15 Day New Zealand Explorer
Experience the very best of New Zealand on this 2-week journey from Christchurch to Auckland.
On this 15 Day Explorer tour of New Zealand you will enjoy breathtaking alpine scenery and untouched wilderness, as well as boiling mud pools, exploding geysers, and local Maori traditions.
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The following are included in your package tour:
Here are just a few highlights of this tour:
Some of the featured experiences on this tour:
Conditions: Prices are per person, double-share and subject to availability at the time of booking. Prices were correct as at 19 Jun 17 but are subject to change without notice. Valid for travel in Sep 17 and May 18. Surcharges will apply for travel 1 Oct 17 to 30 Apr 18. Please enquire for more details.
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Day 1: Arrive Christchurch
Kia ora! Welcome to New Zealand. A Kirra Tours representative will greet you at the airport with transport waiting to take you to your downtown city hotel.
Day 2: Aoraki Mount Cook, Omarama (B,D)
After a brief tour of Christchurch, cross the Canterbury Plains into Mackenzie Country. View the Church of the Good Shepherd and the sheep dog memorial at Lake Tekapo. Visit Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, a World Heritage-listed site covering over 70,000 hectares of breathtaking alpine scenery, before travelling on to Omarama. Optional ski-plane and helicopter flights are available (subject to weather conditions).
Day 3: Arrowtown, Queenstown (B,D)
Travel through the Mackenzie Country before beginning the ascent over the Lindis Pass to the township of Cromwell. Continue on to Arrowtown, set beneath the rugged Crown Range. This historic village located beside the Arrow River was once a haven for the gold prospectors of the 1860’s and features a fascinating collection of mining cottages with an atmosphere straight out of last century. Later this afternoon, travel on to Queenstown, regarded as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination. Tonight, ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak, where both the dining and the views are unsurpassed.
Day 4: At leisure in Queenstown (B)
Today is a free day to experience this magnificent resort town. Queenstown boasts an incredible array of adventure and leisure activities and your Coach Captain can assist with any optional activities you would like to do. Experience the thrills of riding on the world-famous Shotover Jet, perhaps cruise Lake Wakatipu on the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw, take a 4WD tour to the gold mining area of Skippers Canyon, or for the adventurous, try white water rafting. Alternatively, browse the many shops and galleries. Tonight is free for you to enjoy one of the many restaurants and bistros on offer in town.
Day 5: Spectacular Doubtful Sound wilderness experience (B,L,D)
Travel with us today to this untouched world deep in the heart of Fiordland National Park. After an early breakfast, skirt the shores of Lake Wakatipu and travel through lush farmland to Te Anau. A short drive brings us to Manapouri, where you enjoy a leisurely cruise across this picturesque lake to West Arm. This is followed by a trip on New Zealand's most expensive road, travelling over Wilmot Pass and pausing along the way to experience the dense Fiordland rainforest and view Doubtful Sound glistening far below. Here you will board the spacious, purpose-built catamaran, Patea Explorer, for a three-hour cruise through this pristine fiord. During the cruise our knowledgeable and friendly nature guides will share their passion for the region through their commentary. They will answer questions, point out landmarks, and provide you with information about the varied wildlife you may encounter like dolphins, fur seals, and the rare Fiordland crested penguin. As the majesty of Doubtful Sound unfolds before you, you will be struck by its silence... a silence broken only by birdsong or the rushing of a distant waterfall. The beauty and vastness will take your breath away. Return to Queenstown late evening and enjoy dinner at your hotel on arrival.
Day 6: Wanaka, Haast Pass, Franz Josef (B,D)
Stop at Wanaka, a picture postcard resort on the lake's edge with a spectacular mountain backdrop. View the untouched wilderness and pristine lakes of the Mount Aspiring and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks before arriving on the rugged and wild West Coast, home to the twin glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef.
Day 7 - Hokitika, Punakaiki (B,D)
Before our departure this morning, there is the opportunity to experience an optional scenic flight over this remarkable region (subject to weather conditions). At Hokitika, we stop to visit a pounamu (greenstone) factory. Pounamu is considered a treasure in Maori culture and is seen as a sign of status and power. At Punakaiki, marvel at the bizarre limestone landscapes that are the Pancake Rocks and Blowhole. Tonight’s stay is at a friendly eco-resort located in the Paparoa National Park, only a stone’s throw from the beach.
Day 8: Murchison, Nelson (B,D)
Skirt the west coastline before heading inland to Murchison. Travel north through the Nelson Lakes region before arriving at Nelson, a city of charm based on a harbour that is the busiest fishing port in Aotearoa. This afternoon, visit the World of Wearable Art and Classic Car Museum.
Day 9: Abel Tasman National Park (B,D)
Travel to Kaiterteri, where you board your vessel for a scenic cruise of the waters around famous Abel Tasman National Park. Cruise through the Astrolabe Roadstead to Torrent Bay and Bark Bay, calling in to picturesque beaches and coves. Pause to view Split Apple Rock and the antics at Tonga Island seal colony on your way to Totaranui. An optional coastal walk may be available for those wishing to spend time ashore, see your Coach Captain for details.
Day 10: Picton, Wellington (B,D)
A short drive brings us to the picturesque fishing village of Picton. Board the Interislander Ferry and cruise through the spectacular Queen Charlotte Sound into Cook Strait. On arrival, enjoy stunning views of New Zealand’s capital city as you arrive into Wellington Harbour. Enjoy a city tour taking in all the major sights and then there is free time for exploring on your own. Situated on the Wellington waterfront, a visit to Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, is highly recommended.
Day 11: Taupo, Rotorua (B,D)
Leaving the city behind, we travel through rolling farmland as we enter Tongariro National Park, dominated by the volcanic cone of Mount Ruapehu. Follow the Desert Road to the popular lakeside resort of Taupo, located on the shores of Aotearoa's largest lake. Stop to view the mighty Huka Falls and travel past massive pine forests to reach Rotorua, centre of Maori culture and famous for its geysers, boiling mud pools, and steaming craters.
Day 12: Rotorua sightseeing (B,D)
Today begins with a visit to the Agrodome to see a unique New Zealand farm show. This is followed by a visit to Te Puia, home to Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve and the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Centre. Here you will witness all of nature’s thermal wonders including silica terraces and the famous Pohutu Geyser. Enjoy some free time this afternoon for optional activities before visiting Tamaki Village for an evening of fun and culture. You will experience a traditionally-prepared Maori hangi (feast) followed by a cultural performance featuring Maori songs, chants, and dance, including the stirring haka.
Day 13: Hobbiton, Pauanui (B,D)
Cross the Mamaku Ranges into the Waikato region, well-known for its dairy farming, world famous horse studs, and champion rugby team! At Matamata, a guide will escort your group on a Hobbiton Movie Set Tour. Enjoy a visit to the set used in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. On to Pauanui, a favourite New Zealand holiday beach resort, for our overnight stay.
Day 14: Coromandel, Auckland (B,D)
The Coromandel Peninsula is a beautiful, rugged area fringed with dozens of excellent beaches, and is a place where many kiwis choose to escape the hustle and hype of city life. On to Auckland, the City of Sails, including a visit to the summit of the Sky Tower; at 328m, it's the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner tonight with your newfound friends.
Day 15: Depart Auckland (B)
Sadly, your holiday ends today and you will be transferred to Auckland Airport to connect with your onward flight.