21 Day Spirit of New Zealand

21 Day Spirit of New Zealand

Take in the spirit of New Zealand on a 21 day AAT Kings Best Buys guided expedition. Be amazed by Milford Sound, Queenstown, Punakaiki, Napier, Rotorua, Bay of Islands and more.

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Tour Info

Tour Type: Low Cost Coach Tour
From: Christchurch to Auckland
Departures: Oct 2020 to Mar 2021
Price: From (NZD) $6740 per person
Tour Operator: AAT Kings Tours
Duration: 21 Days
Tour Code: lcqb


20 nights accommodation in superior hotels and 1 night on an overnight cruise
20 fully cooked breakfasts (B), 1 lunch (L) and 8 dinners (D)
See mighty Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain
Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo
Tour the sights of Dunedin
Explore New Zealand's only castle – Larnach Castle
Overnight cruise on the Milford Mariner
Explore the Te Anau Glowworm Caves
Two days at leisure in Queenstown, the 'adventure capital of New Zealand'
Gondola ride and dinner at Skyline Restaurant on Bob's Peak with spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu
Visit historic Arrowtown
Stay at spectacular Franz Josef Glacier
View the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki
Watch artisans carving pounamu (jade) in Hokitika
Free time in Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park
Cruise through Queen Charlotte Sound from Picton to Wellington
Visit Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand
Enjoy a city walking tour in Napier
Immerse yourself in Māori culture at a hāngī feast and concert
Visit the Agrodome Farm Show
Explore the geothermal valley at Te Puia in Rotorua
Visit the beautiful Bay of Islands
Cruise through the famous Hole in the Rock
Visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Reserve

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

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Day 1
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.

Stay: Ibis Hotel, Christchurch

Day 2
Christchurch - Ōmarama

Visit the city this morning, then travel over the Canterbury Plains to Lake Tekapo and view the Church of the Good Shepherd before continuing to Mt. Cook National Park.

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

Day 3
Ōmarama - Dunedin

Travel via Oamaru, with its famous white limestone buildings, to Dunedin, a region of unique landscapes and
fascinating cultural history. Take an orientation tour, then enjoy quiet time to explore the city or relax at your hotel.

Stay: Kingsgate Hotel, Dunedin (B)

Day 4
Dunedin - Overnight Cruise 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 national park. See rainforest, ancient glaciers and 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.

Day 5
Milford Sound - Queenstown

Depart this morning for Lake Te Anau. Explore the famous Te Anau Glowworm Caves by boat, drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of hundreds of glowworms. Later, travel to Queenstown.

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

Day 6
Queenstown (Free Time)

Today is free for you to explore Queenstown at your own pace. This evening, consider a cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. (B)

Day 7
Queenstown (Free Time)

Today, take time to either relax or tailor your own action-packed agenda. (B)

Day 8
Queenstown - Franz Josef Glacier

Your first destination today is the old goldmining settlement of Arrowtown. Travel on to witness the serenity of the region’s vivid blue lakes, the most famous of which is pristine Lake Wanaka. Drive over the spectacular Haast Pass and take a rainforest walk to Thunder Creek Falls on your way to the extraordinary Franz Josef Glacier.

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

Day 9
Franz Josef - Punakaiki

This morning, why not choose an optional experience and see Franz Josef Glacier from the air or take a glacier hike. Travel on to Hokitika, home of New Zealand’s famous greenstone, for a factory visit and demonstration.
Continue to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks.

Stay: Punakaiki Resort (B, D)

Day 10
Punakaiki - Nelson

The Heritage Highway leads you to the Buller Gorge and Kahurangi National Park before arriving in Nelson.

Stay: Rutherford Hotel, Nelson (2 nights) (B)

Day 11
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)

Day 12
Nelson - Wellington

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

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

Day 13
Wellington (Free Time)

Explore Wellington at your own pace today. You might like to take an optional experience tour of Parliament, or a behind-the-scenes guided tour through the Weta Workshop, creators of special effects for The Lord of Rings and The Hobbit films. (B)

Day 14
Wellington - Napier

Your special packed lunch today won’t only be wholesome, it will also feed a Kiwi child who may otherwise go without, through the charity ‘Eat My Lunch’. Travel through the vineyards of the Wairarapa region and Hawke’s Bay, and take a walking tour of Art Deco Napier.

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

Day 15
Napier - Rotorua

Today journey to Lake Taupo, then visit Huka Falls on your way to Rotorua. Visit Te Puia, the Māori Arts and Crafts Institute. A tour of Rotorua’s active geothermal fields follows. Gain a further insight into traditional Māori culture at a concert and Hangi Highlight Dinner at the Tamaki Māori Village.

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

Day 16
Rotorua Free Time

Today is free for you to explore at leisure. (B)

Day 17
Rotorua - Auckland

Travel through the dairy-farming land of Waikato en route to Auckland.

Stay: VR Queen Street, Auckland (B)

Day 18
Auckland - Bay of Islands

Depart Auckland over the Harbour Bridge through Orewa and along the scenic Hibiscus Coast. Walk among the kauri trees at Parry Kauri Park. Explore Whangarei, the northernmost city in New Zealand, and then it’s off to Paihia in the beautiful Bay of Islands. Enjoy a scenic cruise to Cape Brett and the famous Hole in the Rock formation.

Stay: Copthorne Hotel and Resort (Garden View) (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 19
Bay of Islands (Free Time)

Today is free for you to experience the beauty of the Bay of Islands at your own pace – perhaps go dolphin watching, take a coach trip to Cape Reinga via idyllic 90 Mile Beach, a day of sailing, or even a guided sea-kayaking trip. Tonight is at leisure so why not dine at a local restaurant. (B)

Day 20
Bay of Islands - Auckland

Visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds where New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed. Later return to Auckland. Celebrate your trip at a farewell dinner with your Tour Director and newfound friends.

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

Day 21
Depart Auckland

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


There are 8 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.8 out of 5.

Overall Tour Rating
Value For Money
Tour Pace
Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

Fabulous tour enjoyed every minute of it.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
Overall the tour was amazing. As I haven't done a coach tour before I found the pace tiring but the extra days in one place kept it all in balance. I wanted to see as much as possible in the time I had and it certainly delivered. The organisation was great, accommodation ranged from good to just ok (ibis not good especially in Rotorua). Boat trip on Milford Sound was amazing only disappointment was sharing 4 to cabin (not made clear on booking) when had opted for twin share. Inclusive visits all good. Extra excursions great but more info on what is available if you don't partake would be useful.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
The tour was amazing, with diversity of areas and relaxing breaks.k
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
A great trip overall! My main criticism related to the tour director: her delivery was rambling, confusing and difficult to follow with essential information frequently hard to understand. Her manner was often abrasive with often deprecating/insulting answers to basic questions. On the other hand our driver was superb - very helpful and an excellent driver. Hotels were generally extremely good, though (as expected) the Ibis hotels used were only average and the Kingsgate Hotel in Dunedin was awful - appalling food and virtually no internet access.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
If you have 21 days, do this tour. You will not be disappointed. It's truly spectacular ... and it just keeps getting better and better. The drive to and overnight cruise on Milford sound is awesome. You will never forget the view from your Queenstown hotel. The optional Skippers Canyon scenic tour and jet boat ride is a ton of fun. The west coast drive to Nelson is unbelievably beautiful. We almost skipped the Abel Tasman scenic cruise and hike. That would have been a huge mistake. It is indescribable. Wellington is very nice, as is the Thermal Wonderland. The Hobbiton excursion out of Rotorua is magical. The Bay of Islands is exceptional. Sky City and the ride up the tower is the highlight of Auckland. If you do this tour, you will come away having seen almost ALL of New Zealand. It is exceptional.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
Hubby and I enjoyed our tour. What a land of epic scenery and wildlife - even got to enjoy slightly out of season snow and generally a bit colder than expected. Tour really well organised and made more pleasurable by Vale and Monica who went out of their way to make every person welcome and individually catered for as far as possible within the time constraints of the tour. Good pace of tour and included activities were great with quite a bit of scope for personal choice on free days. Loved overnight on Milford Sound and Glowworm Caves and all the special places in between destinations that we would never have known to go to had we been driving ourselves. Hotels were generally good and some were really lovely in scenic locations. I was surprised by the many opportunities to do laundry- you really could pack less! How wonderful it is when everything is taken care of- where to stay, eat, do! Easy and sweet as!
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
Very good, comprehensive tour with excellent driver (Trent) and tour director (Ted). Liked the fact there were less than 30 in the group so everyone got to know each other. The places visited were all enjoyable though many felt they would have liked longer in some e.g. Dunedin and Napier. The accommodation and food were almost all excellent except for the Ibis in Auckland which was very tired and disappointing. The staff, too, were unfriendly in stark contrast to every other hotel we had stayed in where everyone was greeted very warmly. The service from Relaxing Journeys was first class. Thank you!
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
We had the best tour guide - Ted, and an excellent driver for most of the tour. The 2 of them certainly bounced off each other and made it for a humorous atmosphere at times. Their local knowledge of culture, history and photo stops etc. were certainly beyond excellent. I learned so much from them. We went to some of the most amazing sites and land features and had some amazing experiences. I would highly recommend the 21 day tour, I cannot imagine trying to experience what we did in a shorter time. We were told that we had covered over 3,500 kms. during the tour. Ted marked our maps with the route we had travelled, which is a help when we are unfamiliar with NZ Maori place names. Downside: Some of the accommodation venues were too far away from town, especially on a multi-day stay. The room we had in Ibis in Christchurch was very pokey. It was hard trying to live out of a smallish suitcase for 21 days... given the requested case size, yet others ignored this. With souveniers etc. we bought, we had to buy an extra carry bag. Overall, well and truly enjoyed our trip.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience

Enquire about our 21 Day Spirit of New Zealand

21 Day Spirit of New Zealand
Low Cost Coach Tour
Tour Code: lcqb
From (NZD) $6740 per person
Save (NZD) $355 per person
Enquire Now
Departures: Oct 2020 to Mar 2021
8 reviews (4.8/5)

Take in the spirit of New Zealand on a 21 day AAT Kings Best Buys guided expedition. Be amazed by Milford Sound, Queenstown, Punakaiki, Napier, Rotoru... Read More

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21 Day Spirit of New Zealand
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