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17 Day Auckland to Christchurch Ultimate Explorer Independent Coach

Days
17

Pricing From
$6787

North Island / South Island
Book Now

Overview

17 Day Auckland to Christchurch Ultimate Explorer Independent Coach Tour New Zealand MapThis 17 day Ultimate Explorer independent coach tour allows you to explore some of the most iconic sights and destinations in New Zealand. Visit Queenstown, Milford Sound, Mt. Cook, Rotorua, Bay of Islands, and many more. You will also enjoy a dinner cruise, wine tour, and a scenic trip on the TranzAlpine Train.

Accommodation

4 Star Hotels

We have a wide range of 4 star hotel properties. Most hotels in this category generally have swimming pools, fitness gyms, a choice of restaurants, and are usually a little closer to town centres or occupy premium locations. Room types may include standard, deluxe, superior, mountain view, lake view, suites, etc. Many also include 2 and 3 bedroom suites which can offer great value for larger groups.

3 Star Hotels

All our 3 star hotels have restaurant facilities. Meals can be included in your package, if required. Please note that smaller destinations such as Coromandel, Kaikoura, Akaroa, etc. hotels don't usually feature this as an accommodation option.

Motels

Motel accommodations are self-contained facilities. At minimum, a studio unit includes cooking utensils, a hot plate and/or a microwave, toaster, kettle, and crockery and cutlery. Others will include a full kitchen and can include saunas, spas, and swimming pools and sometimes a full breakfast service. Room types include stuido, 2-bedroom, or family units. Our motels are of a very high standard and are generally owned and operated by locals who would love to share their genuine interest in their region with you.

Looking for a fully escorted coach tour? Check out our guided departures here!

Auckland to Christchurch Ultimate Explorer Independent Coach

Cape Reinga, Northland

Auckland to Christchurch Ultimate Explorer Independent Coach

Hole in the Rock Cruise, Bay of Islands

Auckland to Christchurch Ultimate Explorer Independent Coach

Agrodome, Rotorua

Auckland to Christchurch Ultimate Explorer Independent Coach

Hobbiton Movie Set

Auckland to Christchurch Ultimate Explorer Independent Coach

Mitai Maori Village, Rotorua

Auckland to Christchurch Ultimate Explorer Independent Coach

Dart River, Queenstown

Auckland to Christchurch Ultimate Explorer Independent Coach

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Arrive in Auckland

On arrival you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Harbour Dinner Cruise Sailing Experience
This unique on-water dining experience is not to be missed while you're in Auckland. Enjoy smooth sailing on the Waitemata Harbour - then watch this photogenic city come alive with twinkling lights. Your experienced crew will talk about Auckland's highlights and there will opportunity try your hand at steering.

At sheltered mooring you'll be served delicious New Zealand fare - choose from a delectable three course menu catered for by Degree Gastrobar, a renowned Viaduct Restaurant.

Day 2Auckland to Paihia

Auckland to Paihia incl Waitangi, Cape Brett Cruise and lunch
On arrival in the Bay of Islands you will visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds for a guided tour of the historic place where in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Maori and the British Crown. Explore the original Treaty House, one of New Zealand's oldest and most visited historic homes and the Te Whare Runanga, a fully carved Maori meeting house, which is representative of all Iwi (regional tribes) in New Zealand. The Waitangi Treay Grounds offer a truly unique insight into New Zealand's early history. Next it's back to Paihia to board the Hole in the Rock Dolphin Watching Cruise. The experienced local skippers will guide you through the beautiful clear waters aboard Dolphin Seeker, a purpose built dolphin and whale watching catamaran. Enjoy the large outdoor viewing decks as you cruise past the islands of the Bay. Keep a look out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales and other marine life as you get you up close to the action from the comfort of Dolphin Seeker. Enjoy the views as you cruise past the Cape Brett Lighthouse, before arriving at the majestic Hole in the Rock - hold your breath as the skipper navigates through the narrow space and admire the rock walls which soar above you. Take in the Grand Cathedral Cave before heading back into the inner islands of the Bay.

Then its back to Paihia where the tour concludes

Day 3Dune Rider Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach Day Tour

This full day tour in the unique Dune Rider vehicle is the best way to explore the Far North. Let the drivers immerse you in the culture and history of the area, while taking in the amazing scenery. The Dune Rider vehicle is purpose built to go off-road in comfort with air conditioning, reclining seats, plenty of leg room and sloping floors for great viewing. Your full day tour begins with an early morning pick up at your accommodation, and includes a freshly prepared buffet style lunch, a visit to Cape Reinga lighthouse to view the meeting of the two oceans, a beach stop on 90 Mile Beach, boogie boarding down huge sand dunes at Te Paki stream and time at the Ancient Kauri Kingdom. Finish the day with fabulously fresh fish and chips at the famous Mangonui Fish Shop, at your own expense.

Day 4Paihia to Auckland

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Russell Mini Tour
A personal insight into New Zealand’s earliest European history... all in one memorable hour. Your blue and white mini bus departs Russell Wharf on a tour which visits areas of historic interest which cannot be easily covered on foot … see sights such as the Giant Sundial, Long Beach, Queen's View, Tapeka Point and the Flagstaff with stunning 360 degree vistas. Share in the local history through your drivers entertaining and informative commentary.

Paihia to Auckland
Your journey will take you past scenic native forests and sub-tropical bush, before crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge to arrive into the spectacular city scene of Auckland by night.

Day 5Auckland to Waitomo and Rotorua

Auckland to Waitomo and Rotorua Full Day Experience

This full day tour has it all! From the magical glowworms and world-famous limestone formations of Waitomo to the rich cultural heritage and geothermal bounty of Rotorua. Includes a visit to the glow worm caves, a maori cultural performance, a visit to the Agrodome and bubbling mud pools and geysers.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Polynesian Lake Spa 
Rotorua's Polynesian Spa offers a unique thermal spa experience on the shore of Lake Rotorua. You'll enjoy tranquil bathing and lake views in four shallow alkaline rock pools, each with different temperatures (36˚C to 42˚C). Here you are surrounded by revitalising native New Zealand flora, natural rocks, the sound of two waterfalls and a grotto. The pools are filled with soothing alkaline mineral water leaving your skin soft and supple. Relax in the outdoor relaxation area overlooking the four hot mineral pools and Lake Rotorua, here you can further unwind on the five geothermally heated recliners set in the stunning backdrop of New Zealand's lush and natural greenery. A large indoor relaxation lounge also overlooks Lake Rotorua, where as a Lake Spa guest, you are welcome to move from the pools to the lounge once dried off and return to bathe in the Lake Spa pools as you wish. The Lake Spa is a unique thermal pool environment, where the atmosphere changes from day to night, and from winter steam to summer sparkle.

Day 6Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Rotorua

Discover the real Middle-earth when you take this two hour guided tour of Hobbiton. Beginning with a drive through a picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm, you'll experience stunning views over the Kaimai Ranges. You'll then be escorted through the 12 acre movie set learning memorable anecdotes about the shooting of the films. You'll see Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill and The Party Tree, as well as learning how this piece of Waikato farmland was turned into the Shire.

Tamaki Maori Village 
An evening at Tamaki Maori Village will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. On arrival at the venue, nobody must enter the fortified village until the Powhiri (formal welcome) has been performed. The host tribe will send out a toa (warrior) who will challenge the guests, via their elected chief to ascertain if they come in peace. A Teka (peace offering) is placed and received by one of the visiting chiefs. 

At The Village The Karanga or welcome call will echo across the courtyard, followed by the Powhiri (welcome dance). You will then be able to enter onto the village grounds where the Tangata Whenua (people of the land) will demonstrate different activities such as poi twirling, hand games, weaponry displays, reciting chants and displaying activities of an era gone by.

From the village you will enter our Wharenui (The Meeting House). This building represents an ancestor of our past. Customs in our houses are: The men make all the welcome speeches. A speech of welcome is offered (whaikorero). A waiata (song) is offered in support of the speech. Te Whanau AaTamaki Cultural group will share a variety of Waiata, Haka, and Song and Dance in celebration of new friendships forged.

Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal. The traditional hangi meal has been under the earth on hot rocks for three to four hours. This is the age-old traditional cooking method of the Maori. The rocks are heated to a white-hot state with some of our native timber. They are then put into a pit dug in the earth. The baskets of meat are put directly on the hot stones, then the vegetable baskets and then the pudding basket on top of that. A wet cloth is placed over the food followed by wet hessian. Earth is then piled quickly over everything to keep the heat inside the earth oven. The kai (food) cooks slowly over several hours - a combination of smoking and steaming, and the end result is a distinctly flavoured, succulent and mouth watering meal. Vegetarians are also catered for upon request.

The evening ends with the Poroporoaki, the official closing ceremony. There will be waiata (song) and whaikorero (speeches) before you are safely transferred back to your accommodation.

 

Day 7Rotorua to Wellington

Rotorua Accommodation to Rotorua Airport
You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to Rotorua Airport.

Fly from Rotorua airport to Wellington airport.

You will be met on arrival into Wellington airport and transferred to your hotel.

Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour
In a small group, you will head out to the Valley to explore the filming locations for Rivendell where Frodo recovered from his knife attack; the River Anduin where the Fellowship voyaged to Amon Hen; the Gardens of Isengard, where Gandalf rode to see Saruman and the site of the orcs felling the trees; see the quarry used for the filming of Helms Deep in Rohan and Minas Tirith in Gondor. Then back to the City to visit the Mount Victoria lookout and Buckland Forest where you can take a "shortcut to mushrooms", "get of the road" and hide where the Hobbits hid from the Black Riders before taking a run to the Buckleberry Ferry and discovering Dunharrow Rohirrim encampment along the way.

Day 8Wellington to Christchurch

You will be collected from your Wellington hotel and transferred to the airport.

Air New Zealand flight Wellington to Christchurch
Fly from Wellington Airport to Christchurch Airport.

On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Day 9Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains you head into Mackenzie country. Ascending Burkes Pass, you'll enter New Zealand's high country. The picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, is the first of the large Southern Lakes on your journey and enjoy a short stop here to enjoy the picturesque lake and one of the most photographed buildings in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd. Continue onto Lake Pukaki and on clear days you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Mt Cook, towering over the lake. The spectacular scenic drive along the lake delivers you into the heart of the national park and Mt. Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

Day 10Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Encounter Scenic Helicopter Flight
Experience a glacier landing in this stunning mountain environment. Enjoy a scenic 25 minute flight over the Tasman Terminal Lake; pass by the Horchstetter Icefall before landing on the blue ice and moraine rocks of the Tasman Glacier. Encounter the incredible vistas of Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, with scenery beyond expectation!

Twizel, just south of Mt. Cook was the location of many Lord of the Rings movie scenes and a little further on is Omarama and a short afternoon tea stop is available here (own expense). Crossing the Lindis Pass this is one of New Zealand's highest roads with the summit reaching 971 metres, you pass from the Mackenzie Basin and into Central Otago. The next major town is Cromwell, a major fruit growing region, which sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge. Follow the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards Queenstown and the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. Approaching Queenstown the impressive Remarkables mountain range come into view and then beautiful Lake Wakatipu as you head towards the adventure and activity capital of New Zealand.

Day 11Free day in Queenstown

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders. Head down the Gibbston valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw - to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown. Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or White Water rafting.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure
Riding the iconic ‘Big Red’ Jet Boat through the narrow Shotover Canyon is an exhilarating experience not to be missed. Your skilled jet boat driver pushes the boat to 85 kph, skimming across shallow water and past towering canyon walls. This 25 minute white water ride includes 360 degree spins and maximum thrills.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola
Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere - and take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. Sit back and relax as you enjoy panoramic views of The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak and Coronet Peak - one of Queenstown's Ski field.

Day 12Appellation Central Boutique Wine Tour

Go off-the-beaten-track with this unique Central Otago wine tour. Taste wines at four of the best vineyards in the Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell regions. The wineries you'll visit are selected from the following: Peregrine, Chard Farm, Carrick, Mt Difficulty, Felton Road, Akarua and Olssens vineyards. This tour also includes a delightful gourmet platter lunch at the award winning Carrick Winery Restaurant.

Day 13Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Return luxury coach transport from Queenstown to Milford Sound, with an extended 2.5 hour Nature Cruise along the full length of the fiord. On boarding a Real Journeys luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown, you will enjoy a relaxing trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau. The coach driver provides an informative commentary. After a morning tea break in Te Anau, where you have the option of purchasing refreshments, the coach continues along the spectacular Milford Road. There is time for photo stops and short walks along the way. On reaching Milford Sound, you board the Milford Mariner for a leisurely extended cruise of the fiord. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rain forest, mountains and wildlife with extensive commentary by the on board nature guide. Includes picnic boxed lunch.

Day 14Explore Queenstown

Dart River Wilderness Safari
Take a one and a half hour jet boat safari through the remote wilderness of Mt Aspiring National Park. Home to towering mountains, alpine bush, glacial lakes and icy rivers, this spectacular trip is considered one of the most scenic in the world. Following your boat journey, take a 40 minute walk through ancient beech forests over 80 million years old. Learn about the area and its history before taking a four wheel drive coach on a 50 minute journey to the isolated hamlet of Paradise - home to many Lord of the Rings filming locations.

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
Go back in time on this return trip to Walter Peak High Country Farm aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship. You'll be greeted off the boat and guided through beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming homestead. Here you'll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. The seasonal menu includes an expansive array of local produce, including succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie and a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Finish your meal with an irresistible dessert, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea and coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration gives you a glimpse of life in the high country. On your cruise home, enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship's pianist or breathe in the fresh night air as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Day 15Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Depart Queenstown by coach passing through Cromwell, Wanaka and Hawea before travelling over the magnificent Haast Pass into Westland. On arrival transfer to your accommodation. A local shuttle is available to take you to the glacier base where you can enjoy some short walks and magnificent views. Perhaps take a scenic helicopter flight for the ultimate view. Spectacular photo opportunities abound of these huge ice masses. Watch out for keas (native parrots) and their inquisitive cheeky play.

Glacier Valley shuttle
You will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Glacier Valley Eco Tours and taken on a short tour to view the glacier. Your shuttle vehicle will transfer you up the Franz Josef valley to the road end. Here you will have the opportunity to walk to view the glacier from a viewing platform. Or enjoy one of the short walks available in this area. You will be returned to your accommodation by the Glacier Valley Eco Tours shuttle.

Day 16TranzAlpine Train from Greymouth to Christchurch

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Whataroa and Harihari. Stop at the Bushman's Centre for refreshments and a chance to experience a bit of West Coast humour. Continue through the township of Ross, which in the late 1800s was the centre of one of New Zealand's richest alluvial goldfields. In 1903 the largest gold nugget ever found in New Zealand was discovered at Jones Creek, not far from the town centre. It weighed 2807 grams. The New Zealand Government later purchased the nugget and presented it as a coronation gift to King George V. On arrival into Hokitika there is time to purchase lunch, walk around the town centre, to view the greenstone factories, visit the woodworking studio, or just relax and enjoy the windswept coast. Hokitika is the administrative and commercial centre for this part of Westland. The major primary industry is timber milling. Dairy and sheep farming, commercial fishing, white baiting and eel processing being the other major industries. Continue onto Greymouth Railway Station from where you catch the world famous Tranz Alpine train across the Southern Alps to Christchurch.

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island through the Arthur's Pass National Park from the west coast to the east.

From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

On arrival into the Christchurch train station you will be met by a private transfer driver and taken to your accommodation.

Day 17Depart Christchurch

You will be collected from your accommodation and a private transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport in time for your departing flight.

PRICE PER PERSON (TWIN SHARE)

  • Motel Accommodation: from NZ$6,787*
  • 3 Star Hotels Accommodation: from NZ$7,201*
  • 4 Star Hotels Accommodation: from NZ$7,541*

* PLEASE NOTE

Prices are estimates only, and are subject to availability and exchange rates when booking, seasonal or holiday price surcharges (such as Christmas/New Year and Easter); as well as special events that may be on. Please forward a request and we will be happy to forward a quote.

Prices quoted are per person. Twin share is based on 2 people traveling together and sharing one rooms. Single room and triple share prices are available.

PAYMENT

  • Deposit: 20% of the package cost or NZ$250 per person (whichever is the greater) at time of booking
  • Full Payment: 60 Days before travel
  • Airfares (if applicable): Paid in full no more than 6 days after booking

CANCELLATION CHARGES

  • Cancellation Fees up to 100% can apply after booking. Extra deposits or full payment may be requested to cover these charges prior to booking

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Arrive in Auckland

On arrival you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Harbour Dinner Cruise Sailing Experience
This unique on-water dining experience is not to be missed while you're in Auckland. Enjoy smooth sailing on the Waitemata Harbour - then watch this photogenic city come alive with twinkling lights. Your experienced crew will talk about Auckland's highlights and there will opportunity try your hand at steering.

At sheltered mooring you'll be served delicious New Zealand fare - choose from a delectable three course menu catered for by Degree Gastrobar, a renowned Viaduct Restaurant.

Day 2Auckland to Paihia

Auckland to Paihia incl Waitangi, Cape Brett Cruise and lunch
On arrival in the Bay of Islands you will visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds for a guided tour of the historic place where in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Maori and the British Crown. Explore the original Treaty House, one of New Zealand's oldest and most visited historic homes and the Te Whare Runanga, a fully carved Maori meeting house, which is representative of all Iwi (regional tribes) in New Zealand. The Waitangi Treay Grounds offer a truly unique insight into New Zealand's early history. Next it's back to Paihia to board the Hole in the Rock Dolphin Watching Cruise. The experienced local skippers will guide you through the beautiful clear waters aboard Dolphin Seeker, a purpose built dolphin and whale watching catamaran. Enjoy the large outdoor viewing decks as you cruise past the islands of the Bay. Keep a look out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales and other marine life as you get you up close to the action from the comfort of Dolphin Seeker. Enjoy the views as you cruise past the Cape Brett Lighthouse, before arriving at the majestic Hole in the Rock - hold your breath as the skipper navigates through the narrow space and admire the rock walls which soar above you. Take in the Grand Cathedral Cave before heading back into the inner islands of the Bay.

Then its back to Paihia where the tour concludes

Day 3Dune Rider Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach Day Tour

This full day tour in the unique Dune Rider vehicle is the best way to explore the Far North. Let the drivers immerse you in the culture and history of the area, while taking in the amazing scenery. The Dune Rider vehicle is purpose built to go off-road in comfort with air conditioning, reclining seats, plenty of leg room and sloping floors for great viewing. Your full day tour begins with an early morning pick up at your accommodation, and includes a freshly prepared buffet style lunch, a visit to Cape Reinga lighthouse to view the meeting of the two oceans, a beach stop on 90 Mile Beach, boogie boarding down huge sand dunes at Te Paki stream and time at the Ancient Kauri Kingdom. Finish the day with fabulously fresh fish and chips at the famous Mangonui Fish Shop, at your own expense.

Day 4Paihia to Auckland

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Russell Mini Tour
A personal insight into New Zealand’s earliest European history... all in one memorable hour. Your blue and white mini bus departs Russell Wharf on a tour which visits areas of historic interest which cannot be easily covered on foot … see sights such as the Giant Sundial, Long Beach, Queen's View, Tapeka Point and the Flagstaff with stunning 360 degree vistas. Share in the local history through your drivers entertaining and informative commentary.

Paihia to Auckland
Your journey will take you past scenic native forests and sub-tropical bush, before crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge to arrive into the spectacular city scene of Auckland by night.

Day 5Auckland to Waitomo and Rotorua

Auckland to Waitomo and Rotorua Full Day Experience

This full day tour has it all! From the magical glowworms and world-famous limestone formations of Waitomo to the rich cultural heritage and geothermal bounty of Rotorua. Includes a visit to the glow worm caves, a maori cultural performance, a visit to the Agrodome and bubbling mud pools and geysers.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Polynesian Lake Spa 
Rotorua's Polynesian Spa offers a unique thermal spa experience on the shore of Lake Rotorua. You'll enjoy tranquil bathing and lake views in four shallow alkaline rock pools, each with different temperatures (36˚C to 42˚C). Here you are surrounded by revitalising native New Zealand flora, natural rocks, the sound of two waterfalls and a grotto. The pools are filled with soothing alkaline mineral water leaving your skin soft and supple. Relax in the outdoor relaxation area overlooking the four hot mineral pools and Lake Rotorua, here you can further unwind on the five geothermally heated recliners set in the stunning backdrop of New Zealand's lush and natural greenery. A large indoor relaxation lounge also overlooks Lake Rotorua, where as a Lake Spa guest, you are welcome to move from the pools to the lounge once dried off and return to bathe in the Lake Spa pools as you wish. The Lake Spa is a unique thermal pool environment, where the atmosphere changes from day to night, and from winter steam to summer sparkle.

Day 6Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Rotorua

Discover the real Middle-earth when you take this two hour guided tour of Hobbiton. Beginning with a drive through a picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm, you'll experience stunning views over the Kaimai Ranges. You'll then be escorted through the 12 acre movie set learning memorable anecdotes about the shooting of the films. You'll see Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill and The Party Tree, as well as learning how this piece of Waikato farmland was turned into the Shire.

Tamaki Maori Village 
An evening at Tamaki Maori Village will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. On arrival at the venue, nobody must enter the fortified village until the Powhiri (formal welcome) has been performed. The host tribe will send out a toa (warrior) who will challenge the guests, via their elected chief to ascertain if they come in peace. A Teka (peace offering) is placed and received by one of the visiting chiefs. 

At The Village The Karanga or welcome call will echo across the courtyard, followed by the Powhiri (welcome dance). You will then be able to enter onto the village grounds where the Tangata Whenua (people of the land) will demonstrate different activities such as poi twirling, hand games, weaponry displays, reciting chants and displaying activities of an era gone by.

From the village you will enter our Wharenui (The Meeting House). This building represents an ancestor of our past. Customs in our houses are: The men make all the welcome speeches. A speech of welcome is offered (whaikorero). A waiata (song) is offered in support of the speech. Te Whanau AaTamaki Cultural group will share a variety of Waiata, Haka, and Song and Dance in celebration of new friendships forged.

Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal. The traditional hangi meal has been under the earth on hot rocks for three to four hours. This is the age-old traditional cooking method of the Maori. The rocks are heated to a white-hot state with some of our native timber. They are then put into a pit dug in the earth. The baskets of meat are put directly on the hot stones, then the vegetable baskets and then the pudding basket on top of that. A wet cloth is placed over the food followed by wet hessian. Earth is then piled quickly over everything to keep the heat inside the earth oven. The kai (food) cooks slowly over several hours - a combination of smoking and steaming, and the end result is a distinctly flavoured, succulent and mouth watering meal. Vegetarians are also catered for upon request.

The evening ends with the Poroporoaki, the official closing ceremony. There will be waiata (song) and whaikorero (speeches) before you are safely transferred back to your accommodation.

 

Day 7Rotorua to Wellington

Rotorua Accommodation to Rotorua Airport
You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to Rotorua Airport.

Fly from Rotorua airport to Wellington airport.

You will be met on arrival into Wellington airport and transferred to your hotel.

Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour
In a small group, you will head out to the Valley to explore the filming locations for Rivendell where Frodo recovered from his knife attack; the River Anduin where the Fellowship voyaged to Amon Hen; the Gardens of Isengard, where Gandalf rode to see Saruman and the site of the orcs felling the trees; see the quarry used for the filming of Helms Deep in Rohan and Minas Tirith in Gondor. Then back to the City to visit the Mount Victoria lookout and Buckland Forest where you can take a "shortcut to mushrooms", "get of the road" and hide where the Hobbits hid from the Black Riders before taking a run to the Buckleberry Ferry and discovering Dunharrow Rohirrim encampment along the way.

Day 8Wellington to Christchurch

You will be collected from your Wellington hotel and transferred to the airport.

Air New Zealand flight Wellington to Christchurch
Fly from Wellington Airport to Christchurch Airport.

On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Day 9Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains you head into Mackenzie country. Ascending Burkes Pass, you'll enter New Zealand's high country. The picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, is the first of the large Southern Lakes on your journey and enjoy a short stop here to enjoy the picturesque lake and one of the most photographed buildings in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd. Continue onto Lake Pukaki and on clear days you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Mt Cook, towering over the lake. The spectacular scenic drive along the lake delivers you into the heart of the national park and Mt. Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

Day 10Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Encounter Scenic Helicopter Flight
Experience a glacier landing in this stunning mountain environment. Enjoy a scenic 25 minute flight over the Tasman Terminal Lake; pass by the Horchstetter Icefall before landing on the blue ice and moraine rocks of the Tasman Glacier. Encounter the incredible vistas of Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, with scenery beyond expectation!

Twizel, just south of Mt. Cook was the location of many Lord of the Rings movie scenes and a little further on is Omarama and a short afternoon tea stop is available here (own expense). Crossing the Lindis Pass this is one of New Zealand's highest roads with the summit reaching 971 metres, you pass from the Mackenzie Basin and into Central Otago. The next major town is Cromwell, a major fruit growing region, which sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge. Follow the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards Queenstown and the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. Approaching Queenstown the impressive Remarkables mountain range come into view and then beautiful Lake Wakatipu as you head towards the adventure and activity capital of New Zealand.

Day 11Free day in Queenstown

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders. Head down the Gibbston valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw - to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown. Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or White Water rafting.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure
Riding the iconic ‘Big Red’ Jet Boat through the narrow Shotover Canyon is an exhilarating experience not to be missed. Your skilled jet boat driver pushes the boat to 85 kph, skimming across shallow water and past towering canyon walls. This 25 minute white water ride includes 360 degree spins and maximum thrills.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola
Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere - and take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. Sit back and relax as you enjoy panoramic views of The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak and Coronet Peak - one of Queenstown's Ski field.

Day 12Appellation Central Boutique Wine Tour

Go off-the-beaten-track with this unique Central Otago wine tour. Taste wines at four of the best vineyards in the Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell regions. The wineries you'll visit are selected from the following: Peregrine, Chard Farm, Carrick, Mt Difficulty, Felton Road, Akarua and Olssens vineyards. This tour also includes a delightful gourmet platter lunch at the award winning Carrick Winery Restaurant.

Day 13Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Return luxury coach transport from Queenstown to Milford Sound, with an extended 2.5 hour Nature Cruise along the full length of the fiord. On boarding a Real Journeys luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown, you will enjoy a relaxing trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau. The coach driver provides an informative commentary. After a morning tea break in Te Anau, where you have the option of purchasing refreshments, the coach continues along the spectacular Milford Road. There is time for photo stops and short walks along the way. On reaching Milford Sound, you board the Milford Mariner for a leisurely extended cruise of the fiord. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rain forest, mountains and wildlife with extensive commentary by the on board nature guide. Includes picnic boxed lunch.

Day 14Explore Queenstown

Dart River Wilderness Safari
Take a one and a half hour jet boat safari through the remote wilderness of Mt Aspiring National Park. Home to towering mountains, alpine bush, glacial lakes and icy rivers, this spectacular trip is considered one of the most scenic in the world. Following your boat journey, take a 40 minute walk through ancient beech forests over 80 million years old. Learn about the area and its history before taking a four wheel drive coach on a 50 minute journey to the isolated hamlet of Paradise - home to many Lord of the Rings filming locations.

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
Go back in time on this return trip to Walter Peak High Country Farm aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship. You'll be greeted off the boat and guided through beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming homestead. Here you'll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. The seasonal menu includes an expansive array of local produce, including succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie and a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Finish your meal with an irresistible dessert, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea and coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration gives you a glimpse of life in the high country. On your cruise home, enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship's pianist or breathe in the fresh night air as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Day 15Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Depart Queenstown by coach passing through Cromwell, Wanaka and Hawea before travelling over the magnificent Haast Pass into Westland. On arrival transfer to your accommodation. A local shuttle is available to take you to the glacier base where you can enjoy some short walks and magnificent views. Perhaps take a scenic helicopter flight for the ultimate view. Spectacular photo opportunities abound of these huge ice masses. Watch out for keas (native parrots) and their inquisitive cheeky play.

Glacier Valley shuttle
You will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Glacier Valley Eco Tours and taken on a short tour to view the glacier. Your shuttle vehicle will transfer you up the Franz Josef valley to the road end. Here you will have the opportunity to walk to view the glacier from a viewing platform. Or enjoy one of the short walks available in this area. You will be returned to your accommodation by the Glacier Valley Eco Tours shuttle.

Day 16TranzAlpine Train from Greymouth to Christchurch

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Whataroa and Harihari. Stop at the Bushman's Centre for refreshments and a chance to experience a bit of West Coast humour. Continue through the township of Ross, which in the late 1800s was the centre of one of New Zealand's richest alluvial goldfields. In 1903 the largest gold nugget ever found in New Zealand was discovered at Jones Creek, not far from the town centre. It weighed 2807 grams. The New Zealand Government later purchased the nugget and presented it as a coronation gift to King George V. On arrival into Hokitika there is time to purchase lunch, walk around the town centre, to view the greenstone factories, visit the woodworking studio, or just relax and enjoy the windswept coast. Hokitika is the administrative and commercial centre for this part of Westland. The major primary industry is timber milling. Dairy and sheep farming, commercial fishing, white baiting and eel processing being the other major industries. Continue onto Greymouth Railway Station from where you catch the world famous Tranz Alpine train across the Southern Alps to Christchurch.

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island through the Arthur's Pass National Park from the west coast to the east.

From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

On arrival into the Christchurch train station you will be met by a private transfer driver and taken to your accommodation.

Day 17Depart Christchurch

You will be collected from your accommodation and a private transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport in time for your departing flight.

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