Milford

17-day escorted tour itinerary

New Zealand Wonderland

Discover the wonders of New Zealand

Our New Zealand Wonderland tour is perfect for those who want to explore the country’s most popular areas, as well as its hidden treasures. This 17 day itinerary is a seamless blend of adventure and relaxation and takes you through sublime countryside and lively towns.

Your New Zealand tour will begin in the country’s capital. Cross Auckland’s famous Harbour Bridge before taking a drive along the stunning Hibiscus Coast. Here you will have the opportunity to learn about the country’s history, providing some context for what lies ahead on your journey. Visit the Bay of Islands and look out for dolphins; then head south to Rotorua for a relaxing experience at the Te Puia Thermal Reserve.

Savour spectacular, incomparable views as you pass through Wellington, Kaikoura and Christchurch by train, boat and foot. Notice how the landscape changes as you are suddenly surrounded by the craggy mountains in Franz Josef. Then move on to the staggering Milford Sound and world famous Mount Cook, finally finishing your journey in Christchurch for a sense of history and culture.

With the choice of adrenaline-fuelled activities, relaxing nature hikes or even a combination of the two interspersed throughout this itinerary, this tour is perfect for the adventurous and laid back alike. 

Our Experts Recommend:
  • Huka Falls and Lake Taupo
  • Mount Cook National Park
  • Te Puia Thermal Reserve
  • Waitomo guided tour

Sample Itinerary Summary

We can tailor any part of this itinerary or create a new one just for you.

Duration
17 days
Guide Price
£6,499 per person
Our guide price gives you an idea of pricing which will vary depending on exchange rates, accommodation, duration, dates, airline and cabin class.
Options
Group basis, Escorted

Itinerary Breakdown

Your New Zealand Wonderland tour begins in Auckland. After being transferred to your hotel, you can personalise the remainder of your holiday and choose from our Freedom of Choice Touring activities. Pick from a number of activities and restaurants and look forward to a fantastic holiday in New Zealand.

Points of Interest

  • Harbour Bridge
  • Hibiscus Coast
  • Māori Meeting House

Start the day early and embark on your journey to the Bay of Islands. Begin by crossing Auckland’s bustling Harbour Bridge and travel along the scenic Hibiscus Coast before immersing yourself in some of Auckland’s rich history. Visit Matakohe’s Kauri Museum to discover the sagas of the Kauri pioneers before moving on to the Waitangi Treaty House to discover the moments that shaped New Zealand as a nation. Take a tour of the landscaped grounds before heading on to the Māori Meeting House. This intricate and symbolic building will leave you with a deeper insight into the history and culture of this diverse country. 

Points of Interest

Arrive in the Bay of Islands, and choose exactly how you want to spend your time. Pick an activity that suits you from the Freedom of Choice Touring options, including embarking on a scenic drive along the golden sands of the Ninety Mile Beach or sailing across aquamarine waters on the iconic R Tucker Thompson. 

Points of Interest

  • Ninety Mile Beach
  • R Tucker Thompson ship
  • Cruise to Cape Brett and Hole in the Rock

Today, you’ll explore the beautiful Bay of Islands via a cruise. Admire Cape Brett’s pristine white lighthouse and rugged peninsula and enjoy the thrills of dolphins bursting through the rolling waves in front of the magnificent Hole in the Rock. Your journey will end at Paihia where a coach will collect you and drive you back to Auckland. Upon your return you’ll be treated to a sumptuous dinner at your hotel.

Day five will see you head to Waitomo from Auckland, where you can enjoy an unforgettable experience. A guided tour will take you to the underground limestone caverns where glow worms cover the vast cave ceilings, providing a spellbinding glow. Continue on to Rotorua for a taste of traditional Māori culture, performances and Hangi feasts, cooked in the deep pits dug into the warm ground.

Points of Interest

  • Guided, informative tours
  • Limestone caves
  • Glow worm caverns
  • Black water pools

Unwind with a soothing activity from our Freedom of Choice options. Opt for a calming spa treatment with anti-oxidising mud from the surrounding geothermal regions or wander through the Te Puia Thermal Reserve and delight in the bubbling sulphur pools and erupting geysers. You’ll have the option to stay in a Country Homestay this evening, the perfect ending to a day of relaxation. 

Points of Interest

  • Māori Hangi feasts
  • Te Puia Thermal Reserve
  • Country Home stay

Travel on to Wellington via the Thermal Explorer Highway. Savour spectacular views of Wairakei Steam Valley, where unspoilt plains are interspersed with natural vents that surge with plumes of steam. Take a short moment to learn the history behind the valley at the Visitor Centre before continuing your tour to Huka Falls and Lake Taupo. A truly exhilarating experience, the cerulean Huka Falls roar through the landscape. Position yourself on the foot bridge for the best view.

From here, head on to the stunning Lake Taupo. With Māori rock carvings and cyan waters, it offers a vista like no other. 

Explore Wellington at your own pace today. Opt for a guided tour of the city’s highlights or choose the famous ‘Lord of the Rings’ tour to visit some of the most memorable locations featured in the films.

With a plethora of restaurant options available, serving national and international dishes, you’ll be spoilt for choice for dinner this evening.

Points of Interest

  • Highlights of Wellington tour
  • ‘Lord of the Rings’ tour
  • Discover the Cook Strait

Today you will voyage across the Cook Strait on the Interisland ferry, heading in the direction of Picton. Cross the beautiful Marlborough Sands, a unique collection of drowned valleys, before arriving in the picturesque Picton.

From here, amble to the fishing town of Kaikoura for an encounter of a lifetime. Watch in awe as sperm whales crash through the water’s surface and opt for a boat tour to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures. When you’re ready, make your way to Christchurch.

Points of Interest

  • Whale watching
  • Quaint fishing town
  • Boat trips and tours

See New Zealand’s varied landscapes in all their glory via the TranzAlpine train. Watch in wonder as you travel past winding rivers, verdant valleys and through imposing gorges as you head towards the snow capped Southern Alps.

Disembark at Arthur’s Pass and wander through the National Park. Adventurers should undertake the steady climb to the view summit of Avalanche Peak. For those who like to be leisurely, stroll to Devils Punchbowl Falls. Hop back on the train for the next stop, Franz Josef, which is a quaint town set against an imposing glacier.

Points of Interest

  • Ancient glaciers
  • Haast River and Valley
  • Varying landscapes

Travel along the Haast River for truly outstanding panoramic views. Feel humbled in the presence of the Haast River Valley. Formed by ancient glaciers, the rugged and commanding valley is shrouded in verdant rainforest. Towering peaks and hidden waterfalls are waiting to be discovered.

Then arrive in Queenstown for an evening to be spent at your leisure; finish the day at your choice of one of four fantastic eateries hand picked by our travel experts.

Choose an activity and enjoy Queenstown, which is often said to be the adventure capital of the world. The thrill seeking should opt for a Shotover Jet boat ride, where you will hurtle through the Shotover Canyons for a truly hair raising experience. Or take it slow and indulge in a winery sightseeing tour at Central Otago’s charming vineyards.

 

You’ll have the opportunity to dine in some of Queenstown’s best restaurants, as you spend the evening at your leisure.

Points of Interest

  • Central Otago wine experience
  • Milford Sound
  • Shotover Jet boat ride

Journey onwards towards Te Anau to begin a winding expedition down the Eglinton and Hollyford valleys. Here you can take in views of lush forests and puce peaks as far as the eye can see. As you emerge from the Homer Tunnel, you will be met by the impressive sight of Mitre Peak. Set beside the crystal clear Milford Sound, Mitre Peak is a sight to behold. Cruise across the full length of the pristine waters before taking a relaxing drive to the serene Te Anau. Spend the afternoon discovering New Zealand’s second largest lake and its extraordinary Fiordland.

Points of Interest

Travel through the rolling Southland countryside, passing through the quaint, rural towns of Lumsden and Gore. Heading eastwards towards Dunedin, you will have the opportunity to spend the day taking part in a number of activities. Visit Larnach Castle, the only castle in the whole country, or sit back, relax and enjoy a scenic train journey on the Taieri Gorge Railway.

Points of Interest

  • Larnach Castle
  • Taieri George Railway
  • Moeraki Boulders

Head towards the north coast and take in views of the rolling waves of the Otago coast. Stop to inspect the Moeraki Boulders before continuing on to the World Heritage listed Mount Cook National Park. Choose to visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre to learn about this history of the park or you may want to join a guided nature walk to view the breath taking Mount Cook itself. 

Points of Interest

  • World Heritage National Park
  • Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre
  • Snow-capped mountains

Unwind as your venture comes to an end; swap jagged mountains for the striking Lake Tekapo. The uniquely coloured water is set against vast grasslands and is the perfect place for a moment’s reflection. Pay a visit to the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, which was built in 1935 as a tribute to the region’s early pioneers. Move onwards to the Canterbury region for open green and peaceful spaces.

Spend the afternoon and evening in Christchurch and immerse yourself in the British colonial history of New Zealand. Here you can punt along the river or simply admire the colonial architecture of the city’s buildings.

Points of Interest

  • Lake Tekapo
  • Church of the Good Shepherd
  • Colonial architecture

Enjoy a relaxed morning strolling through the historic streets of Christchurch before your journey ends with a transfer to the airport.

  • Auckland

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Harbour Bridge
    • Hibiscus Coast
    • Māori Meeting House
    • Matakohe’s Kauri Museum
  • Bay of Islands

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Ninety Mile Beach
    • Cape Reinga Day tour
    • R Tucker Thompson ship
    • Cruise to Cape Brett and Hole in the Rock
  • Rotorua

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Māori Hangi feasts
    • Song and dance performances
    • Te Puia Thermal Reserve
    • Country Home stay
  • Wellington

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Highlights of Wellington tour
    • 'Lord of the Rings’ tour
    • Local restaurants with delicious dishes
    • Discover the Cook Strait
  • Kaikoura

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Whale watching
    • Boat trips and tours
    • Native wildlife
    • Quaint fishing town
  • Franz Josef Glacier

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Ancient glaciers
    • Haast River and Valley
    • Varying landscapes
    • Hikes to waterfalls and lakes
  • Queenstown

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Shotover Jet boat ride
    • Central Otago wine experience
    • Superb restaurants
    • Milford Sound
  • Dunedin

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Te Anau
    • Larnach Castle
    • Taieri George Railway
    • Moeraki Boulders
  • Mount Cook

    Itinerary Highlights

    • World Heritage National Park
    • Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre
    • Guided tours
    • Snow-capped mountains
  • Christchurch

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Lake Tekapo
    • Church of the Good Shepherd
    • Canterbury region
    • Colonial architecture
  • Waitomo

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Glow worm caverns
    • Limestone caves
    • Black water pools