Discover a colourful kaleidoscope of New Zealand country life and leisurely touring with two night stopovers along the way. Explore the beautiful Northland and Coromandel coastlines and experience the warmth of Maori culture in the Waipoua Forest and Rotorua. At Lake Tarawera and mid-Canterbury enjoy private lunches with your hosts. Visit Wellington and cruise across Cook Strait. Drive the spectacular Kaikoura coastline, to the foothills of the Southern Alps. Stay close to Aoraki/Mt Cook and drive to Milford Sound to cruise by Mitre Peak. Relax in Queenstown and discover the West Coast’s rainforests, glaciers, Punakaiki Pancake rocks and Arthur’s Pass.
- Comfortable coach travel with a maximum of 18 passengers
- Tour at a relaxed pace
- Learn about Maori culture
- Geothermal wonderland of Rotorua
- Art Deco Napier
- Marlborough region wine tasting
- Albatross and whales encounter from Kaikoura
- Milford Sound cruise
- See stunning West Coast Glaciers
- Knowledgable guide throughout
- Some speciality meals included
Day 1 Auckland to Hokianga
Leaving Auckland you will travel north through the wine growing district of Kumeu and on to Helensville. Skirt the shoreline of the Kaipara Harbour, one of the world’s largest inland tidal estuaries. There are elevated views of the harbour as you travel to Wellsford and on to the Matakohe Kauri Museum. North of Dargaville, enter the primeval forest of Waipoua (translated as water falling at night). Accompany Footprints Waipoua, a group of young Maori dedicated to preserving the traditions and culture of Ngapuhi, the northern Maori tribe, to visit Tane Mahuta, the God of the forest, (51 metres tall, girth 13.8 metres) and gain a deeper understanding of this unique forest. This evening dine at your hotel on the harbour edge with your tour group.
Hotel: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Hokianga (1 night) - Meals included: Dinner
Day 2: Hokianga to Bay of Islands
This morning cruise out onto the Hokianga Harbour with the MV Hokianga Express. This beautiful waterway is a significant and spiritual place for Maori, something that is made evident to us as you cruise this great harbour. Take the chance to explore the sand dunes and, if you are adventurous, ride a body board down the dunes. Leave Omapere for the tiny town of Rawene on the southern side of the Hokianga. The vehicle ferry takes you from here to Kohukohu (the place of mist) on the northern side of the inlet. In the afternoon, tour the scenic coastal road to Matauri Bay following the picturesque coastline with views to the Cavalli Islands and the resting place of the Green Peace flagship the Rainbow Warrior. Kerikeri is a thriving town known for citrus orchards and arts and crafts. Visit the Stone Store, New Zealand's oldest stone building. Your destination today is Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. The sparkling blue waters of this maritime park are dotted with islands - paradise for beach lovers and sailors.
Hotel: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands (2 nights) - Meals included: Breakfast
Day 3 Bay of Islands
This morning step on board a cruise from Paihia out to a maritime park of 144 islands, Cape Brett and the “Hole in the Rock” and Otehei Bay, Urupukapuka Island. The catamaran is purpose built for dolphin viewing and swimming. Encounter these intelligent and playful mammals. Get ready with the provided mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit. Once a pod of dolphins is found, Department of Conservation regulations determine whether a swim is possible (swimming is optional). Your cruise returns to Russell at 1.10pm approximately. The first capital of New Zealand, Russell (Kororareka) has a rollicking 19th century past when it was known as the “hell hole of the South Pacific” and was a favourite haunt of whalers and sealers. Drive up to Flagstaff Hill for wide views over the Bay before catching the vehicular ferry to Opua and return to Waitangi.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 4 Bay of Islands to Auckland
Visit the Waitangi Treaty House where local Maori signed the Waitangi Treaty with Queen Victoria’s representatives in 1840 – a significant event in New Zealand’s history. From Waitangi’s lawns there are magnificent views out over the Bay of Islands. Next visit the Kawiti Glowworm Caves at Hikurangi and leave civilization behind to head to the beautiful beaches of Woolley’s Bay, Sandy Bay, Whale Bay and Matapouri. From here travel to Tutukaka, departure point for the Poor Knight Islands, to Ngunguru, the city of Whangarei and over the Brynderwyn hills to Auckland, the City of Sails. Enjoy this vibrant city from your waterside hotel.
Hotel: Sebel Suites Auckland (1 night) - Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 5 Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula, Whitianga
Travel south from Auckland over the Bombay Hills and into the dairy farming heartland of the Waikato ("full flowing water"). From here, drive the scenic western side of the Peninsula to a special lunch at Rapaura Watergardens where you can wander through native bush to a cascading waterfall and lily ponds. Travelling further north along this picturesque coastline, arrive at Coromandel where the town’s gold mining past is visible in the restored wooden buildings lining the main street. This afternoon, cross the ranges to visit the stunning east coast beaches of Whangapoua (Harbour of Shellfish), Matarangi (Headland in the Sky), Kuaotunu (Young of Eels) and Otama (of my son). It is no wonder this beautiful coastline is a favourite holiday playground for Kiwis. Spend the night at Buffalo Beach, Whitianga on Mercury Bay.
Hotel: Admiralty Lodge Motel (1 night) - Meals Included: Breakfast & lunch
Day 6 Whitianga to Rotorua
Start the day with a short ferry ride across the Whitianga estuary to Ferry Landing, Cooks Beach to meet your coach. Alternatively, take a cruise (optional) to Hahei Beach. On the coast just north of Hahei is Cathedral Cove, a sublime beach of white sands and limestone outcrops. Nearby at Hot Water Beach, natural thermal hot springs bubble up through the sand. Depending on tide times you can dig your very own hot pool. Driving beside three bush-fringed lakes, Rotoma, Rotoehu and Rotoiti you will reach Rotorua, your home for two nights.
Hotel: Holiday Inn Rotorua (2 nights) - Meals included: Breakfast
Day 7 Rotorua
A leisurely day in this lakeside town at the heart of Maori culture. The first highlight is a cruise on Lake Rotoiti on a 16 metre catamaran “Tiua” exploring secluded coves with the chance to take the helm, fish for trout, swim in the lake or soak in hot pools. The skipper and crew share local legends and point out historic sites. Come ashore to go "bush driving" to the Blue Lake (Tikitapu), and the Green Lake (Rotokakahi). Above Lake Tarawera relax over an exclusive lunch at Pounamu Lodge with hosts David and Karen. Karen has stories to tell of her ancestor Guide Sophia who lead visitors to safety when the Pink and White Terraces were destroyed by the Mt Tarawera eruption in 1886. After lunch, learn about Maori culture with a personal experience at Ohinemutu Village before finishing the day at Rotorua's exceptional museum. This evening you will be touched by the warmth of a Maori concert – the traditional welcome to visitors – and a dinner that includes hangi food steamed in an earth oven.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Day 8 Rotorua to Napier
Explore a favourite geothermal hideaway, Orakei Korako (place of adorning), crossing the lake to a wonderland of silica terraces, bubbling mud pools and an enchanting Aladdin’s Cave, Ruatapu (meaning sacred hole in Maori). A hot pool at the bottom of this deep cave is known as Waiwhakaata, (pool of mirrors). On the road into Taupo view the turbulent Huka Falls where the Waikato River thunders through a narrow chasm. From Taupo there are magnificent views across the lake to the three active volcanoes - Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu (2,797 metres), the highest mountain in the North Island. Leaving the lake, the road winds over the ranges to the seaside town of Napier. Renowned for its Art Deco architecture, Napier was rebuilt in this style after an earthquake in 1931. These days it’s also an acclaimed wine region and your guide will introduce you to the premier vineyards before ending the day with a guided art deco tour. Your hotel is right on the waterfront.
Hotel: Scenic Hotel Te Pania (1 night) - Meals included: Breakfast
Day 9 Napier to Wellington
Start the day with a drive to Havelock North and up Te Mata Peak for fantastic views of the region before heading south through Hawkes Bay’s pastoral landscape of orchards, farms and vineyards to the Wairarapa. At Pukaha Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre see endangered birds such as kiwi, kaka, kokako and takahe and the tuatara, a “living fossil” reptile that lived at the time of the dinosaurs. Finish the day by traversing the Rimutaka Ranges to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. Your contemporary inner city hotel is at the heart of Wellington's eclectic cafe scene.
Hotel: The Bolton Hotel (1 night) - Meals included: Breakfast
Day 10 Wellington to Kaikoura
This morning catch the Interislander ferry to cruise for three hours across Cook Strait into Tory Channel and up beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton. With your feet firmly planted on “Te Waka a Maui”, the South Island, tour Marlborough’s premier wine and food region renowned for sauvignon blanc. Leave behind the dry hills of Marlborough and drive south to Kaikoura, a small hamlet beside the ocean and beneath the towering Kaikoura Mountains. You will stay right on the waterfront. Seafood, especially crayfish, is a specialty in this ocean side town.
Hotel: White Morph Motor Inn (2 nights)
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 11 Kaikoura
Relax on the coast with time for optional close encounters with seals and whales. Cruise out on the “Albatross Encounter” for close up seabird viewing in the albatross capital of New Zealand, if not the world. There are up to 12 species of albatross, plus penguins, gannets, skuas, shearwaters, petrels and terns. Your driver/guide has a day off today.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 12 Kaikoura to Mt Somers
The highway continues down the coast and winds inland over the Hunderlee Hills before dropping down to the Canterbury Plains. The wine district of Waipara set on terraces above the river is an ideal coffee stop. Your special lunch destination is Akaunui Farm homestead where you will enjoy the warm hospitality of Di and Ian Mackenzie, picking up farming tips from Ian and lunching on fresh produce from Di’s bountiful garden. Later drive over to the foothills of the Southern Alps to the small village of Mt Somers. There is time for a walk to the Staveley waterfall at the base of Mt Somers. This evening high country cuisine is on the menu.
Hotel: Stronechrubie Chalets (1 night) - Meals included: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Day 13 Mt Somers to Aoraki/Mount Cook
Leave the Canterbury Plains and ascend Burkes Pass as the landscape changes from farmland to dramatic, sweeping vistas of tussock lands, the mountains of the Mackenzie Basin and the aquamarine waters of Lake Tekapo. Nearby the Church of the Good Shepherd and a sculpture celebrating the hard-working high country sheepdog are two irresistible photo stops. Continue to the head of Lake Pukaki and up to the village at the foot of Mt Cook, at 3,754 metres New Zealand's highest mountain, as Aoraki “the cloud piercer”. This afternoon ride the “Glacier Explorer” across the Tasman Glacier terminal lake to the icebergs. Perhaps treat yourself to a helicopter or fixed wing flight around Aoraki/Mt Cook and over the main divide to the West Coast (optional). Spend the evening surrounded by towering mountain peaks and magnificent alpine scenery.
Hotel: The Hermitage (1 night) - Meals included: Breakfast
Day 14 Aoraki/Mt Cook to Queenstown
There’s time for an early morning stroll in the valley before we head down the mountain rimmed Mackenzie Basin, over the golden grass ranges of Lindis Pass and through the craggy Kawarau Gorge into Queenstown. We ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for a scenic overview of this picturesque resort and adrenalin adventure destination. Your hotel is just above the town with views to Lake Wakatipu and Remarkables Range. There’s a great variety of restaurants and cafes and your driver/guide will let you know their favourites.
Hotel: Scenic Suites (2 nights) - Meals included: Breakfast
Day 15 Fiordland
Travel alongside Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau and Milford Sound deep in the heart of Fiordland National Park. The Milford Road is a panorama of high mountains and deep valleys studded with glaciers, waterfalls and mirror lakes. Cruise down Milford Sound, a majestic fiord dominated by iconic Mitre Peak, and out to the Tasman Sea. Return to Queenstown on a stunning scenic flight over the mountaintops.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 16 Queenstown to Wanaka
The morning is free to further explore Queenstown. Perhaps cruise on the Tss Earnslaw (optional), take a jet boat ride (optional) on the remote and beautiful Dart River in The Lord of the Rings scenery or walk along the lakeshore. This afternoon, the first destination is the leafy village of Arrowtown where gold mining history comes alive beside the Arrow River. Heading into tussock country, the road climbs up the Crown Range with expansive views of the Gibbston Valley. Call into the Cardrona Hotel, its history also traced back to the gold mining era then continue on to Wanaka amid a panorama of mountain peaks. Tonight dine in a private homestead with warm hosts and stunning lake views.
Hotel: Edgewater Resort (1 night) - Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Day 17 Wanaka to Franz Josef
Drive beside Lake Hawea and the top of Lake Wanaka before heading into the pristine mountain and river scenery of the Haast Pass in Mt Aspiring National Park. Well-maintained tracks through native beech forests lead to cascading waterfalls and clear blue pools where trout lurk. Leaving the mountains, the road winds along the edge of the river to Haast where the Department of Conservation Centre documents the region’s colourful history, flora and fauna. Continue north through the lush, primeval rainforest of Westland World Heritage Park, stopping at Ship Creek for a stroll on the beach to the dune lake and through swampland rainforest. Lake Matheson is famous for its reflections of the Alps and at Franz Josef you will view the glacier descending through rainforest.
Hotel: Punga Gove (2 nights) - Meals included: Breakfast
Day 18 Franz Josef
Today relax and enjoy the beauty of this remote World Heritage Park. Perhaps take an early morning flight over the Southern Alps to Aoraki/Mt Cook and experience the thrill of landing on a glacier (optional) or join a guided hike onto the glacier (optional). Later drive out to the coast to visit the tiny, isolated settlement of Okarito nestled between the Tasman Sea and Okarito Lagoon. You could kayak (optional) on the shallow waters of the lagoon, a feeding ground of the rare white heron (kotuku) which breeds nearby in the Waitangi Roto Nature Reserve, a 1,000-year-old kahikatea rainforest. Or for close up views take a jet boat ride (optional) from Whataroa down the river to an exclusive hide tucked away in the rainforest. At the end of the day there’s nothing better than to soak in Franz Josef’s hot pools (optional) fed by pure glacier water before dining in the village.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 19 Franz Josef to Punakaiki
Travel up the coast passing mirror lakes, boulder-laden rivers and catching glimpses of the Southern Alps. At Hokitika there’s time to visit craft galleries – Pounamu (greenstone) carving, glass blowing, wood and copper artisans. A beautiful coastal road following part of the ancient Pounamu trails used by Maori leads to your hotel on the coast at Punakaiki. Unique coastal flora includes the southernmost nikau palms. A little further up the road is the leading local attraction - the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, sculpted limestone sea stacks and towering cliffs. If the tide is right, blowholes thunder spreading clouds of spray. We celebrate our travels this evening in the hotel’s Jacob's restaurant.
Hotel: Punakaiki Resort (1 night) - Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Day 20 Punakaiki to Christchurch
Retracing the coastal route, drive up the Otira Gorge on a spectacular cantilevered road through towering mountains to Arthur’s Pass National Park stopping at the lookout to watch the mischievous antics of the keas. Stretch your legs in the beech forests at Arthur’s Pass village and at the massive limestone rocks rising out of bare pasture at Castle Hill before descending Porter’s Pass to the Canterbury Plains reaching Christchurch in the late afternoon where your tour ends.
Meals included: Breakfast
This tour starts in Auckland on the following dates:
January 7, 28
February 10, 17, 19
MoaTrek hand-picks the best accommodation New Zealand has to offer. Stay in an eclectic range of places from luxury hotels in the heart of the action to boutique retreats off the beaten track. One thing is certain, they are all memorable places your mind will drift back to when your holiday is long over.
All breakfasts are included in your tour price. Three special lunches are included at Rapaura Watergardens, Coromandel Peninsula; Pounamu Lodge, Lake Tarawera, Rotorua; Akaunui Farm homestead, Canterbury. You will also enjoy five special dinners at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Hokianga, a Maori hangi in Rotorua; high country cuisine at Mt Somers, private Wanaka homestead and celebratory final dinner at Punakaiki Resort.
The following is included in your tour:
- Transport by comfortable, air conditioned coach (maximum of 18 travellers).
- Services of a knowledgeable driver/guide.
- Quality accommodation
- Learn about Northland’s history at the Kauri Museum, Matakohe.
- Walk with Maori guides to Tane Mahuta the giant Kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest.
- Launch ride across Hokianga Harbour to explore the sand dunes.
- Ferry across the Hokianga from Rawene to Kohukohu.
- Visit the Waitangi Treaty House and the Stone Store in Kerikeri.
- Swim with dolphins on a cruise to the Hole in the Rock and Cape Brett in the Bay of Islands.
- Explore the Kawiti glowworm caves.
- Private Maori Culture tour of Ohinemutu Village.
- Maori concert and hangi dinner in Rotorua.
- Cruise across Lake Rotoiti on a catamaran. Soak in the lake's mineral hot pools, only accessible by boat.
- Visit Rotorua Museum.
- Visit the thermal wonderland at Orakei Korako.
- Private guided tour of Art Deco Napier.
- See kiwi, tuatara and other unique wildlife at Pukaha Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre.
- Interislander ferry cruise across Cook Strait.
- Wine tasting in the Marlborough region.
- Albatross, seal and whale encounter in Kaikoura.
- Tasman Valley walk and cruise to the face of the Tasman Glacier.
- Scenic flight and 2.5 hour nature and wildlife cruise on Milford Sound.
- Walk in Haast Pass mountain beech forests to waterfalls and blue pools.
- View Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier.
- See the blow holes at the Punakaiki Pancake rocks.
- Drive the Otira Gorge highway to Arthur’s Pass.
|All Tour Dates||Twin||Single|
|12 Jul 12 - 11 Mar 13||£4844||£6214|
- 19 nights accommodation as described
- Transportation by comfortable mini-coach with maximum of 18 people
- Daily Breakfast
- 3 Special Lunched & 5 Dinners
- Sightseeing & attractions as described in itinerary
- Professional tour guide
- Meal & sightseeing other than detailed in the itinerary
- Flights to & from New Zealand: We can arrange these for you, please ask us for an airfare when making your enquiry.
- Pre & post tour accommodation in Auckland or Christchurch
- Gratuities for your driver / guide