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15 Day New Zealand Splendour

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

Tour Description

Discover the best of New Zealand's North and South Islands on AAT Kings' 15 day New Zealand Splendour. Highlights include touring the Waitomo Caves, a unique Maori culture experience with The Realm of Tane in Rotorua, cruising on Milford Sound and plenty of free time to discover the Bay of Islands, Queenstown, Wellington & historic Dunedin.

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Tour Info
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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
  • Feast on a degustation of mouth-watering local produce in Auckland
  • Discover Waitomo and its famous Glow Worm Grotto
  • Immerse yourself in rich Maori culture with the Tamaki family over dinner
  • Take your pick of a selection of included experiences in Rotorua, Dunedin & Queenstown
  • View All HighlightsTotal 17 Items
  • Journey through the magnificent scenery of Mt. Ruapehu Tongariro National Park
  • 'Explore Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand
  • Sail the Cook Strait to beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Indulge in a 5 course dinner with matching wines in Blenheim
  • Savour a delicious Kiwi BBQ at Morelea Farm
  • Marvel at the crystal clear waters of Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki
  • Cruise on the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak Station
  • Travel past ancient glaciers, spectacular mountains and magical rainforest en route to Milford Sound
  • Taste Central Otago stone fruits at a local orchard
  • Discover fascinating Franz Josef Glacier
  • Visit a jade factory and marvel at artists at work
  • Walk around Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
  • Journey over the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine Train
Best Buy Holiday Tour Inclusions
Included Meals
Plus
  • Welcome Reception
  • Travel Wallet, Luggage Tags & Map of New Zealand
  • Hotel Porterage Included
  • Included Choice Experiences
Arrival & Departure
  • Day 1 from Auckland Airport - Flights to arrive prior to 4.00pm
  • Day 15 to Christchurch Airport - Flights anytime
Trip Notes
  • Itinerary and inclusions shown apply to departures from September 2018 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

    On arrival at Auckland Airport you'll be met by private car and transferred to your hotel. The afternoon is at leisure for you to explore Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. You could visit the Sky Tower for spectacular views of the city, picturesque Viaduct Harbour and surrounding lush volcanic hills. Perhaps visit the Auckland Museum or go shopping in stylish Parnell. This evening meet your Tour Director and fellow travelling companions for a welcome reception and 'highlight dinner' at Eight Resutaurant located at The Cordis. Eight offers the freshest, quality ingredients, including mouth-watering seafood and desserts.

    Stay: The Cordis Hotel, Auckland (HD)

  • Day2

    Auckland – Waitomo Caves - Rotorua

    A city sights tour will start your morning in Auckland. Travel around the waterfront to Mission Bay, with a stop at Bastion Point and the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, for stunning photos of Auckland and surrounds. 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. Then cross the rolling hills of King Country to Rotorua, where your orientation tour takes in spectacular views of Lake Rotorua.

    Stay: Millennium Hotel, Rotorua, (2 nights) (B)

  • Day3

    Rotorua (Included Choice)

    Today choose one from a range of Included Choice sightseeing experiences. You have the option to join the Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs Nature Park, discover Maori culture at Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland, see the Agrodome Farm Show, relax in the seclusion of your own hot mineral pool or unwind with a facial treatment in the Lake Spa Retreat at the Polynesian Spa. Maybe ride the amphibious Rotorua Duck or the luge at Rotorua Skyline. 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. (B, HD)

    View Included Choices [+]

  • Day4

    Rotorua - Wellington

    Say Haere Ra (goodbye) to Rotorua this morning and journey out through pine forests and farmland to a little hidden spot, Huka Falls. From here the road unfolds in a broad panorama of Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake. You'll then journey south over the Central Plateau, New Zealand's main volcanic area. Travel along the Kapiti Coast, to New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. Enjoy an exclusive after-hours guided tour of Te Papa Museum of New Zealand. Before leaving there, top off the night with a Highlight Dinner.

    Stay: James Cook Grand Chancellor, Wellington (B, HD)

  • Day5

    Wellington - Blenheim

    Why not discover more of Wellington this morning. There's time to visit the Parliament buildings and the Beehive, home to New Zealand's politicians. Later, you'll visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand and explore the fascinating exhibits at your leisure, including their unique Marae (Meeting House). Cruise the Cook Strait into tranquil Queen Charlotte Sound. The village of Picton is next, then it's on to Blenheim for a city sightseeing tour. Tonight, enjoy a Highlight Dinner prepared from local produce and matched with fine Marlborough wines.

    Stay: Chateau Marlborough, Blenheim. (B, HD)

  • View Full ItineraryTotal 15 Days
  • Day6

    Blenheim - Kaikoura – Christchurch

    This morning stop to meet some New Zealand fur seals at Ohau Point, and watch as they frolic and play in the tidal currents. Take a helicopter flight out of Kaikoura (own expense) for whale and dolphin viewing. Or stop in at one of many local eateries and sample a Kaikoura seafood delight, crayfish. This afternoon's journey follows the Pacific Ocean coastline where roaring sea meets enormous bush-clad mountains. Travel across the Northern Canterbury Plains and into Christchurch. Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Christchurch's inner city.

    Stay: Distinction Hotel, Christchurch (B)

  • Day7

    Christchurch - Twizel

    Visit the Morelea Farm, a typical working sheep farm, where you'll get a taste of traditional New Zealand country life. You'll be welcomed into the home of Angie and Stan Taylor and their 240 hectare garden. You'll have the chance to experience sheep shearing and farming demonstrations before enjoying a BBQ lunch, and wait until you try Angie's famous pavlova dessert! Listen to the family's story of growing up in rural New Zealand and their challenges of farming in the foothills of New Zealand's Southern Alps. Later see Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki & visit the Church of the Good Shepherd on your way to Twizel.

    Stay: Mackenzie Country Inn, Twizel (B, L, DW)

  • Day8

    Twizel - Dunedin (Included Choice)

    View the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam. Travel through Oamaru, with its limestone buildings, to Dunedin. Choose one from a range of Included Choice sightseeing experiences. Tour stately Larnach Castle, ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway, take a wildlife cruise or an interactive tour of Speight’s Brewery. This evening enjoy dinner with wine at your hotel.

    Stay: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, Dunedin (B, DW)

    View Included Choices [+]

  • Day9

    Dunedin – Te Anau

    Today, travel across farming land to the village of Te Anau, on the shores of Lake Te Anau, the South Island's largest lake. This evening enjoy dinner with wine at your hotel.

    Stay: Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas (B)

  • Day10

    Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown

    You'll be awestruck by the magnificence of the World Heritage listed Fiordland National Park. Amazing photo opportunities await you today as you see rainforest, ancient glaciers, mountain ranges and the hand-made Homer Tunnel. Pass the Mirror Lake, Pop's Lookout, Cleddau Valley and the Chasm. Your cruise on Milford Sound will take you past Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak. Afterwards, travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu on your way to Queenstown, where an orientation tour finishes this highlight day.

    Stay: Millennium Hotel, Queenstown (2 nights) (B)

  • Day11

    Queenstown (Included Choice)

    Today choose one from a range of Included Choice sightseeing experiences. You have the option to ride the Shotover Jet. Experience farm life in the High Country or take the gondola to the Skyline Restaurant for dinner. Perhaps take a 4WD minibus through Skippers Canyon or go to a wildlife park and see NZ's own kiwi bird. This evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue 'highlight dinner' at the Colonel's Homestead. An entertaining farm show provides a glimpse into high-country farm life. (B, HD)

    View Included Choices [+]

  • Day12

    Queenstown - Franz Josef Glacier

    Visit the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown, on the Arrow River, previously one of the world's richest rivers. Enjoy the tastes of delicious stone fruit at Cromwell, the stone fruit capital. See a trio of lakes, Dunstan, Hawea and Wanaka. Travel over the Haast Pass, view amazing Thunder Creek Falls and take a small rainforest walk. Then it's on to Franz Josef Glacier, the world's most accessible glacier.

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

  • Day13

    Franz Josef – Punakaiki

    There is time this morning to explore Franz Josef Glacier. You can see it from the air on an optional flight (weather permitting) or take a glacier hike! (Both optional). It's time for an exhilarating adventure among temperate rainforest giants on the West Coast Treetop Walk. Then depart for Hokitika, home of the native greenstone (jade), for a factory visit and jewellery demonstration. Later, travel to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. You'll stay in an eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront.

    Stay: Punakaiki Resort (B, DW)

  • Day14

    Punakaiki - TranzAlpine – Christchurch

    Travel to the alpine village of Arthur's Pass and board the TranzAlpine. This spectacular train journey dates back to 1914, and is rated as one of the word'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. Join your Tour Director this evening for a farewell dinner with wine.

    Stay: Distinction Hotel, Christchurch (B, HD)

  • Day15

    Depart Christchurch

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

  • Click here to download the 15 Day New Zealand Splendour (2017/2018) PDF
  • Click here to download the 15 Day New Zealand Splendour (2018/2019) PDF

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Tour Reviews

View all 17 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.6 out of 5.

  • 5Some hotels were very good while others were just about average. As for vegetarian food, much improvement is needed. The sit-down dinner at the hotel in Blenheim was excellent even for vegetarians. The quality of the meals at Cordis were also very good, and a wide selection was available for vegetarians.

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    - 21/11/2017
  • 4The overall coach trip was really good. The tour director and driver were excellent. The hotel rooms were impressive but in some instances lacked a bath. I felt that it would be relaxing after a long day to have a bath.

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    - 10/10/2017
  • 5The best for us: Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Rotorua in general, Queenstown (gondola and vintage steamship 1912), Moeraki Boulders and Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki.

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    - 28/03/2017
  • 5Our trip was wonderful. We would like to give special thanks to our tour guide, Tania Simpson, and our driver, Monica Bulgari. Nobody could have done a better job then they did. Both of them were courteous, knowledgeable, and professional. A few years ago we had taken a tour with Trafalgar that was not very good and made us consider never taking another, but the AAT Kings tour turned out to be much better than we had hoped. There were a couple of minor things that could have been better about some of the hotels such as screens and fans when there was no air conditioning, but the coach was comfortable, the meals were good, and the sites were great. The hidden gems they showed us were beautiful. Trafalgar is lucky to have AAT Kings as a partner. We found New Zealand to have gorgeous scenery, friendly people, and was very clean. Too bad New Zealand is so far away or we would probably visit again.

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    - 26/01/2016
  • 5NZ tour was great...Mel, tour guide, was funny, patient and a wealth of NZ information. Itinerary suited us perfectly and gave us a variety of NZ places to experience. Loved the 'included choices', as well as the opportunity to do more through the 'optional choices'. Hotels were very good and overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our tour. My only suggestion would be to try to limit the number of people on tour to 35 or less. Our group had 42 at one point and it was sometimes a little confusing with that many.

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    - 27/10/2015
  • 4We had an excellent time on our tour and saw some amazing sights. Our tour guide Mel and driver Mark were a kick, we always had a good time with them. When our Wellington Ferry kept getting delayed, Mel jumped right in and got us booked on another ferry so we made it to Picton later that day and on schedule. Our slight modification of rating stemmed from 2 things. 1) the tour pace - we wish we had more time to shop during our lunch stops which might not have been helped because we were covering so much land. 2) we weren't huge fans of the Millennium Hotel chain or any of the hotels that wanted to charge for wifi service at what seemed like pretty steep pricing, plus husband found dirty socks in room upon arrival at the Millennium in Queenstown. We were great fans of New Zealand owned and operated Scenic Hotel chain! Important to note that all hotels were really great locations and some of the smaller ones like Distinction Te Anau greeted us with drinks while Punikaiki Resort was right on the beach and Mackenzie Country Inn was a country inn with big heart!

    Highlights included: Langham Hotel dinner, Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, Tamaki Family Maori Hangi Feast and village walk thru, Hobbiton, Shenandoah, Christchurch Botanical Gardens, Larnarch Castle and Speights Brewery Tour in Dunedin, in Queenstown, it was the shot over jet TSS Earnslaw ferry to Walter Peak Station for amazing dinner, and visit to Remarkable Wines, Milford Sound Cruise was a definite highlight, Franz Josef glacier walk not to mention upgraded hotel in Franz Josef to the stunning Te waonui Forest Retreat (also owned by Scenic I believe). Just too much to mention with the beautiful lakes and scenery. New Zealanders are the nicest people, just strike up a conversation.

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    - 10/02/2015
  • 5The tour was well managed by Mark & backed up by his Driver Paul. Mark has a wealth of information on New Zealand & his anecdotes on local area events & history was very much appreciated. A couple of days were quiet long but had numerous stops to enable toilet breaks & to stretch one's legs to counter this. Paul, far from being just the Driver, had a number of tales to tell as well. Both did an excellent job & I would recommend them to anyone thinking of touring New Zealand as we did.

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    - 18/11/2014
  • View All ReviewsTotal 17 Items
  • 4Overall the tour was fantastic. Weather prevented a couple of our excursions but didn't deter from the enjoyment of the trip. The Driver Nathan and Tour Guide Ted were excellent. The accommodation was tops except we weren't impressed with Pukukaiki. Left a lot to be desired. Beds were hard and food was poor. Service was practically non existent.

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    - 11/11/2014
  • 3An extra night in Queenstown will be good, and another 2 nights stop would help slow the pace. I guess it will make the package more expensive but will make it more enjoyable. Was a rather hectic trip otherwise.

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    - 17/12/2013
  • 4A very good tour with nice accommodations and plenty of stops for sightseeing.

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    - 03/12/2013
  • 5I have nothing but excellent things to say about both Relaxing Journeys and the tour that I took through both the North and South Island. Kirby at Relaxing Journeys was a pure professional and made it very easy to get everything booked and ready. The tour itself was amazing from the accommodations to the sites that we visited to the tour guide and driver. I could not have asked for a better holiday!

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    - 02/04/2013
  • 5We just left NZ after our fabulous holiday and going on our own to hotels etc really makes us appreciate how much Phil our tour director took care of things in the back ground for us! The most over used word was 'amazing!' I am going to have to find more superlatives to use but everyday I found myself saying 'wow that was amazing' after all the different places we had been to! Thank goodness we did the Bay of Isalnds part separately as the day we got there it was raining heavily and the dolphin Eco trip was cancelled . However they were very flexible and helpful and so we did the Bay of Islands trip instead . Luckily the next day was much better so we were able to have the swim with dolphins then which was ..... amazing! Being independent of the coach group gave us the flexibility we needed to do that. Many thanks for your help and guidance in arranging for us, what turned out to be, the trip of a lifetime!

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    - 03/03/2013
  • 5Both the tour director and the coach driver were friendly, informative and very helpful. The choice of optional activities was very good. The main advantage of an organised tour rather than a self-drive trip was that there were many aspects that I could have missed without the insider knowledge of the country, it's history, geology, flora and fauna that added to the total experience. The accommodation was generally excellent with exception of one hotel that was a late substitute.

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    - 07/11/2012
  • 5Great tour. Only 8 on the bus for most of it. Covers much of NZ. Knowledgable tour guide which always makes a difference. More info on adjustments for Christchurch would have been helpful up front. More dinners on own in cities would have been good (e.g. in Auckland).

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    - 13/03/2012
  • 5We started our journey with an extra day which we thought beneficial to promote for ongoing tours - day to adjust and make all connections. The tour guides (AAT Kings) provided history and commentary through each area and scenic overlook as we traveled via coach, ship, river boat, helicopter, train and hiked. The scenery and stops were incredible. Would definitely book with Relaxing Journeys again!

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    - 13/01/2012
  • 4We had a marvellous tour, thanks to the Emerson, our thoughtful and informative tour guide and the support and company of our driver. The change in arrangements of our travel because of the disastrous eathquake in Christchurch was extremely well handled and in no way affected the enjoyment of our trip. Our sympathies go out to all New Zealanders. It is a trip we will both remember as a celebration of our 50 years of marriage. New Zealand is a beautiful and might I say innocent country. Our trip planning started in February 2010. I would aso like to sincerely thank Georgie Walpole for her patience and kind and continuous attention to every detail. A trip we will always remember!

    - 15/02/2011
  • 5Just had to let you know how pleased we were with the tour. It was all very well organized so we were never rushed but still managed to do a lot of things. Our tour director, Sue Heycoop was amazing. She was always right on top of everything so it went like clockwork. What a wealth of knowledge she has of the country and presented it in such an interesting way. And the bus driver, Gavin Jensen was such a competent and careful driver as well as being very pleasant and accommodating to us all. The hotels were all great - the rooms and the meals. We felt that the itinerary was a good mix of attractions. So I guess by now you will realize we were very pleased with the whole trip and will certainly recommend any one planning a trip to New Zealand or Australia to use you services. And after my inquiries about taking a small case on the bus we managed just fine with a small case which was good as we had a full bus and there is not too much room.

    - 17/02/2009

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