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22 Day The Long White Cloud

Inspiring Journeys Small Group Tour starting in Christchurch and finishing in Auckland

Tour Description

Embark on an enchanting expedition through New Zealand's North and South. This Inspiring Journey provides the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure, from the hot pools of Franz Josef to the brave depths of Queenstown, the adventure capital. Explore extraordinary landscapes and the age-old legends of the M?ori as you come face to face with exhilarating New Zealand as few have seen it before.

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Tour Info
Regions Visited
Included Small Group Highlights
Small Group Tour Inclusions
  • AAT Kings Small Group Inspiring Journey
  • Travel by luxury small group vehicle with average 12-20 guests
  • All inclusions outlined in the itinerary
  • Experienced Tour Director
  • Hand-picked accommodation
Dining Inclusions
Arrival & Departure
  • Day 1 to Christchurch Airport – flights to arrive prior to 4.00pm
  • Day 22 from Auckland Airport – flights anytime
Trip Notes
  • Itinerary and inclusions shown apply to departures from September 2017 onwards.
  • Accommodation, itinerary and inclusions subject to change.
  • Disruptions to itinerary may occur

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2018

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2019

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Tour Itinerary - Day by Day
  • Day1

    Welcome to Christchurch

    Your New Zealand adventure begins in Christchurch, the Garden City. Spend the afternoon at leisure, before joining your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a welcome drink and dinner to kick-off your journey of a lifetime.

    Stay: The Crown Plaza Christchurch (DW)

  • Day2

    Christchurch – Punakaiki

    Traverse the Canterbury Plains on board the TranzAlpine train. The gentle chug-chug in extraordinary surrounds gives way to more epic scenery as you board the coach at Arthur's Pass and travel to Punakaiki to see the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Your home tonight is in an eco-friendly resort on the waterfront.

    Stay: Punakaiki Resort (B, DW)

  • Day3

    Punakaiki – Franz Josef

    Admire the vivid hues of greenstone (jade) on a visit to Hokitika for a jewellery carving demonstration. Continue to Franz Josef Glacier. Spend tonight in the pristine wildernerss. Your only priority - relaxing in Franz Josef's geothermal hot pools.

    Stay: Te Waonui Forest Retreat, Franz Josef (B, DW)

  • Day4

    Franz Josef – Queenstown

    Today, meander through the Haast Pass and along the pebble-laden shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, stopping in Makarora and the historic gold-mining village of Arrowtown. The adventure capital of Queenstown awaits and you'll have an opportunity to explore it during an orientation tour.

    Stay: Crowne Plaza Queenstown (3 nights) (B, DW)

  • Day5

    Queenstown ‘Free Time’

    Calling all thrill seekers! Today's the day to earn your adventurer stripes braving some of Queenstown's most daring activities. Or indulge your more serene side with a round of golf or relaxing spa treatment. This evening, enjoy a memorable Highlight Dinner at one of Queenstown's fine dining restaurants. (B, HD)

  • View Full ItineraryTotal 22 Days
  • Day6

    Queenstown ‘Free Time’

    Another daring day awaits in New Zealand's adrenalin capital. Consider a day indulging in the region's vintages at the Gibbston Valley Winery, or board a jet boat for an exhilarating ride. (B)

  • Day7

    Queenstown – Milford Sound

    Venture to Te Anau and then deep within the Fiordland National Park. Drive through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel and emerge into a photographer's paradise where glaciers and peaks give way to the unexpected beauty of Mirror Lake. You'll stop to explore the wonder of the Chasm Walk before arriving at Milford Sound Lodge, with its exquisite views of the Cleddau Valley.

    Stay: Milford Sound Lodge (2 nights) (B, DW)

  • Day8

    Milford Sound

    Wake up to the startling beauty of Milford Sound. This morning, board the Southern Discoveries vessel for a half day exploration of Milford Sound. Sail out to the Tasman sea looking for wildlife and an opportunity to go sea kayaking in Harrisons Cove. (B, L, DW)

  • Day9

    Milford Sound - Wedderburn

    This morning, embark on a journey from the rainforests of Fiordland through Te Anau and the rolling hill country of Southland to the hills of Central Otago. Arrive in Wedderburn and head out to a high country farm to learn about life on the plains. Finish your day with dinner at the local pub.

    Stay: Wedderburn Cottages (B, DW)

  • Day10

    Wedderburn – Mt Cook

    Today explore the town of Naseby to learn the history of this gold mining town. From here it's on towards the spectacular scenery of the Southern Alps and Lake Pukaki before arriving in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. Enjoy dinner against the backdrop of the highest mountain in the southern hemisphere.

    Stay: The Hermitage, Mt Cook (B, DW)

  • Day11

    Mt. Cook – Christchurch

    Discover the shores of Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd today, before returning to Christchurch for an indepth sightseeing tour.

    Stay: Crowne Plazal Christchurch (B)

  • Day12

    Christchurch – Wellington

    Against the backdrop of snow-capped peaks, you'll arrive in the whale-watching capital of Kaikoura. Consider a scenic whalewatching flight (own expense). Continue to the picturesque port town of Picton, the launch pad for a serene sailing across the Cook Strait to trendy Wellington.

    Stay: Sofitel Wellington (2 nights) (B, DW)

  • Day13

    Wellington ‘Day at Leisure’

    Today is at leisure. Perhaps join a Lord of the Rings movie tour, or even a cruise to Somes Island in Wellington Harbour. This evening why not venture down to the harbour to dine at a local restaurant or café. (B)

  • Day14

    Wellington – Taupo

    Follow the spectacular Kapiti Coast to Tongariro National Park, home to remarkable volcanic peaks. Departing the caldera, stop to admire the raging Huka Falls before arriving in Taupo.

    Stay: Hilton Hotel, Taupo (B, DW)

  • Day15

    Taupo – Rotorua

    Continue to nearby Rotorua to gain insights into the fascinating rituals and traditions of the Maori people. Tonight, indulge in the mouthwatering flavours of a traditional Maori Hangi dinner cooked in the ground using geothermal steam.

    Stay: Princes Gate Hotel, Rotorua (2 nights) (B, HD)

  • Day16

    Rotorua Sights

    Ascending to the Redwoods Treewalk, enjoy an elevated bird's eye view of these redwood giants. Next up is Rotorua's natural splendour - revealed in the crystal clear mineral springs and native flora of Rainbow Springs Nature Park. Visit Whakarewera Living Village for insights into the lives of the Maori community and their special bond with this ancient land. (B)

  • Day17

    Rotorua – Coromandel

    Begin your day with a dazzling show during an exclusive five-star Eco Glowworm experience. Later, visit Matamata, of The Lord of the Rings fame. This epic journey continues to Coromandel, where you'll stay in Tree Hut Chalets.

    Stay: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort, Coromandel (B, DW)

  • Day18

    Coromandel – Auckland

    Enjoy a relaxed start before heading to Auckland. Get your bearings during a city tour, then spend the rest of the day discovering why it's deemed one of the world's most livable cities.

    Stay: Sofitel, Auckland (B)

  • Day19

    Auckland – Bay of Islands

    The golden sands of Orewa seem to stretch endlessly heading north to the native Waipoua Forest. Join a local Maori guide and head deep into the forest, immersing yourself in the fascinating legends behind these giant trees. Finally, journey to your waterfront resort in the Bay of Islands.

    Stay: Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Bay of Islands (2 nights) (B, DW)

  • Day20

    Bay of Islands Sights

    Set off by ferry to Russell. Embark on a guided walking tour of the town and explore its centuries-old seafaring heritage. (B)

  • Day21

    Bay of Islands – Auckland

    Set forth across the Bay of Islands, cruising to the Maori's sacred Hole in the Rock to witness how it resists the power of the sea. Return to Auckland for a memorable Farewell Dinner.

    Stay: Sofitel, Auckland (B, FD)

  • Day22

    Farewell from Auckland

    Bid a fond farewell to your newfound friends as your epic New Zealand Inspiring Journey has come to an end. (B)

  • Click here to download the 22 Day The Long White Cloud PDF

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Tour Reviews

View all 11 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.8 out of 5.

  • 5Guide and driver outstanding professional and personal. Could have left out Milford Sounds for me, included Dunedin instead. Great country and people.

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    - 11/12/2018
  • 5Tour Guide and Driver: Katie was the best. We were never bored; she always had a story to tell about every place we passed thru. Most importantly, she was present every time a person went or came back from an activity that we paid extra for. Her "mother hen" monitoring made sure we always got on the right bus and she made sure we made it okay back from the activity. After a day-long activity in Paihia, we looked pretty bushed so she asked if we were okay. We told her the bus was not air-conditioned. She was surprised. The next day, she assisted in getting us some free ferry tickets as an accommodation for the lack of a/c. Shelly was marvelous. We always felt safe and were amazed at where she could take our coach. When she provided her occasional commentary, she spoke as professionally as Katie. She came to know every one of us and we enjoyed spending time with her, especially at dinner. Hotels: all were excellent, very high end. In some locations, such as Franz Josef and Punakaiki, this was okay because we were in out of the way spots. However, we really didn't need quite so much luxury in places like Auckland and Christchurch. In Queenstown, I did not like staying at a place that was so far from Queenstown and I know the hotel had to be very expensive. I would like to see you cut back on the lavishness of some of the hotels. Note: the night on the Milford Sound was WELL worth it. Pace: You've heard it before: many times we would have liked to have been able to stay longer at some spots. If the itinerary could be modified to allow just 15 minutes more at the shorter stops (I don't mean the quick photo stops - those can still be quick) that would be great. I see no reason for having two full free days in Queenstown, one would be sufficient. I would like to see an extra day in Rotorua. Meals: All provided meals were very good to excellent. The food variety was quite good. Sometimes, however, the restaurant staff at the dinners were quite slow in keeping up with things like drink refills. Still, overall the dining times were always something to look forward to.

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    - 16/01/2017
  • 5This trip was certainly a wonderful experience. We had no major glitches at all and every detail was planned. Our tour guide, Katie Hunter, was exceptional. She was very responsive to our every need and took it in stride when plans had to be changed due to poor weather conditions. She had a wealth of knowledge about the places we traveled and included so many wonderful stories. Her cheerful "Kia Ora" started us off each day. She did an outstanding job on all accounts. We're sure Katie took care of things behind the scene we never even knew about. Our bus driver, Shelley, was also just wonderful. We felt very safe in her care, in spite of slick, wet, narrow and winding roads. She even had to back up to let another bus pass when we met on a very tight curve and did so with expertise & calmness. She had a cheerful attitude as well and shared some of her stories with us. She kept the bus clean and kept us on schedule. She and Katie worked very well together even though they just met for the first time on this trip. We enjoyed all the places we stopped at and the diversity was simply amazing. Wish we would have had more time in many of the places we traveled. The accommodations were all first class as were the meals included with the tour. The extra excursion choices were well rounded and there was something for everyone. Really liked traveling with such a small group. Don't think we ever got bored.

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    - 16/01/2017
  • 5Excellent tour with a very informed tour director and coach driver nothing was too much trouble - brilliant.

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    - 18/01/2016
  • 5AAT Kings staff went out of their way to make everyone welcome and see everything we could in the time (Cam - tour director & Rob - coach driver). Utterly brilliant we thoroughly enjoyed our tour and would not hesitate to recommend this tour.

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    - 18/01/2016
  • 5Excellent tour. Loved our guide and driver. The people we travelled with were great.

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    - 18/01/2016
  • 5This is a great tour. I enjoyed it very much, Had some issues with several of the hotels. They were taken care off. Some of the evening meals were way too long. More buffets would have been better. Some of the recommended optional tours were not worth the money and were not enjoyable. The tour guide and coach driver were very good and knowledgeable. I would recommend this tour with a few changes.

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    - 16/02/2015
  • View All ReviewsTotal 11 Items
  • 4We were surprised that there was a journey leader who was also the driver. No tour leader. This worked better in the South. AAT Kings had to make changes to the arrangments, which was disconcerting. People choose small group tours carefully and look at the details. To have these changed at the last minute is not good practice. The accommodation ranged from the excellent to the moderate, but on the whole good. The tour pace was broadly OK but sometimes long drives, and also accommodating small numbers to do special options caused issues for rest of group. Overall we much enjoyed the trip and saw a lot of NZ. We think that a visit to Waitangi grounds should be included. (Ed. For the 2014/15 season, the tour itinerary & accommodations have been revised)

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    - 03/02/2014
  • 5Excellent tour which covered all the areas we wished to see and much more. Very professional driver/guide. (Ed. For the 2014/15 season, the tour itinerary & accommodations have been revised)

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    - 16/12/2013
  • 5Just getting back to my normal life after returning from the most fantastic vacation I've ever taken. Suffice it to say that it was a 21 Day Grand Adventure. Our driver/guide Mr. Michael Robbins was the best, most knowledgeable and organized guide. He went out of his way often to provide little 'extras' for each of us. We covered over 5400 kilometers in 21 days, not counting the ferry crossings. And we saw it all and the lodging and food were all first class!! Fondest memory was seeing Mt. Cook at sunset and sunrise. Stunning! Saddest part: Seeing Christchurch in ruins. Prayers to all those who suffered and still suffer. I'll never forget this trip, the beautiful country of NZ and Michael. And last but not least, my tour consultant Kirby was there for me every step of the way so all the t's were crossed and all the i's dotted to put this trip together and make it all this happen. So thanks Kirby, thanks Michael and thanks Relaxing Journeys. Cheers and good on all of you, mates! (Ed. For the 2014/15 season, the tour itinerary & accommodations have been revised)

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    - 20/02/2012
  • 4This was our second trip with Relaxing Journeys, they were both very good. The first one was very similar to the Grand Adventurer but a lot cheaper and was with a larger group. With 2 overnight boat trips, Milford Sound, Bay of Islands, farm stay and fantastic visit to Stewart Island, the Grand Adventurer was terrific. (Ed. In 2013/14 this small group tour has been adjusted to 14 days in length & renamed) It was a small group trip and one of the things that bothered me was the people coming and going on the trip, only doing parts of it. The hotels except for one were very good. We were expecting a smaller coach with nicer seats, the coach was smaller and we had lots of room to spread out. We have pretty well done all of the highlights on NZ now and don't think we will be going back, but we did meet a lot of nice people and hope to visit with them again, that was from both of our trips, the first one Australians and the second mostly English and a 2 couple from the US. (Ed. For the 2014/15 season, the tour itinerary & accommodations have been revised)

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    - 06/02/2012

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