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18 Day Royal Tourer New Zealand

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

Tour Description

Begin in Auckland, and travel to the subtropical Bay of Islands before making your way through Rotorua and across the picturesque Marlborough Sounds to the South Island with APT.

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Tour Info
Regions Visited
Special Offer
  • Please ask us about the FREE nights accommodation either before or after the tour.
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  • Applies to new bookings only.
Trip Highlights
Included Experiences
Fine Dining
  • Includes 29 Meals - 17 Breakfasts, 5 Dinners and 7 Feature Dinners
  • A special cultural experience in Rotorua at a Maori Hangi Feast
  • A four-course degustation dinner at Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Outstanding Accommodation
Trip Notes
  • Itinerary and inclusions shown apply to departures from September 2018 onwards.
  • Itinerary and inclusions subject to change
  • Prices are for land only. Flights not included

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2018

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2019

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Tour Itinerary - Day by Day
  • Day1

    Arrive Auckland

    Your journey begins today on arrival into Auckland. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your stylish and comfortable hotel.

    Stay: Grand Millennium Auckland (2 nights)

  • Day2

    Auckland, Freedom of Choice Touring

    After a morning at leisure, enjoy your selected sightseeing activity in the 'City of Sails' as you choose from a range of exciting sightseeing inclusions. Perhaps take a cruise on Waitemata Harbour, head off on a Waiheke Island wine tour, or explore the Auckland Museum. Alternatively, get up close to the fascinating marine life at Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium, or set off on a Wilderness Adventure into the Waitakere Rainforest. Others may prefer to take a trip to the harbourside suburb of Devonport, which has great views of the city. (B, D)

  • Day3

    Auckland, Bay of Islands

    Cross Auckland's busy Harbour Bridge this morning and travel along the Hibiscus Coast. Stop at Matakohe's Kauri Museum for an insight into the rich pioneering history of New Zealand's Northland region. Continue to the stunning Bay of Islands and visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the original treaty between the British and Maori people was signed. Here, you'll also enjoy a visit to the Maori Meeting House and War Canoe.

    Stay: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Islands, in a room with harbour views (2 nights) (B, D)

  • Day4

    Bay of Islands, Freedom of Choice Touring

    Today, discover this spectacular region with a choice of activities. Perhaps take a day tour to Cape Reinga, New Zealand's northernmost point or maybe experience life aboard a tall ship, you could embark on a dolphin watching adventure or take a mini-tour of Russell. Alternatively return to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds for an enriching guided tour. (B)

  • Day5

    Bay of Islands Cruise, Auckland

    Explore the spectacular Bay of Islands on a dolphin-watching cruise to Cape Brett and the famous Hole in the Rock. In these deep-sea fishing grounds, dolphins are frequently seen. Meander through the inner islands, admiring the picturesque sandy beaches and rocky outcrops, then relax for some time in a secluded bay. This evening, back in Auckland, you'll be treated to a special Pacific-themed dinner with New Zealand produce at the Grand Millennium Auckland .

    Stay: Grand Millennium Auckland (B, D)

  • View Full ItineraryTotal 18 Days
  • Day6

    Auckland, Waitomo, Rotorua, Hangi Feast

    Travel to Waitomo, home to the famous glowworm caves where thousands of tiny luminescent creatures radiate an eerie glow. Discover this natural wonder on a guided tour, before continuing to Rotorua. This evening, immerse yourself in Maori culture as you enjoy a traditional Hangi Feast and performance of song and dance.

    Stay: Holiday Inn Rotorua, overlooking Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve (2 nights) (B, D)

  • Day7

    Rotorua, Freedom of Choice Touring

    Following breakfast this morning, enjoy your chosen Freedom of Choice sightseeing inclusion. Perhaps discover the icons of Rotorua at the Agrodome Farm Show followed by Rainbow Springs, a kiwi encounter, and a visit to the Te Puia Thermal Reserve. Alternatively, experience Middle-earth during a tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set and gain an enthralling insight into the making of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Other options include a drive through forest and farmland to visit New Zealand's largest boiling mud pool and colourful hot springs, or learning about the local art, history and culture at Rotorua Museum, located in the historic Bath House building. (B)

  • Day8

    Rotorua, Wellington, Freedom of Choice Dining

    Follow the Thermal Explorer Highway to the heart of New Zealand's North Island this morning. View the Wairakei Steam Valley, then Visit Huka Falls and Lake Taupo, before travelling across the vast volcanic plateau of World Heritage-listed Tongariro National Park to Wellington. This evening, after checking into your hotel, discover a range of tantalising local flavours with a choice of three tempting restaurants in which to dine.

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

  • Day9

    Wellington

    Discover the delights of the New Zealand capital with an extended stay. After breakfast, set off on a sightseeing tour taking you to the city's best-loved landmarks and sights, including New Zealand's national museum - Te Papa Tongarewa. Afterwards, ride Wellington's iconic Cable Car, gaining a fresh perspective of this coastal city. (B)

  • Day10

    Wellington, Kaikoura, Christchurch

    This morning, step aboard the Interislander ferry to cruise across Cook Strait and through the stunning waters of Marlborough and Queen Charlotte sounds to Picton. Rejoin your coach and travel to the coast as you head for the quaint fishing town of Kaikoura. Continue travelling along the central east coast, to Christchurch.

    Stay: Christchurch, Commodore Hotel (B, D)

  • Day11

    TranzAlpine Train, Franz Josef

    Board the TranzAlpine train for one of the world's greatest rail adventures. Journey through the striking patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, before travelling across the magnificent Southern Alps within Arthur's Pass National Park. Disembark at Arthur's Pass and travel by coach to Hokitika. Here, you'll enjoy the opportunity to see pounamu (jade) being skilfully carved into pieces of jewellery. Afterwards, continue along the dramatic New Zealand west coast to Franz Josef, where you'll take in the dramatic terrain and icy surrounds of the striking Franz Josef Glacier. Sitting at just 250 metres above sea level, Franz Josef is quite unique as it is one of just three glaciers in the world that descends into temperate rainforest. Its low altitude creates a spectacular environment, where stunning ice formations are juxtaposed against the lush canopy of the surrounding forest. Arrive later at your luxury eco-resort where you will enjoy a delectable four-course degustation dinner this evening.

    Stay: Franz Josef Glacier, Te Waonui Forest Retreat (B, D)

  • Day12

    Franz Josef, Queenstown, Freedom of Choice Dining

    Enjoy a day of truly breathtaking scenery as you travel along the Haast River. Arrive in Queenstown, the country's 'adventure capital', where you'll choose from four tempting restaurants. Perhaps sample the delicious fresh produce at waterside Finz seafood restaurant, or take a scenic gondola ride to the Skyline Restaurant. You may prefer to cruise aboard the TSS Earnslaw, a vintage steamboat, or dine amid the stylish surrounds of the Elements Restaurant.

    Stay: Novotel Queenstown Lakeside (2 nights) (B, D)

  • Day13

    Queenstown, Freedom of Choice Touring

    Today you can personalise your Queenstown experience with our exciting touring options. Perhaps embark on a Safari of the Scenes tour, and visit several local sites where the popular Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed as you discover the great affinity between the cinematic landscapes of New Zealand and that of Middle-earth. Thrill-seekers may enjoy an exhilarating ride on the famous Shotover Jet Boat, a Skippers Canyon adventure, or a river safari along the shimmering waters of the Dart River. New Zealand is rightly famous for its many vineyards and rich wines, and a tour of the country's premier wine-producing region is a tempting option. Other activities include a 4WD experience at Mt Nicholas, a bird walk through surrounding wilderness, or the leisurely 'Million Dollar Cruise' across the shimmering waters of Lake Wakatipu. (B)

  • Day14

    Milford Sound Cruise, Te Anau

    Embark on one of the most scenic drives today as you journey along the Milford Road. Wind down the Eglinton and Hollyford valleys, then drive through the Homer Tunnel to be met by the sight of Mitre Peak. Continue to Milford Sound, where you'll enjoy a cruise that explores the full length of this pristine fiord. Afterwards, enjoy a picturesque drive to the lakeside settlement of Te Anau. Tonight, enjoy a Taste of Fiordland Dinner.

    Stay: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas (B, D)

  • Day15

    Te Anau, Dunedin, Freedom of Choice Touring

    This morning, journey through rolling Southland countryside. Travel to Dunedin on the island's east coast, a city known as the 'Edinburgh of the South'. This afternoon, choose your activity. Perhaps tour Larnach Castle, visit Olveston House, or head to Dunedin's beautiful railway station and board the Taieri Gorge Railway. Those who enjoy a beer might like to tour Speight's Brewery. Alternatively, nature lovers can either visit an albatross colony, see penguins or take an off-road tour of the sweeping Otago Peninsula.

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

  • Day16

    Dunedin, Mt Cook, Freedom of Choice Touring

    Journey north and stop to view the large spherical Moeraki Boulders on Koekohe Beach. Continue to World Heritage-listed Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, where you can choose your activity. Perhaps visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, including a visit to the planetarium and a stargazing session with an astronomer. Alternatively, during the summer months, board a MAC boat and get up close toicebergs on the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake.

    Stay: Mt Cook, The Hermitage Hotel (B, D)

  • Day17

    Mt Cook, Lake Tekapo, Christchurch

    Travel to picturesque Lake Tekapo today. Here, you'll pay a visit to the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd. Later, travel through delightful scenery along Burkes Pass to Christchurch. In the evening, you'll enjoy a memorable Farewell Dinner at your hotel.

    Stay: Rydges Latimer, Christchurch (B, D)

  • Day18

    Depart Christchurch

    Today, your tour concludes after breakfast with a transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)

  • Click here to download the 18 Day Royal Tourer New Zealand PDF

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Tour Reviews

View all 16 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.6 out of 5.

  • 4An excellent holiday for those with limited time wanting to see as much as possible, at sometimes quite hectic and early morning starts a necessity. A reasonable degree of fitness is needed to make the most of the daily excursions. We would have liked more information about the Freedom of choice excursions (eg a train journey took 5 hours too long) All the hotels were of a good standard and beds very comfortable, the food varied some of the dinners were extremely good, we didn't go hungry. Our driver was excellent with so much local and historical knowledge making each day very interesting. The tour director inexperienced, her first trip. We understood that maximum no of passengers to be limited to 40 but for the South Island there were 44.

    • Overall Tour Rating
    • Value For Money
    • Accommodation
    • Tour Pace
    • Relaxing Journeys Experience
    - 05/02/2016
  • 4The pace and the coach were nice. I loved the freedom of choice options - it cost more but provided flexibity for a tour group that had a couple of teenagers to individuals into their late 70s. My only frustration was that I chose that tour due to a visit to Hobbiton and due to the holidays it was closed and I didn't find out until 28 November - 3 weeks after I had to pay for the tour. There were about 15 people on the tour in the same situation. One good thing is that since we were all so disappointed - the tour guide helped those of interested to get a LOTR tour in Wellington which included Weta studios. That was great, but since it was not included in the original set of freedom of choice options it did cost extra but it was a cool tour.

    I recommend that you inform individuals that there are opportunities to do laundry and pack as little as possible due to weight and number of bag restrictions on flights and buses. Bring a great camera with an extra battery and storage. Those that tried to get by on smart phones or tablets ran out of storage space and had to start deleted apps but in two cases it didn't work and they were very disappointed. Only half of the hotels offered unlimited wireless the rest were pay or receive 20 mins free in lobby and often Internet was slow. All that said - it was a great trip and the pace worked out well staying in two nights in most places and all the countryside was gorgeous. It was pretty relaxing overall.

    • Overall Tour Rating
    • Value For Money
    • Accommodation
    • Tour Pace
    • Relaxing Journeys Experience
    - 19/12/2014
  • 5Jan, our tour guide and Rob, our coach driver, worked so well together that they made our tour very informative and smooth. The trip was a pleasure. This was the best way to see New Zealand.

    • Overall Tour Rating
    • Value For Money
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    • Relaxing Journeys Experience
    - 10/01/2014
  • 4It was a trip of a lifetime. We were able to see the entire country and had many pleasent experiences. The tour guide and bus driver was a real plus. They knew the country side and were able to tell us many stories about your country. I have to say that this was the best coach trips we have ever taken. During our visit we were able to see the opening of the World Cup of Rugby. Being from the United States and never understanding what the game was all about, we became overnight fans and were able to see one of the matches on the trip. Our tour guide was able to take care of the entire process for us. I would highly recommend the NZ Wanderer for people who really want to experience New Zealand and the great people who live there.

    - 10/09/2011
  • 5We thought the tour went very well, especially given the difficult circumstances at the beginning with last minute hotel changes and so on due to the quake. The only disappointment was the weather in the Bay of Islands, but we won't hold you responsible for that! The tour manager, Laurie, and driver, Ian, were especially good, funny, helpful and informative.

    - 09/03/2011
  • 4Thank you for this opportunity to express our views on the tour. We had a wonderful time on our tour overall, some places and meals better than others but nothing that was absolutely awful. We really enjoyed the itinerary although we have decided if we come back that maybe a longer tour that incorpoates some more rest days may be better. However I think we both found the staff and the people in general were so helpful everywhere that we went. The scenery was spectacular and I have so many pictures to paint I don't know where to start. We would like to say a very special thank you to our tour director Barry Owen who's commentary and anecdotes made everything so very interesting and especially for all his patience when things got so chaotic after the eartquake at Christchurch. Also to our driver Royal from Johnsons who was an amazing driver all the time but excelled himself when getting us out of the earthquake area. APT did a magnificent job of getting us accommodation at short notice when we missed our flights and Air New Zealand pulled out all the stops to get us home. We really cannot thank everyone enough. Please could you pass on these thanks to the relevant people. It was certainly a holiday that we will never forget for so many reasons and we look forward to travelling with you again, as we intend to go to Australia in 2013.

    - 06/02/2011
  • 4We really enjoyed the trip, with a great tour guide, Glynnis, and Denny our driver. Denny and I shared the vietnam experience as combat vets...so got along famously. After getting home i realized that we may have had the same commanding officer. The itinerary was great , scenery even better, and the options what we wanted. The reason that we took this particular trip was that many of the activities were optional, and as i had been a military pilot , had already been whalewatching, jetboating, diving etc. Some of the 'main events' did not interest us, yet it covered the country and gave us choices. (we opted for a wine tour instead of bungee jumping etc). New Zealand had been on my bucket list since serving with anzus forces in vietnam. Highlights for us were the Bay of Islands, Maori culture, Milford Sound, Mt Cook, and I would have to say, Picton also. I thank you for the input to stay an extra day on each end. Some potential improvements - we had expected more fresh fruit for breakfast, with New Zealand being the garden nation. We had lots of tinned fruits, but much fewer fresh ones. Real eggs were a treat vs the processed scrambled variety. The full British breakfast was pretty much the same every morning and something we were not really used to , so maybe an american thing :) On the positive, I love lamb shanks, and had some great meals of them, done up right. All in all pleased with your people, and tours. Keep it up. I would recommend to others. Our best wishes, and hope that none of your people were hurt in Christchurch, we left there 4 days before the quake. Our heart goes out to them.

    - 29/01/2011
  • View All ReviewsTotal 16 Items
  • 5Our trip in New Zealand was wonderful. Both the coach driver, Dennis and the tour guide, Arthur, were amazingly knowledgeable and gave us a real insight into the way of life in NZ. We learnt so much about your beautiful country, hotels were good and very good and food mostly good too. Many thanks for a memorable and relaxing holiday.

    - 24/12/2010
  • 5Kia Ora! We had one of the most memorable trips!! Very good accomodations and coach driver! Of course, Laurel MacDonald was FABULOUS!! Always there when you needed her and full of extra information about the country and the people. Very responsible, and responsive individual who made us feel right at home in her country. We have already told a lot of our friends to book thru 'Relaxing Jouneys' and of course to talk to Craig! Thank you for giving us a marvelous experience in beautiful New Zealand!! We Loved it!!

    - 09/04/2010
  • 5Where do I start, the South Island is incredible! We had such a fantastic time on our tour, the hotels were good, food was good, only a couple of minor issues that were easily sorted. The organisation and the itinerary were well planned and we managed to do a couple of extra things too. We had a great driver, Paul, who is part Maori. He was able to give us a good insight into his culture and he was able to give us a balanced view too. The only drawback was in some places we did not have enough time, but this is not the fault of the tour, it is because to spend enough time in each place you would have to spend more than the 19 days on the tour! The tour is supposed to be an overview and it did that. All it means is we have to go back to New Zealand to spend more time there, which I for one, am happy with!

    - 10/02/2010
  • 5I had been thinking for the last few days that I should drop you a line about our trip and then I received your e-mail. It was a wonderful adventure and all the things that we saw are things we will never forget. From Napier and their art deco days to the glow worm caves, the Bay of Islands, Dunedin and a wonderful evening with bagpipes and the story about the haggis and how it tasted, the Hangi feast and the Maori culture and performance of their traditional dances. Another thing that made our trip was our coach driver, Paul Brown. He made the trip so interesting with all his knowledge about the Maori people and all the little things that you would never know about, if you were traveling by yourself. I have heard that a lot of the coach drivers don't talk about the culture and facts about New Zealand the way Paul Brown does. We never had a day go by that he didn't tell us about the countyside we were traveling thru. I just can't say enough about him. All the other people on the coach felt the same way. Our accommodations were very good and the people were always accommodating to us. If any one ever asks who we went thru, I would recommend your agency at the top of the list. Thanks for the good times and all of the memories.

    - 10/02/2010
  • 4This was a fantastic trip in every respect. We broke up our travel to NZ so that we would not be exhausted when we arrived. When we arrived we were met and taken to our hotel which was for the most part representative of our entire tour - the accommodations, service and meals were great. The optional touring was excellent although we felt that an extra day in some locations would have allowed us to do more. This was particularly true of Christchurch where we had to drop off folks for the TranzAlpine railway and prevented us from arriving at noon hour and we had to leave again the next morning - one more day in Christchurch would have been nice. The driver and tour guide were both outstanding in making the tour an absolutely wonderful experience - every detail was arranged - the tour guide and the driver even arranged golfing outings for 2 of us when we had free time. The friends we met on the tour made you look forward to each new day and each evening at dinner with anticipation and excitement. I had an apprehension about a 3 week bus tour but it exceded expectations. If we were to do the tour by car it would have taken at least 2 months to see the places and do the things we did.

    - 08/02/2010
  • 4The holiday far and away exceeded my highest expectations, right from the airport/hotel transfers, down to the professionalism of the tour manager and excellent driving of the coach driver. Helped very much too by the weather, which was on the whole very good. Only 2 days rain, in what has been a very poor summer by New Zealand standards. My only criticism would be with the dinners. Not so much the quality of the food, but having paid for premium plus we were more often than not offered a set menu, rather than the full a la carte menu and initially tea/coffee was not included. On the couple of times we did complain, we were met with profuse apologies and did get the full a la carte menu. Last it would of been nice to spend an extra day in Christchurch - maybe extending the tour by 1 day.

    - 25/01/2010
  • 5Never mind an essay - it would be easy to write a BOOK!!! This was, quite honestly, the most amazing trip I have ever taken and, let's be honest, probably ever WILL take. From the very start - via email - Craig was helpful, encouraging and -in the face of several last minute changes - eternally patient and efficient. His organisational skills were exemplary and laid the foundations for the eventual tour. I very quickly discovered that New Zealand is - no question - the most amazingly beautiful country on Earth! From the tropical balmy sun of the Bay of Islands, via the Maori mysticism of Cape Reinga to Auckland and its islands, then Rotorua and all the geothermal magic, experiences of stunning significance bowled me over. The Art Deco pizzazz of Napier was wonderful as was the wine of Hawkes Bay! Then to stylish, windy Wellington and across Cook Strait to Picton, South Island and the wine area of Marlborough. Kaikoura's whale watch was unmissable as was the TransAlpine Express from Christchurch to Greymouth. Then the west coast would provide Hokitika jade, helicopter trips onto the glaciers and jet-boat river trips - exciting and unmissable. Queenstown provided exhilarating opportunites on land and water but the highlight of so many highlights would come when I spent the night on a boat in Milford Sound - a truly magnificent and spiritual place of dolphins, fur seals, crested penguins and mind-numbing mists and sunsets! Finally via Scottish Dunedin and stunning Mount Cook back to Christchurch, the Garden City, and finally home. If I HAD to find one fault with my life-changing tour then it was.. the tour was much too short!!! My sincere thanks to ALL, including the tour guide, Lynn, and driver, Steve, who were superb!

    - 07/11/2009
  • 5People make holidays, so a BIG thank you to Craig, for all your help on the internet booking. Everything went as planned. Our tour guide & driver were excellent. We enjoyed our 2 day stays the most. We saw so much & I think it would be better if possible, pricewise to make more 2 day stop overs. The long ferry delay to the South Island & the subsequent cancellation of the evening events was disappointing. However, it was a brilliant tour of NZ. Thank you.

    - 28/01/2009
  • 5This is a short note to thank you for all your help organising our holiday in New Zealand. Everything went like clockwork, and it was good not to have to worry any arrangements. APT staff were very helpful and in the three weeks we covered over 2,500 miles, which made us very glad we used the coach rather than do it by self driving. We could never have covered so much so efficiently in such a short time. Your country is the most magnificent we have ever visited. Every day brought new sights or experiences that we will never forget.

    - 29/11/2008

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