14 Day New Zealand Vista

14 Day New Zealand Vista

Visit the must-see sights of New Zealand with AAT Kings on the low cost New Zealand Vista coach tour. See Christchurch, Queenstown, Franz Josef, Rotorua, Auckland and more.

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Tour Info

Tour Type: Low Cost Coach Tour
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departures: Jun 2018 to Sep 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $4215 per person
Tour Operator: AAT Kings Tours
Duration: 14 Days
Tour Code: LAAC

Inclusions

13 nights accommodation in comfortable hotels
13 fully cooked breakfasts (B) and 10 dinners (D)
Tour the Glowworm Grotto at the Waitomo Caves
Enjoy a hāngī feast at Tamaki Māori Village
Discover the arts and traditions of New Zealand's Māori culture
View the mighty Huka Falls
Visit Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand
Cruise through Queen Charlotte Sound from Wellington to Picton
Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo
Full day at leisure in Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital
Cruise on breathtaking Milford Sound
Cruise Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw for a unique highlight dinner
Visit historic Arrowtown
Stay at spectacular Franz Josef Glacier
Visit a pounamu studio and watch artists at work
Journey on the TranzAlpine train
Explore Wellington, New Zealand's capital city
See spectacular Lake Tekapo and Te Anau
Travel wallet, comprehensive customised itinerary, bound map book, accommodation and activity vouchers, and local travel guides

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

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Day 1
Arrive Auckland

Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s ‘City of Sails’. Flights can arrive any time prior to 4.00pm and you will be transferred from the airport to your Auckland hotel. After you check in, you can head out and explore Auckland. Take a walk down Queen Street, to the main shopping precinct, or catch an inner city bus (from outside the hotel) down to Viaduct Harbour and the Auckland Waterfront region. This recently developed area of central Auckland has cafes and restaurants galore. Take a seat in the sunshine, enjoy a glass of one of New Zealand’s famous sauvignon blancs, and watch the maritime activity on Waitemata Harbour.

This evening, meet your fellow passengers and your AAT Kings Travel Director at dinner at your hotel.

Stay: VR Queen Street, Auckland. (D)

Day 2
Auckland - Waitomo Caves - Rotorua

A city sights tour will start your morning in Auckland. Travel around the waterfront from the central city out to Mission Bay. Prepare your camera for the stop at Bastion Point and the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, as you will get stunning shots of Auckland, the North Shore and Waitemata Harbour. After leaving Auckland you will follow the meandering trail of the Waikato River to Waitomo Caves. Tour the amazing limestone caverns and sail through the still waters of the sparkling Glowworm Grotto. From Waitomo to Rotorua you will venture through the King Country region, which was at the centre of the New Zealand Wars in the 1860s. On arrival in Rotorua an orientation tour takes in views of Lake Rotorua.

Stay: Hotel Ibis Rotorua (2 nights) (B)

Day 3
Rotorua Sightseeing

Today is your chance to experience the scenic wonders of the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. This morning you will head to the Agrodome Farm Show, a hilarious, interactive way to gain an insight into New Zealand’s biggest industry – agriculture. After the Agrodome you may wish to travel back to the Rotorua township and relax lakeside, or you may prefer to choose from one of the varied optional experiences on offer. Take a scenic flight out over Lake Rotorua for a bird’s-eye view of the region. You may even want to stop at the top of Mt Tarawera, the site of the largest eruption in New Zealand’s living memory!

Tonight an evening of culture, history and scrumptious food awaits you at Tamaki Māori Village. Wander through the ancient forest village and learn about Māori art forms and traditions, followed by a concert featuring local performers. Experience an authentic hāngī meal, steamed underground in the traditional way. (B, D)

Day 4
Rotorua - Wellington

Say “haere ra!” (goodbye) to Rotorua this morning and journey out through pine forests and farmland to a little hidden spot, the turquoise torrent of rapids known as Huka Falls. The road ahead unfolds to a broad panorama of Lake Taupō, New Zealand’s largest lake. The stunningly blue fresh water of Lake Taupō is home to some of the best trout fishing in the world. You will then journey south over the Central Plateau, New Zealand’s main volcanic area. In a country of contrasts, perhaps nothing is more striking than the three peaks of Tongariro National Park rising starkly from the surrounding plateau of tussock and near-desert.

Pass through a number of small towns along the road to Wellington, each with their own personality and quirks. Probably the quirkiest of all would have to be Taihape, the self-proclaimed gumboot capital of the world. Travel along the Kapiti Coast, the traditional summer playground of the inhabitants of Wellington city. And as you follow the state highway, the Kapiti Coast becomes New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. Tonight dinner is included at your hotel.

Stay: Travelodge, Wellington (B, D)

Day 5
Wellington - Picton

This morning enjoy a tour of Wellington, including panoramic views from the summit of Mt Victoria. See the Parliament buildings and the Beehive, home to New Zealand’s government, and explore Te Papa, where you’ll have time to explore New Zealand’s nature, art, history and cultural heritage. Then cruise across the Cook Strait and meander down the maze of inlets of Queen Charlotte Sound on your way to Picton.

Stay: Beachcomber Inn, Picton (B, D)

Day 6
Picton - Christchurch

This morning you will begin your adventure in the South Island. Today you will get the opportunity to spend some time observing some pretty special wildlife. Get up close and personal with New Zealand fur seals at Ohau Point, and watch as they frolic and play in the tidal currents and sun themselves on the rocks. Or take a helicopter flight out of Kaikōura (optional – at own expense) and coast out over the Pacific Ocean for whale and dolphin viewing. If a helicopter flight is not your style, why not wander down the main street, stop in at one of many local eateries and sample a Kiwi seafood delight – crayfish. There is no way to avoid these sea creatures, even the town’s name reflects an abundance of crustaceans – ‘kai’ in Maori means food and ‘kōura’ means crayfish.

This afternoon’s journey follows the Pacific Ocean coastline where roaring sea meets enormous bush-clad mountains. As the mountains turn to rolling hills and lush river flats, you will travel across the Northern Canterbury Plains and into Christchurch. Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Christchurch’s inner city.

Stay: Ibis Hotel, Christchurch (B)

Day 7
Christchurch - Ōmarama

This morning you may wish to take a brief walk around the city centre and Cathedral Square before departure. See how Christchurch is rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, and pop into the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square, the temporary home of the Christchurch Cathedral. It is the world’s only cathedral made substantially of cardboard! After a Christchurch city sights tour, you will head out over the patchwork countryside of the Canterbury Plains to soak up some spectacular sightseeing.

Sweeping views across the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo framed by a backdrop of rugged hills and snow-capped mountains provide stunning alpine photography opportunities. You will visit the little stone-hewn Church of the Good Shepherd, and stop for a quick photo with the bronze statue of a collie dog, the touching tribute to the sheepdogs which helped develop the Mackenzie high country. You may want to take in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park from the air this afternoon, on a scenic flight out over New Zealand’s highest peak, the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers (optional experience – at own expense). Your day finishes in the heart of the Mackenzie region at Ōmarama. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Stay: Heritage Gateway Hotel, Ōmarama (B, D)

Day 8
Ōmarama - Dunedin

Your day starts with a journey along the Waitaki River, and a photo stop at the Waitaki hydro scheme and Benmore Dam. The Waitaki River marks the boundary between the regions of Canterbury and Otago, and with its large catchment it is an ideal source of hydro-electric power. The Benmore Dam holds back New Zealand’s largest artificial lake, and when the Benmore Power Station was opened in 1965 it was the largest power station in New Zealand. Even today it is still the second-largest, and generates enough electricity each year for about 298,000 average New Zealand homes.

From the Waitaki Valley you will then travel through to the township of Ōamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and famous white limestone buildings. As well as shipping limestone to the bigger cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin for construction of their Town Halls and various churches, Ōamaru locals made sure their own town represented the best in limestone building the mid- to late-1800s had to offer.

This afternoon you will make your way down to Dunedin. With the rest of your free afternoon you may wish to take part in an optional excursion to see more of the region. Take a wildlife cruise out to Otago Peninsula, visit the Speight’s Brewery, or ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Stay: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City, Dunedin (B, D)

Day 9
Dunedin - Te Anau

This morning you have some free time in Dunedin. You may want to visit Cadbury World, or journey out to the gorgeous Larnach Castle – New Zealand’s only castle. Or you may simply wish to roam around the beautiful grounds of New Zealand’s first university, Otago University. Dunedin, also known as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’, has strong connections to its northern hemisphere sister city, even down to sharing many of the same street names, so take a wander down George Street, noting Dunedin’s Scottish ancestry.

This afternoon travel through lush green pastures, crossing sheep-filled farming land. New Zealand is internationally known for its sheep farming, and these are sights many visitors to this country recognise as typically ‘New Zealand’. You are sure to find the perfect sheep photo here! As your excursion continues, the rolling, grassy hills once again turn back into heavily forested, rugged mountains, and you meander your way up into Fiordland National Park to the South Island’s biggest lake and the town of Te Anau. This evening you have the opportunity to head out across the lake to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves for a tour (optional – at own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Stay: Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Te Anau (B, D)

Day 10
Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown

Today is one of those days where you will want to have your camera battery charged and ready to go, and you will probably want to have a spare battery or two on hand… just in case. After leaving Te Anau you will journey 119km through the Fiordland National Park and out to Milford Sound on one of the most scenic roads you could hope for. Travel through native rainforests, beech forests, alluvial flats and meadows. You will stop at Mirror Lakes where, as the name suggests, you can see the stunning mountain scenery perfectly reflected in the waters of the lakes.

Then on to the Homer Tunnel, man’s attempt to master the sheer rocky ranges, still left rough-hewn around the edges. As you emerge out the other side of the tunnel you are presented with one of the world’s most dramatic alpine drives, down through the Cleddau Valley. You will have a stop at the Chasm, where the roaring Cleddau River has carved its way through solid rock, and then it’s on to Milford Sound, where you will cruise on the waters of this natural wonder.

Your cruise meanders down the sound, taking in the Bowen and Stirling Falls as these plummet sharply from glacial hanging valleys into the sea, and the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak, rising from the deep waters of the fiord. From the spectacular scenes of Milford Sound, you will travel on to the beautiful sights of Queenstown. An orientation tour skirting around the shores of Lake Wakatipu takes you into the town centre. Tonight you may want to take a gondola up Bob’s Peak and dine at Stratosfare Restaurant (own expense) overlooking Queenstown – the ultimate way to end a highlight day!

Stay: Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Queenstown (2 nights) (B)

Day 11
Queenstown

Explore exciting Queenstown your way! Why not soar through the trees on a Ziptrek Ecotour, or raft the mighty white water rapids of the Kawarau River? Take the opportunity to encounter a Queenstown legend and ride the Shotover Jet or venture out onto the Dart River for a longer jet safari. If laid-back and relaxed is more your idea of fun then join a Queenstown Original Wine Tour and sample some of Central Otago’s award-winning wines, or play a round of golf at one of the spectacular alpine courses around Queenstown. Your AAT Kings Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen optional experiences.

After a day of activity, sit back and enjoy a peaceful evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand’s oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak Station. Launched in 1912, the TSS Earnslaw is the largest and grandest vessel ever to ply Lake Wakatipu. Today, the TSS Earnslaw is believed to be the only coal-fired passenger carrying vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere. Partake in a gourmet BBQ highlight dinner at Walter Peaks’ Colonel’s Homestead and then enjoy an entertaining after-dinner farm show providing a glimpse into high country farm life. On the cruise back to Queenstown, join in a vintage singalong or grab your partner for a dance across the polished wooden floors of the Earnslaw. (B, D)

Day 12
Queenstown - Franz Josef

This morning you will leave the alpine wonderland of Queenstown behind and begin the passage through Central Otago and out to Westland. On the way out of the Queenstown region you will stop and visit the faithfully restored gold mining settlement of Arrowtown. As you amble down the beautiful tree-lined avenues and past the 19th century wooden buildings, you will feel like you have stepped into a movie set.

From here you will travel over to Cromwell, situated next to the sparkling pristine waters of Lake Dunstan, where you will stop in at a local orchard for a taste of some of the town’s delicious stone fruit. It is a day of gorgeous lakes, as after Dunstan you will travel further into Central Otago and view the vivid blue waters of Lake Hawea, followed by Lake Wanaka, where the shoreline is charmingly lined by poplars and willows. Following an ancient greenstone trail you will travel over Haast Pass, marking a change from the alpine scenery of the Southern Lakes to the rainforest marvel of the wild West Coast. View the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls and the grand sight of Mt Hooker, flanked on three sides by extensive glaciers.

Our final destination for today is the extraordinary rivers of ice that make up Franz Josef Glacier. You may want to get up close and personal with the glaciers on a helicopter flight. Your flight will hover over the snow face, and may land high up in the valley so that you can walk across the ice fall – subject to weather conditions (optional – at own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Stay: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (Graham Wing), Franz Josef (B, D)

Day 13
Franz Josef - Christchurch

If weather conditions are unfavourable on Day 12, you will get another chance to fly up to the glaciers this morning or you might want to take a stroll through the small but lively Franz Josef village. Then you head off to the driftwood-strewn beaches of Hokitika. As well as being one of the few West Coast communities to embrace its coastal landscape, Hokitika struck it rich in the resources stakes. Here you will visit a pounamu (jade) studio for the chance to see master carvers at work creating intricate pieces of jewellery and art. Māori tradition says it is bad luck to buy pounamu for yourself, so if you fancy a trinket of your own, make sure you have someone there to purchase it for you.

From Hokitika, you will travel inland to the small settlement of Arthur’s Pass. Here you will board the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch. This spectacular train journey dates back to 1914 and is rated as one of the world’s most scenic train trips. The train forges through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys. This evening join your AAT Kings Travel Director and Driver, and your newfound friends, for a farewell dinner.

Stay: Ibis Hotel, Christchurch (B, D)

Day 14
Depart Christchurch

Your holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. You will be transferred to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight. (B)

4.6/5.0

There are 69 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.6 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

5
03/04/2018
We really enjoyed the tour. Our tour director, Phil, was excellent. He was a walking encyclopedia about New Zealand, very kind and helpful. The only suggestion I have is to get some different name tags. The little safety pin was very hard to put on and it was always crooked. A lanyard would be much better.
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4
27/02/2018
Some hotels need air conditioning installed as it was too hot to sleep. The evening food was monotonous for the first few evenings and was never served hot. N.Z. is not a tipping culture so we were surprised that the guide and driver expected tips and gave a suggested amount we would have tipped without being told but were offended by this attitude. However the guide and driver were both excellent at their jobs and were good representatives for the company.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
5
21/11/2017
Absolutely a wonderful journey of the scenery and culture of New Zealand. The tour booked with Relaxing Journeys was so well organized. All of the hotel stays and guided coach tours through both the North and the South Islands were set up for us so we could, as the name of the company implies, relax!!! The hotels were clean and comfortable and the food was fabulous. It was fun to taste the New Zealand cuisines in the hotels. The staff at each hotel was welcoming, friendly and helpful. The daily coach rides on our fourteen day tour were fun and informative! Our Tour Director Sarah was delightful and informative. She was well organized and made sure we were comfortable as we traveled through the townships and scenery. She made surprising stops that were not on the schedule way to show us New Zealand's hidden jewels,
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4
31/10/2017
Sarah, the tour guide was excellent in all areas as she has several years of experience. Mark, our bus driver, had full command of the vehicle at all times, his driving was excellent.
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5
12/09/2017
Tania was the best tour guide we have ever had (and we've had a few)...She really knew her stuff and seemed to really care about all of us...New Zealand was beautiful and even though the pace was quick (we knew it would be before we booked), we got to see most of New Zealand...Highly recommend this tour and this tour guide and driver, Monica, who was friendly and safe.
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5
06/06/2017
We enjoyed the scenery. Being from the USA, we enjoyed learning about the differences between the two countries - foods, farm animals, wild animal species, etc.
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5
25/04/2017
We had a wonderful time in New Zealand the tour was well organised and i would recommend it to anyone.
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4
24/04/2017
Hotel and food was good. Except a dinner buffet at Queenstown on the TSS Earnslaw was too late and unable to see the view at night for the cruise.
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4
31/01/2017
The group got too large with 49 people on the bus after Christchurch. The trips from Queenstown to Franz Josef to Christchurch were too long and monotonous with excessive time spent on the bus. There is got to be a way to optimize.
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5
10/01/2017
Dexter was an excellent guide and Nathan was an extremely competent, safe driver. The locations on the tour were excellent and all of the hotels were very good for location, cleanliness, comfort and food. Overall the tour was fantastic and enjoyable and we would certainly recommend AAT Kings / Relaxing Journeys to family, friends and colleagues.
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Accommodation

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Enquire about our 14 Day New Zealand Vista

14 Day New Zealand Vista
Low Cost Coach Tour
Tour Code: LAAC
From (NZD) $4215 per person
Save (NZD) $220 per person
Enquire Now
Departures: Jun 2018 to Sep 2019
Rating:
69 reviews (4.6/5)

Visit the must-see sights of New Zealand with AAT Kings on the low cost New Zealand Vista coach tour. See Christchurch, Queenstown, Franz Josef, Rotor... Read More

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14 Day New Zealand Vista
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