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11 Day Scenic Journey – Economy Coach Tour

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Beautiful, gorgeous, amazing, delightful, awe inspiring, stunning and magical are words you will use a lot on the Essential tour. This is a trip designed to let you experience New Zealand’s unique treasures and lifestyle.

Starting in Auckland and travelling via the glowworm caves of Waitomo, Rotorua and windy Wellington in the North Island all the way to picturesque Queenstown, pristine Milford and peaceful Te Anau in the far south.

You will enjoy some of the best Taonga (treasure) on offer in New Zealand. From gliding through Glowworm caves, hand feeding trout, seeing how farms work up close, hanging out in the beautiful surrounds of a Geothermal valley, living and breathing Maori culture, driving by many mountains and through native forests, to travelling on boats on serene cool clear waters and trains skirting the coastal pacific gateway. On to riding the Skyline Gondola for a night of indulgence and cruising Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand, where there are some serious adventure options not to be missed. 

There is so much to take in make sure you are armed with a camera and revel in the journey.


  • Transport
  • 10 nights accommodation
  • Transfers within journey
  • Waitomo Glow-worm Caves
  • Maori Hangi & Concert
  • Te Puia Geothermal Experience 
  • Rainbow Springs
  • Agrodome Sheep Show
  • Interislander Ferry 
  • TranzCoastal Train Journey
  • Milford Sound Cruise including lunch
  • Skyline Gondola – Queenstown
  • Franz Josef or Fox Glacier Viewing 
  • Tranz Alpine

Other Information


  • ​11 day(s) 10 nights


  • ​Reporting time 7.30 am at the Sky City Coach Terminal. Departs at 8.00 am EVERY DAY.

Additional Nights – Available to any destination of your choosing. You can add an extra night for a competitive rate. If you would like to extend your tour, please advise your consultant when making your booking. We definitely recommend that you spend extra nights prior to and after your tour to explore the gateway destinations, as these provide many unique attractions worth going the extra mile for.

Flexible Itineraries
All our New Zealand coach tours can be adapted to your individual specifications. If a tour does not entirely suit you, we can provide a personalised coach touring holiday that fits you like a glove. All you need to do is let us know what you want to do, and we will organise it for you.

Transfers Included
Transfers are included between your accommodation and transport on the Tour. If you need to we can book your pre-tour arrangements or you can make your own way to the Tour departure location.

Daily Departures

The tours operate every day and use routine train, ferry and motor coach services. All hotel, motel accommodation, transportation and essential sightseeing are pre-arranged for you.

Are meals included on your Tours?

Hotel and Motel accommodation on the tour are not inclusive of meals. There are many local restaurants and cafe’s from which you can sample, for your dining pleasure. Breakfast options are available to you and these can be provided on enquiry with your consultant.

Is there a Tour Guide travelling with us on the trip?
As you will be travelling independently, on scheduled coach and rail services, this is an unescorted tour. Unless otherwise stated your tour drivers will provide commentary for you to enjoy while you relax in comfort.

Can you tell me the difference between Silver and Bronze accommodation.
With Silver accommodation your stay will be in selected hotels or motor inns that are centrally located. They have a selection of bars and restaurants for your perusal, and deluxe rooms with the facilities expected of superior accommodation. With Bronze accommodation your stay will be in motels or hotels centrally located at your destination. Some of the motel accommodation will provide kitchen facilities, TV, radio etc.

Do I have to carry my own bags or will somebody do it for me?

With Gold and Silver hotels accommodation a porter will be able to assist you with your bags. Bronze accommodation does not have porters, but should you need assistance your driver will be happy to help.

I am travelling alone but I do not want to pay the single room supplement. Can you find me a roommate?
Regrettably we are unable to match you up with another traveller as the occurrence of another person travelling on the same tour with the same dates and class as you is extremely unlikely.

Where do your tours depart from?
The Auckland coaches depart from the Intercity terminal, at Sky City , Hobson Street . Auckland trains depart from the Britomart railway station. The Christchurch coaches depart from the Intercity Terminal at 118 Bealey Ave (between Colombo St and Durham St intersections). Christchurch trains depart from the Addington railway station at Clarence Street in Riccarton.

Auckland - Waitomo - Rotorua - At Rotorua - Rotorua - Wellington - Wellington - Picton - Christchurch - Christchurch - Dunedin - Dunedin -Taieri Gorge - Queenstown - Queenstown- Milford Sound - Queenstown  - At Queenstown - Queenstown - Glaciers - At Glaciers - Glaciers - Christchurch


Auckland - Waitomo - Rotorua

Board the Great Sights coach for an exciting tour to the magnificent Waitomo Caves and the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. Travel south along the Auckland motorway to the Bombay Hills, and head into the farming province of Waikato  Your coach follows the Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river, through Hamilton and Otorohanga to Waitomo.

Arrive at Waitomo for a guided tour through the spectacular Waitomo Caves and an underground boat ride through the famous ‘Glowworm Grotto’. Please note, rain can affect water levels in the cave which may result in a shortened tour. 

Leaving the caves, your journey continues through the lush Waikato Plains and on to Fitzgerald Glade – a section of highway where the native bush and trees form a canopy overhead. A traverse of the forest clad Mamaku Hills proceeds until the delicate wafts of sulphur lure you into fiery Rotorua.


At Rotorua

In the morning you will be met by a representative from Great Sights Coachlines for your morning city tour of Rotorua’s leading attractions.

Highlights include: 

Te Puia 60 Minute Guided Tour: 
Te Puia is New Zealand’s leading and longest running cultural tourism attraction, offering visitors an insight into Maori history and culture, as well as an opportunity to view the spectacular Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. 

Rainbow Springs Admission
Breathe deeply, and take in the native bush, ferns, trees and plants that grow and flower all around you as you wander through the tree lined pathways at Rainbow Springs Nature Park. Enjoy the tranquillity of the crystal clear mineral water that flows tirelessly from the subterranean springs throughout the park, and marvel at the silent grace of the magnificent specimens of Rainbow, Brown and Tiger trout and feed them as they cruise the fern-fringed pools. Hear the bustling bush wildlife, and meet the curious species of native birds on display.

Agrodome Sheep Show 
The Agrodome Sheep Show is a one-hour performance where you will see nineteen sheep breeds introduced onto the stage, and be shown the art of sheep shearing, along with sheepdog demonstrations, cow milking, bottle feed lambs and an exciting sheep auction. Audience participation is a major part of this entertaining show, highlighting the significance of agriculture in New Zealand.

The afternoon is completely at your leisure for shopping, additional sightseeing options or for relaxing in the natural spring waters which first made this area so famous for its healing properties.


Rotorua - Wellington

The start of the Waikato river signals the proximity of a huge watery crater – Lake Taupo Our drive winds along the shore of this extinct volcano before ascending the plateau to view the ominous snowclad peaks of Ruapehu, Ngaruahoe and Tongariro.  Continue along the desolate and barren Desert Road to windy Waiouru before dropping down into the farming community of Taihape.  

Around Bulls the road levels out, soaking up the wide stretches of the Manawatu plains to Palmerston North.  Market gardens abound around Levin and Otaki until the road curves its way round the coast, through Paekakariki and over the hills into Wellington, arriving in the afternoon.


Wellington - Picton - Christchurch

Ferry and Train

Leaving Wellington on the InterIslander Ferry you will sail across Port Nicholson to Somes Island, before turning south, out through the heads, and then across Cook Strait to the narrow Tory Channel which leads to the placid waters of the Marlborough Sounds.

The InterIslander offers a wide range of onboard amenities and entertainment.  

The Coastal Pacific train departs from Picton, so once on board sit back and relax as you travel south through Marlborough and then edge down the narrow coastal strip where the Pacific pounds the rugged Kaikoura coastline.  You emerge into the dry North Canterbury sheep country which takes you on to Kaiapoi before reaching Christchurch in the early evening.


Christchurch - Dunedin

Leaving Christchurch on your Intercity Coach, sit back and enjoy the scenery as you cruise through to South Canterbury, passing over some spectacular snow-fed rivers – the Rakaia, Rangitata and Waitaki, to name a few. Long, flat Ashburton glides past, as does Temuka, home of famous pottery, Timaru on the shores of Caroline Bay and the white stone buildings of Oamaru.  Then down the rugged Otago coastline passing Palmerston and Moeraki, final resting place of some incredible boulders – giant rocks the size of cars, and as symmetrical as pearls.

The Kilmog Hills are the next major landmark before you sight Waitati inlet and follow Port Chalmers into the Edinburgh of the South – Dunedin.


Dunedin -Taieri Gorge - Queenstown

This morning is at your leisure for optional sightseeing. Board the Taieri Gorge train for a journey through spectacular gorges and over historic viaducts to Pukerangi where you will join your coach for the remainder of the journey to Queenstown. Arrive in Queenstown in the late evening


Queenstown- Milford Sound - Queenstown 

In the morning you will morning board your Great Sights Coach for the excursion to Milford Sound and Queenstown. 

Travel through the Eglington Valley to the Mirror Lakes, following the “Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain”, past Cascade Creek and Lake Gunn, to arrive at The Divide.  Proceed through the Hollyford Valley to the Homer Tunnel, a man-made tunnel, cut out of the rock wall.  Emerging from the tunnel into the Cleddau Valley before descending into Milford Sound.  Here you join your Milford Sound Cruise, to explore the wonder of this majestic fiord.  

Join your Milford Sound Cruise to explore the wonder of this majestic fiord and see Mitre Peak, one of the highest mountains in the world to rise directly from the ocean floor.  View the Stirling and the Bowen Falls as your cruise takes you out to the mouth of the Pacific Ocean  Spot the seals and watch out for dolphins – they may be seen surfing the bow wave of the boat.  Whilst on board the Milford Sound Cruise a buffet lunch is included.

Following the cruise, your coach will return via the same route to Te Anau, before travelling via Mossman and Kingston, and following the edge of Lake Wakatipu into Queenstown, where you will arrive in the early evening.


At Queenstown

You will have todayat your leisure to enjoy the many sights of this alpine resort situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

Queenstown offers something for everyone – you can enjoy the quiet beauty and tranquility of this mountain retreat and enjoy several walking trails in the town area. 

For sheer excitement there is white-water rafting, helicopter rides, the famous jet boats and bungy jumping to pump your adrenalin. 

There are cruises on the lake, visits to high country sheep stations.  You can visit nearby Arrowtown where the main street has been preserved since the 1860’s gold rush days and you can try your luck and pan for gold in the adjacent Shotover River. 

We have included the Skyline Gondola ride in your tour package – you can take this any time during your stay in Queenstown. 


Queenstown - Glaciers

Travel to Cromwell and on through the Southern Lakes district to the Haast Pass. Travel north, through dense rainforest broken by rugged coastal vistas, towards the glaciers. A shuttle will take you to view one of these massive rivers of ice


At Glaciers

A whole day is available for optional excursions on the glaciers, for bush walks or simply to soak up the beauty of snow-capped mountains contrasting with the deep greens of the native bush


Glaciers - Christchurch

Travel north along the narrow, bush clad, coastal plain past Hokitika, to Christchurch. Board the renowned TranzAlpine train and travel through the Otira Tunnel, over Arthur’s Pass and across the Canterbury Plains. Arrive Christchurch early evening.

Bronze Accommodation Silver Accommodation Gold Accommodation
SingleNZ $4,949.00NZ $5,839.00NZ $6,299.00
Twin ShareNZ $3,639.00NZ $4,059.00NZ $4,289.00

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