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AAT Kings

17 Day AAT Kings Kia Ora New Zealand 25/26

It’s hard to pick a highlight of this New Zealand tour from north to south. Is it the fiords and glaciers of Milford Sound/Piopiotahi, explored on a tour? The gem-like Bay of Islands from Auckland? The bubbling geysers and thermal springs of Rotorua? Or perhaps the mountain vistas of Queenstown? In between you have cosmopolitan cities, wineries, train rides, beaches… how does one country pack so much punch?

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Tour summary and feature

Quick Itinerary Details

New Zealand Guided Tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$9,580 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Christchurch

17 days/16 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Pre and post tour options? YES

 Viewed 54 times in the last 7 days

This tour also includes
Auckland City Tour
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
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
Boats in the Auckland Harbour

Explore waterfront precincts filled with yachts or just meet fellow travel companions for a Welcome Reception tonight.

Staying in:

  • Holiday Inn Express Auckland City Centre (1 night)

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Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Say goodbye to the ‘City of Sails’ as you journey north to the Bay of Islands – 140 droplets of land ringed by turquoise sea. It’s undeniably beautiful, but it also holds a special historical secret; this is where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. Your guide, perhaps a descendent of one of the original signatories, will explain the significance of the site, while pointing out the world’s largest ceremonial canoe and a carved meeting house.

Staying in:

  • Copthorne Hotel and Resort (1 night)

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Hole in the Rock Bay of Islands

Today, trip the light fantastic and head off in whatever direction you please. Perhaps travel up to Cape Reinga/Te Rerenga Wairua, the very top of New Zealand, via idyllic Ninety Mile Beach. Or glide around on an historic tall ship, enjoy a cruise to the iconic Hole in the Rock or join a tour of Russell and learn more about the settling of the Bay of Islands.

Staying in:

  • Copthorne Hotel and Resort (1 night)

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Aerial View of the Bay of Islands

Whangarei is a place where waterfalls meet beaches, galleries meet museums. It’s like the country in a tantalising snapshot – a union of nature and forward-thinking culture. Explore at your leisure before sinking back into your seat for the mesmerising commute back to Auckland.

Staying in:

  • Holiday Inn Express Auckland City Centre (1 night)

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Glowworms in a cave in Waitomo

After a morning of sightseeing, set your GPS for the Waitomo Caves. Cruising cavernous waterways, your 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. This evening, explore Te Puia’s geothermal valley, and learn about Māori history and culture on this guided experience, which includes a dinner of hangi-inspired cuisine and a cultural performance in a finely carved meeting house, Te Aronui a Rua. It ends on a high at the Pohutu Geyser, where, armed with a hot chocolate you’ll view one of New Zealand’s geothermal wonderlands.

Staying in:

  • Ibis Rotorua Hotel (1 night)

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Champagne pools in Rotorua

Explore at your own pace today. Want a bit of down time? Bliss out at Wai Araki Hot Springs & Spa. Hobbit fans will want to take advantage of today’s opportunity to visit the sights featured in The Lord of the Rings movies at Hobbiton.

Staying in:

  • Ibis Rotorua Hotel (1 night)

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View of Huka Falls

At Huka Falls, 220,000 litres of water thunder over an 11-metre-high waterfall every second. The road ahead unfolds in a broad panorama of mint-blue Lake Taupo. 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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The Beehive in Wellington, NZ parliament building

Wellington is known for its uber-cool cafés, designed to fuel you through a session at Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand. Onwards to the Interislander for a cruise across Cook Strait, from the North Island to the South, through a maze of arms and inlets.

Staying in:

  • Picton Beachcomber Inn (1 night)

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View of Picton Harbour

There aren’t many beaches more dramatic than the sands of Kaikoura. Bonus points if you spot a sea lion or sperm whale frolicking offshore, Kaikoura is the marine wildlife centre of New Zealand.

Staying in:

  • Wyndham Garden (1 night)

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Transitional Cathedral in Christchurch

On your city tour view the mind-bending Transitional Cathedral, made largely of cardboard, and Turanga, the gold-clad central library. From here, your outlook is the Canterbury Plains: the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo, snow-capped mountains and atmospheric towns. Your Indoor Dark Sky Astronomy Experience in Tekapo, hosted by passionate guides, will forever change the way you see the night sky. You'll see for yourself it may be one of the quietest spots on the planet, yet it has one of the busiest skies in the universe.

Staying in:

  • Heritage Gateway Hotel (1 night)

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Railway Station in Dunedin

Oamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and limestone buildings, stands proud before you journey further south toward the ‘Edinburgh of the South’. Dunedin’s Scottish ancestry is everywhere you look, from the manicured grounds of Otago University to Larnach Castle. While away the afternoon in the city’s art-lined alleys, or venture further afield to discover the wildlife that thrives here – fur seals and penguins among them.

Staying in:

  • Scenic Hotel Dunedin City (1 night)

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Larnach Castle Dunedin

Weave your way into Fiordland National Park and the South Island’s biggest lake and the town of Te Anau.

Staying in:

  • Distinction Luxmore Hotel (1 night)

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Reflective water in Milford Sound on a clear day

Your route through Fiordland National Park is an intoxicating union of beech forests, alluvial flats, meadows and mirror-like lakes. All roads lead to Milford Sound/Piopiotahi, where a string of waterfalls create a misty curtain across sheer escarpments. Venture out into the Fiord on a sightseeing cruise, where dolphins and seals are a common sight.

Staying in:

  • Copthorne Hotel and Resort (1 night)

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Queenstown wharf at sunrise with mist over the mountains

Take Queenstown at your own pace today. Feel the wind in your hair on a high octane jet boat ride, perhaps. 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 (1 night)

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Main Street Arrowtown

Leaving Lake Wakatipu behind, Arrowtown and Lake Dunstan appear on the horizon. Then there’s Lake Hawea followed by Lake Wanaka, with its Instagrammable shoreline of poplars and willows. Over the Haast Pass, the pretty town of Franz Josef/Waiau awaits.

Staying in:

  • Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (1 night)

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View of Franz Josef Glacier

Swap snow for pounamu (native greenstone or jade) in Hokitika: the pounamu found here is the stuff jewellery dreams are made of. 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.

Staying in:

  • Wyndham Garden (1 night)

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AAT Kings Coach

Two islands, glaciers, lakes, thermal springs and a parade of wildlife... We hope you find the words to describe this epic adventure.

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Apr 19, 2025
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Sep 20, 2025
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Jan 10, 2026
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Jan 24, 2026
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Feb 7, 2026
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Feb 21, 2026
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Mar 7, 2026
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