Kia ora! Welcome to New Zealand where anticipation for the next eleven nights starts to build at the 6.00 pm Welcome Meeting at your hotel. Your group leader will be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information when you meet, so please bring these with you. Perhaps head out to dinner with the group for a chance to get to know each other.
Rise and shin early this morning as your adventure starts by departing Christchurch and driving the beautiful coastline to Kaikoura, known for its rich marine life. Upon arrival you have some free time to explore this mountainous coastal town, perhaps join a sperm whale watching tour at an additional cost, hike one of the many hiking trails or The Peninsula Walkway offers the best chance to spotting seals among the rocks.
Nelson – Stoke
Travel to Nelson, a picturesque destination and the entry point to the Abel Tasman National Park. Spend the afternoon wandering through the town which its variety of shops, galleries and historic buildings or explore the National Park.
Nelson – Stoke
Take the day to explore Nelson further, there are many optional activities on offer, such as kayaking or sailing through the waters of Abel Tasman National Park or purchasing a ticket on the shuttle bus which takes you into Abel Tasman to explore independently.
Today you will take the ferry across the majestic Marlborough Sound, look out onto the picturesque waterways and isolated islands as you cross into the North Island and arriving into Wellington in the afternoon. Enjoy a free afternoon and evening.
This morning starts with a visit to the Museum of New Zealand – Te Papa Tongarewa in search of great treasures and stories of the country or maybe take a stroll around the colourful Botanic Gardens. After lunch depart Wellington and travel through the North Island Plains for Tongariro National Park. Arriving late afternoon, settle into the hotel and perhaps take a gentle walk around the area ready for a busy day tomorrow.
Today you have a choice of tackling the 16-kilometre Tongariro Alpine Crossing which is a full 7-hour day hike and considered to be one of the best hikes in New Zealand. It offers rocky trails, magnificent aquamarine lakes and volcanic steam vents and a good level of fitness is required. For those people who do not want to tackle the Tongariro Alpine Crossing there are plenty of shorter walks and tracks that begin near the accommodation and can cater for all levels of fitness.
Taupo - Rotorua
After breakfast, you’ll be continuing on inland to Lake Taupo, home to Australasia’s largest freshwater filled crater lake in Tongariro National Park. Today’s activities blend adventure, adrenaline experiences and even more Maori culture. Behold the water hurtling from Huka Falls. Lake Taupo itself is well known for jet boating, skydiving, geothermal hikes and kayaking. The list of opportunities is endless. Continue to Rotorua and the town of Whakarewarewa, where the local Maori population can trace their heritage back to the Polynesians who settled here in the 14th century. Visit the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and witness the spirited hiss and roar of the spouting geysers, bubbling mud pools and the majestic redwood canopies, which are part of what makes Rotorua such an astonishingly diverse place to visit. Tonight, you have a chance for an optional experience of a Maori cultural evening, including a performance and a traditional hangi dinner cooked in the geothermal waters.
Today you can spend the morning exploring Rotorua at leisure and step out to see what the geothermal wonderland has to offer. Experiences include visits to hot pools, spas and volcanic landscapes. Check out Te Puia for some Maori culture and the famous Pohutu Geyser. Or, explore Rainbow Springs to spot the native kiwi and admire the local flora and fauna.
Rotorua – Bay of Islands
Drive north towards New Zealand’s ‘winterless north’ towards the stunning Bay of Islands. The area is idyllic, beautiful and home to some of the best beaches in the country. Take the time on your journey to decide what you want to see and do whilst you’re here and make sure you don’t miss anything!
Bay of Islands
Take the day and enjoy the unspoilt beauty that is the Bay of Islands. Perhaps take a scenic cruise out to Cape Brett and the famous “Hole in the Rock” which also offers a good chance of spotting dolphins along the way! The town of Russell offers historic buildings and was the country’s first capital that holds a vibrant past. In the afternoon board a boat for a scenic harbour cruise with a local dinner included to finish off your day in this beautiful area.
Begin your final journey south to Auckland, passing beautiful beaches and lush forests and over the Auckland Harbour Bridge for a spectacular view of the ‘City of Sails”. The aim is to arrive into Auckland in the afternoon but it is advised that flights out of Auckland are booked for after 8pm or perhaps extend your stay by a few days in Auckland to discover this fascinating city.