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18 Day Essence of New Zealand

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

Tour Description

Discover New Zealand's essence on an 18 day AAT Kings Best Buys guided expedition. Experience the wonders of Queenstown, Milford Sound, Nelson, Napier, Rotorua, Auckland plus more.

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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 (17) (B)
  • Lunch (1) (L)
  • Exciting Highlight Dinners (2) (HD)
  • Hotel Dinners (10) (D)
Plus
  • Welcome Reception
  • Travel Wallet & Map of New Zealand
  • Hotel Porterage Included
Arrival & Departure
  • Day 1 from Christchurch Airport - Flights to arrive prior to 4.00pm
  • Day 18 to Auckland 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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EARLYBIRD SAVINGS!Save up to15%
Save up to 15%

Book your NEW 2018/2019 AAT Kings tour & receive an EARLYBIRD discount of 15%. When you Book and Pay by 27 Apr 18. Valid for Departures from Oct 2018 onwards. Deposit this month to qualify!

KINGS CLUBSave 5%
Save 5%

Have you travelled with Inspiring Journeys, AAT Kings (or it's sister companies) before? Save an additional 5%. Read more.

FREQUENT TRAVELLER SAVESave 5%
Returning customers SAVE!

Ask your Relaxing Journeys consultant about our Return Customer Savings. Read more.

BEST PRICE GUARANTEE!Best Price!
Best Price!

Relaxing Journeys offer a 'Best Price Guarantee' with 'No Credit Card or Service Fees' & we will beat any quote worldwide! Read more.

2018

  •   Start Date End Date BrochureTwin Share BrochureSingle Our Savings Our Price Check Availability
  • Guaranteed Departure Start Date: 01 Feb 2018 End Date: 18 Feb 2018 Brochure - Twin Share: Brochure - Single: Our Savings: Our Price: Sold Out
  • Guaranteed Departure Start Date: 08 Feb 2018 End Date: 25 Feb 2018 Brochure - Twin Share: Brochure - Single: Our Savings: Our Price: Request Quote
  • Guaranteed Departure Start Date: 15 Feb 2018 End Date: 04 Mar 2018 Brochure - Twin Share: Brochure - Single: Our Savings: Our Price: Sold Out
  • Guaranteed Departure Start Date: 01 Mar 2018 End Date: 18 Mar 2018 Brochure - Twin Share: Brochure - Single: Our Savings: Our Price: Sold Out
  • Guaranteed Departure Start Date: 15 Mar 2018 End Date: 01 Apr 2018 Brochure - Twin Share: Brochure - Single: Our Savings: Our Price: Request Quote
  • Guaranteed Departure Start Date: 25 Oct 2018 End Date: 11 Nov 2018 Brochure - Twin Share: Brochure - Single: Our Savings: Our Price: Request Quote
  • Guaranteed Departure Start Date: 29 Nov 2018 End Date: 16 Dec 2018 Brochure - Twin Share: Brochure - Single: Our Savings: Our Price: Request Quote
  • Guaranteed Departure Start Date: 20 Dec 2018 End Date: 06 Jan 2019 Brochure - Twin Share: Brochure - Single: Our Savings: Our Price: Request Quote

2019

  •   Start Date End Date BrochureTwin Share BrochureSingle Our Savings Our Price Check Availability
  • Guaranteed Departure Start Date: 03 Jan 2019 End Date: 20 Jan 2019 Brochure - Twin Share: Brochure - Single: Our Savings: Our Price: Request Quote
  • Guaranteed Departure Start Date: 31 Jan 2019 End Date: 17 Feb 2019 Brochure - Twin Share: Brochure - Single: Our Savings: Our Price: Request Quote
  • Guaranteed Departure Start Date: 07 Feb 2019 End Date: 24 Feb 2019 Brochure - Twin Share: Brochure - Single: Our Savings: Our Price: Request Quote
  • Guaranteed Departure Start Date: 21 Feb 2019 End Date: 10 Mar 2019 Brochure - Twin Share: Brochure - Single: Our Savings: Our Price: Request Quote
  • Guaranteed Departure Start Date: 14 Mar 2019 End Date: 31 Mar 2019 Brochure - Twin Share: Brochure - Single: Our Savings: Our Price: Request Quote
  • Guaranteed Departure Start Date: 12 Sep 2019 End Date: 29 Sep 2019 Brochure - Twin Share: Brochure - Single: Our Savings: Our Price: Request Quote
  • Guaranteed Departures. We will confirm tour availability in your quote along with all applicable discounts & specials.

Tour Itinerary - Day by Day
  • Day1

    Arrive Christchurch

    On arrival at Christchurch Airport you'll be transferred to your hotel. This evening meet your Tour Director and fellow travellers for a welcome reception and dinner.

    Stay: Ibis Hotel, Christchurch (D)

  • Day2

    Christchurch – Omarama

    Board your coach to see the extensive work carried out to rebuild Christchurch after the devastating earthquake of February 2011. Later, see Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki and visit the Church of the Good Shepherd before soaking up the sensational alpine landscape of Mt Cook National Park.

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

  • Day3

    Omarama - Dunedin

    Your day starts along the Waitaki River with the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam. Travel through Oamaru with its famous white limestone buildings to Dunedin, where you'll tour the city. Then visit New Zealand's only castle, Larnach Castle and its stunning gardens.

    Stay: Kingsgate Hotel, Dunedin (B, D)

  • Day4

    Dunedin – Overnight on Milford Sound

    Today is a feast for the senses. Travel along the Devil's Staircase and the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau. You'll be awestruck by the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, New Zealand's largest. See rainforest, ancient glaciers, mountain ranges and drive through the Homer Tunnel. Pass Lake Matheson, Pop's Lookout, Cleddau Valley and the Chasm, before arriving in Milford Sound for your overnight cruise on the Milford Mariner.

    Overnight Cruise: Milford Mariner, Milford Sound (B, D)

    Note: Milford Mariner does not operate 21 May - 15 September. During this period there will be a day cruise on Milford Sound and accommodation in Queenstown.

  • Day5

    Milford Sound - Queenstown

    This morning depart for Te Anau, on the shores of Lake Te Anau, the largest lake on the South Island. Explore the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves, before travelling to the adventure-capital Queenstown.

    Stay: Copthorne Hotel & Resort, Queenstown (3 nights) (B)

  • View Full ItineraryTotal 18 Days
  • Day6

    Queenstown ‘Free Time’

    Explore exciting Queenstown your way, all day. Take it easy with wine and garden tours or walk on the wild side with jet boat rides and white water rafting. Whatever you choose, Queenstown will surprise and exhilarate. (B)

  • Day7

    Queenstown ‘Free Time’

    Another action-packed day or time to relax. Tonight you'll ride the steepest Gondola in the world for a buffet 'highlight dinner' at the Skyline Restaurant. (B, HD)

  • Day8

    Queenstown - Franz Josef Glacier

    First stop visit the gold mining village of Arrowtown, a colourful township steeped in local history. Next is Cromwell and its sensational stone fruit. Then it's a trio of lakes – Lake Dunstan, Lake Hawea & Lake Wanaka. Travel through Haast Pass which winds its way through Mount Aspiring National Park and dramatic mountain and forest scenery. View the amazing Thunder Creek Falls and continue north along the coastal road to Franz Josef Glacier – a rare, still advancing glacier.

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

  • Day9

    Franz Josef – Punakaiki

    You can see Franz Josef Glacier from the air or take a glacier hike (both optional). Depart for Hokitika, home of the native greenstone (jade), for a factory visit and demonstration. Later travel to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. You'll stay in an eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront. Enjoy dinner while watching the thundering surf at your doorstep!

    Stay: Punakaiki Resort (B, D)

  • Day10

    Punakaiki – Nelson

    Soak up the scenic wilderness of the Heritage Highway through the impressive Buller Gorge and the Kahurangi National Park before arriving in Nelson. This afternoon you'll visit the World of Wearable Arts and Collectable Cars.

    Stay: Grand Mercure Monaco Resort, Nelson (2 nights) (B, D)

  • Day11

    Nelson ‘Free Time’

    You'll have the option to journey to the top of the South Island and enjoy a relaxing cruise in the Abel Tasman National Park or perhaps take a short bush walk, relax in sunny Nelson or explore the many arts and craft shops. (B)

  • Day12

    Nelson – Wellington

    Visit the seaside village of Picton and cruise on tranquil Queen Charlotte Sound, before you head across Cook Strait to Wellington, New Zealand's capital. Enjoy a city sights tour before you visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, where you'll explore New Zealand's nature, art, history and cultural heritage.

    Stay: Travelodge, Wellington (2 nights) (B, D)

  • Day13

    Wellington ‘Free Time’

    You have free time to see the sights of your choice. Perhaps take a tour of Parliament or one of the Lord of the Rings movie tours, or even a cruise to Somes Island in Wellington Harbour. (B)

  • Day14

    Wellington – Napier

    Travel through the dairy farming land of Manawatu to Napier. Enjoy a city walking tour with a Local Guide and learn how Napier was rebuilt after a devastating Earthquake in 1931.

    Stay: Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier (B, D)

  • Day15

    Napier – Rotorua

    Travel past Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand. Visit the Huka Falls and then it's on to Rotorua. On arrival an orientation tour takes in views of Lake Rotorua. This evening enjoy a Maori Hangi feast and concert at the Tamaki Maori Village.

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

  • Day16

    Rotorua Sightseeing

    Visit Te Puia, the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, where you'll see demonstrations of wood carving and weaving. Then tour the geothermal valley and hear about the importance of the geysers and mud pools to the Maori people. You'll also see the world-famous Lady Knox Geyser erupt! (B)

  • Up

    Optional Choice Farm Stay

    Included Choice Farm StayA warm welcome awaits you on your New Zealand farm stay and your hosts will provide you with the wonderful Kiwi hospitality that really makes you feel 'at home'. Enjoy dinner and breakfast, a farm tour to introduce you to the way of life and comfortable accommodation in the farm home or cottages. You may choose to meet the animals, including sheep, cows, deer and many others, or simply relax and enjoy the the surroundings.

    Additional Cost: NZ $65 pp

  • Day17

    Rotorua – Auckland

    Visit the Agrodome Sheep Show, the multi award winning stage show, to gain an insight into agriculture in New Zealand. You'll see the art of sheep shearing, sheepdog demonstrations, cow milking, bottle feeding of lambs and an exciting sheep auction. Visit the farming community of Matamata to experience a farming demonstration before lunch at Longlands Farm. Continue to Auckland where your city sights tour takes in Bastion Point, Viaduct Harbour and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

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

  • Day18

    Depart Auckland

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

  • Click here to download the 18 Day Essence of New Zealand (2017/2018) PDF

Like this Tour?

Start your booking process by selecting one of our available departure dates.

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Tour Reviews

View all 1 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.0 out of 5.

  • 4Tour content exceeded my expectation and was excellent value for money. The tour was well balanced and included the main highlights we wanted to visit. In particular Milford Sound overnight cruise-pancake rocks-Maori evening -lunch in Matamata. The coach was of high standard and the driver excellent. I did not expect top accommodation but the hotels in Dunedin and Rotorua were poor. The Tour Director whilst knowledgeable wittered most of the time and was adept at upsetting most if not all the people on the tour. Overall a thoroughly good experience. I would like to thank you for the way in which you dealt with our booking.

    • Overall Tour Rating
    • Value For Money
    • Accommodation
    • Tour Pace
    • Relaxing Journeys Experience
    - 04/02/2016

Like this Tour?

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