Rotorua: Visit Rotorua’s ‘Must See Three’ attractions, visit Rotorua Museum, view the Realm of Tane, play a round of golf, experience an ecothermal tour, enjoy the Polynesian Pools and Spa or join a 4WD Bush Safari. Country Home stay option available tonight. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 4: Rotorua, Wellington. Follow the Thermal Explorer Highway to the heart of the North Island traveling through green countryside, beautiful native bush and some of the largest alpine forests in the Southern Hemisphere. We view Wairakei Steam Valley, where thermal energy is harnessed in the world’s second largest geothermal power plant. See the spectacular Huka Falls, mouth of the mighty Waikato River, and tranquil Lake Taupo. We travel south and cross the vast volcanic plateau of World Heritage listed Tongariro National Park. Continue to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city and journey to the top of Mt Victoria for stunning panoramic views. Stay: Wellington, James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 5: Wellington, Blenheim. This morning enjoy a brief city sightseeing tour, including Parliament Buildings, before we visit Te Papa the ‘National Museum of New Zealand’. This afternoon we join our cruise for the journey across Cook Strait to the South Island. Sail through the scenic Wellington Harbour, and through the breathtaking natural beauty of Marlborough Sounds to Picton. Rejoin our coach in Picton and travel to Blenheim. Stay: Blenheim Country Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 6: Blenheim, Christchurch. Today is a spectacular scenic journey between mountain and sea. Travel through the Marlborough region, an area with a strong international reputation for white wines. Arrive in the thriving seaside settlement of Kaikoura, an area offering unique whale, seal and dolphin watching experiences. Journey between the Pacific Ocean and rugged Kaikoura Ranges, through North Canterbury to Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island and renowned as the Garden City due to its profusion of elegant gardens and beautiful architecture. Christchurch was founded in 1850 as a model Church of England settlement and has retained a unique English flavor. On arrival we enjoy a city sightseeing tour then the afternoon is at your leisure to explore this pretty city. Perhaps take a leisurely punt along the Avon River or visit the Antarctic Center (own expense). Stay: Christchurch, Copthorne Central Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 7: TranzAlpine Train, Franz Josef. This morning board the award winning TranzAlpine Train. This journey has been voted one of the top train journeys in the world, and is renowned as New Zealand’s ‘Great Rail Adventure’. Cross the vast patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains before climbing up into the Main Divide. Disembark at Arthurs Pass and continue to Hokitika by coach. Here take the opportunity to see Pounamu (jade) being carved into beautiful jewelery. View the Franz Josef Glacier, a river of ice. Stay: Franz Josef Glacier Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 8: Franz Josef, Queenstown, Dine Around Dinner. View magnificent scenery today as we travel along the rugged West Coast to Haast. Experience a unique river safari, capturing breathtaking views of the massive glacier formed Haast River Valley. Rejoin our coach and continue to Queenstown. Tonight enjoy a choice of four dining options, where you choose the restaurant and we will include it. 2 Night Stay: Queenstown, Novotel Gardens Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 9: Queenstown, Freedom of Choice Touring. Queenstown is a year round, alpine resort. Today we have a selection of activities for you to choose from. Take a guided tour of gardens or wineries, join an jet boat ride, take a Double Decker bus tour, enjoy a lake shore and forest walk, experience a 4WD ‘Safari of the Scenes’ tour, explore Skippers Canyon or walk Mt Aspiring National Park. Freedom of Choice Queenstown: Enjoy a guided tour of gardens or wineries, join a jet boat ride, take a Double Decker bus tour, enjoy a lake shore and forest walk, experience a 4WD ‘Safari of the Scenes’ tour, explore Skippers Canyon or walk Mt Aspiring National Park. Includes: (B).
Day 10: Milford Sound, Te Anau. Today we follow the remarkable Mountain Range to Fiordland National Park. Journey along the Milford Road, one of the world's finest alpine drives. We journey the full length of this fiord and this afternoon travel to Te Anau. Stay: Te Anau, Village Inn. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 11: Te Anau, Dunedin, Freedom of Choice Touring. Travel across the South Island to the east coast and the city of Dunedin, founded in 1848 as a Free Church of Scotland settlement. This afternoon you can choose from a range of activities. Journey to the Otago Peninsula for a fascinating experience to either the Royal Albatross Colony or Penguin Place. Visit Speight's Brewery or wander through Olveston House. Freedom of Choice Dunedin: Tour Larnach Castle, discover Otago Peninsula wildlife, visit Speight’s Brewery, view Olveston House or travel aboard the Taieri Gorge Railway. Stay: Dunedin City Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 12: Dunedin, Mt Cook. Departing Dunedin we journey north to Moeraki Beach with its unusual boulders. Stop at Oamaru, a historic town renowned for its distinctive cream limestone buildings then continue inland passing beautiful glacier fed lakes of incredible color. Arrive in the heart of MacKenzie Country, surrounded by majestic mountain scenery and wide open tussock grasslands. We then journey into New Zealand’s highland and Mt Cook National Park, which was awarded World Heritage status in recognition of its qualities and rare beauty. View Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain at 12,516 feet above sea level. You may wish to take an optional scenic flight over this awe inspiring alpine region (weather permitting, own expense). Stay: Mt Cook, The Hermitage. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 13: Lake Tekapo, Christchurch. We continue to beautiful Lake Tekapo, once an ancient glacier and visit the picturesque tiny stone Church of the Good Shepherd. Leaving the High Country, we cross the braided Rakaia River and travel through the mixed cropping and sheep grazing holdings of the vast Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. Your tour concludes upon arrival and a departure transfer to the airport is included. Includes: (B), (D).
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Australia and Oceania New Zealand Nature & Wildlife Ecotourism Cultural Journey