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Trafalgar Tours

17 Day Trafalgar Tours New Zealand Uncovered 2024

The perfect New Zealand tour to bring New Zealand’s North and South Islands to life across land and sea, taking in both cities and small towns. You’ll traverse epic landscapes, indulge in fresh food and delicious wine, experience farming and Maori culture firsthand, and meet welcoming locals with stories to share.

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Tour summary and feature

Quick Itinerary Details

New Zealand Escorted Tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$8,595 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Christchurch

17 days/16 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Pre and post tour options? YES

 Viewed 62 times in the last 7 days

This tour also includes
Auckland City Revealed half day tour
Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve
Wellington City Tour
Visit a Local Orchard
Visit a Kiwifruit Orchard
TSS Earnslaw cruise & dinner at Walter Peak high country farm, Queenstown
TranzAlpine Rail Journey
Te Papa Museum of New Zealand
Punakaiki Rocks
Milford Sound Cruise
Maori Village Experience & Hangi (dinner), Rotorua
Interislander ferry crossing
Huka Falls
Christchurch City Tour
Boat ride on Lake Manapouri
Blenheim Sightseeing tour
Be My Guest Experience in the Red Barn
Be My Guest Afternoon Tea
Americas Cup tour at Maritime Museum
16 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 11 dinners
Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
View of Auckland

Welcome to Auckland, the “City of Sails,” and a beautiful jumping off point for your 17-day New Zealand tour (flights to arrive prior to 4pm). You’ll meet your Travel Director and travel mates over a Welcome Reception of beer and wine. Then get the city scoop from your Travel Director, learning about its rich Maori history and melting pot of cultures over dinner at Eight in your hotel. This interactive restaurant is named for its eight kitchens where you can pick your cuisine among international options from sushi and fresh oysters to Indian curry and Italian pasta.

Staying in:

  • Cordis (1 night)

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View of Auckland from Mt Eden

Your perfect start to your time in this this seafaring city, begin your day diving into Auckland’s maritime history over an exclusive America’s Cup tour at the New Zealand Maritime Museum with a Local Specialist before it opens to the public. Now that you’ve got your first taste, learn even more your beautiful surrounds on a sightseeing tour from the heart of the city at the Auckland Waterfront. Continue to Mission Bay, historic Bastion Point, and the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial keeping your camera at hand to capture the Auckland skyline, North Shore, and Waitemata Harbour. Then spend the rest of the afternoon exploring on your own. Why not take a stroll down Queen Street to Viaduct Harbour’s main shopping precinct and enjoy a glass of New Zealand’s crisp Sauvignon Blanc? If you’re looking for more than views of the city, you’ll find it aboard the ferry to the charming maritime village of Devonport. You could walk to to he summit of Mt. Victoria, visit Devonport Chocolates where you can watch chocolatiers handmaking their sweet treats or simply relax on Cheltenham Beach.

Staying in:

  • Cordis (1 night)

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View of Tauranga in Bay of Plenty

Leave Auckland behind and journey into the countryside for an exclusive family-style Be My Guest lunch in the Red Barn on a working dairy farm. Over your farm to table lunch prepared by the onsite chef, get a feel for country life as you're invited to roll up your sleeves and make your own butter - butter churners, tiny mason jars and all! The next hot-spot on your NZ holiday – in every sense of the word – is Rotorua. Visit Te Puia to see and support Maori artisans at work, then continue your Rotorua tour at the steamy Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, a staggering valley where geysers pop and thermal springs jettison skywards. Fun fact: this is the only living Maori village in the world.

Staying in:

  • Millennium (1 night)

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Tamaki Maori Village

Today, choose your own adventure. We have plenty of ideas for the paths you might follow. Optional Rotorua tour sightseeing experiences include zipping across Rotorua’s three lakes in an amphibious WWII-era Duck. There’s also the option of relieving NZ holiday-weary limbs in the thermal waters of the Polynesian Spa. The decision is yours. Tonight, dive deep into Indigenous culture and traditions at Te Pa Tu Maori Experience with culture and kai (cuisine). Hear about Māori history, traditions, and future aspirations across four hours of celebration and feasting. Enjoy a forest kai horotai (summer season canapes) and chef choice aperitif, followed by a seasonal three-course dinner.

Staying in:

  • Millennium (1 night)

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Thermal Reserve in Rotorua

Say goodbye to Rotorua and hello to the raging rapids of Huka Falls, where 220,000 litres of water barrel over this massive waterfall every second. Your outlook then unfolds into the dreamy landscape of Lake Taupo, the largest of its kind in the country and with a twinkling, blue-eyed-boy charm. Your Lake Taupo tour sees you traverse the volcanic Central Plateau to NZ’s cool little capital of Wellington, set on a pretty harbour.

Staying in:

  • Rydges (1 night)

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Wellington Cable Car

Your day in Wellington should – must – begin with a coffee. The city is known for its uber-cool cafés and with coffee in hand you will head out on city sights tour to take in highlights such as its iconic cable car, parliament, and Mt. Victoria  This afternoon is yours to discover Wellington. You could visit Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, perhaps tour the Wairarapa wine region or the first urban completely fenced ecosanctuary of Zealandia, where the biodiversity of 225 hectares of forest is being restored. Tonight, there are so many restaurants and bars to choose from. Ask us for recommendations or explore at your leisure. Because every NZ holiday needs a little down time.

Staying in:

  • Rydges (1 night)

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Vineyard in Marlborough

This morning cruise the Cook Strait into tranquil Queen Charlotte Sound from the North Island to the South, through a maze of arms and inlets into the sleepy seaside village of Picton. Continue to Kaikoura, where Sperm Whales, dolphins and fur seals can often be seen not far from shore. On arrival you'll will be treated to a biodiversity talk from the founder of Kaikōura Wildlife Centre Trust, Sabrina Leucht, at a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience. Sabrina's ambitious goal is to implement a world-class wildlife hospital in this biodiversity hotspot. Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation is a critical conservation tool, providing treatment to injured and ill animals, ensuring at-risk native species have a chance at recovery and return to the wild. Tonight, you'll dine at Hiku. Hiku celebrates what Kaikōura is all about - kai moana, fresh produce, marine life, and dramatic sea and mountain scapes.

Staying in:

  • Sudima (Kaikoura, New Zealand) (1 night)

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View of Kaikoura Coastline

Enjoy a relaxed start this morning or sign up for one of several local wildlife Optional Experiences. Choose from an scenic flight over dramatic black beaches framed by turquoise ocean where whales are regularly spotted, or perhaps you’d prefer a cruise to site pods of dolphin which are prolific in the area, or a kayaking tour of the coast to get up close and personal with seals basking on the rocks. You won’t be disappointed. Follow the coast and Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, home to some of the country’s most innovative architecture, art institutions and restaurants. We can help you make a booking in any number of the latter.

Staying in:

  • Distinction (1 night)

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Church of Good Shepherd

Kick off a big day of sightseeing day touring the sites of Christchurch including the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Earthquake Memorial, Bridge of Remembrance, and streets lined with bars, cafes, and riverside markets. Then it’s off to the country stopping in the quaint farming town of Geraldine for lunch in one of its cafés and perhaps Talbots Forest Cheese for complimentary samples. Continue your journey stopping at the little stone-hewn Church of the Good Shepherd. You’ll travel over the patchwork countryside of the Canterbury Plains bound for the home of retired farmers Angie and Stan Taylor on the shores of Lake Tekapo. Enjoy real New Zealand hospitality at a Be My Guest afternoon tea as Angie invites you into her kitchen as she prepares the New Zealand specialty dessert, Pavlova. Watch and learn her special recipe and enjoy this favourite treat. Your sweet tooth satisfied, you'll arrive in your destination, Twizel. This cute town and popular holiday destination is the perfect place end the day. Pulling into the hotel, kick back and enjoy classic New Zealand cuisine overlooking the garden before another day of exploration.

Staying in:

  • Mackenzie Country Inn (1 night)

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Dunedin Railway Station

Begin your journey to New Zealand’s southernmost city traveling along the Waitaki River en route to Oamaru. This quirky town of tree-lined streets, white limestone buildings, and 19th century architecture is known for its Victorian style. Feel like you’re stepping back in time browsing shops and galleries of traditional crafts, and refresh with a morning tea. Get ready for a change of scene in your next destination of Scottish-inspired Dunedin. You have the rest of the day free to stroll the streets of this vibrant university town and 'mini-Edinburgh'. Or explore more of the area visiting the famous Speight's Brewery, or touring New Zealand’s only castle, Larnach Castle. Recap the day’s adventures with your travel mates over dinner at the Scenic Southern Cross Hotel. In the heart of Dunedin and blocks from the waterfront, here you’ll feast on the specialty from the butcher’s block.

Staying in:

  • Scenic Southern Cross (1 night)

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Sign of Te Anau

Today you’ll head out of Dunedin through farmlands to Te Anau. Your first stop is Gore, a hot spot for country music fans, and all who appreciate nature and simple rural charm. Journey through sheep-filled farming land into forested, rugged mountains winding your way up into the Fiordland National Park and the South Island's largest lake to Te Anau. A truly memorable thrill awaits you next, exploring the islands on a jet boat ride down the Waiau River to Lake Manapouri savouring its many tranquil spots. Take in the birds and swimming trout as you learn about this unique environment’s history. This MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience is not only scenic but supports the Pomona Island Charitable Trust’s conservation efforts to restore the largest inland island in New Zealand to its natural state where native birds can thrive. This afternoon is yours to stay in or explore the fascinating, glittering glowworm caves before dinner at the Distinction Hotel.

Staying in:

  • Distinction (1 night)

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Milford Sound Scenic Cruise

Today you're bound for New Zealand’s adventure capital with a drive of stunning scenery along the way. Begin journeying through Fiordland National Park past native rainforests, beech forests, alluvial flats, and meadows. Passing Mirror Lakes, catch the reflection of mountain scenery shimmering in the water. Then continue through Homer Tunnel, an attempt to tame the sheer rocky ranges, emerging in the Cleddau Valley. Take your exploration to water as you cruise the tranquil waters of the Milford Sound/Piopiotahi filled will plenty of photo ops - and maybe a dolphin or two. See the breathtaking sites of Bowen and Stirling Falls plummeting from hanging valleys into the sea and the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak rising from the deep waters of the fiord. After a spectacular afternoon on Milford Sound, you’ll arrive in adventure-lovers Queenstown at your picturesque hotel on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

Staying in:

  • Millennium (1 night)

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View of Wakatipu Lake

Discover for yourself why Queenstown has earned its reputation as New Zealand’s adventure capital with a full day to explore. You could join an Optional Experience riding the adrenaline pumping Skippers Jet or tour through Skippers Canyon. After a big day of adventure, it's time to Dive Into Culture on an evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand's oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Here at the Colonel's Homestead, you’ll feast on a gourmet barbecue dinner piled high with ribs and fresh vegetables before an entertaining after-dinner farm show - offering a glimpse into high-country farm life. After you’ve seen the sheep dogs in action and gotten a feel for life on the homestead, cruise back to Queenstown, joining in a chorus or dancing across the polished wooden floors of the Earnslaw.

Staying in:

  • Millennium (1 night)

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Glacial Lake near Franz Josef

Leave the alpine wonderland of Queenstown behind and begin your adventure through Central Otago and out to Westland. Stop in the restored gold-mining settlement of Arrowtown strolling its tree-lined avenues and 19th-century wooden buildings, feeling as if you’re in a movie set. Then journey to Cromwell on the sparkling shores of Lake Dunstan to stop at a roadside stall connected to a local orchard for a taste of some of the town's juicy stone fruit including apricots, nectarines, peaches, and plums. More gorgeous lakes call as you travel further into Central Otago to take in the vivid blue waters and willow-lined shoreline of Lakes Hawea and Wanaka. Follow an ancient greenstone trail, cross Haast Pass, and exchange the alpine scenery of the Southern Lakes for the rainforests of the wild West Coast. Your destination, and worth the journey, is the famous Franz Josef/Waiau, home to Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere, where you’ll have an opportunity to take an Optional helicopter flight for views you’ll never forget.

Staying in:

  • Scenic Franz Josef Glacier (1 night)

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Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki

Sleep in or take the morning to explore the small but lively Franz Josef/Waiau village - perhaps visiting the West Coast Wildlife Centre to see kiwi birds - before venturing to Hokitika, home of the native jade greenstone. From natural jewellery to natural surroundings, you’re off to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Stand at the edge of the water and take in these eroded limestone foundations - they really do look like pancakes! - which began forming 30 million years ago. Imagine the water and wind forming this pancake-like stack of limestone but be sure to listen closely. When you hear a 'whoosh' of water, you can be sure a burst of sea spray is coming through the blowholes. After a spectacular day, spend the night at the eco-friendly, waterfront Scenic Hotel Punakaiki, dining on local specialties with wine and views of the thundering surf just steps away.

Staying in:

  • Scenic Punakaiki (1 night)

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TranzAlpine Train Crossing Waimakariri River

It’s your last full day in New Zealand and it’s a big one full of local tastes and sights. Travel to Greymouth’s Monteith's Brewery where a Local Specialist will share the heritage and rich stories of this national icon since 1868. You'll get to taste ever-changing and innovative brews like summer ale and crushed pear cider before enjoying a pub-style lunch. Now that you’ve wet your whistle, board the famous TranzAlpine train to Christchurch on one of the world’s most scenic train trips through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges, and river valleys. This 223-kilometre journey across the South Island along the Waimakariri River and across the Southern Alps is a grand finale to the landscapes you’ve come to love. Celebrate the highlights of your trip joining your Travel Director and new friends for a Farewell Dinner showcasing food from the Canterbury region.

Staying in:

  • Distinction (1 night)

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City Tram in Christchurch

Sadly all good things must come to an end as your New Zealand tour concludes this morning after breakfast. After a fond farewell, you’ll be transferred by to Christchurch Airport (flights anytime).

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