20 Day New Zealand End to End

20 Day New Zealand End to End

What would you do if you had 20 days dedicated to pursuing the wonderful, beautiful and unmissable? You would visit New Zealand on this enchanting 20-day getaway including hidden caves, amazing beaches, stopovers in New Zealand's acclaimed wine country, as well as discovering the truly spectacular Milford Sound. Prepare your senses and camera for an unforgettable getaway!

Tour Info

Tour Type: Independent Coach Tour
From: Auckland to Queenstown
Departures: Jan 2020 - March 2021
Price: From (NZD) $5506 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 20 Days
Tour Code: RJ303


19 nights accommodation
All coach, ferry and rail transport and transfers
Optional breakfasts
Daily departures
Entrance to Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Cape Reinga day tour (including lunch)
Cape Brett Hole in the Rock cruise
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Māori hāngī feast and concert
Te Puia geothermal experience
Rainbow Springs Nature Park
Agrodome farm show
Afternoon Hawke's Bay wine tour
Half-day sightseeing tour of Wellington
Scenic Interislander cruise
TranzAlpine train journey
Half-day Otago Peninsula wildlife cruise and tour
Milford Sound cruise (including lunch)


Prices are per person based on twin-share, and are subject to availability. Prices are correct at the time of submission but are subject to change without notice. Valid for travel January 2020 – March 2021. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $250 per person is required at time of booking.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Auckland

Welcome to Auckland! After clearing customs and immigration you will be transferred from the Auckland Airport to your hotel in the central city. After checking in and getting yourself settled, turn your roving eye outside and enjoy a free afternoon in the ‘City of Sails’. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, with plenty of sights, shopping and street appeal for even the pickiest of travellers.

Day 2
Auckland - Bay of Islands

Departing from Auckland you will be heading north to the Bay of Islands, made up of 144 islands. Staying in the popular town of Paihia, you might even spot dolphins frolicking in the sea as you walk along one of the many paths to explore the area. No visit to Paihia is complete without a trip to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds (entry is included in your tour), where New Zealand’s founding document was signed. Entrance to the Treaty Grounds includes a tour of the picturesque property and a Māori cultural show. (2 nights)

Day 3
Cape Reinga Day Tour - Bay of Islands

Depart Paihia on your journey to Cape Reinga, the northernmost point of New Zealand. Uncover the wild beauty of this vast and untouched region that is rich in Māori culture and tradition. Māori legend states that spirits depart from this point on their journey to their final resting place.

Visit the Puketi Kauri Forest and get up close to ancient and majestic 1,000-year-old kauri trees and native bush. Stroll along an elevated walkway as these graceful giants surround you, and learn about conservation efforts to preserve the forest today. The tour continues with a drive along the sand on Ninety Mile Beach as the waves crash beside the custom-built coach.

Feel the sand between your toes as you help your driver guide dig for shellfish (conditions permitting). Your off-road journey continues up Te Paki Stream, stopping at the massive sand dunes where you can experience the thrills and spills of sand-boarding. Clambering up and surfing down the dunes (if you dare!) is sure to get your heart pumping. Return to Paihia in the evening. (L)

Day 4
Cape Brett Hole in the Rock Cruise - Bay of Islands - Auckland

Enjoy the view on board your cruise this morning as you pass the Cape Brett Lighthouse en route to the stunning Hole in the Rock. Board the luxury catamaran which will whisk you on a comfortable journey out through game fishing waters to the Cape Brett Lighthouse. Next is Motukokako Island and the famous Hole in the Rock, where we make a passage through the hole and into the Grand Cathedral Cave.

On the return journey the cruise takes its time and meanders through the inner islands. View sandy beaches, beautiful bays and marine wildlife as your skipper gives an informative commentary. Included is a stopover on beautiful Urupukapuka Island.

As your catamaran docks at historic Ōtehei Bay, enjoy the white sandy beach, picturesque views, and rich archaeological landscape. On the way back you might like to stop off at the quaint seaside village of Russell (New Zealand’s first capital) where you can take some time to wander around and enjoy.

This afternoon rejoin your coach for your journey back to Auckland, crossing over the Harbour Bridge into the city for an evening arrival.

Day 5
Auckland - Waitomo Caves - Rotorua

With an early morning departure from Auckland you will be travelling southbound to reach the market garden area of Pukekohe. Continue through Hamilton, New Zealand’s fourth largest city, and the fertile Waikato region to arrive at Waitomo. For over 100 years, Waitomo Glowworm Caves have attracted millions of people from all over the world. The moment you enter this subterranean wonderland you’ll discover an ancient underground labyrinth of limestone caves and grottos. You will experience a boat trip like no other, journeying through the starry expanse of the cave while your way is lit by a multitude of tiny glowworm lights.

On completion of this tour, continue over the forested Mamaku Ranges to reach the geothermal city of Rotorua. Tonight you’ll be treated to a Māori feast, and Te Pō’s cultural experience promises hours of fun, thought, and kai (food). After a formal Māori welcome, relax and enjoy a captivating performance by the local people, including traditional songs as well as the renowned haka. Following a truly delectable dinner you will be transported by people movers to enjoy the spectacular lighting of the geothermal Te Whakarewarewa Valley and an essential hot chocolate. (D)

Day 6
Rotorua - Taupō

This morning you will experience more Māori culture and the amazing thermal wonderland at Te Puia. Te Puia is also home to the Māori Arts and Crafts Institute where the ancient teachings of ancestors have been preserved and continue to thrive. Continue on to Rainbow Springs Nature Park, an attraction like no other. Set in 22 acres of beautiful native trees and streams you will see a huge variety of New Zealand’s most precious inhabitants, and the Kiwi Conservation Centre. New Zealand’s thriving agricultural industry is on show at the Agrodome, where you will witness a sheep shearing display and sheep dog trials.

This afternoon, drive south through exotic forests until you reach Lake Taupō and the steam fields of Wairakei in the centre of the North Island. Overnight at Lake Taupō.

Day 7
Taupō - Napier

Today you will travel to the Art Deco city of Napier for a two night stay. You will be amazed by the fantastic scenery on the road from Taupō to Napier; there’s a bit of everything – rugged hills, beautiful valleys, gentle plains and huge vistas. The city of Napier was devastated by an earthquake in 1931 that nearly levelled it and its twin city Hastings. They were rebuilt in the style of the times, and are now highly acclaimed for their Art Deco design. (2 nights)

Day 8
Wine Tour - Napier

Hawke’s Bay has become well known as a leading food and wine region in New Zealand, so we’ve booked you in for a wine tasting tour this afternoon. Meet like-minded people and share an appreciation of Hawke’s Bay’s fantastic wines, and learn of the area’s unique growing conditions. Cheese boards are also provided on all tours. Take home great tasting wines and memories.

Day 9
Napier - Wellington

Depart Napier and travel to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city located on the southern tip of the North Island. Arriving early afternoon, the rest of the day is at leisure. (2 nights)

Day 10

Visit many of Wellington’s best known sights, landmarks and icons this morning including the Beehive, Parliament Buildings, Old Saint Paul’s Cathedral, as well as the historic Cable Car. Enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of Wellington City, the hills and the harbour from the summit of Mount Victoria, as well as driving around the rugged scenic bays of Wellington Harbour. The afternoon is free to explore Wellington. A visit to Te Papa or the Museum of City and Sea is highly recommended.

Day 11
Wellington - Interislander Cruise - Nelson

This morning you will board the Interislander which will ferry you across Cook Strait and through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds to Picton. Make the short journey to Nelson where you will enjoy two wonderful nights in this tranquil destination. (2 nights)

Day 12

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 waters, and spectacular ocean views. Perhaps enjoy a cruise in this spectacular area.

Day 13
Nelson - Punakaiki

You will be heading south through Murchison today, making your way to the West Coast. At Hawks Crag the road has been hacked out of solid rock – be ready for the dramatic overhang, lending shade and character to the route. The road to Punakaiki hugs the coast, providing spectacular views of wild beaches and the tempestuous Tasman Sea.

Punakaiki is best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. A loop track takes you on a gentle walk from the main road, through rainforest to the coast. At the coastline the track has many lookouts and areas for fantastic photos to be taken of the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, and beautiful views of the coast and mountains. The best time to visit the blowholes is at high tide when they are at their most powerful. Allow 45 minutes for the loop walk.

Day 14
Punakaiki - TranzAlpine - Christchurch

The morning is at your leisure. We recommend a walk around the stunning Pancake Rocks and Blowholes if you haven’t yet seen them! The Truman Track is another short walk worth doing while you’re here – nearing the coast it passes through typical West Coast flax flats before emerging onto a coastal headland with stunning views up and down the local coastline.

This afternoon enjoy the views of the wild West Coast as you travel to Greymouth and join the TranzAlpine train for your scenic train journey to Christchurch. The TranzAlpine is described as ‘The Great New Zealand Rail Adventure’, and is rated as one of the top six scenic train journeys in the world.

Ascend through lush beech forests past beautiful Lake Brunner, before winding across massive viaducts and through spectacular river gorges, through the Southern Alps to the alpine village of Arthur’s Pass, situated 737m above sea level. The train then descends to follow the stunning Waimakariri River and cross the Canterbury Plaines to arrive in Christchurch.

Day 15
Christchurch - Dunedin

Depart Christchurch and head south through the vibrant seaside town of Timaru and on to Ōamaru, known for its creamy limestone buildings. Pass Koekohe Beach and stop to view the mysterious, spherical, 60-million-year-old Moeraki Boulders that are embedded in the sand. Arrive in Dunedin, a vibrant university city with a proud Scottish legacy, in the early afternoon. (2 nights)

Day 16

Today you have some time to explore the charming city of Dunedin. Sitting in the Otago Harbour, Dunedin is a fantastic small city and an important centre for learning, heritage, arts and culture in New Zealand. The harbour is the gateway to the Otago Peninsula and today we have included an excellent half-day cruise to explore the length of this beautiful region, and a wildlife cruise of spectacular Taiaroa Head. This is the only mainland nesting place for northern royal albatross in the world, and home to New Zealand fur seals. Don’t be surprised if you spot dolphins, sea lions and countless ocean birds, including penguins!

Day 17
Dunedin - Te Anau

This morning is at leisure to explore Dunedin. This afternoon, travel by coach across fertile farming land and pass by spectacular mountains to the beautiful shores of Lake Te Anau. You will arrive into the township of Te Anau, the hub of the Fiordland region, in the late afternoon.

Day 18
Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown

Travel through breathtaking Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound. Journey through majestic forests, past immense waterfalls, and through towering snow – capped mountains. Great photo opportunities abound en route. On arrival in Milford Sound experience an unforgettable cruise through a unique and pristine environment.

You will board either the Milford Mariner or Milford Wanderer – specially designed fiord explorers – and settle in for a 2.5-hour cruise. Milford Sound is nothing short of heart-stopping, inducing subconscious smiles in the hard-to-please and easily bored almost instantly; it’s simply magnificent. Keep an eye out for dolphins, seals and penguins!

Board the coach for Queenstown, arriving in the evening. If the weather is suitable take a scenic flight back over the Southern Alps (own expense). (L) (2 nights)

Day UP
Milford Sound Return Flight Upgrade Package (from NZ$395pp)

Upgrade your itinerary to include a return scenic flight to Queenstown, taking in the magnificent views of the alps, glaciers, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park – a quick and convenient way to return to Queenstown. (Duration 35 mins.)

The flight shaves approximately four hours off a return by coach. It is however very weather dependent, so if the weather doesn’t play ball, then you will need to return by coach and we will refund the upgrade price.

Day 19

Today is completely at your leisure to enjoy the many sights of this alpine resort town situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown offers something for everyone – you can enjoy the quiet beauty and tranquility of this mountain retreat as well as several walking trails in the town area. For sheer excitement there is white-water rafting, helicopter rides, the famous jetboats, bungy jumping to pump your adrenalin, and off-road 4WD tours with plenty of river crossings.

There are cruises on the lake and a visit to a high country sheep station, as well as wine tasting tours. You can visit nearby Arrowtown where the main street has been preserved since the 1860s gold rush days, and you can try your luck panning for gold in the adjacent Shotover River.

Day 20
Depart Queenstown

Haere rā! Farewell from Aotearoa. We hope that you have had a memorable journey in New Zealand. Today is at your leisure until you are transferred from your accommodation to the airport for your departure home. We hope that you will visit us again.


There are 8 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.6 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

Everything went well. Would have like a couple more tours booked.
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Value For Money


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Relaxing Journeys Experience
We chose the 20 day independent tour 'New Zealand End to End' that covers both Islands. This met our needs well as we were able to add some extra nights in various places and make an adjustment to the itinerary when we thought there was too much to do in one day. Our consultant Teresa always replied quickly and was able to book alternative accommodation if we weren't keen on some of the hotels on the original itinerary. Overall, we had a wonderful time on our tour. The coach travel went smoothly although we sometimes arrived later than scheduled. On the longer trips the drivers had to have a half hour break which enabled us to have a coffee and snack and go to the bathroom. We usually found it easy to catch a taxi to our hotel from the coach stop or to walk if it wasn't too far. Our tour covered a wide variety of places from cities and seaside towns to areas with beautiful mountains and lakes. Our tour of the Fjordland National Park was one of the big highlights as it was a rare chance to see pristine forest and rivers (we were surprised at how much deforestation there is). We loved the scenery and the various day tours we went on were excellent. Our guides were all knowledgeable and friendly and we even received some commentary from our coach drivers at times. We appreciated having a Maori guide in some places and the opportunity to learn more about Maori people and culture in places such as Rotorua in particular. Our accommodation was very good in the main and it was very handy to have some kitchen facilities when we had an early morning start and needed to make our own breakfast. Some hotels were quite high class while others were more basic. All were very clean and well maintained. There were a few little glitches, mainly around information on our itinerary being different to the info on the vouchers, and incorrect information about a tour being provided prior to our trip, but we sorted things out OK. I highly recommend Relaxing Journeys to organise your trip to New Zealand.
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Value For Money


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Relaxing Journeys Experience
Everything was well organised and Marie was extremely helpful answering my questions immediately.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
Relaxing Journeys did an excellent job; all of our connections went smoothly. The hotels were fine, with a couple of exceptions (Ibis Wellington, Rydges Queenstown). We probably tried to do and see too much, but those were our mistakes, not yours. The day tours were highlights of our trip.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
I loved every minute of it! The highlight was at the end, going from Te Anau to Milford Sound and the flight to Queenstown. Absolutely breathtaking.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
Awesome.. wanted to stay longer.. so many places to go and so many things to do.. the best part was the kayak at Abel Tasman National Park.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
I was quite impressed with many aspects of our recent tour of New Zealand. We had a wonderful time, except for a brief medical scare (during which my wife gained an in depth understanding of the NZ medical system), and we found the NZ people to be polite, socially engaging and a pleasure to be around. I prefer the independent type tour and Toni did an excellent job of working with me to tailor our itinerary to maximize our experience. I liked the idea of visiting all sizes of cities to get a feel for the entire country. I was also very impressed with the timeliness of our pickups when arriving or departing a particular destination. I initially called the bus line or carrier to confirm our next pick up, but they were so reliable I quit calling a third of the way into the trip. The activities planned for us were spot on. Being walkers we particularly enjoyed hiking at Abel Talsman, the Milford Track and at Mount Cook. The Silver Level accommodations were very good and the breakfasts were fine although I would probably not get them if I return as the buffet menu was pretty much the same at all of them. In retrospect I think the success of our tour was dependent on the things your company does well - choosing the right hotels, carriers and activities; and also on the upfront work of your consultant (Toni)in designing the trips to be compatible with the our requirements. Thanks for a good time.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
Thank you for a well-organized customised independent coach tour of both North and South Island. Toni incorporated our wish list of sights to see and our desired level of activity into a great itinerary! She was patient and accomodating throughout the planning stages, and always replied promptly to our emails and questions. She was able to quickly get a sense of what type of tour we want and made that happen by appropriately selecting the sites, pre-booked tours, enough free time, transportation and accomodation. The pace of our tour was great with a perfect amount of time at each location. It was great to see the country by Intercity coach. Perhaps in the future I would have done one flight instead of coach plus ferry, but for the first trip, they were a great experience. All the transfers were smooth and throughout the trip we felt that if something was to change in our itinerary we could contact Toni and she would fix it. That was a wonderful country to visit and we highly recommend Relaxing Journeys and Toni to help plan their first trip to New Zealand!
Overall Tour Rating

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Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience



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).

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20 Day New Zealand End to End
Independent Coach Tour
Tour Code: RJ303
From (NZD) $5506 per person
Save (NZD) $550 per person
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8 reviews (4.6/5)

What would you do if you had 20 days dedicated to pursuing the wonderful, beautiful and unmissable? You would visit New Zealand on this enchanting 20-... Read More

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