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Rata

16 Days

On this Small Group Tour you will see and learn about New Zealand’s amazing geothermal activities, experience authentic Maori culture and hospitality, and explore the vast range of jaw-dropping scenery that makes New Zealand a magnificent location for the ultimate vacation.

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Day 1 - Auckland

M Social Hotel, Auckland

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

Day 2 - Auckland to Rotorua

Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua

Breakfast
Dinner

This morning enjoy an Auckland City tour including panoramic views from Bastion Point, the informative Maori and Pacific Islands displays at the Auckland Museum, quaint Parnell Village, and some of the most popular waterfront areas. Departing Auckland we travel to Rotorua – the heart of New Zealand’s famous thermal and cultural region. After a city tour you will be able to check into your central accommodation and enjoy some time to relax before travelling this evening to a Maori village where you will experience a powerful cultural performance, storytelling and Hangi (feasting).

Day 3 - Rotorua to Wellington

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

Breakfast

This morning you will have a private tour of Te Puia to see its geothermal activity and centre for indigenous arts and crafts. Next travel out to visit the Blue and Green Lakes, and Lake Tarawera – site of the Buried Village to see remains of the Maori village Te Wairoa that was devastated by an 1886 volcanic eruption. This afternoon fly to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. On arrival enjoy a city tour including viewing famous landmarks such as New Zealand’s magnificent Parliament Buildings and the iconic ‘Beehive’ building. Your hotel is located within the central business and shopping precinct of Wellington.

Day 4 - Wellington to Nelson

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Breakfast

Today starts with one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world; travelling through the Cook Strait to the South Island. In Marlborough we pause for wine tasting at one of the area’s premier wineries before crossing to sunny Nelson, our base for the next two nights.

Day 5 - Abel Tasman National Park

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Breakfast

This morning from Kaiteriteri, your tour includes a choice of one activity from 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 Full Park 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 Full Park Scenic Cruise, disembark at Medlands Beach for a self-guided walk to Anchorage Beach including the scenic highlights of the South Head lookout, the famous Falls River swing-bridge and Cleopatra’s Pool. Late afternoon shuttle transfer back to Nelson.

Day 6 - Nelson to Punakaiki

Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki

Breakfast

We travel through the enchanting Nelson Lakes National Park and follow the Buller River Gorge - one of the world’s best but least-known scenic drives. Emerging from the forest at Punakaiki - renowned for its wild, rugged coastline and the famous ‘Pancake Rocks’.

Day 7 - Punakaiki to Fox Glacier

Distinction Hotel, Fox Glacier

Breakfast

Journeying south along the Great Coast Road we pause in Hokitika township, where the galleries specialise in pounamu (greenstone). Stretch your legs at the dramatic Hokitika Gorge before continuing south to glacier country. The Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers flow from vast snowfields high in the Southern Alps, down almost to sea level. Weather permitting, an optional helicopter ride is a terrific way to experience the sheer grandeur of the glaciers (extra cost).

Day 8 - Fox Glacier to Wanaka

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

Breakfast

After a photo opportunity at mirror-like Lake Matheson we head over the Haast Pass deep into Mt. Aspiring National Park to the pretty lakeside resort town of Wanaka.

Day 9 - Wanaka

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

Breakfast

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 with the perfect mix of incredible scenery, history, heritage and farming life.

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

Day 10 - Wanaka to Te Anau

Distinction Hotel Luxmore, Te Anau

Breakfast

This morning we 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 11 - Te Anau to Milford Sound to Queenstown

Scenic Suites, Queenstown

Breakfast
Lunch

The journey to Milford Sound is one of the most scenic experiences you can have on four wheels! At Milford Sound we board a comfortable vessel for a cruise past Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea. Enjoy your picnic lunch while watching for seals and dolphins which are often seen in the waters of the fiord. We end our day in Queenstown.

Day 12 - Queenstown

Scenic Suites, Queenstown

Breakfast

Surrounded by majestic mountains and set on the shores of crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu, the natural beauty and the unique energy of Queenstown create the perfect backdrop for a visit full of adventure, exploration or relaxation. Today is free for you to do your own thing and the options are endless.

Day 13 - Queenstown to Mt. Cook to Twizel

Mackenzie Country Hotel, Twizel

Breakfast

We pass pretty Lake Dunstan before we cross Central Otago countryside to the Lindis Pass. Descending into the Mackenzie Basin the Southern Alps dominate the horizon. We drive along Lake Pukaki to Mt. Cook Village, home to New Zealand’s tallest peak, Aoraki/Mt. Cook, we overnight in the rural town of Twizel.

Day 14 - Twizel to Rural Canterbury

Ashburton

Breakfast
Dinner

Visit a friendly lakeside home to learn the secrets of making a Pavlova - a truly Kiwi dessert! View the Church of the Good Shepherd and Lake Tekapo before travelling to Ashburton.

Accommodation options:

a) Rural homestay

Local hosts open their homes to travellers offering a delicious home-cooked dinner before a cosy night’s stay in a family home.

b) Local hotel

Spend the night in a local hotel enjoying dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Day 15 - Ashburton to Christchurch

Distinction Hotel, Christchurch

Breakfast
Dinner

We cross the fertile Canterbury Plains to our last destination, Christchurch. Post earthquake the city mixes colonial charm with modern architecture, re-inventing itself in typical Kiwi style. Edwardian styled boatmen take you for a relaxing cruise along the River Avon before we enjoy a journey onboard a beautifully restored heritage tram through the changing face of Christchurch’s city centre. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 16 - Depart Christchurch
Breakfast

Haere ra – farewell from New Zealand. You are transferred to the Christchurch Airport for your return home. Alternatively, should you wish to extend your stay, we can assist you with additional travel arrangements.

Rata Featured Experiences

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

• A private guide and tour around an active geothermal site

• Visit a volcanic valley and explore the site devastated by an 1886 eruption

• 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

• Explore the historic gold rush village of Arrowtown

• Take a boat trip to a conservation island – or – join a scenic 4WD adventure

• Cruise, with a picnic lunch, on the breathtaking Milford Sound

• Enjoy true kiwi hospitality with morning tea at a local home on the shores of Lake Tekapo

• Relax as you’re guided along Christchurch’s Avon River on an authentic Edwardian punt

M Social Hotel, Auckland

M Social Hotel is a unique contemporary hotel, appealing to the curious, the explorers and those who thrive on new experiences. It offers form and function in a casual setting, featuring spaces that are designed to be flexible to guest's needs. The hotel overlooks the vibrant Princes Wharf and is close to a stunning array of dining, entertainment and shopping experiences.

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.

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!

Punakaiki Resort, 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.

Mackenzie Country Hotel, Twizel

Built in 1968 as a service town for the hydro-electric power scheme, Twizel was meant to be a temporary town. However, the workers grew to love their little town, and as the project was winding up in the early 1980s they successfully fought to save Twizel. The Mackenzie Country Hotel is a great place to relax, unwind and enjoy your time in Twizel.

Ashburton

Take your pick:

a) Rural homestay: Here you are met in small groups by your hosts who will extend their hospitality to you to with a tour of the property, perhaps a visit with the animals, and a delicious home-cooked dinner before a cosy night’s stay in a local home

b) Local hotel: spend the night in a local hotel enjoying dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Distinction Hotel, Christchurch

An urban escape that combines sophisticated smarts and familiar warmth, the hotel is ideally positioned in the heart of the city only a few minutes’ walk from the Avon River, Botanical Gardens, Christchurch Casino, Cashel Mall and future Christchurch Convention Centre. The renovated hotel stands proud amongst the buzz of the rejuvenation of Cathedral Square.

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.

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?

No vaccinations are required for entry into New Zealand.

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
Tue 19 Nov 2019 $6,350 USD $2,030 USD Available
Wed 22 Jan 2020 $6,900 USD $2,160 USD Available
Wed 26 Feb 2020 $6,900 USD $2,160 USD Tour Unavailable
Wed 25 Mar 2020 $6,900 USD $2,160 USD Available
Wed 29 Apr 2020 $6,350 USD $2,030 USD Available
Wed 27 May 2020 $5,520 USD $1,800 USD Available
Wed 21 Oct 2020 $6,625 USD $2,095 USD Available
Wed 25 Nov 2020 $6,625 USD $2,095 USD Available
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