17 Day Kiwi Odyssey

17 Day Kiwi Odyssey

Step outside your comfort zone! Experience a New Zealand that is magnificent, wild and authentic on this 17-day independent coach tour. From the magical Waitomo Glowworm Caves to the cool blue splendour of glacial towers, with an evening Māori village experience in Rotorua, a wine tour in the famous Hawke's Bay region, and exploration of the magnificent Milford Sound included. Then finish your trip with a terminal lake tour of the Tasman Glacier!

Tour Info

Tour Type: Independent Coach Tour
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departures: Jan 2020 - March 2021
Price: From (NZD) $4940 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 17 Days
Tour Code: RJ317


16 nights accommodation
All coach, ferry and rail transport and transfers
Optional breakfasts
Daily departures
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Māori cultural experience in Rotorua
Te Puia geothermal experience
Rainbow Springs Nature Park
Agrodome farm show
Afternoon Hawke's Bay wine Tour
Scenic Interislander cruise
Abel Tasman National Park walk and cruise (including lunch)
Shotover Jet in Queenstown
Milford Sound day tour and cruise (including lunch)
Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake 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! Pass through customs, collect any baggage and be met by one of our friendly representatives, ready to whisk you away to your city accommodation. 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.

Day 2
Auckland - Waitomo Caves - Rotorua

With an early morning departure from Auckland you will be travelling southbound towards the Waitomo Glowworm Caves via the city of Hamilton, which sits on the banks of the Waikato River.

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 geothermal 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. Experience the raw power of Te Whakarewarewa Valley with bubbling mud pools, steaming vents, and the world-famous Pōhutu Geyser. 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.

The afternoon is at leisure. Maybe you would like to scale the side of Mount Ngongotaha via a new 8-seat gondola, and give yourself a moment with Rotorua’s most spectacular views. When you’ve dazzled your senses enough, take a luge ride down to the bottom where you can relax at the Polynesian Spa, where you have the choice of seven hot mineral pools.

Day 4
Rotorua - Napier

Depart Rotorua and travel south to Napier. You will make a refreshment stop at the lakeside town of Taupō before continuing on to Napier. Lake Taupō is New Zealand’s largest lake and a popular hotspot for sight-seeing, picnicking and camera-snapping moments. Make sure to stop at the mighty Huka Falls on the Waikato River along the way.

Continue onto the Art Deco capital of Napier. The drive alone is worth writing home about, as the varied scenery passes through the volcanic plateau, across mountains and into the valleys of the Hawke’s Bay region. On arrival, you can include the Guided Art Deco Walk in your itinerary, which will recount the city’s fiery destruction in 1931 and its subsequent rebuild into a place of Art Deco splendour. (2 nights)

Day 5

This afternoon join a fun-filled wine tasting tour in the sun driving through absolutely stunning scenery. Meet like-minded people and share an appreciation of this region’s fantastic wine. You will visit four to five wineries and enjoy a cheese platter in the grounds of Ngatarawa Vineyard beside the lily pond. On the tour you will taste around 30 different wines including the main varieties – merlot, syrah, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, as well as pinot gris, viognier, and the lesser-known aromatics such as gewurztraminer and riesling.

Day 6
Napier - Wellington

Today you will be travelling south to the Wairarapa, a rural retreat in the very heart of New Zealand. Stop in at Martinborough, a unique wine village with over 20 boutique vineyards before continuing onto Wellington, the nation’s capital.

Day 7
Wellington - Interislander Cruise - Nelson

This morning you will travel across the Cook Strait, the stretch of water that separates the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Pass through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds and make sure to include some wildlife spotting on the trip to see if you can spy seabirds, dolphins, seals, whales, and even orca. On arrival in Picton, make the short journey to Nelson where you will enjoy two wonderful nights in this tranquil destination. (2 nights)

Day 8
Abel Tasman National Park

Drive through Motueka to Kaiteriteri, boarding your boat and waiting in anticipation. Once you’re on the water you’ll be free to relax in style as you cruise the stunning golden inlets of the Abel Tasman coast. Laze on an idyllic beach or choose a walk exploring the beaches and forests. There are various walks available from 2–6 hours in length. Rejoin the cruise back to Kaiteriteri and return to your hotel late afternoon. (L)

Day 9
Nelson - Punakaiki

Head south through Murchison today, making your way to the West Coast.  At Hawks Crag, the road has been hacked out of solid rock – be ready for the dramatic overhang, lending shade and character to the route. The road to Punakaiki hugs the coast, providing spectacular views of wild beaches and the tempestuous Tasman Sea.

Punakaiki 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 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.

Day 10
Punakaiki - Franz Josef

The morning is at your leisure. Enjoy a walk along the beach before heading further south. Home to towering rainforests, mountains and glaciers, tranquil lakes and rushing rivers, this coastal paradise is steeped in history dating back to the gold rush era of the 1860s. Tonight you stay at Franz Josef – unique in the fact that the glacier descends from the Southern Alps to just 240m above sea level, amidst the greenery and lushness of a temperate rainforest. (2 nights)

Day 11
Franz Josef

Today you have a whole day at leisure. 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 that 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
Glacier 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 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!

Day 12
Franz Josef - Queenstown

Farewell Franz Josef and 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. Travel along the shores of Lakes Hawea then through Wanaka at the foot of the Southern Alps to your next stop, Queenstown – the Southern Hemisphere’s premiere four-season alpine resort. (3 nights)

Day 13

Enjoy your day in this picturesque 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 as you hold on tight for Queenstown’s only exhilarating full 360-degree spins. Afterwards, you can 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 are, Queenstown is sure to deliver.

Day 14
Queenstown - Milford Sound - Queenstown

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 Package (From NZ$395pp)

Upgrade your itinerary to include a return scenic flight to Queenstown 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, then you will need to return by coach and we will refund the upgrade price.

Day 15
Queenstown - Aoraki Mount Cook

Leaving Queenstown you will soon reach picturesque Lake Hayes and travel through Kawarau Gorge, home of award-winning wineries and the famous Kawarau Bungy bridge. You will travel past the township of Cromwell and its many orchards before crossing Lindis Pass and into the Mackenzie Basin. Arrive at Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, a World Heritage-listed site. Aoraki Mount Cook is Australasia’s highest mountain at 3764m. The park covers over 70,000 hectares of breathtaking alpine scenery and is also home to the Tasman Glacier, the longest in the Southern Hemisphere. The afternoon is free to explore the area and take one of the many short walks starting from Aoraki Mount Cook Village.

Day 16
Aoraki Mount Cook - Glacier Explorer - Christchurch

This morning you will embark on a fascinating tour of the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake. An experienced guide will whisk you away in a stable MAC boat to explore the melting ice-face of the glacier. Touch and taste 400-year-old icebergs that have been carved into the murky waters of the lake. This afternoon re-board your coach northbound for Christchurch. Before leaving Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, be sure to stop and view the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo, built of local stone and oak in 1935 and sitting on the lake’s edge. Leaving the high country, cross the vast Canterbury Plains to the ‘Garden City’ of Christchurch.

Day 17
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 4 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.5 out of 5.

Overall Tour Rating
Value For Money
Tour Pace
Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

The only friction point in the process, I would say it's the transfers (for our type of trip). You should take into consideration that some buses, trains, etc. could be delayed, so you have to be sure that the company provinding the transfer to the hotel waits for the clients. In our case, we would have preferred not to book the tranfers in advance and just pay a taxi when we get to the place. Same thing for the pick ups in the hotels, it's a little bit stressful to be waiting, thinking you may lose your connection (they were all long distances and you could really mess it up if you miss it). That's my feedback for you to take it into account but I have to say that everything was almost perfect and the trip amazing. We really enjoyed our time in New Zealand, and that was possible thanks to you.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
All that you did was perfect! No glitches or mistakes. Always on time and a few times we called the shuttle and they gave us satisfactory information. The only problem is that we are used to much modern and comfortable coaches (with standing toilets, stewardess serving refreshments, two drivers, more confortable seats, etc). But we understand that the coaches you offered us are the best in your market. Thank you for your fine work.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
We picked Relaxing Journeys to organise our tour by sticking a pin in a list and have no cause to regret our choice. From initial enquiry through to confirmation of our itinerary the service provided was first class. All our choices of places to visit and things to do were included and we also received suggestions as to alternatives. All in all the planning stage was very positive. The organisation was faultless - everything went like clockwork. We have no hesitation in recommending Relaxing Journeys to anyone who is considering their services. Our thanks go to them, and Toni in particular, for a memorable holiday. (Ed. Share that pin around! Many thanks).
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
Good accomodations. Good balance between gorgeous scenery and cities and towns. Good balance between planned items and time to ourselves. All travel occurred on schedule. The tour guides were courteous and helpful and provided valuable background information.
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).

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17 Day Kiwi Odyssey
Independent Coach Tour
Tour Code: RJ317
From (NZD) $4940 per person
Save (NZD) $494 per person
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4 reviews (4.5/5)

Step outside your comfort zone! Experience a New Zealand that is magnificent, wild and authentic on this 17-day independent coach tour. From the magic... Read More

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17 Day Kiwi Odyssey
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