This Small Group Journey takes you to some of our favourite places and spaces in the North and South Islands, discovering fantastic coastlines and immersing you in Maori culture and history. Explore the geothermal wonders of Rotorua’s bubbling mud pools and boiling geysers and enjoy the stunning scenery of the Abel Tasman National Park with opportunities to swim in its turquoise lagoons.

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Day 1 Auckland

After we meet and greet you, you are free to relax. The hotel is a great central base.

M Social, Auckland

Day 2 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 3 Coromandel Peninsula

If the tide is right, scoop a ‘spa’ pool on Hot Water Beach, then walk to beautiful Cathedral Cove. Rejoin our vehicle to make for lovely Cooks Beach, named for the first European to land in New Zealand. From here, either catch the ferry to Whitianga and walk to our hotel OR travel back with your driver.

Oceans Resort, Whitianga

Day 4 Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua

Head inland, pausing at the Okere River before arriving in Rotorua: not only New Zealand’s geothermal hot spot, but a thriving Maori centre. We receive a warm welcome at Te Puia, discover mud pools and steam vents, as well as the arts of weaving, carving and tattooing.

Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua

Day 5 Rotorua

A choice between:Waimangu Volcanic Valley – the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera was devastating, but created a new geothermal valley of boiling craters and jewel-coloured lakes for us to walk through.

Visit Middle Earth – Hobbiton™ This farmland film-set is a treat for Tolkien fans: our guide explains how it became The Shire™.

This evening we all visit a Maori village, receiving a formal welcome (powhiri) and discovering indigenous culture through dance and song, followed by a Hangi feast.

Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua

Visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley
experience Hobbiton™ Movie Set

Day 6 Rotorua to Napier

South to Lake Taupo and across the Tongariro plateau to Napier. How did this seaside town come to rival Miami for its Art Deco style? Our guided walk reveals all. Napier is also at the heart of North Island’s vineyards, and this evening’s treat is dinner at its oldest winery, Mission Estate.

Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier

Day 7 Napier to Wellington

Travel across the rural Wairarapa to windy Wellington, the seat of New Zealand’s Parliament. The Kelburn Lookout offers a great view, before we take the Cable Car down to visit Te Papa.

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

Day 8 Wellington to Nelson

Like HMS Endeavour 250 years before, we cruise through Queen Charlotte Sound to South Island. On disembarking, we pause in Marlborough for a wine-tasting at one of the country’s premier cellars. Our base for the next two nights is sunny Nelson.

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Day 9 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 10 Nelson to Punakaiki

Few international visitors take this drive through Nelson Lakes National Park following the Buller River Gorge, but it is one of the most exciting in the world. When we reach the Tasman Sea, the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki are yet another example of nature’s extraordinary force.

Punakaiki Resort

Day 11 Punakaiki to Fox Glacier

Heading ever closer to the Southern Alps we pause in the gold-miners’ town of Hokitika before arriving at Fox Glacier, a good base from which to marvel at ‘rivers of ice’. Weather permitting, optional trips (at own cost) include flights over and even onto the glaciers!

Te Weheka

Day 12 Fox Glacier to Wanaka

We take the Haast River road deep into Mt Aspiring National Park. The atmosphere lightens as we reach Lake Wanaka, reflecting mountain peaks that in winter offer skiing, in summer hiking.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

Day 13 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

See native birds on a conservation island
take a scenic 4WD adventure in Wanaka

Day 14 Wanaka to Te Anau

Head over the Crown Ranges, beside Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, the gateway of Fiordland. It is New Zealand’s largest freshwater lake (by volume), and the ideal base from which to visit Milford Sound.

Distinction Hotel Luxmore, Te Anau

Day 15 Te Anau to Milford Sound to Queenstown

Today’s journey is one of the most scenic you can make on four wheels! On arrival at Milford Sound we board a comfortable vessel to cruise past Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea: keep an eye open for seals and dolphins. Our return journey ends in Queenstown.

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Day 16 Queenstown

Queenstown is New Zealand’s most famous adventure resort. Try white-water rafting and high-wire thrills, or relax on a classic steamship cruise (at own cost). The day and evening are yours to do as much or as little as you please.

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Day 17 Queenstown to Mt Cook to Twizel

Today we approach the Southern Alps via the Approach the Southern Alps via the Kawarau Gorge and Central Otago, driving alongside Lake Pukaki to Mt Cook Village, the nearest vehicle access to awesome Aoraki Mt Cook.

Mackenzie Country Hotel, Twizel

Day 18 Twizel to Lake Tekapo across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch

Head down the Tasman Valley from Mount Cook and on to Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd, where the window behind the altar frames an astonishing view of the lake.

Then across the high country’s tussock plains, through Fairlie and Geraldine to the ‘Garden City’ of Christchurch

Distinction Hotel, Christchurch

Christchurch Tram - Silver Fern Holidays

Day 19 Christchurch

Rebuilding after the 2010/11 ‘quakes, the city changes daily, but there are still punts on the River Avon and restored street trams clanging through historic streets. We enjoy both forms of transport today before sharing a farewell dinner.

Distinction Hotel, Christchurch

Day 20 Depart Christchurch

Haere ra! Farewell from New Zealand. We take you to the airport for your flight home, or set you on the way on the next stage of your holiday.

Day 1

M Social, Auckland

Day 2 & 3

Oceans Resort

Day 4 & 5

Prince’s Gate Hotel

Day 6

Scenic Hotel Te Pania

Day 7

James Cook Chancellor

Day 8 & 9

Heritage Rutherford Hotel

Day 10

The Ocean View Retreat

Day 11

Te Weheka

Day 12 & 13

Edgewater Resort

Day 14

Distinction Te Anau

Day 15 & 16

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Day 17

MacKenzie Country Inn

Day 18 & 19

Distinction Hotel, Christchurch

Tour date Price (£) Single supplement (£) Availability  
28 October - 16 November 2023 6,279 1,949 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
25 November - 14 December 2023 6,795 2,075 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
27 January - 15 February 2024 6,795 2,075 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
10 February - 29 February 2024 6,795 2,075 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
24 February - 14 March 2024 6,795 2,075 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now

What’s included?

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

Experiences included

  • 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 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
  • 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

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Colin and Maureen Smith

The Million Dollar cruise on Lake Wakatipu was absolutely brilliant – the guide was very knowledgeable and we would highly recommend this trip.

Our meal on the Mission Estate was one of the best meals of the holiday and the gardens at Hamilton were a real surprise.

But the main highlight has to have been the Milford Mariner overnight cruise – not the best of weather, we couldn’t get out on the kayaks – but a wonderful experience.

Chris and Joyce Brill

Very much enjoyed the superb Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa Museum, Wellington. Loved the jet boat trip on our day out to Arthur’s Pass and the caves at Charleston.

A wonderful holiday!