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10 Day Auckland to Queenstown Explorer Independent Coach

Days
10

Pricing From
$2462

North Island / South Island
Book Now

Overview

10 Day Auckland to Queenstown Explorer Independent Coach New Zealand MapExplore great attractions of New Zealand on this 10 day Auckland to Queenstown Explorer Independent Coach tour. Immerse yourself in the unique culture and tradition of the Maori. You will also cruise on the world famous Milford Sound and visit the Hobbiton Movie Set, which is a must-do for the Lord of the Rings fans.

Visit other renowned destinations in New Zealand the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and the adventure capital, Queenstown.

This itinerary is perfect for those who are short on time but want to see some of the best places in the country.

Flexible Itineraries and Daily Departures

Our New Zealand Independent coach tours can be adapted or extended according to your requirements. You can start anytime and if you want to stay longer at any place on the itinerary, let us know, ALL itineraries can be amended.

If you do not find a Tour that suits you, just ask us to provide you with a personalised coach touring holiday.

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

Auckland to Queenstown Explorer Independent Coach

Glacier Explorers, Mt. Cook

Auckland to Queenstown Explorer Independent Coach

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Auckland to Queenstown Explorer Independent Coach

Shotover Jet, Queenstown

Auckland to Queenstown Explorer Independent Coach

Polynesian Spa, Rotorua

Auckland to Queenstown Explorer Independent Coach

Hobbiton Movie Set

Auckland to Queenstown Explorer Independent Coach

Auckland Harbour

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Auckland to Rotorua via Waitomo

Please note this tour does not include pre and post tour accommodation. If you want to add extra nights, please request at the time of booking.

Auckland to Rotorua including Waitomo Caves

Enjoy a tour from Auckland to Rotorua including a guided tour of the fascinating Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Leaving Auckland in the morning you travel through the lush farmland of the Waikato and King Country regions. Your experienced local driver guide will provide a commentary as you travel to Waitomo and point out sites of interest including Rangiriri, the location of a historic Māori land wars battle between forces loyal to the Māori King and the Colonial Government in 1863.

On arrival in the small town of Waitomo enjoy a guided tour through the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves with their amazing stalactites, stalagmites and other limestone formations. Finish the tour with a silent boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto - a subterranean cavern lit up by the lights of thousands of tiny glowworms.

Continue your tour this afternoon by driving to Rotorua, passing through the beautiful Fitzgerald Glade where the roadside trees arch overhead to form a tunnel of natural greenery.

Day 2Rotorua Sightseeing

Rotorua Sights: Te Puia, Rainbow Springs and Agrodome

Discover three of Rotorua's best visitor attractions on this morning Rotorua sightseeing tour. Gain an insight into New Zealand's Māori culture at Te Puia. You'll see Te Puia's woodcarving and weaving schools and see how these ancient Māori art forms are being passed on to a new generation of master artists. Experience Rotorua's famous geothermal activity with a tour of the neighbouring Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. Then onto the Agrodome, a working organic farm where you can find out all about farming life in New Zealand, watch a sheep shearing display and see sheep dog trials where the hard-working farm dogs show off their amazing skills. New Zealand wildlife and natural scenery is on display at Rainbow Springs Nature Park, where you can get up close to all kinds of native flora and fauna including the famous kiwi, a flightless native bird.

Mitai Maori Village

An evening at Mitai will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. Marvel at the beautiful bush setting and see warriors in traditional dress who paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream while trout and eels swim beneath the surface. Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal and round your evening off with a spectacular cultural performance that tells the story of the Maori people, their past, carvings, and ta Moko -Tattoo art. Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat and be amazed by the spine tingling Haka finale. Truly an experience to remember.

Day 3Rotorua to Wellington

Your coach journey from Rotorua to Wellington takes you via the township of Taupō and New Zealand's largest lake. The lake itself is actually a gigantic volcanic caldera formed during one of the worlds largest ever eruptions. Skirting Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand's three world heritage sites and clouds permitting you can see the 2,500 metre peak of the still volcanically active Mt. Ruapehu. You might recognise the symmetrical shape of Mt. Ngauruhoe as this was used as the scenery of Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Heading south you pass through the rural towns of Taihape, Mangaweka and Bulls before arriving on the Kapiti Coast, with its coastal seaside towns of Paraparaumu, Paekakariki and Plimmerton. The Kapiti Coast leads into Wellington, New Zealand's capital. Wellington sits on a wonderful deep natural harbour and is surrounded by bush clad hills. The city centre itself is quite compact (only around 1 square kilometre), so exploring on foot is relatively easy. From your city centre accommodation you can easily stroll the cafes and restaurants around Courtenay Place and explore New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, which is also close by.

Day 4Explore Wellington

Wellington City Sights & Coastline Tour

Today you will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Hammonds Sightseeing Tours. See Wellington through the eyes of a local on this tour. Experience the best attractions and must see landmarks of this vibrant city, including the beautiful Paliament Buildings, the Old Saint Paul's Cathedral, and the Botanic Gardens, and get off the tourist trail. Gain a 360° view of the city from Mount Victoria, experience the rugged south coast seas and explore interesting quaint villages throughout the city. Take a ride on the famous cable car (optional at own cost) but most of all sit back and enjoy Wellington at its finest!

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Wellington Cable Car

Join locals and visitors alike in a historic trip on the Wellington Cable Car. For over a hundred years passengers have enjoyed the dramatic views of the growing cityscape and the surrounding hills that define Wellington's harbour. This five minute trip to the top of the Kelburn Hill offers a charming escape from the busy city streets. You will enjoy views of the city & harbour Te Whanganui-a-Tara from the indoor or outdoor platforms.

Day 5Wellington to Picton to Nelson

Interislander Ferry Wellington to Picton

The 92 km journey between Wellington and Picton takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Leaving Wellington Harbour you pass many interesting points such as Pencarrow Head on top of which is New Zealand's oldest lighthouse (1859). Red Rocks is home to a seal colony and Oterangi Bay is the site which recorded the country's highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).
From the Cook Strait spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and dolphins and many sea birds are often seen. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds and this region of bush covered mountains, small islands, crystal clear waters and secluded bays offer remarkable photographic opportunities. The final leg of your cruise travels through Queen Charlotte Sound before coming to an end in the picturesque town of Picton.

Picton to Nelson

Board your coach in Picton and first travel south to Blenheim, the centre of the Marlborough wine region. From Blenheim you'll pass the vast grape growing areas as you head west towards Renwick, then through the fertile valleys and onto the picturesque port town of Havelock. Continue through the Rai Valley and over the ranges before dropping to the coast and Tasman Bay. Follow the shore into the city of Nelson.

Day 6Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park Cruise and Walk Open Day Pass

Abel Tasman Cruises combined with short bush walks are a great way to experience this beautiful national park. Join Abel Tasman Wilson's Experiences' boat at Kaiteriteri for your Abel Tasman National Park Cruise. The boat hugs the shore, travelling in close to the idyllic beaches. Your skipper provides a full commentary of the trip. Take you own lunch or pre - order a prepared lunch the night before.

Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park Return Coach

You will be picked up from your Nelson accommodation for your transfer through to Kaiteriteri in Abel Tasman National Park to join your Wilsons Abel Tasman day trip, at the end of the day you will be returned to your Nelson accommodation.

Day 7Nelson, Punakaiki, and Glaciers

Nelson to Greymouth

Head south west through the Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi National Park region. Trees, rivers and valleys accompany you now as you head towards the town of Murchison. Heading South towards Westport you will drive along the Buller Gorge, enjoy some wonderful scenery as you follow this magnificent river. Continuing on your journey the first major town (by this regions standard) is Inangahua and a small museum tells of the earthquake that hit the region in 1968 leaving 70% of the buildings damaged or inhabitable. Continuing south on the road to Punakaiki you will pass through Paparoa National Park. The west coast is very rugged, mountains meet sea and the coast is covered with beautiful fauna and flora including Nikau Palms, which makes for a scenic trip back along the coast to Greymouth.

Greymouth Train Station to Franz Josef

Your coach to Franz Josef Glacier departs from the Greymouth Railway Station. The journey to the Glaciers is southward through the lush bush covered landscape at the base of the Southern Alps. A refreshment stop in Hokitika allows you to stretch your legs around the town centre. Further south you pass through the township of Ross which was the centre of one of New Zealand's richest alluvial goldfields in the late 1800s. Further along, travelling down the West Coast enjoy the beautiful landscape of vast rainforests, gushing waterfalls and snow-capped mountains before arriving into the small village of Franz Josef. From here you can explore the world famous Franz Josef Glacier.

Day 8Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef is small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice up close walk along the valley floor to the terminal face without a guide. However, to go on the glacier itself or get within 100m you must take a licensed tour. Strap on some crampons and give it a go with Franz Josef Glacier Guides or take the easier option and book in a helicopter landing instead. Whichever way you choose to ascend, once on top you’ll have the chance to explore the crevasses, caves and ice flows.

Day 9Franz Josef to Queenstown

Travel from the isolated beauty of Franz Josef to the exciting resort town of Queenstown on a full-day sightseeing tour. Leave the small village of Franz Josef, access point to the world famous Franz Josef Glacier, and journey through the remote and rugged landscape of the West Coast. This is New Zealand at its purest and most untamed, see moody mountain ranges, thick native rainforest and wild rocky shores as you travel in comfort, enjoying the commentary from your local driver guide. Cross over to the East Coast through the Haast Pass, the southernmost pass in the Southern Alps. On the other side, enjoy picture-postcard views of vibrant blue lakes like Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka and Lake Dunstan as you make your way into scenic Queenstown, arriving in the late afternoon.

Day 10Depart Queenstown

Private Transfer Queenstown Accommodation to Airport

You will be collected from your hotel and transferred to Queenstown airport to meet your flight.

PRICE PER PERSON (TWIN SHARE)

  • Motel Accommodation: from NZ$2,462*
  • 3-Star Accommodation: from NZ$2,908*
  • 4-Star Accommodation: from NZ$3,790*

* 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 and are room only. Prices do not include meals. Twin share is based on 2 people travelling together and sharing one room. 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: 45 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 1Auckland to Rotorua via Waitomo

Please note this tour does not include pre and post tour accommodation. If you want to add extra nights, please request at the time of booking.

Auckland to Rotorua including Waitomo Caves

Enjoy a tour from Auckland to Rotorua including a guided tour of the fascinating Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Leaving Auckland in the morning you travel through the lush farmland of the Waikato and King Country regions. Your experienced local driver guide will provide a commentary as you travel to Waitomo and point out sites of interest including Rangiriri, the location of a historic Māori land wars battle between forces loyal to the Māori King and the Colonial Government in 1863.

On arrival in the small town of Waitomo enjoy a guided tour through the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves with their amazing stalactites, stalagmites and other limestone formations. Finish the tour with a silent boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto - a subterranean cavern lit up by the lights of thousands of tiny glowworms.

Continue your tour this afternoon by driving to Rotorua, passing through the beautiful Fitzgerald Glade where the roadside trees arch overhead to form a tunnel of natural greenery.

Day 2Rotorua Sightseeing

Rotorua Sights: Te Puia, Rainbow Springs and Agrodome

Discover three of Rotorua's best visitor attractions on this morning Rotorua sightseeing tour. Gain an insight into New Zealand's Māori culture at Te Puia. You'll see Te Puia's woodcarving and weaving schools and see how these ancient Māori art forms are being passed on to a new generation of master artists. Experience Rotorua's famous geothermal activity with a tour of the neighbouring Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. Then onto the Agrodome, a working organic farm where you can find out all about farming life in New Zealand, watch a sheep shearing display and see sheep dog trials where the hard-working farm dogs show off their amazing skills. New Zealand wildlife and natural scenery is on display at Rainbow Springs Nature Park, where you can get up close to all kinds of native flora and fauna including the famous kiwi, a flightless native bird.

Mitai Maori Village

An evening at Mitai will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. Marvel at the beautiful bush setting and see warriors in traditional dress who paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream while trout and eels swim beneath the surface. Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal and round your evening off with a spectacular cultural performance that tells the story of the Maori people, their past, carvings, and ta Moko -Tattoo art. Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat and be amazed by the spine tingling Haka finale. Truly an experience to remember.

Day 3Rotorua to Wellington

Your coach journey from Rotorua to Wellington takes you via the township of Taupō and New Zealand's largest lake. The lake itself is actually a gigantic volcanic caldera formed during one of the worlds largest ever eruptions. Skirting Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand's three world heritage sites and clouds permitting you can see the 2,500 metre peak of the still volcanically active Mt. Ruapehu. You might recognise the symmetrical shape of Mt. Ngauruhoe as this was used as the scenery of Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Heading south you pass through the rural towns of Taihape, Mangaweka and Bulls before arriving on the Kapiti Coast, with its coastal seaside towns of Paraparaumu, Paekakariki and Plimmerton. The Kapiti Coast leads into Wellington, New Zealand's capital. Wellington sits on a wonderful deep natural harbour and is surrounded by bush clad hills. The city centre itself is quite compact (only around 1 square kilometre), so exploring on foot is relatively easy. From your city centre accommodation you can easily stroll the cafes and restaurants around Courtenay Place and explore New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, which is also close by.

Day 4Explore Wellington

Wellington City Sights & Coastline Tour

Today you will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Hammonds Sightseeing Tours. See Wellington through the eyes of a local on this tour. Experience the best attractions and must see landmarks of this vibrant city, including the beautiful Paliament Buildings, the Old Saint Paul's Cathedral, and the Botanic Gardens, and get off the tourist trail. Gain a 360° view of the city from Mount Victoria, experience the rugged south coast seas and explore interesting quaint villages throughout the city. Take a ride on the famous cable car (optional at own cost) but most of all sit back and enjoy Wellington at its finest!

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Wellington Cable Car

Join locals and visitors alike in a historic trip on the Wellington Cable Car. For over a hundred years passengers have enjoyed the dramatic views of the growing cityscape and the surrounding hills that define Wellington's harbour. This five minute trip to the top of the Kelburn Hill offers a charming escape from the busy city streets. You will enjoy views of the city & harbour Te Whanganui-a-Tara from the indoor or outdoor platforms.

Day 5Wellington to Picton to Nelson

Interislander Ferry Wellington to Picton

The 92 km journey between Wellington and Picton takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Leaving Wellington Harbour you pass many interesting points such as Pencarrow Head on top of which is New Zealand's oldest lighthouse (1859). Red Rocks is home to a seal colony and Oterangi Bay is the site which recorded the country's highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).
From the Cook Strait spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and dolphins and many sea birds are often seen. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds and this region of bush covered mountains, small islands, crystal clear waters and secluded bays offer remarkable photographic opportunities. The final leg of your cruise travels through Queen Charlotte Sound before coming to an end in the picturesque town of Picton.

Picton to Nelson

Board your coach in Picton and first travel south to Blenheim, the centre of the Marlborough wine region. From Blenheim you'll pass the vast grape growing areas as you head west towards Renwick, then through the fertile valleys and onto the picturesque port town of Havelock. Continue through the Rai Valley and over the ranges before dropping to the coast and Tasman Bay. Follow the shore into the city of Nelson.

Day 6Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park Cruise and Walk Open Day Pass

Abel Tasman Cruises combined with short bush walks are a great way to experience this beautiful national park. Join Abel Tasman Wilson's Experiences' boat at Kaiteriteri for your Abel Tasman National Park Cruise. The boat hugs the shore, travelling in close to the idyllic beaches. Your skipper provides a full commentary of the trip. Take you own lunch or pre - order a prepared lunch the night before.

Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park Return Coach

You will be picked up from your Nelson accommodation for your transfer through to Kaiteriteri in Abel Tasman National Park to join your Wilsons Abel Tasman day trip, at the end of the day you will be returned to your Nelson accommodation.

Day 7Nelson, Punakaiki, and Glaciers

Nelson to Greymouth

Head south west through the Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi National Park region. Trees, rivers and valleys accompany you now as you head towards the town of Murchison. Heading South towards Westport you will drive along the Buller Gorge, enjoy some wonderful scenery as you follow this magnificent river. Continuing on your journey the first major town (by this regions standard) is Inangahua and a small museum tells of the earthquake that hit the region in 1968 leaving 70% of the buildings damaged or inhabitable. Continuing south on the road to Punakaiki you will pass through Paparoa National Park. The west coast is very rugged, mountains meet sea and the coast is covered with beautiful fauna and flora including Nikau Palms, which makes for a scenic trip back along the coast to Greymouth.

Greymouth Train Station to Franz Josef

Your coach to Franz Josef Glacier departs from the Greymouth Railway Station. The journey to the Glaciers is southward through the lush bush covered landscape at the base of the Southern Alps. A refreshment stop in Hokitika allows you to stretch your legs around the town centre. Further south you pass through the township of Ross which was the centre of one of New Zealand's richest alluvial goldfields in the late 1800s. Further along, travelling down the West Coast enjoy the beautiful landscape of vast rainforests, gushing waterfalls and snow-capped mountains before arriving into the small village of Franz Josef. From here you can explore the world famous Franz Josef Glacier.

Day 8Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef is small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice up close walk along the valley floor to the terminal face without a guide. However, to go on the glacier itself or get within 100m you must take a licensed tour. Strap on some crampons and give it a go with Franz Josef Glacier Guides or take the easier option and book in a helicopter landing instead. Whichever way you choose to ascend, once on top you’ll have the chance to explore the crevasses, caves and ice flows.

Day 9Franz Josef to Queenstown

Travel from the isolated beauty of Franz Josef to the exciting resort town of Queenstown on a full-day sightseeing tour. Leave the small village of Franz Josef, access point to the world famous Franz Josef Glacier, and journey through the remote and rugged landscape of the West Coast. This is New Zealand at its purest and most untamed, see moody mountain ranges, thick native rainforest and wild rocky shores as you travel in comfort, enjoying the commentary from your local driver guide. Cross over to the East Coast through the Haast Pass, the southernmost pass in the Southern Alps. On the other side, enjoy picture-postcard views of vibrant blue lakes like Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka and Lake Dunstan as you make your way into scenic Queenstown, arriving in the late afternoon.

Day 10Depart Queenstown

Private Transfer Queenstown Accommodation to Airport

You will be collected from your hotel and transferred to Queenstown airport to meet your flight.

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