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17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand

Please ask us about the FREE nights’ accommodation either before or after the tour.
AAT Kings Low Cost Coach Tour starting in Auckland and finishing in Christchurch

Tour Description

One AAT Kings' most popular coach tours, visiting both North & South Islands, including the Bay of Islands, Auckland & Rotorua in the North and Christchurch, Queenstown and the Milford Sound in the South.

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Tour Info
Regions Visited
Special Offer
  • Please ask us about the FREE nights accommodation either before or after the tour.
  • Must deposit this month to qualify.
  • Applies to new bookings only.
Sightseeing Highlights
Best Buy Holiday Tour Inclusions
Included Meals
  • Full Buffet Breakfasts (16) (B)
  • Exciting Highlight Dinners (2) (HD)
  • Hotel Dinners (9) (D)
Plus
  • Welcome Reception
  • Travel Wallet & Map of New Zealand
  • Hotel Porterage Included
Arrival & Departure
  • Day 1 from Auckland Airport - Flights to arrive prior to 4.00pm
  • Day 17 to Christchurch Airport - Flights anytime
Trip Notes
  • Itinerary and inclusions shown apply to departures from September 2017 onwards.
  • Accommodation, itinerary and inclusions subject to change.
  • Disruptions to itinerary may occur

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2018

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2019

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Tour Itinerary - Day by Day
  • Day1

    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 hotel. After you check-in, you can explore Auckland. Take a walk down Queen Street, to the main shopping precinct or catch a $1.00 bus (leaves from outside the hotel) down to the 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 a Welcome Reception back at our hotel.

    Stay: VR Queen Street, Auckland. (D)

  • Day2

    Auckland – Bay of Islands

    This morning depart Auckland City and travel north over the Harbour Bridge. Journey through Orewa and along the scenic Hibiscus Coast, the birthplace of Sir Edmund Hillary. Enjoy a stop at Parry Kauri Park and take a walk among New Zealand's native forest giants, the Kauri trees. Your travels then take you into Whangarei, the northern-most city in New Zealand, where you can wander around the art galleries and through the marina in the Town Basin.

    This afternoon you will travel into the beautiful Bay of Islands. Experience spectacular scenery as you take a scenic cruise through game fishing waters to Cape Brett and, weather permitting, through the famous 'Hole in the Rock' formation. The return cruise to Paihia meanders through picturesque islands – see deserted sandy beaches and secluded bays and keep your eyes peeled for the marine life. This evening enjoy dinner with your travelling companions at the hotel

    Stay: Copthorne Hotel & Resort (Garden View), Bay of Islands (2 nights) (B, D)

  • Day3

    Bay of Islands Free Time

    Today is a completely free day, for you to experience the beauty of the Bay of Islands. Perhaps head back out on to the water and go on a dolphin watching cruise, and maybe even jump in the water for a swim with these magnificent creatures. Or take a coach trip up to Cape Reinga - the very top of New Zealand, via idyllic Ninety Mile Beach. Experience a day of sailing aboard a historic tall ship, enjoy wine tasting around Kerikeri, or join a jet boat Heritage Cruise and learn a little more about the settling of the Bay of Islands.

    Tonight you are free to dine as you wish. You may want to Experience a 'Kiwi tradition' – fish and chips on the beach, or glide down the Waitangi River on board the Ratanui for a sumptuous dinner cruise. Your AAT Kings Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen optional experiences. (B)

  • Day4

    Bay of Islands - Auckland

    This morning you will have the opportunity to visit the Waitangi Treaty Reserve, where New Zealand's founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed. As you stroll through the reserve, you will see highlights such as the Waka - Maori War Canoe and an intricately carved Marae - Meeting House (optional - own expense). Alternatively, you may want to travel over to historic Russell, New Zealand's first capital. This afternoon sit, back and relax as you make your way down through Northland's lush farmland scenery and past the sprawling suburbs of the North Shore of Auckland. Tonight dinner is included at your hotel.

    Stay: VR Queen Street, Auckland (B, D)

  • Day5

    Auckland - Waitomo Caves - Rotorua

    A city sights tour will start your morning in Auckland. Travel around the waterfront from 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 the 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 Glow Worm 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. Tonight an evening of culture, history and scrumptious food awaits you at the Tamaki Maori Village. Wander through the ancient forest village and learn about Maori art forms and traditions, followed by a concert featuring local performers. Experience an authentic Maori Hangi meal, steamed underground in the traditional way.

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

  • View Full ItineraryTotal 17 Days
  • Day6

    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 Sheep 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 Rotorua town ship 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!

    Explore Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park, and take a 'behind the scenes' tour through the working kiwi nursery and hatchery. Visit Te Puia and join a guided tour through the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, home to famous Pohutu Geyser and the bubbling beauty of the mud pools. Later, why not spend a little more time experiencing the thermal wonders, with a soak in the hot mineral waters of the Polynesian Spas? Your AAT Kings Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen optional experiences. (B)

  • Rotorua Farm Stay
  • Day7

    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 in a broad panorama of Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake. The stunningly blue fresh water of Lake Taupo 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)

  • Day8

    Wellington - Picton

    It’s a morning at leisure in Wellington, then visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, where you’ll have time to explore New Zealand’s nature, art, history and cultural heritage. There’s time for a photo at Parliament House. Then cruise across the Cook Strait and meander down the maze of inlets of Queen Charlotte Sound. Later you’ll travel to the seaside village of Picton for an orientation tour.

    Stay: Beachcomber Inn, Picton (B, D)

  • Day9

    Picton – Christchurch

    This morning you will begin your adventure in the South Island of New Zealand. 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 Kaikoura (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 'koura' 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)

  • Day10

    Christchurch - Omarama

    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 Country. You may want to take in 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 Country at Omarama. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

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

  • Day11

    Omarama - Dunedin

    Your day starts with a journey along the Waitaki River, and a photo stop at the Waitaki Hydro Power 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 Oamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and its 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, Oamaru locals made sure that their own town represented the best in limestone building the mid-late 1800's had to offer.

    This afternoon you will make your way down to the Southernmost New Zealand city, 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 Speights Brewery – a New Zealand institution or ride the historic Taieri Gorge railway. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

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

  • Day12

    Dunedin – Te Anau

    This morning you have some free time in Dunedin. You may want to visit the Cadbury Chocolate Factory, or journey out to the gorgeous Larnach Castle – New Zealand's only castle. Or you may just wish to roam around the beautiful grounds of New Zealand's first university, Otago University. Dunedin, also known as the Edinburgh of the Sough, 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 the 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)

  • Day13

    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 from glacial hanging valleys sharply 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 city centre. Tonight you may want to take a gondola up Bob's Peak, and dine at the Skyline Restaurant, Stratosfare, (own expense) overlooking Queenstown – the ultimate way to end a highlight day!

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

  • Day14

    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 Boat 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 sing-a-long or grab your partner for a dance across the polished wooden floors of the Earnslaw. (B, HD)

  • Day15

    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, 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)

  • Day16

    Christchurch

    If weather conditions are unfavourable on Day 15, 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 drift-wood 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 factory (native greenstone or jade), for the chance to see master carvers at work creating intricate pieces of jewellery and art. Maori 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 city. 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 new-found friends for a Farewell Dinner.

    Stay: Ibis Hotel, Christchurch (B, FD)

  • Day17

    Depart Christchurch

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

  • Click here to download the 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand (2017/2018) PDF

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Tour Reviews

View all 43 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.6 out of 5.

  • 5Great trip, excellent tour guide and driver!

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    - 28/10/2017
  • 5Tour director was great. A couple of the hotels could use a little updating. Should require people to use a hand sanitation wash when coming onto the coach

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    - 25/02/2017
  • 4We had a great trip to New Zealand with a good travel director Sarah and Dexter. Driver was Nathan and he was great. Thank you to AAT Kings and Relaxing Journeys (Maria) for making a good trip in New Zealand.


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    - 07/01/2017
  • 5Good hotels and meals. Excellent new coach and superb driver. Tour guide very knowledgeable and helpful. Very well organised arrangements. Well planned stops and outings. Nice to have baggage handling done. Perfect.

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    - 07/01/2017
  • 5The tour was well organised, accommodation great. The driver, Nathan (aka Pumbaa), and tour guide, Dexter, were brilliant. Nathan's driving was second to none and Dexter's knowledge on New Zealand was amazing. Nothing was too much trouble and there was a great atmosphere on the coach.

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    - 07/01/2017
  • 4Kia Ora. Overall the tour package is great, the accommodation is very good with some dinners included, the food is quality. Wish we had a longer stay in Picton, it was a bit of a rush to enjoy the beautiful place. The director was friendly & helpful, thumbs up to the only female driver with AAT Kings, Monica, she is an excellent capable driver. Would appreciate if a brief description is available to each city/town we stop over e.g. population, the history, their livelihood etc. Copthorne hotels - need a facelift. Ibis hotels - small rooms. The rest are of excellent standard. Also, self-service laundromat is available in most hotels which is a bonus. And not forgetting our tour consultant, Leanne who was so patient and helpful in organising our trip. I would do it again in a couple of years.

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    - 01/10/2016
  • 5The tour was fantastic, better than we anticipated. Our guide Mel was fantastic, she has so much knowledge & a very warm friendly nature. She also told many interesting stories that kept all entertained. Every day seemed to get better as the sights became more amazing. Bus driver Allan (a true gentleman) was an excellent driver, we travelled safely & smoothly every day. Will recommend our trip to everyone.

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    - 10/09/2016
  • View All ReviewsTotal 43 Items
  • 4Alhamdulillah (Thanks God), we had almost excellent experience in this tour. We missed a few spots only due to weather. It was heavy raining on the way to Franz Josef and also in the morning we left Franz Josef. Actually we preferred to take this tour in Autumn for 2 reasons: temperature and autumn color. We got the first one but it was still too early for the second one. Definitely we recommend this tour for the first timer visiting New Zealand. However to avoid any impressions that the South Island Tour is rather hectic in itinerary, if we would have to repeat the tour, we would take the 21 days tour LCQB from AAT Kings or similar itinerary from other provider.

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    - 05/03/2016
  • 5Great trip that hit all the top sights plus lots of interesting excursions on the way. Tour leader and driver were excellent.

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    - 09/01/2016
  • 5Firstly, we would like to thank Marie our wonderful tour consultant at Relaxing Journeys who guided us through the booking process, she was a gem! Our AAT Kings tour of both island of New Zealand was amazing. The tour gave us a superb, wide ranging view of all New Zealand has to offer, its beauty and diversity has the WOW factor, from magnificent mountains to thermal springs and mud pools. Additionally, the included / optional activities we experienced were fantastic, and the food was plentiful. We had a great crew of fellow travellers from places such as Australia, England, Scotland, Wales, Malaysia and America, and enjoyed everyone's company. We were so lucky to have Tania as our tour director, and Trent our driver. Tania had the most comprehensive knowledge of New Zealand and was a wonderful ambassador of the Maori culture, she was always kind, caring and cheerful. Trent was voted No.1 tour coach driver this year, he drove expertly and kept the coach sick & span, he had a cheeky sense of humour and told quirky jokes! We would certainly recommend AAT Kings and Relaxing Journeys to anyone who would like to tour New Zealand. Happy touring!

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    - 25/04/2015
  • 4We did have a really lovely time on our trip and met some wonderful people. I think the pace of the tour was probably too busy for us as my husband hadn't been well before we left home and it was extremely tiring for him. We knew this would be a test for both of us and maybe next time we would need to take things a little slower. We did find a few of the optional extra activities were quite expensive for what they were - e.g. the Dinner Cruise at $95 each was over-priced when you consider the entree course was all fish and some people like us don't like prawns and mussels. No drinks were included in that price and the 'dessert' was only a chocolate fish! We also found the Duck Amphibian tour wasn't as good we thought it might be - the driver spoke too fast to be able to pick up very much. However the day trip to Cape Reinga was just fabulous and we would highly recommend that one!

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    - 07/03/2015
  • 5A very good way of seeing the beauty of New Zealand and the experience the kindness of people in all parts of the country. A well thought out itinerary. A couple of the South Island days were rather long in the coach, leaving little time to wash and change before the booked evening activity.The hotels were nice and efficient. The meals provided were tasty. The tour offered good value for money. Both AAT Kings tour guide (Tanya) and the coach driver (Murray) did their work excellently and were also good company. The group gelled well and there was an interesting mix of people from several different countries.

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    - 22/11/2014
  • 5Excellent. I've had the most wonderful experience of New Zealand and there are certainly more things I'd like to do and places to see, so definitely will be back. One suggestion - include on the optional list of things to do/see 'Waitangi Retreat'. That was one disappoint for me, having to stay at the hotel right next door and not being able to visit this place because time would not allow on the day we left. Overall, such a beautiful country with friendly people. If had been given a choice of where to live, definitely New Zealand. Kia Ora.

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    - 05/04/2014
  • 4Overall we loved the trip, NZ is a great place, scenically beautiful & lovely friendly people. We felt a 'feel good factor' throughout our trip. Because I had mentioned that I had walking difficulties we were usually in a room close to the lift & with bathroom safety in mind. Just one or two disappointments. The bedroom in the The Mercure in Auckland needed refurbishing & was noisy, otherwise comfortable. The Copthorne at Bay of Islands needs refurbishing. The swimming pool looked unhealthy & dirty. We had incredibly hot weather in South Island (I know we were very lucky!) & the hotel bedrooms did not have a cooling system-bit uncomfortable. Some buffet meals were only satisfactory.

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    - 25/01/2014
  • 4This was a very well organised tour with a highly professional Tour Director and Driver. The Tour Director displayed deep knowledge and enthusiasm. Relaxing Journeys were very efficient, helpful and responsive in dealing with my booking. The hotels were all of a very acceptable standard except for The Mercure in Auckland but although it was in need of refurbishment it was probably chosen for its excellent location. The buffet meals tended to be a bit boring and samey but there were some very notable exceptions, particularly Arthur Peak in Queenstown. The itinerary was very full on. We rarely stayed in the same place two nights running and were often on the road by 8.30am the next day. We saw some amazing sights as well as the spectacular beauty of some of the scenery. New Zealand has so much to offer. Over 17 days I certainly think we saw New Zealand's highlights. I also met some really lovely people on the coach and the atmosphere was always light and happy.

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    - 28/12/2013
  • 4The tour was great. We loved it! Clean and tidy hotels with great service. Food was ok. The only remark is that there wasn't enough time in Paihia and Wellington to explore yourself, plus in Kaikoura we had no time or possibility to do the wale watching tour, even though it was mentioned in the itinerary given to us before the tour, that we could. We are both from The Netherlands and we struggled to understand the tour guide during the trip so missed out of a lot of interesting facts and history about NZ and so were some of our fellow overseas travellers on the coach. But we had a very friendly tour guide and bus driver and we hope to come back to NZ again soon.

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    - 08/12/2013
  • 5Would like to commend our tour guide Kevin and our driver Trent for making our New Zealand holiday simply amazing. Well done to AAT Kings.

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    - 09/11/2013
  • 5From the time that I was getting quotes for my New Zealand holiday with the assistance of Mani, I was impressed with his quick response to my emails and his helpfulness.
    I have certainly had the best 17 day holiday in New Zealand, there was not a moment of disappointment, but many wow factors. AAT Kings were great, a fantastic tour director with so much local knowledge and the driver of the coach was super, kept us all very safe.

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    - 05/10/2013
  • 5Excellent tour. Essential to do both islands. Tour director Nylie was a wealth of knowledge and the driver Trent was as good as you could get. Both helping to make the holiday a success. Hotels were good , food was too good - put on 3 kg. Thought the add on excursions were too dear. We still did most of them. This was our second trip to New Zealand. At 80 years old it was definitely our last.

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    - 05/10/2013
  • 4Enjoyed our tour and loved New Zealand. Somewhat rushed on a few days but understand as we covered a lot of ground. Food and accommodation were usually good although one or two of the rooms were very small. Generally very satisfied.

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    - 09/03/2013
  • 5We had a wonderful holiday. The scenery is spectacular and the towns and cities are very interesting. We met some lovely people on our tour. AAT Kings could not be faulted and the tour was very good value for money.

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    - 23/02/2013
  • 4Tour started badly with the hotel Mercure in Auckland (Customs Street) room was very dated, air con would not work, carpet dirty we asked for a another room but was told we could not have one has hotel was full. On our return to Auckland we were given a much better room after speaking to Phil (Tour Guide). Also food poor at this hotel. On the coach there was not much leg room at the rear, all seats were in use has tour was full. Other than the above we really enjoyed the tour, we were given lots of information by Phil and were driven really well by Mark, we would use you again if we were to come back to New Zealand, thank you for a good holiday.

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    - 26/01/2013
  • 5AAT Kings had provided an excellent team in the tour leader who is Phil Wilson and coach driver Mark Anderson. The trip ran almost like clockwork. Enjoyed the very informative narrations from tour leader and gentle driving of the driver. Great team work from both Phil and Mark.

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    - 26/01/2013
  • 4Had a great time. After this whistle stop tour of both Islands I feel I have a much improved knowledge of New Zealand. It's given me an introduction to so many amazing towns and sights and I really hope that I can get back to some of them to explore further in the next few years. The tour director and driver were excellent. Th coach was very comfortable. The hotels were good and on occasions excellent which goes for the food as well. Michelle at Relaxing Journeys was very efficient thus allowing me to book with confidence from the UK. Thank you.

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    - 12/01/2013
  • 5A wonderful tour, with knowledgeable and friendly guides and drivers. It was great to have local knowledge at many of the destinations and lots of help and advice when we had free time. At times we felt we needed an extra night in locations, but given the length of the tour we were amazed at how much we were able to see and do. Grateful thanks to all who made the trip possible and especially our guide and driver who were brilliant.

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    - 05/01/2013
  • 4The transfer from Auckland Airport was a bit confusing and it took a long time to reach our hotel. There was not enough seating in the hotel for the introduction. The welcome drink was delayed till later on in the tour. We had a very noisy room next to the lifts in our hotel in Auckland. They were busy on a Saturday night. On the second visit we were allocated the same room, but managed to change it. The first tour director handled the schedule very well by changing the boat trip to a day when she expected better weather. The Bay of Islands hotel was good. We enjoyed our time in the North Island. There was a delay on our ferry crossing from Wellington but we loved Picton especially the hotel and the meal. Christchurch was a great shock to us but we are pleased we visited the city so that we could see for ourselves the destruction caused by the earthquake. We enjoyed Queenstown, the hotel, the meal and the trip on the Earnshaw but were very disappointed we didn't make it to Milford Sound. We feel that something better than a very wet boat trip in the South Fjiord could have been arranged in view of the weather. Also because of shortage of time we could only spend 15 minutes in the glacier car park and so didn't really see it. Maybe it would be better not to spend time in the jade shop. The coach was very comfortable and our fellow passengers were friendly. Most of the included highlights were worthwhile but some of the optional extras should not really be promoted.

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    - 29/12/2012
  • 5Our New Zealand tour was brilliant. Wonderfully organised and the tour guides where helpful, knowledgable and passionate.

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    - 22/12/2012
  • 5From start to finish the tour progressed without a hitch with great service throughout. Really great tour director (Ted Ratahi) and driver (Paul Luxmoore) who ensured all passengers were very well cared for and provided masses of information about New Zealand and the particular districts that we were travelling through. Accommodation was consistently good with one or two excellent hotels. Pre tour service from Relaxing Journeys (Kirby O'Connor) was also excellent as airline schedule changes and the resulting hotel booking amendments were smoothly handled. In summary if New Zealand were not so far away we would be returning with Relaxing Journeys next year. Will definitely recommend your company to others.

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    - 31/03/2012
  • 5Our tour was fantastic. I would recommend it to anyone considering coming to New Zealand. 17 days covering both islands. Our Tour Director Ted was just amazing with his knowledge of the country and its people. On top of that he was funny, helpful and considerate to everyone on board the coach. Our coach driver, Paul, was the best coach driver I have ever come across. The way he manoeuvred that huge coach was amazing. I must also mention Georgie, our tour consultant. Nothing was too much trouble for her in helping us organise our fabulous trip.

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    - 31/03/2012
  • 5Amazing 17 Day New Zealand Contrasts tour courtesy of Relaxing Journeys!

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    - 17/12/2011
  • 4From the very start Kirby at Relaxing Journeys made our holiday stress-free, nothing was too much trouble. She even taught me how to use e-mail, my wife and I have made a great friend, thanks Kirby. As for the tour nothing was left out, spoilt really. The tour manager Marty Paranihi and driver Craig Johnston, make one of the best teams you would wish for on a tour like we did. Marty did not miss one bit of information about his wonderful country from farming to skiing, wine to wood. A great trip as I did not have to drive and took in all New Zealand has to offer & I would recommend this tour.

    - 26/11/2011
  • 5The tour was great. On a scale 1-10, I will give it a 9. Marty Paranihi, the Tour Manager, was great. Entertaining, local knowledge, great personality, organized, involved, attentive to every details, just to mentioned a few of his strengths. Linda Cruickshank, the tour driver, was also great. I had my concerns to spend 17 days in a coach with a driver I did not know. I felt very comfortable with her driving, and she also had a very pleasant personality. We had the unfortunate earthquake happening in Christchurch 4 days before our planned to visit that city. Alternative plans were made, and I think it was very professionally organized by AAT Kings. The hotels were nice, clean, good food and service. The only exception was Mercure Hotel in Wellington, the rooms were very small and there was no wardrobe (very unusual). This was the first time I joined an organized tour, and definitely not the last time. It was very relaxing and informative, and I met a lot of interesting people.

    - 19/02/2011
  • 5Tour was of both islands. Although we arrived very late in the evening we were received both at the airport and hotel in Auckland with courtesy. Our Tour Director and Drivers were attentive in every way. The hotels were good enough we can't compain and our requests were met in every way. Free days were very beneficial. Places we saw were great. We were luckly that the group were all nice and this made it even more successful. The tour was just right, a little longer and it may have been too much. The only regret we have is for Christchurch and the earthquake which we escaped. We grew to love this small city and hope that it recovers through all this catastrophe. We can not fault the tour in any way and would be happy to recommend Relaxing Tours & AAT Kings to friends and family.

    - 05/02/2011
  • 5We enjoyed our tour of NZ tremendously. Our tour driver and guide were both delightfully friendly, helpful, and extraordinarily professional. The places we visited and the scenery we experienced were all what we expected and more. The very best part of the tour for us was all the wonderful people we met. The NZ people are the warmest, most welcoming people we have ever encountered! We stayed an additional few days after our tour ended in Christchurch, and unfortunately were there during the earthquake. Even in the midst of that heartbreaking tragedy, the Kiwi people were incredibly kind. Complete strangers welcomed us into their home overnight, and took us to the airport, so we could get home. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the people of Christchurch.

    - 05/02/2011
  • 4The tour was great, my husband & I enjoyed it very much. Our Tour director Julianne was excellent, helpfull, accommodating & knowledgable in regards to NZ which exceeded our expectations. Our coach driver Timati was also exceptional & friendly. We found the tour options to be very expensive & couldn't justify the cost, so for this reason we only did a couple of them. Other tour companions which we met were also saying the side tours were too expensive and there were no group discounts or something like that. I'd like to also mention that the Tranzalpine train fare you charged us was $118 each & when i enquired at the railway station in Dundenin they told me $89 each for the same trip & day (RJ - The price charged by the Operator includes transfers). That is a huge difference. Nevertheless, we still had a great time in New Zealand & enjoyed it very much.

    - 22/01/2011
  • 5We booked our NZ holiday through Georgina at Relaxing Journeys about 10 months before our trip. One thing I found reassuring was that before we booked, every time I made an email enquiry, Georgina got back to me very quickly, so that gave us the confidence to go ahead with an overseas company. Our trip was 17 days, starting in Auckland, travelling to Bay of Islands, then returning to Auckland to travel down from north to south, finishing in Christchurch. Everything went very smoothly. The actual tour was with AAT Kings and our bus driver Paul and tour guide Julie were outstanding. One advantage of being on an escorted coach tour is the wealth of local knowledge that these people can share. I am sure I learnt much more about NZ than I would have been able to achieve otherwise. Julie should be congratulated on her organisation, as each day she would give us a sheet that would outline the times and special notes about activities for the next day. She also booked wake up calls for everyone. People I spoke to said she was far and away the best tour guide they had had on a coach tour. My husband has a bad back but found the coaches very comfortable. Most people on the trip were Australian, with a fair sprinkling of English plus some Americans. Age range was generally 40s to 60s, although once we arrived in the South Island, many other people joined us, including two families, both with two teenage children. The teens got on very well and had a ball, but it may have been a lonely time for them had the other family not been there. New Zealand is an achingly beautiful country-much more so than I expected. It is also a friendly country. I was touched to have strangers come up and shake our hand, wish us well, once they found we were from Australia. People on our tour commented on how spotless the country is. It seems to be a nation where the people take pride in their country. Our hotels were, on the whole, very good, although some were stand out favourites. The Copthorne at Bay of Islands had by far the best buffet at night. The heating and cooling in the hotels is generally not up to Aussie standards though. I would not hesitate to use Relaxing Journeys again to book a holiday, AATKIngs were excellent, the other passengers were great, NZ itself is outstanding. We finished our tour in Christchurch-such an absolutely beautiful city. I hope all those tour guides and drivers were able to stay safe in the recent earthquake and our hope is to one day be able to visit NZ again. (RJ - Edited for brevity)

    - 01/01/2011
  • 4Whilst having enjoyed our holiday immensely this tour option was obviously a budget version with the timescale reflecting that, however the standard of accommodation and food was good. From a personal point of view we found the South Island tour very rushed in comparison with that of the North and would have preferred a more leisurely tour in the South even at an extra cost.

    - 23/10/2010
  • 5Well, we both agree that this was our best ever holiday, in spite of the long journey to get there (around 11,000 miles and about 30 hours flying) we thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the whole experience from start to finish. For us it was a trip of a lifetime and so we always wondered if it would live up to expectations but we needn't have worried. The tour guides were fantastic in the proffesional way they organised everything from optional tours to leisure time and so I can't speak highly enough of both Clarke, our tour director, and Murray our driver who were always so cheerful and a great source of information. We also made quite a few friends from all over the world and got on great together. For me the highlight has to have been going up on the glaciers at 7am on a beautiful morning but I also enjoyed the many other sights and have lots of photos to look back on, of course the warmth and friendliness of the people made it even more enjoyable. Again I would like to thank everybody for their help and assistance in making this such an experience.

    - 23/10/2010
  • 5The tour was everything we could have hoped for and more. We felt very looked after and both our driver, Tamati, and guide, Ted, were excellent. We highly recommend this tour, it was great.

    - 12/06/2010
  • 4Thank you for managing my beautiful holiday in New Zealand. I choose from your wide range of tours the New Zealand Contrasts 17 days tour. I was very satisfied with program of the tour, the perfect organisation and kindness of tour director and tour driver. I have learnt lot of information about New Zealand and about you Kiwis. It was a pleasure to spend some time in your home country. Thanks you very much.

    - 06/03/2010
  • 5Just a quick note to say what a wonderful time I had on my holiday in NZ. The AAT Kings tour was great, the weather was lovely compared to the cold/ frosts here at the moment. Thank you for sorting out my pre and post tour accommodation. The Sudima in Rotorua was lovely they gave me a lake view room which was a delight each morning to sip my coffee overlooking the lake and deciding what to do that day. This was a lovely introduction to NZ and I definitely plan to return again in the future. Thank you again and may I wish you Seasons greetings and best wishes for the New Year.

    - 17/12/2007
  • 5We have just returned from New Zealand, having travelled on the 'New Zealand Contrasts' tour, arranged through yourselves. I would just like to say we had a wonderful time and hope it won't be too long before we can return. We were impressed by every aspect of the tour, and everyone we met was friendly and helpful. I almost gave up hope of meeting a grumpy kiwi but finally managed at Auckland airport in the person of the lady taking my departure tax! Even the weather was good throughout. While you were having rain for Waitangi Day we had sunshine in the South Island. Thank you again, best wishes.

    - 16/02/2007
  • 4When I booked the tour of NZ back in April it seemed such a long time before it happened but... it's come and gone. We are back from the best holiday ever. We loved New Zealand. In our opinion it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Thank you for making it happen.

    - 10/10/2006

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