19 Day Tour, South and North Islands
Updated: May 6, 2020
Itinerary: Christchurch - Akaroa - Lake Tekapo - Mount Cook - Lake Wanaka - Arrowtown - Queenstown - Te Anau - Milford Sound - Dunedin - Auckland - Coromandel Peninsula - Hobbiton - Rotorua - Waimangu Valley - Wai-O-Tapu - Huka Falls - Taupo - Tongariro NP - Waitomo Caves - Auckland
There is one domestic flight Dunedin - Auckland.
Place: Christchurch - Akaroa
04:55 Arrival to Christchurch.
05:00 – 05:40 Passport and biocontrol.
05:40 – 07:10 Transfer to Akaroa, possibly via beautiful Summit Rd. Pohatu
07:10 – 12:00 Have a rest at a hotel.
18:00 – 21:00 Evening Penguins Tour. You’ll see the smallest penguins on the Earth – a little blue penguin. You would need good walking shoes and warm clothes.
10:20 – 10:30 Driving to Main Wharf, Akaroa.
10:30 – 11:00 Check-in Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise.
11:00 – 13:00 Black Cat Akaroa cruise.
Excursion Includes: The historic French village of Akaroa is a 90-minute drive from Christchurch where visitors can cruise around an extinct volcanic crater. Experience majestic scenery and stunning wildlife on daily Black Cat harbour cruises. Guests will see the rare, native dolphin - the Hector's or New Zealand Dolphin. There's also the chance to spot the world's smallest penguin, the White Flippered Little Blue Penguin, Fur Seals and other sea birds. Other cruise highlights are a working salmon farm, Cathedral Cave and signs of Akaroa's fascinating past including early Maori, French and British settlement. Two-hour cruises depart daily from Akaroa’s Main Wharf.
- Full commentary from the skipper
- Full bar facilities
- Complimentary tea and coffee
- Optional photo pack
What to Bring: Warm sweater/fleece jacket, waterproof jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat and camera.
13:00 – 14:30 Lunch at a local café. Pay direct.
14:30 – 16:00 Ngaio Point loop track (1 hour of walking, easy level). We may stay on a beach for swimming.
Free evening in Akaroa.
Place: Akaroa – Lake Tekapo – Twizel
09:00 – 14:00 Driving to Tekapo lake with a couple of short stops.
14:00 – 15:30 Lunch at a café in Tekapo.
15:30 – 16:00 Church of the Good Shepard, gorgeous lake views.
16:00 – 17:00 Driving to Twizel.
Place: Twizel – Mt Cook (Hooker Valley) – Wanaka lake
In the morning hiking on Hooker Valley Track. It is 10 km return via the same track (about 3 hours). The track leads through the sacred Tōpuni area of the Hooker Valley, which has special significance and values to Ngāi Tahu iwi, towards Aoraki/Mount Cook.
Optional – sightseeing flight before Hooker valley hike.
We’ll drive to Wanaka after the lunch (144 km, 2.5 hours with several short stops).
Place: Wanaka lake
11:00 – 17:30 Classic Half-Day Wine Tour. The accent is on leisure as you immerse yourself into the flavours and sights of this vineyard paradise. We’ll take you to the little places that are quietly making a big name for themselves with their dedication to produce the best possible wine. Here you’ll get up close and personal with the vineyard owners. This tour is an unhurried amble through up to six of the regions finest, pausing only to admire the ever-present views. Savour the unique atmosphere of the arts, crafts and history of Old Cromwell Town and enjoy the indulgence of an award-winning gourmet platter lunch, made from local fresh produce.
Place: Wanaka lake – Arrowtown – Queenstown – Te Anau
10:00 – 11:00 Driving from Wanaka to historic Arrowtown through Cardrona pass.
11:00 – 12:00 Enjoy the unique atmosphere of a historic gold mining town in the heart of Otago region.
12:00 – 12:30 Driving to Skyline complex, lift to Bob’s Peak.
12:30 – 14:00 Buffet lunch at Stratosphere restaurant. Enjoy the fantastic views of the Wakatipu lake and Queenstown.
14:00 – 15:00 Queenstown city tour: Beach street, Botanic gardens, short walk along the lake’s shore.
15:00 – 18:00 Driving to Te Anau.
Place: Te Anau – Milford Sound – Dunedin
08:30 – 10:30 Driving to Milford Sound.
10:30 – 11:00 Check-in the cruise.
11:00 – 12:40 Milford Sound Scenic Cruise. A spectacular cruise to the mouth of the fiord on a spacious, modern vessel with excellent viewing opportunities. Large windows, spacious decks and comfortable lounges offer uninterrupted views of towering peaks and surging waterfalls. Keep a lookout for seals basking on the rocks, dolphins and penguins. Enjoy scenic highlights such as Mitre Peak and Pembroke Glacier. Informative commentary explains the history and highlights points of interest during the cruise. Lunch is included.
13:00 – 19:00 Driving to Dunedin.
You are welcome to take 1 hour Segway Tour or 2 hour Segway Tour visit the Olveston Historic Home, Larnach castle or Penguin Place.
Place: Dunedin – Auckland – Hahei (Coromandel peninsula)
08:00 – 09:00 Driving to the airport.
09:00 – 09:55 Flight check-in, boarding.
09:55 – 11:45 Direct flight to Auckland.
11:45 – 12:30 Baggage claim.
12:30 – 15:30 Driving to Hahei town, Coromandel peninsula.
15:30 – 17:00 Lunch. Pay direct.
17:00 Hotel check-in. Free evening in Hahei.
Place: Hahei (Coromandel peninsula)
Today we’ll visit the famous Cathedral Cove where the movie The Chronicles of Narnia. Prince Caspian was filmed. Hiking, swimming.
Also we’ll visit Hot water Beach to dig your own hot pool in the sand.
Place: Hahei (Coromandel peninsula)
Free day in leisure.
Place: Hahei – Hobbiton – Rotorua
09:00 – 12:00 Driving from Hahei to Hobbiton.
12:00 – 12:30 Tour check-in.
12:30 – 14:30 Tour of the legendary Hobbiton.
14:30 – 15:30 Lunch at Shire's Rest Café (pay direct).
15:30 – 16:30 Driving to Rotorua.
16:30 – 18:00 Hotel check-in.
18:00 – 18:30 Driving to Mitai Maori Village. Tour check-in.
18:30 – 21:00 Tour of Mitai Maori Village which welcomes guests with the arrival of the Maori war canoe. Within the village, you are entertained with the performing dances of the Maori that include the poi and of course war cries of the haka. You will have an understanding of the art of ta moko/ tattoos when they leave, and you will remember the journey to the sacred pools and the glow worms - and of course not forgetting the food that has been cooked in the earth oven - our Hangi. Kia Ora!
09:30 – 10:00 Driving to Te Puia. Tour check-in.
10:00 – 11:00 Tour of Te Puia with Maori guide. Visit the NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute which acts as a guardian (kaitiaki) of the traditional Maori skills of carving and weaving for future generations, where at the artisan schools apprentices are trained by the masters. Next, venture into a landscape unlike any other with a guided tour of the bubbling mud pools and active geysers of the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. See the world-famous Pohutu geyser unleash vapour jets up to 30 metres high. Learn about how New Zealand’s national icon, the Kiwi - a nocturnal flightless endangered bird - is protected & wander through its native habitat of lush native bush, gaining an understanding of how native plants are used for food, medicine & handicrafts.
11:00 – 13:00 Green and Blue lakes. Blue lake loop track. If the weather is good we’ll swim in the Blue lake.
13:00 – 14:30 Lunch. Pay direct.
14:30 – 16:00 Tour of Rainbow Springs. Rainbow Springs Nature Park is set amongst the native trees and beautiful forests of Rotorua and offers a fun-packed day for the whole family. Discover a close connection with all the birds, bugs and beasts that call New Zealand home, including the Kiwi and Tuatara.
16:00 – 17:00 Shore of Rotorua lake, Government gardens.
You are welcome to visit hot pools of Polynesian SPA in the evening.
Place: Rotorua – Waimangu – Wai-O-Tapu - Huka Falls – Taupo
09:00 – 09:30 Driving to Waimangu valley.
09:30 – 11:30 Walk-in Waimangu Volcanic Valley. This geothermal park encompasses beautiful Lake Rotomahana and is set in pristine NZ forestry. Lake Rotomahana is the newest of NZ’s larger, naturally formed lakes – protected as a wildlife refuge, it's home to large numbers of birds all year round. Relax on a cruise seeing rare geothermal sights not accessible on foot or hike through the inspiring native bush. Intact remnants of the fabled Pink & White Terraces, once the 8th Wonder of the World & buried in June 1886 when Mt Tarawera erupted, have been found on the bed of the lake.
11:30 – 11:45 Driving to Wai-O-Tapu.
11:45 – 13:00 Tour of Wai-O-Tapu geothermal park. New Zealand's Wai-O-Tapu, renowned for being NZ’s most colourful geothermal area has been named in the '20 Most Surreal Places you need to see to believe'. A short drive from Rotorua or Taupo, Waiotapu (Maori for 'sacred waters') is an active geothermal area, with the Lady Knox geyser & many hot springs distinguished by their uniquely colourful appearance.
13:00 – 13:40 Driving to Huka Prawn Park.
13:40 – 15:00 Lunch at Huka Prawn Park restaurant. Pay direct.
15:00 – 15:30 Honey centre where you can buy famous hilarious Manuka honey and cosmetics made with honey.
15:30 – 16:30 Huka falls and Taupo lake lookout. Just north of Lake Taupo, you'll find NZ's most visited attraction, the magnificent Huka Falls, where more than 220,000 litres of water thunder over the cliff face every second. Forced into a narrow ravine of hard volcanic rock, the wide Waikato River bursts through in an awesome display of natural hydropower. Hike there along the Huka Falls Trail, an easy one hour walk through exotic & native forests, or if you're feeling adventurous and want to see the might of the Falls up close, take a jet boat ride up the Waikato.
16:30 Hotel check-in.
Place: Taupo – Tongariro Alpine Crossing - Taupo
07:00 – 15:00 Today you’ll do one of the Top 10 New Zealand hiking trails – Tongariro Crossing. The activity is strongly weather dependent. You must be in very good fitness conditions.
An alternative is Maori Rock Carvings Cruise, Taupo
Place: Taupo – Waitomo Caves – Auckland
09:00 – 11:30 Driving to Waitomo.
11:30 – 14:30 Three caves tour in Waitomo. Waitomo was once part of the seabed, forged over millions of years & made up of layers of ancient bones, shells and rock sediment that now make Waitomo’s underground labyrinth of ancient sea caves. World-renowned and attracting visitors from home and overseas, the unique New Zealand glowworms, Arachnocampa Luminosa, radiate their luminescent light to light your way like stars in the Milky Way. Marvel at Mother Nature’s light show as you glide silently