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18 Days:
Exclusive, Boutique or Luxury



 

Day 1 Auckland - Auckland (D) (21 kms) (½ hrs)
You arrive at Auckland Airport and pick up your rental car. During the drive to your hotel you will make acquaintance with the "City of Sails", as Auckland is also called. You can drive to the extinct volcanic cone of Mt Eden, from where you have a beautiful view over the city. Or continue to the elegant suburb of "Parnell" and to Auckland Harbour. Afterwards, you may choose to stroll along the harbour or through the downtown shopping malls.

Exclusive: Acc: The Langham – Executive Room (Web)
Boutique: Acc: Hotel DeBretts – Classic (Web)
Luxury: Acc: Cotter House – Bronze Suite (Web)
Dinner included



Day 2 Auckland (B)
Housed in one of the nation's finest heritage buildings and with spectacular views of Auckland City and the harbour, Auckland Museum tells the story of New Zealand, from the unique flora, fauna and history, to the unique collection of Maori and Pacific treasures. Only 45 min. drive away from Auckland, the Waitakere Ranges feel like they are a world away. A wide range of short bush walks provides you with ample opportunity to discover native plants and tree. You can also visit the nearby gannet colony. With its 328 m the Sky Tower offers incomparable views over Auckland. Comments from the electronic guide explain all sights to you, while you go around on different levels. "Touch screen" computers offer additional information, like for example the current weather forecast. Standing on a glass panel over Auckland you can test your courage.

Exclusive: Acc: The Langham – Executive Room (Web)
Boutique: Acc: Hotel DeBretts – Classic (Web)
Luxury:   Acc: Cotter House – Bronze Suite (Web)


Day 3 Auckland - Whitianga (B, D) (195 kms) (2½ hrs)
Depart Auckland and travel through rolling farm land, flat dairy plains, and the forested Coromandel Ranges, with views of the Pacific Ocean to Whitianga.
Tairua’s Paku volcanic peak, and off shore views of the jagged Alderman Islands are the natural focal points of the area. In the afternoon you can visit Hot Water Beach thermal area, if tides allow, and can relax in hot spring water, which mixes with the cold seawater. Not far from Hahei lies the impressive limestone cave of Cathedral Cove, which you can explore on foot or see from a boat. In the late afternoon make your way to you accommodation.

Exclusive:
Acc: Puka Park – Treehut (Web)
Boutique: Acc: Bushland Park– ROH (Web) Dinner included
Luxury: Acc: 970 Loneley Bay, Whitianga (Web) Dinner included


Day 4 Whitianga - Rotorua (B, D) (235 kms) (3 hrs)
Today you drive to Rotorua, the main attraction of the North Island. This thermal city is built around many hot mineral springs. Rotorua is also a centre of Maori culture and there is plenty to see and do here: you could spend the afternoon in the "Te Puia Thermal Reserve", visit the remote "Waiotapu Area", both renowned for their boiling mud puddles and geysers. You might take a trip to Rainbow Springs Wildlife Park to view some of New Zealand's unique animals, or maybe you'll visit the Polynesian Spa to relax in the hot pools - it's up to you!

Exclusive: Acc: Novotel Rotorua –Lake View (Web)
Boutique: Acc: Black Swan – Pool View (Web) Dinner included
Luxury: Acc: Treetops Lodge - Villa (Web) Dinner included


Day 5 Rotorua - more options (B)
Skyline Skyrides Gondola and Luge are good fun. Ride the gondola to the top of Mount Ngongotaha and descend by downhill luge along courses of varying gradient.
Optional Activities:
The world-famous and live Sheep Show at the Agrodome is an exciting and informative insight into agriculture in New Zealand. See 19 sheep breeds walk the stage, sheep shearing, Sheepdog demonstrations, Opportunity to hand-milk a cow on stage, lamb feeding and an exciting sheep auction. Audience participation is a major part of the show.
At the Rotorua Museum you will see, hear and even feel the great stories of Rotorua, especially during the high impact cinema experience ‘Rotorua Stories’. The Rotorua region has a fascinating past: the spectacular Pink and White Terraces, the devastating eruption of Mount Tarawera, the story of the world famous Bath House, the rich history of the Arawa people and the exploits of B Company 28 Maori Battalion are portrayed in exciting, innovative exhibitions that capture the imagination of all ages.
At night you can participate in a "Hangi", a traditional Maori meal cooked in a hole in the ground. Before the feast, the Maoris sing, play and dance, including all in their lively musical culture. The skill of the participants is tested in the stick games. See the swinging of the poi symbolising the flight of the bird. All actions, games and dances are accompanied by harmonious singing.

Exclusive: Novotel Rotorua – Lake View (Web)
Boutique: Black Swan – Pool View (Web)
Luxury: Treetops Lodge - Villa (Web)


Day 6 Rotorua - Taupo - Napier (B) (222 kms) (3 hrs)
Often described as the jewel in the crown of the North Island, Lake Taupo is set amidst clean, green countryside, spectacular mountain scenery, beautiful native bush and some of the largest pine forests in the Southern Hemisphere. You could do a Jetboat tour along the Waikato River, a spectacular boat trip that gets you very close to the massive Huka Falls. The region around Taupo has long been known as the trout fishing capital of the world, offering some of the best angling in New Zealand for rainbow and brown trout, in both the lake and its two major rivers - the Tongariro and the Waikato. From Taupo, take the aptly named Napier-Taupo road to the fabulous city of Napier.The major entertainment on this road is the fantastic scenery; rugged hills, beautiful valleys, gentle plains and huge vistas. At Tarawera you can walk to the hot springs, which are above the Waipunga River. You might also want to stop at the Waiarua Falls lookout, to view the twin waterfalls. The town of Eskdale heralds your arrival in Napier. In 1931 a devastating earthquake nearly levelled this city. It was rebuilt in the style of the times, and is now considered the Art Deco Capital of the world. Have a stroll along the Art deco Buildings, enjoy some wine tasting or visit the museum.

Exclusive: Greenhill Lodge (Web)
Boutique: Breckenridge Lodge (Web) Dinner included
Luxury: Cape Kidnappers – Ridge Room (Web) Dinner included


Day 7 Napier - Wellington (B, D) (320 kms) (4 hrs)
Today you travel south through the wine-growing region of Wairarapa. Since 1984 this region is one of the leading wine growing areas of new Zealand. Via the Rimutaka Mountains you reach Wellington. Drive to Mount Victoria (196m) from where you can enjoy a beautiful view over the city and then enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. The top of the cable car, a Wellington icon running from Lambton Quay, also gives a fine close-up view of the city. From here, you can visit the Observatory and stroll back through the 26 ha Botanic Gardens, extending all the way down to the parliamentary complex.

Exclusive: Quality Hotel (Web)
Boutique: Museum Hotel – Harbour View (Web)
Luxury: Amora Hotel (Web)


Day 8 Wellington - more options (B)
Wellington has been the capital city since 1865, and the Parliament’s Buildings, including the “Beehive”, are well worth visiting. The Old St Paul’s Cathedral features a striking interior made from native timber and magnificent stained-glass windows. Apart from its importance as the political centre, the city offers a large cultural choice of museums and art galleries. Check out the modern National Museum “Te Papa”, which gives a good insight into New Zealand’s history and Pacific culture.
Apart from its importance as the political centre the city offers a large cultural choice of museums, art galleries and a superb range of cafes for coffee lovers. For film buffs, there are number of half-day and full-day 'Lord of the Rings' tours that show Wellington's location contributions to the Oscar-winning film trilogy.

Exclusive: Quality Hotel (Web)
Boutique: Museum Hotel – Harbour View (Web)
Luxury: Amora Hotel (Web)


Day 9 Wellington - Picton - Nelson (B) (210 kms) (5½ hrs)
Today you leave the north island and board the ferry. After a three-hour trip across Cook Strait and through the scenic island world Marlborough Sounds you arrive at the small port of Picton. Picton is a bustling town in an incomparable setting at the head of exquisite Queen Charlotte Sound. The town enjoys a view of green and blue bush clad ranges dropping to a sheltered lake like bay.
The Queen Charlotte Drive between Picton and Havelock is one of New Zealand's most delightful scenic drives. Winding past the Sounds' numerous bays, this bush-fringed road takes you to the head of Pelorus Sound and the seaside village of Havelock. Once a thriving gold-mining town, Havelock is New Zealand's primary producer of Greenshell mussels. Your journey then takes you to Nelson, the town with the most sunshine hours in the country. Many years ago New Zealand's first roadside café opened here and it is home to numerous alternative craftsmen and artists.

Exclusive: Rutherford (Web)
Boutique: Grand Mercure Nelson (Web)
Luxury: Split Apple Retreat (Web) Dinner included


Day 10 Nelson - more options (B, D)
Today you could spend the day at the Abel Tasman National Park. This National Park was established in 1942, and is renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, and world-famous Abel Tasman Coast Track. It also has a mild climate and is a good place to visit at any time of the year. You could do a boat trip past the many bays and peninsulas of the Park, or you might want to walk along the bays and through native bush back to the eastern park entrance, and also have the opportunity for a refreshing swim in the sea. This walk, the Abel Tasman Track , is one of New Zealand’s most popular.
Alternatively, you could sample the vintages of the Nelson region by taking a half-day or a full-day Wine tour and exploring some of the area's award winning wineries!

Exclusive: Rutherford (Web)
Boutique: Grand Mercure Nelson (Web)
Luxury: Split Apple Retreat (Web) Dinner included


Day 11 Nelson - Westport – Punakaiki oder Hokitika (B) (349 kms) (4½ hrs)
Leaving Nelson behind the journey takes you inland through an unbelievably scenic region with excellent roads and minimal traffic. The road from Nelson to Westport road runs through pleasant hilly country to Murchison and then through the magnificent Buller River gorges. Maori travellers used the river as a highway and helped early European explorers and gold-miners to negotiate the treacherous rapids. Today’s road travellers can take time to enjoy the scenery and features between Murchison and Inangahua Junction in a split fraction of the seven weeks it took Thomas Brunner to make the journey in 1847.
Close to Westport you can take the opportunity to watch seals as you walk along the cliffs to the lighthouse at “Cape Foulwind”, home of NZ’s largest seal colony before driving through the picturesque Paparoa National Park. It boasts a wide range of geological features, a warm and varied lowland forest (including the most southerly palm trees in the world) and the famous “Pancake Rocks”. The surf of the Tasman Sea washed out these rocks of different mineral formations. Tonight, you overnight in Hokitika, New Zealand's gold and greenstone capital. Within Hokitika it is possible to watch pounamu (greenstone) carvers and gold craftsmen at work, glass blowing and glass lace creation. A visit to the Museum is a must.

Exclusive: Punakaiki Resort - Eco (Web)
Boutique: Punakaiki Resort - Eco (Web)
Luxury: Rimu Lodge - Korimako (Web)


Day 12 Hokitika - Franz Josef Glacier (B, D) (131 kms)
(1 ½ hrs) oder Fox

Today you drive to the glacier region of the South Island's West Coast. Rugged, green and wild, the West Coast was once one of the busiest and richest areas in the nineteenth century, when gold drew men from all over the world. During the drive, you will pass the forgotten gold miners' townships of Hari Hari and Ross, where you have the opportunity to explore.
When you arrive in Franz Josef, you have reached start of the Westland National Park and the Southern Alps. Nowhere else on earth do the glaciers descend down to an altitude of 280 meters above sea level and nearly touch the rain forest. A short side trip takes you to the Franz Josef Glacier. Here, you have the option to take helicopter round-trips including a landing on the glacier, before heading to Franz Josef Glacier where you will spend the night.

Exclusive: Distinction Fox (Web)
Boutique: Westwood Lodge - Coach (Web)
Luxury: Te Waonui Forest Retreat (Web) Dinner included


Day 13 Franz Josef Glacier - Wanaka - Queenstown (B)
(356 kms) (4 ¼ hrs)

Your journey takes you on one of the most panoramic roads to Queenstown, first along the coast, then crossing the Southern Alps via Haast Pass. You’ll drive along the beautiful lakes of Wanaka and Hawera, approximately 60 km before reaching Queenstown, the most popular holiday resort of the South Island. The frequently snow-covered summits of the "Remarkables" and the clear water of the Wakatipu glacier lake are the magnificent backdrop for the town.

Exclusive: Novotel ZQN – STD room (Web)
Boutique: Browns Hotel – STD (Web)
Luxury: Matakauri Lodge (Web) Dinner included


Day 14 Queenstown - more options (B, D)
Queenstown is well known for its activities - e.g., Shotover Jet, AJ Hackett Bungy, Ziptrek, Skyline Gondola & Luge, TSS Earnslaw, and many more. If you’re feeling adventurous, you might want to try some of the more adrenaline fuelled activities, like bungy jumping or paragliding. Of course, if ‘heart-racing’ is not your style, you could choose to take a cruise on Lake Wakatipu, take in the breathtaking views from the Observation Decks at the top of the Gondola or take a short hike on one of the several walking tracks situated above the Skyline complex.

Exclusive: Novotel ZQN – STD room (Web)
Boutique: Browns Hotel – STD (Web)
Luxury: Matakauri Lodge (Web) Dinner included


Day 15 Queenstown - Milford Sound (286 kms) (3 ½ hrs) -
Te Anau (B, D) (117 kms) (1½ hrs)

Today you will experience one of the highlights of your journey. You travel to Fiordland National Park, which is not only New Zealand's largest but also one of the largest National Parks in the world and has been declared a world heritage site. Upon seeing the grand scenery of the narrow valleys, the steep rocks that reach toward the skies, and the lush rain forest the floor of which is covered by moss and ferns, one can be overwhelmed by a sentiment of human powerlessness. In Fiordland nature is the master.
The spectacular Milford Road winds through a majestic mountain world. At the Homer tunnel you might have a close encounter with the cheeky Keas, the only mountain parrots in the world, before you reach the Sound.
Optional:
Here is the opportunity to fully absorb the true mood and tranquillity of this very special place from a cruise ship that will float out almost until Tasman Sea and with a little luck you may see fur seals, penguins or dolphins. Enjoy the romantic scenery of wilderness, which is determined by almost vertical mountain walls like the Mitre Peak and plunging waterfalls. Milford Sound will almost certainly instill a deep sense of awe at the forces of nature. You then head back to Te Anau on the shores of Lake Te Anau, where you stay the night.

Exclusive: Distinction Luxmore – STD room (Web)
Boutique: Dunluce B&B – STD (Web)
Luxury: Fiordland Lodge (Web) Dinner included


Day 16 Te Anau - Dunedin (B) (290 kms) (3¾ hrs)
Driving further through the Otago High Country, you will reach the East Coast of the South Island and the wonderful city of Dunedin. Dunedin was born out of gold and reached maturity through industry and educational excellence. The city has a deserved reputation as one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere, and it even has its own castle. Also worth exploring is the Otago University, The Railway Station, Olveston, the First Church, and the Municipal Chambers.
On the Otago Peninsula, you can visit the Royal Albatross Colony, the world's only mainland breeding colony, and Penguin Place, where you can see Yellow Eyed Penguins, the most endangered species of penguins in the world.

Exclusive: Southern Cross (Web)
Boutique: Fletcher Lodge (Web)
Luxury: Kaimata Retreat (Web)


Day 17 Dunedin - Moeraki Boulders - Oamaru -
Christchurch (B, D) (360 kms) (5 hrs)

Heading North along the Pacific coast you soon reach Moeraki, where the mysterious 'Moeraki Boulders' - round rock formations scattered on the beach - fascinate visitors. The journey then continues North through the limestone city of Oamaru to Christchurch, once one of New Zealand's most beautiful cities, until the Christchurch CBD was partially destroyed in early 2011 by a large earthquake. Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island and is often referred to as the most 'English city outside of England". It is also well-known as 'Garden City' because of its many beautiful parks and private gardens. Dinner at your accommodation is included.

Exclusive: The George (Web)
Boutique: The George (Web)
Luxury: Otahuna Lodge (Web)


Day 18 Depart New Zealand (B)
Time to bid a fond "e noho ra" to the Land of the Long White Cloud as today you leave New Zealand. You will need to return your rental car to the airport depot, before going to the airport to check in for your international flight.





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