New Zealand

Highlights of New Zealand

As the name suggests, this itinerary encompasses the main highlights of New Zealand. Starting in Auckland you will then enjoy classic ‘Lord of the Rings’ territory as well as the hot springs and Maori culture of Rotorua. Flying down to the South Island, you will have ample time to enjoy the spectacular scenery here. There are a wealth of different activities on offer, including whale watching, jet-boating, luge rides, horse-riding and hiking. A superb family adventure that will slot into most school holidays.

Highlights

  Explore Middle-earth in Hobbiton
  View Rotorua’s thermal activity
  Witness a Haka ceremony
  Go whale-watching at Kaikoura
  Adrenalin activities at Queenstown
  Cruise stunning Milford Sound

15 days from £2,750 pp

Plus international flights from £950

A two-week holiday for a family of four to New Zealand usually costs from £7,000 to £10,000 plus flights, depending on type of accommodation.

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Highlights of New Zealand day-to-day itinerary

Day 1 Auckland
Arrive into Auckland where you will be met at the airport by a representative and taken to your hotel. Flights usually arrive in the morning, allowing for a leisurely day to recover from jetlag. We will include entry to the famous Sky Tower where you can take a glass-fronted elevator up to the viewing deck for stunning vistas over Auckland. A superb introduction to your journey Down Under.


Day 2 Hobbiton
This morning collect your rental car and drive straight to Hobbiton for your tour of this world famous attraction. Experience the real Middle-earth with a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set, the bucolic setting for The Shire in ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Drive through the picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges and enjoy a guided walk of the ten acre site visiting Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn and the Mill – with no scary Gollum in sight. A real treat for Hobbit fans. Afterwards head to your farmstay where you will be greeted by your hosts. The rest of the day you can relax and enjoy the tranquil setting – the perfect intro to the Kiwi rural way of life.


Day 3 Rotorua
Time for some explosive action! Head to nearby Rotorua, well known for its thermal activity (and rather pungent aroma…).  There is no shortage of geothermal sights including bubbling mud pools, erupting geysers and the cause of the unique scent, sulphur hot springs. Visit some of the thermal villages for a soak in the hot pools and explore the magnificent local Redwood forests on an amazing 700m-canopy walkway.  For the daredevils out there, why not tackle the world’s longest zig-zag Zorb track – with or without water!

This evening you will experience local culture at a Maori village, nestled in a 200 year old ancient Tawa forest. Witness the unique Poi dance and the famed, powerful Maori Haka followed by a sumptuous 3-course Maori Hangi feast, steamed underground in the traditional way.


Days 4-5 Kaikoura
Fly to the South Island (usually via Auckland). Upon arrival into Christchurch you will collect your campervan and proceed north along the coast to Kaikoura. The following morning, experience an up-close encounter with the Giant Sperm Whale on an exciting four-hour wildlife cruise.

The afternoon can be spent exploring beaches packed with sea lions and indulging in sumptuous seafood cuisine. Highly recommended for all the family is the superb ‘Swimming with Dolphins’ experience – enjoy the company of these amusing and friendly creatures in their own natural environment in a responsible and fun way.

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Day 6 Lake Tekapo/Mt Cook
Travel through wine country, along the inland scenic route. Take a picnic in the historic village of Burke’s Pass before settling into the resort town of Tekapo on the banks of the crystal blue waters of glacial-fed Lake Tekapo. This region is home to a dark sky reserve which is the perfect place to spot the famous Southern Cross.


Days 7-8 Wanaka
The next two days allow you to stretch your legs and enjoy the astonishing backdrops New Zealand is famous for. Hike the stunning 5km Hooker Valley Track in Mt Cook National Park then head to the gorgeous lakeside town of Wanaka. Here there are over 750kms of trails to choose from, to suit all abilities. Explore Mount Aspiring National Park where teens can tackle more challenging mountain pass routes and younger ones in buggies can enjoy accessible riverside trails through beechwood forests to crystal-clear pools. Summit Roy’s Peak, go horse-riding or quad biking in the beautiful Cardrona Valley or hire a kayak or SUP and paddle the tranquil lake waters to islands and beaches for a picnic lunch.


Days 9-10 Queenstown
Travel via the historic, picturesque village of Arrowtown to Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital. A smorgasbord of activities awaits the entire family. Marvel at the stunning views as you ride the Skyline Queenstown Gondola – the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere. Once you reach Bob’s Peak, jump on your specialised luge cart, select your track, then take control as you zoom down the luge. Then catch the chairlift back to the start zone and, well, remember that overused childhood expression; “Again! Again! Again!”…

Older ones might like a bit of adrenalin with a bungee jump or sky dive. Younger families can take a lake cruise on the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Farm situated on picturesque Lake Wakatipu. Or if you are looking for a more heart-racing water activity then everyone will enjoy the ‘Funyak’ safari. Take an exhilarating jet boat ride up the Dart River deep into the heart of Mount Aspiring National Park. From here you’ll travel back down river at your own pace in a unique ‘Funyak’ (a stable, inflatable kayak), exploring pristine waters as they flow from the Southern Alps to Lake Wakatipu. Enjoy a gourmet buffet lunch before heading via 4-wheel drive to locations from ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’. Yes, more Tolkein time….


Day 11 Milford Sound
Today will be a full day of breath-taking scenery that should wow even the most ‘wriggly’ of young travellers – a journey into Fiordland National Park. The Milford Road is one of the finest alpine drives in the world. The scenery ranges from dense rainforest and towering mountains to glacial lakes and alpine herb fields. On arrival into Milford Sound you will board your vessel to enjoy a spectacular cruise past the geological drama of the sheer cliffs of Mitre Peak, massive waterfalls, glaciers and rainforest. Keep a look out for seals basking on rocks and pods of dolphins. Tonight relax in the small lakeside town of Te Anau.


Day 12 Te Anau
Another scenic cruise today – across to the western shores of the lake and the famous Te Anau Glow-worm Caves. Take a guided walk into the forest to view native flora and fauna then head below ground to witness a twisting network of limestone passages and the roaring whirlpools and waterfalls of the Tunnel Burn Stream. Transfer into small boats to drift silently along the river, below a display of thousands of glittering glow-worms. In the subterranean darkness, they produce a sparkling display that is nothing short of extraordinary.


Day 13 Dunedin
Back in your campervan, travel through Southland to the Highland-influenced city of Dunedin. You may wish to extend the drive to detour through the Catlins, a spectacular coastal stretch of rugged beauty, native forests, high cliffs, waterfalls, caves, Nugget Point lighthouse and a petrified forest.


Day 14 Otago Peninsula
Cruise the length of beautiful Otago Harbour, passing by the historic fishing village of Carey’s Bay. Enjoy unrivalled wildlife viewing of albatross, fur seals, dolphins and numerous ocean birds. Take a scenic drive along the Otago Peninsula to the Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve to view the rarest penguin in the world. Children will love being able to get so close to these amusing, waddling creatures from a unique system of covered trenches and viewing hides – Happy Feet indeed.


Day 15 Christchurch

Follow the coastal road back to Christchurch. Allow time to stop at the remarkable Moeraki boulders, a naturally occurring series of stone marbles dotted along the coast offering some really fun trick photo opportunities for budding photographers. Time to return home after an incredible Kiwi Experience!

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