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16 Day Affordable Romantic Honeymoon escape – Extended version

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Description

Spend sixteen unforgettable days in New Zealand, and experience a honeymoon creating happy memories that will last a lifetime. Starting your journey in cosmopolitan Auckland, you will move through the North Island’s thermal wonderland and picturesque countryside and into the South Island, where you will be stunned by the magnificent scenery, entertained by the vast choice of activities and soothed by the opportunities for pampering and unwinding. The activities we have chosen are some of the most memorable on offer and the whole wonderful experience takes place in some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Tours can start on any day of the week and have the flexibility to be shortened, lengthened or be customised to your requirements.

Arrive Auckland - Auckland - Rotorua - At Rotorua - Rotorua - Tongariro National Park - Tongariro - Wellington - Wellington - Picton - Blenheim - Blenheim - Marlborough Region - Blenheim to Kaikoura - Kaikoura - Christchurch - Christchurch - Mount Cook - Mount Cook - Queenstown - Queenstown - Queenstown - Milford Sound - Fiordland National Park - Milford Sound - Dunedin - Dunedin - Auckland

DAY1

Arrive Auckland

Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest, busiest and most diverse city. Home to almost one third of the country’s population, and the business centre of the nation, it’s not surprising this vibrant metropolis is often mistaken for the country’s capital. Known as the ‘City of Sails’, Auckland is magnificently framed by the stunning waterways, the Hauraki Gulf and Manukau Harbour. 

Easily highlights of the city, the harbour and marina are in walking distance of your accommodation. Distinct in its pace, opportunities and multi-cultural influences, Auckland offers many diverse events, attractions and experiences. Auckland is a popular arrival destination for starting your New Zealand holiday, a fantastic place for a city break or a perfect venue for an unforgettable surfing holiday. Auckland, the “City of Sails”, lies on an extinct volcanic bed and is magnificently framed by geographic wonders – the stunning waterways of the Hauraki Gulf and Manukau Harbour and by native forests. 

From boats and boutiques, to surfing and socialising, Auckland is a marvellous multi-cultural city that offers so very many diverse events, attractions and experiences and is thus a great place for a city break.

 
DAY2

Auckland - Rotorua

Travelling Distance: 240 KM
Travelling Time: approx 3.5 hours 

Travelling south on SH1, the buzz of the city gives way to the more bucolic sights and sounds of the country – farms, market gardens and rivers. There are many interests en route, both urban and rural, vineyards at Te Kauwhata, the historic battle site at Rangiriri, the coal-mining town (and museum) at Huntly and the thermal springs at Waingaro. If time is plentiful and you’re looking for a diversion, there’s the beach at Raglan, known for its perfect surfing conditions, Maungatautari Ecological Island is 15kms from pretty Cambridge, the Mormon temple at Temple View is open to visitors. Taking SH5 at Tirau – known for its fascinating animal-shaped corrugated iron buildings and antique shops – the route travels through the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park, over interesting volcanic terrain and leads to Rotorua.

 
DAY3

At Rotorua

This day will see you travelling to the fascinating Waimangu Volcanic Valley (20 mins south of Rotorua) – the youngest geothermal valley in the world (formed 1886). Take a hike round this geothermal phenomenon followed by a scenic cruise on a crater lake. 

In the evening immerse yourselves in the outdoor thermal spas overlooking Lake Rotorua and if you really want to treat yourself, try one of the many massage therapies on offer (massage with additional cost). Other options for today: * Visit Rotorua Skyline Gondola to enjoy the views and a drink. * Visit the Rainbow Springs where you can view the Kiwi in its nature. * Visit the Agrodome – to view sheep shearing

 
DAY4

Rotorua - Tongariro National Park

Travel Distance: Approx. 184KM
Travel Time: Approx. 2 & ¾ hours 

Whether you drive on SH30, then SH1 or follow SH5 south towards Taupo, a riveting journey is guaranteed. Traversing this active geothermal area, the volcanic terrain is fascinating and has huge geological appeal. En route look out for the tremendous and unique thermal valleys. Wai-O-Tapu has been active for over 150,000 years and has some remarkable features such as the deep cauldron-like craters bubbling frantically with mud and the coloured pools. Waimangu Volcanic Valley is the world’s newest geothermal system and features both a scenic reserve and a wildlife refuge – walks, cruises and bus trips are available. 

The more secluded Waikite Valley Thermal Pools are equally worth a diversion. Other interesting places to visit include the hydro power station at Atiamuri and the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station further south. For a natural, perhaps ‘raw’, experience of the pure energy of water, make time to visit both the stunning Aratiatia rapids and the Huka Falls where water hurtles down at a rate of more than 220, 000 litres per second. 

Travelling around the largest lake in New Zealand, the wonderful Lake Taupo, and past Turangi, known as the trout capital of the world, SH1 then SH47 leads directly to the volcanic Tongariro National Park.

 
DAY5

Tongariro - Wellington

Travel Distance: Approx 340KM
Travel Time: 5 hours; via SH2 

Approx 6 hours Heading south from Tongariro National Park on SH4 past the Makatote viaduct and then SH49, there’s a picnic opportunity in the Karioi State Forest before Waiouru which is in the heart of army territory – if the military is of interest, the museum is worth a visit. Heading south through broken country past Taihape there is now a choice of directions. 

SH54, SH3 to SH2 travels south through a gorge, past antique-filled Woodville, Masterton and Victorian Greytown – a great place to take refreshment break and browse haute couture made by New Zealand’s top fashion designer, Trelise Cooper – before the route leads to Wellington, 1 & ½ hours away. 

Alternatively, SH1 southbound reveals some unusual gems at Foxton such as the full-sized windmill in the main street or its wonderful Flax stripping museum. The glorious Kapiti Coast has many lovely beaches en route for a quick splash or snack, there are potteries at Te Horo and Waikanae, a superb lookout over Kapiti Island’s rare bird sanctuary; and two great vintage museums: the Southward (Motor) museum at Paraparaumu and the Tramway museum at Paekakariki. SH1 becomes more urban as it finally leads to the country’s capital.

 
DAY6

Wellington - Picton - Blenheim

This morning you will catch your ferry across the Cook Strait from Wellington through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds into Picton – the gateway to the south island. 

Pick up your car in Picton ferry terminal and start your southern leg of the trip with some of the finest wineries of the Marlborough region. Stay on a vineyard for the next 2 days and visit the local wineries by bikes from your hosting B&B

 
DAY7

Blenheim - Marlborough Region

A day to explore some of the finest wineries of the renown Marlborough region. You can enjoy the day on your bikes – a few wineries are within a short distance from your accommodation. You can also tour the wineries by car and if you prefer joining a guided tour – just let us know.

 
DAY8

Blenheim to Kaikoura

Travel Distance: 156KM
Travel Time: Approx 2 &1/2 hours 

Heading south on SH1, this route passes the vineyards of Blenheim, follows the east coast past the cliff-top restaurant at Kekerengu, The Store, to the small ‘whale’ town Kaikoura

 
DAY9

Kaikoura - Christchurch

Travelling Distance: 185 KM
Travelling Time: 2 & ½ hours 

Following the glorious east coast south towards Christchurch, this route passes many small beach communities and the wine producing township, Waipara, before crossing the plains into Christchurch. Christchurch city centre is still recovering from the earthquake that hit it on Feb 2011 and parts of the centre are not accessible at this stage (March 2012). Christchurch is considered safe to visit – you will see the city’s gardens, some of the city centre and the aftermath of earthquake if this is of interest to you. 

Your tour can be diverted to skip Christchurch and visit another location further south instead. Please let us know your preferences; we are happy to make any adjustments required.

 
DAY10

Christchurch - Mount Cook

Travelling Distance: 332 km Approx 4hours and 50minutes

Leaving behind the plains of Canterbury; scenic route 72 heads inland offering gentle views of farmlands and shadows the foothills

This particular drive is one of the most scenic in New Zealand. Vast open plains surrounded by majestic mountains – plenty of photo opportunities along the way. Your destination this day is New Zealand’s highest peak – Mt Cook. There are numerous day walks on offer at he valley, a unique glacial lake cruise, as well as scenic flights over the mountain and surrounding glaciers – breathtaking views! (Additional cost).

 
DAY11

Mount Cook - Queenstown

Travelling Distance: 430 KM
Travel Time: Approx 3 hours

This day sees you in the adventure capital of the Southern Hemisphere. A myriad of activities are on offer from the adrenalin pumping bungy jumping, shotover jetboat and rafting, Lord of the Rings tour to the more sedate romantic dawn hot air balloon trip – something for everyone. 

The tour included in the package is the award winning Lord of the Rings safari 4WD into back country Skipper’s Canyon through spectacular Lord of the Rings sites.

 
DAY12

Queenstown

An adventure playground extraordinaire, Queenstown is both beautiful and bountiful: even the mountain range framing the town is called “The Remarkables”. Add to this Lake Wakatipu and lush forestation, its no wonder Hollywood film-makers frequently visit. 

Home to the first commercial bungy jumping enterprise, Queenstown is known for its many adrenaline-filled activities. Nearby Skipper’s Canyon and Arthur’s point commemorate the discovery of gold in the area. A stunningly beautiful and compact town, walking around Queenstown from eatery to entertainment, from parties to performances is all too easy – and being the unofficial adrenaline capital of New Zealand, you might want to pace out your days! Mountain skiing is immensely popular at Cardrona Alpine Resort, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone; with cross country skiing at the Waiorau Snow Farm (near Cardrona). 

Other adventure possibilities include jet boating, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, skateboarding, tramping, paragliding, canyon-swinging, sky diving, river surfing and fly fishing! If a calmer pace suits you, Queenstown has a great shopping and commercial scene and there is an equally vibrant night-life. Take in Queenstown’s incredible scenery over a leisurely lunch and a locally produced Pinot noir from, apparently, the world’s southernmost wine region! Bars are a-plenty, whilst there is a constant buzz of street (and indoor) entertainment and live music. 

Queenstown is home to the coal fired steamship, the TSS Earnslaw; hosts an annual International Jazz Festival and a Winter Festival and also makes a great base for exploring the inland lakes (Lake Hawea, Lake Wakatipu, and Lake Wanaka).

 
DAY13

Queenstown - Milford Sound

Queenstown – Te Anau Travelling distance 186 km Travelling time: approx 2 ¾ hours Heading away from Queenstown, the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu on SH6, this route offers stunning scenery and endless photo opportunities. Try spotting the vintage steam train at Kingston, crystal clear reflections in Lake Wakatipu and the many, many deer at Mossburn! Barren, brown and billowing aptly describe the impressive sight of tussocks as this route heads towards Te Anau – choose between the sealed road on SH94 and SH6 or the gravel track to the Mavora Lakes and connecting road to Kinloch (permission and 4WD required).

 
DAY14

Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park, the largest national park in New Zealand, glistens and enchants. It’s a photographer’s dream – majestic mountains meet pristine water, glacier-cut fiords deceive the eye, native bush clings to the hillside, magnificent lakes sparkle (Manapouri and Te Anau) and well-known tracks beckon walkers such as the Milford, Hollyford, Kepler and Routeburn Track (and others!) which can all be walked full length or in part; guided or unguided. 

Te Anau is a popular base for visitors to Fiordland and it is where you can find the vitally important Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre. Te Anau is also home to the phenomenal glow worms where these wriggly little luminescent worms light up their caves. 

Milford Sound 
European explorers initially overlooked the Sounds because their narrow entries effectively concealed their magnitude – make sure you don’t miss out! Cruise Milford Sound (scenic cruise is approx 1-2 hours duration with multi-lingual commentary; nature cruise is 2-2.5 hours with specialist nature guide on board: available from the Milford Sound Visitor Centre). 

Watch as mountains project vertically out of the crystal clear waters and look out for the kakapo, takahe, seals, dolphins, bellbirds, kea and kiwi. To deepen this memorable experience, there’s also the possibility of an overnight cruise (private cabins or quad share bunk option), ‘flight-seeing’ and even sea kayaking (day or overnight trips) or canoeing for superb close-ups of the glorious scenery. 

The underwater tourist observatory in one of the bays offers a unique perspective of the sounds and their underwater life. For the walkers, the famed Milford Track is an adventure in itself. Starting at the northern end of Lake Te Anau, the track weaves around to Sandfly Point where a short trip by ferry is necessary to return you to the Milford Sound wharf. 
Accommodation at the sound is very limited as most people take day trips. 

Doubtful Sound 
Also overlooked by early explorers such as Captain Cook, the Doubtful Sound was so named due to Cook’s severe misgivings that, if entered, the combination of the narrow entry-way, steep mountainsides and unpredictable wind patterns would put a retreat in doubt. To this day the Doubtful Sound retains its reputation of being rather moody and unpredictable. Isolated and beautiful, the sound can appear full of atmosphere – clear, blue and glorious one minute, dark and foreboding the next. 

Dramatic scenery unveils infront of you whilst cruising on the Doubtful Sound, including the breath-taking sightings of dolphins (Doubtful Sound is home to one of the southernmost population of bottlenose dolphins), fur seals and penguins (Fiordland crested and blue). Occasionally rare large whales such as the humpback or sperm whale can be spotted. Waterfalls are also a frequent highlight, in particular Helena Falls at Deep Cove and the Browne Falls, although during the wet season literally hundreds of waterfalls can be seen – and felt! 

Cruises are available on the Doubtful Sound also with the once-in-a-lifetime option of an overnight cruise; and as with Milford Sound there is the possibility to ‘flight-see’, sea kayak (day or overnight trips) or canoe for a closer inspection of the sound.

 
DAY15

Milford Sound - Dunedin

Travel across to the east coast – Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula is your next destination. This afternoon take the opportunity to explore the Peninsula and meet the local wildlife such as the yellow-eyed penguins, the world famous Albatross colony, NZ fur seals and sea lions.

 
DAY16

Dunedin - Auckland

End of the tour… Catch a flight from Dunedin to Auckland or Christchurch to connect with your international flight. Have a good flight back home.

3.5 Star Low Season 4 - 4.5 Star Low Season 5 Star Low Season 3.5 Star High Season 4 - 4.5 Star High Season 5 Star High Season
Economy El Cheapo $2,800 $3,100 $3,850 $3,260 $3,560 $4,760
Economy Small $2,880 $3,180 $3,930 $3,260 $3,560 $4,760
Economy Medium $2,960 $3,260 $4,010 $3,260 $3,560 $4,760
Economy 8 Seater $3,520 $3,820 $4,570 $3,260 $3,560 $4,760
Economy 4x4 $3,920 $4,220 $4,970 $3,260 $3,560 $4,760
 
New Economy $3,088 $3,388 $4,138 $5,260 $5,560 $6,760
New Compact $2,960 $3,260 $4,010 $3,420 $3,720 $4,920
New intermediate $2,960 $3,260 $4,010 $3,260 $3,560 $4,760
New Full Size $2,960 $3,260 $4,010 $3,260 $3,560 $4,760
New Small 4x4 $3,840 $4,140 $4,890 $3,260 $3,560 $4,760
New People Mover $2,960 $3,260 $4,010 $4,860 $5,160 $6,360
New Large 4x4 $2,960 $3,260 $4,010 $3,260 $3,560 $4,760
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