11 Day New Zealand Express
11 Day New Zealand Express
See the highlights of New Zealand with this 11 day independent tour of both islands. Starting in Auckland you will visit the magical Waitomo Glowworm Caves, geothermal Rotorua, the capitol city of Wellington, travel on the world-renowned TranzAlpine train, see the otherworldly Franz Josef Glacier, the spectacular Milford Sound and Australasia's highest mountain - Mt Cook before ending your journey in Christchurch.
|Tour Type:||Coach & Fly Tour|
|From:||Auckland to Christchurch|
|Departures:||Jan 2019 - March 2020|
|Price:||From (NZD) $3258 per person|
|Tour Operator:||Relaxing Journeys|
|10 nights accommodation|
|All coach and rail transport and transfers|
|Waitomo Glowworm Caves|
|Māori cultural experience – hāngī feast and concert|
|Te Puia geothermal experience|
|Rainbow Springs Nature Park|
|Agrodome farm show|
|Internal flight from Wellington to Christchurch|
|Milford Sound day tour and cruise (including lunch)|
|TranzAlpine train journey|
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 2019 – March 2020. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required at time of booking.
Click here for our full terms and conditions.
Day by Day Tour Itinerary
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 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.
As New Zealand’s largest city, it has plenty of sights, shopping and street appeal for even the pickiest of travellers. Perhaps explore the vibrant waterfront and ride Auckland’s Dockline Tram.
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.
After you’ve finished your tour, continue over the glorious Mamaku Ranges to reach the geothermal capital of Rotorua. Tonight you’ll be treated to a Māori feast, as Te Pō’s cultural experience promises hours of fun, thought and kai (indigenous 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) (2 nights)
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 Māori 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 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. The afternoon is at leisure.
Drive south to Wairakei, wreathed in steam, then to Taupō. Skirt Lake Taupō and cross the volcanic landscape of the Desert Road, past the majestic peaks of Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe and Ruapehu. Continue across the fertile plains of the Manawatu and along the rugged Kapiti coastline to Wellington. Arrive late afternoon.
This morning you’ll be transferred to the airport to board your domestic flight (included in your tour cost) which will take you across the Cook Strait and down the east coast of the South Island to Christchurch. On arrival in Christchurch you will be transferred to your accommodation.
This morning you will board the TranzAlpine train for one of the world’s great scenic train trips, which will take you across the patchwork farmland of the Canterbury Plains before a slow climb into the Southern Alps. From here you will marvel at views of the stunning Waimakiriri River gorge and alpine scenery on a series of breathtaking viaducts.
After a brief stop at Arthur’s Pass you will enter one of New Zealand’s longest tunnels, the Otira Tunnel, and subsequently descend through a deep valley of subtropical rainforest over a broad shallow river into the small town of Greymouth. Join your coach in Greymouth and travel through Hokitika to Franz Josef Glacier, arriving in the early evening.
If you have a spare day we’d recommend an extra night in Franz Josef to allow time to fully experience the region.
Early this morning, travelling south, your journey will take you through coastal forest and windswept sand dunes, crossing Haast Pass on New Zealand’s longest single lane bridge. Travelling through Wanaka at the foot of the Southern Alps, your next stop is Queenstown, which is the Southern Hemisphere’s premiere four-season alpine lake resort town. (3 nights)
It’s an early start. Head off around the southern shores of Lake Wakatipu to Lake Te Anau, then into the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, a region rich with dense rainforest, lakes, and waterfalls cascading from rugged mountain peaks. Journey through the Southern Alps via the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km tunnel drilled through a solid mountain of rock.
Upon arrival at Milford Sound, board your vessel 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 to crash into the sound far below. 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. (L)
Upgrade your itinerary to 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 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 you will need to return by coach and we will refund the upgrade price.
Today is completely at leisure to enjoy the many sights of this alpine resort town situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown offers something for everyone. You might choose to enjoy the quiet beauty and tranquility of this mountain retreat or try out some of the 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.
Depart Queenstown this morning and travel north through the historic gold mining region of the Kawarau Gorge, passing through the dramatic Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Basin. 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.
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 you will visit us again.
There are 13 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.6 out of 5.
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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See the highlights of New Zealand with this 11 day independent tour of both islands. Starting in Auckland you will visit the magical Waitomo Glowworm ... Read More
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