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New Zealand Tour Itinerary
Day 23 - Depart Christchurch / New Zealand (B) - Transfer to Christchurch Airport to connect with your flight back to the UK.
Day 1 - Arrive Auckland (D) - Meet & Greet on arrival and transfer by private vehicle to your hotel (please note: check in time for your room is from 15h00). This evening a welcome dinner is included at your hotel along with a local motoring personality who will provide advice on motoring in New Zealand and local road code.
Day 2 - Auckland (B) - The day at leisure in leisure in Auckland. Sprawling over the narrow isthmus between the Tasman and Pacific Oceans, Auckland’s waterside location and the local enthusiasm for the ocean have seen it named the ‘City of Sails’. The warm, sunny climate encourages sub-tropical growth of all kinds and lush rainforest covers the surrounding hills and creeps up the cones of extinct volcanoes which thrust sharply upward from a sea of houses throughout the city.
Day 3 - Auckland (B) - The day at leisure in Auckland - Transfers today are included to the Port of Auckland to collect your vehicles, or to the local car hire depot to collect your hire car.
Day 4 - Auckland to Tairua, Coromandel (B) (285km) - Leaving the city via the southern motorway you will cross the Bombay Hills, before heading east around the base of the Hauraki Gulf. Follow the winding road that crosses the bush clad hills of the Coromandel Forest Park to reach Tairua on the Coromandel Peninsula.
Day 5 - Tairau, Coromnadel to Taupo via Matamata (B) (290km) - Leaving the seaside resort of Tairua drive back through the stunning scenery on the rugged Coromandel Peninsula to Waihi. From here drive through the Karangahake Gorge, a spectacular chasm through the Coromandel Range, to Paeroa and then south via Te Aroha and on to Matamata. Discover the real Middle-Earth at the Hobbiton™ Movie Set. On the most picturesque private farmland you can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies during a fascinating guided tour. You'll then drive through the Kinleith plantation forest to Orakei Korako Geothermal Park and Cave.
Day 6 - Taupo (B) - Today is free to enjoy the Taupo region at your own leisure, unwind in the thermal pools, take a walk beside the lake. OR enjoy a drive to Rotorua (160km round trip). Rotorua is the centre of an extensive thermal region and geysers, bubbling mud pools and steaming, sulphurous lakes give evidence of nature's frightening yet fascinating power.
Day 7 - Taupo (B) - Today we suggest a drive around Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park - mileage approx. 275km. Tongariro was the first national park in New Zealand and the fourth in the world. It is a place of extremes and surprises, a place to explore and remember.
Day 8 - Taupo to Napier (B) (140km) - From Taupo drive through the vast Kaingaroa Forest and into the Kaimanawa Ranges, the road then descends into the fertile Hawkes Bay Province and the city of Napier.
Day 9 - Napier to Wellington (B) (330km) - Head south today climbing out of Hawkes Bay and into the rolling sheep and cattle farmland that characterises much of your journey today. We would suggest calling into one of the wineries
en-route to Wellington. Please note parking charges at hotel tonight are payable locally.
Day 10 - Wellington (B) - Breakfast followed by the full day at leisure to explore Wellington. Capital of New Zealand, is a cosmopolitan city surrounded by the rugged beauty of green hills, and has the most spectacular skyline of all major cities in New Zealand. The rapid modern growth has not altogether been at the expense of the older buildings in and around the city and even today the strong Victorian influence is testimony to Wellington's early establishment as the country's centre of political life. Of particular note is the "Government Building" built in 1876 which is the second largest timber building in the world. Please note parking at hotel tonight is payable locally.
Day 11 - Wellington to Picton to Nelson (110km) (B) - Short drive to the Wellington ferry terminal to check in for a morning ferry crossing to Picton (92km) and the South Island, acknowledged as one of the most spectacular cruises in the world. From Picton you'll take the picturesque drive between Picton Nelson, the road is hilly and sweeps up and over the Rai Saddle and Whangamoa Hill before running down to Tasman Bay.
Day 12 - Nelson (65km Optional) (B) - The day at leisure in Nelson with an optional visit to the World of Wearable Art & Classic Car Museum (admission not included). Why not take a half day drive to Kaiteriteri, the gateway to the Abdel Tasman National Park where you can enjoy a cruise into the Tonga Island Marine Reserve.
Day 13 - Nelson to Blenheim to Kaikoura (B) (243km) - Travel back to Havelock and from here the road leads southward through low hills before crossing the Wairau River and turning east to Blenheim and the Marlborough wine region. Visit the Omaka Aviation Centre for guided tour and morning tea (admission not included), then from Blenheim you'll travel south down the spectacular east coast to the seaside town of Kaikoura, home to an abundant population of marine life. Overnight in Kaikoura.
Day 14 - Kaikoura to Arthur's Pass (B) (300km via Korowai-Torlesse Tussocklands Park) - Depart Kaikoura and travel south via Oaro, Waipara Rand Rangiora before heading inland to the Korowai-Torlesse Tussocklands Park en route to Arthur's Pass. Arthur’s Pass National Park itself is a landscape of two halves, climbing to more than 900 metres it is the highest and most spectacular pass across the Southern Alps. On the eastern side you'll see wide, shingle-filled riverbeds and vast swathes of beech forest. Descend the western side and you venture through dense rainforest alongside and over deeply gorged rivers. Arrival in Arthur's Pass should be mid late afternoon.
Day 15 - Arthur's Pass to Franz Josef Glacier (B) (230km) - Depart Arthur's Pass and head north on State Highway 73, passing through large areas of land that have been worked over for alluvial gold by panning, sluicing and dredging. Your journey then heads west via Inchbonnie and Kumara to the coastal town of Hokitika. Be sure to spend some time here to visit the various Jade and Gold factories or take a stroll along the beach. We suggest an optional visit to the West Coast Treetop Walk and café, just 15 minutes’ drive south of Hokitika, an exhilarating treetop adventure among temperate rainforest giants. Experience life with the birds high in the ancient Rimu and Kamahi tree canopy. From here, the road dips in and out of dense bush for many miles, crossing beautiful stretches of countryside scattered with farming settlements to Franz Josef, the first of the West Coast’s two well-known Glacier settlements.
Day 16 - Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown via Cromwell (B) (350km) - Depart Franz Josef and travel through the forests of red and white pines via Fox Gacier to Bruce Bay, an old gold mining settlement. Pass through attractive bush scenery and see tranquil Lakes Paringa and Moeraki to the township of Haast and Mt Brewster Glacier. There is a long descent of 82 km to Wanaka, passing Lake Hawea Dam and the Clutha River Valley to Cromwell. Many parts of the old Cromwell now lay at the bottom of Lake Dunstan, part of the Clyde Dam. From Cromwell drive through the scenic Kawarau River Gorge through rugged mountainous country towards Queenstown, situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.
Day 17 - Queenstown (B,D) - Enjoy the day at leisure in the adventure capital of New Zealand. During your leisure time you might want to travel up Bob’s peak by Gondola to enjoy spectacular views across Lake Wakatipu to the Remarkables Range in the distance. Maybe visit the Kiwi & Birdlife Park, a sanctuary for rare, endangered and common New Zealand bird species including of course our national icon the Kiwi. If walking is of interest to you then you may like to take a lakeside stroll to the Queenstown Gardens, or take a guided ½ day nature walk through native Beech Forest enjoying morning tea on the lakeshore listening to Native bird calls. This evening the Skyline Gondola will whisk you smoothly up 450 metres to Bob’s Peak, as Queenstown drops away below you. From the top, enjoy buffet dinner whilst taking in the breath-taking views, which extend almost 360 degrees from Coronet Peak around to the Remarkables and on to Cecil and Walter Peaks on the other side of Lake Wakatipu (Included).
Day 18 - Queenstown to Te Anau (B) (170km) - Your drive today takes you around Lake Wakatipu in the shadow of the rugged Remarkable Ranges until you arrive at the township of Five Rivers. Turn off the main highway towards Mossburn, and into the tussock covered hills. Once the highest point is reached there are magnificent views of the mountains of Fiordland to the north, south and west. After a few miles the wide panorama of Lake Te Anau comes into view. A slightly longer route (extra 22kms) will take you via beautiful Lake Manapouri. Turn off the main Mossburn to Te Anau road approx. 9kms past “The Key” onto Hillside Road through to Lake Manapouri – known as New Zealand’s most scenic lake. From here follow the Waiau River for approx. 20kms to Te Anau.
Day 19 - Milford Sound Day Trip (B) (235km round trip) - The Te Anau to Milford road is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenic Alpine routes as Tussock and scrub replace the bush as the road climbs steadily up the Hollyford to the gigantic cirque where sheer rock faces dwarf the Homer Tunnel beneath. Beyond the tunnel is a rapid zig-zag descent into the Cleddau Canyon, between towering, rugged mountains and forest, until the road comes into the open at Milford Sound. In Milford Sound you’ll see towering cliffs and peaks and here you'll enjoy a spectacular fjord cruise (included).
Day 20 - Te Anau to Dunedin (B) (290km) - Departing Te Anau after breakfast you'll drive through farmland and tussock country before arriving at Lumsden. Travel south through the Waimea Plains to Gore a town that serves the rich agricultural area of Southland. Continue on through farmlands to Balclutha where you will cross the Clutha River, famous for its alluvial gold. From here, travel north through Milton, across the Taieri River and on to the city of Dunedin. Dunedin is nestled in the hills that lie at the end of Otago Harbour. The city has a rich and diverse history, with Maori explorers the first to settle in the region, followed from the mid-1800s by whalers, Scottish immigrants and gold miners.
Day 21 - Dunedin to Christchurch (B) (360km) - From Dunedin travel through Palmerston, former gateway to the goldfields, and on to Oamaru. Many of the handsome buildings found in this city are constructed from Oamaru stone which has led to its nickname 'The White Stone City'. En route to Timaru, a very popular seaside town, pass the 45th Parallel - halfway between The Equator and the South Pole. Pass through Temuka, known for its earthenware pottery and soon afterward you will arrive in the town of Ashburton, the centre of a large sheep and wheat farming area. Leaving Ashburton, head north and pass over the mighty Rakaia River, famous for its salmon fishing. Continue across the farmland of the Canterbury Plains and past the military town of Burnham to Christchurch.
Day 22 - Christchurch (B,D) - Often referred to as the ‘Garden City’, Christchurch features many majestic trees and extensive parks and gardens, the most notable of which is expansive Hagley Park in the heart of the city. In contrast to this flat cityscape and the surrounding Canterbury Plains, the skyline to the south is dominated by the tussock and rocky outcrops of the Port Hills. Visitors to Christchurch today will witness a virtual rebirth of the city as demolitions, repairs and rebuilding occurs following the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Today you'll drop your cars off at the car hire depot or at the port for shipping back to the UK.