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zz11 Day New Zealand Highlights Independent Coach Tour

Days
11

Pricing From
$4239

North Island / South Island
Book Now

Overview

Our 11 day New Zealand Highlights independent coach tour will take you some of the country’s most loved towns and attractions from Auckland to Christchurch. Experience the world-famous TranzAlpine Train, Milford Sound cruise, Mitai Maori Village, and Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

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.

New Zealand Highlights Independent Coach Tour

TranzAlpine Train

New Zealand Highlights Independent Coach Tour

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

New Zealand Highlights Independent Coach Tour

Mitai Maori Village, Rotorua

New Zealand Highlights Independent Coach Tour

Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park

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 - Auckland Afternoon City Highlights tour
Discover Auckland's history, culture and scenery with this half-day afternoon highlights tour. Travel through the city centre and heritage suburb of Ponsonby before crossing the harbour bridge for spectacular views of the Hauraki Gulf and city skyline. Visit New Zealand's Americas Cup racing precinct - the Viaduct Harbour - as well as Queen Street, a central shopping district. Visit The Domain - 75 hectares of gardens, duck ponds, public art spaces and is home to the majestic Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Continue through historic Parnell Village, where you'll have an opportunity to explore during an afternoon tea stop (own expense). Next traverse the bays to Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park. Named after one of New Zealand's Prime Ministers, the park has formal gardens and tranquil atmosphere with a panoramic outlook over the picturesque Eastern Bays. The tour will then take you back along the waterfront to finish in downtown Auckland.

Day 2Auckland to Waitomo to Rotorua

Auckland to Waitomo and Rotorua
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.

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 3Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Rotorua

Hobbiton 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.

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 4Flight Rotorua to Christchurch

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

Air New Zealand flight Rotorua to Christchurch

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

Day 5Christchurch to Mt. Cook

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat. These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

Day 6Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

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 7Free 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 8Milford 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 9Queenstown 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 10TranzAlpine Train to Christchurch

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
This morning travel north through the small townships of 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.

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

Day 11Depart 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)

  • 4-Star Hotel Accommodation: from NZ$4,239*

* 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 2people 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 - Auckland Afternoon City Highlights tour
Discover Auckland's history, culture and scenery with this half-day afternoon highlights tour. Travel through the city centre and heritage suburb of Ponsonby before crossing the harbour bridge for spectacular views of the Hauraki Gulf and city skyline. Visit New Zealand's Americas Cup racing precinct - the Viaduct Harbour - as well as Queen Street, a central shopping district. Visit The Domain - 75 hectares of gardens, duck ponds, public art spaces and is home to the majestic Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Continue through historic Parnell Village, where you'll have an opportunity to explore during an afternoon tea stop (own expense). Next traverse the bays to Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park. Named after one of New Zealand's Prime Ministers, the park has formal gardens and tranquil atmosphere with a panoramic outlook over the picturesque Eastern Bays. The tour will then take you back along the waterfront to finish in downtown Auckland.

Day 2Auckland to Waitomo to Rotorua

Auckland to Waitomo and Rotorua
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.

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 3Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Rotorua

Hobbiton 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.

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 4Flight Rotorua to Christchurch

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

Air New Zealand flight Rotorua to Christchurch

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

Day 5Christchurch to Mt. Cook

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat. These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

Day 6Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

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 7Free 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 8Milford 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 9Queenstown 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 10TranzAlpine Train to Christchurch

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
This morning travel north through the small townships of 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.

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

Day 11Depart 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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