Our Rimu Small Group Journey focuses on the natural beauty of both North and South Islands, from the sea and sand of the Coromandel coast to the Ice Age awe of Milford Sound. Active sightseeing by boat and on foot, as well as on board our agile vehicle, enables us to discover warm springs, boiling mud, temperate rainforest and snowy peaks!

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Day 1 Auckland

We meet your flight and transfer you to our hotel, after which you’re free to relax and explore: Sky City is a good place to orientate yourself.

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

An energetic day, discovering this natural paradise on foot and by boat; the bubbling sands of Hot Water Beach and the rock formations of Cathedral Cove are highlights. We take a water taxi to Hahei to re-join our vehicle and head to Cooks Beach. From here, there’s a choice: catch a ferry ride to Whitianga and walk to our hotel, or travel back with our driver.

Oceans Resort, Whitianga

Day 4 Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua

A change of scene indeed! Rotorua is the epicentre of New Zealand’s geothermal activity and its Maori heritage. Our walk around Te Puia with a private guide reveals bubbling mud, steaming pools, indigenous crafts and even timid kiwis!

Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua

Day 5 Rotorua

Today you have the choice of two excursions:

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: a must for Tolkien fans!

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.

Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua

Visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley
experience Hobbiton™ Movie Set

Day 6 Rotorua to Napier

Heading across the volcanic Tongariro Plateau we arrive on the sunny east coast, where the Art Deco town of Napier rivals Miami for its architecture: we learn why, during a walking tour with a local expert. This is also wine country, and tonight’s excellent dinner is hosted at New Zealand’s oldest winery, Mission Estate.

Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier

Day 7 Napier to Wellington

Today we head to breezy Wellington, taking in the panorama from the Kelburn Lookout before descending to sea level by cable car. No stay in the capital is complete without a visit to ‘our place of treasures’ as Te Papa translates from the Maori: this museum is world-class!

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

Day 8 Wellington to Nelson

When is a ferry journey a scenic cruise? When the Interislander crosses the Cook Strait and sails up Queen Charlotte Sound. We disembark at Picton then drive to Blenheim and taste some famous Marlborough wines, before our driver delivers us to Nelson. This cheerful arty town enjoys a sunny microclimate and is a great base for discovering ‘the top of the South’.

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

We travel through the little-known Nelson Lakes National Park to Lake Rotoiti and take the challenging Buller River Gorge, carved out of the forest by pioneers, to reach the rugged west coast. Punakaiki is renowned for its rock stacks and blow-holes shaped by the pounding Tasman Sea.

Punakaiki Resort

Day 11 Punakaiki to Fox Glacier

The frontier town of Hokitika is an attractive halt on the Great Coast Road before we reach glacier country, where Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier reach almost to sea level. Little Fox Village is our base and, weather permitting, there is the chance to fly over the ‘rivers of ice’ and even land in the snow (at own cost).

Te Weheka

Day 12 Fox Glacier to Wanaka

After a photo-opp at mirror-like Lake Matheson we take the Haast Pass river road, deep into Mt Aspiring National Park. The atmosphere lightens as we reach lovely Lake Wanaka, reflecting peaks that in summer offer fine hiking; in winter superb skiing.

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

Fiordland awaits, and the scenic route takes us over the Crown Range via Arrowtown and down to Lake Wakatipu to Lake Te Anau, the largest (by volume) freshwater lake in the South Island.

Distinction Hotel Luxmore, Te Anau

Day 15 Te Anau to Milford Sound to Queenstown

The climax of the tour is an epic journey through pristine Ice Age wilderness to majestic Milford Sound. On arrival, we board a comfortable small ship to cruise past towering Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea. Seals and dolphins may follow the boat as we eat our picnic lunch on board. Our drive back is through Cleddeau Gorge, Homer Tunnel and the Eglinton Valley then across the Southland farmlands and around spectacular Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown.

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Day 16 Depart Queenstown

After breakfast we transfer you to the airport for your flight: Haere ra – farewell! Alternatively, extend your time in Queenstown or ask us to tailor-make onward travel.

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

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Tour date Price (£) Single supplement (£) Availability  
28 October - 12 November 2023 5,025 1,615 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
25 November - 10 December 2023 5,435 1,695 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
27 January -11 February 2024 5,435 1,695 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
10 February - 25 February 2024 5,435 1,695 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
24 February - 10 March 2024 5,435 1,695 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
25 March - 9 April 2024 5,435 1,695 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now

What’s included?

  • Comfortable touring in 16-seater vehicle
  • Services of our Driver-Guide and, where applicable, Local Experts
  • 15 nights’ accommodation in quality Hotels
  • 15 breakfasts
  • 1 lunch
  • 2 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

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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!