14 Day South to North Explorer
14 Day South to North Explorer
The best adventures begin slowly… unless you’re in New Zealand. On this 14 day tour you will visit the country's tallest mountain, explore Queenstown, see spectacular Milford Sound, discover the cool blue splendour of glacial towers, and journey on the TranzAlpine train in the South Island. You will then fly to the North Island and stop in the geothermal city of Rotorua before ending your trip in Auckland.
|Tour Type:||Coach & Fly Tour|
|From:||Christchurch to Auckland|
|Departures:||Jan 2019 - March 2020|
|Price:||From (NZD) $3856 per person|
|Tour Operator:||Relaxing Journeys|
|13 nights accommodation|
|All coach, ferry and rail transport and transfers|
|Internal flight from Christchurch to Rotorua|
|Milford Sound day tour and cruise (including lunch)|
|TranzAlpine train journey|
|Māori village experience, hāngī and concert in Rotorua|
|Te Puia geothermal experience|
|Rainbow Springs Nature Park|
|Agrodome farm show|
|Waitomo Glowworm Caves|
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
Haere mai! Welcome to Christchurch, the ‘Garden City’. Disembark, pass through customs and collect your luggage – it’s time to start your holiday. You will be met by one of our representatives, ready to whisk you away to your centrally located accommodation. What should you do with the rest of the day? Take it slow, sit back and relax, punting down the River Avon through the stunning Botanic Gardens.
Today you depart Christchurch and travel across the Canterbury Plains through diverse farmland to Lake Tekapo, where you can view the Church of the Good Shepherd by the lakeshore. The altar window offers awe-inspiring views of the lake and mountains. Your tour continues along Lake Pukaki before arriving at Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain. (2 nights)
Aoraki Mount Cook is New Zealand’s tallest peak, surrounded by spectacular glaciers, and situated within the Southern Alps that form the backbone of the South Island. There are a myriad of activities for all ages to enjoy. For those who wish to relax and take in the spectacular alpine scenery, there are a number of accessible mountain walks where you can view the wonderful varieties of flowering native plants as well as the unique insect and bird life.
For the more adventurous there are scenic flights with ski-plane landings and a MAC boat tour of the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake. Whatever you decide to do today, your experience of this awe-inspiring national park is sure to be one of breathtaking beauty.
You have some more free time this morning to finish exploring Aoraki Mount Cook, and after lunch head off towards Twizel and on to Ōmarama before travelling over the Lindis Pass. Follow the shores of Lake Dunstan to Cromwell and into the Kawarau Gorge to arrive in Queenstown in the early evening. (3 nights)
It’s time to make memories in Queenstown, the capital of adrenaline, beauty and local foodie culture. Pick and choose from a long list of adventures – from thrilling funyak tours along the Dart River and horse riding in Glenorchy to panning for gold in Arrowtown or taking a tour of Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw, there is certainly something for every speed.
If you’re not ready to break the spell of the last few days a scenic walk may do the trick, exploring the diverse range of stunning trails the region delivers in troves.
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)
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 4 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.
Depart Queenstown this morning, travelling along the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea to the Haast Pass, gateway to World Heritage-listed Westland Tai Poutini National Park. Then continue up the West Coast past spectacular mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to Franz Josef Glacier, arriving in the early evening. (2 nights)
Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are unique in the fact that they descend from the Southern Alps to just 240m above sea level amidst the greenery and lushness of a temperate rainforest. Today you have a whole day at leisure to explore.
Perhaps enjoy an optional guided walk on the glacier, a heli-hike or a scenic flight, or an unguided walk to the terminal face. The terminal face of the Franz Josef Glacier is just 5km from Franz Josef township.
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 5-course degustation menu in The Canopy Restaurant – and a la carte breakfast both mornings. We’ve also included a stunning Franz Josef heli-hike to help you make the most of your time in the region. Ask us for a price!
Head north along the Great Coast Road, one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world. Within a short while you arrive at Punakaiki, which is best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. The best time to visit the blowholes is at high tide when they are at their most powerful.
The morning is at leisure. The Truman Track is a short walk worth doing while you’re here – nearing the coast it passes through typical West Coast flax flats before emerging onto a sprawling headland with stunning views up and down the local shoreline. This afternoon depart Franz Josef and travel further north along the rugged West Coast to Greymouth. You’ll be spoiled by some spectacular countryside with the rugged Tasman Sea to the west and the stunning Southern Alps to the east.
On arrival in Greymouth you will check in for your 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, wind through massive viaducts, cross the spectacular Southern Alps, and pass the alpine village of Arthur’s Pass situated 737m above sea level. The train then descends through river gorges and travels alongside the stunning Waimakariri River before arriving in Christchurch.
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Rotorua, the renowned heartland of Māori culture. Your flight is included in the tour price. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the town, perhaps make your way to Polynesian Spa to soak in one of the 26 hot mineral bathing pools varying in temperature from 36ºC to 43ºC. (2 nights)
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 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.
As the evening settles in and the stars brighten the sky, 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. (D)
After an early morning departure from Rotorua you will be travelling west through lush farmland towards Waitomo. Enjoy a guided tour through the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves with their amazing stalactites, stalagmites and other limestone formations.
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 the tour you will continue on to Auckland, arriving in the city mid-afternoon.
Sadly your trip has come to an end. We hope 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. Haere rā!
There are 7 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.7 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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The best adventures begin slowly… unless you’re in New Zealand. On this 14 day tour you will visit the country's tallest mountain, explore Queenst... Read More
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