Explore roads less travelled and experience all the scenic magic of touring New Zealand. On this small group New Zealand tour you’ll meet local kiwis and enjoy exclusive lunches on unique private properties at Lake Tarawera and in mid-Canterbury. Diversity, colour and culture come alive in Rotorua, Napier, Wellington, Queenstown, Franz Josef and on the wild West Coast.
You will be amazed by the extraordinary vistas from the North to the South so make sure you record everything you see on your journey, so you can relive your many adventures in New Zealand permanently.
Auckland - Rotorua - Rotorua sightseeing (B, L ) - Rotorua - Napier (B) - Napier - Wellington (B) - Wellington - Cook Strait - Picton - Blenheim - Kaikoura (B) - Explore the Kaikoura coast (B) - Kaikoura - Akaunui Farm homestead - Aoraki/Mt Cook (B, L) - Aoraki/Mt Cook - Queenstown (B) - Queenstown - Milford Sound - Nature Cruise - Scenic Flight - Queenstown (B) - At leisure in Queenstown (B) - Queenstown - Cardrona Valley - Wanaka (B, L) - Wanaka - Haast Pass - Franz Josef (B) - Franz Josef - Okarito Lagoon - Franz Josef (B) - Franz Josef - Hokitika - Punakaiki (B, D) - Punakaiki - Arthur's Pass - Christchurch (B) - Depart Christchurch (B)
Your driver/guide meets you at your city hotel. Drive south in to the lush dairy farmlands of Waikato through to the rolling farmlands of Rotorua. We then “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 our 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 when Mt Tarawera erupted in 1886. After lunch we 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.
The first highlight of our small group tour of New Zealand is a cruise on Lake Rotoiti aboard a 53ft catamaran exploring secluded coves with the chance to take the helm, swim in the lake or soak in hot pools reached only by water.
Back ashore we relax over an exclusive lunch at Pounamu Lodge with our hosts David and Karen. Karen has stories to tell of her ancestor Guide Sophia who lead visitors to safety when Mt Tarawera erupted in 1886.
Later we visit Rotorua’s exceptional museum, the safe keeping place of many cultural treasures.
Explore our favourite geothermal hideaway, Orakei Korako, crossing the lake to a wonderland of silica terraces, bubbling mud pools and an enchanting Aladdin’s Cave, Ruatapu. See the turbulent Huka Falls and from Taupo the three active volcanoes – Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu are visible across the lake.
The road winds over the ranges to Napier. Renowned for its Art Deco architecture, Napier was rebuilt in this style after an earthquake in 1931. Wine taste at a premier vineyard in this acclaimed wine region before a guide joins our coach to take us on a tour of the Art Deco buildings.
This morning we drive to the country town of 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.
We finish the day by traversing the Rimutaka Ranges to Wellington, the capital city. Your contemporary inner city hotel is at the heart of Wellington’s eclectic cafe scene.
We catch the Interislander ferry to cruise for three hours across Cook Strait into Tory Channel and up beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton. With our feet firmly planted on “Te Waka a Maui”, the South Island, we tour Marlborough’s premier wine and food region renowned for sauvignon blanc.
Leaving behind the dry hills of Marlborough we drive south to Kaikoura, a small hamlet beside the ocean and beneath the towering Kaikoura mountains. We stay right on the waterfront. Seafood, especially crayfish, is a specialty in this ocean side town.
This morning cruise for two and a half hours out from Kaikoura 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 using the waters off Kaikoura as their feeding ground.
Later back ashore relax on the coast with time for close encounters with the local marine life. Walk along to the seal colony or take an optional seal swim or optional whale watching cruise or flight. Your driver/guide has a day off today.
The highway continues down the coast and winds inland over the Hunderlee Hills to the Canterbury Plains.
Our special lunch destination is Akaunui Farm homestead where we enjoy the warm hospitality of Di and Ian Mackenzie – a resounding favourite on this small group New Zealand tour.
After lunch sweeping vistas of tussock lands and mountains open up ahead. The small church on the edge of aquamarine Lake Tekapo and a statue celebrating the high country sheep dog make irresistible photo stops.
We awake at the foot of Mt Cook, at 3,754 metres New Zealand’s highest mountain and known in Maori as Aoraki “the cloud piercer”. Take an early morning stroll in the valleys before we head down the mountain rimmed Mackenzie Basin and over the golden grass of the Lindis Pass and through the Kawerau Gorge into Queenstown.
We ride the Skyline Gondola for a scenic overview of this picturesque resort. Your hotel is a couple of minutes walk from town with views to Lake Wakatipu and Remarkables Range. Dine in town this evening – your driver/guide will make recommendations on how to best enjoy this stop on your New Zealand tour.
We 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.
On arrival at Milford we board a boat with an onboard nature guide to cruise down Milford Sound, a majestic fiord lined with waterfalls and dominated by iconic Mitre Peak. Where the sound reaches the Tasman Sea seal colonies lounge on the rocks. We return to Queenstown on a stunning scenic flight over the Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu.
A full day to experience this resort town. Your driver/guide will assist with your choice of activities – from extreme adventure to relaxed exploration – this is New Zealand touring at its very best!
We recommend an optional excursion such as a jet boat ride on the remote Dart River in the Lord of the Rings scenery or perhaps experience the thrill of white water rafting on an adventure down the Shotover River.
There are boutique shops to browse and the Botanic Gardens and lakeside walkway to wander. Wherever you go, you will be surrounded by stunning mountain and lakeside scenery.
Our first destination is the leafy village of Arrowtown where gold mining history comes alive beside the Arrow River.
The road climbs over the tussock country of the Crown Range with expansive views of the Gibbston Valley. We call into the Cardrona Hotel, its history also traced back to the goldmining era, then continue on to your private lunch at a Wanaka homestead.
After lunch there’s free time to explore this fast-growing town. Your hotel is lakeside in Wanaka beside the bike trail and walkway.
Our New Zealand tour continues with a leisurely drive beside Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka and into the pristine mountain and river scenery of the Haast Pass in Mt Aspiring National Park. Tracks through native beech forests lead us to cascading waterfalls and clear blue pools where trout lurk. Leaving the mountains, the road winds along the edge of the river to Haast.
Continue north through the lush rainforest of Westland World Heritage Park, stopping at Ship Creek for a stroll on the beach and through swampland rainforest. View Fox Glacier descending to the rain forest and Lake Matheson famous for its reflections of the alps.
We drive out to the coast to the tiny settlement of Okarito nestled between the Tasman Sea and Okarito Lagoon. Depending on your preference, select a gentle kayak or boat cruise on the shallow waters of the lagoon. The lagoon is a feeding ground of the rare white heron (kotuku) which breeds in the nearby Waitangi Roto Nature Reserve.
Enjoy the tranquility of this remote World Heritage Park. Perhaps take a a helihike on the glacier or an optional flight over the Alps to Aoraki/Mt Cook and land on a glacier. Or kick back and soak in hot pools fed by pure glacier water.
Travel north passing mirror lakes, boulder-laden rivers and the Southern Alps. At Hokitika visit artisan craft galleries – Pounamu (greenstone) carving, glass blowing, wood and copper.
A coastal road following part of the ancient Pounamu trails used by Maori leads to your hotel at Punakaiki. Unique coastal flora includes the southernmost nikau palms. 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 over dinner in the hotel’s Jacob’s Grill.
Retracing our steps down the coast we drive up the Otira Gorge on a spectacular cantilevered road through towering mountains to Arthur’s Pass National Park. At the summit we stop at the lookout for the views and to watch the mischievous antics of the keas (mountain parrots).
Stretch your legs in the beech forests at Arthur’s Pass village and later on at the limestone rocks rising out of bare pasture at Castle Hill. We descend Porter’s Pass to the Canterbury Plains reaching Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city, and your hotel in the late afternoon.
Today we conclude our small group New Zealand tour and it’s time to say goodbye.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning. You will be picked up from your hotel for transfer to the airport for your flight home after a memorable New Zealand holiday.
If you have time before your transfer to the airport, catch up on last minute shopping for New Zealand classics such as merino clothing in the boutique Duty Free Stores or visit the Re-Start Container shopping mall.
Thank you for travelling with MoaTrek.
Ka kite ano – “See you again”.
Tour Prices 2015/2016
|Single Supplement ( extra ) NZ$1,400
Departure Dates 2015/2016
|Apr 12th 2015 - Apr 27th 2015 G
|Oct 18th 2015 - Nov 2nd 2015 G
|Nov 8th 2015 - Nov 23rd 2015 G
|Nov 15th 2015 - Nov 30th 2015 G
|Nov 22nd 2015 - Dec 7th 2015 G
|Dec 6th 2015 - Dec 21st 2015 G
|Dec 20th 2015 - Jan 4th 2016 G
|Jan 10th 2016 - Jan 25th 2016 G
|Jan 17th 2016 - Feb 1st 2016 G
|Jan 24th 2016 - Feb 8th 2016 G
|Jan 31st 2016 - Feb 15th 2016 G
|Feb 7th 2016 - Feb 22nd 2016 G
|Feb 14th 2016 - Feb 29th 2016 G
|Feb 21st 2016 - Mar 7th 2016 G
|Feb 28th 2016 - Mar 14th 2016 G
|Mar 6th 2016 - Mar 21st 2016 G
|Mar 13th 2016 - Mar 28th 2016 G
|Mar 20th 2016 - Apr 4th 2016 G
|Mar 27th 2016 - Apr 11th 2016 G
|Apr 10th 2016 - Apr 25th 2016 G
|Apr 17th 2016 - May 2nd 2016 G
A: Available G: Guaranteed Departure C: Closed