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19 Days

Explore the sandy beaches of the Coromandel coastline; dip your toes in the azure waters of Abel Tasman National Park; and journey deep into Fiordland National Park to cruise on the iconic Milford Sound – one of our all-time ‘must do’ experiences on a trip to New Zealand.

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Day 1 - Auckland

Fable, Auckland

Haere mai – welcome! Spend the afternoon and evening at your leisure exploring the ‘City of Sails’.

Day 2 - Auckland to Bay of Islands

Duke of Marlborough Hotel, Russell


Travel north via Auckland’s iconic Harbour Bridge visiting the Reed Memorial Park. Here walk along an elevated canopy walkway through a remnant of the original kauri forests – some kauri trees are known to be at least 500 years old. Take in the picturesque Whangarei Falls formed more than 2 million years ago, before continuing to the Bay of Islands, a stunning region of 144 sub-tropical islands scattered through warm shallow waters and bays abundant in natural wonders and marine life. Regarded as the birthplace of New Zealand the Bay of Islands is rich in both Maori culture and early European history. You are welcomed to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, to learn the story of Waitangi including the signing of the 1840 treaty between Maori tribes and British settlers; the magnificent meeting house; the interactive and contemporary museum; and the war canoe (waka). Next, take a ferry to the seaside village of Russell spending the next two nights at the historic Duke of Marlborough Hotel.

Day 3 - Bay of Islands

Duke of Marlborough Hotel, Russell


Today you have the choice of two excursions:

a) Discover the Far North of New Zealand

Travel by special coach along 90 Mile Beach to Cape Reinga, the very tip of New Zealand. This full day tour includes a visit to the ancient Puketi Kauri forest and lunch.

b) Enjoy a Hole in the Rock cruise

At the famous Hole in the Rock the skipper skilfully navigates into Grand Cathedral Cave (conditions permitting). Return to Russell for a guided tour of this historic town.

Day 4 - Bay of Islands to Auckland

Fable, Auckland


We travel back to Auckland and enjoy a sightseeing tour before visiting Auckland Museum for a guided tour and introduction to some of the treasures of the Pacific peoples.

Day 5 - Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula

Oceans Resort, Whitianga


Travel across the fertile Hauraki Plains to Thames then head up the western side of the Coromandel Peninsula. This coastal drive is quite spectacular and on a clear day, keep an eye out for the SkyTower which can be seen across the Firth of Thames. Visit the nearby Driving Creek Railway climbing 120m on a narrow-gauge line to the ‘EyeFull’ Tower for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and back over the Hauraki Gulf. Drive east across the Peninsula through beautiful scenery to reach the resort of Whitianga on Mercury Bay

Day 6 - Coromandel Peninsula

Oceans Resort, Whitianga


A day exploring the white cliffs, golden beaches, turquoise waters and green forests of the Coromandel, including Hot Water Beach, Cathedral Cove and Cooks Beach.

At the end of the day you can choose to catch the short ferry ride back to Whitianga and walk to your accommodation – OR – travel back with your driver.

Day 7 - Coromandel Peninsula – Rotorua

Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua


We journey inland to Rotorua; the epicentre not only of New Zealand’s geothermal activity but of Maori heritage. A guided tour of Te Puia includes many active geothermal mud pools, vents and geysers and also the centre for indigenous arts and crafts and a Kiwi conservation project.

Day 8 - Rotorua

Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua


Today you have the choice of two excursions:

a) Visit the Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Site of the eruption of Mt. Tarawera in 1886. Explore this ever-changing landscape on foot and by boat.

b) Experience the real Middle-earth

Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set for a guided tour of The Shire that featured in Peter Jackson’s films, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit film series.

Back in Rotorua this evening our whole group will experience an amazing Maori welcome, a cultural performance, and a traditional Hangi feast.

Day 9 - Rotorua to Napier

Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier


We drive across the central North Island, past the vast Lake Taupo, to Hawke’s Bay on the east coast. In Napier our local guide brings history and architecture alive with entertaining stories on a walking tour of the seaside city. Tonight’s treat is dinner at New Zealand’s oldest winery, Mission Estate.

Day 10 - Napier to Wellington

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington


Travel through vineyards and orchards to New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. From the Kelburn lookout take the Wellington Cable Car down into the central city before visiting Te Papa – New Zealand’s innovative and interactive national museum.

Day 11 - Wellington to Nelson

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson


Today we cross the Cook Strait to the South Island on one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world. We travel the short distance to Blenheim in the heart of the Marlborough wine country and enjoy wine tasting at a premier winery. From Marlborough we cross to sunny Nelson, your base for the next two nights.

Day 12 - Abel Tasman National Park

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson


Paradise found! Abel Tasman National Park is a mosaic of golden coves and turquoise lagoons sheltered by forested ranges to the south. With few roads in this pristine wilderness, most journeys are made by boat.

This morning from Kaiteriteri, your tour includes a choice of these three options:

a) 3-4 hour Scenic Cruise (no walking)

A morning cruise reveals the golden sands and turquoise waters of Abel Tasman National Park. Enjoy time at leisure in Kaiteriteri and return to Nelson on the late afternoon transfer.

b) Walking Option 1: Astrolabe Beaches and Bays (7km, 2.5 hour walk)

After the scenic cruise, disembark at Apple Tree Bay for a self-guided walk to fabulous Anchorage Beach. Late afternoon shuttle transfer back to Nelson.

c) Walking Option 2: Forest and Swing-Bridge (10.5km, 4 hour walk)

After the scenic cruise, disembark at Medlands Beach for a self-guided walk that includes the scenic highlights of the South Head lookout, the famous Falls River swing-bridge and Cleopatra’s Pool. Late afternoon transfer back to Nelson.

Day 13 - Nelson to Punakaiki

The Ocean View Retreat, Punakaiki


We travel through the Nelson Lakes National Park pausing at the quaint village of St. Arnaud before taking the old gold miners’ road through Buller River Gorge and emerging from the forest at Punakaiki. Here we can enjoy the famous ‘Pancake Rocks’ - these stratified limestone stacks are an extraordinary monument of nature.

Day 14 - Punakaiki to Fox Glacier

Distinction Hotel, Fox Glacier


Following the Great Coast Road through Hokitika and Franz Josef we arrive at the small village of Fox. This is a great base from which to access the West Coast Glaciers and one of the best options, weather permitting, is a scenic helicopter ride (extra cost).

Day 15 - Fox Glacier to Wanaka

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka


Driving via mirror-like Lake Matheson we turn towards the Southern Alps heading over the Haast Pass into Mt. Aspiring National Park. The popular and pretty resort town of Wanaka is our base for the next two nights.

Day 16 - Wanaka

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka


This morning you have the choice of two excursions:

a) Take a lake cruise to a conservation island

Join a local eco-guide to discover rare native birds, island walks and stunning landscape views.

b) Experience a scenic 4WD adventure

Explore remote High Country farmland.

This afternoon is at your leisure to relax or enjoy your own choice of activities.

Day 17 - Wanaka to Te Anau

Distinction Hotel Luxmore, Te Anau


Our first stop today is the much photographed Cardrona Pub, we then visit historic Arrowtown – a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. We continue our journey along the shores of spectacular Lake Wakatipu through glacial formed valleys to Lake Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Day 18 - Te Anau to Milford Sound to Queenstown

Scenic Suites, Queenstown


Today’s drive is spectacular, winding through lofty mountains and deep valleys carved out by Ice Age glaciers. At Milford Sound we board a comfortable vessel for a cruise past Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea. Keep an eye peeled for seals and dolphins which are often seen in the waters of the fiord. The return trip by road to Queenstown is equally scenic.

Day 19 - Depart Queenstown

Haere ra – farewell from New Zealand. You are transferred to Queenstown Airport for your return home taking with you fond memories of your time in New Zealand. Alternatively, should you wish to extend your stay in New Zealand, we can assist you with additional travel arrangements.

Kowhai Featured Experiences

• Entry to Waitangi Treaty Grounds

• Journey along 90 Mile Beach – or – take a Hole in the Rock cruise

• A scenic cruise from Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula

• Narrow-gauge railway journey through native Coromandel bush

• Visit Hot Water Beach and photogenic Cathedral Cove

• A private guide around a geothermal valley with geysers, mud pools and hot springs

• Visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley – or – experience Hobbiton Movie Set

• Delve into Maori life and enjoy a powerful cultural performance and feast

• Enjoy an evening meal at Mission Estate in Napier

• Travel on Wellington’s famous Cable Car and visit Te Papa museum

• Scenic Interislander Ferry journey across the Cook Strait

• Wine tasting at one of Marlborough’s premier wineries

• Cruise the turquoise waters of Abel Tasman National Park

• Visit world-famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes at Punakaiki

• Cruise to a conservation island – or – join a scenic 4WD adventure

• Explore the historic gold rush village of Arrowtown

• Cruise, with a picnic lunch, on the breath-taking Milford Sound

Our Small Group Tours are perfect for those seeking a truly unique New Zealand holiday experience

Your overnight stays are an important way of experiencing the character of your destination so we carefully hand-pick our accommodations, choosing one-of-a-kind hotels or unique properties that are expressions of the region or have a particular vibe or attraction of their own.

Please note that occasionally we need to substitute accommodation to that of a similar standard, based on availability.
Fable, Auckland

Be transported back to the 1920s in this elegant Art Deco heritage hotel right in the heart of Auckland city. Unlike anything you have experienced before, the Fable was created to be something treasured. Close to the city’s central shopping precinct and the Viaduct Harbour’s vibrant hospitality scene, your stay at this luxury hotel will make your holiday something to remember.

Duke of Marlborough Hotel, Russell

The Duke of Marlborough began its life in 1827 as “Johnny Johnston’s Grog Shop” and was one of the first land sales to a European in New Zealand. In the 1930s Johnny changed the name of his hotel to the Duke of Marlborough, as at the time the Duke of Marlborough was the world’s richest man, so the name sought to bring respect, elegance and opulence to the “Hell Hole of the Pacific”.

Oceans Resort, Whitianga

Nestled on the western shore of the beautiful Mercury Bay and only a stone’s throw from the golden sands of Buffalo Beach, you will find the relaxed luxury Whitianga Apartments of Oceans Resort in the heart of popular Whitianga. The resort is only a short stroll to the ferry and the picturesque marina or wander through the town centre where you will find an abundance of cafés, restaurants and bars, and boutique stores. Please note these are self-contained apartments and there is no restaurant onsite.

Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua

This boutique property is a prominent showpiece in the heart of Rotorua. Originally built in the gold mining town of Waihi, in 1917 nail by nail and board by board, the hotel was dismantled and transferred by horse-drawn wagon to the Waihi Railway Station and the timber and fittings were duly taken by rail to Rotorua. It is now sited opposite the entrance to the stunning Government Gardens. A visit to the Princes Gate Hotel is an exciting escape back in time.

Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier

The hotel enjoys a premium waterfront location on Napier’s Marine Parade and is a short stroll from the main art deco style street. Styled to complement its remarkable location the hotel boasts design awards and is perfectly sited to enjoy the famous sunrises of the Hawke’s Bay - one of the first places in the world to see the light each day.

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

Located in the heart of Wellington this hotel is minutes from popular landmarks and activities such as the Cable Car, Parliament buildings, and Lambton Quay’s shopping district. A perfect balance between elegance and comfort, the hotel has two renowned restaurants, bars, a day spa and fitness room – so all your comforts and needs should be covered!

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Situated in Trafalgar Square, Nelson, the hotel boasts a prime spot only minutes walk from Nelson’s landmark cathedral and main shopping district (including, just a block away, Jens Hansen Goldsmiths; creators of the ring in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy). If you choose not to venture out, the hotel has two highly regarded restaurants onsite, plus a sauna, gym and outdoor pool to work up your appetite!

The Ocean View Retreat, Punakaiki

Just two minutes’ walk from the beach, this comfortable and environmentally friendly hotel in Paparoa National Park is only 300 metres from the magnificent Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. The limestone stacks have been sculptured by the weather and sea leaving unique stacks resembling pancakes layered on top of each other!

Distinction Hotel, Fox Glacier

Distinction Hotel Fox Glacier is situated in one of the world’s most ruggedly beautiful environments - nestled beneath the towering Southern Alps on the stunning West Coast of New Zealand. The hotel’s location provides a real sense of privacy and peaceful seclusion, while being only a short stroll to the charming Fox Glacier village.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

The hotel is in a fantastic location, just a short walk from town, and directly on the shores of the beautiful Lake Wanaka. The hotel enjoys amazing views of the lake’s clear blue waters and with the backdrop of the Mt. Aspiring National Park it’s no surprise the area is a focal point for keen photographers.

Distinction Hotel Luxmore, Te Anau

Te Anau is a charming South Island town based on the eastern side of Lake Te Anau, the South Island’s largest lake. The hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Te Anau and just a short stroll from the glacially formed lake. The hotel has two on-site restaurants for you to choose from, their eateries and bars are a popular choice with both visitors and locals alike.

Scenic Suites, Queenstown

This inspiring resort town at the foot of the Southern Alps attracts those looking for an unforgettable trip. The Scenic Suites provides one of the most sought-after locations for Queenstown hotels. The hotel’s elevated position gives fantastic views of the Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand’s longest lake, carved from a glacier more than 15,000 years ago.

What is the size of New Zealand?

New Zealand is 266,200 square kilometres - similar in size to Great Britain or Japan, but unlike these countries New Zealand has a population of less than 5 million. The country comprises of two main islands; the North Island (Te Ika-a-Maui), and the South Island (Te Waipounamu).

Do I need a passport or visa to enter New Zealand?

All visitors to New Zealand must carry a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date they intend to leave the country. Some visitors must have an Electronic Travel Authority and pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy before travelling to New Zealand. For more information about visas and visitor regulations, visit www.immigration.govt.nz.

When is the best time to come to New Zealand?

New Zealand really is an all-year round destination as it enjoys a mild climate ranging from temperate areas at the bottom of the South Island to sub-tropical regions in the upper North Island. We have designed our Small Group Tours around the most popular times to visit, through spring, summer and autumn.

What is the typical age group of the people that travel on your tours?

Our Small Group Tours appeal to a broad range of ages but typically our clients are in the 50+ age group.

Luggage Allowance

Luggage is restricted to one suitcase and one small item of hand luggage per person. Baggage handling of one suitcase per person, at each hotel, is included in the trip price. Due to limited storage capacity in the smaller vehicles used for these tours, each case should have dimensions not exceeding 30” x 18” x 10” (76x46x25cm) and 62 linear inches (157cm) and weight not exceeding 50lbs (23kg). Please note that some airlines restrict checked luggage allowance – please check this with your airline. Carry-on/hand luggage is restricted to one piece per person, not exceeding 12” x 11” x 6” (30x28x14cm) in order to fit under your coach seat. Carry-on/hand luggage handling is the responsibility of each guest and must be taken on and off the motorcoach by you each day of the trip. Please note that carry-ons with telescopic handles and wheels will not fit under seats and therefore cannot be accepted as carry-on luggage for safety reasons.

What sort of clothing should I bring with me?

When on tour in New Zealand dress is generally relaxed and casual with an informal dress standard on most occasions. Casual wear is recommended for travelling with something a little more formal for evening dining. If taking part in outdoor activities, make sure you have a waterproof coat, comfortable footwear and dress in layers to help you adjust to any sudden changes in climate. Be prepared for New Zealand’s powerful sun, even on cold windy days, bringing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Do I need any vaccinations?

All passengers must adhere to the entry and health requirements set in place at the time of travel by the New Zealand Government, immigration and health authorities. For more information please refer to the New Zealand Government official website. covid19.govt.nz/international-travel

What currency should I bring with me?

The official currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD$). Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, some hotels and Bureau de Change kiosks which are found at international airports and in most city centres. All major credit card can be used in New Zealand, with Visa and MasterCard accepted most widely. ATM ’s are generally available in all except the most rural areas.

Can I use my mobile phone in New Zealand?

Many international mobile phones will work in New Zealand although higher rates can often apply, please check with your phone/network provider before leaving home to confirm. Alternatively, prepaid SIM cards are available to purchase when you arrive in New Zealand. Mobile coverage is extensive across most of the country but not available in some remote and rural areas.

Is tipping expected?

Tipping is not obligatory or expected in New Zealand but if you choose to reward a job well done it is always greatly appreciated.

What are the legislations around smoking?

It is now illegal to smoke indoors in workplaces and hospitality venues including restaurants, bars, cafes, casinos and hotel lobbies. If you wish to smoke, you will need to smoke outdoors.

Does New Zealand have any dangerous animals?

New Zealand does not have any poisonous snakes, dangerous animals and only one poisonous spider – the Katipo which is very rare and only found in certain coastal areas and Katipo bites are rare. If travelling to Fiordland, insect repellent is strongly recommended as the sand-flies are large and determined!

Do I need travel Insurance?

While New Zealand’s medical facilities, both private and public, provide a high standard of treatment and care, it is strongly recommended that all travellers hold comprehensive travel insurance (including full medical, cancellation and repatriation) before departing their home country. Visitors to New Zealand are covered for subsidised treatment for personal injury caused by accident under the Government-run ACC scheme. However ACC does not cover any medical treatment relating to illness. Visitors should have their own medical insurance cover.

Departure Date Price Single Supplement Availability
Wed 12 Oct 2022 $7,460 USD $2,550 USD Tour Unavailable
Wed 23 Nov 2022 $7,460 USD $2,550 USD Tour Unavailable
Wed 18 Jan 2023 $7,460 USD $2,550 USD Tour Unavailable
Wed 08 Feb 2023 $8,100 USD $2,670 USD Available
Wed 22 Feb 2023 $8,100 USD $2,670 USD Available
Wed 22 Mar 2023 $8,100 USD $2,670 USD Available
Wed 05 Apr 2023 $7,460 USD $2,550 USD Available
Wed 10 May 2023 $6,480 USD $2,400 USD Available
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