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19 Day Tour, South and North Islands

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

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.

Hahei beach, Coromandel peninsula, New Zealand
Hahei beach, Coromandel peninsula

Day 1

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.

Christchurch, New Zealand

Day 2

Place: Akaroa


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.

Black Cat Akaroa cruise, New Zealand
Black Cat Akaroa cruise

Day 3

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.

Church of the Good Shepard, lake Tekapo, New Zealand
Church of the Good Shepard, lake Tekapo

Day 4

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).

Mount Cook and lake Pukaki, New Zealand
Mount Cook and lake Pukaki

Day 5


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.

Day 6


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.

Queenstown and lake Wakatipu views from Bob's Peak, New Zealand
Queenstown and lake Wakatipu views from Bob's Peak

Day 7


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.

Milford Sound, New Zealand
Milford Sound

Day 8

Place: Dunedin


Dunedin railway station, New Zealand
Dunedin railway station

Day 9

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.

Coromandel peninsula, New Zealand
Coromandel peninsula

Day 10


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.

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand
Cathedral Cove

Day 11


Free day in leisure.

Day 12

Place: HaheiHobbitonRotorua


09:00 – 12:00 Driving from Hahei to Hobbiton.

12:00 – 12:30 Tour check-in.

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!

Bilbo's and Frodo's hole, Hobbiton, New Zealand
Bilbo's and Frodo's hole, Hobbiton

Day 13

Place: Rotorua


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.

Te Puia, Pohutu geyser, Rotorua, New Zealand
Te Puia, Pohutu geyser

Day 14


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.

Champagne pool, Wai-O-Tapu, New Zealand
Champagne pool, Wai-O-Tapu

Day 15

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.

Tongariro national park, New Zealand
Tongariro national park

Day 16


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 on the world-famous boat ride along the Waitomo river through to the glowworm grotto. Nothing will quite prepare you for the sight, but you’ll never forget it.

14:30 – 16:00 Lunch at Huhu café. Pay direct.

16:00 – 19:00 Driving to Auckland.

Waitomo Glowworm Cave, New Zealand
Waitomo Glowworm Cave

Day 17

Place: Auckland


10:00 – 18:00 Western Auckland beaches. Muriway, Bethells and Piha. Hiking, swimming, surfing.

Te henga walkway, Western Auckland, New Zealand
Te Henga walkway, Western Auckland

Day 18

Place: Auckland


10:00 – 16:00 Auckland city tour. Imagine a world-class city where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails & enchanting islands. Imagine Auckland. Discover for yourself why it is regarded as one of the best places in the world to live with this informative tour. The tour takes you around the central city so you can experience many of the best and most scenic sights. Famous Queen Street, edgy ‘K’ Road, fashionable Ponsonby, boutique Parnell (where you will briefly stop) as well as the iconic Harbour Bridge & Viaduct Harbour with its revitalised Silo Park are all covered, as is the Domain, the 75 hectare historic park home to the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Just above Mission Bay is one of the scenic highlights: Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park which offers stunning views over the picturesque Eastern Bays, Auckland City and the Waitemata Harbour.

19:00 – 20:30 Three Course Dinner at the Revolving Orbit Restaurant. The Sky Tower is 328 metres tall, the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere. Located on Level 52, just above the main observation deck, over 190 metres above ground, the Orbit restaurant is a unique venue that gently rotates, giving you the full 360-degree view in one hour from your table! There is nothing quite like watching the sun going down from several hundred metres in the air & then experiencing the moon & city lights emerging - magical! Orbit is a relaxed, modern restaurant with an open atmosphere. The three-course set menu offers excellent choices for all tastes, including vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Auckland, New Zealand

Day 19

Place: Auckland


Transfer from the hotel to the airport. Departure from New Zealand.

The End

We'll be happy to see you in New Zealand!

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