Highlights of New Zealand Escorted Tour

Our Highlights of New Zealand Tour will introduce you to the most memorable highlights of this spectacular island country. 

The tour begins in Christchurch, known as the “The Garden City”, before moving to the quiet town of Omarama and, eventually, Dunedin – best known for its strong Scottish heritage. Here, you will indulge in a Scottish gastronomic adventure (Haggis included), all while enjoying the sounds of the enthusiastic bagpipe players around you. 

Our tour also takes you to Milford Sound, where you will cruise on the fiord, float past Bowen Falls and view the soaring Mitre Peak. The popular year round resort of Queenstown is our next stop, followed by the gold mining village of Arrowtown, and the glacier filled township of Fox Glacier. En route to Christchurch, we will board the TranzAlpine and experience one of the world’s best loved train rides. We’ll also take the Interislander Ferry, which will take us past Marlborough Sounds and across Cook Strait into “Windy Wellington”. 

We will spend time in Rotorua and visit Te Puia for a close up encounter of the scorching mud pools and spurting geysers for which the region is so famous. Indulge in a tastebud tantalising traditional Maori Hangi feast and an interactive performance from the locals before travelling to the Bay of Islands and concluding the tour in Auckland.

Duration
16 days
Options
Private basis, Escorted
Start your journey
Christchurch

Trip highlights

  • Cruise on the incredible fiord at Milford Sound
  • Witness the shimmering, icy glaciers in the quaint township of Fox Glacier
  • Visit Te Puia for a close up encounter of mud pools and geysers in Rotorua
  • Sail through “The Hole in the Rock” in Cape Brett on board a luxury catamaran

Your whirlwind New Zealand escorted tour begins in beautiful Christchurch, lovingly nicknamed “The Garden City”. One of our representatives will pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel. Here, you will have the rest of the day and evening to acclimatise to your new surroundings and perhaps get a head start on exploring.

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Quality Hotel Elms
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

The morning begins with a tour of Christchurch’s most notable sights, followed by a scenic journey through the luscious southern Canterbury Plains to the shimmering blue waters of Lake Tekapo. Perched on the shores of the lake is The Church of the Good Shepherd and its special Sheep Dog Statue. 

We will also set our sights on towering Mt Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand, on our way to the quiet little town of Omarama. 

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Heritage Gateway Hotel
Milford Sound Fiordland New Zealand

En route to Dunedin, we will spend some time savouring the beauty of the expansive Lake Benmore – New Zealand’s largest artificial lake. From there, we will follow the winding Waitaki River to Oamaru, which is best known for the lemony limestone that adorns the town’s intricate buildings. 

Once we arrive in Dunedin, “The Edinburgh of the South”, we will be treated to a comprehensive city tour, followed by a Scottish themed evening. Indulge in a Scottish gastronomic adventure (Haggis included), all while enjoying the sounds of the enthusiastic bagpipe players around you. 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Heritage Dunedin Leisure Lodge
Milford Sounds, Te Anau

Early on day four, we will visit Larnach Castle, which is comfortably nestled on the ridge of the Otago Peninsula. Stroll through the flower filled Garden of International Significance, followed by a decadent Devonshire Tea.

We will then journey through Balclutha and Gore to Te Anau, which is fondly known as “The Gateway to Fiordland”. 

Be sure to take the opportunity to visit the gleaming Te Anau Glow Worm Caves this evening. 

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Distinction Luxmore Hotel (Superior Room)
Fiordland te anau
a small boat in a body of water with Milford Sound in the background

Our adventures continue in Milford Sound, where we will cruise on the incredible fiord, float past Bowen Falls, and view the soaring Mitre Peak. 

Savour a delicious lunch on board and return to Te Anau for a relaxed afternoon before continuing your travels to the ever popular resort of Queenstown. Overlooking the sparkling expanse of Lake Wakatipu, this town is a haven for sports enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Copthorne Hotel and Resort Lakefront or similar
Queenstown - New Zealand
a large body of water with a mountain in the background

Spend the day in Queenstown however you wish. Perhaps you are in search of a heart thumping adventure in the form of a bumpy jet boat ride? Or you are interested in getting to know the beautiful resort’s resident wildlife at Skippers Canyon? 

This evening, you will also have the option to board the TSS Earnslaw, a stunning vintage steamship, and cruise along the lake to Walter Peak Station. Here, you can relax and savour a tantalising gourmet barbecue dinner prepared especially for you by a renowned chef at the Colonel’s Homestead.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Copthorne Hotel and Resort Lakefront or similar

En route to Fox Glacier, we will make a stop in the old gold mining village of Arrowtown and walk through the enthralling Lakes District Museum. 

From there, we will continue our journey via the Haast Pass and explore the natural wonders of the picture perfect West Coast. Fox Glacier is, unsurprisingly, home to countless sharp, shining glaciers that are a sight to behold both on the ground and in the air. 

Take advantage of an optional experience of hopping on board a flight for the most mesmerising aerial views of the icy township below.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier
a group of people standing next to a body of water

As the sun rises, we will make our way to Hokitika to visit the Greenstone Factory where you will find an array of beautiful Greenstone hand carvings. 

We will then move through Arthur’s Pass to board the TranzAlpine and experience one of the world’s most iconic train journeys. Ride the rail through the Waimakariri Basin and its mesmeric landscapes, taking in vistas of rivers, valleys, patchwork farmlands and wildlife. 

Our travels conclude in Christchurch, where you will have the rest of the evening free. 

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Quality Hotel Elms
a large body of water with a city in the background

On our way to Wellington, we will pass through the seaside village of Kaikoura, Marlborough Country and Picton, where we will board the Interislander Ferry. The ferry will take you through the spectacular vistas of Marlborough Sounds and across Cook Strait to “Windy Wellington”, where you will be spending the night. 

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Ibis Wellington
a boat is docked next to a body of water

The morning begins with a tour through Te Papa, where you will see some stunning Maori and European exhibits and artefacts, followed by an insightful tour through the city. The afternoon and evening is open for your own explorations. 

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Ibis Wellington
a group of people on a rocky beach
a tree next to a body of water

The lakeside town of Taupo is your next stop and you will travel past a few majestic mountains to get there – including Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro. Take in the beauty of the crashing Haku Falls before entering Rotorua, the steaming wonderland of bubbling geothermal pools and rich Maori culture. 

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua or similar
Rotorua

Today, we will cruise along on a relaxing gondola ride before tucking into a sweet and savoury breakfast at the Skyline Rotorua. 

Amp up the adrenaline with a luge ride ahead of your visit to the farmland theme park of Agrodome, where you will spend the afternoon. Spend some time getting to know about the agricultural industry in New Zealand and getting up close to the animals. 

On our way back, we will visit Te Puia for a close up encounter of the scorching mud pools and spurting geysers which Rotorua is so famous for.

Our day concludes with a taste bud tantalising traditional Maori Hangi feast in the evening, and an interactive performance from the locals.

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua or similar

Move through Auckland as you journey to the Bay of Islands, the location where the treaty between the British and the local Maori tribes was first signed. Enjoy some free time for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. Explore the city’s coastline, indulge in the shops or enjoy the many excellent restaurants, bars and cafés in Auckland. 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge
Auckland Harbour
a rocky beach next to a body of water

Sit on board a luxury catamaran as you sail to Cape Brett, which is home to the magnificent rock formation known as “The Hole in the Rock”. Watch the friendly bottlenose dolphins flitting through the waters below as you move through the craggy archway before docking and exploring the shoreline. 

This evening, you will have the option to enjoy a dinner cruise with your travel party. 

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge

Today we’ll stop in Matakohe to visit the Kauri Museum on our way back to Auckland. 

On arrival in Auckland, you will be treated to another in-depth city tour, followed by an indulgent farewell dinner at your hotel. 

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Rydges Auckland

Take the morning to say a final goodbye to New Zealand before heading to the airport to board your return flight home.

Included

  • Cost of accommodation (double room based on two people sharing) for a total of 15 nights (alternative but similar accommodation may be used at certain times of the year)
  • Board basis is Half Board: 15 breakfasts, 1 lunches and 12 dinners
  • Private/small group (air-conditioned) transport / transfers
  • Assistance and porterage: meeting and assistance on arrival/departure at airports and hotels
  • English-speaking local guides for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary
  • Taxes

Not included

  • International flights and airfare taxes
  • Visa arrangements and fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses, such as alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, laundry, camera fees, spa and business facilities in the hotel
  • Gratuities for drivers, tour directors, local guides, naturalists and hotel staff
  • Car hire and insurance
  • Meals (unless specified)
  • Optional attractions and excursions (unless specified)