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.

Book your independent coach tour this month and receive a discount of 7.5%. If you pay by 30 September 2018.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Coach & Fly Tour
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departures: Feb 2018 to May 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $3258 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 11 Days
Tour Code: RJ305

Inclusions

10 nights accommodation
All coach and rail transport and transfers
Optional breakfasts
Daily departures
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

Book your independent coach tour this month and receive a discount of 7.5%. If you pay by 30 September 2018.

* 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! 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.

Day 2
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’ll experience a boat trip like no other, journeying through the starry expanse of the Glowworm 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 thermal capital of Rotorua. Tonight, you’ll be treated to a Maori feast, as Te Po’s cultural experience promises hours of fun, thought and Maori kai (indigenous food). After a formal Maori 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 Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley and an essential hot chocolate. (D) (2 nights)

Day 3
Rotorua

This morning you will experience 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.

Day 4
Rotorua - Wellington

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.

Day 5
Wellington - Christchurch

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.

Day 6
Christchurch - TranzAlpine - Franz Josef

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.

Day 7
Franz Josef - Queenstown

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)

Day 8
Milford Sound Cruise

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)

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

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.

Day 9
Queenstown

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.

Day 10
Queenstown - Aoraki Mt Cook - Christchurch

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.

Day 11
Depart 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.

4.6/5.0

There are 10 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.6 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

4
07/12/2015
We enjoyed the tour. Lived up to the name of the company. Nice and relaxing.
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5
11/03/2015
There is always some trepidation when using a company to rely on when you're travelling overseas but in this case it was totally unwarranted. Relaxing Journeys were organised, efficient, happy to help and totally reliable. The itinerary was detailed and included contact details of the destinations just in case there was a hold up. The drop off and pickups were always on time and gave us plenty of time to catch our next travel connection. The vouchers were readily recognised by the coach, train, ferry and tour operators and processed with a minimum of fuss. Anytime we needed to ask a question or were unsure, there was an emergency phone we could ring. I have the highest regard for Relaxing Journeys and totally recommend them. Thank you for an wonderful, anxiety free holiday. (Ed. Thanks Karen!)
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5
04/01/2015
My family and I would like to thank Relaxing Journeys, specifically our tour consultant, Mani, for preparing such a well-organised and memorable NZ trip. Nothing was amiss and the quality of the coach tours was excellent.
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5
07/11/2014
It was hassle free! I like the way things can be planned ahead, and we were worry free on our holidays. There was one minor hiccup, which the Christchurch airport shuttle was waiting at the international terminal while we were waiting at the domestic side. We didn't know until we called up the shuttle company. Other than that, all connections are well organized. The bus drivers are very informative. Special thanks to drivers Brian and Bruce. Thanks Leanne for her prompt replies in emails too.
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4
01/05/2014
All arrangements and transfers were made effectively and all the services were on time. When the road closure happened on the West Coast, Relaxing Journey was proactive and had already called the accommodation in Franz Josef before we got there. The road closure was beyond anyone's control but nevertheless we still enjoyed our trip very much. We will surely return to NZ to do our Queenstown trip and will be more than happy to book with Relaxing Journey again.
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5
26/01/2014
The New Zealand Express tour was awesome. The pace is very active, but we were able to see a lot in a short time. All the transport arrangements went without any problem. I like the independent travel arrangements because we met new people every day from all over the world. The premium hotels were an extra plus; we were always close to the action of the city and dining at each location. We could walk to everything very easily. GREAT TRIP!
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5
27/12/2011
We had an outstanding time in this trip :) Everything was perfectly organized without any glitches. Every detail was taken care of! The team helped us out tirelessly with all the customization we did with the trip. We managed to get some extra time in Rotorua and I am glad we chose to do that. Don't miss out on the Polynesian Spa and a visit to at least one of Waiotapu and Waimangu is a must in Rotorua. The accommodation was fantastic and our room had a beautiful view of Lake Rotorua. The location of the Queenstown hotel was also extremely beautiful! Don't forget to ask for a lake-view room upgrade, you won't be sorry for it! I just wish we had more time at the Glaciers to get a guided tour and/or helicopter ride. Overall, it was an awesomely scenic tour but it was a bit hectic for me. I wish we had spread it over more days and I wish we had more time to explore the places we missed. Thanks a lot Relaxing Journeys for all the perfect arrangements. With everything taken care of, we could relax and enjoy even better. It is a beautiful country and we would definitely love to visit again. Undoubtedly, this is going to be one of my most memorable trips ever!
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4
25/12/2010
Tour arrangements were excellent - hotels, bus conncetions, activities were all made and arranged smoothly. Only issue we had was ith location of Adorian Motel in Christchurch. The motel itself was fine, it was just far from the city centre. To their credit, Relaxing Journeys did change our hotel for the second night, upon our request, without any charge. However there another slight miscommunication as the next morning, the airport shuttle was waiting for us at the first hotel. Perhaps better communication between the shuttle company and the tour is needed. Despite these minor hiccups, the tour went off without a hitch and we all enjoyed it. Thanks again.
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4
03/07/2009
We really enjoyed the tour. The South Island in particular was amazing. A lot of time was spent travelling, but we knew this before we started. The TranzCoastal train was a lovely experience. We were constantly asked for vouchers, we didn't receive any vouchers until we arrived in Christchurch roughly half way through the journey. While I understand time is of the essence, in both Auckland and Rotorua we were collected early from our hotels, only to be driven to a very near by bus station and then had to wait for a further hour in one case and 90 mins in the other to join a connecting service, this wasn't the most productive use of time. The bus drivers were all friendly and very knowledgeable, which was a real asset. While the hotels in Wellington and Christchurch were perfectly fine, they were located quite a distance from the city centres, this required additional costs for taxis etc. The highlight of the tour was Queenstown, it's such a lovely place, it was an ideal location to have had the free day.
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5
08/03/2009
We had a wonderful time! The tours were awesome. The drivers informative. The hotel rooms adequate (exception was Kingsgate in Wellington, which should have had 2 twin beads in our room instead of 1 twin and 1 king. It made the room much too small.) The studio apartment in Queenstown was great. All in all, we loved New Zealand! Thanks for all of your e-mails to set it up so fast.
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Optionals

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 11 Day New Zealand Express

11 Day New Zealand Express
Coach & Fly Tour
Tour Code: RJ305
From (NZD) $3258 per person
Enquire Now
Departures: Feb 2018 to May 2019
Rating:
10 reviews (4.6/5)

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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11 Day New Zealand Independent Coach Tour Tour
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