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AAT Kings

10 Day AAT Kings Contrasts of New Zealand 24/25

New Zealand will set your heart racing, while you take the country’s pulse. From its unexpected city sights – who knew you could construct a church from cardboard? – to its culinary delights, this voyage is as thrilling as it is tasty. And then there are the natural wonders: gem-like glaciers, soaring fiords, snow-dusted mountains, and bubbling geysers among them. On this NZ holiday, drop in on Christchurch, soak your limbs in Rotorua, eat your way around Queenstown and feel the full force of nature at Milford Sound/Piopiotahi. Trips to New Zealand don’t get much better than this.

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Tour summary and feature

Quick Itinerary Details

New Zealand Escorted Tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$7,044 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Christchurch

10 days/9 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Pre and post tour options? YES

 Viewed 168 times in the last 7 days

This tour also includes
Auckland City Tour
Be My Guest Morning Tea
Breakfast at Hobbiton
Christchurch City Tour
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Maori Village Experience & Hangi (dinner), Rotorua
Milford Sound Cruise
TSS Earnslaw cruise and BBQ lunch at Walter Peak high country farm, Queenstown
Visit National Kiwi Hatchery
9 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners, 2 special dinners
Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
Auckland - City of Sails

New Zealand’s largest city is also one of its prettiest, as you’ll discover exploring at your leisure. Arrive early to linger in its hip harbourside precincts, where galleries and design-driven stores await. You’ll have worked up an appetite by the time you meet your fellow travel companions for a few local tipples at a Welcome Reception and dinner. Start your Auckland tour on a high, we say.

Staying in:

  • The Grand by SkyCity (1 night)

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View over Auckland

If you didn’t get your city bearings yesterday, you will on an Auckland tour today. Have your camera poised as you reach Mission Bay, a dreamy waterside suburb where the blues patchwork to the horizon. Click! Then get snap happy once again at Bastion Point and the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, offering epic vistas over Auckland and its harbours. Click, click, click! Want some tips on how to spend your free afternoon in New Zealand’s largest city? How about going behind the scenes of the All Blacks, arguably the world’s most legendary rugby team? Or cruising to Waiheke Island to sip more wine at forward-thinking cellar doors? This evening’s Auckland tour is at your leisure.

Staying in:

  • The Grand by SkyCity (1 night)

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Maori Cultural Performance

You could be forgiven for thinking Rotorua’s landscapes are a sci-fi movie set. Mud pops and jettisons from bubbling geysers, and steam rushes skywards from cracks in the Earth. The surrounding forest is a fertile habitat for New Zealand’s national bird, being protected and bred at the National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa. The cute-as-a-button, cotton-ball kiwi is under threat in the wild; at the hatchery, passionate conservationists reveal how they are saving the population, one incubated egg at a time. Tonight, dive deep into Indigenous culture and traditions  at Te Pā Tū Māori Experience. Enjoy a forest kai horotai (summer season canape) and chef choice aperitif, followed by a seasonal three-course dinner. This is a meal you won’t forget in a hurry.

Staying in:

  • Millennium Hotel, Rotorua (1 night)

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Hobbiton Movie Set

Lord of the Rings fanatics, prepare for a day of goosebumps. Your Rotorua tour begins with breakfast served in the very spot that Frodo and Bilbo once lived. The Hobbiton Movie Set is all rolling hills and emerald pastures, a storybook landscape for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. The feel-good vibes that ensure will follow you all the way to Queenstown, the self-proclaimed adventure capital of New Zealand. It makes perfect sense – there are ski fields, white-water river and bridges strapped with bungy cords wherever you turn. And then there’s the dining scene; Queenstown is home to some of the country’s most awarded restaurants. Whether you’re in the mood for bulging burgers or lakeside tapas, ask us for recommendations on this leg of your Queenstown New Zealand tour.

Staying in:

  • Millennium Hotel, Queenstown (1 night)

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Milford Sound Cruise

Bring your stamina and sense of adventure – things get a little wild today. Nature rules as you skirt Queenstown’s gleaming Lake Wakatipu, and traverse the Devil’s Staircase to Te Anau, the alpine gateway to World Heritage listed Fiordland National Park. Once you’ve paused to admire the drama at Mirror Lakes, Knobs Flat, Hollyford Valley lookout, Cleddau Valley and the Chasm, you’ll begin to understand why Rudyard Kipling called this the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. You haven’t even seen Bowen Falls or Milford Sound/Piopiotahi yet… The best Milford Sound/Piopiotahi cruise sees you in the company of eagle-eyed guide, who not only knows the immense geological history of the region, but can also point out sun-baking fur seals and playful dolphins.

Staying in:

  • Millennium Hotel, Queenstown (1 night)

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View from Queenstown over Lake Wakatipu

Take today’s Queenstown New Zealand tour at your own pace. Like things fast and furious? Feel the wind in your hair on the high-octane Shotover Jet, perhaps, your high-octane chariot churning over the Shotover River’s white-water rapids. Prefer to be able to talk (and drink wine) while you cruise? Glide across Lake Wakatipu aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue lunch in a dreamy alpine setting. Wherever you wander, be sure to save space for tonight’s Highlight Dinner at Postmasters Café, a historic Arrowtown cottage replete with picket fence and Instagrammable gardens.

Staying in:

  • Millennium Hotel, Queenstown (1 night)

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Star Gazing

Whether pinot noir grapes or cherries, things grow well in the fertile Central Otago region of the South Island. Get a taste for the area’s plump stone fruit at a stall, adjoining the local orchard of Mrs. Jones. Mountain drama – including views of Aoraki/Mt. Cook – is your backdrop en route to Lake Tekapo, with water so turquoise it looks like a Renaissance painting. This part of the country is ravishing and remote; the lack of light pollution means dazzling Southern Hemisphere stargazing at UNESCO World Heritage listed Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. It’s handy to have an astronomer in your company to decode the constellations of the Milky Way. If there was ever a NZ experience that put life in perspective, this is it.

Staying in:

  • Peppers Bluewater Resort (1 night)

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View of Lake Tekapo

The Canterbury region of the west coast is a bucolic union of grassy plains, mirror-like lakes and snow-capped mountains, the kind of landscape that you might see on postcards. Arrive in the beautiful English city of Christchurch for a guided tour. The city is not only rebuilding itself after the devastating 2010/11 earthquakes, but is changing the way architects think about design. Case in point the mind-bending Transitional Cathedral, made largely of cardboard, and Turanga, the gold-clad central library.

Staying in:

  • Distinction Christchurch Hotel (1 night)

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Christchurch Cathedral

Travel north through rolling countryside to Hurunui Hills, a hill country farm in North Canterbury. Enjoy warm Kiwi hospitality from the Bamford Family, who have been farming at Hurunui since 1884 with six generations focused on producing premium Merino sheep, wool and Angus cattle. Enjoy stunning scenery, meet the farm animals & discover what it is like to live off the land, on this unique By My Guest experience. Continue to local Waipara Springs Winery where you will enjoy a platter-style lunch among the vines.  A big day leads to a big evening joining your Travel Director and travel mates for a celebratory Farewell Dinner featuring produce from the Canterbury region.

Staying in:

  • Distinction Christchurch Hotel (1 night)

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AAT Kings Couch

You’ve travelled hundreds of kilometers across two islands, likely taken thousands of photos, and made countless memories and new friends. The only thing left to do is plan your next trip to New Zealand.

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Apr 5, 2024
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