<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Grand Down Under Discovery New Zealand Itineray with Kiwi Talk

Grand Down Under Discovery

18 Day Itinerary

Experience the magnificent train journeys of New Zealand with this diverse 18 day tour

Journey the length of the country, experiencing the diversity of the scenery with this tour that encompasses the many train journeys through New Zealand. From the famous Tranz Alpine train that takes you across the South Island and through the picturesque Southern Alps to the Kingston Flyer, the vintage steam train that seems to transport you back in time, each journey will take you somewhere you have never been before!

New Zealnd Nort and South Islands

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Day One:
welcome to New Zealand! Upon arrival in Auckland, transfer to the Langham Hotel or Stamford Plaza, Auckland. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Day Two:
Visit the unique Kauri & Pioneer Museum at Matakohe. Cross the Northland peninsula through the breathtaking Waipoua Forest where you’ll view the giant 77 metre tall Tane Mahutu Kauri Tree. Arrive at the historic Waitangi Treaty House, where the 1840 treaty between the Maori and the British was signed. Enjoy a guided tour of the Treaty House and grounds. Your next 2 nights are at the beautiful beachfront Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Bay of Islands. You have the opportunity tonight to enjoy a Sound and Light show (own expense).

Day Three:
Free Choice – Drive to Cape Reinga or Cruise with dolphins or Cruise to the historic towns of Russell and Pompallier or Play 18 holes of golf at the picturesque Waitangi Golf Club or Go bay ocean fishing or Experience the bay fastboating ‘Excitor’ ride. Choose one option for this afternoon’s activities (tour is included in the tour fare and is at no extra cost).

Day Four:
After breakfast, cruise to Cape Brett Lighthouse, Piercy Island and (weather permitting) through the famous Hole in the Rock, aboard a catamaran. Along the way, look out for porpoises which make this area their home. Stop at a secluded bay with time for lunch. This afternoon rejoin the coach and enjoy the scenic return to Auckland. Overnight at the luxurious Langham Hotel.

Day Five:
Visit Mount Eden, the city’s landmark crater, before traveling to Goldfield’s Railway for a delightful rail journey. Enjoy morning tea as this vintage train carries you through the upper reaches of stunning Karangahake Gorge. Rejoin the coach and visit New Zealand’s largest gold mine before journeying to Mount Maunganui for an easy walk around this extinct volcano. Stroll through the towering Californian Coastal Redwoods before continuing onto the thermal region of Rotorua, with the next 2 nights at the Novotel Royal lakeside Hotel. This evening travel to the shores of Lake Rotoiti. Visit a sacred Marae (ancestral grounds) and experience an authentic cultural performance. Enjoy an official Powhiri (welcome) by the chief, the Haka warrior dance) and a Hangi-inspired feast.

Day Six:
Visit the Whakawarewa thermal reserve and Maori Arts and Crafts Institute where you will see demonstrations of local crafts and view the amazing thermal activity. See boiling mud pools, silica terraces and steaming geysers, including the famous Pohutu Geyser.
Free Choice – Agrodome sheep shearing and farm dog show or Geothermal mineral pools at the Polynesian Day Spa or Trout fishing or Visit the Buried Village archaeological site or Rotorua Museum. Choose one option for your day’s activity (activity is included in the tour fare and is at no extra cost). You have the opportunity replace the day’s touring with a visit to White Island, New Zealand’s only permanently active volcano, situated 50km off shore. Take a helicopter from Rotorua and land on the edge of the crater. Enjoy a guided walk to see the lava, steam vent and sulphur build up of the island (surcharge applies).

Day Seven:
Depart Rotorua and head south via the stunning Lake Taupo shore line. Journey to Taumaranui by the Whanganui River and board The Overlander railway for a magnificent afternoon’s journey up the famous Raurimu Spiral onto New Zealand’s awesome volcanic plateau and native bush. The Raurimu Spirals a feat of rail engineering that was declared a wonder of the world when it was completed in 1908. The Spiral includes 3 horseshoe curves – one complete circle and 2 short tunnels. The Tongariro National Park is a World Heritage site. After ‘the drop’, the route becomes green and lush again and the dramatic white cliffs and viaducts of the Rangitekei River and closer to Wellington, the views of Kapiti Island and the exquisite coastline. Next 2 nights are at the luxurious harbourfront Duxton Hotel, Wellington.

Day Eight:
Visit Te Papa, Wellington’s sensational innovative National Museum. Your guide will take you on a fascinating journey of past and present day exhibits. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
 

Day Nine:
Join a relaxing cruise from Wellington Harbour across the Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island. Cruise through the Marlborough and Queen Charlotte Sounds then rejoin the coach on the South Island and travel through the wine region of Blenheim. Pause at the seal colony in Kaikoura before journeying to Christchurch. Overnight at the luxurious Millennium Christchurch Hotel.

Day Ten:
Board the Tranz Alpine train for an unforgettable journey across spectacular river gorges and through the beautiful Southern Alps. Rejoin the coach at Arthur’s Pass and travel to Hokitika to visit the wonderful Greenstone Jade Factory. Continue on to view the awesome Franz Josef Glacier. Time is available in the afternoon or tomorrow morning for a scenic helicopter flight to the top of the glacier (own expense). Overnight at the delightful Franz Josef Glacier Hotel.

Day Eleven:
See areas of untouched beauty and serenity, with beautiful cascading waterfalls and magnificent mountain scenery. Stop at the lakeside town of Wanaka before arriving in Queenstown. Your next 2 nights are in suites at the superb Mercure Grand St Moritz Hotel, which overlooks the beautiful Lake Wakatipu.
Free Choice – TSS Earnslaw cruise to dine at Walter Peak Station or Ride a gondola to the Skyline Restaurant and dine or Dine at Lombardi’s Restaurant or Enjoy a delicious home cooked dinner at a locally hosted New Zealand home. Choose one option for your dining (dinner is included in the tour fare and is at no extra cost).


Day Twelve:
Free Choice – A jet boat ride on the Shotover River or A guided winery tour or A guided tour of Skippers Canyon or A therapeutic massage or foot revival or A gourmet picnic hamper for a private picnic on the shores of Lake Wakatipu (min 2 people) or Enjoy a country gardens tour with lunch (seasonal) or Enjoy a Lord of the Rings 4WD tour. Choose one option for this afternoon’s activities (tour is included in the tour fare and is at no extra cost).

Day Thirteen:
Journey on the Kingston Flyer, New Zealand’s fully-restored famous vintage steam train. See magnificent views of Lake Wakatipu, tussock grasslands and fascinating alpine desert, before arriving in Fairlight. Re-board the coach and travel to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park.Join an unforgettable cruise of Milford Sound, the most accessible of Fiordland’s magnificent glacier carved fiords, including the famous Mitre Peak. Rejoin the coach and travel to Te Anau for an overnight at the charming Village Inn. You have the opportunity to replace e the day’s touring with a visit to the secluded Doubtful Sound (surcharge applies).

Day Fourteen:
Travel across Lake Te Anau to Te Ana-au Caves where you will glide by small boat through the silent darkness of the enchanting Glow Worm Grotto. Rejoin your coach and journey to Dunedin for a brief sightseeing tour of this wonderful city.
Free Choice – An evening at the Southern Cross Hotel or Experience the warmth of the local people during an overnight local home stay – MUST be booked before departure. Choose one option for your night’s activity (activity is included in the tour fare and is at no extra cost).

Day Fifteen:
This morning join the Taieri Gorge rail journey through Otago. Join the coach and travel to Larnach Castle and enjoy a special Haggis Ceremony and lunch. Return to the city and overnight at the Southern Cross Hotel, Dunedin.

Day Sixteen:
See the fascinating Moeraki Boulders, Journey through the world famous Mount Cook National Park, as appeared in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Stop to view Mount Cook (subject to weather). Overnight at the Mackenzie Country Inn

Day Seventeen:
Travel over tussock plains to breathtaking Lake Tekapo. Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd, ideally situated on the lake’s edge. Arrive in Christchurch and enjoy a brief city tour. Overnight at the Millennium Hotel Christchurch, in the heart of Cathedral Square and enjoy sumptuous dishes at your farewell dinner.


Day Eighteen:
Following breakfast, say farewell to new friends and you head to the airport for your flight back to the UK.

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