17 Day New Zealand Explorer

17 Day New Zealand Explorer

Explore New Zealand over 17 fantastic days, experiencing must-see destinations and enjoying unique activities.

Special highlights include Christchurch, Aoraki Mt Cook region, Dunedin, Milford Sound, Queenstown, 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 optional sightseeing activities.

Please Note: - For all departures in Jan20, Feb20 & Mar20, there are some changes to the tour itinerary. Your Relaxing Journeys consultant will advise of changes at time of booking.

Itinerary Change: For all tours prior to September 2020, the New Zealand Explorer tour be 15 days compared to 17 day itinerary shown on the website., Starting in Christchurch and finishing in Auckland.

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Tour Info

Tour Type: Premium Coach Tour
From: Christchurch to Auckland
Departures: Jan 2020 to Mar 2021
Price: From (NZD) $6479 per person
Tour Operator: Kirra Tours
Duration: 17 Days
Tour Code: sx

Inclusions

16 nights accommodation in superior hotels
17 fully cooked breakfasts (B), 1 lunch(L), and 12 dinners (D)
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes
A visit to historic Arrowtown
TSS Earnslaw Walter Peak Cruise & Dinner
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise
Guided Tour & High Tea at Larnach Castle
Moeraki Boulders
Entry to Hanmer Springs Hot Pools
Scenic Interislander Ferry Crossing
City Tour of Wellington
Art Deco guided walk in Napier
Authentic Maori hangi & cultural experience
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Reserve
Waikato River jetboating tour
Sightseeing tours of Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland
Visit Lake Tekapo, the Church of the Good Shepherd, and Lake Wanaka

Please Note: - For all departures in Jan20, Feb20 & Mar20, there are some changes to the tour itinerary. Your Relaxing Journeys consultant will advise of changes at time of booking.

Itinerary Change: For all tours prior to September 2020, the New Zealand Explorer tour be 15 days compared to 17 day itinerary shown on the website., Starting in Christchurch and finishing in Auckland.

EXCLUSIVE SAVINGS! – Save up to 15%
Book a Kirra tour with Relaxing Journeys this month and SAVE!

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* Single pricing also available with Exclusive Specials. Please enquire for Prices.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

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Day 1
Arrive Christchurch

‘Haere Mai’ Welcome to New Zealand. On arrival, a Kirra Tours representative will greet you at the airport and will transfer you to your downtown city hotel. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner and drinks with your fellow travellers.

Stay: Distinction Christchurch Hotel (D)

Day 2
Christchurch - Arthur’s Pass - Punakaiki

This morning, we cross the mighty Southern Alps via the massive viaducts, river valleys and goarges of Arthur’s Pass National Park. The only way to beat this stunning coast to coast drive is to upgrade to the famous TranzAlpine train journey, renowned as one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world. Arriving on the rugged West Coast, marvel at the bizarre limestone formations that make up the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.
Tonight’s stay is at a friendly eco-resort located in the Paparoa National Park, only a stone’s throw from the beach.

Stay: Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes (B, D)

Day 3
Punakaiki - Franz Josef

Travel south along the coast to the Westland National Park, home of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. This remarkable part of the country was shaped by the dynamic glaciers and boasts lush temperate rainforest growing beneath towering mountains. Enjoy ample free time to experience the glaciers with a guided tour, optional scenic flights, guided bush walks or opt to unwind in the local hot pools. Your Coach Captain can assist with any optional activities you would like to do.

Stay: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef (B, D)

Day 4
Franz Josef - Wanaka - Queenstown

View incredible scenery as you travel past the untouched wilderness and pristine lakes of the Mt Aspiring National Park. Stop at Wanaka, a popular township on the lake’s edge with a spectacular mountain backdrop, on the way to Arrowtown, an area steeped in fascinating history relating to early settlement and the gold mining era. We 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 5
At leisure in Queenstown

Today is a free day to experience this magnificent alpine resort. Queenstown boasts an incredible array of adventure and leisure activities and your Guide can assist with any optional activities you would like to do. Take a ride on the world famous Shotover Jet Boat, 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 in town or sample one of the cafes or bars along the lakefront. (B)

Day 6
Spectacular Doubtful Sound

Travel around Lake Wakatipu and through lush farmland to Te Anau, gateway to the Fiordland National Park. On to Manapouri, where you enjoy a leisurely cruise across the lake to West Arm. This is followed by a short coach trip on New Zealand’s most expensive road, travelling over Wilmot Pass and pausing along the way to experience the dense Fiordland rainforest and view Doubtful Sound glistening far below. At Deep Cove, board a modern catamaran and allow the majesty and vastness of the fiord to take your breath away. Enjoy the on-board commentary that provides insight into the region’s history, flora and fauna as you view spectacular towering mountains and wildlife.

Stay: Distinction Luxmore Te Anau (B, L, D)

Day 7
Doubtful Sound - Larnach Castle - Dunedin

Depart Te Anau and head for the coast, crossing rich farmlands and passing through agricultural townships on the way to Dunedin, often referred to as the Edinburgh of the South. Upon arrival, we will take a guided tour of Larnach Castle to learn about its tragic and mysterious history, before enjoying High Tea in the historic ballroom.

Stay: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 8
At leisure in Dunedin

Today is a free day to experience Dunedin and the greater Otago Peninsula. This heritage city offers stunning examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture, most of which can be viewed on a downtown walking tour. Visit the natural history exhibits of the Otago Museum or take an interactive tour of the iconic Speight’s Brewery. For those seeking outdoor adventures, the dramatic Otago Peninsula offers opportunities to search for albatross, penguins, seals and sea lions as well as a variety of walking and biking trails. (B)

Day 9
Dunedin - Moeraki Boulders - Christchurch

Stop to view the mystical Moeraki Boulders, geological marvels that began to form about 60 million years ago and were exposed by the erosion of sedimentary rocks over time. Then continue to the Whiteside township of Oamaru, home to some of the best-preserved heritage buildings in New Zealand. Our journey north takes us up the coast and across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.

Stay: Moeraki Boulders (B, D)

Day 10
Christchurch - Hanmer Springs

After a leisurely morning, a short drive brings us to the alpine resort town of Hanmer Springs, renowned for its therapeutic thermal waters. Take in the crisp mountain air as you stroll through the village and enjoy entry into the hot pools for a relaxing soak in the naturally heated mineral waters.

Stay: Heritage Hanmer Springs (B, D)

Day 11
Hanmer Springs - Picton - Wellington

We drive to the picturesque fishing village of Picton to board the Interislander Ferry and cruise through the spectacular Queen Charlotte Sound into Cook Strait, the channel that separates the South and North Islands. Enjoy stunning views of New Zealand’s capital city as you arrive into Wellington Harbour. A brief city tour will show you the major sights before free time for exploring on your own. Situated on the Wellington waterfront, a visit to the Te Papa Museum of New Zealand is highly recommended.

Stay: Ibis Wellington Hotel (B)

Day 12
Wellington - Art Deco Napier

Travelling north into the rural heartland of the Wairarapa region takes us through farmland that gives way to the vast orchards and plentiful vineyards of Hawke’s Bay. On arrival in Napier this afternoon, enjoy a walking tour with a local guide who will bring the city’s fascinating Art Deco architecture and history to life.

Stay: Scenic Hotel Te Pania (B, D)

Day 13
Napier - Taupo - Rotorua

Stop to view the mighty Huka Falls as we drive through the popular lakeside resort town of Taupo, and travel past massive pine forests to reach Rotorua, centre of Maori culture and geothermal activity. This evening, you’ll be treated to a traditionally prepared Maori hangi (feast) followed by an enthralling cultural performance of Maori songs, chants and dance, including the stirring haka.

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

Day 14
Rotorua Sightseeing

Start your day with a walk through the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, famous for its geysers, boiling mud pools and steaming craters. Next, a scenic jet boat ride will take you along the mighty Waikato River to a magnificent thermal reserve featuring silica terraces. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon to explore Rotorua further on your own. Your Coach Captain can assist with any optional activities you would like to do. For dinner tonight we highly recommend checking out Eat Streat, a collection of top-notch restaurants and bars with an all-weather al fresco dining area. (B)

Day 15
Rotorua - Pauanui

We travel north through the Bay of Plenty region, stopping by the popular beach town of Mt Maunganui on our way to the Coromandel Peninsula. 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. Our overnight stay is in Pauanui, a favourite New Zealand holiday resort nestled in the native bush and just a stone’s throw from a pristine white sand beach.

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

Day 16
Pauanui - Auckland

After a leisurely breakfast, we travel to Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’ and enjoy a city tour on arrival. You have ample time to explore the downtown area on your own this afternoon, and your Coach Captain can recommend activity options. This evening, join your friends for a farewell dinner and drinks and relive the highlights and experiences of the last two weeks.

Stay: Rydges Hotel Auckland (B, D)

Day 17
Depart Auckland

Sadly, your holiday ends after breakfast this morning. Here we bid you farewell and hope you leave with many happy memories of your stay. You will be transferred to Auckland Airport to connect with your onward flight. (B)

4.6/5.0

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

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Value For Money
Accommodation
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Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

4
28/10/2018
The tour lived up to its description and we were lucky to have a small and compatible group with a great tour guide/driver.
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5
05/03/2017
The 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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4
23/02/2017
Whilst 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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5
13/11/2016
At 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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4
19/04/2015
I 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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4
04/01/2015
We 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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5
09/03/2014
Thank 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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4
23/02/2014
A 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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5
15/09/2013
This 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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5
15/09/2013
This 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.
Overall Tour Rating

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Accommodation

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Enquire about our 17 Day New Zealand Explorer

17 Day New Zealand Explorer
Premium Coach Tour
Tour Code: sx
From (NZD) $6479 per person
Save (NZD) $720 per person
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Departures: Jan 2020 to Mar 2021
Rating:
16 reviews (4.6/5)

Explore New Zealand over 17 fantastic days, experiencing must-see destinations and enjoying unique activities. Special highlights include Christchu... Read More

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