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New Zealand Experience

15 Days 2 Countries 19 Cities

From Christchurch to Auckland discover the Glow Worm Grotto, Franz Josef Glacier and the majestic Southern Alps.

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About this trip

From Christchurch to Auckland, we see nature in its many forms: the Glow Worm Grotto, Franz Josef Glacier, the majestic Southern Alps and cruising Lake Wakatipu by vintage steamship.

You'll enjoy Insider moments like… seeing the Maori treasure of pounamu (jade) skilfully carved into traditional ornaments. And having tea and exploring the grounds to views of the Tasman Sea, with the owners of historic home Shenandoah.


Trip type: Country Explorer i

Trip code: ZCCA

14 Nights

accommodation

27 Meals
  • 14 hot buffet breakfasts.

  • 11 dinners.

  • 1 Be My Guest lunch.

  • 1 Be My Guest morning tea.

On-trip Transport

All transport shown.

New Zealand Experience

Your Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrive Christchurch

Day 2

Christchurch - Punakaiki

Day 3

Punakaiki - Franz Josef

Day 4

Franz Josef - Queenstown (2 Nights)

Day 5

Queenstown Sightseeing

Day 6

Queenstown - Te Anau

Day 7

Te Anau - Dunedin

Day 8

Dunedin - Twizel

Day 9

Twizel - Christchurch

Day 10

Christchurch - Blenheim

Day 11

Blenheim - Wellington

Day 12

Wellington - Rotorua (2 Nights)

Day 13

Rotorua Sightseeing

Day 14

Rotorua - Auckland

Day 15

Depart Auckland

Day 1

Arrive Christchurch

Welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand's Garden City. Flights can arrive any time prior to 4pm and you will be transferred from the airport to your Christchurch hotel. After you check-in, you may wish to stretch your legs and take a walk around Cathedral Square or visit the Re:Start Mall. This evening, meet your fellow passengers and Travel Director at a Welcome Reception and then enjoy dinner together at your hotel.

Hotel

Novotel

Meals

  • Welcome Reception
  • Dinner

Day 1

Day 2

Christchurch - Punakaiki

First up this morning you will board the TranzAlpine train and head out through the Southern Alps to Arthurs Pass. This spectacular train journey dates back to 1914, and is rated as one of the world's most scenic train trips. The train forges through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys. Then, journey up the West Coast to Punakaiki, where you'll view the Pancake Rocks and blow holes. Tonight dinner with wine is at your hotel, then fall asleep to the sound of the surf crashing on the beach, as we overnight in our eco-friendly resort.

Hotel

Punakaiki Resort

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Dinner with wine

Day 2

Day 3

Punakaiki - Franz Josef

This morning travel down the West Coast to Hokitika. As well as being one of the few West Coast communities to embrace its coastal landscape, Hokitika struck it rich in the resources stakes. Here you will visit a pounamu factory (native greenstone or jade), for the chance to see a Local Specialist at work creating intricate pieces of jewellery and art. Maori tradition says it is bad luck to buy pounamu for yourself, so if you fancy a trinket of your own, make sure you have someone there to purchase it for you. Your final destination for today is the extraordinary rivers of ice that make up Franz Josef Glacier. You may want to get up close and personal with the glaciers on an Optional Experience helicopter flight. Your flight will hover over the snow face, and may land high up in the valley so that you can walk across the ice fall - subject to weather conditions. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Hotel

Scenic Franz Josef Glacier

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Dinner with wine

Day 3

Day 4

Franz Josef - Queenstown (2 Nights)

If weather conditions are unfavourable on Day 3, you will get another chance to fly up to the glaciers this morning. If you aren't flying, you might want to take a stroll through the small but lively Franz Josef village. Then you will head out of Franz following an ancient greenstone trail. View the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls and the grand sight of Mt Hooker, flanked on three sides by extensive glaciers. Travel over Haast Pass, marking a change from the rainforest marvel of the wild West Coast to the alpine scenery of the Southern Lakes. From here you will travel further into Central Otago and view Lake Wanaka, where the shoreline is charmingly lined by poplars and willows, followed by the vivid blue waters of Lake Hawea. It is a day of gorgeous lakes, as after Hawea you will travel over to Cromwell, situated next to the sparkling pristine waters of Lake Dunstan. Stop in at a local orchard for a taste of some of the town's delicious stone fruit. Later, you will stop and visit the faithfully restored gold mining settlement of Arrowtown. As you amble down the beautiful tree-lined avenues, past the 19th century wooden buildings, you will feel like you have stepped into a movie set. Then it's on to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand!

Hotel

Millennium

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast

Day 4

Day 5

Queenstown Sightseeing

Today your choice of sightseeing: ride the Shotover Jet, join a wine tour, play 9 holes of golf, take the gondola to the Skyline Restaurant for dinner or perhaps take a 4WD minibus through Skippers Canyon. This evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue Regional Meal at the Colonel's Homestead. An entertaining farm show provides a glimpse into high-country farm life. Return to Queenstown to experience the festive nightlife.

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Regional Meal

Day 5

Day 6

Queenstown - Te Anau

Today is one of those days where you will want to have your camera battery charged, and ready to go. And you will probably want to have a spare battery or two on hand… just in case. From the beautiful sights of Queenstown, you will travel out to the spectacular scenes of Milford Sound. You will stop at Mirror Lakes where, as the name suggests, you can see the stunning mountain scenery perfectly reflected in the waters of the lakes. Then on to the Homer Tunnel, man's attempt to master the sheer rocky ranges, still left rough-hewn around the edges. As you emerge out the other side of the tunnel, you are presented with one of the world's most dramatic alpine drives, down through the Cleddau Valley. You will have a stop at the Chasm, where the roaring Cleddau River has carved its way through solid rock, and then it's on to Milford Sound, where you will cruise the waters of this natural wonder. Your cruise meanders down the sound, taking in the Bowen and Stirling Falls as these plummet from glacial hanging valleys sharply into the sea, and the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak, rising from the deep waters of the fiord. After leaving Milford Sound, you will journey through the Fiordland National Park and out to Te Anau on one of the most scenic roads you could hope for. Travel through native rainforests, beech forests, alluvial flats and meadows. This evening after dinner with wine at your hotel you may consider an Optional Experience out across the lake to visit the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves.

Hotel

Distinction

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Dinner with wine

Day 6

Day 7

Te Anau - Dunedin

You may want to take an early morning walk along the shoreline of the South Island's biggest lake, before you depart the township of Te Anau this morning. The heavily forested, rugged mountains of Fiordland National Park turn into rolling, grassy hills as you meander your way down to the city of Dunedin. Dunedin, also known as the Edinburgh of the South, has strong connections to its northern hemisphere sister city, even down to sharing many of the same street names - so take a wander down George Street, noting Dunedin's Scottish ancestry. This afternoon your choice of sightseeing: tour Larnach Castle, New Zealand's only castle, ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway, take the Monarch Wildlife Cruise, or tour Cadbury World or Speight's Brewery. Tonight, enjoy dinner with wine at your hotel.

Hotel

Scenic Southern Cross

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Dinner with wine

Day 7

Day 8

Dunedin - Twizel

This morning you have some free time in Dunedin. You may wish to roam around the beautiful grounds of New Zealand's first university, Otago. From Dunedin you will then travel through to the township of Oamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and its famous white limestone buildings. As well as shipping limestone to the bigger cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin for construction of their Town Halls and various churches, Oamaru locals made sure that their own town represented the best in limestone building the mid-late 1800s had to offer. Then you will journey along the Waitaki River, for a photo stop at the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam. The Waitaki River marks the boundary between the regions of Canterbury and Otago, and with its large catchment it is an ideal source of hydro-electric power. Your day finishes in the heart of the Mackenzie Country at Twizel.

Hotel

MacKenzie Country Inn

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Dinner with wine

Day 8

Day 9

Twizel - Christchurch

You may wish to take an Optional Experience this morning. Take in Mount Cook National Park from the air on a scenic flight out over New Zealand's highest peak, the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. Sweeping views across the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo framed by a backdrop of rugged hills and snow-capped mountains provide stunning alpine photography opportunities. Later, you will visit the little stone-hewn Church of the Good Shepherd, and stop for a quick photo with the bronze statue of a collie dog, the touching tribute to the sheepdogs which helped develop the Mackenzie Country. Join us at a Be My Guest barbecue at Morelea Farm, a typical working sheep farm, where you'll get a taste of traditional New Zealand country life. You'll be welcomed into the home of Angie and Stan Taylor and their 600 acre garden. You'll have the chance to experience sheep shearing and farming demonstrations before enjoying a BBQ lunch, and wait until you try Angie's famous pavlova dessert! Listen to the family's story of growing up in rural New Zealand and their challenges of farming in the foothills of New Zealand's Southern Alps. This afternoon head through the South Canterbury country towns of Fairlie and Geraldine and out over the patchwork countryside of the Canterbury Plains into Christchurch. Enjoy a city sights tour and see how Christchurch is rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Pop into the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square, the temporary home of the Christchurch Cathedral. It is the world's only cathedral made substantially of cardboard! Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Christchurch's inner city.

Hotel

Novotel

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Be My Guest Dining

Day 9

Day 10

Christchurch - Blenheim

You will begin your day travelling through the rolling hills and over the lush river flats out to the Pacific Ocean coastline where roaring sea meets enormous bush-clad mountains. Today you will get the opportunity to spend some time observing some pretty special wildlife. From the seaside township of Kaikoura, you may want to take an Optional Experience helicopter flight and coast out over the Pacific Ocean for whale and dolphin viewing. If a helicopter flight is not your style, why not wander down the main street, stop in at one of many local eateries and sample a Kiwi seafood delight - crayfish. There is no way to avoid these sea creatures… even the town's name reflects an abundance of crustaceans - 'kai' in Maori means food and 'koura' means crayfish. This afternoon get up close and personal with New Zealand fur seals at Ohau Point, and watch as they frolic and play in the tidal currents, and sun themselves on the rocks. This evening you will finish your adventure in the South Island in Blenheim. Tonight enjoy a 5-course Regional Meal prepared from local produce and matched with wines of the Marlborough region, including selections from Villa Maria and Saint Clair wineries.

Hotel

Scenic Marlborough

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Regional Meal

Day 10

Day 11

Blenheim - Wellington

Enjoy a quiet start to the day. Your Travel Director and coach will join you on board the Interislander for a cruise across the Cook Strait, from the South Island to the North. Surprisingly it takes longer to cruise through the Queen Charlotte Sound and up the Tory Channel than it does to cross the open ocean of Cook Strait. You will meander through a maze of arms and inlets out of Picton. Upon arrival, you will head out on a city sights tour of Wellington taking in New Zealand's parliament buildings, and a visit to Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, for a Cultural Insight. Discover New Zealand's nature, history, art and heritage, and then enjoy some time at leisure. Indulge in Wellington's renowned coffee culture, or take a walk along Lambton Quay. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Hotel

James Cook Grand Chancellor

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Dinner with wine

Day 11

Day 12

Wellington - Rotorua (2 Nights)

After departing Wellington, this morning you'll travel north up the Kapiti Coast to the gorgeous historic villa, Shenandoah, for a Be My Guest morning tea. Join Simon and Claudia, who will show you their home, which includes a unique private collection of Harley Davidson motor cycles. Enjoy morning tea in their garden, then take a walk around the property to meet the animal members of the family. Journey north over the tussock plains of the Central Plateau through Tongariro National Park, view Lake Taupo and Huka Falls on your way to Rotorua. Tonight an evening of culture, history and scrumptious food awaits you at the Tamaki Family Marae. Wander through the ancient forest village and learn about Maori art forms and traditions, followed by a concert featuring local performers. Experience an authentic Maori Hangi Regional Meal, steamed underground in the traditional way.

Hotel

Millennium

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Be My Guest Dining
  • Dinner with wine

Day 12

Day 13

Rotorua Sightseeing

Today your choice of sightseeing: join the Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs Nature Park, discover Maori culture at Te Puia Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, see the Agrodome Farm Show, relax in the seclusion of your own hot mineral pool or unwind with a facial treatment in the Lake Spa Retreat at the Polynesian Spa. Maybe ride the amphibious Rotorua Duck or the luge at Rotorua Skyline. Your Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen sightseeing experiences. Stay at your hotel this evening or with a local family in a nearby country home. Your hosts will provide wonderful Kiwi hospitality that makes you really feel 'at home'. You'll enjoy a wholesome dinner and a cooked breakfast, comfortable accommodation and a tour to introduce you to the way of life. Please make your choice at time of booking.

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast

Day 13

Day 14

Rotorua - Auckland

This morning you will travel through the King Country region which was at the centre of the New Zealand Wars in the 1860s to Waitomo Caves. See the amazing underground Glow Worm Grotto by boat and walk through the limestone caverns with a Local Specialist. This afternoon you will follow the meandering trail of the Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river, past the lush farmlands of the Waikato Region. As you journey over the Bombay Hills, the landscape changes from green, grassy meadowlands to the edges of suburbia. As you make your way into the heart of New Zealand's largest city, you will stop at Bastion Point and the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, as you will get stunning shots of Auckland, the North Shore and the Waitemata Harbour. Tonight's Farewell Dinner is at The Langham. Your personal degustation menu is made from the freshest, quality ingredients, including mouth-watering seafood and desserts.

Hotel

The Langham

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Farewell Dinner

Day 14

Day 15

Depart Auckland

Bid farewell to your fellow travellers when your holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. You will be transferred to Auckland Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).

Meals

  • Buffet Breakfast

Day 15

The Trafalgar Difference

Find out what makes Trafalgar different.


What's Included

Sightseeing Highlights

    • City tour in Auckland, Wellington, Blenheim, Dunedin.

    • Cruise on Cook Strait, Lake Wakatipu, Milford Sound.

    • View fur seals up-close at Ohau Point and the Southern Alps from the TranzAlpine train.

    • Visit the Tamaki Family Marae in Rotorua, historic Arrowtown and Franz Josef Glacier.


What's Included

Dining

    • 14 hot buffet breakfasts.

    • 11 dinners.

    • 1 Be My Guest lunch.

    • 1 Be My Guest morning tea.


What's Included

Travel Highlights

    • Luxury air-conditioned coach with WiFi in most regions or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)

    • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted

    • Hand-picked Insider Experiences

    • Optional Experiences and free time

    • Porterage, local tips and charges

    • Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras

    • An expert Travel Director and separate Driver, Driver Guide only on Mini-Stays

    • All hotel charges and local taxes

    • Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday

    • VIP entry to many sights


    Airport Transfers

  • Specific transfer information can be found on the airport transfers page


Why Trafalgar?

The Trafalgar Experience

Enjoy

Enjoy the wonder of travel, crisscrossing the globe through the seasons. On effortless adventures in breathtaking new horizons, forge lifelong friendships and memories. Our lovingly crafted itineraries are a fascinating mosaic of cultures, flavours, festivals and local stories. We’re with you all the way, guiding you and ensuring you experience the real thing: the sheer love of travel, entirely hassle-free.


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Love... Travel

"Is simply the best way to position what our guests love to experience and what we love to deliver" - Gavin Tollman CEO


Meet

Meet warm-hearted locals and like-minded travellers. Along your journey of discovery, stop to share stories and flavours with local farmers, chefs and winemakers. Pause to admire the handicrafts and rich traditions of amazing artisans. Explore the essence of Europe through captivating accounts shared by expert historians and savvy local guides.


Taste

Travelling with your tastebuds, treating them to new flavours, spices and textures along the way. From the very first breakfast to the last nightcap, travelling through Europe indulges your palate, with every meal an opportunity to discover regional fare. Savour each new flavour, try the local tipple and take home fresh culinary inspiration. Let us share our love for food and hospitality with you.


Unwind

Once you've packed your suitcase, we take care of the rest, removing all your concerns so that you can be secure in the knowledge that an award-winning global company with an impeccable reputation has taken care of every little detail. We arrange everything you'll need along your journey - meals, accommodation and travel logistics, because we are with you all the way. Travel the world with peace of mind, knowing you’re in the hands of Trafalgar.


New Zealand Experience

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15 Days, 2 Countries, 19 Cities

New Zealand Experience

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Starts

Auckland, New Zealand

Ends

Christchurch (Nz), New Zealand

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i Please read our Trip Notes before booking

iNotes
    • Departures between 1 Oct 2017-31 Mar 2018 are subject to price, itinerary and hotel modification.
    • *Air: Please note that airfares are not included in the prices above. Trafalgar guarantees to quote you the lowest possible airfare available to us on the day that you book.
    • This trip is operated in conjunction with our sister company and South Pacific Specialists - AAT Kings.
    • All prices are per person, double share.
    • If you would prefer to start your trip in Auckland and end in Christchurch, this itinerary is also available in reverse. See New Zealand Splendour - code ZAAC.
    • For the best savings and to avoid disappointment book early.
    • Stay at your hotel the evening of Day 13 or with a local family in a country home. On the homestay your hosts will provide wonderful Kiwi hospitality that makes you really feel 'at home'. You'll enjoy a wholesome dinner and a cooked breakfast, comfortable accommodation in the home or cottages and a tour to introduce you to the way of life. You can also choose to meet the animals including sheep, cows, deer and other others or simply relax with your hosts and enjoy the scenic surrounds. Please make your choice at time of booking.
  • Trip prices are per person, land only, based on double occupancy and reflect applicable discount. Discounts are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice.
  • Trip prices are correct at the time of the products going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however are subject to change - please confirm all details at time of booking.
  • For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Website Terms of Use page.
  • Twin-share option not available for trips to South America, Costa Rica, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii or for any holiday & cruise combination, or in Asia and Eastern Mediterranean except Highlights of Turkey (without cruise) & Best of Turkey. It's also not available on Small Group trips.  Guided Vacations included in this restriction are Newfoundland and Labrador (DNLA) as well as Panama, the Canal & Beyond (LPAN).  
  • For trips that are part of our Guaranteed Room Share, please note that there is a no smoking policy in all shared rooms. Solo travel is not accepted on guided Family Experiences holidays unless travelling as part of a family group. 

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