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Take our Cultural New Zealand tour and experience some of the wonderful sights this beautiful country has to offer in 18 days. Learn how the Māoris live, as well as the history of the country’s independence, take a train journey through the Southern Alps and visit cosmopolitan cities and picturesque towns.

Start your journey in the North Island, in Auckland, where you can spend a few days exploring its beautiful scenery, local markets and upmarket restaurants. Window shop for yachts before taking in views over the city, before heading to the Bay of Islands. This collection of 114 islands is close to the Waitangi Museum, as well as being home to a spectacular natural setting. Next are the beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula before you experience Māori culture and geothermal springs in Rotorua.

Journey south to Wellington, where you’ll find a relaxed café culture and historical tours of Te Papa Museum. Take the ferry to the South Island where you can try delicious wines in Marlborough and spend a few days in a luxury hotel. Drive yourself to Kaikoura where you might spot dolphins, whales and even orcas before finishing the tour in Christchurch. This picturesque town is home to British colonial architecture, as well as being close to the Tranz Alpine train, which will take you through the Southern Alps.

Duration

18 Days

Guide Price

£7,099 pp

Recommended For

Adventure, Beach, City, Couples, Culture, Family, Honeymoons, Iconic Journeys, Wildlife

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Trip Highlights

  • See the Māori Hakka war dance
  • Wine tasting in Marlborough
  • Trans Alpine Train through the Southern Alps
  • Swim with Dolphins in ChristChurch

Start your Journey

Day 1-2

Auckland

Start your Cultural tour of New Zealand in Auckland, which is known as the ‘City of Sails’ due to its two harbours which house hundreds of luxury yachts. Surrounded by volcanic landscapes and overlooking the Hauraki Gulf, explore the seas by boat or climb into the mountains behind.

For the best views of the city, our experts recommend climbing to the top of Pukekawa. Enjoy delicious wines and local produce in the restaurants and bars along the harbour, explore idyllic, picturesque Devonport town or visit the chic local market in Ponsonby. For boutique shops and trendy, upmarket restaurants we recommend exploring Britomart, which is located in the historic area surrounding Quay Street.

Day 3-4

Bay of Islands

Make the journey northwards to the Bay of Islands, taking in the views as you cross Harbour Bridge. The jagged west coast is home to rugged beaches and forests full of native kauri trees. Start your exploration of the Bay of Islands in Hokianga Harbour where you can hop on a boat and climb the sand dunes which overlook the sea. Adventurous travellers will enjoy sand boarding down the dunes.

Next, head to Paihia where you will spend the next two nights. This picturesque area provides an excellent base for those wanting to explore the area. Head to Waitangi, the birthplace of New Zealand’s independence or take a boat trip around the 144 islands in the area.

Day 5-6

Coromandel Peninsula

Drive south through Auckland before reaching the Coromandel Peninsula. Stretching out into the Pacific Ocean and Hauruki Peninsula, this narrow stretch of land is home to spectacular rock formations and beautiful beaches. The little towns offer picturesque views and an interesting insight into the area’s history, while the luscious rainforests are ideal for those wanting to explore New Zealand’s natural landscapes.

Stay in Pauanui along the east coast and use it as a base to explore the area. Our experts recommend booking boat trips to one of the uninhabited islands off this stretch of coast, while walking tours and mountain biking excursions are also available. Explore the fern forests and the former gold mines or visit Cathedral Cove where you can admire the caves and rock formations.

Day 7-8

Rotorua

Next on your Cultural tour of New Zealand is Rotorua, which is famous for its geothermal parks, where you can watch bubbling hot waters and mud pools. The bushlands are home to native Kiwis, unique to New Zealand. Learn more about Māori history and culture in Te Puia, or head to the Tamaki Māori Village where you can watch cultural shows, including the Hakka War Dance. Learn to weave, carve and make traditional dance costumes before joining a Hāngi feast, cooked by the hot earth in deep pits.

Take a floatplane ride and admire the views of Lake Rotorua and the surrounding volcanic landscapes. The plane will also take you to White Island, home to the country’s only active volcano.

Day 9-10

Wellington

Journey through the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand’s North Island to Wellington, the country’s capital. Surrounded by rolling hills and sheltered in Wellington Harbour, the city is small and friendly, with excellent opportunities to explore on foot. Climb to the top of Mount Victoria or take the cable car and enjoy views back over the city.

Explore New Zealand’s Parliament Buildings and maybe even watch a debate, before visiting award-winning Te Papa Museum. Known for its interactive displays it provides opportunities to learn about the landscapes and Māori culture, as well as the history of the country. To soak up the city’s relaxed atmosphere, try some delicious seafood and wines along the waterfront.

Day 11-12

Marlborough Sounds

Head across the Cook Straight by ferry to the South Island where you might even spot dolphins and whales. Stop in Picton, where you’ll find an interesting sense of history, pretty architecture and views of the coastline. The morning ferry gives you time for a wine tasting tour of Marlborough and its famous Sauvignon Blanc.

Stop in Arthurs Bay, where you will be staying for the next two nights, in a luxury room built into the luscious hillsides. Spend your days soaking up the views and admiring the countryside or making the most of the spa and hot tub. If you prefer to enjoy activities, try stand up paddle boarding and kayaking or hike through Queen Charlotte Track.

Day 14-15

Kaikoura

Pick up your rental car in Picton before heading into New Zealand’s South Island. Visit the local vineyards or stop off to explore the Omaka Aviation centre. Here you’ll find WWII aircraft and souvenirs, as well as interesting exhibitions detailing the history of the war. We recommend booking a boat trip into the ocean, where you may spot whales, dolphins and even orca. Stay in Hapuku Lodge and upgrade to the Treehouse room for the ultimate in luxury, with some excellent views out over the Kaikoura Ranges. 

Day 16-17

ChristChurch

Journey down to the South Island’s largest city, Christchurch. Explore the English heritage and architecture of the city, wandering along the picturesque banks of the River Avon or taking a punt through the clear waters. Take a bus tour, hop on the tram or cycle through the quiet streets, taking in the sights. For peaceful natural surroundings, the Botanical Gardens and Hagley Park are worth a visit.

Our experts recommend enjoying a scenic rail journey through Arthurs Pass on the Tranz Alpine train. Take in views of the Southern Alps as you speed through fertile valleys and rugged mountains, ancient forests and sparkling lakes. Stop off at the National Park for forest park walks. Alternatively, visit Akaroa for delicious local cuisine and to swim with Hector’s dolphins.  

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