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AAT Kings

14 Day AAT Kings New Zealand Vista 23/24

You could spend eons exploring New Zealand’s North and South Islands. But you can also experience a New Zealand tour in two weeks – if you have the right advice. Follow us for Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere tours, train rides through alpine tundra, Milford Sound/Piopiotahi cruises in the company of dolphins and whales, glowing Waitomo Caves tours… and some down time amid wineries and city restaurants that take home awards.

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Quick Itinerary Details

New Zealand Escorted Tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$6,500 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Christchurch

14 days/13 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Pre and post tour options? YES

 Viewed 170 times in the last 7 days

This tour also includes
Christchurch City Tour
Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
Huka Falls
Interislander ferry crossing
Maori Village Experience & Hangi (dinner), Rotorua
Milford Sound Cruise
TranzAlpine Rail Journey
TSS Earnslaw cruise & dinner at Walter Peak high country farm, Queenstown
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
Auckland - City of Sails

Auckland never fails to turn on the charm, as you’ll discover while exploring the city before meeting your fellow adventure-seekers. Arrive at your leisure and peruse waterfront precincts filled with yachts; take a cruise out to the wineries of Waiheke Island; or hit up the CBD to discover local designers. Kiwi creativity is surging.

Staying in:

  • Holiday Inn Express, Auckland (1 night)

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Maori Cultural Performance Rotorua

Another day in Auckland… things could be worse. After a morning Auckland tour, set your GPS for the Waikato River to Waitomo Caves. Here, your cruise route is cast in a magical light by thousands of glowworms. It’s a landscape almost as otherworldly as Rotorua, where mud pops and jettisons from bubbling geysers, and steam rushes skywards from cracks in the Earth.  Tonight, delve deep into Maori culture and traditions at Te Puia. Your dinner, a hangi cooked underground, is served while you overlook the spectacular geothermal valley. The highlight is a Māori cultural performance in the beautifully carved meeting house, Te Aronui a Rua.

Staying in:

  • Ibis Rotorua Hotel (1 night)

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Thermal Reserve

We’re leaving you up to your own devices today. But have plenty of North Island tour travel tips, depending on your mood. Want a bit of down time? Bliss out in the steamy thermal springs at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. Animal lover? Go behind the scenes on a working kiwi nursery and hatchery. Hobbit fans will want to take advantage of the opportunity to tour the sights featured in The Lord of the Rings movies at Hobbiton. These beautiful landscapes are not only a bucket list tour for Hobbit fans, but a gorgeous countryside getaway. The choice is yours.

Staying in:

  • Ibis Rotorua Hotel (1 night)

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Rotorua Town Hall

A staggering 220,000 litres of water thunder over Huka Falls’ 11-metre-high escarpment every second. It creates quite the calamity. From here, the road ahead unfolds in a broad panorama of Lake Taupo, its waters so vivid and blue they resemble an Ice Mint. Traverse the Kapiti Coast to New Zealand’s cool little capital, Wellington, where there are so many restaurants and bars to choose from, you’ll need a guidebook. Wait, you have an in-the-know Travel Director to talk to.

Staying in:

  • Travelodge Wellington (1 night)

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Wellington Cable Car

Forget everything else you have to do today and focus on one thing: getting a cup of Wellington’s amazing coffee. The city is known for its uber-cool cafés, designed to fuel you through a session at Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand. Wellington tour done and dusted: onwards to the Interislander for a cruise across Cook Strait, from the North Island to the South, through a maze of arms and inlets into the sleepy seaside village of Picton.

Staying in:

  • Picton Beachcomber Inn (1 night)

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Whale Watching near Kaikoura

Black is the new black, as you’ll fast discover when walking along the dramatic ink-hued Kaikoura beach. Bonus points if you spot a sea lion or sperm whale frolicking offshore. Talk to your Travel Director for tips on the essential restaurants to dine in tonight – Christchurch has reinvented itself in more ways than one.

Staying in:

  • Ibis Hotel Christchurch (1 night)

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Cathedral in Christchurch

From its devastating 2010/11 earthquakes, Christchurch has become one of the most forward-thinking cities in the world when it comes to design. Case in point the mind-bending Transitional Cathedral, made largely of cardboard, and Turanga, the gold-clad central library. This Christchurch tour is as eye-opening as it is educational. From here, your outlook is the Canterbury Plains: the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo, snow-capped mountains and atmospheric towns. Choose to take it in from the air for added perspective, on an optional chopper flight around the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere.

Staying in:

  • Heritage Gateway Hotel (1 night)

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Aerial View of Dunedin and Otago Bay

Oamaru may have supplied other NZ cities with limestone, but it kept some for itself – and the result is glorious leafy streets with grand 1800s buildings that stand proud before you journey further south toward Dunedin. It’s easy to while away the afternoon in ‘little Edinburgh’s’ atmospheric art-lined alleys. Or venture further afield to discover the wildlife that thrives in this pretty pocket of the country – fur seals and penguins among them.

Staying in:

  • Scenic Hotel Dunedin City (1 night)

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Dunedin Railway Station

There’s no judgement that comes from a sleep-in. But if you have the energy, channel it into exploring Larnach Castle – the only one of its kind in the country. Dunedin’s Scottish ancestry is everywhere you look, from the manicured grounds of Otago University to the city’s main George Street. Rolling green hills dotted with doe-eyed sheep are replaced by soaring mountains as you weave your way into Fiordland National Park and the South Island’s biggest lake and the town of Te Anau. Soak up the serenity – it doesn’t get any better than this.

Staying in:

  • Distinction Luxmore Hotel (1 night)

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Scening Cruise in Milford Sound

There are some travel days that blaze into your memory. Today is one. Your route through Fiordland National Park is an intoxicating union of beech forests, alluvial flats, meadows and mirror-like lakes. Gin-clear rivers carve the countryside, with all roads leading to Milford Sound/Piopiotahi. Cruising this World Heritage listed expanse will give you goosebumps, a string of waterfalls creating a misty curtain across sheer escarpments. Look out for dolphins – they’re a common sight here.

Staying in:

  • Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown (1 night)

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Lake Cruise in Queenstown

Queenstown is known as NZ’s adventure capital for good reason. But don’t take our word for it. Feel the wind in your hair on the high-octane Shotover Jet, skidding, twirling and zipping along white-water river. Nature lover? Discover some of New Zealand’s feathered friends at a wildlife centre. Wherever you wander, make sure you’re back in time to glide across Lake Wakatipu aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue dinner.

Staying in:

  • Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown (1 night)

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Franz Josef Glacier

As if Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu wasn’t pretty enough, you have a parade of gleaming waterways to keep you company today. After departing the movie-set-perfect streets of Arrowtown, discover Lake Dunstan, surrounded by orchards where you’ll pause to refuel on flavour-packed stone fruit. Then there’s Lake Hawea followed by Lake Wanaka, with its Instagrammable shoreline of poplars and willows. Over the Haast Pass, Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere sparkles like a gem. You don’t get many opportunities in life to land and walk on a glacier. This afternoon is one.

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TranzAlpine Train at Station

Swap white at Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere for green at Hokitika: the pounamu (native jade) found here is the stuff jewellery dreams are made of. In Māori tradition, it’s bad luck to buy this sacred stone for yourself; flutter your eyelids at your loved one. Just when you thought your adventure couldn’t get any better, you’ll aboard the TranzAlpine train bound for Christchurch, through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys.

Staying in:

  • Ibis Hotel Christchurch (1 night)

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AAT Coach on Road

Two islands, two weeks. It’s remarkable what you can see when you have the right people guiding you.

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Mar 12, 2024
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Mar 19, 2024
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