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Maher Escorted ToursMaher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour

New Zealand is a land of lakes. On this tour explore some of the most beautiful, while travelling the length of the country. Beginning in Auckland, slowly make your way south, with stops along the way in Rotorua, Taupo, Tongariro National Park and Wellington. Here, join the ferry across the Cook Strait to the sunny city of Nelson. After exploring the local area, continue south to Hanmer Springs, Lake Tekapo, Mt Cook, Wanaka and finally Queenstown.
With all of your sightseeing included, the majority of your meals and staying at some luxurious properties throughout, this is the perfect tour for late-summer and a great way to see some of the most beautiful scenery New Zealand has to offer in style, at a leisurely pace. Join a wonderful adventure!

 New Zealand escorted tour
 Starts in Auckland, finishes in Queenstown
 17 days/ 16 nights
 Hotel 4 star
  Pre and post tour options? YES Enquire Enquire
 Viewed 10 times in the last 7 days

Included in this tour package

Tour map
Couple looking out over Lake Rotorua
View over Wellington, city scape

At a glance - Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour

Day 1: Start your tour in Auckland. Accommodation: Park Hyatt

Day 2: Travel south to Rotorua. Accommodation: The Princes Gate Hotel (or similar)

Day 3: Go quackers this morning on the Rotorua Duck Tour. Accommodation: The Princes Gate Hotel (or similar)

Day 4: Rotorua to Taupo. Accommodation: Suncourt Hotel & Conference Centre

Day 5: Fly over the dramatic Tongariro Crossing. Accommodation: Bayview Chateau Tongariro (or similar)

Day 6: Travel along the Forgotten Railway. Accommodation: Bayview Chateau Tongariro (or similar)

Day 7: End your day in the capital. Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel Wellington Oriental Bay

Day 8: Enjoy lunch at a popular winery. Accommodation: Trailways Hotel (or similar)

Day 9: Nelson exploration. Accommodation: Trailways Hotel (or similar)

Day 10: End your time in the Nelson Lakes National Park before reaching Hanmer. Accommodation: The St James (or similar)

Day 11: Reach Lake Tekapo this afternoon. Accommodation: Peppers Bluewater Resort, Lake Tekapo

Day 12: Today explore the glaciers near Mt Cook. Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel (or similar)

Day 13: Land in Wanaka tonight. Accommodation: Edgewater (or similar)

Day 14: A day to explore Wanaka. Accommodation: Edgewater (or similar)

Day 15: Check out the wonderful distillery on the way to Queenstown. Accommodation: Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

Day 16: A trip on the TSS Earnslaw will be todays highlight. Accommodation: Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

Day 17: Say goodbye after a great 17 days.

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Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Detailed Itinerary  

Day 1: Start your tour in Auckland

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 1

Arrive into Auckland

Arrive in Auckland. On arrival, you will be transferred to the tour hotel. This afternoon is free until you meet up for your welcome dinner this evening.

Your Accommodation: Park Hyatt

Located on the waterfront in Auckland this modern hotel offers 5* luxury at the water's edge, a stone through from the bustling Auckland city.

Meals included: Dinner

Park Hyatt

Day 2: Travel south to Rotorua

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 2

Auckland to Rotorua

Depart Auckland this morning and travel south to Rotorua. Enroute stop at Waitomo where you enjoy a guided tour of The Glowworm Cave, the most famous of the Waitomo caves. Wander through the cave and marvel at its tallest chamber, the Cathedral, before we embark on a boat ride through the glow worm grotto. After your visit, there is time for lunch before continuing on to Rotorua, arriving late-afternoon.

Your Accommodation: The Princes Gate Hotel (or similar)

The most famous hotel in Rotorua built in 1897 this 107 year old beautiful hotel is privately owned and operated. The Prince's Gate Hotel is not just a hotel but also an attraction and proudly deserves the phrase 'a hotel so good; they built the City around it.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

The Princes Gate Hotel (or similar)

Day 3: Go quackers this morning on the Rotorua Duck Tour

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 3

A day in Rotorua

A fun morning today as you join the Rotorua Duck Tours on a “Tarawera & Lakes Eco-Tour”. Rotorua Duck Tours are the first, and still, the only, company in New Zealand to provide the unique and exciting opportunity to explore a special part of our country in an authentic amphibious WWII landing craft. The Rotorua District is home to 18 stunning lakes, amazing natural landscapes and lush native bush. On your tour, travel from the centre of town into a culturally, ecologically and historically significant area. Home to ancient Maori tribes. The tour route takes you through the Tikitapu scenic reserve visiting 4 lakes and splashing down onto 3. Learn about ancient Maori history, the establishment of tourism in the area, geothermal forces that shaped our land, agriculture, flora and fauna - the list goes on!
This evening, enter the world of Mitai, and learn about the history of this area which was once flourished in villages. See fierce warriors in traditional dress paddle an ancient warrior canoe down the Wai-o-whiro stream. Be captivated by songs, dances and games in a rich powerful entertaining cultural concert, complete with the fiery “Haka” Maori war dance before enjoying an authentic hangi dinner.

Your Accommodation: The Princes Gate Hotel (or similar)

The most famous hotel in Rotorua built in 1897 this 107 year old beautiful hotel is privately owned and operated. The Prince's Gate Hotel is not just a hotel but also an attraction and proudly deserves the phrase 'a hotel so good; they built the City around it.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

The Princes Gate Hotel (or similar)

Day 4: Rotorua to Taupo

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 4

Rotorua to Taupo

Departing Rotorua after breakfast, make the short drive to Taupo, located at the eastern end of Lake Taupo, the biggest lake in Australasia and formed by a volcanic explosion in AD 186. On a clear day, the distant volcanic peaks of Mount Tongariro and Ngauruhoe and the snow-capped Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park provide a spectacular backdrop to the lake.
On arrival, stop to view New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction – Huka Falls. You’ll hear the Falls well before you see them – the sound of nearly a quarter of a million litres of water per second erupting from a natural gorge and thundering 11m into the Waikato River below is incredible - it’s hard to tear your gaze away from the endless, mesmerising torrent.
This afternoon climb on board the Top Cat for a cruise to the Maori Rock Carvings, enjoying a light lunch on board. Towering 14 metres above the waters of Lake Taupo, the Maori Rock Carvings have become one of the biggest tourist attractions in the North Island. Taking four years to sculpt, the spectacular carving was completed in 1980 and has been visited by hundreds of thousands of people since.

Your Accommodation: Suncourt Hotel & Conference Centre

Suncourt Hotel overlooks the Great Lake and is just a short walk to the town centre. With the onsite restaurant, pool and children’s play area, you’ll find everything you need for a great Taupo holiday.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Suncourt Hotel & Conference Centre

Day 5: Fly over the dramatic Tongariro Crossing

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 5

Taupo to Tongariro National Park

Before departing Taupo, visit the funky L’Arte Café and Gallery, created by mother & daughter duo, Jo & Judi Brennan. Jo runs the café and inspires a team of like-minded people to provide a delicious experience. Judi is the creative force behind the famous mosaic outdoor living room and the well-recognised ‘Alice’s Chair’ sculpture. Her unique works of art are all hand-built in her studio on location. They are innovative, quirky, colourful, fun and sure to delight.
Departing Taupo, you'll make the relatively short drive to Chateau Airport - located at the intersection of the turn-off to Whakapapa Ski Area – where you can enjoy a Tongariro Crossing Volcanic Scenic Flight. The Tongariro Crossing Volcanic Flight is a low-level flight climbing up to 6,500ft. During this 15-minute flight, you'll see the Te Maru Craters, the Blue and Emerald Lakes, The Red Crater and Tama Lakes. Plus, spectacular views of the fault line in the central plateau and of course the famous Tongariro Crossing. (NB: The operation of the flight is subject to weather conditions).
Then make your way to your accommodation for the next two nights - Chateau Tongariro, located in the heart of the Tongariro National Park.

Your Accommodation: Bayview Chateau Tongariro (or similar)

Bayview Chateau Tongariro, nestled at the foot of Mount Ruapehu, was completed in 1929 and still retains many of its original features. It is one of New Zealand's few hotels located in a World Heritage Park and offers the most prestigious accommodation in the region.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Bayview Chateau Tongariro (or similar)

Day 6: Travel along the Forgotten Railway

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 6

Tongariro National Park

Today, spend the day with Forgotten World Adventures, doing The Rail River Run. Travelling along the first section of the Forgotten World Railway, between Okahukura & Tokorima, including the line's longest tunnel (Tunnel 24 - 1.5km long); combined with a Jet Boat journey along the scenic Whanganui River, between Cherry Grove (Taumarunui) & Ohinepane. Enjoy the best of both worlds, encountering 10 tunnels and 20 bridges, as you travel 40km by rail and 23km by Jet Boat on the Whanganui River, a mixture of nostalgia and adrenaline. Lunch and afternoon tea are included today.

Your Accommodation: Bayview Chateau Tongariro (or similar)

Bayview Chateau Tongariro, nestled at the foot of Mount Ruapehu, was completed in 1929 and still retains many of its original features. It is one of New Zealand's few hotels located in a World Heritage Park and offers the most prestigious accommodation in the region.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Bayview Chateau Tongariro (or similar)

Day 7: End your day in the capital

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 7

Tongariro National Park - Wellington

A relatively long coach journey today as you make your way south to Wellington. Travel the Desert Road to Waiouru, down through Taihape (watch out for the gumboot!) and Bulls, before arriving in Palmerston North where you stop for lunch. Continuing on, reach Wellington mid-afternoon and there is time to rest and relax prior to meeting up for dinner this evening.

Your Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel Wellington Oriental Bay

Located just 2 minutes walk to Te Papa Museum, the vibrant Courtney Place and local Theatres the Copthorne Hotel Oriental Bay is in a superb location to enjoy Wellington.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Copthorne Hotel Wellington Oriental Bay

Day 8: Enjoy lunch at a popular winery

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 8

Wellington to Nelson

This morning, check out of your hotel and join the Interislander ferry service across the Cook Strait to Picton. It is considered one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world and one of New Zealand's most iconic experiences. On arrival in Picton, join your coach and make your way to Blenheim where you'll enjoy lunch at the Wither Hills winery – they take their name from the landmark Wither Hills range that borders their vineyards. Continuing through to Nelson, arrive late-afternoon where the evening is at leisure.

Your Accommodation: Trailways Hotel (or similar)

Centrally located within a few minutes walk of Nelson’s central shopping precinct, theatres, restaurants and cafés, the information centre, and close to the scenic waterfront. Located right on the river, many of the rooms open onto the river view. Also overlooking the river is award-winning The Tides Restaurant and Bar.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Trailways Hotel (or similar)

Day 9: Nelson exploration

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 9

A day in Nelson

Today enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Nelson. See local attractions such as Queens Gardens, The Suter Art Gallery, Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith, Founders Heritage Park and more. There is time for lunch before you visit The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary in the afternoon.
Introduced species have had a devastating impact on our native flora and fauna and an estimated 2,800 NZ native species are either threatened or endangered. Sanctuaries with fenced boundaries give us the chance to restore our native species and watch them thrive. We complete the most popular walk – the Loop Track (45 mins return) – which takes us alongside the stream and 19th Century waterworks. Walking through the diverse secondary forest full of ferns and fruiting trees, bird numbers are steadily increasing as a result of the extensive predator trapping undertaken throughout the whole Sanctuary. Return to your hotel in the afternoon with time to rest & relax prior to dinner this evening.

Your Accommodation: Trailways Hotel (or similar)

Centrally located within a few minutes walk of Nelson’s central shopping precinct, theatres, restaurants and cafés, the information centre, and close to the scenic waterfront. Located right on the river, many of the rooms open onto the river view. Also overlooking the river is award-winning The Tides Restaurant and Bar.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Trailways Hotel (or similar)

Day 10: End your time in the Nelson Lakes National Park before reaching Hanmer

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 10

Nelson to Hanmer Springs

Depart Nelson after breakfast and travel to Hanmer Springs via St Arnaud. The small alpine village sits at the edge of Lake Rotoiti, providing an ideal base for people who plan to hike or fish in Nelson Lakes National Park. We continue our journey and arrive in Hanmer Springs early afternoon. The rest of the day is at your leisure – why not visit the famous Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools. Every drop of thermal water is heated by Mother Nature and infused with minerals – a process that takes 173 years. Ease your aching muscles in the natural rock and Sulphur pools, while savouring the stunning backdrop.

Your Accommodation: The St James (or similar)

Architecturally designed and elegantly furnished suites at The St James ensure each and every guest enjoys the tranquility and splendor of Hanmer Springs, coupled with unmatched service and comfort.

Meals included: Breakfast

The St James (or similar)

Day 11: Reach Lake Tekapo this afternoon

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 11

Hanmer Springs to Lake Tekapo

Leave Hanmer Springs and travel via the Inland Scenic Highway, showcasing some of the best of what Canterbury has to offer. Enjoy lunch at the iconic Blue Pub in Methven before continuing on via Geraldine and Fairlie (with a stop at the famous bakery of course!) and reaching Lake Tekapo in the afternoon. Your accommodation for the evening is Peppers Bluewater Resort, overlooking the lake.

Your Accommodation: Peppers Bluewater Resort, Lake Tekapo

Peppers Bluewater sits overlooking Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps and is just a short walk to the small towns facilities. Also close by is the new Alpine Springs Spa, a great place to relax after a day exploring. Facilities include an on site restaurant and bar.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Peppers Bluewater Resort, Lake Tekapo

Day 12: Today explore the glaciers near Mt Cook

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 12

Lake Tekapo to Mt Cook

After breakfast, journey through to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. Enroute view New Zealand Alpine Lavender, the largest organic lavender farm in the Southern Hemisphere. Arrive at your hotel for the night, The Hermitage. There is time for lunch prior to joining our mid-afternoon Glacier Explorer excursion, the only tour of its kind in New Zealand and one of the only accessible glacial lakes containing icebergs in the world. Board a bus which takes you on a pleasant trip to the Tasman Valley, followed by a 25-minute alpine walk through the National Park. Then board our MAC boat and enjoy the ever-changing face of the Tasman Glacier terminal lake and its icebergs. There is time to rest & refresh this afternoon, prior to meeting for dinner in the evening.

Your Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel (or similar)

The Hermitage Hotel ringed by magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, is a world-renowned tourist destination and has been an icon of superior accommodation and dining since 1884.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Hermitage Hotel (or similar)

Day 13: Land in Wanaka tonight

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 13

Mt Cook to Wanaka

Leaving the National Park mid-morning, travel via Twizel, Omarama and the dramatic Lindis Pass - an alpine area of tall, tussock covered mountains – reaching Wanaka just after lunch. Located in the spectacular Alps of the South Island, New Zealand, visitors from around the world are drawn to the Wanaka region by its outstanding beauty. The stunning mountain and lakeside setting and proximity to Mt Aspiring National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Area, makes it the ultimate base for outdoor activities. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to enjoy before meeting up for dinner this evening at a local restaurant - stroll the streets and be inspired by galleries, stylish shops and be spoilt for choice with a great selection of cool cafes, craft breweries, and award-winning wineries.

Your Accommodation: Edgewater (or similar)

Edgewater is Wanaka's leading hotel located right on the edge of Lake Wanaka. A short stroll to the town centres shops, cafes and restaurants and close to many walking trails the resort is ideal to explore this wonderful Alpine setting.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Edgewater (or similar)

Day 14: A day to explore Wanaka

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 14

A day in Wanaka

After breakfast, drive by coach to West Wanaka, passing Glendhu Bay to meet with the River Journeys team at the West Wanaka Bridge.
Here board a jet boat for a trip up the Matukituki River. Travel at speed over shallow braids, drift into turns and stop in deep pools to enjoy the magic landscape & hear stories of our land from your local guides. Return to the banks of the Matukituki River to enjoy morning tea, before then setting off on a 4WD safari, travelling the private back roads of West Wanaka Station, a 30,000-acre deer farm steeped in history and bordering the majestic snow-capped peaks and glaciers of Mt Aspiring National Park.
At the conclusion of the tour, we return to Wanaka where you can enjoy lunch at the one of the many cafes lining the shores of Lake Wanaka.
At 3.00 pm you'll regroup for an afternoon cruise on Lake Wanaka. Relax in comfort as you cruise up the arm to Stevensons Island where you will make a beach landing. Your guide will take you ashore for a short hike to the summit to view the Minaret Peaks with some excellent photo opportunities (optional).

Your Accommodation: Edgewater (or similar)

Edgewater is Wanaka's leading hotel located right on the edge of Lake Wanaka. A short stroll to the town centres shops, cafes and restaurants and close to many walking trails the resort is ideal to explore this wonderful Alpine setting.

Meals included: Breakfast

Edgewater (or similar)

Day 15: Check out the wonderful distillery on the way to Queenstown

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 15

Wanaka to Queenstown

Depart Wanaka and travel via the Crown Range Road to Queenstown, enjoying the spectacular scenery en route. The road over the range is the highest main road in New Zealand, reaching an altitude of 1121 metres. Stop on the way at the Cardrona Whisky Distillery. Every aspect of Cardrona’s products is of the highest quality, from the pure Cardrona Valley alpine water, the rich malted barley, the foraged ingredients to the handpicked oak casks from Spain and America. Discover the secrets to Cardrona’s artisan spirits, see where the malt is milled, mashed, fermented, distilled and matured before tasting the wares with a tutored spirit tasting!
A short distance away is the iconic Cardrona Hotel; established in 1863 it is one of the oldest, most-photographed, and legendary hotels in New Zealand and one of only two remaining buildings from the Cardrona Valley gold rush era. Its’ rustic charm, dramatic mountain setting and rich history make it a must-see while in Central Otago. Once you've passed over the range, make a detour to one of the most picturesque settlements in New Zealand – Arrowtown. The town sits alongside the gold-bearing Arrow River and is just 20 minutes from Queenstown. Established in 1862, during the height of the Otago gold rush, the settlement grew quickly as pioneers constructed cottages, shops, hotels and churches, more than 60 of which can still be seen today. There is time to wander and enjoy lunch prior to continuing through to Queenstown.

Your Accommodation: Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

Centrally located the Novotel Queenstown Lakeside Hotel is nestled beside Lake Wakatipu on which Queenstown sits. This fresh, modern hotel offers contemporary rooms plus superb, uninterrupted views of the lake, mountains or adjoining gardens.

Meals included: Breakfast

Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

Day 16: A trip on the TSS Earnslaw will be todays highlight

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 16

Queenstown

This morning, visit the Chantecler Gardens, a 40-acre property that includes 12 acres of mature gardens and nestled in the heart of the Wakitipu Basin. At midday, set off on a cruise aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw across to Walter Peak High Country Farm (approx. 45-minutes) for lunch. Once at the lakeside Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant, savour the delicious aromas as the chef has the best of local produce sizzling away on the grill. Overlooking Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown's alpine scenery, the Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak High Country Farm is the perfect place to spend a few hours. Its colonial architecture and sweeping grounds evoke the elegance of a bygone era. An entertaining farm demonstration is also included, or you can explore the beautiful lakeside gardens. The rest of the afternoon is free prior to meeting for your final group dinner of the tour.

Your Accommodation: Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

Centrally located the Novotel Queenstown Lakeside Hotel is nestled beside Lake Wakatipu on which Queenstown sits. This fresh, modern hotel offers contemporary rooms plus superb, uninterrupted views of the lake, mountains or adjoining gardens.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

Day 17: Say goodbye after a great 17 days

Maher Escorted Tours - New Zealand Lakes Tour - Day 17

Queenstown

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Bid your fellow tour members farewell today as you transfer to Queenstown airport to join your flight home.

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