18 Day New Zealand Grandeur

18 Day New Zealand Grandeur

Be inspired and embrace the wonders of New Zealand as you discover the true essence of this breathtaking country in genuine comfort and style on this luxury Platinum small group tour.

Please Note: - For all departures in Jan20 & Mar20, there are some minor changes to the tour itinerary. Your Relaxing Journeys consultant will advise of changes at time of booking.

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Tour Info

Tour Type: Small Group Tours
From: Christchurch to Auckland
Departures: Jan 2020 to Apr 2021
Price: From (NZD) $9310 per person
Tour Operator: Kirra Tours
Duration: 18 Days
Tour Code: NZG


16 nights premium hotel accommodation
Overnight cruise in Doubtful Sound
Breakfasts (17), Lunches (1) & Dinners (10)
Maximum group size 24 guests
Famous TranzAlpine Train
Guided Tour & High Tea at Lanarch Castle
Moeraki Boulders
Visit a NZ Fur Seal colony
Scenic Interislander Ferry Crossing
Guided tour of Te Papa Museum
Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre
Wine tasting and fine dining at Mission Estate vineyard
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Reserve
Authentic Maori hangi & cultural experience
Lake Rotoiti cruise
See the Blue & Green Lakes
Hamilton Gardens
Auckland City Tour

Please Note: - For all departures in Jan20, & Mar20, there are some minor changes to the tour itinerary. Your Relaxing Journeys consultant will advise of changes at time of booking.

EXCLUSIVE SAVINGS! – Save up to 15%
Book a Kirra tour with Relaxing Journeys this month and SAVE!

Last Minute Deals – Book Today !

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

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Day 1
Arrive Christchurch

‘Haere Mai’ Welcome to New Zealand. On arrival, you will be met by a Kirra Tours representative and transferred to your downtown city hotel. This evening, join your fellow travellers for a welcome dinner and drinks to get to know each other before the adventure begins!

Stay: Rydges Latimer Christchurch (D)

Day 2
Christchurch - TranzAlpine Train Journey - Franz Josef

A short drive brings us to the tiny train station of Springfield. Board the award-winning TranzAlpine train for the spectacular rail journey to Arthur’s Pass, the South Island’s highest altitude settlement. Enjoy thrilling vistas over deep gorges as you travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River and traverse the majestic Southern Alps, where spectacular views of the chiseled alpine landscape will take your breath away at every turn. On to the West Coast village of Franz Josef where you can relax in a tranquil rainforest environment.

Stay: Te Waionui Forest Retreat (B, D)

Day 3
Franz Josef - Wanaka - Queenstown

Before our departure this morning, there is the opportunity to experience an optional scenic flight over this remarkable region (subject to weather conditions). Later, view incredible scenery as you travel past the untouched wilderness and pristine lakes of the Mt Aspiring and Westland National Parks. There is time to wander around the popular lakeside township of Wanaka before stopping at the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown, once a haven for the gold prospectors of the 1860’s and home to a fascinating collection of mining cottages.

Stay: Heritage Queenstown (2 nights) (B)

Day 4
Queenstown at Leisure

Queenstown is regarded as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination and today is free to experience this magnificent alpine resort. Queenstown boasts an incredible array of adventure and leisure activities and your Coach Captain can assist with any optional activities you would like to do. Experience the thrills of riding on the world-famous Shotover Jet Boat, perhaps cruise Lake Wakatipu on the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw, take a 4WD tour to the gold mining area of Skippers Canyon or for the more adventurous, try white water rafting. Alternatively, browse in the many local shops and galleries or take a stroll around the lakefront. (B)

Day 5
Queenstown - Overnight Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise

Skirt the shores of Lake Wakatipu and travel through lush farmland to Te Anau. On to Manapouri, where you enjoy a leisurely cruise across this picturesque lake to West Arm. This is followed by a short coach trip on New Zealand’s most expensive road, travelling over Wilmot Pass and pausing along the way to experience the dense Fiordland rainforest and view Doubtful Sound glistening far below. At Deep Cove, your crew and the “Fiordland Navigator” await. Designed along the lines of a traditional scow, the “Fiordland Navigator” blends old world charm with modern comfort and as you cruise through some of the fiord’s most stunning scenery, knowledgeable and friendly nature guides will share with you their passion for the region through their commentary. After dropping anchor in a sheltered cove, you can choose to explore the shoreline by kayak or tender boat or you can simply relax on board. As the majesty of Doubtful Sound unfolds before you, you will be struck by its silence … a silence broken only by birdsong or the rushing of a distant waterfall. Its beauty and vastness will take your breath away

Stay: Fiordland Navigator (B, L, D)

Day 6
Manapouri - Dunedin

Enjoy a hearty breakfast this morning before exploring other parts of the fiord. We retrace our steps back to Manapouri where you re-join your coach for the journey to Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South. This drive takes us via the country’s southernmost city, Invercargill, and along the scenic coastal Catlins Coast, home to rugged landscapes, dense rainforests and a variety of marine wildlife.

Stay: Distinction Dunedin Hotel (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 7
Dunedin - Wildlife Cruise - Dunedin

This morning, travel to Larnach Castle for a guided tour, learning about its tragic and mysterious history before enjoying High Tea in the historic ballroom. The afternoon is at leisure to explore Dunedin and the greater Otago Peninsula. Your Coach Captain will assist with any optional activities you would like to do. (B)

Day 8
Dunedin - Moeraki Boulders - Christchurch

Stop to view the mystical Moeraki Boulders, geological marvels that began to form about 60 million years ago and were exposed by the erosion of sedimentary rocks over time. From there, we travel north up the coast through Oamaru, known for its Victorian precinct and Steampunk HQ Museum, and port city of Timaru, before crossing the fertile Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.

Stay: Rydges Latimer Christchurch (B, D)

Day 9
Christchurch - Kaikoura - Blenheim

Head north to the picturesque coastal town of Kaikoura and visit a New Zealand Fur Seal (Kekeno) colony. Continue to the charming town of Blenheim in the heart of the Marlborough Region. With several world-class vineyards close to tonight’s accommodation, your Coach Captain will offer the option to visit a winery to sample the region’s famous Sauvignon Blanc.

Stay: Chateau Marlborough (B, D)

Day 10
Blenheim - Picton - Wellington

We’ll make a brief stop in the small fishing village of Picton before boarding the Interislander Ferry for the journey through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds and across the Cook Strait to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. This afternoon we will take a guided tour to discover the treasures of Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand.

Stay: The Bolton Hotel (2 nights) (B)

Day 11
At leisure in Wellington

Today is a free day at leisure to explore the nation’s capital. There is plenty to see and do around this vibrant city such as riding the famous Cable Car up the hill to Kelburn for amazing views or a visit to Zealandia Eco Sanctuary. Another very popular excursion is a visit to the Weta Workshop, a world-leading design and special effects facility for major Hollywood film makers. If you like to stay active, take a walk around the harbour to Oriental Bay and visit one of the many cafés before returning to the city. (B)

Day 12
Wellington - Pukaha Mt Bruce - Napier

We stop at the Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre, a captive breeding sanctuary for the country’s most endangered birds and home to the only white kiwi in captivity. Arriving into Napier in the late afternoon, there is time to stroll amongst the perfectly preserved Art Deco facades and view the Sea Walls murals painted on more than 50 walls around the city.

Stay: The Crown Hotel/Scenic Hotel Te Pania (2 nights) (B)

Day 13
At leisure in Napier

Widely regarded as the ‘Tuscany of the South Pacific’, this region boasts some of New Zealand’s best wineries. Enjoy a free day to experience some of the many optional activities available or simply relax and enjoy your surroundings. This evening, we visit Mission Estate, New Zealand’s oldest winery established by a group of French missionaries in 1851. Enjoy wine tastings followed by a fine dining experience in the elegantly restored seminary with its sweeping views over the vineyards, city and the coast beyond. (B, D)

Day 14
Napier - Taupo - Rotorua

Stop to view the might Huka Falls on the way through Taupo before arriving at the geothermal wonderland of Wai-O-Tapu. Sculptured by volcanic activity and thousands of years in the making, this uniquely different natural landscape is considered to be New Zealand’s most colourful, diverse geothermal sightseeing attraction. Tonight, enjoy a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and cultural performance featuring Maori songs, chants and dance, including the stirring haka.

Stay: Regent of Rotorua/Prince’s Gate Hotel (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 15
Rotorua - Lake Rotoiti Cruise - Rotorua

Today’s highlight is an exclusive cruise across the serene, clear waters of Lake Rotoiti. Explore native bays and coves of the lake under sail on our luxury catamaran and bathe in the thermal waters of the Manupirua hot springs, accessible only by boat. This afternoon we see the Blue and Green Lakes before spending the rest of the afternoon at leisure in Rotorua. For dinner tonight we highly recommend checking out Eat Streat, a collection of top-notch restaurants and bars with an all-weather al fresco dining area. (B)

Day 16
Rotorua - Waiuki

After a leisurely breakfast, we cross the Mamaku Ranges into the lush farmlands of the Waikato district. We will stop to stretch our legs and wander through the award-winning Hamilton Gardens. Reaching our peaceful coastal retreat in the afternoon, you can venture out for a walk along the black sand beach below the resort or opt to relax with a spa treatment before enjoying a delicious dinner with stunning panoramic views of the Tasman Sea.

Stay: Castaways Resort (B, D)

Day 17
Waiuki - Auckland

We drive into Auckland and enjoy a city tour showcasing the highlights of NZ’s largest city. You’ll cross the Harbour Bridge for wonderful view of the city skyline across the Hauraki Gulf, explore the lookout at Bastion Point and visit the city’s oldest park, the Auckland Domain with its elegant Wintergardens. Afterwards, you are free to explore further on your own. This evening, re-join your friends for a final farewell dinner to relive the many great experiences of the last few weeks.

Stay: Hotel Grand Windsor (B, D)

Day 18
Depart Auckland

Sadly, your holiday ends after breakfast this morning. Here we bid you farewell and hope you leave with many happy memories of your stay. You will be transferred to Auckland Airport to connect with your onward flight. (B)


There are 4 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.8 out of 5.

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Value For Money
Tour Pace
Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

At the end of my Kirra tour, Marie made the arrangements for me to go on to Napier for a few days because I was keen to see the Art Deco architecture. She clearly listened to my preferences for hotels and activities. A morning walking architectural tour was excellent followed by a fun "safari" to see the gannets. The great surprise was the jaw dropping landscape one travels to get to the gannets. I loved Napier - Wished I had planned a longer stay. Marie checked all of my wishlist boxes, efficiently and completely.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
This Kirra tour was exactly was I was expecting plus a little bit more. Outstanding driver-guide, David, was knowledgeable, professional, and most helpful, especially when I pulled a stupid tourist stunt and when I got sick. The tour was recommended by Marie, at Relaxing Journeys, after I explained what I wanted. She clearly listened carefully to my wishes ("small group, please, big bus groups will have me running the other way") made the perfect suggestion and then followed through with attention to all details. Since I am in US, we did all of this by email, without a hitch. I am a most happy customer with great memories of my special three weeks in NZ. I highly recommend Marie, at Relaxing Journeys.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
This was our first ever escorted tour, and much of it was superb. Pre-trip arrangements through Marie were great. The Kirra trip captain was outstanding, the accommodations were excellent (except for a couple) and the included meals were over the top (again, with an exception or two). An introductory dinner on night 1 would have been helpful, as well as a listing of tour participants - perhaps just names and where from. Kirra Tours letter indicated a morning get-together for breakfast and a briefing on Day 2, but there was none-- only "please board the bus" and then a 1 minute intro of trip captain. Internet service was extremely spotty at a couple of locations. 18 days on a coach became quite weary, particularly those days with a lot of driving and not much else. Thought the nights in Hanmer Springs and Martinsborough were somewhat ho-hum. Not much to do in either. Also thought the Taieri Gorge railway excursion was overrated-- 4 hours on a slow train for 20 minutes of scenery; would have rather had time to explore Dunedin more. Thought the Maori experience in Rotorua was much too touristy and commercialized. Good meal, but a cattle car experience. High points were Doubtful Sound, Mt. Cook, catamaran sail on Lake Rotoiti, and Hobbiton. 2 nights in major cities also appreciated. All in all 9 out of 10. Definitely would recommend to others.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
Kevin our tour captain made the trip. Very knowledgeable about the history, geology, social issues, you name it, he could tell you about it.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience

Enquire about our 18 Day New Zealand Grandeur

18 Day New Zealand Grandeur
Small Group Tours
Tour Code: NZG
From (NZD) $9310 per person
Save (NZD) $1035 per person
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Departures: Jan 2020 to Apr 2021
4 reviews (4.8/5)

Be inspired and embrace the wonders of New Zealand as you discover the true essence of this breathtaking country in genuine comfort and style on this ... Read More

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