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8 Day North & South Highlights

Relaxing Journeys Coach & Fly Tour starting in Auckland and finishing in Christchurch

Tour Description

If your time in New Zealand is limited, but you still want to explore some of our scenic highlights, this independent coach tour which includes your domestic flight takes you to New Zealand's two most popular destinations - Rotorua and Queenstown as well as including a Milford Sound cruise & the Waitomo Caves.

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Tour Info
Regions Visited
Tour Inclusions

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Prices are per adult (we'll adjust your quote for any children)

Day 1: Afternoon at Leisure in Auckland
Day 3: Afternoon at Leisure in Rotorua
Day 6: Full Day at Leisure in Queenstown

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  • Note: Prices shown are per person (based on two people travelling). Prices are valid for travel until September 2018
Independent Tour Information
  • Independent New Zealand Tours

    Independent tours are an ideal way to explore New Zealand if you don't wish to drive. We pre-book all your travel arrangements including coach, rail and ferry transport, accommodation, transfers between your transport and key sightseeing activities. We can add and take off days in the middle, start or end of your tour and you can choose whether to add breakfasts. While the coaches do not have dedicated tour guides, the multi-talented coach drivers provide excellent onboard commentary.

  • Accommodation Levels

    Your tour accommodation is in specially chosen properties, centrally located and of a high standard. Choose from 3 levels of accommodation on every itinerary! Motels & Apartments, Mid Range Hotels & Premium Hotels. All accommodation is subject to availability at the time of booking so get in early!

  • Daily Departures

    Our independent coach tours operate every day, using regular coach, train, airline and ferry services. This provides you with excellent flexibility when planning your tour to fit in with your flights and any other holiday arrangements.

  • Coastal Pacific Train Journey

    If your itinerary includes the Coastal Pacific train, then please be aware it does not operate from May to September and will be replaced by a coach journey during this period. This amendment to the itinerary is factored into our winter pricing.

  • Coach Commentary

    Coaches do not have dedicated tour guides, however the multi-talented coach drivers provide excellent onboard commentary on most routes. There are a few of routes between cities in NZ where no commentary is provided. See FAQ's below for a list of routes without commentary.

  • Transfers

    We organise all your transfers and these are are by shuttle service. If you'd prefer to be picked up by a private driver service please request this at time of booking as prices are not too much more in most cases.

  • General Information

    Frequently Asked Questions | Accommodation | Tour Transport

Tour Itinerary - Day by Day
  • Day1

    Arrive in 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. Take some time to explore Auckland's vibrant waterfront this afternoon, and if time permits add an extra day in Auckland to experience a slice of what this city has to offer.

    Motels & Apartments: Quest Auckland
    Mid Range: Scenic Hotel Auckland
    Premium: SkyCity Hotel Auckland

  • Day2

    Auckland - Waitomo Caves - Rotorua (2 nights)

    With an early morning departure from Auckland you will be travelling southbound towards the Waitomo Caves via the city of Hamilton which sits on the banks of the Waikato River. Enjoy a guided tour of the caves with a silent boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto - a subterranean cavern lit up by the lights of thousands of tiny glowworms. Arrival at your Rotorua accommodation will be in the early afternoon. Tonight you will attend a hangi (feast) and concert, an authentic and intimate Maori experience. (D)

    Motels & Apartments: BK's Rotorua Motor Lodge
    Mid Range: Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua
    Premium: Millennium Rotorua

  • Day3

    Rotorua Sightseeing

    This morning you will experience Maori culture and the amazing thermal wonderland at Te Puia. Te Puia is also home to the Arts and Crafts Institute where the ancient teachings of Maori ancestors have been preserved and continue to thrive. Continue on to the 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 including 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. The afternoon is at leisure.

  • Day4

    Rotorua - Internal Flight - Queenstown (3 nights)

    This morning you will be transferred from your accommodation to the Rotorua airport for your southbound flight to Queenstown. Your flight is included in the tour price. Be sure not to miss the stunning scenery as you descend into Queenstown, it really will take your breath away. After arriving into Queenstown you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. Your afternoon is at leisure.

    Motels & Apartments: Blue Peaks Lodge
    Mid Range: Novotel Lakeside Queenstown
    Premium: Hotel St Moritz

  • Day5

    Milford Sound Cruise & Tour

    It's an early departure today as your coach follows the southern arm of Lake Wakitipu to Lumsden, and onward to Lake Te Anau. The scenery changes dramatically from tussock covered grasslands to glacier hewn valleys as you enter the Eglington Valley and travel through the breath taking man-made Homer Tunnel before reaching Milford Sound. Upon arrival at Milford Sound, board your launch for a spectacular cruise where you will see the wonders of Mitre Peak, glacier scarred rock walls that rise 1,200m vertically from the sea, and waterfalls that tumble from hanging valleys and crash into the Sound far below. On completion of your cruise you will return to Queenstown by coach arriving in the evening. (L)

  • Up

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

    Return to Queenstown on a scenic flight taking in magnificent views of the alps, glaciers, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park – a quick and convenient way to return to Queenstown. (Duration 35mins) The flight shaves off approximately 4 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.

  • View Full ItineraryTotal 8 Days
  • Day6

    Queenstown at Leisure

    Today is at your leisure to enjoy the many sights & activities in and around Queenstown. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the shores of the pristine Lake Wakatipu, and in the evening experience a cruise aboard TSS Earnslaw (own expense); or if you're planning a more active trip Downunder , then there are a myriad of activities you can take part in including jet boating, bungy jumping, skydiving, ziptreking, quad biking, snowshoeing, National Park walks and off-road 4WD tours!

    Motels & Apartments: Mt Cook Lodge & Motels
    Mid Range: Hermitage Hotel (Standard Room)
    Premium: Hermitage Hotel (Premium Room)

  • Day7

    Queenstown - Mt Cook - Christchurch

    Depart Queenstown this morning and travel north through the historic gold mining region of the Kawarau Gorge, pass through the dramatic Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country. Hug the shores of Lake Pukaki before arriving at the majestic Aoraki/Mt Cook Village. This region is breathtaking and full of opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast. Enjoy an optional scenic helicopter or ski plane flight (own expense), explore the treasures of New Zealand's mountaineering history at the Sir Edmund Hillary Centre or relax over a three course lunch at the famous Hermitage Hotel (not included). This afternoon you will continue north to the glacial fed, turquoise blue Lake Tekapo where you can take the opportunity to appreciate the majestic scenery of the Southern Alps and view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd. Continue your journey north through the vast patchwork of the Canterbury Plains before arriving at your final destination, Christchurch.

    Motels & Apartments: Quest Christchurch
    Mid Range: Rendezvous Hotel
    Premium: Heritage Hotel Christchurch

  • Day8

    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.

Like this Tour?

Upgrade this tour by adding one of or carefully selected optional tours & activities or go ahead and request a quote to guarantee your spot.

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Tour Reviews

View all 9 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.7 out of 5.

  • 5We went on a tour of Auckland to Bay of Islands and then flew to Queenstown and went to Te Anau. All arrangements made by Toni went without a hitch (only a couple of times I was worried but this probably is because I am used to being in control and making my own plans) You really only have to follow the itinerary and it is stress free! It was a wonderful trip, we chose to have bus transfers so we did a lot of bus travelling but how else do you see beautiful New Zealand if you don't travel! The accommodation in Bay of Islands and Queenstown was the absolute best! In Te Anau the receptionist was a bit unwelcoming, the weather was bad on a couple of tours but these things are not something anyone can control. Relaxing Journeys thank you so much for making our family trip to New Zealand so memorable and for all the fantastic experiences we had!

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    - 05/12/2017
  • 5Marie was fantastic! Our 10-day honeymoon through the "long white cloud" was the trip of a lifetime. Everything along the way was so well organized and the accommodations were top-notch. Being able to pick up our booklet with our itinerary and activities at our first hotel made everything so easy. We truly got to experience some wonderful kiwi hospitality. We will gladly refer anyone to check out Relaxing Journeys when they go to NZ.

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    - 26/07/2017
  • 5I'm glad I booked with Relaxing Journeys! Friendly, patient and very informative staff, Thanks Marie! We were looking for a short tour and this ticked all the boxes. Accommodation was great overall and just what we were expecting. Tour pace was a bit quick but that was to be expected. The tours itself were all on time and staff were great. Definitely booking with Relaxing Journeys again in the future. Keep it up guys!

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    - 08/09/2016
  • 4The activities selected was great and gave us a good opportunity (although quick) to sample both islands within a short space of one week. The timing between the activities and transfers between cities was very good. There were a couple of cancellations due to weather but this was promptly rectified. Our coach driver at Auckland taking us to Rotorura didn't come on time and did not come to the designated pickup point, but he was pleasant enough throughout the drive and made it enjoyable. As our first impression, it was a bit of concern. The Milford Sound trip was enjoyable although the cruise had to be cancelled. The coach driver could have been a bit more friendly. We were not dropped off at our hotel as the itinerary had indicated, the 5 minute walk back was pleasant though. The brochures also indicated there were toilets on board the coach but the driver did not mention this and no one used the toilet or there wasn't any on board. Overall my family and I enjoyed the trip and we have fond memories of the holidays and NZ, and will consider returning to your services. As mentioned Toni had selected great activities for us and was always prompt and detailed in replying. Sally helped out a lot during when our flight had to return back to Christchurch due to bad weather in Queenstown. Thank you.

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    - 27/07/2014
  • 4Relaxing Journeys, specifically Leanne, delivered what we asked for. We had no surprises (okay well the nearby tornadoes were a little surprise) and the accomodations were as promised. The only comment would be to let people know that if they are going to Franz Josef that there is little chance for exchanging money so to do so before getting there. Weather was great, people were friendly.

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    - 16/02/2014
  • 5I would like to express my gratitude for your assistance in arranging for me and my husband a smooth and comfortable holiday in New Zealand from 15 to 20 April 2012. We are now back home, safe and sound with fond memories of your country. The independent tours you recommended have given us the flexibility we wanted, introduced us to the highlights for tourists in various cities while at the same time saved us the trouble of having to sort out hotels, transportation and so forth. I was particularly impressed by the professionalism of the coach drivers. I would definitely like to recommend your agency to my friends and relatives.

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    - 15/04/2012
  • 5This tour was part of a longer six week break covering Hong Kong, NZ, Australia and Singapore. Very well organised at all times, removed all of the stress of organsing hotels, transport and hotel transfers in NZ. It enabled us to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenes and sights of your lovely country. The coach drivers were extremely helpful and informative. The hotels were all well located with the exception of the Copthorne in Rotorua which was a bit far out from the centre of town. We would recommend RJ's to our friends.

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    - 04/01/2012
  • View All ReviewsTotal 9 Items
  • 5The customised independent tour arrangement worked quite well. Flying from point to point in New Zealand was great with no problems. We were met at all points as scheduled. In general the hotels were as expected and most had Guest Laundry which allowed for less luggage. Recommend that all hotel rooms be provided with breakfast as part of the deal. It was not necessary to pay ahead for lunch for any trip since you stopped enough to get something to eat. Would be nice to know ahead the planned stops. Although it rained for 11 of the 14 days we were in New Zealand, the mountains, lakes, and buildings did not change. Toni was quite helpful in deciding what we wanted to do and making the arrangements for the tour.

    - 22/05/2010
  • 4I just want to say thanks for the good service you provide us during our visit to New Zealand. The tour was perfect, allways on time, and adhoc to my expectation. You take care of all details leaving nothing to improvisiation so you did it very well. Congratulations!

    - 29/01/2010

Like this Tour?

Upgrade this tour by adding one of or carefully selected optional tours & activities or go ahead and request a quote to guarantee your spot.

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