22 January 2017
Here is your chance to travel the length of New Zealand on one of our most popular coach tour itineraries. In the North Island experience sightseeing tours of Auckland and Wellington and enjoy the Bay of Islands Hole in the Rock cruise. Down in the South Island enhance your holiday enjoyment by choosing an optional helicopter flight over Fox Glacier. During the course of this 18 day Panorama tour you will have free time in Paihia (Bay of Islands), Rotorua, Queenstown and Dunedin so you can relax or choose one of the many different and diverse optional excursions such as the helicopter flight, a trip on the Taieri Gorge Railway in Dunedin and the thermal pools in Rotorua to name just a few. So just sit back and watch New Zealand pass by your window!
Welcome to New Zealand and Auckland, the City of Sails. You will be greeted at the airport with a smile and transferred to your hotel by one of our experienced tour representatives. As you travel into the city centre you will spot Skytower, Auckland's iconic landmark. Your accommodation this evening is less than half a block from this landmark and not far from the famous waterfront area with its great shops and restaurants.
Cross Auckland's Harbour Bridge and drive north along the Hibiscus Coast skimming past the many seaside villages on the Whangaporoa Peninsula. At Matakohe visit the Kauri Museum then continue north through Kawakawa to Paihia, where you meet our local Maori guide, who will provide a comprehensive insight and history of the Bay of Islands, before a visit to New Zealand's birthplace, Waitangi and a tour through the famous Treaty House and the Maori Meeting House set in spectacular grounds. This afternoon enjoy a cruise through the sheltered waters of the Bay of Islands to Cape Brett.
A day free to relax and enjoy the many optional activities available. Your coach captain will assist with all details. We recommend a full day tour to Cape Reinga, New Zealand's northern most point. Here you can get an understanding of the Maori myths and legends, go sand boarding down the giant dunes and travel along Ninety Mile Beach. Other recommended tours are Discover Hokianga, Discover Kerikeri, or go swimming with the dolphins on a Dolphin Eco Experience. Tonight you can choose the optional activity Culture North Night Show, a re-enactment of the story of The Maori and European forefathers set in the meeting house.
Bid farewell to the 144 islands of the Bay of Islands. Your journey will take you south past scenic native forests and sub-tropical bush and the towns of Whangarei and Warkworth before crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge and arriving back in the city. You have an included tour to the top of the iconic Skytower, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, for panoramic views across the city and its two harbours. Then you take the Waterfront Drive before crossing the Bombay Hills to the lush farmlands of the Waikato region. Drive past the bush clad Mamaku Ranges to Rotorua, famous for its geothermal activity, thrilling activities, Maori culture and lakes.
An action packed day today with many included sightseeing activities. First a visit to Agrodome, for an exciting and informative insight into the world of New Zealand agriculture. Next stop is at Rainbow Springs Park where you will see pools of brown and rainbow trout and native birds including the Kiwi. Last activity is the spectacular Skyline Gondola, offering superb views over city, lake and mountains . . . and for a little excitement, try a Luge ride with our compliments. This evening you are in for a cultural treat. Watch in awe as two warriors perform a formal Powhiri (welcome), the Haka (war dance), and see the talented Poi dances. The concert is complemented by a mouth-watering buffet.
View the mighty Huka Falls and the Wairakei Geothermal project before stopping at Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand. Continue on to Napier, often regarded as the world’s Art Deco capital. On arrival, enjoy a locally guided walking tour of the city.
A leisurely day as you travel south over the Rimutaka ranges into the capital city, Wellington. A city tour will incorporate the summit of Mt Victoria for panoramic views of the city and harbour, the Houses of Parliament and the distinctive "Beehive", Wellington Cathedral, city centre and Oriental Bay. There is ample time for you to explore the city yourself. Don't miss Te Papa, the "Museum of New Zealand" or take a ride on the famous Cable Car.
Today completes your North Island tour as you venture to the South Island on board the Interislander Ferry a unique experience treasured by many. Enjoy the spectacular views of New Zealand's capital from Wellington Harbour then continue through the heads crossing Cook Strait into the secluded waters of Queen Charlotte Sound. Your arrive at Picton, a quaint village nestled on the shimmering shores of the Marlborough Sounds. Here you will be welcomed and met by your South Island Tours coach captain. Upon arrival into Picton, continue south to Blenheim where you will be dining this evening at The Olde Malthouse. Here, you will take a guided walk to discover the rich and fascinating history of this 1858 building, as well as enjoying a tasting of Marlborough wines and Renaissance Craft beers
Leave the vineyards behind you and travel through the Awatere Valley to the Pacific Ocean Coast. You will be able to clearly spot Lake Grassmere by its mounds of sea salt drying. Follow the Pacific Coast to Kaikoura, simply translated means KAI = food & KOURA = crayfish (Lobster). Kaikoura is a small seaside settlement with an incredible backdrop of the rugged, often snow capped, Kaikoura mountain range that appears to ascend straight from the Pacific Ocean. This unique combination of ocean and mountains offers stunning coastal alpine scenery. Continue south through the fertile North Canterbury farmlands and onto the arable Canterbury Plains and Christchurch "the gateway to Antarctica". On arrival into Christchurch experience the International Antarctic Centre. This is located at Christchurch airport and if you look closely you may see some of the aircraft heading to Antarctica. From here you are taken into the city centre to board "The Tourist Tram". This will highlight Christchurch's gardens, the Avon River, Hagley Park and the impressive Gothic Architecture.
As you leave the most English city outside of England, your coach captain will highlight the main attractions. From the arable plains travel inland to the rolling green pastures of Geraldine and onto MacKenzie Country. On the shores of Lake Tekapo visit the Church of the Good Shepherd, quite likely the most photographed church on your tour. Here there is an opportunity to fly over the Southern Alps before continuing on to Mt Cook National Park, home of New Zealand's highest mountain. Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Centre - a tribute to the famous mountaineer then travel back down the valley along the shores of Lake Pukaki, to Omarama, nestled in the hills of the Lindis range.
Today follow the beautiful braided Waitaki River east, before reaching the Pacific Ocean at Historic Oamaru. En route visit Moeraki Boulders, marvelling at the huge spherical stones, found strewn along a stretch of Koekohe Beach. An early arrival into Dunedin, "The Edinburgh of the South" allows you time to explore this nature lover's playground. Experience at least one optional tour - combine a Monarch Harbour cruise with a Newton's Citibus tour, and see penguins, albatross and seals. Alternatively take a nostalgic trip on the Taieri Gorge Train, leaving from Dunedin's historic Railway Station. This evening prior to dinner, you are treated to a traditional Scottish Haggis Ceremony.
This morning visit the historic Larnach Castle on the Otago Peninsula looking back over Dunedin. From here you travel south west over rich fertile farmlands on the Presidential Highway. As you proceed inland you will see the unusual combination of wind turbines and deer farms in the Mossburn area. If weather and time permits, visit the mysterious Lake Manapouri, (the Lake of many islands). Continue to Lake Te Anau the Gateway to Fiordland. To the west of Lake Te Anau you have good views of the Murchison Mountains.
Today your coach will climb through the Southern Alps, travelling on one of the highest and most scenic state highways in New Zealand. Leave Te Anau and travel through Fiordland National Park, following the Eglington and Hollyford Valleys, into the Cleddau Canyon to magnificent Milford Sound. You will see for yourself why Rudyard Kipling described Milford Sound as the 'eighth wonder of the world'. Experience Milford Sound from the water . . . a cruise will take you to the Tasman Sea and back, stopping at the raging Bowen Falls and Stirling Falls. If time and weather permits you can explore the lower Hollyford Valley before your return to Te Anau.
This morning travel by boat across Lake Te Anau to explore the fascinating Te Anau caves system on the western shore. This tour offers an underground adventure that charms visitors of all ages. The tour takes you to a mysterious world of rushing water before drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of thousands of glowworms. From Te Anau travel onto Kingston before hugging the shores of Lake Wakatipu to reach New Zealand's adventure capital Queenstown. This evening cruise across the lake aboard the steamship TSS Earnslaw for dinner in the Colonel's Homestead at Walter Peak High Country Farm.
A full day to explore the many delights of this stunning alpine resort, backdrop for the Lord of the Rings film triology. Try the world renowned Shotover Jet, an excursion to Skippers Canyon in search of gold or a steamer cruise aboard the historic Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station. You may wish to travel by double decker coach to quaint Arrowtown, or even try a bungy jump or white water rafting. Alternatively, explore Queenstown's many boutiques and galleries.
Pass picturesque Lake Hayes then on to Lake Wanaka, a picture postcard resort on the lake's edge with a spectacular mountain backdrop. Pass Lake Hawea and the upper reaches of Lake Wanaka to Makarora, cross the Haast Pass into the Mt Aspiring and Westland National Parks then go north along the coast through the flourishing rain forests of the West Coast and onto the glorious Glacier region. This is an ideal opportunity for you to experience small town New Zealand. The rain forest and surrounding area is so green it will hurt your eyes and you can take an optional guided walk to the glacier's terminal face.
Time for an optional helicopter flight over the glacier then on to Franz Josef. Snow capped Southern Alps dominate the skyline as you tiny landlocked lakes. Visit a Greenstone (Jade) factory and see many artisans carving Jade into contemporary and traditional designs. From Greymouth leave travel through undulating farmlands, hugging the Taramakau River as it descends the valley. Go over the Otira viaduct and into Arthurs Pass, traversing the main divide. As you leave Arthurs Pass follow the Waimakariri River east to the Canterbury plains and into Christchurch. As an optional extra you can take the TranzAlpine Train back to Christchurch.
Today it is sadly farewell to your new found friends and travelling companions as this great New Zealand adventure comes to an end. After some last minute sightseeing and shopping in the city you will be taken to Christchurch International Airport in ample time to join your onward flight or begin your journey home.
Standard Rate fr £3398pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated