18 Day Natural New Zealand

18 Day Natural New Zealand

Comfortably paced eighteen day independent tour of both islands of New Zealand. Heading south from Auckland and finishing in Christchurch, travel through the North Island's geothermal wonderland through to Wellington and then head down the South Island's wild west coast. We've included a couple of fantastic cruises - Milford Sound and from Dunedin an Otago Peninsula wildlife cruise.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Independent Coach Tour
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departures: Feb 2018 to May 2019
From (NZD) $4083 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Pace: Comfortable
Duration: 18 Days
Tour Code: RJ301i


17 nights accommodation
All Coach, Ferry & Rail Transport & Transfers
Optional Breakfasts
Daily Departures
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Maori Hangi (feast) and Concert
Te Puia Geothermal Experience
Rainbow Springs Nature Park
Agrodome Farm Show
Half day sightseeing tour of Wellington
Scenic Interislander Cruise
Half day Otago Peninsula Wildlife Cruise and tour
Milford Sound Cruise including lunch

* Note: Prices shown are per person (based on two people travelling). Prices are valid for travel until September 2018

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Auckland

Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city and a hub for shopping and dining. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. Enjoy the opportunity to explore this fascinating city. Auckland has so much to offer, from deserted islands to lush native bush, sheltered inshore waters to the wild Tasman Sea, and sophisticated city streets to backroad rural charm. Perhaps explore the vibrant waterfront and ride Auckland’s Dockline Tram.

Day 2
Auckland - Waitomo Caves - Rotorua

From Auckland travel south through lush Waikato farmland, past Hamilton, to Waitomo Caves for a boat ride under a galaxy of glow-worms. Continue east to Rotorua, steeped in Maori culture and history. Stay 2 nights in Rotorua. (2 nights)

Day 3

This morning you will be met at your accommodation for your morning sightseeing tour of this city. Rotorua sits calmly atop some remarkable cracks in the earth’s crust – sometimes giving the impression that the town is on fire. This impression is reinforced by the hot mists of Te Puia, roaring geysers and boiling mudpools heated to unbearable temperatures. These contrast with the calm of the marae grounds and the work of the artisans at the Arts and Crafts Institute. Also see the Kiwi House, displaying these rare, native birds. Other highlights on your tour of Rotorua are the native and exotic vegetation at Rainbow Springs, which are world renowned for their pools of tame trout. The Agrodome Farm display features a vital section of New Zealand’s agriculture, sheep shearing and a sheep dog display. The afternoon is free – there are many activities available. Tonight we enjoy a Maori Hangi (feast) and Concert, a quintessential New Zealand experience. (D)

Day 4
Rotorua - Wellington

Drive south to Wairakei – wreathed by steam, then to Taupo. Skirt Lake Taupo, and cross the volcanic landscape of the Desert Road past the majestic peaks of Tongariro, Ngaruahoe and Ruapehu. Continue across the fertile plains of the Manawatu and along the rugged Kapiti coastline to Wellington. (2 nights)

Day 5

This morning a half day tour of the city will take in the Parliament Buildings and ‘Beehive’, Old St Paul’s Cathedral, panoramic views of the harbour and city from Mt Victoria and a ride on the cable car (optional). This afternoon is free, perhaps to visit Te Papa Museum or the Museum of City and Sea.

Day 6
Wellington - Interislander Cruise - Nelson

Catch the Interislander Ferry across Cook Strait and through the tranquil Marlborough Sounds to Picton. in the South Island. From here travel by coach past vineyards and orchards to Nelson where we stay for 2 nights.

Day 7

Today is at your leisure and there are lots of options including beaches to explore, harbour cruises, walks or adventure activities. Nelson is also the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park, the smallest of New Zealand’s national parks, with glittering beaches, turquoise water and spectacular ocean views. Perhaps enjoy a cruise in this spectacular park. (2 nights)

Day 8
Nelson - Punakaiki

Travel through Murchison, the scene of a massive earthquake in 1929, and on through the Buller Gorge to Westport on the West Coast. The road to Punakaiki hugs the coast, providing spectacular views of wild beaches and the tempestuous Tasman Sea. Overnight at Punakaiki, famous for its pancake rocks and magnificent blowholes.

Day 9
Punakaiki - Franz Josef

The morning is at your leisure. We recommend a walk around the stunning Pancake Rocks and blowhole – fantastic in all weather! This afternoon enjoy the views of the wild west coast as you travel to Greymouth, the commercial centre of the West Coast and the coastal town of Hokitika before arriving into Franz Josef which is known for being home to one of the world’s most accessible glaciers. (2 nights)

Day 10
Franz Josef

Today you have a whole day at leisure. Perhaps enjoy an optional guided walk on the glacier, a heli-hike or a scenic flight, or an unguided walk to the terminal face. Franz Josef Glacier extends 12 kms from the high snow fields of the Southern Alps. The terminal face of the Franz Josef glacier is just 5 kms from the Franz Josef township.

Day UP
Glacier Upgrade Package

Treat yourself and upgrade your accommodation in Franz Josef to the 5 star Te Waonui Forest Retreat, a luxury lodge hotel nestled amongst native West Coast rainforest. Our upgrade package includes luxurious accommodation, dinner on the first night – an indulgent 5 course degustation menu in The Canopy Restaurant, and a la carte breakfast both mornings. We’ve also included a stunning Franz Josef Heli Hike to help you make the most of your time in the region. Ask us for a price!

Day 11
Franz Josef - Wanaka

Today your coach will take you south along the west coast towards Haast Pass as you enjoy views of dense coastal forest, crystal clear waterfalls and wind swept sand dunes. Once at Haast Pass, the southernmost pass between the East and West Coasts of New Zealand, you will head east and experience more spectacular views of the Lake Hawea before arriving in Wanaka in the early afternoon.

Day 12
Wanaka - Queenstown

A free morning in this peaceful and popular resort. In the early afternoon rejoin the coach for a scenic drive through the rugged Kawarau Gorge to Queenstown for a two night stay. (2 nights)

Day 13

Today is completely at your leisure to enjoy the many sights of this alpine resort situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown offers something for everyone – you can enjoy the quiet beauty and tranquility of this mountain retreat and enjoy several walking trails in the town area. For sheer excitement there is white-water rafting, helicopter rides, the famous jet boats, bungy jumping to pump your adrenalin, and offroad 4WD tours with plenty of river crossings. There are cruises on the lake and a visit to a high country sheep station, and wine tasting tours. You can visit nearby Arrowtown where the main street has been preserved since the 1860’s gold rush days and you can try your luck and pan for gold in the adjacent Shotover River.

Day 14
Queenstown - Milford Sound - Te Anau

An early start takes you alongside the lake to Kingston, then to Mossburn and Lake Te Anau. Soon you plunge into the beech forests of the beautiful Eglinton Valley then it’s on through the Homer Tunnel to the awesome Cleddau Canyon and the steep descent to Milford Sound. A cruise on the Sound to Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak with picnic lunch is included. Later today your coach climbs back over the divide and returns you to Te Anau. Overnight in Te Anau. (L)

Day 15
Te Anau - Dunedin

This morning cross the Waimea Plains towards the farming community of Gore, then continue across the rolling hill country of Southland and South Otago to Dunedin. Second largest city in the South Island, the cityscape glitters with gems of Victorian and Edwardian architecture – the legacy of the city’s gold-rush affluence – First Church, Otago Boys High School and Larnach Castle. Other prominent buildings include Olveston and Dunedin Railway Station. Dunedin is also notable now as centre for ecotourism. Uniquely, the world’s only mainland Royal Albatross colony and several penguin and seal colonies lie within the city boundaries on Otago Peninsula. Arrive early afternoon for a 2 night stay in Dunedin. (2 nights)

Day 16

Cruise the length of the beautiful Otago Harbour. Experience unrivalled viewing of the exciting diversity of wildlife which abounds on spectacular Taiaroa Head; the only mainland nesting place for Northern Royal Albatross in the world, and home to NZ fur seals, and eight other nesting bird species. You may also see, dolphins, sea lions and a fascinating array of rarely seen ocean birds including other species of albatross, penguins and marine mammals in their natural environment. Enjoy a scenic Peninsula tour by coach before returning to the city. The rest of today is at leisure.

Day 17
Dunedin - Christchurch

Leaving Dunedin, sit back and enjoy the scenery as you drive up the rugged Otago coastline passing Moeraki Beach, resting place of some incredible boulders – giant rocks the size of cars and as symmetrical as pearls. Travel on through Oamaru with its whitestone buildings, Timaru and on past Temuka, home of famous pottery and over braided snow fed rivers reaching Christchurch.

Day 18
Depart Christchurch

Sadly your trip has come to an end. We hope that you have thoroughly enjoyed your experiences in New Zealand. Today you will be met at your accommodation and transferred to the airport for your onward journey. Have a safe trip home.



New Zealand has a great deal of things to see and do, why not add one of our optional sightseeing activities to your trip. Prices are per adult (we'll adjust your quote for any children).

Enquire about our 18 Day Natural New Zealand

18 Day Natural New Zealand
Independent Coach Tour
Tour Code: RJ301i
From (NZD) $4083 per person
Enquire Now
Departures: Feb 2018 to May 2019

Comfortably paced eighteen day independent tour of both islands of New Zealand. Heading south from Auckland and finishing in Christchurch, travel thro... Read More

Itinerary Map

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18 Day Natural New Zealand
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