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AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Marvel

Beginning in Christchurch, explore both the North and South Island on this stunning 14 day New Zealand escorted coach tour with AAT Kings. Discover the beautiful alpine landscapes of the south when you travel from Christchurch through to Fiordland National Park, Dunedin, Oamarama and Picton. Travel north to Wellington and on to experience the Maori cultural centre of Rotorua and the fascinating Waitomo Glow Worm Caves before arriving into New Zealand's largest and most diverse city of Auckland.

 New Zealand escorted tour
 Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Auckland
 14 days/ 13 nights
 Hotel 3 star
  Pre and post tour options? YES Enquire Enquire
 Viewed 217 times in the last 7 days

Included in this tour package

People enjoying exploring Christchurch
Exploring Arrowtown with AAT Kings

At a glance - AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Marvel

Day 1: Welcome to Christchurch. Accommodation: Hotel Ibis, Christchurch

Day 2: Travel the spectacular Arthur's Pass via Tranz Alpine train before heading down the West Coast to arrive in Franz Josef Glacier. Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Day 3: You'll see Lakes Hawea, Wanaka and the Haast Pass, ending your drive in Queenstown. Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 4: Experience the delights of this pristine alpine town on your free day. Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 5: Leaving Queenstown, drive to the lakeside town of Te Anau and begin an awe-inspiring journey to Milford Sound. Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

Day 6: From Te Anau head South through rolling farmland to reach the rugged hills of Dunedin. Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City

Day 7: See the best of Dunedin then pass through Oamaru and the Mackenzie Basin to Omarama. Accommodation: Heritage Gateway Hotel

Day 8: See turquoise lakes Pukaki and Tekapo then cross the Canterbury plains to Christchurch. Accommodation: Hotel Ibis, Christchurch

Day 9: Today traverse the Pacific Ocean Road through Kaikoura to arrive in Picton. Accommodation: Hotel Beachcomber Inn Picton

Day 10: Cruise the Marlborough Sounds and Cook Strait to reach Wellington. Accommodation: Travelodge Wellington

Day 11: Take in the majestic Kapiti coast and Volcanic Plateau before arriving in geo-thermal Rotorua. Accommodation: Ibis Rotorua

Day 12: Take a day to experience the thermal delights of Rotorua. Accommodation: Ibis Rotorua

Day 13: Head North through lush King Country - stopping at Waitomo Caves - before continuing on to Auckland. Accommodation: VR Queen Street

Day 14: Depart Auckland today.

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AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Marvel - Detailed Itinerary  

Day 1: Welcome to Christchurch

On arrival into Christchurch airport you will be transferred to your hotel.

Welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand's Garden City. Flights can arrive any time prior to 4.00pm and you will be transferred from the airport to your Christchurch hotel. After you check-in, you can head out and explore Christchurch. Step back in time to a grand era of transport and relax as the Christchurch Tram takes you around the 'must-see' central attractions. The tram drivers provide a live commentary throughout the loop, identifying points of interest, historic architecture and the changes the city is under-going since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. (Optional Experience - own expense).

Your Accommodation: Hotel Ibis, Christchurch

Superbly situated in the very heart of the garden city, Hotel Ibis Christchurch is located just off Cathedral Square, and is close to cafes, restaurants, museums and many of Christchurch's most popular attractions.

Meals included: Dinner

Hotel Ibis, Christchurch

Day 2: Travel the spectacular Arthur's Pass via Tranz Alpine train before heading down the West Coast to arrive in Franz Josef Glacier

Christchurch to Franz Josef

First up this morning you will board the TranzAlpine train and head out through the Southern Alps to Arthurs Pass. This spectacular train journey dates back to 1914, and is rated as one of the world's most scenic train trips. The train forges through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys. Then you head off to the drift-wood strewn beaches of Hokitika. As well as being one of the few West Coast communities to embrace its coastal landscape, Hokitika struck it rich in the resources stakes. Here you will visit a pounamu factory (native greenstone or jade), for the chance to see master carvers at work creating intricate pieces of jewellery and art. Maori tradition says it is bad luck to buy pounamu for yourself, so if you fancy a trinket of your own, make sure you have someone there to purchase it for you. Your final destination for today is the extraordinary rivers of ice that make up Franz Josef Glacier. You may want to get up close and personal with the glaciers on a helicopter flight. Your flight will hover over the snow face, and may land high up in the valley so that you can walk across the ice fall - subject to weather conditions (Optional Experience– at own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Your Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Located in the heart of Franz Josef Village the hotel offers all the amenities you would expect and is close to the shops, restaurants and activities on offer.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Day 3: You'll see Lakes Hawea, Wanaka and the Haast Pass, ending your drive in Queenstown

Franz Josef to Queenstown

If weather conditions are unfavourable the previous day, you will get another chance to fly up to the glaciers this morning. If you aren't flying, you might want to take a stroll through the small but lively Franz Josef village. Then you will head out of Franz following an ancient greenstone trail. View the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls and the grand sight of Mt Hooker, flanked on three sides by extensive glaciers. Travel over Haast Pass, marking a change from the rainforest marvel of the wild West Coast to the alpine scenery of the Southern Lakes. From here you will travel further into Central Otago and view Lake Wanaka, where the shoreline is charmingly lined by poplars and willows, followed by the vivid blue waters of Lake Hawea. It is a day of gorgeous lakes, as after Hawea you will travel over to Cromwell, situated next to the sparkling pristine waters of Lake Dunstan. Stop in at a local orchard for a taste of some of the town's delicious stone fruit. Later, you will stop and visit the faithfully restored gold mining settlement of Arrowtown. As you amble down the beautiful tree-lined avenues, past the 19th century wooden buildings, you will feel like you have stepped into a movie set. Then it's on to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand!

Your Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

The Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Queenstown Lakefront is conveniently located within walking distance to the centre of Queenstown and just a few minutes stroll from the picturesque Lake Wakatipu.

Meals included: Breakfast

Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 4: Experience the delights of this pristine alpine town on your free day

Explore Queenstown

Explore exciting Queenstown your way! Take the opportunity to encounter a Queenstown legend and ride the Shotover Jet Boat or venture out on a 4WD Skippers Canyon Scenic Tour. If laid-back and relaxed is more your idea of fun then join a Wine Tour and sample some of Central Otago's award-winning wines, or visit our native birds at Queenstown's Kiwi Birdlife Park. Your AAT Kings Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen optional experiences. After a day of activity, sit back and enjoy a peaceful evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand's oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak Station. Launched in 1912, the TSS Earnslaw is the largest and grandest vessel ever to ply Lake Wakatipu. Today, the TSS Earnslaw is believed to be the only coal-fired passenger carrying vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere. Partake in a gourmet BBQ Highlight Dinner at Walter Peaks Colonel's Homestead and then enjoy an entertaining after-dinner farm show providing a glimpse into high-country farm life. On the cruise back to Queenstown, join in a vintage sing-a-long or grab your partner for a dance across the polished wooden floors of the Earnslaw.

Your Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

The Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Queenstown Lakefront is conveniently located within walking distance to the centre of Queenstown and just a few minutes stroll from the picturesque Lake Wakatipu.

Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 5: Leaving Queenstown, drive to the lakeside town of Te Anau and begin an awe-inspiring journey to Milford Sound

Queenstown to Milford Sound, then return to Te Anau

Today is one of those days where you will want to have your camera battery charged, and ready to go! From the beautiful sights of Queenstown, you will travel out to the spectacular scenes of Milford Sound. You will stop at Mirror Lakes where, as the name suggests, you can see the stunning mountain scenery perfectly reflected in the waters of the lakes. Then on to the Homer Tunnel, man's attempt to master the sheer rocky ranges, still left rough-hewn around the edges. As you emerge out the other side of the tunnel, you are presented with one of the world's most dramatic alpine drives, down through the Cleddau Valley. You will have a stop at the Chasm, where the roaring Cleddau River has carved its way through solid rock, and then it's on to Milford Sound, where you will cruise the waters of this natural wonder. Your cruise meanders down the sound, taking in the Bowen and Stirling Falls as these plummet from glacial hanging valleys sharply into the sea, and the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak, rising from the deep waters of the fiord. After leaving Milford Sound, you will journey 119km through the Fiordland National Park and out to Te Anau on one of the most scenic roads you could hope for. Travel through native rainforests, beech forests, alluvial flats and meadows. This evening you have the opportunity to head out across the lake to the Glow Worm Caves for a tour (Optional Experience - at own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Your Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

The perfect base for all your Fiordland travel, Distinction Luxmore Hotel provides comfortable accommodation right in the heart of Te Anau.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Distinction Luxmore Hotel

Day 6: From Te Anau head South through rolling farmland to reach the rugged hills of Dunedin

Te Anau to Dunedin and an afternoon to explore

You may want to take an early morning walk along the shoreline of the South Island's biggest lake, before you depart the township of Te Anau this morning. The heavily forested, rugged mountains of Fiordland National Park turn into rolling, grassy hills as you meander your way down to the city of Dunedin. Dunedin, also known as the Edinburgh of the South, has strong connections to its northern hemisphere sister city, even down to sharing many of the same street names - so take a wander down George Street, noting Dunedin's Scottish ancestry. With the rest of your free afternoon you may wish to take part in an optional experience to see more of the region. Take a Wildlife Cruise out to Otago Peninsula, visit the Speights Brewery - a New Zealand institution or ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Your Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City

Just two blocks from the Octagon in the heart of the city, Scenic Hotel Dunedin City is close to shops, parks and the best city attractions and services. The hotel provides excellent 4-star accommodation to Dunedin's visitors.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Scenic Hotel Dunedin City

Day 7: See the best of Dunedin then pass through Oamaru and the Mackenzie Basin to Omarama

Dunedin to Oamaru and Omarama

This morning you have some free time in Dunedin. You may want to journey out to the gorgeous Larnach Castle - New Zealand's only castle. Or you may just wish to roam around the beautiful grounds of New Zealand's first university, Otago University. From Dunedin you will then travel through to the township of Oamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and its famous white limestone buildings. As well as shipping limestone to the bigger cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin for construction of their Town Halls and various churches, Oamaru locals made sure that their own town represented the best in limestone building the mid-late 1800's had to offer. Then you will journey along the Waitaki River, for a photo stop at the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam. The Waitaki River marks the boundary between the regions of Canterbury and Otago, and with its large catchment it is an ideal source of hydro-electric power. Your day finishes in the heart of the Mackenzie Country at Omarama. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Your Accommodation: Heritage Gateway Hotel

Positioned at the crossroads linking north, south, east and west, the Gateway Hotel features a full restaurant and cocktail bar with views of the Southern Alps, the Heritage Gateway Hotel has everything you need to rest and refresh.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Heritage Gateway Hotel

Day 8: See turquoise lakes Pukaki and Tekapo then cross the Canterbury plains to Christchurch

Omarama to Lake Tekapo to Christchurch

You may want to take in Mount Cook National Park from the air this morning, on a scenic flight out over New Zealand’s highest peak, the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers (optional – at own expense). Sweeping views across the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo framed by a backdrop of rugged hills and snow-capped mountains provide stunning alpine photography opportunities. You will visit the little stone-hewn Church of the Good Shepherd, and stop for a quick photo with the bronze statue of a collie dog, the touching tribute to the sheepdogs which helped develop the Mackenzie Country. This afternoon head through the South Canterbury country towns of Fairlie and Geraldine and out over the patchwork countryside of the Canterbury Plains into Christchurch.  Enjoy a city sights tour and see how Christchurch is rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Pop into the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square, the temporary home of the ChristChurch Cathedral. It is the world’s only cathedral made substantially of cardboard! Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Christchurch’s inner city.

Your Accommodation: Hotel Ibis, Christchurch

Superbly situated in the very heart of the garden city, Hotel Ibis Christchurch is located just off Cathedral Square, and is close to cafes, restaurants, museums and many of Christchurch's most popular attractions.

Meals included: Breakfast

Hotel Ibis, Christchurch

Day 9: Today traverse the Pacific Ocean Road through Kaikoura to arrive in Picton

Christchurch to Picton

Travel along the rugged Pacific Ocean coast this morning to Kaikoura, where sperm whales can often be seen not far from shore (an optional whale-watching flight is available). Pass the pink tinged crystallisation ponds of the Lake Grassmere Salt Works, then travel to pretty seaside fishing village of Picton. Tonight enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Your Accommodation: Hotel Beachcomber Inn Picton

The Beachcomber Inn enjoys a sunny central location near the waters edge along the waterfront. Close to the busy town centre this hotel is in an enviable position.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel Beachcomber Inn Picton

Day 10: Cruise the Marlborough Sounds and Cook Strait to reach Wellington

Take the Interislander ferry from Picton to Wellington

Enjoy a quiet start to the day. Your AAT Kings crew and coach will join you on board the Interislander for a cruise across the Cook Strait, from the South Island to the North. Surprisingly it takes longer to cruise through the Queen Charlotte Sound and up the Tory Channel than it does to cross the open ocean of Cook Strait. You will meander through a maze of arms and inlets out of Picton. Upon arrival, you will head out on a city sights tour of Wellington taking in New Zealand's parliament buildings, and a visit to Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand. Discover New Zealand's nature, history, art and heritage, and then enjoy some time at leisure. Indulge in Wellington's renowned coffee culture, or take a walk along Lambton Quay. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Your Accommodation: Travelodge Wellington

Located right in the city centre the Travelodge Wellington offers great value accommodation and facilities all within easy walking of the city attractions.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Travelodge Wellington

Day 11: Take in the majestic Kapiti coast and Volcanic Plateau before arriving in geo-thermal Rotorua

Wellington to Taupo to Rotorua

Follow the state highway out of New Zealand's capital city this morning and along the Kapiti Coast, the traditional summer playground of the inhabitants of Wellington city. Pass through a number of small towns along the road to Rotorua, each with their own personality and quirks. Probably the quirkiest of all would have to be Taihape... the self-proclaimed gumboot capital of the world. You will then journey south over the Central Plateau, New Zealand's main volcanic area. In a country of contrasts, perhaps nothing is more striking than the three peaks of Tongariro National Park rising starkly from the surrounding plateau of tussock and near-desert. The three mountains, Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe that make up the National Park are all active volcanoes, and are popular in winter and summer - skiing and snowboarding on the mountainous ski fields, and amazing walks including the Tongariro Crossing. The road ahead unfolds in a broad panorama of Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake. The stunningly blue fresh water of Lake Taupo is home to some of the best trout fishing in the world. On arrival in Rotorua an orientation tour takes in views of Lake Rotorua.

Your Accommodation: Ibis Rotorua

Hotel Ibis Rotorua is located on the shores of Lake Rotorua and a short walk to city centre shops and restaurants. The government gardens and museum are also close by.

Meals included: Breakfast

Ibis Rotorua

Day 12: Take a day to experience the thermal delights of Rotorua

Explore Rotorua

Today is your chance to experience the scenic wonders of the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. This morning you will head to the Agrodome Sheep Show, a hilarious, interactive way to gain an insight into New Zealand's biggest industry - agriculture. After the Agrodome, you may wish to travel back to Rotorua township and relax lakeside, or you may prefer to choose from one of the varied Optional Experiences on offer. Explore Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park, and take a "behind the scenes" tour through the working kiwi nursery and hatchery. Visit Te Puia and join a guided tour through the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, home to famous Pohutu Geyser and the bubbling beauty of the mud pools. Later, why not spend a little more time experiencing the thermal wonders, with a soak in the hot mineral waters of the Polynesian Spas? Your AAT Kings Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen optional experiences. Tonight, an evening of culture, history and scrumptious food awaits you at the Tamaki Family Marae. Wander through the ancient forest village and learn about Maori art forms and traditions, followed by a concert featuring local performers. Experience an authentic Maori Hangi meal, steamed underground in the traditional way.

Your Accommodation: Ibis Rotorua

Hotel Ibis Rotorua is located on the shores of Lake Rotorua and a short walk to city centre shops and restaurants. The government gardens and museum are also close by.

Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

Ibis Rotorua

Day 13: Head North through lush King Country - stopping at Waitomo Caves - before continuing on to Auckland

Rotorua to Waitomo Caves and onto Auckland City

This morning you will travel through the King Country region which was at the centre of the New Zealand Wars in the 1860s to Waitomo Caves. See the amazing underground Glow Worm Grotto by boat and walk through the limestone caverns. This afternoon you will follow the meandering trail of the Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river, past the lush farmlands of the Waikato Region. As you journey over the Bombay Hills, the landscape changes from green, grassy meadowlands to the edges of suburbia. As you make your way into the heart of New Zealand’s largest city, you will stop at Bastion Point and the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, as you will get stunning shots of Auckland, the North Shore and the Waitemata Harbour. This evening celebrate your holiday, and enjoy dinner at your hotel with your Travel Director and fellow travellers.

Your Accommodation: VR Queen Street

VR on Queen Street offers modern self catering accommodation at the top of Queen Street. You're just a short walk from the restaurants and bars of K Road and have all the facilities you need for a comfortable stay.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

VR Queen Street

Day 14: Depart Auckland today

Auckland final day and transfer to Airport

Your holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. You will be transferred to Auckland Airport for your onward flight.

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