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15 Day New Zealand Explorer

Kirra Premium Coach Tour starting in Christchurch and finishing in Auckland

Tour Description

Explore New Zealand on this 15 Day New Zealand Explorer Coach Tour - Enjoy a fantastic holiday, experiencing 'must see' destinations and enjoy unique activities over 15 days.

Special highlights include Christchurch, the Mt Cook region, Dunedin, Milford Sound, Queenstown, the Marlborough Wine region, Wellington, Rotorua, Waitomo Glowworm Caves and the Bay of Islands. During the course of the tour you will also have free time in Dunedin, Queenstown, Rotorua and Paihia (Bay of Islands) to experience some of the unique and regional optional sightseeing activities.

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Tour Info
Regions Visited
Tour Inclusions
  • 14 nights accommodation in superior hotels
  • 14 fully cooked breakfasts (B), 1 lunch & 12 dinners (D)
  • Travel by luxury touring coach
  • Services of a professional Coach Captain
  • View All Tour InclusionsTotal 6 Items
  • Hotel porterage
  • Complimentary private airport transfers
Tour Highlights
Iconic Sightseeing
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 Christchurch

    “Haere Mai”.... Welcome to New Zealand. A Kirra Holidays representative will greet you at the airport with transport waiting to take you to your hotel. This evening, join your fellow travellers for a welcome cocktail party.

    Stay: Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch

  • Day2

    Christchurch – Mt Cook – Omarama

    After a brief tour of Christchurch, cross the Canterbury Plains into the MacKenzie Country. View the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog Memorial at Lake Tekapo. Visit Mt Cook National Park, a World Heritage listed site covering over 70,000 hectares of breathtaking alpine scenery before travelling on to Omarama. Optional ski-plane and helicopter flights are available subject to weather conditions.

    Stay: Heritage Gateway Hotel (B, D)

  • Day3

    Omarama – Cromwell - Lake Te Anau

    Begin the assent over the Lindis Pass to the township of Cromwell, then continue on to the historic village of Clyde, nestled in a sheltered basin at the foot of an immense and crooked gorge. Stop for lunch at Alexandra, located on the banks of the mighty Clutha River, then travel across the farmlands of Central Otago to the township of Gore before arriving at the shores of Lake Te Anau, gateway to the Fiordland National Park.

    Stay: Distinction Luxmore Hotel (B, D)

  • Day4

    Spectacular Doubtful Sound Wilderness Experience

    After breakfast, travel to Manapouri and enjoy a leisurely cruise across this picturesque lake to West Arm. Travel over the Wilmot Pass and pause to experience the dense Fiordland rainforest and view Doubtful Sound glistening far below. Board 'Patea Explorer' for a three hour cruise through this pristine fiord. During the cruise, knowledgeable and friendly nature guides will share with you their passion for the region through their commentary. They will answer questions, point out landmarks and provide you with information about the varied wildlife you may encounter like dolphins, fur seals and the rare Fiordland crested penguin. As the majesty of Doubtful Sound unfolds before you, its vastness will take your breath away. Later this afternoon, travel on to Queenstown, regarded as New Zealand's premier holiday destination and enjoy dinner at your hotel on arrival.

    Stay: Copthorne Lakefront Hotel & Resort Queenstown (2 nights) (B, L, D)

  • Day5

    Queenstown

    Queenstown boasts an incredible array of adventure and leisure activities in all its various forms and your Coach Captain will happily recommend and assist with any optional activities you would like to do. Alternatively, you may prefer to browse in the many shops and galleries. Tonight, ride the Skyline gondola to the top of Bob's Peak where both the dining and the views are unsurpassed. (B, D)

  • View Full ItineraryTotal 15 Days
  • Day6

    Queenstown – Arrowtown – Franz Josef

    This morning, we visit Arrowtown. Set beneath the rugged Crown Range, this historic village was once a haven for the gold prospectors of the 1860's and features a fascinating collection of mining cottages with an atmosphere straight out of last century. Stop at Wanaka, a picture postcard resort on the lakes edge with a spectacular mountain backdrop. View the untouched wilderness and pristine lakes of the Mt Aspiring and Westland National Parks before arriving on the rugged and wild West Coast, home to the twin glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef.

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

  • Day7

    Franz Josef – Hokitika – Punakaiki

    Before our departure this morning, there is the opportunity to experience an optional scenic flight over this remarkable region (subject to weather conditions). At Hokitika, we stop to visit a Pounamu, (Jade) factory. Pounamu is considered a treasure in Maori culture and is seen as a sign of status and power. At Punakaiki, marvel at the bizarre limestone landscapes that are the Pancake Rocks & Blowhole. Tonight’s stay is at a friendly eco resort located in the Paparoa National Park and only a stone’s throw from the beach.

    Stay: Punakaiki Resport (B, D)

  • Day8

    Punakaiki - Murchison - Nelson

    Skirt the west coastline before heading inland to Murchison. Travel north through the Nelson Lakes region before arriving at Nelson, a city of charm based on a harbour that is the busiest fishing port in New Zealand. This afternoon, visit the World of Wearable Art & Classic Car Museum.

    Stay: Heritage Rutherford Hotel (2 nights) (B, D)

  • Day9

    Cruise Abel Tasman National Park

    Enjoy a scenic cruise of the famous Abel Tasman National Park, calling in to picturesque beaches and coves. Pause to view Split Apple Rock and the antics at Tonga Island Seal Colony. An optional coastal walk may be available for those wishing to spend time ashore, your Coach Captain will be happy to provide you with details. (B)

  • Day10

    Nelson – Picton – Wellington

    A short drive brings us to the picturesque fishing village of Picton. Board the Interislander Ferry and cruise through the spectacular Queen Charlotte Sound into Cook Strait. Enjoy stunning views of New Zealand’s capital city as you arrive into Wellington Harbour. Enjoy a city tour taking in all the major sights and there is free time for exploring on your own. Situated on the Wellington waterfront, a visit to Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, is highly recommended.

    Stay: Copthorne Hotel Oriental Bay (B, D)

  • Day11

    Wellington – Taupo – Rotorua

    Leaving the city behind, we travel through rolling farmland as we enter the Tongariro National Park, dominated by the volcanic cone of Mt Ruapehu. Follow the Desert Road to the popular lakeside resort of Taupo, located on the shores of New Zealand's largest lake. Stop to view the mighty Huka Falls and travel past massive pine forests to reach Rotorua, centre of Maori culture and famous for its geysers, boiling mud pools and steaming craters.

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

  • Day12

    Rotorua

    Today begins with a visit to the Agrodome to see a unique New Zealand farm show. This is followed by a visit to Te Puia, home to Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve and the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Centre. Here you will witness all of nature’s thermal wonders including silica terraces and the famous Pohutu Geyser. Enjoy some free time this afternoon for optional activities before visiting Tamaki Village for an evening of fun and culture. You will experience a traditionally prepared Maori Hangi (feast) followed by a cultural performance featuring Maori songs, chants and dance including the stirring haka. (B, D)

  • Day13

    Rotorua – Hobbiton – Pauanui

    Cross the Mamaku Ranges to the Waikato region, noted for dairy farming, world famous horse studs and champion Rugby team! At Matamata, a guide will escort your group on a Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tour. Enjoy a visit to the set used in The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. On to Pauanui, a favourite New Zealand holiday beach resort for our overnight stay.

    Stay: Grand Mercure Puka Park Lodge (B, D)

  • Day14

    Pauanui - Coromandel - Auckland

    The Coromandel Peninsula is a beautiful, rugged area fringed with dozens of excellent beaches and is a place where many kiwis choose to escape the hustle and hype of city life. After breakfast you will travel on to Auckland, the City of Sails and enjoy a city sights tour and entry to the famous Sky Tower. Tonight you will celebrate a farewell dinner with your new found friends.

    Stay: Rydges Auckland (B, D)

  • Day15

    Depart Auckland

    Sadly, your holiday ends today and you will be transferred to Auckland airport to connect with your onward flight. (B)

  • Click here to download the 15 Day New Zealand Explorer PDF

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Tour Reviews

View all 15 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.7 out of 5.

  • 5The tour exceeded our expectations. Kirra Tours did a fantastic job from picking us up at the airport, busing us around both islands to bringing us back to the airport safely. The fact that David was both driver, guide and our sole contact during the trip, made our sightseeing and excursions easy and very informative. He was an excellent driver, very knowledgeable, funny, calm, and at the same time let us sit back and enjoy the surroundings.

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    - 05/03/2017
  • 4Whilst overall the tour with Kirra was excellent and all the hotels and food very good, it was extremely disappointing to have all three rail journeys cancelled due to acts of Mother Nature. The coach driver did his best to compensate but it meant spending more days in the coach than we had anticipated and some of the days were very long and tiring leaving no time to explore new areas. It also meant that some of the promised activities were impossible due to time restrictions, i.e. the vineyard visit in Marlborough. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Kirra Tours but would hope that Mother Nature behaved herself better!

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    - 23/02/2017
  • 5At the beginning I was afraid if I have chosen the right tourist company for my trip in New Zealand I have dreamed two years long about. But short time after we have started to communicate together I was sure you are a seriously company. The trip through South and North Islands in New Zealand was very, very well organised and everything was on a good level. Hotels are ok in good places, coach (captain) attended to everybody on the group, every day was full with visiting new interesting sightseeing. The atmosphere between us in the group was very friendly. I want to express my thanks to you and I could say that New Zealand I will keep in my heart as a treasure memory in my life. You have to be proud to live in one wonderful country kissed by god. I have already visited 52 countries and I tell you really, New Zealand is a jewel of the world. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

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    - 13/11/2016
  • 4I was very happy with the planned places to visit. I took in an overall picture of New Zealand with the terrain, sights, people and history. Our Coach driver, Trevor, was organized, polite, patient, knowledgeable and a good story teller. The accommodation varied but overall was excellent. We had a couple of drizzly days but then it was NZ! (Ed. Ouch! Lol)

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    - 19/04/2015
  • 4We had a great time with Kirra Tours. The driver was so good and very knowledgeable. Our first hotel in Christchurch (Sudima) was way out by the Airport, so a little hard to access downtown. The hotel is under renovations, our first night there was not real pleasant, no air conditioning, the bed was not very comfortable, and the carpets were filthy. Our second stay there was much better. Newly renovated room. I think Kirra has to make sure they get the best available rooms for the group, not necessarily accepting second best. Our hotel in Auckland had great rooms, but the food services were very slow. Fore the most part it was a great tour with lots of great included activities.

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    - 04/01/2015
  • 5Thank you for your email. And the opportunity to give feedback. I have to admit that we were rather nervous about booking a coach tour so far away, but with Kirra Tours I think we made the right choice! The tour was well planned & the pace comfortable as stated! The tour 'captain' 'Andrew' was very professional & made sure that we had the best time! He simply was a 'tonic' he came across as a person who cared for & truly loves his country! And we feel privileged that we were there to be part of it. He is a source of information. We thoroughly loved New Zealand & we definitely will be back hopefully. Thank you again Mani & Kirra tours.

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    - 09/03/2014
  • 4A good way to see everything in New Zealand, but not really enough spare time for us to do things. Guess you cannot have everything. All hotels clean but some very tired and more like 1960's motels. Some were great eg Auckland. Food good in some places but only adequate in others. Wifi was a real pain in some hotels - even if you could get access, it was flaky or some things didn't work. Rydges hotels very good for wifi. Hotels in NZ really need to join the 21st century. Included tours generally very good and interesting, and Kirra don't try to charge commission on the optional items. Driver very knowledgable about NZ culture and history, but Kirra expect him to drive and organise - this did lead to some confusion at times as it was too much for one person. Would visit NZ again but would probably do our own thing, focusing on the places we liked on this trip. At least you drive on the correct side of the road.

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    - 23/02/2014
  • View All ReviewsTotal 15 Items
  • 5This was a well organised, well thought out tour. The 'Coach Captain' Trevor was a great source of local knowledge and extremely capable at the unassuming management of any issues as they arose. It was disappointing that Hasst Pass was closed, precluding the trip through it to Fox Glacier, the glacier tour and especially missing out on the Transalpine Rail trip - but we have to accept being subject to matters out of our hands. The touring group was a nice mix of people with no 'problem' characters - leading to a pleasant time on the coach and at other times. Thank you for a very satisfactory and reasonably priced experience.

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    - 15/09/2013
  • 5This tour is ideal for seniors. Our coach captain, Trevor, was excellent, having great knowledge and patience. He added his own personal touch to the tour making the experience most entertaining. All accommodation was very good at all locations, and the meals were top class! We felt pampered! We were disappointed to miss out on Haast Pass, the Fox glacier and the Trans-Alpine train due to a land slip.

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    - 15/09/2013
  • 5We both had a really wonderful time in New Zealand and Kirra looked after us very, very well. We would recommend it to everyone. Everything went very smoothly. Food and accommodation were very nice. Lovely country - but didn't see any of the thousands of rabbits we were told by Hugh, our south island tour driver and honest Kelvin, our driver in the north. Loved Queenstown, Dunedin, Wellington, Milford Sound, Russell and the Bay of Islands. Bus tripping (for us novices) was great.

    - 03/04/2011
  • 4I enjoyed the tour immensely, it was a marvelous experience. The only grumble was that the hotel in Greymouth wasn't half as nice as it should have been.

    - 13/02/2011
  • 5Thank you so much Relaxing Journeys for an amazing time. We thought the tour was fantastic from the first moment being collected from the airport to the end. The driver in the South island made us all feel really welcome and comfortable and made it easy to integrate with others on the tour. The changing of seats was particularly helpful I felt. We thought the South island in particular was amazing, scenery, activities, helicopter ride to glazier, hiking in Queenstown, Haggis in Dunedin & scenery up the East coast. All hotels were really nice and friendly, dinners and breakfasts were top of the range we thought. Activities at night were fun and varied! We thought the North island was great also, very different! We lost touch with a few people we had shared the tour with up until that point (including the bus driver!) so it was like starting again - a second holiday! Rotorua amazed us with its uniqueness - smell and volcanoes! Auckland was nice, lots to do, shopping etc, Bay of islands was a contrast to Auckland, really nice! You've treated us great, I would recommend you to anyone. You in particular Georgie were really helpful at the start answering all our questions. We were worried about handing over so much money over the internet as this is the first time we've done something like this - but you made us feel at ease from the start and we knew we could trust you. Thank you also for reducing the cost of our trip as we were traveling in a group of 3 and didn't want our friend to have to pay the single person hotel supplement - you sorted this out for us and she only shared for 1 week of the 15 days which was great! Thanks Goergie for everything, you, your company and your country for a trip of a lifetime - and not an overly expensive trip of a lifetime either! Thank you.

    - 14/09/2009
  • 5Our 15 day tour of New Zealand as provided by your company through Kirra tours was excellent. We enjoyed the sceneries, company, food, accommodations of our trip. The itinerary was very, very excellent and we couldn't ask for more. Our experiences make us breathless and in awe on the beauty of your country. We love both the South and the North. We will definitely recommend your company to my friends for their trip to New Zealand and Australia. We are already looking forward for an Australian tour somewhere where the Uluru or Ayers Rock is located. And of course we will definitely take your company to arrange our tour. Thank you so much and we wish you and your company more business. Keep up the good work.

    - 06/07/2009
  • 5We had a great time, coach was very comfortable and good commentary from Trevor. All accommodation and meals were very acceptable and met some very nice people. Over all a 9 out of 10. The only complaint we had was at Dunedin, the day tour we booked, the Nature tour where we supposed to have seen the castle gardens, Albatross and seals colony, we only got to see the seals as the bus left early, not at 2.30 as scheduled, so by the time they got other transport was getting late. We would have asked for a refund but time did not allow. We would recommend your tour to other people.

    - 04/04/2009
  • 5I had to email you to thank you for the wonderful trip you organised for us. Words cannot describe the friendliness we encountered both on our tour and also the people we met. Your country is beautiful. Every day I left the hotel to travel around the country I thought nothing can top the previous day but each day seemed to be better than the last. Being Irish I have always heard about the hospitality of the Irish but in my opinion no country could compete with New Zealand when it comes to hospitality. Everything on the tour that could be done was, and no hassle booking in or out of hotels. For me and my sister Anne it was definitely the best holiday we ever had. Our trip ended with the beautiful wedding of my niece on Waiheke Island and my son came from Australia and liked the country so much is going to apply for a visa to work. Once again thank you very much for all your help. You may hear from me again because I would love to go back to your country.

    - 25/01/2007

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