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AAT KingsAAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand

An outstanding 17 days awaits you on AAT Kings Kia Ora New Zealand escorted coach tour. Explore New Zealand from top to bottom, stopping at all the highlights as you travel the country in your comfortable touring coach. Beginning in Auckland you will spend your days in the north cruising through the Bay of Islands, visiting Rotorua and the Tamaki Maori Village, and stopping in at the Agrodome for a taste of rural life. Board the Interislander ferry and cruise across the Cook Strait to the South Island. Here you will see incredible mountain scenery as you cruise through Milford Sound, explore Dunedin's Scottish heritage and enjoy a delicious dinner on a high country farm. All this and more is included on this fantastic tour.

 New Zealand escorted tour
 Starts in Auckland, finishes in Christchurch
 17 days/ 16 nights
 Hotel 3 star
  Pre and post tour options? YES Enquire Enquire
 Viewed 103 times in the last 7 days

Included in this tour package

Tour map
Maori culture, New Zealand
TranzAlpine scenic train

At a glance - AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand

Day 1: Welcome to Auckland. Accommodation: VR Queen Street

Day 2: Pass though lush Northland farm country to reach the tropical Bay of Islands. Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands

Day 3: Enjoy the beauty of this idyllic tropical area with a dolphin cruise, a sailing trip or relaxing on the beach. Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands

Day 4: Return to Auckland via Whangarei and its quirky galleries. Accommodation: VR Queen Street

Day 5: Travel south through lush king country - stopping at Waitomo Caves - before continuing on to geothermal Rotorua. Accommodation: Ibis Rotorua

Day 6: Take a day to experience the thermal delights of Rotorua. Accommodation: Ibis Rotorua

Day 7: Stop at Huka Falls, cross the 'volcanic plateau' then traverse the Kapiti Coast to Wellington. Accommodation: Travelodge Wellington

Day 8: Cross the Cook Strait then cruise through the Marlborough Sounds to arrive in Picton. Accommodation: Hotel Beachcomber Inn Picton

Day 9: Today traverse the Pacific Ocean Road through Kaikoura, then cross Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. Accommodation: Hotel Ibis, Christchurch

Day 10: Head through the Mackenzie Basin to see lakes Pukaki and Tekapo, then arrive in Omarama. Accommodation: Heritage Gateway Hotel

Day 11: Stop at the Benmore Dam and Oamaru before crossing into the rugged hills of Dunedin. Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City

Day 12: Leaving Dunedin travel through rolling green farmland to reach Te Anau. Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

Day 13: Travel the magical Milford road into the heart of the sound. Cruise this spectacular fiord before making your way to Queenstown. Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 14: Experience the delights of this pristine alpine town on your free day. Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 15: You'll see Lakes Hawea, Wanaka and the Haast Pass, ending your drive in Franz Josef Glacier. Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Day 16: Travel up the wild West Coast before crossing the spectacular Arthur's Pass via Tranz Alpine train to arrive in Christchurch. Accommodation: Hotel Ibis, Christchurch

Day 17: Depart Christchurch today.

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AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Detailed Itinerary  

Day 1: Welcome to Auckland

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 1

On arrival into Auckland airport you will be transferred to your hotel

On your arrival into Auckland, clear customs, immigration and luggage collection and enter the arrivals hall. Proceed straight ahead to the shuttles and transfer vehicles outside. Please go to the Supershuttle rank and advise the driver you are with AAT Kings. Should you require any assistance please contact Supershuttle on 0800 748 885. Please ensure your flight is scheduled to arrive before 4pm local time.

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.

VR Queen Street

Day 2: Pass though lush Northland farm country to reach the tropical Bay of Islands

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 2

Auckland to the Bay of Islands and a cruise to the Hole in the Rock

This morning depart Auckland City and travel north over the Harbour Bridge past the sprawling suburbs of the North Shore of Auckland. Your travels then take you through Nothland's lush farmland scenery before arriving into the beautiful Bay of Islands. Experience spectacular scenery as you cruise through game fishing waters to Cape Brett and, weather permitting, through the famous "Hole in the Rock" formation. The return cruise to Paihia meanders through picturesque islands - see deserted sandy beaches and secluded bays and keep your eyes peeled for the marine life. This evening enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Your Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands

Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands is located within the Waitangi Treaty grounds, surrounded by native bush and the beautiful Bay of Islands Harbour.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands

Day 3: Enjoy the beauty of this idyllic tropical area with a dolphin cruise, a sailing trip or relaxing on the beach

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 3

Free time to explore and enjoy the Bay of Islands

Today is a completely free day for you to experience the beauty of the Bay of Islands. Perhaps head back out on to the water and go on a dolphin watching cruise, and maybe even jump in the water for a swim with these magnificent creatures. Or take a coach trip up to Cape Reinga - the very top of New Zealand, via idyllic Ninety Mile Beach. Experience a day of sailing aboard a historic tall ship, enjoy wine tasting around Kerikeri, or join a jet boat Heritage Cruise and learn a little more about the settling of the Bay of Islands. Tonight you are free to dine as you wish. You may want to experience a ‘Kiwi tradition’ – fish and chips on the beach, or glide down the Waitangi River on board the Ratanui for a sumptuous dinner cruise.  Your Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen optional experiences.

Your Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands

Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands is located within the Waitangi Treaty grounds, surrounded by native bush and the beautiful Bay of Islands Harbour.

Meals included: Breakfast

Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands

Day 4: Return to Auckland via Whangarei and its quirky galleries

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 4

Paihia to Auckland

Enjoy a leisurely morning in the Bay of Islands before you travel back to Auckland. Your journey south takes you to Whangarei, the northern-most city in New Zealand, where you can wander around the art galleries and through the marina in the Town Basin. Later, enjoy a stop at Parry Kauri Park and take a walk among New Zealand's native forest giants, the Kauri trees before arriving into Auckland late afternoon. Dinner tonight is included at your hotel.

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 5: Travel south through lush king country - stopping at Waitomo Caves - before continuing on to geothermal Rotorua

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 5

Auckland to Waitomo Caves onto Rotorua

A city sights tour will start your morning in Auckland. Travel around the waterfront from central city out to Mission Bay. Prepare your camera for the 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. After leaving Auckland you will follow the meandering trail of the Waikato River to Waitomo Caves. Tour the amazing limestone caverns and sail through the still waters of the sparkling Glow Worm Grotto. From Waitomo to Rotorua you will venture through the King Country region which was at the centre of the New Zealand Wars in the 1860s. 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 6: Take a day to experience the thermal delights of Rotorua

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 6

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 7: Stop at Huka Falls, cross the 'volcanic plateau' then traverse the Kapiti Coast to Wellington

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 7

Rotorua to Taupo and the capital city of Wellington

Depart Rotorua this morning and journey out through pine forests and farmland to a little hidden spot, the turquoise torrent of rapids known as Huka Falls. 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. 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. Pass through a number of small towns along the road to Wellington, 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. Travel along the Kapiti Coast, the traditional summer playground of the inhabitants of Wellington city. And as you follow the state highway, the Kapiti Coast becomes New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. Tonight dinner is included 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 8: Cross the Cook Strait then cruise through the Marlborough Sounds to arrive in Picton

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 8

Cross the Cook Strait to Picton by Interislander

After a city sights tour of Wellington taking in New Zealand's parliament buildings, and a visit to Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, enjoy some time at leisure. Indulge in Wellington's renowned coffee culture, or take a walk along Lambton Quay - the heart of the central business district of Wellington. This afternoon, your AAT Kings crew and coach will join you on board the Interislander for a cruise across the Cook Strait, from the North Island to the South. Surprisingly it takes longer to cruise up the Tory Channel and Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton than it does to cross the open ocean of Cook Strait. You will meander through a maze of arms and inlets into the sleepy seaside 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 9: Today traverse the Pacific Ocean Road through Kaikoura, then cross Canterbury Plains to Christchurch

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 9

Picton to Christchurch

Travel to Kaikoura, where Sperm Whales can often be seen not far from shore (an optional whale-watching flight is available). Travel along the Pacific Ocean coast and across the colourful Canterbury Plains to Chirstchurch. 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 10: Head through the Mackenzie Basin to see lakes Pukaki and Tekapo, then arrive in Omarama

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 10

Christchurch to Omarama

This morning you may wish to take a brief walk around the city centre and Cathedral Square before departure. See how Christchurch is rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, and 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! After a Christchurch city sights tour, you will head out over the patchwork countryside of the Canterbury Plains to soak up some spectacular sightseeing. 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. You may want to take in Mount Cook National Park from the air this afternoon, on a scenic flight out over New Zealand's highest peak, the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers (Optional Experience - at own expense). 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 11: Stop at the Benmore Dam and Oamaru before crossing into the rugged hills of Dunedin

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 11

Omarama to Oamaru to Dunedin

Your day starts along the Waitaki River, and a photo stop at the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam. From the Waitaki Valley you will then travel through to the township of Oamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and its famous white limestone buildings. This afternoon you will make your way down to the Southernmost New Zealand city, Dunedin. With the rest of your free afternoon you may wish to take part in an optional excursion 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 12: Leaving Dunedin travel through rolling green farmland to reach Te Anau

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 12

Dunedin to Te Anau

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. 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. This afternoon travel through lush green pastures, crossing sheep-filled farming land. New Zealand is internationally known for its sheep farming, and these are sights many visitors to this country recognise as typically New Zealand. You are sure to find the perfect sheep photo here! As your journey continues, the rolling, grassy hills once again turn back into heavily forested, rugged mountains, and you meander your way up into the Fiordland National Park to the South Island's biggest lake and the town of Te Anau. This evening you have the opportunity to head out across the lake to the Glow Worm Caves for a tour (Optional Experience, 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 13: Travel the magical Milford road into the heart of the sound. Cruise this spectacular fiord before making your way to Queenstown

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 13

Milford Sound cruise then to Queenstown

Today is one of those days where you will want to have your camera battery charged, and ready to go! After leaving Te Anau, you will journey through the Fiordland National Park and out to Milford Sound on one of the most scenic roads you could hope for. Travel through native rainforests, beech forests, alluvial flats and meadows. 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. From the spectacular scenes of Milford Sound, you will travel on to the beautiful sights of Queenstown. An orientation tour skirting around the shores of Lake Wakatipu, takes you into the city centre before arriving at your hotel.

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

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 14

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 15: You'll see Lakes Hawea, Wanaka and the Haast Pass, ending your drive in Franz Josef Glacier

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 15

Queenstown to Arrowtown, Wanaka and onto Franz Josef

This morning you will leave the alpine wonderland of Queenstown behind, and begin the passage through Central Otago and out to Westland. On the way out of the Queenstown region, you will stop and visit the faithfully restored gold mining settlement of Arrowtown on the Arrow River, previously one of the world’s richest rivers. From here you will travel over to Cromwell, situated next to the sparkling pristine waters of Lake Dunstan, where you will stop in at a local orchard for a taste of some of the town’s delicious stone fruit. It is a day of gorgeous lakes, as after Dunstan, you will travel further into Central Otago and view the vivid blue waters of Lake Hawea, followed by Lake Wanaka, where the shoreline is charmingly lined by poplars and willows. Following an ancient greenstone trail, you will travel over Haast Pass, marking a change from the alpine scenery of the Southern Lakes, to the rainforest marvel of the wild West Coast. View the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls and the grand sight of Mt Hooker, flanked on three sides by extensive glaciers. 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 – 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 16: Travel up the wild West Coast before crossing the spectacular Arthur's Pass via Tranz Alpine train to arrive in Christchurch

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand - Day 16

Franz Josef to Christchurch

If weather conditions are unfavourable the previous day, you will get another chance to fly up to the glaciers this morning or you might want to take a stroll through the small but lively Franz Josef village. 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. From Hokitika, you will travel inland to the small settlement of Arthur's Pass. Here you will board the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch city. 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. This evening join your AAT Kings Travel Director and Driver, and your new-found friends for a Farewell Dinner.

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, Dinner

Hotel Ibis, Christchurch

Day 17: Depart Christchurch today

Christchurch final day and transfer to airport

Your tour arrangements conclude after breakfast today. A transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport for your onward journey.

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