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The Essence of New Zealand

13 nights, Auckland to Christchurch

The Essence of New Zealand

This 14 day itinerary ensures you get to experience the 'essence' of each island, from the City of Sails, to the golden sand beaches of the Coromandel and the adventure and culture of Rotorua. Then fly South to experience the Southern Alps, its mountains, lakes, fiords and unrivaled hospitality.

Tour map

Included in this New Zealand self drive holiday

Sunset in Coromandel
Sailing in Auckland Harbour
Queesntown Waterfront
Sunset over Lake Rotorua
Tour map
 

Day 1 - Welcome to Auckland, transfer to your accommodation and rest of day at leisure

Personal meet and greet, and private transfer to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. The pack contains everything you need for the duration of your stay. It will include a comprehensive, printed and bound version of your itinerary as well as clear driving instructions and maps for each leg of your journey. It also contains all the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - along with relevant brochures and information. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support - details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.

Welcome to Auckland City

Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City

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

Harbour Dinner Cruise with Explore
Harbour Dinner Cruise with Explore
Harbour Dinner Cruise with Explore
Harbour Dinner Cruise with Explore

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: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Accommodation: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Accommodation: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Accommodation: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Accommodation: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$35-NZ$45 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre

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Day 2 - Enjoy a full day exploring Auckland's wild side

Bush and Beach Coast and Rainforest Full Day Tour

Bush and Beach Coast and Rainforest Full Day Tour
Bush and Beach Coast and Rainforest Full Day Tour
Bush and Beach Coast and Rainforest Full Day Tour
Bush and Beach Coast and Rainforest Full Day Tour

Your full day excursion takes you first to the Arataki Visitor Centre - gateway to the Waitakere Ranges and a short drive from Auckland Central. Enjoy panoramic views - extending from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean - as you absorb the area's history and admire the magnificent traditional Maori carvings. Walk the regenerating rainforest where your experienced guide will detail local flora and fauna. Take in the giant tree ferns, bubbling streams and cascading waterfalls before venturing onto a wild west coast beach. Enjoy a picnic lunch before your eco-tour ends in an area of untamed original rainforest. Here, mature 1,000 year old kauri trees have developed separately from the rest of the world for millions of years and this part of the rainforest is particularly rich in bird life due to a successful programme to eradicate pests.

Accommodation: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Accommodation: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Accommodation: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Accommodation: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

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Day 3 - Collect your rental car then head south to the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula

Driving distance and time: 246 kms / 153 miles : 3.6 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

Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
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 Tairua via Coromandel Township

Auckland to Tairua via Coromandel Township
Auckland to Tairua via Coromandel Township
Auckland to Tairua via Coromandel Township
Auckland to Tairua via Coromandel Township

Cross the fertile plains of the Hauraki - toward the Thames Estuary, a haven for wildlife and shore birds. Arriving into the historic gold mining town of Thames, choose to follow the scenic route along the Pohutukawa Coast (part of the Pacific Coast Highway). This is one of the most spectacular drives in the region and not to be missed. Plan to arrive into Coromandel Township for lunch before heading down the east coast towards popular seaside destinations Whitianga and then Tairua.

Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour - suggested

Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour
Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour
Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour
Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour

Driving Creek Railway and Potteries has become a Coromandel icon. The dream of Barry Brickell was to establish a pottery workshop on his land. Using a railway he would have access to the clay on the land and the pine kiln fuel. Over the next 15 years the railway developed until in 1990 it was finally licensed to carry fare paying passengers and ever since thousands of visitors have made the trip to Coromandel to experience this unique attraction. The 1 hour return train trip on the innovatively designed trains takes you through replanted native kauri forest and includes 2 spirals, 3 short tunnels, 5 reversing points and several large viaducts as it climbs up to the mountain-top terminus. The pottery is still producing and you can watch the artists at work as well as purchase items.

Accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 4 - Explore the idyllic beaches and forests of the Coromandel

Tairua

Tairua
Tairua
Tairua
Tairua

Tairua is a small seaside town and fishing village sitting on a natural harbour. The dominant feature is Paku Hill and extinct volcanic cone that stands at the harbour entrance. Great views of the town ship and the Pacific Ocean can be enjoyed from the look out at the top. With numerous white sandy beaches, cafes and restaurants this is a great place to spend some relaxing time. Dive trips to the Alderman Islands depart from here.

Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach
Hot Water Beach
Hot Water Beach
Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach derives its name from the geothermally heated water that continually seeps in through the sands. At low tide you can dig a hole and create your own mineral pool. The beach itself is golden, fine sand and is an ideal place to relax.  A few cafes and art stores are also worth a look - in particular Moko which has a great range of local indigenous arts and crafts for sale.

Kiwi Dundee adventures Nature and Coast day tour - suggested

Kiwi Dundee adventures Nature and Coast day tour
Kiwi Dundee adventures Nature and Coast day tour
Kiwi Dundee adventures Nature and Coast day tour
Kiwi Dundee adventures Nature and Coast day tour

A photographer's dream! A delightful sample of Coromandel Peninsula's natural heritage and scenic beauty. Enjoy the flora and fauna of the semi-tropical rainforest with giant ferns, kauri trees and crystal clear streams. Visit the old historic gold caves sparkling with glowworms and hear the fascinating history of this magic area. Visit stunning coastal scenery with white sand beaches, magnificent cliffs decorated with ancient Pohutukawa trees, old Maori pa sites and offshore islands. A visit to Hot Water Beach [tide permitting]. Lunch is included and will be a delightful picnic or a visit to our favourite cafe. The Nature and Coast day walk is their most popular walk and is a gentle walk suitable for everyone including children.

Accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort

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Day 5 - Travel to the Maori cultural capital of Rotorua

Driving distance and time: 180 kms / 112 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.

Tairua to Rotorua via Tauranga

Tairua to Rotorua via Tauranga
Tairua to Rotorua via Tauranga
Tairua to Rotorua via Tauranga
Tairua to Rotorua via Tauranga

Today you'll be leaving the Coromandel Peninsula and passing through the town of Whangamata, a popular tourist destination for Kiwi holidaymakers and home to one of the best beaches in the region. Stop in Wahi to view its operational open cast gold mine - just follow the signs to a unique vantage point overlooking the Martha Mine. For rail enthusiasts, be sure to take a trip on the Goldfields Railway along its historic and scenic track. Continue on through the Bay of Plenty and the portside city of Tauranga. Your driving route now takes you along the Pyes Pa Road to Rotorua. If Lord of the Rings is your thing take a detour along State Highway 29 to Matamata, home to the fictional Tolkien village, Hobbiton. As you arrive into Rotorua take in the spectacular lake views along with clouds of steam rising from multiple geysers across the region.

Accommodation: Peppers on the Point

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Peppers on the Point
Accommodation: Peppers on the Point
Accommodation: Peppers on the Point
Accommodation: Peppers on the Point

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Please note: Check in is ONLY between 2-5pm unless otherwise arranged
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Dinner service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre

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Day 6 - Enjoy the geothermal parks and lakes of Rotorua, this evening visit Mitai Maori Village

Explore Rotorua

Explore Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Explore Rotorua

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. But geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to the Mitai Maori Village should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.
Live on the edge when you hop aboard a helicopter bound for White Island, New Zealand’s most active volcano. Spike your adrenaline at Agroventures on stomach-dropping attractions such as static skydiving, or a giant swing reaching 130 km per hour. Go up the 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.

Orakei Korako Hidden Valley with Volcanic Air Safaris by floatplane - suggested

Orakei Korako Hidden Valley with Volcanic Air Safaris by floatplane
Orakei Korako Hidden Valley with Volcanic Air Safaris by floatplane
Orakei Korako Hidden Valley with Volcanic Air Safaris by floatplane
Orakei Korako Hidden Valley with Volcanic Air Safaris by floatplane

On this spectacular scenic flight you'll take a floatplane over the Crater Lakes District and the volcanic rift of Mt Tarawera. You'll then continue south via the Waimangu and Waiotapu Thermal Park to land in the Hidden Valley of Orakei Korako. Transfer by boat across the lake to explore the hot springs, gushing geysers and natural beauty of this geothermal wonderland before rejoining your aircraft for the return trip to Rotorua.

Mitai Maori Village

Mitai Maori Village
Mitai Maori Village
Mitai Maori Village
Mitai Maori Village

An evening at Mitai will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. Marvel at the beautiful bush setting and see warriors in traditional dress who paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream while trout and eels swim beneath the surface. Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal and round your evening off with a spectacular cultural performance that tells the story of the Maori people, their past, carvings, and ta Moko -Tattoo art. Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat and be amazed by the spine tingling Haka finale. Truly an experience to remember.

Accommodation: Peppers on the Point

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

Accommodation: Peppers on the Point
Accommodation: Peppers on the Point
Accommodation: Peppers on the Point
Accommodation: Peppers on the Point

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Day 7 - Today you'll fly from Rotorua to the adventure capital of Queenstown

Driving distance and time: 3 kms / 2 miles : 0.1 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.

Drop your rental car at Rotorua Airport

Drop your rental car at Rotorua airport before continuing your onward journey.

Air New Zealand flight Rotorua to Queenstown

Collect your rental car

Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
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.

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: valet paid parking NZ$40-NZ$50 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 8 - Take the day to explore Queenstown and this evening enjoy a high country station dinner at Walter Peak

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Queenstown may be New Zealand's ‘adventure capital,’ but it offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday.  On the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath the soaring Remarkables Mountain Range, this small town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders. Head through Gibbston Valley to sample some of the region’s best wine. We recommend stopping at the Chard Farm cellar door, visiting the architecturally award winning Peregrine vineyard or taking a cellar cave tour at Gibbston Valley Winery. Cruise to Walter Peak station for dinner on board a 100 year old steamship -  the TSS Earnslaw. While you're there, a farm tour is a must do for those not familiar with rural living.

Take some time to wander the waterfront, and grab lunch at one of the many amazing cafes and restaurants on offer. Try Vudu’s Pantry and larder or for a holiday treat go to Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata. Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown - a disused gold mining settlement built in the 1800’s.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. After all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or White Water Rafting.

Routeburn Track Encounter Guided Day Walk - suggested

Routeburn Track Encounter Guided Day Walk
Routeburn Track Encounter Guided Day Walk
Routeburn Track Encounter Guided Day Walk
Routeburn Track Encounter Guided Day Walk

The Routeburn Track traverses wild and scenic mountain country between the Hollyford and Dart Valleys at the base of New Zealand's Southern Alps. Since the 1880's the Routeburn Track has proved to be one of the most accessible and popular journeys into New Zealand's forests and mountains.
The Routeburn Encounter is a fully catered, guided one-day walk up the spectacular Routeburn Valley departing from and returning to Queenstown. It is an ideal trip for people who have limited time or are uncertain of their ability to do a longer hike.
Although there is some altitude gain (400m) to Routeburn Flats, the track is very well formed and of a good gradient. Average fitness is all that is required to complete the walk to Routeburn Flats and return. The 300m (1000 feet) climb to Routeburn Falls is somewhat tougher, but well within the abilities of the majority of our walkers. The return distance to Routeburn Flats is 13km (8 miles), adding the optional but recommended climb to Routeburn Falls makes a total return distance of 19km (11 miles).

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

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

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: Sofitel Queenstown

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

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Day 9 - Explore the breath-taking Dart River in Mt Aspiring National Park

Dart River Wilderness Jet

Dart River Wilderness Jet
Dart River Wilderness Jet
Dart River Wilderness Jet
Dart River Wilderness Jet

An hour and a half of thrilling high-speed wilderness jet boating skimming across the clear waters of the Dart River into the Te Waipounamu World Heritage Area. Hear about flora, fauna and history on a 30-minute rolling forest walk with your friendly guide. On a backroad tour of Paradise immerse yourself in scenes and backdrops from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. Learn about the Pounamu (Greenstone) that made the Dart River a key trading route for early Māori. Tales of early settlers who carved rich farms from the rugged landscape.

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

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Day 10 - Continue your journey north to Mt Cook National Park

Driving distance and time: 256 kms / 159 miles : 2.9 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 Mt. Cook National Park

Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park
Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park
Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park
Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park

Today your drive from Queenstown to Mount Cook is a scenic one, so be sure to leave plenty of leeway for sightseeing. You'll go through the Kawarau Gorge and over the historic Kawarau Bridge - a popular bungy jumping location. Choose to participate in this daredevil sport or watch others instead. Continue on to the Gibbston Valley stopping at one of its many vineyards for tastings. Leaving the gorge you'll arrive in Cromwell, well known for its many fruit orchards. If you're a foodie at heart, we recommend taking a side trip to Bannockburn for a complete food and wine experience at one its many award-winning wineries and restaurants.

Cromwell itself sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge and the old historic town is well worth the visit. Completely submerged when the Clyde Dam was built and Lake Dunstan established in 1992, the remnants of the old Cromwell town provides a unique snapshot into this areas history. Head over through the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads, with the summit reaching 971 metres. It's tussock covered hills are a barren but beautiful sight as you descend into the Mackenzie Basin. You'll go through the towns of Omarama and Twizel - the last stops before you arrive at Lake Pukaki and take the Mount. Cook Highway to arrive in the small village.

Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass - suggested

Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass
Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass
Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass
Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass

Located inside the Hermitige Hotel, the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre pays tribute to humanitarian, ambassador and one of the world's greatest explorers, Sir Edmund Hillary.  The centre showcases the Aoraki Mount Cook region and its people within a comprehensive museum as well as a 126-seat custom-designed theatre and Digital Dome Planetarium.

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

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
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 11 - Visit the amazing Tasman Glacier and see the massive icebergs

Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

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.

Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village

Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village
Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village
Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village
Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village

There are many short scenic walks beginning in and around the Mt. Cook Village, suitable for all ages and abilities. Located within the Mount Cook Village is the Department of Conservation information centre, where updates on the track conditions and suitability is available as well as information on the history of the area and its wildlife.

Below is a snapshot of some of the walks available:

 - Bowen Bush Walk  - 10 minute return

 - Glencoe Walk - 10 minute return

 - Red Tarns Track - Two hour return

 - Kea Point Walk - Two hour return

 - Hooker Lake - Four hour return

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

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Day 12 - Explore the Canterbury Plains as you journey north to Christchurch

Driving distance and time: 327 kms / 203 miles : 3.7 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.

Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch

Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch

Leaving Mount Cook national park, travel a short distance before stopping at the visitor centre on the southern shores of Lake Pukaki. Learn about the formation of the region and take in the spectacular views of Mt. Cook. Lake Tekapo also displays the same reflective qualities of Lake Pukaki - making the waters a bright turquoise. You’ll go through the small town of Tekapo, home to some of the most photographed subjects in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog statue. It's a great place to take a scenic flight, enjoy a guided horse trek, a boat trip on the pristine lake or just marvel at the magnificent views. From here you travel through Burkes Pass and into the rich farming valley that surrounds Geraldine. Continue on across the vast Canterbury Plains to arrive in Christchurch City, your destination for the night.

Christchurch Gondola - suggested

Christchurch Gondola
Christchurch Gondola
Christchurch Gondola
Christchurch Gondola

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: The George Hotel, Christchurch

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

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
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 13 - The day is yours to explore the evolving city of Christchurch

Explore Christchurch City

Explore Christchurch City
Explore Christchurch City
Explore Christchurch City
Explore Christchurch City

Following the 2011 earthquake that razed its centre and much of the outlying suburbs, Christchurch is well into a billion-dollar makeover. In the middle of the Canterbury Plains, bordering the pacific ocean, New Zealand’s newest city is an ideal gateway to exploring the middle of the South.

Go punting on the Avon River, take a historic tram ride, catch the gondola to the rim of an extinct volcano or do all three! See the world's only Cardboard Cathedral and for nature enthusiasts - wander the renowned Christchurch Botanic Gardens. 

Drive an hour in any direction to ski, mountain bike, wine taste, whale-watch, bungy jump or play golf. Visit the International Antarctic Centre or take a day to go on safari at Orana Wildlife Park. Take the winding Port Hills road to the French settlement of Akaroa and tour the vines in Waipara for a authentic New Zealand wine-tasting experience.

Akaroa Day Tour including Harbour Nature Cruise - suggested

Akaroa Day Tour including Harbour Nature Cruise
Akaroa Day Tour including Harbour Nature Cruise
Akaroa Day Tour including Harbour Nature Cruise
Akaroa Day Tour including Harbour Nature Cruise

Enjoy a full day tour to Akaroa with Canterbury Leisure Tours. You will travel the scenic route to Akaroa via Governors Bay, Gebbies Pass, Lake Forsyth and Little River. Stop for spectacular views over the Akaroa Harbour. You'll then take a two hour cruise through Akaroa Harbour for a chance to see this quaint french settlement from the sea as well as dolphins, penguins and seals. On the return journey to Christchurch you will visit the cheese factory at Barry's Bay and sample some of New Zealand's finest cheese.
Lunch at the popular waterfront restaurant 'Bully Hayes' is included - offering a wide choice of New Zealand cuisine.

Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

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Day 14 - Drop your rental car at the airport before continuing your onward journey

Driving distance and time: 7 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 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 Christchurch today

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

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