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AAT KingsAAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered

Experience adventure through both islands of New Zealand. Taste the many flavours of New Zealand dining with one particularly special meal prepared in a traditional Hangi (food cooked underground) at the Tamaki Maori Village. Starting in Auckland you'll navigate south through rural landscapes, past impressive volcanoes, the rolling hills of Canterbury and sail along the famous Milford Sound. This itinerary encompasses all that is New Zealand and offers you a relaxed insight into a beautiful country.


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 New Zealand escorted tour
 Starts in Auckland, finishes in Christchurch
 17 days/ 16 nights
 Hotel 4 star
  Pre and post tour options? YES Enquire Enquire
 Viewed 13 times in the last 7 days

Included in this tour package

Tour map
Rotorua Building
Queenstown Hill Hike

At a glance - AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered

Day 1: Welcome to Auckland. Accommodation: Stamford Plaza, Auckland

Day 2: Explore New Zealand's biggest city. Accommodation: Stamford Plaza, Auckland

Day 3: Visit the beautiful home of Lance and Bridgette O'Sullivan. Accommodation: Trinity Wharf Tauranga

Day 4: Soak up some real Maori culture. Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Day 5: Choose how you spend your day in Rotorua. Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Day 6: A scenic journey down the centre of the North Island. Accommodation: James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor

Day 7: Cross the Cook Strait into Blenheim. Accommodation: Chateau Marlborough

Day 8: Keep your eyes peeled for marine life on today's journey. Accommodation: Distinction Hotel Christchurch

Day 9: Help plant a native tree before reaching the Mackenzie Country. Accommodation: MacKenzie Country Hotel, Twizel

Day 10: Head to the Southern most city of New Zealand, Dunedin. Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross

Day 11: Enjoy some free time exploring Dunedin before driving to Te Anau. Accommodation: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas

Day 12: A trip highlight, Milford Sound Cruise. Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 13: Decide how you spend your time in Queenstown. Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 14: Drive through rainforest up the west coast. Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Day 15: The oppurtunity to carve your own Jade pendant. Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort

Day 16: Take the TranzAlpine train back to Christchurch. Accommodation: Distinction Hotel Christchurch

Day 17: Farewell to your new friends.

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AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Detailed Itinerary  

Day 1: Welcome to Auckland

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 1

New Zealand Uncovered

Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand's City of Sails. Flights can arrive any time prior to 4.00 pm and you will be transferred from the airport to your Auckland hotel in your private car. Tonight, enjoy a welcome reception and dinner at your hotel.

Auckland

On arrival in Auckland, you will be transferred to your hotel. This evening meet your Tour Director and fellow travellers for a welcome reception and dinner.

Your Accommodation: Stamford Plaza, Auckland

Located just a few minutes stroll from Auckland's vibrant waterfront the Stamford Plaza Hotel offers 5 star accommodation and services including 4 on site restaurants to choose from.

Meals included: Speciality Dinner

Stamford Plaza, Auckland

Day 2: Explore New Zealand's biggest city

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 2

Auckland

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. This afternoon is at leisure. Take a walk down Queen Street, to the main shopping precinct by the Viaduct Harbour and the Auckland Waterfront region. This recently developed area of central Auckland has cafes and restaurants galore. Take a seat in the sunshine, enjoy a glass of one of New Zealand’s famous Sauvignon Blancs and watch the maritime activity on Waitemata Harbour.

Your Accommodation: Stamford Plaza, Auckland

Located just a few minutes stroll from Auckland's vibrant waterfront the Stamford Plaza Hotel offers 5 star accommodation and services including 4 on site restaurants to choose from.

Meals included: Breakfast

Stamford Plaza, Auckland

Day 3: Visit the beautiful home of Lance and Bridgette O'Sullivan

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 3

Auckland to Tauranga

You’re invited to a Be My Guest lunch at the home of Lance and Bridgette O’Sullivan, New Zealand horse racing royalty. Enjoy a sumptuous country-style lunch at the Red Barn on their beautiful Waikato farm. Later, travel to the harbourside city of Tauranga, located in the Bay of Plenty region.
A bridge over the harbour connects Tauranga to Mount Maunganui, where you’ll have an afternoon at leisure. Why not walk up the extinct namesake volcano with winding walking paths or relax on the main beach, this glorious stretch of golden sand has been voted the best in the country. Later, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Your Accommodation: Trinity Wharf Tauranga

Brilliantly positioned this stylish over-water hotel offers the very best in privacy and spaciousness. The Trinity Wharf Tauranga is the only internationally branded hotel in the region and is just minutes from the CBD.

Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

Trinity Wharf Tauranga

Day 4: Soak up some real Maori culture

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 4

Tauranga to Rotorua

This morning we travel through Te Puke, known as the kiwifruit capital of New Zealand with around 80% of all kiwifruit grown in New Zealand grown here. You’ll stop at Kiwifruit Country, a family-owned business that is set amongst a 60-hectare orchard. Later, its onto Rotorua for an orientation tour that takes in views of Lake Rotorua.
This afternoon visit Te Puia and tour through the Whakawerawera Thermal Reserve. 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: Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Rotorua's largest 4 star deluxe hotel is perfectly situated in the heart of the city overlooking Lake Rotorua. Five levels of accommodation offer guests a wide variety of scenic views.

Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Day 5: Choose how you spend your day in Rotorua

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 5

Rotorua

Today choose from a range of Included Choice sightseeing experiences. You could take a fascinating tour of the Hobbiton movie set, enjoy a guided tour through the long galleries and lofty chambers of the world-famous Waitomo Glow worm Caves. Or explore Rotorua and its three lakes in an amphibious WWII era Duck. Your Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen Included Choice experiences.

Your Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Rotorua's largest 4 star deluxe hotel is perfectly situated in the heart of the city overlooking Lake Rotorua. Five levels of accommodation offer guests a wide variety of scenic views.

Meals included: Breakfast

Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Day 6: A scenic journey down the centre of the North Island

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 6

Rotorua to Wellington

Say Haere Ra (goodbye) to 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 freshwater 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, and along the Kapiti Coast to New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. Tonight, you are free to dine as you wish.

Your Accommodation: James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor

At the heart of Wellingtons commercial and retail districts the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor has 260 well appointed rooms and suites.

Meals included: Breakfast

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor

Day 7: Cross the Cook Strait into Blenheim

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 7

Wellington to Blenheim

Why not discover more of Wellington this morning. There's time to visit the Parliament buildings and the Beehive, home to New Zealand's politicians. Later, you'll visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand and explore the fascinating exhibits at your leisure, including their unique Marae (Meeting House).
This afternoon, we cruise the Cook Strait into tranquil Queen Charlotte Sound. The village of Picton is next, then it's on to Blenheim for a city sightseeing tour. Tonight enjoy a 3-course highlight dinner; prepared from local produce and matched with wines of the Marlborough region, including selections from Villa Maria and Saint Clair wineries.

Your Accommodation: Chateau Marlborough

Chateau Marlborough, Marlborough's premier boutique hotel overlooking Seymour Square Gardens, prides itself on offering guests luxury accommodation with an enviable attention to detail. All just a short walk from Blenheim's town centre.

Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

Chateau Marlborough

Day 8: Keep your eyes peeled for marine life on today's journey

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 8

Marlborough 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 Christchurch.
Upon arrival 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 worlds only cathedral made substantially of cardboard and has to be seen to be believed. Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Christchurch's inner city.

Your Accommodation: Distinction Hotel Christchurch

This 4.5 star hotel is centrally located in the revitalised Cathedral Square. Ideally positioned, only a few minutes walk from the brand new Christchurch Convention Centre.

Meals included: Breakfast

Distinction Hotel Christchurch

Day 9: Help plant a native tree before reaching the Mackenzie Country

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 9

Christchurch to Twizel

First up this morning you will get to partake in our Sustainable Tourism Commitment by planting a New Zealand native tree in the Port Hills of Christchurch. The Port Hills of Christchurch was hit with two separate wildfires on the 13th of February 2017 damaging a total of 5130 acres of land. Next, travel over the patchwork countryside of the Canterbury Plains to soak up some spectacular sightseeing. Visit Morelea, the home of Angie and Stan Taylor, for a be my guest afternoon tea and hear about a lifetime spent farming in New Zealand.
Later, view the little stone-hewn Church of the Good Shepherd, and the bronze statue of a collie dog, the touching tribute to the sheepdogs which helped develop the Mackenzie Country. Your day finishes in the heart of the Mackenzie Country in Twizel. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Your Accommodation: MacKenzie Country Hotel, Twizel

Located in the heart of the Mackenzie region the hotel's natural stone architecture compliments the mountains and rivers of New Zealand's Southern Alps. With 108 well equipped rooms the hotel can offer every facility needed for a comfortable stay.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

MacKenzie Country Hotel, Twizel

Day 10: Head to the Southern most city of New Zealand, Dunedin

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 10

Twizel to Dunedin

Your day starts with a journey along the Waitaki River, and a photo stops 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. The Benmore Dam holds back New Zealand’s largest artificial lake, and when the Benmore Power Station was opened in 1965 it was the largest power station in New Zealand. Even today, it is still the second-largest and generates enough electricity each year for about 298,000 average New Zealand homes. 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. 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 1800s had to offer. 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 see more of the region with an Included Choice option. 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 Southern Cross

The Scenic Hotel Southern Cross provides stylish inner city accommodation and is the perfect location from which to explore Dunedin. Just a short walk to the Octagon, Railway Station, theatres, shops, and close to Otago University.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Scenic Hotel Southern Cross

Day 11: Enjoy some free time exploring Dunedin before driving to Te Anau

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 11

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 – at own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Your Accommodation: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas

The Te Anau Hotel and Villas offers a range of accommodation from hotel rooms and suites to villas. Ideally located on the lake front the hotel is just a few minutes stroll for the shops. cafes and activities on offer.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas

Day 12: A trip highlight, Milford Sound Cruise

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 12

Te Anau 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.

Your Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

The 4 star deluxe Millennium Hotel Queenstown is located in the heart of Queenstown within minutes of the central shopping and entertainment area.

Meals included: Breakfast

Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 13: Decide how you spend your time in Queenstown

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 13

Queenstown

Choose from two sightseeing inclusions today. Perhaps venture out on a Scenic Tour visiting the many filming locations of the Lord of the Rings, alternatively sit back and enjoy a peaceful cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand's oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak Station. Indulge in a gourmet BBQ Highlight Lunch at Walter Peaks; Colonel's Homestead overlooking the lake. This evening, join your Travel Director for dinner at Queenstown's Boatshed. Set in the restored historic Railway Shipping Office and relocated to its lakefront setting in 1936, The Boatshed with its spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables, it is the perfect venue for your exclusive farewell dinner with wine.

Your Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

The 4 star deluxe Millennium Hotel Queenstown is located in the heart of Queenstown within minutes of the central shopping and entertainment area.

Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 14: Drive through rainforest up the west coast

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 14

Queenstown to 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. 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. 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. Our final destination for today is the extraordinary rivers of ice that makeup 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, own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner with wine 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 15: The oppurtunity to carve your own Jade pendant

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 15

Franz Josef to Punakaiki

If weather conditions are unfavourable on Day 12, 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 it’s time for an exhilarating adventure among temperate rainforest giants on the West Coast Treetop Walkway, followed by a visit to Hokitika, home of the native greenstone (jade) for a factory visit and jewellery demonstration.
Later, travel to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. You’ll spend the night in an eco-friendly resort, right on the waterfront. This evening enjoy dinner with wine at your hotel, while watching the surf thundering at your doorstep!

Your Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort

The Punakaiki Resort is a modern, award-winning hotel complex, architecturally designed to harmonise with the local environment. Nestled in the foothills of Papaproa National Park the resort has spectacular views of the Wild West Coast beaches while all rooms have rainforest and/or ocean views.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Punakaiki Resort

Day 16: Take the TranzAlpine train back to Christchurch

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 16

Punakaiki to Christchurch

Enjoy a leisurely start this morning before you travel to Greymouth, here you will join a brewery experience at Monteith’s Brewery where you will be guided through the traditions and heritage of this national icon. You will get to experience and taste ever-changing and innovative brews before enjoying a pub-style lunch. Later 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 with wine.

Your Accommodation: Distinction Hotel Christchurch

This 4.5 star hotel is centrally located in the revitalised Cathedral Square. Ideally positioned, only a few minutes walk from the brand new Christchurch Convention Centre.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Speciality Dinner

Distinction Hotel Christchurch

Day 17: Farewell to your new friends

AAT Kings 17 Day New Zealand Uncovered - Day 17

Farewell

Thank you for touring with AAT Kings and New Zealand Coach Tours.
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