Arrive in Auckland – the “City of Sails” is New Zealand’s largest city, bordered by two stunning harbours. Collect your rental car from the airport and make your way to your accommodation.
Relax in Auckland today. Your options include visiting the Sky Tower, the Auckland Zoo, or Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium; venturing to one of Auckland’s stunning beaches or West Auckland wineries; or doing a spot of shopping.
Stay 1 night in Auckland.
Driving time Auckland to Matamata 159 km / 98 miles, 2 hours
Make your way to Matamata to discover the real Middle-Earth on the most picturesque private farmland. Near Matamata, visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from the Lord of the Rings films in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. The set has been completely rebuilt and will remain as it was seen in the films. There are spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges from the rolling green hills of the movie set, which is still a working sheep and beef farm. You can relax and soak up the unique atmosphere with a great cup of coffee or a light meal in The Shire’s Rest Café.
Driving time Matamata to Rotorua 68 km / 42 miles, 1 hour
Enjoy the scenic journey to Rotorua, distinguished by Maori culture and geothermal activity. This diverse city will put on a display as you encounter geysers, mud pools, steaming craters and 16 beautiful lakes.
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua.
Stroll through Hell’s Gate in the morning and explore the steaming thermal reserve, which boasts mud pools, craters, and steam vents. You will get a chance to try Maori crafts while you are there, including weaving and woodcarving. After this, the geothermal waters of the Hell’s Gate Sulphur Spa will rejuvenate and refresh you, as you relax and take in the surreal surroundings of the wondrous geothermal landscape.
In the evening, enjoy a traditional Maori Cultural Experience including a Hangi Dinner. Hear stories and learn how Maori traditions live on today. Experience an authentic Maori welcome. Watch a challenge by the Maori warriors, a karanga (call) from the Maori women welcoming you onto the marae, and a whaikorero (welcome speech). Relax and enjoy the beautiful waiata (songs), the world renowned haka (challenge), and the elegant poi dance. Learn Maori customs including Maori musical instruments, haka and poi. The dining experience is a culinary opportunity like no other. Following dessert, you will be transported down into the valley to conclude your evening beside the awe-inspiring Pohutu geyser.
Today, depart Rotorua for Queenstown on a domestic flight (cost of flight not included in holiday package). Please enquire for flight options and approximate costs.
Arrive in Queenstown, collect your new rental car and make your way to your Queenstown accommodation.
Relax and explore downtown Queenstown in the afternoon and evening.
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
Today, get ready for the world’s most exciting jet boat ride! It’s a thrilling ride – skimming past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet ‘Big Red,’ you will twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breathtaking speeds. And a major highlight – hold tight for the world-famous Shotover Jet full 360º spins!
Add on any other must-do Queenstown activities – ask about our package deals!
Enjoy a scenic coach journey through heartland New Zealand to reach Milford Sound. The Milford Road (between Te Anau and Milford) is one of the finest alpine drives in the world. The scenery is exceptional, ranging from broad grassy flats, dense rainforest, and towering mountains through to glacial lakes and alpine herb fields. No other road in Fiordland offers such a diverse glimpse into New Zealand’s alpine zone. Your luxury coach has been purpose-built for travelling the Milford Road, incorporating the latest technology for comfort and safety. The seats are tiered and angled towards the windows to maximise your views, and the expansive glass roof provides breathtaking sights of the snow-capped peaks. The schedule includes plenty of time for short nature walks and photo opportunities along the way.
Upon reaching Milford Sound, you will enjoy a 2.5 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise. With specialist nature guides on board, Real Journeys Nature Cruises offer a close-up experience of Milford Sound’s rainforest, soaring rock walls, towering snow-capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, hanging valleys and wildlife… words just don’t do it justice, you have to see it for yourself! Throughout the cruise, the guides share stories of the fiord’s history and are happy to answer your questions. After your cruise, relax while your coach delivers you back to your Queenstown accommodation.
Driving time Queenstown to Wanaka 70 km / 43 miles, 1 hour
Drive over the beautiful Crown Range, one of New Zealand’s highest alpine roads, and admire the fantastic views along the way. Be sure to stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel for a refreshment before your arrival into Wanaka, an alpine town boasting panoramic views, a relaxed atmosphere and myriad walking tracks.
Relax and explore Wanaka – you may want to visit Puzzling World, Wanaka’s illusional attraction, or the National Toy and Transport Museum. Other options include strolling along one of Wanaka’s stunning walking tracks, relaxing on the lake’s edge or browsing through Wanaka’s boutique shops.
You could also visit Rippon Vineyard and Tasting Room to sample local wines, or catch a film at Cinema Paradiso, Wanaka’s quirky local theatre.
Stay 1 night in Wanaka.
Driving time Wanaka to Franz Josef 285 km / 177 miles, 3.5 hours
Carry on, past Lake Hawea and the northern shores of Lake Wanaka, until you reach Haast Pass. There are many short walks and viewing points along the Haast Pass Highway, which will help break up the journey. Continue up the West Coast, with glimpses of the Tasman Sea showing beneath rugged cliffs, until you reach Franz Josef Glacier. You may also wish to visit Fox Glacier itself, which is signposted and located just south of Fox Glacier township. Franz Josef is a short thirty-minute drive north of Fox Glacier.
In the afternoon, take a scenic flight which sweeps over Westland National Park before landing atop Franz Josef Glacier to enjoy spectacular views of the Southern Alps.
Stay 1 night in Franz Josef.
Driving time Franz Josef to Hokitika 136 km / 85 miles, 1.5 hours
Enjoy your journey along the West Coast to Hokitika, famous for its arts and crafts. Watch a masterpiece being crafted from gold, molten glass, paua or bone, or carve your own creation from wood or jade (“pounamu”). Take in Hokitika’s natural beauty, enjoy its expansive beach, or venture down one of the many walking and mountain biking tracks.
Stay 1 night in Hokitika.
Driving time Hokitika to Greymouth 40 km / 25 miles, 45
Enjoy the short drive from Hokitika to Greymouth, where you will drop off your rental car and board the TranzAlpine train.
From your carriage, you’ll see lush beech rainforest, the spectacular Southern Alps, and the gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Once you leave the mountains, you will pass through the fields of the Canterbury Plains, a landscape of picturesque farmland. All carriages include both one-way seating and tabled group seating, allowing you to experience the amazing views while enjoying the company of other passengers on-board. An open-air viewing carriage allows you to get even closer to the stunning scenery. The trip is 223.8 kilometres long and takes just 4.5 hours. There are 16 tunnels and 5 viaducts, the highest being the ‘Staircase’ standing at 73 metres.
Arrive in the garden city of Christchurch and make your way to your accommodation.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Make your way to Christchurch Airport and depart Christchurch at your leisure.
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