NEW ZEALAND SELF DRIVE, SEAT IN COACH & GUIDED TOUR PACKAGES

18 Day Classic New Zealand Panorama Escorted Tour North and South Island New Zealand Tours

 

Travel the length of New Zealand on one of our most popular coach tour itineraries. In the North Island, experience sightseeing tours of Auckland and Wellington and enjoy the Bay of Islands Hole in the Rock cruise. Down south relax in Queenstown or choose from one of many diverse optional excursions such as a helicopter flight over Fox Glacier.

  •    TOUR DURATION:
    18 days
  •    TOUR STARTS/ENDS:
    Auckland to Christchurch
  •    TOUR CATEGORY:
    Escorted Coach Tour
  •    TRANSPORTATION:
    Coach
  •    TOUR DEPARTURES:
    check “DATES & PRICES” on this page
  •    AIRPORT TRANSFERS:
    Included
  •    MEALS:
    17 x Breakfast ,16 x Dinner 
  •    ACCOMMODATIONS:
    Superior Hotels
  •    PASSENGERS:
    no minimum number of passengers
  •    TOUR CODE:
    TOMA04
  •    PRE & POST ACCOMMODATION:
    “Available“
  •    CITIES/REGIONS VISITED:

    Auckland – Bay of Islands – Rotorua – Napier – Masterton – Wellington – Picton – Blenheim – Kaikoura – Ashburton – Mt Cook – Omarama – Dunedin – Lake Manapouri – Te Anau – Milford Sound – Queenstown – Haast Pass – Fox Glacier – Christchurch

ITINERARY

Depart from ,

DAY 1 : Arrive Auckland

Welcome to New Zealand and Auckland, New Zealand’s City of Sails. You will be met with a smile and transferred to your hotel by a tour representative. As you travel into the city center you will spot the Skytower, Auckland’s iconic landmark, your accommodation this evening is less than half a block from here.

Accommodation at the Rydges Hotel, Auckland.

DAY 2 : Auckland / Bay of Islands

Cross Auckland’s Harbour Bridge and drive north along the Hibiscus Coast skimming past the many seaside villages on the Whangaporoa Peninsula. Travel to Matakohe for a visit to the Kauri Museum that houses an exceptional display highlighting the region’s early settlement and Kauri gum industry which was so important to the region’s early development. Continue north through Kawakawa to Paihia. On arrival into Paihia we meet our local Maori guide who will provide a comprehensive insight into and history of the Bay of Islands before a visit to New Zealand’s birthplace, Waitangi. Take a self guided tour through the famous Treaty House viewing the Maori Meeting House and giant war canoe, all set in spectacular grounds overlooking the bountiful Bay of Islands. This afternoon you will experience a launch cruise through the sheltered waters of the Bay of Islands to Cape Brett. Cruise past many of the islands of the Bay. Enjoy the views as you cruise past the Cape Brett Lighthouse. Your Coach Captain will meet you at the wharf to transfer you to your accommodation this evening.

Accommodation at the Tanoa Hotel, Paihia.

DAY 3 : Bay of Islands

A day free for you to relax and enjoy the many optional activities available. Your Coach Captain will happily assist with all details. We highly recommend a full day tour to Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s northern most point. At Cape Reinga you view the blending of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean and get an understanding of the Maori myths and legends of the area, go sand boarding down the giant sand dunes and travel along Ninety Mile Beach, the highway of the north. Other recommended optional tours are Discover Hokianga, Discover Kerikeri, Russell Mini Tour or go swimming with the dolphins on a Dolphin Eco Experience. A perfect optional activity for tonight is the Culture North Night Show, a re-enactment of the story of The Maori & European forefathers set in the meeting house of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds with dramatic lighting, a powerful script and uplifting music & songs. Duration is 2 hours and afterwards you have an opportunity to mingle with the cast.

Accommodation at Tanoa Hotel, Paihia.

DAY 4 : Bay of Islands / Rotorua

Bid farewell to the 144 islands of the Bay of Islands. Your journey will take you south past scenic native forests, sub-tropical bush and the towns of Whangarei and Warkworth before crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge and arriving into Auckland City. Here you will embark on a brief city tour in which you will visit the summit of the iconic Skytower, at 328m the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, for panoramic views across the city and its two harbours and you can view the ground through the glass floors! Following on, you will drive past the Domain, the central city area and Waterfront Drive with its numerous yacht marinas and nearby residential suburbs.

Cross the Bombay Hills to the lush farmlands of the Waikato region noted for its horse studs and the famous Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river. Drive past the bush clad Mamaku Ranges to Rotorua, famous for its geothermal activity, thrilling activities, Maori culture and lakes. Cross the Bombay Hills to the lush farmlands of the Waikato region noted for its horse studs and the famous Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river. Drive past the bush clad Mamaku Ranges to Rotorua, famous for its geothermal activity, thrilling activities, Maori culture and lakes.

Accommodation at the Sudima Hotel, Lake Rotorua.

DAY 5 : Rotorua

An action packed day today with many included sightseeing activities. First a visit to the Agrodome for an exciting and informative insight into the world of New Zealand agriculture featuring 19 breeds of sheep, sheep shearing, cow milking, lamb feeding and sheepdog demonstrations. Next stop is at Rainbow Springs Park where you will see pools of Brown and Rainbow Trout and native birds including the Kiwi. Last activity is the spectacular Skyline Gondola which offers superb views over city, lake and mountains and for a little excitement, try a Luge ride with our compliments. The Luge is a fun filled ride on a three-wheel cart with a unique braking and steering system providing the rider full control and allowing them to travel as fast or as slow as they wish. This evening you are in for a cultural treat. Watch in awe as two warriors perform a formal Powhiri (welcome), be thrilled by the Haka (war dance) and see the talented Poi dances. You will even be given the opportunity to try to perform the Haka or the Poi dance. The concert is complemented by mouth-watering buffet selections of Eastern and Western cuisine and divine desserts including the very ‘Kiwi’ Pavlova.

Accommodation at the Sudima Hotel, Lake Rotorua.

DAY 6 : Rotorua / Napier / Masterton

Skirt some of the worlds largest pine forests to Wairakei where natural steam is harnessed to generate electricity. View the Huka Falls where the Waikato River pours through a narrow chasm and pause at Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. Continue across the Central Plateau to the Hawkes Bay region and Napier, claimed to be the world’s art deco capital. Orchards and vineyards give way to lush farmland as you pass through Hastings then on to Dannervirke and Woodville for an afternoon stop at Mangatainoka, home to Tui Brewery, and finally continuing on to Masterton for the night.

Accommodation at the Copthorne Resort, Solway Park Masterton.

DAY 7 : Masterton / Wellington

A leisurely day as we travel south over the Rimutaka ranges into the capital city, Wellington. A city tour will incorporate the summit of Mt Victoria for panoramic views of the city and harbour, the Houses of Parliament, the distinctive “Beehive”, Wellington Cathedral, the city centre and Oriental Bay. There is also ample time for you to explore the city yourself. Don’t miss Te Papa, the “Museum of New Zealand” and remember to take a ride on the famous Cable Car! Your coach captain will be more than happy to assist you with any additional sightseeing.

Accommodation at the Bay Plaza Hotel, Wellington.

DAY 8 : Wellington / Picton / Blenheim

Today completes your North Island tour as you venture to the South Island onboard the Interislander Ferry, a unique experience treasured by many. Enjoy the spectacular views of New Zealand’s Capital from Wellington Harbour; continue through the heads crossing Cook Strait into the secluded waters of Queen Charlotte Sound. Travel through the sheltered waterways, remote bays and pass many isolated holiday homes. Disembark at Picton, a quaint village nestled on the shimmering shores of the Marlborough Sounds. Here you will be welcomed and met by your South Island Coach Captain. Continue south from Picton travelling through dairy farms that merge with forestry producers. Enter the Marlborough wine country and the town of Blenheim, a region renowned for its viticulture. A brief tour of the area includes a visit to Brancott Estate Winery. Enjoy a hosted tour of the winery and learn about and taste a range of the famous local wines (purchase if you wish) followed by afternoon tea.

Accommodation at the Heartland Hotel, Blenheim.

DAY 9 : Blenheim / Kaikoura / Ashburton

Leave the vineyards behind you and travel through the Awatere Valley to the Pacific Ocean Coast. You will be able to clearly spot Lake Grassmere by its mounds of drying sea salt. Follow the Pacific Coast to Kaikoura which simply translated means KAI = food and KOURA = crayfish (Lobster). Kaikoura is a small seaside settlement with an incredible backdrop of the rugged, often snow capped, Kaikoura mountain range that appears to ascend straight from the Pacific Ocean. This unique combination of ocean and mountains offers stunning coastal alpine scenery. Continue south through the fertile North Canterbury farmlands and onto the arable Canterbury Plains and Christchurch “the gateway to Antarctica”. On arrival into Christchurch experience the International Antarctic Centre. This is located at Christchurch airport and if you look closely you may see some of the aircraft heading to Antarctica. From here you are taken on a brief city tour before following on to your home for the night, Ashburton.

Accommodation at Hotel Ashburton.

DAY 10 : Ashburton / Mt Cook / Omarama

From the arable plains of Ashburton, travel inland to the rolling green pastures of Geraldine and onto the semi barren land of MacKenzie Country. In the heart of the MacKenzie Basin, Tekapo is nestled on the shores of the azure Lake Tekapo. Here you will visit The Church of the Good Shepherd, quite likely the most photographed church, on your South Island Tour. There is also an opportunity to fly over the Southern Alps with Air Safaris (optional). From Tekapo, continue on your New Zealand Coach Tour to Mt Cook National Park, home of the majestic Aoraki Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. Here you have an opportunity to visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Centre – a tribute to New Zealand’s greatest explorer and world renowned mountaineer. Travel back down the valley along the shores of Lake Pukaki, through Twizel (the town of trees) before arriving at your destination, Omarama, nestled in the velvet type tussock covered hills of the Lindis range.

Accommodation at the Heritage Gateway Hotel, Omarama.

DAY 11 : Omarama / Dunedin

As your New Zealand holiday continues, follow the beautiful braided Waitaki River east, passing Benmore and Avemore hydro lakes before reaching the Pacific Ocean at historic Oamaru. En route visit Moeraki Boulders, marvelling at the huge spherical stones found strewn along a stretch of Koekohe Beach near Moeraki. These boulders are grey-coloured concretions which have been exposed through shoreline erosion from black mud stone coastal cliffs that back the beach. An early arrival into Dunedin, “The Edinburgh of the South”, allows you plenty of time to explore this nature lover’s playground. Take the opportunity to experience one or both of these optional tours – the Monarch Harbour cruise and/or Newton’s Citibus tour and see penguins, albatross and seals – speak to your Coach Captain about combining these tours. Alternatively, take a nostalgic trip on the Taieri Gorge Train, leaving from Dunedin’s historic Railway Station. Maybe you would rather visit Cadbury World and Speights brewery, both options filling you one way or the other! Whatever your choice, your coach captain will be more than happy to assist with any bookings. This evening prior to dinner, we’ll be treating you to a traditional Scottish Haggis Ceremony complete with the address to the Haggis, bag pipes and a bonnie wee dram.

Accommodation at Cargills Hotel, Dunedin.

DAY 12 : Dunedin / Lake Manapouri / Te Anau

This morning visit the historic Larnach Castle located on the Otago Peninsula looking back over Dunedin. From here it is back to reality as you travel south west over rich fertile farmlands and through the agricultural service towns of Balclutha, Gore and other small villages. Between Clinton and Gore, journey on the aptly named Presidential Highway. As you proceed inland you will view the unusual combination of wind turbines and deer farms in the Mossburn area. If weather and time permits, visit the mysterious Lake Manapouri (the Lake of many Islands) and then continue to Lake Te Anau, ‘the Gateway to Fiordland’. To the west of Lake Te Anau, view the Murchison Mountains a programme aims to ensure New Zealand’s iconic bird, the Kiwi, is able to flourish in its natural habitat.

Accommodation at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Te Anau.

DAY 13 : Milford Sound Day Trip

Today your coach will climb through the Southern Alps travelling on one of the highest and most scenic state highways in New Zealand. Leave Te Anau and travel through Fiordland National Park, following the Eglington and Hollyford Valleys and passing through the Homer Tunnel to descend into the Cleddau Canyon to magnificent Milford Sound. Experience Milford Sound from the water, a launch cruise will take you to the Tasman Sea and back, stopping at the raging Bowen and Stirling Falls, it is here that you will see for yourself why Rudyard Kipling described Milford Sound as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. A truly exhilarating experience, make sure your camera is fully charged. If time and weather permits your Coach Captain will explore the lower Hollyford Valley before your return to Te Anau.

Accommodation at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Te Anau.

DAY 14 : Te Anau / Queenstown

This morning we drive north to Kingston and around the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Picturesque Queenstown, the Adventure capital of New Zealand, where you will be able to explore the many activities at hand. This evening cruise across the lake, aboard the steamship TSS Earnslaw for dinner in the Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak High Country Farm.

Accommodation at the Rydges Hotel, Queenstown.

DAY 15 : Queenstown

A day to explore the many delights of this stunning alpine resort. Try the world renowned Shotover Jet, an excursion to Skippers Canyon in search of gold or a steamer cruise aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station. You may even wish to travel by Double Decker bus to quaint Arrowtown or even attempt a bungy jump. Your Coach Captain will be more than happy to assist in booking any optional sightseeing. Alternatively, relax and explore Queenstown’s many boutiques and galleries.

Accommodation at the Rydges Hotel, Queenstown.

DAY 16 : Queenstown / Haast Pass / Fox Glacier

Today you will pass picturesque Lake Hayes and will follow on to an area steeped in fascinating history relating to early settlement and the gold mining era, to Lake Wanaka, a picture postcard resort on the lakes edge with a spectacular mountain backdrop. Pass Lake Hawea and the upper reaches of Lake Wanaka to Makarora, cross the Haast Pass into the Mt Aspiring and Westland National Parks. Drive north along the coast through the flourishing rainforests of the West Coast and onto the glorious Glacier region. This is an ideal opportunity for you to experience small town New Zealand in the heart of Westland where the rainforest and surrounding area is so green it will hurt your eyes! Upon arrival into Fox Glacier there is an opportunity to either take a guided walk to the glacier’s terminal face or an exhilarating helicopter flight over the glacier. Both of these options are at your own expense and are very weather dependant.

Accommodation at the Heartland Hotel, Fox Glacier.

DAY 17 : Fox Glacier / Christchurch

Time for an optional helicopter flight over the glacier and then on to Franz Josef. Snow capped Southern Alps dominate the skyline as you pass dense bush, tiny landlocked lakes and small pockets of farmland. Visit a Greenstone (Jade) factory where you will find many artisans carving Jade into contemporary carvings of traditional NZ designs or modern designs, and beautiful sculptures of whales, birds or just about anything that reflects the area where these carvers live. The Greenstone or Pounamu found here has been recovered locally from the Westland or the South Westland area. From Greymouth, leave behind the lush beech rain forests through undulating farmlands, hugging the Taramakau River as it descends the valley. Travel over the Otira viaduct and into Arthurs Pass, traversing the main divide. As you leave Arthurs Pass follow the Waimakariri River, note it flows the opposite direction to the Taramakau as you have crossed the main divide, and the majestic Southern Alps. Head east through New Zealand’s wheat belt and the Canterbury plains into Christchurch.

Accommodation at the Sudima Hotel, Christchurch.

DAY 18 : Departure day - Christchurch

This completes your New Zealand Holiday, it is now time to farewell your new found friends and travelling companions. We’d like to thank you for choosing us to show you New Zealand on your New Zealand Coach Tour and trust we will see you back here in the near future. You will be transferred to the Christchurch International Airport in ample time to join your flight home. Safe travels.

Arrive to ,

Inclusions & Highlights

– Transport
– 17 nights accommodation
– Dining inclusions – 17 breakfasts, 16 dinners
– Sightseeing tours of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin
– Subtropical Bay of Islands
– Cape Brett Launch Cruise
– Guided Tour of Waitangi Treaty House and grounds
– Parry Kauri Reserve
– Agrodome
– Rainbow Springs and Kiwi House
– Skyline Gondola and Luge ride (Rotorua)
– Thermal Wonderland of Rotorua
– Sheep shearing and working dog demonstration
– Authentic Maori Village, Hangi and Concert
– Volcanic and Geothermal Region of the North Island
– Auckland’s Skytower

Inclusions continued:

– Spectacular Kaikoura Coast
– World renowned Mt Cook region
– Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre
– Massive man-made Hydro Electric schemes
– Traditional Scottish Haggis Ceremony
– Larnach Castle, Dunedin
– The might of Milford Sound
– Milford Sound Scenic Cruise
– Spectacular Southern Lakes Region
– Earnslaw Cruise and Dinner in Historic Homestead
– Remote National Parks of Westland and Fiordland
– West Coast Glaciers
– Visit Greenstone (Jade) Factory
– International Antarctic Centre
– Tui Brewery and Museum
– Scenic Interislander cruise Wellington to Picton
– Brancott Estate Winery visit