23 Day By Land & Sea

23 Day By Land & Sea

Tick New Zealand off your bucket list after completing this tour by land and sea over twenty three days. We've included many multi-day stopovers to keep the tour at a relaxed pace with plenty of time on your own to explore New Zealand in your way. Highlights include a cruise in the Bay of Islands, Cathedral Cove & Hot Water Beach guided tour, Abel Tasman National Park walk & cruise, wildlife cruise on the Otago Peninsula, Milford Sound cruise and a night each at Lake Wanaka & Lake Te Anau.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Independent Coach Tour
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departures: Feb 2018 to May 2019
From (NZD) $5238 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Pace: Relaxing
Duration: 23 Days
Tour Code: RJ319


22 nights accommodation
All Coach, Ferry & Rail Transport & Transfers
Optional Breakfasts
Daily Departures
Entrance to Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Cape Brett Hole in the Rock Cruise
Cathedral Cove & Hot Water Beach Tour
Maori Village Experience, Hangi & Concert in Rotorua
Te Puia Geothermal Experience
Rainbow Springs Nature Park
Agrodome Farm Show
Wellington City Sights Tour
Scenic Interislander Cruise
Abel Tasman National Park Walk & Cruise (including lunch)
Milford Sound Day Tour & Cruise (including lunch)
Half Day Otago Peninsula Wildlife Cruise & Tour

Content for top of pricing tab can go here (optional).

* Note: Prices shown are per person (based on two people travelling). Prices are valid for travel until September 2018

Chat Request Callback

Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Auckland

Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city and a hub for shopping and dining. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. Spend the remainder of your day relaxing or take time to explore the city. Perhaps a visit to Auckland’s vibrant waterfront and a ride on the Dockline Tram. All within walking distance from your accommodation.

Day 2
Auckland - Bay of Islands

This morning you will depart from central Auckland travelling north through spectacular scenery of native forests and sub-tropical bush to the foreshores of the National Maritime Park. On arrival at the small seaside township of Paihia in the Bay of Islands, you will visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds for a unique insight into New Zealand’s early history. (2 nights)

Day 3
Bay of Islands - Cape Brett Hole in the Rock Cruise

This morning make your way to the Paihia wharf to board your morning cruise which will take in the inner and outer islands of the Bay to the beautiful scenery of Cape Brett. Observe a variety of marine wildlife – seals, dolphins, penguins and other sea and bird life – that are often viewed from the vessel. Weather permitting, the crew will steer the vessel through the ‘Hole in the Rock’, presenting stunning photo opportunities. On returning to dry land you may wish to disembark at the pretty town of Russell, New Zealand’s first capital, and return to Paihia by ferry later in the day.

Day 4
Bay of Islands - Auckland

This morning your coach will depart Paihia for your journey south to Auckland. Sit back and enjoy the drive through the north’s delightful rural and coastal landscape and country towns. On arrival in Auckland you’ll be transferred to your accommodation.

Day 5
Auckland - Coromandel

Join your coach this morning for your scenic drive to Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula. Leaving Auckland behind, you will climb over the Bombay Hills and onto the alluvial flatland of the Hauraki Plains at the foot of the Coromandel Peninsula. Your coach will make a short stop in Thames so you can stretch your legs before you embark on the wonderful coastline drive overlooking the ‘Firth of Thames’. Pass through the old gold mining township of Coromandel before climbing over the peninsula to the stunning views of the Whangapoua Harbour. Continue on to Whitianga through the rugged and wild landscapes of craggy mountains and native flora. (2 nights)

Day 6
Cathedral Cove & Hot Water Beach Tour

This is a great way to explore the most popular natural attractions on the Coromandel Peninsula. From the beach town of Whitianga you venture off and discover the beauty of the surrounding coastlines. From Hahei, walk to Cathedral Cove, an idyllic beach framed by a massive natural rock arch. You can enhance your experience on this pristine Marine Reserve by choosing one of the optional activities: kayaking, snorkelling, diving or glass bottom boat (additional fares apply). Next stop visit Hot Water Beach where you can dig into the sand and sit in naturally heated pools!

Day 7
Coromandel - Rotorua

Board your coach this morning and relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery on your journey to Rotorua. Pass through the quaint town of Paeroa “world famous in New Zealand” and the home of the L&P softdrink, unique to NZ. On your journey you will pass through Matamata well known for its thoroughbred industry, dairy farming heritage, and more recently as one of the locations for the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. You will arrive into Rotorua at midday for your two night stay. Tonight you will attend a hangi (feast) and concert, an authentic and intimate Maori experience. (D) (2 nights)

Day 8

Rotorua captures the best of New Zealand all in one place. This morning you will experience Maori culture and the amazing thermal wonderland at Te Puia. Te Puia is also home to the Arts and Crafts Institute where the ancient teachings of Maori 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 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.

Day 9
Rotorua - Wellington

Drive south to Wairakei – wreathed by steam, then to Taupo. Skirt Lake Taupo, and cross the volcanic landscape of the Desert Road past the majestic peaks of Tongariro, Ngaruahoe and Ruapehu. Continue across the fertile plains of the Manawatu and along the rugged Kapiti coastline to Wellington. (2 nights)

Day 10
Wellington City Tour

This morning a half day tour of the city will take in the Parliament Buildings and ‘Beehive’, Old St Paul’s Cathedral, panoramic views of the harbour and city from Mt Victoria and a ride on the cable car (optional). This afternoon is free, perhaps to visit Te Papa Museum or the Museum of City and Sea.

Day 11
Wellington - Interislander Cruise - Picton - Blenheim

This morning you will board the Interislander which will ferry you across Cook Strait and through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds before docking at the picturesque town of Picton. Make the short journey to Blenheim. This afternoon is at leisure surrounded by vineyards that have built a well-deserved international reputation for wine and given Marlborough’s Sauvignon Blanc its super star status. Blenheim is the perfect place to enjoy the local wines on offer together with fresh local produce served in the many friendly cafes. Take the oportunity to join a wine tour around the region!

Day 12
Blenheim - Nelson

This morning is at leisure. Early afternoon you make the short journey to Nelson where you will enjoy two wonderful nights in this tranquil destination – the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. (2 nights)

Day 13
Explore Abel Tasman National Park

Travel through Motueka to Kaiteriteri where you board your launch. 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. Rejoin your cruise back to Kaiteriteri and return to your hotel late afternoon. (L)

Day 14
Nelson - Franz Josef

Up early this morning as we head off to the west coast glacier region. Travel through Murchison, the scene of a massive earthquake in 1929, and on through the Buller Gorge to Westport on the West Coast. The road to Punakaiki hugs the coast, providing spectacular views of wild beaches and the tempestuous Tasman Sea. You arrive in the Franz Josef township in the early evening. (2 nights)

Day 15
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 Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools that are nestled amongst the lush rainforest of the glacier country 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 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 prices!

Day 16
Franz Josef - Wanaka

Today your coach will take you south along the west coast towards Haast Pass as you enjoy views of dense coastal forest, crystal clear waterfalls and wind swept sand dunes. Once at Haast Pass, the southernmost pass between the East and West Coasts of New Zealand, you will head east and experience more spectacular views of the Lake Hawea before arriving in Wanaka in the early afternoon.

Day 17
Wanaka - Queenstown

A free morning in this peaceful and popular resort. In the early afternoon rejoin the coach for a scenic drive through the rugged Kawarau Gorge to Queenstown for a two night stay. (2 nights)

Day 18

Today is completely at your leisure to enjoy the many sights of this alpine resort situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown offers something for everyone – you can enjoy the quiet beauty and tranquility of this mountain retreat and enjoy several walking trails in the town area. For sheer excitement there is white-water rafting, helicopter rides, the famous jet boats, bungy jumping to pump your adrenalin, and offroad 4WD tours with plenty of river crossings. There are cruises on the lake and a visit to a high country sheep station, and wine tasting tours. You can visit nearby Arrowtown where the main street has been preserved since the 1860’s gold rush days and you can try your luck and pan for gold in the adjacent Shotover River.

Day 19
Queenstown - Milford Sound - Te Anau

An early start takes you alongside the lake to Kingston, then to Mossburn and Lake Te Anau. Soon you plunge into the beech forests of the beautiful Eglinton Valley then it’s on through the Homer Tunnel to the awesome Cleddau Canyon and the steep descent to Milford Sound. A cruise on the Sound to Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak with picnic lunch is included. Later today your coach climbs back over the divide and returns you to Te Anau. Overnight in Te Anau. (L)

Day 20
Te Anau - Dunedin

This morning cross the Waimea Plains towards the farming community of Gore, then continue across the rolling hill country of Southland and South Otago to Dunedin. Second largest city in the South Island, the cityscape glitters with gems of Victorian and Edwardian architecture – the legacy of the city’s gold-rush affluence – First Church, Otago Boys High School and Larnach Castle. Other prominent buildings include Olveston and Dunedin Railway Station. Arrive early afternoon for a 2 night stay in Dunedin. (2 nights)

Day 21
Half Day Peninsula Tour & Wildlife Cruise

Cruise the length of the beautiful Otago Harbour. Experience unrivalled viewing of the exciting diversity of wildlife which abounds on spectacular Taiaroa Head; the only mainland nesting place for Northern Royal Albatross in the world, and home to NZ fur seals, and eight other nesting bird species. You may also see, dolphins, sea lions and a fascinating array of rarely seen ocean birds including other species of albatross, penguins and marine mammals in their natural environment. Enjoy a scenic Peninsula tour by coach before returning to the city. The rest of today is at leisure.

Day 22
Dunedin - Christchurch

Leaving Dunedin, sit back and enjoy the scenery as you drive up the rugged Otago coastline passing Moeraki Beach, resting place of some incredible boulders – giant rocks the size of cars and as symmetrical as pearls. Travel on through Oamaru with its whitestone buildings, Timaru and on past Temuka, home of famous pottery and over braided snow fed rivers reaching Christchurch.

Day 23
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 2 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 5 out of 5.

Overall Tour Rating
Value For Money
Tour Pace
Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

This was a great trip! We loved New Zealand and all it's natural beauty and friendly people. Relaxing Journeys did a beautiful job of organizing our detailed itinerary. Traveling by Intercity buses allowed us to sight-see as we went from place to place rather than struggle with driving on the opposite side of the road than we are used to. Shuttles met our buses and transported us to our hotel when needed. By and large, the buses ran like clock work. When heavy rain washed out roads, Christine in Operations guided us through a change of plans. She also tracked down our luggage the airline lost...thank you Christine! We loved all our destinations but especially enjoyed Punakaiki, which was a suggestion from Toni. Hiking is our favorite activity and the leisurely pace allowed us to do that in almost every location. The tourist office in every town gave maps with hiking trails. We strongly recommend traveling in New Zealand with Relaxing Journeys.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
Toni, thanks for organizing everything so well for us on our customised 22 day New Zealand tour. It all went like clockwork - well, almost all of it did. The only hiccups we had were to do with transport. On the day we were to pick up the car in Auckland, there was some sort of mix up between the rental firm and the hotel (Sky City) which left us sitting in the lobby with no idea what was happening. When we tried to call the rental company, all we got was an answerphone message. We called your company and someone also pursued the rental company, but it took them over half an hour to get someone on the phone. Eventually we got a taxi to the rental company office (we needed the lady at Relaxing Journeys to tell us the address as it wasn't on the itinerary) and everything got sorted out, albeit two hours late. After that, it was pretty much plain sailing, except for a couple of pickups by Supershuttle. The pick up in Wellington didn't turn up at all, so we contacted them by phone and they sent someone else. We got to the ferry with literally minutes to spare, but we did get there. We had a similar experience in Christchurch, where again we had to chase Supershuttle to find out that they were running twenty minutes late. This was a particular bind because the contact phone number was an 0800 number that would not accept connection from a mobile phone, sending my husband off in search of a fixed line phone at 07:00! Again, someone did eventually turn up and got us to the coach stop for our coach to Dunedin with minutes to spare - but we did get there.

Apart from those problems, everything else went exactly to plan. The accommodation was generally pretty good. Some of it was outstanding, like the Bolton hotel in Wellington where we had a full suite, within ten minutes walk of the city centre. The standard of the B&B's was uniformly excellent, and the people running them (usually emigre Brits, and in one case, emigre Swiss) were all very welcoming, friendly and helpful. The excursions planned all went well. I would recommend the Te Anau glowworm caves to anyone - spectacular! A couple to add to the list are the Lord of the Rings Movie Tour in Wellington, Below Zero Ice Bar in Queenstown, and the Segway on Q also in Queenstown. Never having been on a segway before, it was really fun and a great way to see quite a lot of Queenstown in a short time, certainly a lot more than you could have done on foot. The only caveat on the whole trip was that, had we known, we would have planned in a couple more rest days. After Auckland, the longest we were in any one place was about 36 hours, and in many places it was just overnight. While that was appropriate in some places, I think we could have enjoyed an extra day in some places such as Rotorua (to spend a bit more time in Taupo), Wellington, and particularly Queenstown, which, as you probably know, is a pretty fun place to spend time. Being constantly on the move can be rather tiring and a bit disorienting (take into account that we are both in our 6th decade!).

Anyway, overall it was the holiday we had dreamed of and we have brought back some great memories of places we particularly enjoyed - Whangarei, Paihia, Rotorua, Napier, Wellington and Queenstown especially. Having everything arranged in advance can be a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can relax because you know where you are going and when. On the other hand, you can't relax because there are places you have to be at particular times! A bit of a paradox. But, we both felt that the arrangements made the trip much easier than it would otherwise have been, and the quality of the arrangements was excellent. So, thanks again for that. I don't know if we will be back in New Zealand again - of course, you should never say, never - but if we do come back we will definitely contact Relaxing Journeys again for help organizing everything. I hope the above comments will be of some use to you in helping other travellers to New Zealand. Sorry if the first bit seemed a bit negative, but it might help other people making the same sort of trip as we made. I hope so, anyway.
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 23 Day By Land & Sea

23 Day By Land & Sea
Independent Coach Tour
Tour Code: RJ319
From (NZD) $5238 per person
Enquire Now
Departures: Feb 2018 to May 2019
2 reviews (5/5)

Tick New Zealand off your bucket list after completing this tour by land and sea over twenty three days. We've included many multi-day stopovers to ke... Read More

Itinerary Map

Click to view a larger image.

23 Day By Land & Sea
Like this tour?

Upgrade this tour by adding one of our carefully selected optional tours & activities or go ahead and request a quote to guarantee your spot.