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.

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Tour Info

Tour Type: Small Group Tours
From: Christchurch to Auckland
Departures: Oct 2019 to Mar 2020
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 (2) & Dinners (10)
Maximum group size 24 guests
Famous TranzAlpine Train
Stargazing tour, Mt Cook
Guided Tour & High Tea at Lanarch Castle
Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre guided tour
Exclusive Lake Rotoiti cruise
Authentic Maori Hangi (feast) & Cultural Performance
Entry to Franz Josef thermal pools
Entry to Sir Edmund Hilary Alpine Centre
Te Puia Thermal Reserve
Treetop eco-walk amongst the Redwoods
Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tour
Wine tasting, Martinborough
Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo
Guided Tour of Te Papa Museum

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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 in Christchurch, a Kirra Tours representative will greet you at the airport to transport you to your downtown city hotel. Tonight, enjoy welcome drinks and dinner with your fellow travellers.

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, gateway to the majestic Southern Alps. Board the award-winning TranzAlpine train for the spectacular rail journey to Arthurs 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 mighty Southern Alps, where spectacular views of the chiselled alpine landscape will take your breath away at every turn. On to the west coast glacial village of Franz Josef where you can relax and soak in the thermal pools after an invigorating day and sumptuous dinner.

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 adventurous, try white water rafting. Alternatively, browse in the many shops and galleries. (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 rejoin your coach for the journey to Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South.

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

Day 7
Dunedin - Wildlife Cruise - Dunedin

This morning enjoy spectacular views travelling along the Otago Peninsula to Wellers Rock where you will board a Monarch Wildlife Cruise. On the cruise watch out for NZ Furseals & NZ Sealions on their breeding rockeries as well an abundance of other wildlife such as Penguins, Dolphins and Albatross. Afterwards travel to Larnach Castle for a guided tour learning about its tragic and mysterious history before enjoying a High Tea in the Grand Ballroom. The afternoon is yours at leisure to explore Dunedin and experience optional activities. (B)

Day 8
Dunedin - Moeraki Boulders - Mt Cook

Stop to view the mystical Moeraki Boulders before travelling up the Waitaki Valley to Omarama. Your journey continues into the World Heritage Mt Cook National Park, with its 70,000 ha of breathtaking alpine scenery. After dinner, enjoy a guided tour of the Digital Dome Planetarium before your astronomy guides take you to their outdoor stargazing site where you explore different elements of the spectacular southern sky.

Stay: Hermitage Hotel Mt Cook (B, D)

Day 9
Mt Cook - Lake Tekapo - Christchurch

Free time this morning to enjoy all that this magnificent alpine resort has to offer. Perhaps an early morning bush walk, an excursion to the Tasman Glacier or some scenic flightseeing over the region by helicopter or ski plane. Later, at Lake Tekapo, stop to view the Church of the Good Shepherd, then cross the fertile Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.

Stay: Rydges Latimer Christchurch (B, D)

Day 10
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, famous for producing New Zealand’s
best Sauvignon Blanc. Spend the afternoon at leisure, exploring the town’s boutique galleries and shops.

Stay: Chateau Marlborough (B)

Day 11
Blenheim - 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 12
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. (B)

Day 13
Wellington - Pukaha Mount Bruce - Napier

We stop at the Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre, a captivebreeding sanctuary for the country’s most endangered birds
and home to the only white kiwi in captivity. Arriving into Napier in the late afternoon, you’re free 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 (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 14
At leisure in Napier

After a leisurely morning we’ll visit New Zealand’s oldest winery, Mission Estate, established in 1851 by pioneering French missionaries. Take your time as you wander around the elegantly restored seminary building. Staff will guide you through a tasting of an exclusive selection of wines before we enjoy a contemporary fine dining, European-style lunch prepared with the freshest local produce. (B, L)

Day 15
Napier - Taupo - Rotorua

Stop to view the might Huka Falls and fascinating Wairakei Geothermal Project before arriving at the thermal wonderland of Wai-O-Tapu Sculptured out of 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, visit the award-winning Tamaki Village and enjoy a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and cultural performance featuring Maori songs, chants and dance, including the stirring haka.

Stay: Regent of Rotorua (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 16
Rotorua - Lake Rotoiti Cruise & Redwood Treetop Walk - 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 Pools, accessible only by boat. Later, enjoy a suspended treetop eco-walk amongst Rotorua’s gentle giants in the Redwood Forest and get a unique bird’s eye perspective of these 110 year old trees and the lush flora below. (B)

Day 17
Rotorua - Hobbiton - Auckland

After a leisurely breakfast, we cross the Mamaku Ranges into the lush farmlands of the Waikato. At Matamata experience a guided tour of Hobbiton, the movie set used in the blockbusting ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Hobbit’ films. Learn how this beautiful piece of farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-Earth and be sure to take a photo at the gate to Bilbo Baggins house, ‘Bag End’, looking out over the whole set to the hills in the distance. Enjoy a festive lunch at The Green Dragon Inn before travelling on to Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’.

Stay: Grand Windsor (B, L, 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. If you’re not departing, take the time to explore Auckland city. Perhaps take the ferry to Waiheke Island and enjoy lunch at one of the many superb vineyards, stroll around the trendy suburbs of Parnell and Ponsonby or sail the Waitemata Harbour aboard a genuine America’s Cup racing yacht. (B)


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

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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

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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.
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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
Enquire Now
Departures: Oct 2019 to Mar 2020
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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18 Day New Zealand Grandeur
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