18 Day New Zealand Panorama

18 Day New Zealand Panorama

Travel the length of New Zealand on one of our most popular coach tour itineraries. In the North Island experience sightseeing tours of Auckland and Wellington, and enjoy the Bay of Islands Hole in the Rock Cruise. Down in the South Island enhance your holiday enjoyment by choosing an optional helicopter flight over Fox Glacier.

During the course of our Panorama tour you will have free time in Paihia (Bay of Islands), Rotorua, Queenstown and Dunedin. You can relax or choose one of the many diverse optional excursions, such as a journey on the Taieri Gorge Railway in Dunedin or a soak in the thermal pools in Rotorua.

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Tour Info

Tour Type: Premium Coach Tour
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departures: May 2018 to Dec 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $6349 per person
Tour Operator: Kirra Tours
Pace: Comfortable
Duration: 18 Days
Tour Code: ax

Inclusions

17 nights superior superior hotel accommodation
17 breakfasts (B), 1 lunch (L), and 14 dinners (D)
Entry to Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Cape Brett Bay of Islands Cruise
Entry to Auckland's Sky Tower
Agrodome Farm Show
Rainbow Springs Nature Park
Skyline Gondola and Luge
Locally guided Art Deco walking tour
Hanmer Hot Springs
International Antarctic Centre
Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre
Larnach Castle guided tour
Walter Peak cruise and dinner
Travel wallet, comprehensive customised itinerary, bound map book, accommodation and activity vouchers, and local travel guides

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

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Day 1
Arrive Auckland

Haere mai! Welcome to New Zealand. A Kirra Holidays representative will greet you at the airport with transport waiting to take you to your downtown city hotel.

Stay: Rydges Hotel

Day 2
Auckland - Bay of Islands

Leaving the city behind, we travel across the Auckland Harbour Bridge and drive north to Paihia in the Bay of Islands, a seaside town nestled on the foreshore of this National Maritime Park. On arrival, meet your local Māori guide who will provide an insight into the local history before visiting Waitangi, the location of the signing of the treaty between the Māori and the British. Enjoy a self-guided tour through the Treaty House, the Meeting House and war canoe. Later this afternoon, board your launch for the scenic cruise to the Cape Brett Lighthouse and the famous Hole in the Rock.

Stay: Copthorne Bay of Islands (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 3
Bay of Islands

Today is a free day to explore and enjoy the beauty of the Bay of Islands. Your Coach Captain will happily assist with arranging optional activities for you. Why not try a full-day tour to Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s northernmost point. Alternatively, explore the township of Russell, New Zealand’s first permanent European settlement, and visit its historic church, mission house and museum. (B)

Day 4
Bay of Islands - Auckland - Rotorua

Leaving Paihia, travel south through Whangarei to Warkworth and on to Auckland. Visit the Sky Tower – at 328m, the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere – and enjoy panoramic 360-degree views across the city and its two majestic harbours. Later, cross the Bombay Hills to the lush farmlands of the Waikato. On to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua, the centre of Māori culture and famous for its geysers, boiling mud pools and steaming craters.

Stay: Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 5
Rotorua

Today begins with a visit to the Agrodome to see a unique New Zealand farm show. This is followed by a visit to Rainbow Springs to learn about native flora and fauna, including the famous kiwi bird. The spectacular Skyline Gondola offers superb views over the city, lake and mountains, and for those wanting a little excitement, why not try a luge ride with our compliments. Enjoy some free time this afternoon before visiting Tamaki Village for an evening of fun and culture. You will experience a traditionally prepared hāngī feast followed by a cultural performance featuring Māori songs, chants and dance, including the stirring haka. (B, D)

Day 6
Rotorua - Taupō - Napier

View the mighty Huka Falls and the Wairakei geothermal project before stopping at Lake Taupō, the largest in New Zealand. Continue on to Napier, often regarded as the world’s Art Deco capital. On arrival, enjoy a locally guided walking tour of the city.

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

Day 7
Napier - Wairarapa - Wellington

Orchards and vineyards give way to farmland as you travel into the rural heartland of the Wairarapa region. Stop at historic Greytown to view excellent examples of Victorian colonial architecture before travelling over the Remutaka Ranges to Wellington, the nation’s capital, where you enjoy a city tour on arrival.

Stay: Ibis Wellington (B, D)

Day 8
Wellington - Picton - Hanmer Springs

From Wellington join the Interislander ferry for a scenic cruise to the South Island with views of Wellington city and its hillside suburbs. Cross Cook Strait into the sheltered waters of Queen Charlotte Sound before arriving into the small seaside village of Picton. Continue south to the alpine resort town of Hanmer Springs, renowned for its therapeutic natural thermal waters.

Stay: Heritage Hanmer Springs (B, D)

Day 9
Hanmer Springs - Christchurch

After a leisurely breakfast, stroll around the village and enjoy entry into the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools with its naturally heated thermal mineral waters. Later today, we make the short drive to the ‘Garden City’ of Christchurch and visit the International Antarctic Centre before enjoying a brief orientation tour of the city.

Stay: Distinction Christchurch Hotel (B, D)

Day 10
Christchurch - Aoraki Mt Cook - Ōmarama

Cross the broad Canterbury Plains with the Southern Alps to the west. View the Church of the Good Shepherd and the sheepdog memorial overlooking Lake Tekapo. Visit Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, with time to enjoy the scenic majesty of New Zealand’s highest snow-capped peaks and a visit to the Sir Edmund Hilary Alpine Centre before travelling around Lake Pukaki to Twizel and Ōmarama.

Stay: Heritage Gateway Hotel (B, D)

Day 11
Ōmarama - Dunedin

Travel down the Waitaki Valley to the whitestone township of Oamaru. Stop to view the mystical Moeraki Boulders, then on to Dunedin, the ‘Edinburgh of the South’. An early arrival allows you time to enjoy the choice of some excellent optional activities.

Stay: Scenic Dunedin City Hotel (B, D)

Day 12
Dunedin - Te Anau

Enjoy spectacular views across the Otago Peninsula as you travel to Larnach Castle. On your guided tour, learn about its tragic and mysterious history. Depart Dunedin and head inland, crossing rich farmlands to the agricultural towns of Gore and Lumsden, before arriving at the shores of Lake Te Anau, gateway to the Fiordland National Park.

Stay: Distinction Luxmore Hotel (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 13
Milford Sound Cruise

Follow the Hollyford Valley before descending into the Cleddau Canyon. Drive through the Homer Tunnel into spectacular Milford Sound, the world-renowned natural wonder dominated by Mitre Peak. Luxuriant rainforest clings to sheer rock walls and waterfalls tumble hundreds of metres to the sea below. Cruise the entire length of the fiord and enjoy the on-board commentary that gives you detailed information on the region’s history, flora and fauna as you view spectacular waterfalls, towering mountains, and wildlife. (B, L, D)

Please Note: Overnight cruises on Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound are also available. Subject to availability. Select option when requesting your quote.

Day 14
Te Anau - Queenstown

Continue north to Kingston, then skirt around the shores of Lake Wakatipu to the picturesque alpine resort of Queenstown. This evening, cruise across the lake aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw before reaching the Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue dinner.

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

Day 15
Queenstown

Today is a free day to experience this magnificent resort town. Queenstown boasts an incredible array of adventure and leisure activities and your Coach Captain can assist with any optional activities you would like to do. Take a ride on the world-famous Shotover Jet, travel to the top of Bob’s Peak by gondola for spectacular views, take a tour to the gold mining area of Skippers Canyon or, for the adventurous, try white water rafting. Alternatively, browse in the many shops and galleries. (B)

Day 16
Queenstown - Wanaka - Franz Josef

Pass picturesque Lake Hayes then on to Arrowtown, an area steeped in fascinating history relating to early settlement and the gold mining era. Stop at Wanaka, a picturesque resort on the lake’s edge with a spectacular mountain backdrop.View the untouched wilderness and pristine lakes of the Mt Aspiring and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks before arriving on the West Coast, home to the twin glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef.

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

Day 17
Franz Josef - TranzAlpine - Christchurch

At Hokitika, stop to visit a pounamu (also known as greenstone or jade) studio. Pounamu is considered a treasure in Māori culture and is seen as a sign of status and power. At Greymouth, board the famous TranzAlpine train. Renowned as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world, this coast-to-coast rail adventure will take you though the Southern Alps, over massive viaducts, river valleys and gorges.

Stay: Sudima Christchurch (B, D)

Day 18
Depart Christchurch

Sadly, it’s time to bid farewell to all your new friends today. You will be transferred to the airport to join your flight home. (B)

4.6/5.0

There are 14 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.6 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

4
28/11/2017
Some hotels could have been better choice. Same breakfast every day, not much choice for vegetarian meals were disappointed. Only couple of hotel went out of their way to make vegetarian meals one was in Christchurch .
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5
13/01/2015
Fantastic tour and great driver/guide! Wonderful taste of both North and South Islands. Kelvin was provided great commentary with a wonderful sense of humor and wit. Would highly recommend.
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4
28/02/2013
Excellent tour overall. Had a great tour guide as well as a good set of people. Highlights Queenstown; Te Anau, Milford Sound, Ferry from Wellington to Picton. Would have like more time at Wanaka rather than having to go to Puzzle world which if staying there would be a good use of time but not on a limited tour. Also too much time at Rotourua - could have spent more time at Taupo. Accommodation was mostly really good and the seamless arrangements by Kirra was also a highlight. Overall good value for money and tailored appropriately for the diversity of participants.
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5
08/01/2013
We had a wonderful holiday with Kirra Tours. We can't believe the value of the holiday which included so many excursions such as boat trips, special dinners, visits to super attractions - too many to list. The organisation was tip top right from our internet booking to the everyday planning. New Zealand stole our hearts. Thank you so much.
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4
16/10/2012
Fabulous time. Only 9 on tour. The small coach on the North Island was very uncomfortable and ended up buying something from the Opshop to sit on! Trevor the coach driver didn't seem to know the North Island very well as we understand this is a new concept of one driver for the tour. The commentary was lacking and we were left to find our own way back from the geysers in Rotorua. Things improved on South Island, a big Kirra bus was waiting and so comfortable! The commentary improved and obviously Trevor was much more comfortable on home ground. His organisation of the options was excellent here. We were dropped at Sudima in Christchurch and did not have the welcome we received everywhere else. The holiday ended abruptly!
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5
25/09/2012
As it was my first tour, I found the organized days a wonderful experience. The tour was to both the North and South Islands. The driver and leader of the tour was excellent - Ross Bridgeman. His knowledge of history of both islands was superb. He respected the uniqueness of each person, and his directions were always clear. The occasions when extra activities were on the timetable, he arranged for the tickets, and collected them for us. You are very lucky to have Ross in the team.
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5
03/01/2012
The 16 Day Classic Vista tour of both islands was excellent. The tour was extremely organised. The driver/guide was very knowledgeable, extremely helpful and approachable. The hotels were very comfortable and well situated. The activities which were included in the tour were excellent. Some of my tour highlights were the visit to the Tamaki Maori Village, Milford Sound and the tour to the Larnach Castle in Dunedin. I will definitely recommend this tour to anyone wanting to see as much as possible of both islands in a small space of time. This was definitely one of my best holiday experiences.
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4
29/03/2010
It was a great tour but NZ didn't turn on the best of weather for us. We never got to see the top of Mt Cook, and it rained in Milford Sound - the waterfalls were great to experience and we took about 45 snaps of them - they don't have the same impression when seen on our computer screen. We couldn't hear them thundering down the cliff face into the Sound in our photos! We have to say that the courtesy and service we received was second to none, from the suited cab driver who collected us at Christchurch airport to the humour, knowledge and skill of our tour driver. On the whole the hotels were very comfortable and the meals great. Our only disappointment was being put out into an annexe at Fox Glacier where the hotel room lacked several basic comforts. We would have liked to have spent more time in Christchurch, arriving there at 3pm the day before the tour didn't allow us the time to take advantage of the $99 deal the city has to offer to explore more thoroughly. Perhaps Christchurch could have a day of its own? At Shanty Town in Greymouth, how did you organise a wedding in the Chapel? Well done!! The wine tasting at Blenheim didn't live up to my expectations. I had visions of a greater variety on offer - maybe I'm just greedy. I had visions of people giving us the opportunity to sample many of the wines on sale. On the whole, John and I thoroughly enjoyed it, although we were both pretty exhausted on our return to day to day life. Perhaps we're getting a bit long in the tooth and our age needed a more sedate itinerary.
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5
12/02/2010
We had a fabulous time on this great tour, what a lovely country New Zealand is. We met lots of nice people on our coach from different countries and got on really well. In fact it was quite sad to say goodbye to all of them at the end. Are you doing any tours of Canada? Thank you for being there to help and answer our questions .Take care till the next time. (RJ - Yes, we will be doing tours of Canada - watch this space!)
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5
25/11/2009
We enjoyed the tour - everything was well organised and accommodation was good (both in quality and locations). We appreciated the wealth of knowledge of the coach captain - that makes travel by this method so rewarding. We had a great time thank you. At one stage (the trip from Auckland to Bay of Is.) we had to use a replacement 20-seat bus while the coach was in for repair. The 20-seat bus was not very comfortable and should be avoided for longish trips if possible. It was partly for this reason that we declined an optional trip further north - did not want another day in a small bus.
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4
11/09/2009
Wonderful tour. No complaints whatsoever. Both tour guides were great offering excellent commentary throughout mixed in with jokes here and there and lots of laughter. Food was very good, excellent breakfasts throughout - of course we both put on a little weight! New Zealand is a beautiful country and going on a bus tour was an excellent way of seeing the countryside with superb commentary. Georgie was an excellent representative of Relaxing Journeys, always answering my emails promptly with whatever concerns I had. If we ever get to Australia or New Zealand again we will certainly contact Relaxing Journeys and I will recommend them if any of our friends visit these two countries. Thank you all.
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5
28/08/2009
I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Both drivers were very knowledgeable and helpful, and everything ran smoothly. I appreciated being welcomed at the airport by Barbara, who also was at Rydges on morning 1 to make sure our pickup went well. The buses were very comfortable, and it was great having enough room to spread out, and having 2 doors made entry and egress quicker. The accommodation was largely excellent, although Fox Glacier Hotel was rather run down and views from some rooms were very ordinary. The hotel at Fiordland National Park was first class, with excellent views, but the buffet food, two nights running was just average. On the other nights I felt the food was most enjoyable and generous. The excursions were first class. I particularly enjoyed the Earnslaw steamer trip, and Walter Peak station was first class, with delicious food and fun entertainment. I would definitely recommend your company and trip to others. Thank you for offering such a quality product.
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5
20/04/2009
It was an excellent holiday in all respects, wonderful scenery, good quality accommodation and food in every hotel on the tour in both North and South Islands. The excursions and additional events in the tour were all a great experience for us, Milford Sound cruise, Fox Glacier, Steam Train Ride , Rotorua and the Maori evening were just a few examples of the many memorable events. The whole holiday was very well organised and certainly lived up to our expectations. Our sincere thanks to you Georgie and your company for making it happen, it will be a holiday we will always remember.
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5
29/03/2009
Excellent trip. I wish you could have included a tour package for New Zealand and Australia. No complaints. I plan on using relaxing journey on my next vacation.
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Enquire about our 18 Day New Zealand Panorama

18 Day New Zealand Panorama
Premium Coach Tour
Tour Code: ax
From (NZD) $6349 per person
Save (NZD) $720 per person
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Departures: May 2018 to Dec 2019
Rating:
14 reviews (4.6/5)

Travel the length of New Zealand on one of our most popular coach tour itineraries. In the North Island experience sightseeing tours of Auckland and W... Read More

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18 Day New Zealand Panorama
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