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29 Day Highlights Tour of Australia & New Zealand

28 nights, Melbourne to Christchurch

29 Day Highlights Tour of Australia & New Zealand

Discover the best of Australia and New Zealand in this 29 day journey. Starting in Melbourne, Australia you will drive the Great Ocean Road, before heading to Adelaide to uncork some of Australia's best wines. With time to explore iconic natural wonders including Uluru (Ayers Rock), the Daintree Rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef before crossing the Tasman Sea.
From Auckland you will travel through Rotorua to witness its geothermal activity and Maori Culture, before crossing over to the South Island, driving through landscapes straight out of the Lord of the Rings on your way to Queenstown. Finally, you'll head up the West Coast, passing glaciers that land on rainforest before taking the TranzAlpine Train back to Christchurch.

Tour map

Included in this New Zealand self drive holiday

  • This New Zealand holiday starts at price per person (see details)
  • 29 days / 28 nights from Melbourne to Christchurch
  • Accommodation is Hotel / Motel 3 star (can be customised)
  • A superb range of rental cars to choose from
  • Rental car insurance with full coverage (variable excess/deductible)
  • Unlimited kilometres, GPS navigation, airport and ferry fees
  • Can be fully customised to suit you
  • 11 breakfasts
  • Private train station transfers
  • Private airport transfers
  • TranzAlpine Train from Greymouth to Christchurch
  • Interislander ferry crossing
Tour map
 

Day 1 - G'day and welcome to Australia

Itinerary information by APP & in country support

Access to our exclusive Touring App. The App includes your full itinerary and reservation details, all available online and offline as well as lots of other great information such as restaurant guides, weather forecasts, and local activity suggestions. Instant itinerary updates and changes are available and it's easy to keep in touch with us. The App is free and easy to download on your mobile using Android or IOS.
You also have access to our free call number and after-hours service if you require support while on tour.

Private transfer Melbourne Airport to your accommodation

On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Melbourne accommodation.

Arrive into Melbourne

Melbourne is the coastal capital of the state of Victoria. At the city's centre is the modern Federation Square development, with shopping, bars, and restaurants by the Yarra River. In the Southbank area, the Melbourne Arts Precinct is the site of Arts Centre Melbourne and the National Gallery of Victoria, with Australian and indigenous art. As the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne has a hidden gem around every corner - Rich history, bustling laneways, rooftop bars, and world-class restaurants are just the beginning!

Accommodation: Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne

Accommodation type: Apartments

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Dinner service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Swimming pool
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 2 - Start your day with one of the world's best coffees and discover all that Melbourne city has to offer

Explore Melbourne

Melbourne is the cool, artsy capital of the state of Victoria. Renowned for its laneway art, cafes, bars, restaurants and museums, there is no shortage of things to do, see, eat and drink. Grab a coffee in Degraves Street, see the murals on Hosier Lane or Blender Lane, pop over to St Kilda and stroll along the promenade or visit one of the many museums.  To make the most of your time in Melbourne, we recommend taking a city tour to get true local insight into this vibrant city.

Melbourne Lanes & Arcades Chocolate & Dessert Walking Tour with Chocoholic Tours - suggested

Join a local tour guide for a delightful stroll through Melbourne’s famous arcades and secret laneways as you discover the beautiful chocolatiers and pâtissiers tucked away down the back streets of Melbourne sampling chocolates and sweet treats along the way!

Visit five of the most secret chocolatiers and dessert bars in Melbourne. They are all exclusively Australian, and many are unique to Melbourne, all with their unique tastings and experiences. While the specific spots you visit will vary from tour to tour, amazing food and incredible experiences are guaranteed on every tour.

River Gardens Tour with Melbourne River Cruises - suggested

Within moments of Melbourne’s cultural Arts precinct, you are cruising through Melbourne’s picturesque gardens, parkland’s and some of the city's famous sporting arenas.

Accommodation: Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne

Accommodation type: Apartments

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Day 3 - Collect your rental car and head out to explore the Mornington Peninsula

Driving distance and time: 123 kms / 76 miles : 2.1 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Collect your rental car

Your holiday can be customised and priced with any of the rental cars available in our fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige sedans and SUVs.

Melbourne to Mornington Peninsula

Located on the coast just over an hour south of Melbourne, is the beautifully quaint Mornington Peninsula. Take the scenic route and stop to see Brighton's brightly coloured bathing boxes on the way. These miniature beachfront cabins are unique to the beaches in Port Phillip Bay and are iconic to the region.
Although fairly small in size, the Mornington Peninsula has a wealth of things to do. Its quaint towns and stunning beaches offer everything from scuba diving to stunning gardens and of course, exceptional wine and food. Although famed for its Pinot Noir, the 50 plus wineries in the region produce over 200 different wines, why not treat yourself to a bottle for later?
After a day on the peninsula, it's time to head back to Melbourne.

Accommodation: Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne

Accommodation type: Apartments

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Day 4 - Today you start your journey along the Great Ocean Road

Driving distance and time: 161 kms / 100 miles : 2.4 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Melbourne to Apollo Bay

Begin your journey by heading south to the picturesque town of Torquay, recognised as the surfing capital of Australia, thanks to the famous Bells Beach. Follow the coast from through Anglesea to Lorne, here we recommended a short detour to Erskine Falls. You can park close to the 30 metre cascading waterfall, or take a walk through the lush rainforest to stretch your legs.
The final stretch of your journey from Lorne to Apollo Bay has been described as one of the most beautiful and breathtaking drives in the world.
Your destination, Apollo Bay is the starting point for some of Australia’s most famous short and multi-day walks and is the perfect base to explore the Great Ocean Walk and surrounding Otways rainforest. Take a swim in the waters of the southern ocean, wander along the coast and explore rainforests and waterfalls, ferns and crystal clear streams.

Walk with Wildlife Tour with Wildlife Wonders - suggested

Immerse yourself in the wilds of the Otways at Wildlife Wonders, just 5km outside of Apollo Bay. Enjoy a 75-minute guided walk through the magical Otways bushland, where you'll discover lush tree-fern gullies, eucalypt woodlands and spectacular ocean vistas. Your conservationist guide will share with you the secrets of the bush and the plants and animals who call the Otways home.
All the profits from Wildlife Wonders go directly to the Conservation Ecology Centre, working to conserve the unique Australian plants and animals across the Otways.

Accommodation: Comfort Inn The International, Apollo Bay

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 5 - Apollo Bay to Port Fairy

Driving distance and time: 184 kms / 114 miles : 2.5 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Apollo Bay to Port Fairy

The first part of your drive today will take you to the iconic 12 Apostles, perhaps the most famous landmark on the Great Ocean Road, and stopping here is a must. You can park at the carpark and follow the paved path to the lookout, or to take some time and stretch your legs take the path down Gibson's steps to the beach. Descending down these 86 stairs carved into the cliff face, reaching the beach you are treated to a closeup view of these incredible rock formations.
Continue along Shipwreck Coast, where some 700 ships have crashed against the rocks.
Explore the coastal city of Warrnambool where you might be lucky enough to spot southern right whales calve off Logan Beach if you are travelling between May and October. From here, it's a 30-minute drive to your destination of Port Fairy.

12 Apostles to London Bridge Scenic Helicopter Flight - suggested

An energetic, 15 minute flight that packs in the must-see Great Ocean Road sights. Catch the highlights of the Shipwreck Coast from a luxury helicopter. See the 12 Apostles, London Bridge, and more from breathtaking heights. London Bridge is a thrilling addition to any Great Ocean Road tour.

Accommodation: Ashmont Motor Inn and Apartments

Accommodation type: Motels

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Please note: Check in is ONLY until 7pm unless otherwise arranged
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hair Dryer
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 6 - Port Fairy to Halls Gap in the Grampians National Park

Driving distance and time: 155 kms / 97 miles : 1.8 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Port Fairy to Halls Gap in the Grampians National Park

From Port Fairy head north towards Penshurst and Dunkeld then onto Halls Gap in the heart of the Grampians. Famous for it's hiking trails, the Grampians is home to a plethora of native flora and fauna.
We recommend stopping in at Brambuk the National Park and Cultural Centre for the most up to date park and track information before venturing off on one of the iconic walks.

Accommodation: Country Plaza Halls Gap

Accommodation type: Motels

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Please note: Check in is ONLY until 6pm unless otherwise arranged
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • Children's playground
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 7 - Today, you'll head to out of the National Park and into Ballarat

Driving distance and time: 132 kms / 82 miles : 1.5 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Halls Gap to Ballarat

Head out of Grampians National Park and into gold rush country as you head east. Just 50km (31 miles) into the journey you can stop in Ararat, once a rich gold mining town, it still has some great architectural examples of days gone by, such as the Court House Hotel, built in 1958 and the Briggs Francis & Associates building from 1864.
Continue through Beaufort, where gold was also found, but their spoils had all but disappeared within 10 short years.

Accommodation: Quality Inn & Suites The Menzies

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 8 - Drive back to Melbourne, with time to stop and explore the charming town of Daylesford

Driving distance and time: 150 kms / 93 miles : 1.8 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Ballarat to Melbourne via Daylesford

This route to Melbourne is not the most direct, but adds less than an hour to your driving time to visit a true Victorian gem, Daylesford. This town is famous for its mineral waters and spas, art, culture and incredible food. Make sure you make time to endulge in the fresh, seasonal produce at one of the town's cafes or restaurants and to visit the Convent Gallery, housed in a historic 19th century mansion. Browse arty collectables, historic buildings and boutiques before continuing to Melbourne.

Accommodation: Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne

Accommodation type: Apartments

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Day 9 - Fly to Adelaide, gateway to some of Australia's best wine regions

Driving distance and time: 0 kms / 0 miles : 0.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Depart Melbourne today

Explore more of Melbourne before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Domestic Flight - Melbourne to Adelaide

This cost for this flight is additional to your tour, we can book this flight for you.

Private transfer from Adelaide Airport to your accommodation

On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Adelaide accommodation.

Accommodation: Adina Apartment Hotel Adelaide Treasury

Accommodation type: Apartments

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Parking: offsite paid parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchenette & Laundry Facilities in Apartments only
  • Room service available
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 10 - Today is yours to explore Adelaide

Explore Adelaide

With a growing small-bar scene, world-class art and music, and a festival calendar to rival that of any other Australian city, Adelaide is a destination worth discovering. Take time to explore its laneways, visit the iconic Adelaide Central Market, and go shopping in Rundle Mall. Slow things down and relax at the beach, or the Botanic Gardens. Adelaide is also lucky enough to be surrounded by some of Australia's most famous wine regions, and a stop into one of the wineries or to the National Wine Centre is highly recommended.

Australian Wine Discovery Guided Tour with Australian Wine Master Class at the National Wine Centre of Australia - suggested

Take a guided tour of the National Wine Centre’s Wine Discovery Journey. Uncover the diversity of Australia’s 65 wine regions and meet some of the wonderful characters of the industry.
Learn how to blend your own award-winning wine with the virtual blending simulator and discover the key characteristics of the wine varieties grown throughout the country.
After the tour, continue your wine experience in the Wined Bar with a Master Class of Australian wines. Enjoy premium examples of some of Australia’s best winemaking regions led by one of the National Wine Centre’s sommeliers.

Adelaide Central Market Delicious Lunch Tour - suggested

This tour uncovers the famous 150-year-old fresh produce market. Taste a delicious selection of foods from South Australian artisan food producers, meet the suppliers, Stallholders and producers whose families have traded the market for generations. This small-group tour is hosted by local guides and is serious fun for those with a passion for great food, and the people who grow and supply it to our tables.
After the tour, settle in for a delicious Market cafe lunch and watch the world go by, or if you are too full after the tour tastings, the guide can arrange a gourmet Italian panini picnic lunch to take away.

Accommodation: Adina Apartment Hotel Adelaide Treasury

Accommodation type: Apartments

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Day 11 - Head out to McLaren Vale and taste your way through some of the region's best wines

Driving distance and time: 0 kms / 0 miles : 0.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Uncork McLaren Vale with Small Batch Wine Tours

Venture off the beaten path with Small Batch to discover hidden-gem wineries on a premium share-group McLaren Vale wine tour like no other.
See, taste, smell and learn the difference between wine varieties like Grenache and Graciano, or Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Learn what effect the climate has on the taste of a wine. Ever wondered what happens between the grape and the glass? Why does Shiraz taste different depending on where it comes from? What makes a wine organic or vegan, and what difference does it make? Hear the answers to all your questions and more during an engaging day uncorking scenic McLaren Vale. Enjoy a flexible itinerary and a stellar lunch at The Salopian during the most personalised share-group McLaren Vale wine tour around!

Accommodation: Adina Apartment Hotel Adelaide Treasury

Accommodation type: Apartments

Meals included: Lunch

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Day 12 - Fly to the 'Red Centre' for your first glimpse of Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Driving distance and time: 0 kms / 0 miles : 0.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Private transfer from your accommodation to Adelaide Airport

A private transfer will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to Adelaide Airport in time for your departing flight.

Domestic Flight - Adelaide to Ayers Rock (Yulara)

This cost for this flight is additional to your tour, we can book this flight for you.

Hotel transfer Ayres Rock Airport to Hotel

A hotel transfer will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.

A Night at Field of Light - suggested

This exclusive dining experience combines the award-winning ‘Sounds of Silence’ dinner under the outback sky with the once-in-a-lifetime Field of Light art installation.
With magnificent views of Uluru at sunset, a three-course bush tucker menu, premium selection of Australian wines and beers, fascinating star talk and a self-guided walk through the Field of Light art installation, your ‘A Night at Field of Light’ experience is complete.

Accommodation: Voyages The Lost Camel

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hair Dryer
  • Swimming pool
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 13 - Explore Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and the incredible history of this region

Explore Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Discover the spiritual heart of the Australian Outback. Home to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Watarrka National Parks, this desert region is blessed with natural wonders, world-class dining experiences and rugged beauty.
Visit local galleries to discover local Indigenous art and culture, take a scenic flight, or choose from one of the established walks in the region, from short ones suitable for very young children to the full 10.6-km loop around the base of Uluru.

Uluru Sacred Sights Tour with Emu Run Experience - suggested

Uluru is more than a landmark. This world-heritage listed monolith has been a significant cultural site for the Aboriginal people for many centuries. Discover the stories intertwined with Uluru and its surroundings on this fascinating tour. Depart Ayers Rock mid-afternoon for Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Learn the significance of ancient Aboriginal rock art, about the areas flora and fauna, and culture of its traditional owners, the Anangu. Enjoy guided walks of the Mala and Mutitjulu Waterhole sacred sites. View ancient rock art and hear stories of traditional Anangu life Learn the Tjukurpa (creation) story of Kuniya and Liru.

Accommodation: Voyages The Lost Camel

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

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Day 14 - Fly across to Cairns on the east coast and explore this rainforest paradise

Driving distance and time: 0 kms / 0 miles : 0.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Hotel transfer Hotel to Ayres Rock Airport

A hotel transfer will meet you at your hotel reception and transfer you to the Ayres Rock Airport to meet your departing flight.

Domestic Flight - Uluru/Ayers Rock to Cairns

This cost for this flight is additional to your tour, we can book this flight for you.

Collect your rental car

Your holiday can be customised and priced with any of the rental cars available in our fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige sedans and SUVs.

Accommodation: Comfort Inn Cairns City

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Swimming pool
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 15 - Drive north to Cape Tribulation, where the reef meets the rainforest

Driving distance and time: 138 kms / 86 miles : 2.6 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Cairns to Cape Tribulation via Port Douglas

The best route north is the Captain Cook Highway (State Route 44). This drive offers countless opportunities to stop and admire the breathtaking views or walk along the beach. Just 20 minutes north of Cairns is Smithfield, home to the Skyrail Rainforest CablewaySkyrail Rainforest Cableway where you can take a bird's eye view of the world's oldest continually surviving tropical rainforest, or divert a little further to Kuranda for the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway.
Continue north through Palm Cove and onto Port Douglas, stopping on the way at Rex Lookout for a 180-degree view over the Coral Sea, with views to Double Island to the south. Port Douglas is a perfect town for a break. Stretch your legs on Four Mile Beach and grab some lunch or a coffee before continuing your drive. Back on the highway, you will pass through Mossman as you head north on your journey into the Daintree Rainforest.

Dreamtime Walk at the Mossman Gorge Centre - suggested

A visit to Mossman Gorge is a must-do for anyone travelling to the beautiful Far North Queensland region. The Mossman Gorge Centre is the gateway to the world’s oldest rainforest, the Daintree Rainforest, as well as a unique link to the lives, cultures, and stories of Australia’s Indigenous people and their connection to the natural environment.

Accommodation: Daintree Wilderness Lodge

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Please note: Check in is ONLY until 8pm unless otherwise arranged
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Bar on site
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 16 - Head back down to Cairns, making stops at some incredible beaches on the way

Driving distance and time: 138 kms / 86 miles : 2.6 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Cape Tribulation to Cairns via Palm Cove

The drive south from Cape Tribulation takes you out of the Daintree Rainforest, across the Daintree River on the ferry and down towards Kuranda State Forest. An hour and a half into your journey is Mossman Gorge, an interactive ecotourism experience that introduces visitors to the Daintree Rainforest and the Indigenous communities who have lived there for centuries.
Just 20 minutes further south is Port Douglas, a bustling tourist town with no shortage of cafes, bars and restaurants. Continue on the Captain Cook Highway as it follows the Coral Sea until you get to Palm Cove. Palm Cove Beach is a great spot for a swim if you’d like to have an afternoon dip to break up the road trip, or there is a beautiful jetty to stroll along to stretch your legs. If you're not short on time, Yorkeys Knob, Trinity Beach, and Clifton Beach are worth checking out as you continue to your destination, Cairns.

Accommodation: Comfort Inn Cairns City

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

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Day 17 - Today is your day to cruise our and discover the Great Barrier Reef

Outer Barrier Reef Cruise with Quicksilver Cruises

For your experience of a lifetime, Quicksilver’s wave-piercing catamaran and friendly crew will take you to a reef at the very edge of Australia’s Continental Shelf, to an underwater world that is a dazzling kaleidoscope of colour and brilliance.
Choose to dive, snorkel, or stay dry and explore the stunning reef from the comfort of a Quicksilver semi-sub, just one meter underwater. Watch the fish feeding from Quicksilver’s unique underwater viewing platform and underwater observatory. Whichever way you choose, you’ll bring home a lifetime of memories from this living natural wonder.

Accommodation: Comfort Inn Cairns City

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Meals included: Lunch

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Day 18 - Goodbye Australia, hello New Zealand - today you'll cross the Tasman to Auckland

Driving distance and time: 0 kms / 0 miles : 0.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

International Flight - Cairns to Auckland

This cost for this flight is additional to your tour, we can book this flight for you.

Private Transfer Auckland Airport to Auckland Accommodation

You will be met at the Auckland airport by the driver and transferred to your Auckland accommodation.

Welcome to Auckland

Auckland, New Zealand's self-proclaimed "City of Sails" is the country's largest metro area. Resting between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, this urban paradise has something for everyone. Surrounded by native bush, rainforests and an abundance of beaches, Auckland is a playground for both the city savvy and those with an eye for adventure. Explore the central museums and galleries on foot, or take a drive through one of over 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.

Harbour Dinner Cruise with Explore - suggested

See Auckland after dark with this amazing on-water dining experience, not to be missed while you're in Auckland. Take in the sights of the Waitemata Harbour - then watch this photogenic city come alive with twinkling lights. Your experienced crew will talk about Auckland’s highlights and there will opportunity try your hand at steering.

At our sheltered mooring you'll be served delicious New Zealand fare - choose from a delectable three course menu catered for by a renowned Viaduct Restaurant.

Accommodation: Hotel Grand Chancellor Auckland City

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$20-NZ$30 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Room service available
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 19 - Collect car then drive south through Waikato farmland and maybe stop at Hobbiton Village on your way to Rotorua

Driving distance and time: 220 kms / 136 miles : 2.6 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Collect your rental car

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. Insurance is included with a small excess or deductible. All airport fees, additional driver fees and unlimited kilometres are also included. To help you navigate your way around New Zealand all rentals also come with GPS. Our range included small compact cars to mid-size saloons to large 4WD and people movers.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Auckland to Rotorua

The drive south from Auckland takes you past the Bombay Hills and into the rolling farmland and rich dairy pastures of the Waikato. The Bombay Hills mark the outer boundary of greater Auckland area and it's here you turn inland to central Waikato. You’ll soon go through the town of Matamata where you can visit the fully intact Hobbiton film set used in the shooting of the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Continuing on, you’ll pass several small farming communities before telltale signs of steam and other geothermal activity signal your arrival into Rotorua.

Hobbiton Movie Set tour from Shires Rest - suggested

Become immersed in the The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films when you visit the actual Hobbiton movie set. Located just outside of Matamata - in the heart the lush Waikato farming region, your tour will begin with a drive through a picturesque sheep farm. You'll then be taken through Hobbit Holes, the Green Dragon Inn, the Mill and the Party Tree while your guide shares behind-the-scenes tales and insight into the making of the films.

Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Dinner service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Swimming pool
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 20 - Your day in Rotorua could be spent discovering Maori culture or thrilling adventure rides

Explore Rotorua

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. Geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to one of the Maori Villages should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.
Spike your adrenaline at Velocity Valley Adventure Park on stomach-dropping attractions such as static skydiving, or a giant swing reaching 130 km per hour. Alternatively, head up the Rotorua Gondola for soaring lake views, and ride the luge at night for an extra thrill.
Fans of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit should drive to nearby Matamata and experience the actual movie set ‘Hobbiton’. Make the most of your time in Rotorua with an excursion through the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, one of the area’s most colourful volcanic attractions.

National Kiwi Hatchery Tour - suggested

The National Kiwi Hatchery Tour is a special opportunity to gain insight into and view this highly regarded conservation centre. Developed with the visitor experience in mind, the hatchery boasts special viewing opportunities and is hosted by kiwi expert guides who ensure guests leave fully informed and all questions answered. Learn all about New Zealand’s intriguing national icon and the efforts of the kiwi husbandry team, see and discover what it takes to hatch and rare chicks, and if you’re lucky, see baby chicks in person!

Rotorua Canopy Tours: The Original Canopy Tour - suggested

Embark on a three hour adventure through native New Zealand forest. Journey through the beautiful forest canopy via an incredible network of trails, tree platforms, Ziplines and swing bridges. See breathtaking views of the woodland valleys and hills as you fly through tight openings in the trees. In between the thrill of the ziplines and suspended tree bridges, your guides will share their passion and knowledge for the forest and the conservation challenges to preserve it. 

Tamaki Maori Village Cultural Tour and Hangi Dinner - suggested

Journey back in time to a Pre-European lifestyle experience of customs and traditions. Enjoy the night's festivities with the people of Tamaki Maori Village as you are treated to a banquet of succulent foods cooked the traditional Maori way. Rediscover the Maori village as it comes alive to the sound and activities of tribal songs, dances, myths, and legends and browse throughout the largest after hours tribal marketplace in Rotorua. Includes a hangi buffet feast that has cooked slowly underground.

Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

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Day 21 - Today is filled with fantastic scenery including Lake Taupo, the Desert Road and the Kapiti Coastline as you approach Wellington

Driving distance and time: 441 kms / 273 miles : 5.3 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Rotorua to Wellington

Today make your way South to New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. Pass through Taupo, before ascending the Central Plateau to the Rangipo Desert. Skirt the Tongariro National Park to pass through the military town of Waiouru. Descend the plateau to the Kapiti Coast and bypass seaside towns of Paraparaumu and Paekakariki to reach Wellington, your destination for the night.

Zealandia By Night Wildlife Sanctuary Tour - suggested

Taking a night tour of Zealandia wildlife eco-sanctuary is an unforgettable experience and one that comes highly recommended. A conservation success and safe haven for some of New Zealand's rarest native animals, Zealandia is home to many remarkable species of birds, reptiles and insects living wild within a beautiful 225 hectare (one square mile) valley - just 10 minutes from the central city.
Your tour begins with an interactive exhibition before you walk through the gates of Zealandia predator-exclusion fence into the sanctuary. Your guide will then lead you on a torch-light walk through the native New Zealand bush. Possible sights include Kiwi foraging on the forest floor, tuatara hunting for food, glowworms shining, tiny Maud Island frogs in their enclosure, pateke (brown teal) ducks feeding at night and kaka (parrots) coming in to roost.
Zealandia is one of the best places to see kiwi in the wild. Over 100 of these nocturnal birds live freely in their natural environment inside the safety of the sanctuary valley - so your chances of seeing one is high!

Accommodation: Hotel Ibis Wellington

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: offsite paid parking NZ$20-NZ$30 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 22 - Today you'll cross the Cook Strait on the Interislander Ferry. Approaching Picton you'll cruise through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds

Driving distance and time: 157 kms / 98 miles : 2.1 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Interislander Ferry Wellington to Picton

The 92 km journey between Wellington and Picton takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Leaving Wellington Harbour you pass many interesting points such as Pencarrow Head on top of which is New Zealand's oldest lighthouse (1859). Red Rocks is home to a seal colony and Oterangi Bay is the site which recorded the country's highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).
From the Cook Strait spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and dolphins and many sea birds are often seen. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds and this region of bush covered mountains, small islands, crystal clear waters and secluded bays offer remarkable photographic opportunities. The final leg of your cruise travels through Queen Charlotte Sound before coming to an end in the picturesque town of Picton.

Collect your rental car

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. Insurance is included with a small excess or deductible. All airport fees, additional driver fees and unlimited kilometres are also included. To help you navigate your way around New Zealand all rentals also come with GPS. Our range included small compact cars to mid-size saloons to large 4WD and people movers.

Picton to Kaikoura

From Picton head south on State Highway One towards Blenheim, and the wine producing region of Marlborough. Ideally located to enjoy an afternoon sampling the local produce, stop for a guided wine tour with Sounds Connection Wine Tours.

Crossing the dry hills of the Marlborough ranges you head towards one of the most spectacular coastlines of the South Island, the Kaikoura Coast. The road hugs the shore for around 50 kilometres and offers many chances to view the native wildlife such as seabirds and New Zealand fur seals. To the east is the Pacific Ocean and to the west you'll follow alongside the Kaikoura Ranges before arriving into the bustling Kaikoura Township.

Accommodation: The White Morph, Kaikoura

Accommodation type: Motels - premium

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 10-15 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 23 - Drive on the Pacific Coast Highway to Christchurch today

Driving distance and time: 178 kms / 111 miles : 2.5 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Kaikoura to Christchurch

Today you travel down the coast before heading inland through the North Canterbury wine region - the Waipara Valley. As you drive through this area you’ll be greeted by one of New Zealand's most notorious animals, the sheep. If you’ve time on your hands we recommend taking a detour to Hanmer Springs for relaxing dip in its thermal pools. Arriving into Christchurch you'll see a new and improved city, steadily rising from the ruins of the 2011 earthquake.

Whale Watch Kaikoura - suggested

Experience New Zealand's only marine based whale watching company. Whale Watch Kaikoura offer a once-in-a-lifetime, up close encounter with the giant Sperm Whale. You are also likely to encounter New Zealand fur seals, dusky dolphins and albatross. Depending on the season you may also see pilot, blue and southern right whales as well as migrating humpbacks. Often orcas can be spotted here and the world's smallest dolphin, the Hectors, occasionally make an appearance.
Cruise in style on modern catamarans, specifically designed for whale watching - Featuring large passenger cabins and outside viewing decks. Passenger numbers for each tour are kept below the vessel carrying capacity to ensure your tour experience remains a personal one.

International Antarctic Centre General Admission - suggested

The International Antarctic Centre aims to recreate the atmosphere and environment of Antarctica, providing visitors with an interactive, fun and educational experience. Feel the full Four Seasons of Antarctica, where you'll experience a custom-built snow and ice experience, then warm up in the Scott Base interior exhibit, a replica Antarctic field camp or other informative displays in the gallery. You'll also learn about life in modern day Antarctica, view real little blue penguins and experience a thrilling ride in a Hagglund all terrain vehicle.

Christchurch Gondola - suggested

In the Heathcote Valley, just fifteen minutes from the heart of Christchurch City, ride the Christchurch Gondola for nearly a kilometre to the collapsed rim of an extinct volcano - which exploded six million years ago.  Take in the panoramic 360-degree views of the central city, Lyttelton Harbour, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury Plains and the distant peaks of the Southern Alps.  Wander the summit complex and choose one of many nature walks or visit the Time Tunnel - a dramatic reconstruction of the history of the Port Hills and Christchurch.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre

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Day 24 - Today you'll enjoy a scenic drive through Canterbury and the MacKenzie Country

Driving distance and time: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.1 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Today you'll drive through the heart of the South Island, crossing the vast Canterbury plains. Catch your breath in Geraldine before continuing through Fairlie. Ascending Burkes pass you'll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo.
Follow the road and take in the view of Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, known for its glacier fed turquoise blue color. Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook - suggested

Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat.  These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel Room Mount Cook View

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Dinner service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 25 - Follow the dry lands to Lindis Pass which leads into Central Otago, then through the Kawerau Gorge to Queenstown

Driving distance and time: 257 kms / 159 miles : 3.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Aoraki / Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Leaving the alpine region of Mount Cook, you'll travel through the lakeside town of Twizel, then a little further to Omarama - the gliding capital of New Zealand. Continue on over the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand's highest roads with a summit of 971 metres. Arrive in the quaint village of Tarras, then continue on a short way to the historic Bendigo Reserve, one of Otago's original gold mining settlements.

Follow the road to Cromwell, and keep going through the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards Gibbston, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. See the historic Kawarau Bridge where you can bungy jump or relax and watch others take the plunge. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Apartments Queenstown Lakeview

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 26 - The day is yours to discover all the scenic spots and fun activities on offer in Queenstown

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.
Head down the Gibbston wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.
Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

Shotover Jet Canyon Jet Boat Ride - suggested

Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to operate in the Shotover River Canyons. It's a thrilling ride! Skim past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet 'Big Red', as you twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breathtaking speeds. And a major highlight - hold tight for the world-famous Shotover Jet full 360-degree spins!

Nevis Bungy Jump - suggested

Welcome to the best thing you’ve ever done. Go full throttle with the 134m Bungy (the highest in New Zealand). Freefall for 8.5 seconds in a blitz of pure fear and adrenaline. Don’t say we didn’t warn you, because this will definitely put the cement in your coffee.

Skyline Gondola Queenstown and 3 Luge Rides - suggested

In the heart of Queenstown, located 450 metres above town in the Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve is the Skyline Complex. A gondola ride to the summit makes for awe-inspiring views of the city surround. Arrive at the complex and wander the outside viewing decks for a picture perfect outlook. Then onto the Luge! The 800 metre luge track offers an exhilarating journey through banked corners, tunnels and dippers.

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour - suggested

Enjoy a scenic cruise from central Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the historic steamship, TSS Earnslaw. On disembarking, you'll be welcomed and escorted through the beautiful lakeside gardens to the Colonel's Homestead for dinner. Here, you’ll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare as you watch. Choose from the  seasonal menu which includes an expansive array of New Zealand meats and produce, followed by a delicious array of desserts, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea & coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration offers you a glimpse of life in the high country. On the magical night-time cruise home, you can enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship’s pianist or breathe in the fresh night air on the moonlit decks as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Apartments Queenstown Lakeview

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

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Day 27 - Take the Crown Range Road to Wanaka before travelling the spectacular Haast Pass to the West Coast

Driving distance and time: 321 kms / 199 miles : 4.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Queenstown to Fox Glacier

Crossing the Crown Range - the highest sealed road in the country - you'll pass through the alpine town of Wanaka. Following the shores of both Lake Wanaka and Hawea, you'll enter the township of Makarora, gateway to Mt. Aspiring National Park.  Stretch your legs on a walk to Blue Pools - a ten minute stroll through lush rainforest. Marvel at the native beech and countless waterfalls as you continue toward the West Coast.

Crossing the Haast River you are now truly in the wild west - a 600 kilometre stretch of bush, rainforest and podocarp forest. Continue on to arrive in Fox Glacier, your destination for the night. Home to the largest glacier on the west coast, Fox is 13 kilometres long and ends in rainforest only 250 metres above sea level.

Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line - suggested

Explore the glacial icefalls of not one but two glaciers - Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier. Discover up close their neve and unusual ice formations - landing on the snowfields is a highlight and will make for superb photos, snowballs and memories. A 30 minute flight with snow landing. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line's operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hair Dryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site

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Day 28 - Drive north along the stunning West Coast Road and take the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch

Driving distance and time: 197 kms / 122 miles : 2.5 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Fox Glacier to Greymouth Train Station

The drive north from Fox and Franz Josef takes you through the historic gold mining region of Ross and the town of Hokitika, a great place to explore the craft stores, in particular the jade or greenstone. The largest town on the West Coast, Greymouth is also the starting point for the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train.  Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

Considered one of the world's greatest train journeys, the TranzAlpine scenic train travels both ways from one coast of New Zealand to the other. From your carriage you'll see the vast windswept Canterbury Plains, spectacular gorges, river valleys and native beech rainforest. A highlight for many is the crossing of the Southern Alps, passing through Arthur's Pass National Park, before descending to the Canterbury Plains and arriving in Christchurch.

Private Transfer Christchurch Train Station to your accommodation

On arrival at the Christchurch train station, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your accommodation.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

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Day 29 - Depart New Zealand

Private transfer accommodation to Christchurch Airport

A private transfer will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to Christchurch Airport in time for your departing flight.

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