A&A HOLIDAYS — Travel in Confidence
Duration: 12 DAYS
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This 12 day tour allows you to experience some of the highlights of New Zealand in a short time. Some superb inclusions ensure a varied and exciting tour.

Day 1: Welcome to Auckland City  

Personal, meet, greet and private transfer to your accommodation

A private transfer will meet you from your flight and drive you to your Auckland accommodation.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY – Harbour Dinner Cruise Sailing Experience

An on water dining experience is not to be missed in any harbour city especially in Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’ Enjoy great sailing and as the sun sets watch the night lights of this photogenic city come alive. Your experienced crew talk about Auckland’s unique features and there is plenty of opportunity to participate in the sailing or sit back and enjoy the sights.

At our sheltered mooring you will be served delicious New Zealand fare, you can choose from the sumptuous 3 course menu catered for by Snapdragon Restaurant, a top Viaduct Restaurant.

Day 2:  Auckland – Waitomo – Rotorua  ( B/ –/ –)

Auckland to Waitomo and Rotorua full day Experience with Great Sights including lunch

This full day tour has it all! From the magical glowworms and world-famous limestone formations of Waitomo to the rich cultural heritage and geothermal bounty of Rotorua. Includes a visit to the glow worm caves, a maori cultural performance, a visit to the Agrodome and bubbling mud pools and geysers.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY – Polynesian Lake Spa

Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa offers a unique thermal spa experience on the shore of Lake Rotorua. You’ll enjoy tranquil bathing and lake views in four shallow alkaline rock pools, each with different temperatures (36˚C to 42˚C). Here you are surrounded by revitalizing native New Zealand flora, natural rocks, the sound of two waterfalls and a grotto. The pools are filled with soothing alkaline mineral water leaving your skin soft and supple. Relax in the outdoor relaxation area overlooking the four hot mineral pools and Lake Rotorua, here you can further unwind on the five geothermally heated recliners set in the stunning backdrop of New Zealand’s lush and natural greenery. A large indoor relaxation lounge also overlooks Lake Rotorua, where as a Lake Spa guest, you are welcome to move from the pools to the lounge once dried off and return to bathe in the Lake Spa pools as you wish. The Lake Spa is a unique thermal pool environment, where the atmosphere changes from day to night, and from winter steam to summer sparkle.

Day 3: Rotorua – Mitai  ( B/ –/ D)

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Rotorua

Discover the real Middle-earth on the most picturesque private farmland, where you can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films in a fascinating 2 hour guided tour. Your tour starts with a drive through the picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. Your guide will escort you through the twelve acre site recounting fascinating details of how the Hobbiton Movie set was created. The Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, Mill and other structures created for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films can be viewed and you will see how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-Earth.

Mitai Maori Village

An evening at Mitai will give you an authentic introduction to Maori culture leaving you amazed and in awe. Be enthralled by the natural bush setting, see warriors in traditional dress, paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream, and don’t miss your only opportunity in the Rotorua area to see glow worms in their natural habitat. Marvel at the crystal clear water full of eels and trout, flowing directly from the earth at the sacred Fairy Spring. See your traditionally cooked hangi meal being lifted from the ground. During our cultural performance, you’ll learn about our past, carvings and ta moko (tattoo art). Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat, coupled with the grace and beauty of the poi dance. You’ll be amazed by the spine tingling haka finale. The Mitai family is proud to have created a sacred and spiritual place that offers you an indigenous cultural experience like no other.

Day 4:  Fly Rotorua to Christchurch  ( B/ –/ –)

Rotorua Accommodation to Rotorua Airport

You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to Rotorua Airport in time for your flight.

Air New Zealand flight Rotorua to Christchurch

PLEASE NOTE: Domestic air travel in New Zealand is in economy class. Airfares are non refundable and can usually only be changed by upgrading to a higher fare and by paying a service fee.

Private transfer Christchurch airport to your accommodation

You will be met on arrival from your flight and a private driver will deliver you to your Christchurch accommodation.

Day 5: Christchurch – Mt Cook National Park  ( B/ –/ –)

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park with Great Sights

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains you head into Mackenzie country. Ascending Burkes Pass, you’ll enter New Zealand’s high country. The picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, is the first of the large Southern Lakes on your journey and enjoy a short stop here to enjoy the picturesque lake and one of the most photographed buildings in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd. Continue onto Lake Pukaki and on clear days you will be rewarded with a spectacular views of Mt Cook, towering over the lake. The spectacular scenic drive along the lake delivers you into the heart of the national park and Mt. Cook Village.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY – Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

An up close amazing encounter with icebergs, on a glacial terminal lake. Glacier Explorers is the only tour of its kind in New Zealand, and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of these are accessible to the average person. By using a boat you get close to towering icecliffs and huge floating icebergs. The boats provide a safe way to unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand’s largest glacier. Being able to view, touch and taste 500 year old ice is a new experience for most people! Departing from Mount Cook Village outside The Hermitage Hotel you board a small bus for a pleasant trip to the Tasman Valley, followed by an easy 30 minute stroll through the National Park. Then board your MAC boat, and enjoy the ever changing ice face of the Tasman Glacier icebergs on the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake. The 2.5 hour trip (45 min to 1 hour on the lake) enjoys a commentary throughout provided by your experienced guide.

Day 6:  Mt Cook National Park – Queenstown  ( B/ –/ –)

Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown with Great Sights

Twizel, just south of Mt. Cook was the location of many Lord of the Rings movie scenes and a little further on is Omarama and a short afternoon tea stop is available here (own expense). Crossing the Lindis Pass this is one of New Zealand’s highest roads with the summit reaching 971 metres, you pass from the Mackenzie Basin and into Central Otago. The next major town is Cromwell, a major fruit growing region, which sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge. Follow the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards Queenstown and the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand’s premier wine growing regions. Approaching Queenstown the impressive Remarkables mountain range come into view and then beautiful Lake Wakatipu as you head towards the adventure and activity capital of New Zealand.

Day 7: Free day to explore Queenstown  ( B/ –/ –)

Free day in Queenstown

Queenstown is a destination for all seasons with entertainment and activities to suit everyone. Situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, one of the more popular cruises is on board the TSS Earnslaw steamship to Walter Peak High Country Station for a barbeque dinner. During the day you could take a guided tour of the Gibbston Valley and Bannockburn wineries with Appellation Wine Tours or for some 4WD fun, Nomad Safaris can take you to historic Mace Town or Skippers Canyon. Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies were partly filmed in the region so a Safari of the Scenes tour is great for lovers of beautiful scenery as well as fans of the movies. If you want to get you blood pumping a bit more, the iconic Shotover Jet Boat Ride is a must, or venture into Mt Aspiring National Park for a journey into pristine wilderness first on a jet boat ride up the Dart River, then a short walk through magnificent beech forests. Queenstown is known as the ‘Adventure Capital’ of NZ, so for maximum thrills you can try bungy jumping, skydiving or white water rafting. For a great introduction to the region the Queenstown Highlights Tour explores Arrowtown and the Gibbston Valley as well as taking in some remarkable photo stops. Queenstown is also the perfect base from which to explore Fiordland National Park. Take the Real Journeys luxury coach to Milford Sound, one of the most breath-taking journeys in the world, then cruise the pristine waters of the fiord with its bountiful waterfalls, there’s also the option to return back to Queenstown by aeroplane for a bird’s eye view of the this breath-taking region.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY – Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure

Riding the iconic ‘Big Red’ Jet Boat through the narrow Shotover Canyon is an exhilarating experience not to be missed. Your skilled jet boat driver pushes the boat to 85 kph, skimming across shallow water and past towering canyon walls. This 25 minute white water ride includes 360 degree spins and maximum thrills.


Marvel at the stunning views as you ride the Skyline Queenstown Gondola – the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere, and one of the must-do activities in Queenstown! Sit back and relax as the best views in the region unfold before your eyes and the Gondola carries you 450 metres above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob’s Peak. En route you will enjoy a spectacular 220 degree panorama, with breath taking views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak and over Queenstown. On arrival the purpose built viewing platforms and outdoor terraces provide great photo opportunities and you can enjoy a meal at the Market Kitchen Cafe.

Day 8: Milford Sound day tour with Real Journeys  ( B/ –/ L)

Milford Sound Nature Cruise with return luxury coach transfers from Queenstown

Return luxury coach transport from Queenstown to Milford Sound, with an extended 2½ hour Nature Cruise along the full length of the fiord.
On boarding a Real Journeys luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown, you will enjoy a relaxing trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau. The coach driver provides an informative commentary. After a morning tea break in Te Anau, where you have the option of purchasing refreshments, the coach continues along the spectacular Milford Road. There is time for photo stops and short walks along the way.
On reaching Milford Sound, you board the Milford Mariner for a leisurely extended cruise of the fiord. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rain forest, mountains and wildlife with extensive commentary by the on board nature guide. Includes picnic boxed lunch.

Day 9: Dart River Safari tour – TSS Earnslaw cruise – Dinner  ( B/ –/ D)

Dart River Wilderness Safari

The most scenic Jet Boating in New Zealand. A 1½ hour ride along the Dart River amongst towering mountains and the refreshingly beautiful wilderness of the Mt Aspiring National Park. This is followed by a short and easy walk, of 20-40 minutes, through ancient forests, unchanged for 80 million years. Hear an informative and entertaining commentary on the area and its history – including the quest by early Maori for highly prized pounamu (greenstone). You’ll then board your back road 4WD coach for a journey to Paradise and beyond. This 40-50 minute journey allows the opportunity to explore a region filled with spectacular vistas which have inspired many talented film makers to bring their projects to this area, including Lord of the Rings. Total trip time is around 6 hours from Queenstown or 4 hours from Glenorchy.

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour

Enjoy a return scenic cruise from downtown Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. On disembarking at Walter Peak you are warmly welcomed and escorted through the beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming Colonel’s Homestead. Relax in the unique ambience of the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant, the heart of the stately homestead at Walter Peak. Here, you’ll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. The delicious seasonal menu includes an expansive array of New Zealand and local produce, from succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie or grill, a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Then finish your meal with our irresistible desserts, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea & coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration gives you a glimpse of life in the high country. On the magical night-time cruise home, you can enjoy the camaraderie of a sing-a-long with the ship’s pianist or breathe in the fresh night air on the moonlit decks as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Day 10: Queenstown – Franz Josef Glacier  ( B/ –/ –)

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Depart Queenstown by coach passing through Cromwell, Wanaka and Hawea before travelling over the magnificent Haast Pass into Westland. On arrival transfer to your accommodation. A local shuttle is available to take you to the glacier base where you can enjoy some short walks and magnificent views. Perhaps take a scenic helicopter flight for the ultimate view. Spectacular photo opportunities abound of these huge ice masses. Watch out for keas (native parrots) and their inquisitive cheeky play.

Glacier Valley shuttle

You will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Glacier Valley Eco Tours and taken on a short tour to view the glacier. Your shuttle vehicle will transfer you up the Franz Josef valley to the road end. Here you will have the opportunity to walk to view the glacier from a viewing platform. Or enjoy one of the short walks available in this area. You will be returned to your accommodation by the Glacier Valley Eco Tours shuttle.

Day 11: Franz Josef – Greymouth train station – Tranz Alpine train – Christchurch  ( B/ –/ –)

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station with Intercity

This morning travel north through the small townships of Whataroa and Harihari. Stop at the Bushman’s Centre for refreshments and a chance to experience a bit of West Coast humour. Continue through the township of Ross, which in the late 1800s was the centre of one of New Zealand’s richest alluvial goldfields. In 1903 the largest gold nugget ever found in New Zealand was discovered at Jones Creek, not far from the town centre. It weighed 2807 grams. The New Zealand Government later purchased the nugget and presented it as a coronation gift to King George V. On arrival into Hokitika there is time to purchase lunch, walk around the town centre, to view the greenstone factories, visit the woodworking studio, or just relax and enjoy the windswept coast. Hokitika is the administrative and commercial centre for this part of Westland. The major primary industry is timber milling. Dairy and sheep farming, commercial fishing, white baiting and eel processing being the other major industries. Continue onto Greymouth Railway Station from where you catch the world famous Tranz Alpine train across the Southern Alps to Christchurch.

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch

Considered one of the world’s great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You’ll travel from the Tasman Sea through Arthur’s Pass National Park to the Pacific Ocean. From the comfort of your carriage you will rise from the lush rain forest of the West Coast to the spectacular mountains of the Southern Alps. Traveling through gorges and the river valley of the Waimakariri River you’ll descend to the farmland of the Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

Private transfer Christchurch train station to your accommodation

A private transfer will meet you on arrival into Christchurch train station and drive you to your Christchurch accommodation.

Day 12: Depart Christchurch  

Private transfer to Christchurch airport

You will be collected from your accommodation and a private transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport in time for your departing flight.