Kowhai

19 days North & South Island Tour

Auckland > Bay of Islands > Auckland > Coromandel Peninsula > Rotorua > Napier > Wellington > Nelson > Punakaiki > Fox Glacier > Wanaka > Te Anau > Queenstown 

Explore the sandy beaches of the Coromandel coastline on North Island, and dip your toes in the azure waters of Abel Tasman National Park at ‘the top of the South’. Come with us deep into Fiordland National Park to cruise on iconic Milford Sound – one of the all-time ‘must do’ experiences on a trip to New Zealand.

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Day 1 Auckland

We meet you on arrival at the airport, and take you to our recommended hotel. You are free to relax in the City of Sails.

M Social, Auckland

Day 2 Auckland to Bay of Islands

Leaving the city behind, it does not take us long to find New Zealand’s natural beauty in the Kauri forest. Arriving in the Bay of Islands we step back in time at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, to 1840 when Maori tribes signed a treaty with the British settlers. We arrive in Russell by ferry, to stay at the oldest hotel in town.

Duke of Marlborough Hotel, Russell

Your choice Day 3 Bay of Islands

Today you have the choice of two excursions:

Discover the Far North, travelling along 90 Mile Beach to Cape Reinga where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean (lunch included).

Enjoy a Bay of Islands cruise. Dolphins often race the boat on our way to the Hole in the Rock (sea permitting). Returning to Russell, this option includes a walking tour with an expert on the town’s rip-roaring past!

Duke of Marlborough Hotel, Russell

Day 4 Bay of Islands to Auckland

Return to Auckland to tour the city sights: panoramic views from Bastion Point, trendy Parnell Village and the vibrant Viaduct Harbour area. A guided tour of Auckland Museum reveals treasures of the Pacific peoples.

M Social, Auckland

Day 5 Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula

Wave goodbye to the City of Sails as we travel to the Coromandel Peninsula and a scenic drive to Whitianga in Mercury Bay.

Oceans Resort, Whitianga

Day 6 Coromandel Peninsula

A day exploring this paradise of golden beaches, turquoise seas and green forests, including Hot Water Beach, Cathedral Cove and Cook’s Beach. At the end of the day you can choose either to take the ferry to Whitianga and return to the hotel on foot, or – if you have walked enough – return with our vehicle.

Oceans Resort, Whitianga

Day 7 Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua

To Rotorua, famous not only as a geothermal hotspot, but as a centre for Maori culture. We enjoy a guided tour of Te Puia, where the arts of weaving, carving and tattooing are kept alive. We also see, smell and hear the extraordinary mud pools and steam vents!

Regal Palms Resort, Rotorua or Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Your choice Day 8 Rotorua

Your choice today is either:

Waimangu Volcanic Valley – A walk through an evolving landscape of boiling craters and jewel-coloured steaming lakes, then a cruise across Lake Rotomahana.

Hobbiton™ Movie Set – Step into Middle Earth on a memorable guided tour of the ‘set’ where The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were filmed.

This evening we all visit a Marae (Maori Village) to discover the culture of New Zealand’s indigenous people, and feast at a Hangi, with food cooked in the heat of the earth.

Regal Palms Resort, Rotorua or Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Day 9 Rotorua to Napier

Our drive across the volcanic plateau takes us from ‘Mordor’ to ‘Miami’. On the east coast, Napier is a contender for Miami’s Art Deco crown, and our local expert reveals all on an entertaining walking tour. This evening’s treat is dinner together at Mission Estate, the country’s oldest wine producer.

Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier

Day 10 Napier to Wellington

Travel through vineyards and orchards to Wellington. On arrival in the capital, we see the quirky ‘Beehive’ Parliament building, ride the Cable Car and visit Te Papa – one of the most creative museums in the world.

Wellington Double Tree by Hilton

Day 11 Wellington to Nelson

As HMS Endeavour did 250 years ago, we cross the Cook Strait. Landing in South Island, we pause at Blenheim to taste sauvignon blanc, the grape synonymous with New Zealand wine. Then on to Nelson, which boasts a sunny microclimate and thriving arts scene.

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Your choice Day 12 Abel Tasman National Park

The idyllic Abel Tasman National Park is best explored by boat and on foot. Sailing from Kaiteriteri, today offers a choice:

Scenic Cruise: 3-4 hours (no walking) – A morning cruise reveals golden sands and turquoise waters, returning to Nelson for a free afternoon.

Astrolabe Beaches & Bays (plus 2.5 hour walk) – After the Scenic Cruise, disembark at Apple Tree Bay for a self-guided walk (7 kms) to Anchorage Beach. Later transfer to Nelson.

Forest & Swing-Bridge (plus 4 hour walk) – After the Scenic Cruise, disembark at Medlands Beach for a self-guided hike (10.5 kms) that includes South Head lookout and Cleopatra’s Pool. Late transfer to Nelson.

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Day 13 Nelson to Punakaiki

We travel through Nelson Lakes National Park pausing at Lake Rotoiti before taking the old gold miners’ Buller River road. Emerge onto the west coast at Punakaiki to see the stratified limestone stacks known as the Pancake Rocks.

Punakaiki Resort

Day 14 Punakaiki to Fox Glacier

Following the Great Coast Road through Hokitika and Franz Josef, we come to Fox Village. This is a good base from which to access the glaciers and one of the best options is a scenic helicopter flight (at own cost, weather permitting) which lands in a snow-bowl in the mountains!

Te Weheka

Day 15 Fox Glacier to Wanaka

After a diversion to Lake Matheson, we turn towards the Southern Alps, penetrating Mt Aspiring National Park via the Haast Pass. South Islanders love the friendly township and beauty of Lake Wanaka, where we relax for two nights.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

Your choice Day 16 Wanaka

Nature lovers may take a lake cruise to a conservation island with an eco-guide to discover native birds like the flightless Buff Weka or you can choose to enjoy a scenic 4WD adventure to a high country farm above the lake.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

Day 17 Wanaka to Te Anau

The journey south takes us to Arrowtown and alongside Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau. This little town on the shores of the lake is the best starting point for adventures in Fiordland and is a beautiful spot in its own right.

Distinction Hotel Luxmore, Te Anau

Day 18 Te Anau to Milford Sound to Queenstown

Today’s drive is spectacular, winding through a landscape sculpted by Ice Age glaciers. Awe-inspiring Milford Sound opens onto the Tasman Sea, and our vessel cruises past Mitre Peak to the narrow mouth. The return by road to Queenstown is equally scenic.

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Day 19 Queenstown

Sadly, we have reached the end of this road. If you are flying home, we transfer you to the airport, but why not ask us to extend your stay?

Tour date Price (£) Single supplement (£) Availability  
24 January - 11 February 2024 6,565 2,000 FULL
07 February - 25 February 2024 6,565 2,000 FULL
21 February - 10 March 2024 6,565 2,000 FULL
23 October - 10 November 2024 6,200 1,975 LAST 2 PLACES Enquire now
20 November - 08 December 2024 6,650 2,075 FULL
22 January - 09 February 2025 6,650 2,075 PLACES Enquire now
12 February - 02 March 2025 6,650 2,075 LAST 2 PLACES Enquire now
19 February - 09 March 2025 6,650 2,075 PLACES Enquire now
05 March - 23 March 2025 6,650 2,075 PLACES Enquire now

Day 1

M Social, Auckland

Day 2 & 3

Duke of Marlborough Hotel

Day 4

M Social, Auckland

Day 5 & 6

Oceans Resort

Day 9

Scenic Hotel Te Pania

Day 10

Wellington Double Tree by Hilton

Day 11 & 12

Heritage Rutherford Hotel

Day 13

The Ocean View Retreat

Day 14

Te Weheka

Day 15 & 16

Edgewater Resort

Day 17

Distinction Te Anau

Day 18

Scenic Suites Queenstown

What’s included?

  • Comfortable touring in 16-seater vehicle
  • Services of our Driver-Guide and, where applicable, Local Experts
  • 18 nights’ accommodation in quality Hotel
  • 18 breakfasts
  • 1 lunch
  • 2 evening meals
  • Sightseeing & entrance fees listed opposite under Experiences Included

Experiences included

  • Entry to Waitangi Treaty Grounds
  • Journey along 90-mile beach – OR – take a dolphin and Hole in the Rock cruise
  • 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 a wine tasting and 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
  • See native birds on a conservation island – OR – take a scenic 4WD adventure in Wanaka
  • Explore the historic gold rush village of Arrowtown
  • Cruise, with a picnic lunch, on the breath-taking Milford Sound

Useful info to know before you go!

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Prices & Availability

Tour date Price (£) Single supplement (£) Availability  
24 January - 11 February 2024 6,565 2,000 FULL
07 February - 25 February 2024 6,565 2,000 FULL
21 February - 10 March 2024 6,565 2,000 FULL
23 October - 10 November 2024 6,200 1,975 LAST 2 PLACES Enquire now
20 November - 08 December 2024 6,650 2,075 FULL
22 January - 09 February 2025 6,650 2,075 PLACES Enquire now
12 February - 02 March 2025 6,650 2,075 LAST 2 PLACES Enquire now
19 February - 09 March 2025 6,650 2,075 PLACES Enquire now
05 March - 23 March 2025 6,650 2,075 PLACES Enquire now

Small Group Tours by New Zealand Experts

Choosing a small group tour means you don’t have to worry about organising travel at all. With every one of our small group tours, we’ll arrange all of your transportation. We can even organise your initial flights to New Zealand! If you’d like to find out more about any of our tour packages, please do get in touch.

Call us on +44 (0) 1636 813 544

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