15 Day Leisurely New Zealand

15 Day Leisurely New Zealand

See New Zealand's North and South Islands on this 15-day tour. You will go on a trip aboard the Taieri Gorge Railway, a wildlife cruise on the Otago Peninsula, experience the Shotover Jet, and more. So, strap yourself in for an unforgettable journey!

Tour Info

Tour Type: Independent Coach Tour
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departures: Jan 2020 - March 2021
Price: From (NZD) $4261 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 15 Days
Tour Code: RJ313


14 nights accommodation
All coach, ferry 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
Wellington city sights tour
Coastal Pacific train journey
TranzAlpine train journey
Milford Sound day tour and cruise (including lunch)
Shotover Jet in Queenstown
Taieri Gorge Railway journey
Half-day Otago Peninsula wildlife cruise and tour


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.

Perhaps a visit to Auckland’s vibrant waterfront and a ride on the Dockline Tram, both within walking distance of your accommodation.

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 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, 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 and 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)

Day 3

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 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 sheepdog 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 Kāpiti coastline to Wellington. (2 nights)

Day 5

Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. This morning a half-day tour of the city will take in Parliament buildings, the Beehive, Old St Paul’s Cathedral, panoramic views of the harbour and city from Mount Victoria, as well as a ride on the historic Cable Car (optional).

Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafés, restaurants, museums and all kinds of shops. Dance, theatre and musical performances are a Wellington specialty.

Day 6
Wellington - Christchurch

This morning you will be transferred to the Wellington ferry terminal prior to boarding the Interislander ferry and crossing the Cook Strait to Picton. Where will you sit? Inside or outside? Try to vary your experience if you can, as some of the sights are better seen without the barrier of a window – watch as boats bob on Wellington harbour, disappearing in the distance as you head into the majestic Marlborough Sounds, chugging away to Picton.

On arrival in Picton, walk from the ferry terminal to the railway station to travel on the Coastal Pacific train to Christchurch.

Day 7
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. Rated as one of the world’s great scenic railway journeys, you’ll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River.

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 the glacier region to Franz Josef Glacier. (2 nights)

Day 8
Franz Josef

The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are, without doubt, the natural superstars of this region. Nestled on the edge of the rainforest, these immense frozen rivers are only 6km from the Tasman Sea – this makes them extremely unique.

Today you have a whole day at leisure at Franz Josef. Perhaps enjoy a guided walk, a heli-hike, or a scenic flight from the Franz Josef township. If you’d prefer a relaxing day, head to the Glacier Hot Pools which are nestled amongst lush rainforest, or meander through the village where you will find a wonderful selection of gifts, artwork, merchandise and cafes.

Day UP
Glaciers 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 five-course degustation menu in The Canopy Restaurant – and a la carte breakfast both mornings. We have also included a stunning Franz Josef heli-hike to help you make the most of your time in the region. Ask us for prices!

Day 9
Franz Josef - Queenstown

Farewell Franz Josef Glacier to travel down the West Coast, alongside braided riverbeds, native forests and roadside waterfalls, before climbing up over the Haast Pass and through Mount Aspiring National Park. Drink in the scenery along the way, as impressive mountains touch the sky, remnants of the Ice Age glacial valley.

You will travel along the shores of Lakes Hawea and continue onwards through Wanaka at the foot of the Southern Alps, then your next stop is Queenstown, which is the Southern Hemisphere’s premiere four-season alpine lake resort town. (3 nights)

Day 10
Milford Sound Cruise

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 breathtaking 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 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!

On completion of your cruise you will return to Queenstown by coach, 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 11

Enjoy your day in this picturesque alpine resort town that lies at the outlet to Lake Wakatipu, one of New Zealand’s most scenic lakes. Today we have included the world-famous Shotover Jet – enjoy this unique breathtaking ride through dramatic and narrow canyons, and hold on tight for Queenstown’s only exhilarating full 360-degree spins.

Stabilise your heart rate with a leisurely stroll around this picture postcard town whilst browsing through the eclectic array of galleries, gift shops and book stores. Join a tour (own expense) for an afternoon of fine wine and food in Central Otago’s wine country, or perhaps explore landscapes only accessible by 4WD vehicles while discovering exciting Lord of the Rings film locations. Whatever your interests, Queenstown is sure to deliver.

Day 12
Queenstown - Dunedin

Depart Queenstown this morning and travel through the historic goldfields to the Scottish-influenced city of Dunedin, renowned for its natural history. The harbour is the gateway to the Otago Peninsula and today we have included an excellent half-day peninsula cruise.

Explore the length of beautiful Otago Peninsula and a wildlife cruise of spectacular Taiaroa Head, the only mainland nesting place for northern royal albatross in the world and the home to New Zealand fur seals. Don’t be surprised if you spot dolphins, sea lions and countless ocean birds, including penguins! (2 nights)

Day 13

This morning report to the historic Dunedin Railway Station for your return Taieri Gorge Railway excursion to Pukerangi. This journey takes you through the rugged and spectacular Taieri River Gorge, across wrought iron viaducts, and through tunnels carved by hand more than 100 years ago.

This afternoon is at your leisure. You may wish to take a visit to New Zealand’s oldest brewery for an entertaining and enlightening heritage tour, or join a guided tour of Larnach Castle and Olveston Historic Home.

Day 14
Dunedin - Christchurch

River crossings are also a feature of the journey north. In summer the Waimate District is overflowing with delicious berry fruits. Timaru is a small but beautifully formed city and has the third largest public art gallery in the South Island and an excellent museum. The route from Ashburton to Christchurch is about as straight and flat as roads get in New Zealand. On a clear day, the Southern Alps provide outstanding scenery. The town of Rakaia sits on the southern side of the Rakaia River, and it’s ‘the salmon capital of New Zealand’. The Rakaia Bridge spans 1.8 kilometres of one of the world’s best examples of a ‘braided’ river system.

Day 15
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.


There are 5 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.4 out of 5.

Overall Tour Rating
Value For Money
Tour Pace
Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

Our trip was perfectly planned and perfectly executed. All of the hotels, bus trips. train rides, excursions and shuttle transfers were arranged, on time and very pleasant; We were two days late getting into Auckland to start our vacation due to airline and ATC issues. We emailed Toni from San Francisco and she and Sally made all of the necessary changes on the fly. Well done! We would certainly use Relaxing Journeys again. Oh, and New Zealand was AMAZING!
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
The tour was very well organised and allowed us to see a wide variety of what New Zealand has to offer, which was what we were looking for. If I were to do another trip I would ask to stay in smaller hotels, as we especially enjoyed the accommodation and friendliness of hotels such as the Distinction Fox Glacier. The big hotels (Auckland, Queenstown) had fine rooms but were less personal. The Hermitage Mt Cook was a highlight, with its wonderful views. It was good to have two nights in several of the hotels. If I do another tour I will look for one with 2-3 nights in the one place, and not so much travelling.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
We enjoyed our journey and everything was well organized. The Super Shuttle System worked perfect, the drivers were all very friendly, of great assistance and nearly always on time. But if they had to wait for a customer, they gave a call to the hotel and we had been informed accordingly. The hotels were well chosen, some of the \"things one has to see\" were too touristic for us. Finally, we had a great time, the weather was mostly with us and we met wonderful people. Thank you Toni for your organization.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
It was an overall great tour and gave us plenty of time to explore as well as have time for the things we wanted to do. My only suggestion would've been to give more time in Dunedin and Christchurch as it seemed that many days were free in Queenstown.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
We had an absolutely amazing time. New Zealand is an incredible country and this was definitely the easiest and most stress free way to explore it. Everything went without a hitch, the coaches were rarely late even for a few minutes, the hotels ranged from good (some were a bit outdated but still clean) to amazing and we pretty much never had to worry about anything. I just wish we had more time to explore the country but at least there's still plenty so see next time.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


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).

Enquire about our 15 Day Leisurely New Zealand

15 Day Leisurely New Zealand
Independent Coach Tour
Tour Code: RJ313
From (NZD) $4261 per person
Save (NZD) $426 per person
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Terms and conditions apply. Please see tour overview for more information.

5 reviews (4.4/5)

See New Zealand's North and South Islands on this 15-day tour. You will go on a trip aboard the Taieri Gorge Railway, a wildlife cruise on the Otago P... Read More

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15 Day Leisurely New Zealand
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