Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanted holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping - you're beginning to get the picture of Auckland.
In the Maori language, Auckland is known as Tamaki-Makau-Rau - 'the maiden with a hundred suitors'. It earned this name because it was a region coveted by many tribes.
The region was the birthplace of New Zealand tourism in the 1800s, when people flocked here from around the world to see the amazing Pink and White Terraces - vast, naturally formed silica terraces that cascaded into a volcanic lake. The Te Arawa people were their local guides. The terraces were destroyed in the 1886 Mt Tarawera eruption, but Rotorua's fame as a fascinating travel destination continued to grow. Today Maori guides can often be seen at the city's iconic attractions, following in the footsteps of their ancestors.
When explaining the appeal of their region, the people of Rotorua like to talk of five spirits. You can feel the spirit of the earth, as it rumbles beneath your feet and escapes, hissing, through fumaroles and geysers. You can witness the spirit of Maori culture, with authentic village and performance experiences. With a soak in a natural hot spring or a relaxing massage, you can rejuvenate your spirit. Or free your spirit with outdoor adventures - trout fishing, kayaking, waterskiing, swimming, hiking and mountain biking. And if it's excitement you crave, you can challenge your spirit with adrenalin-charged extreme activities such as sky-diving, jet boating and zorbing.
Christchurch - The Garden City of New Zealand
From the silvery beaches of the coast to the jagged peaks of the Southern Alps, the Canterbury landscape is impossible to ignore. Big scenery is the order of the day - huge panoramas of ocean or mountains, great sweeps of pastureland and massive amounts of sky.
Rugged mountains, majestic lakes, crystal clear air, and just so much to do. From bungy jumping to wine trails, jet boating to tramping, dining out to skiing, the tricky part is extending your stay to try and fit everything in.
The area has captured hearts and imaginations since the first Maori came in search of pounamu (greenstone) and the giant Moa bird. More recently, gold miners, adventurers, filmmakers, wine enthusiasts, Hollywood stars and US Presidents have been drawn to this magical region and its intense alpine energy.
Born as an 1860's goldmining camp, 140 years later Queenstown has a compact and sophisticated downtown area tucked into a picturesque bay on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Dwarfed by the surrounding mountains, there are amazing views from everywhere. There's also a permanent buzz in the downtown area where you'll find a lively café/bar scene and excellent shopping.
Franz Josef Glacier was first explored in 1865 by geologist Julius von Haast, who named it after the Austrian emperor. The glacier is five kilometres from the town of the same name, and a 20 minute walk will take you to its terminal face. From the glacier car park, you can hike to a choice of lookout points for a bigger view of this awesome river of rice. If you want to actually make contact with the glacier, take a guided ice walk or a heli-hike. Aerial sightseeing is another option. In the town you'll find plenty of places to stay and eat. At nearby Lake Mapourika there are kayaks for hire. Functional facts: Approx. population 320, Department of Conservation Visitor Centre, fuel.
Highlights : • Romantic dinner on Christchurch Tram • Church of the Good Shepherd • Tranz Alpine Train (seat in coach only) • Maori Hangi & Concert • Rotorua Sightseeing • Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Day 01 : Arrive Auckland
On arrival in Auckland, 'The City of Sails', seat in coach passengers will be met by our local representative and privately transferred to your hotel. Self drive passengers will collect your rental car at the airport and drive to your hotel.
Day 02 : Auckland - Waitomo - Rotorua
Travel south through the fertile Waikato region to arrive at Waitomo. Enjoy a guided tour of the world-famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves including an underground boat ride viewing the millions of glow worms on the cavern roof. On completion continue over the forested Mamaku Ranges to reach the 'Thermal City' of Rotorua. This evening enjoy an authentic Maori Hangi (feast) and Concert. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 03 : Rotorua
This morning visit Te Puia Thermal Reserve to see boiling mudpools and roaring geysers. Following this, visit Rainbow Springs to see New Zealand's trout, birds and wildlife before continuing to the Agrodome for a New Zealand farm show featuring sheep dog demonstrations, cow milking and an introduction to the stars of our sheep industry. This afternoon or this evening enjoy a relaxing soak in the tranquil setting of the Lake Spa Retreat at the Polynesian Spa. (Breakfast)
Day 04 : Rotorua - Christchurch
Depart on your domestic flight from Rotorua to Christchurch (airfare is NOT included). This evening enjoy a romantic 5 course dinner aboard the historic Christchurch tram. (Breakfast)
Day 05 : Christchurch - Mt Cook - Queenstown
Travel across the fertile Canterbury Plains to Lake Tekapo and the 'Church of the Good Shepherd' before continuing on to New Zealand's highest mountain - Mt Cook. Depart Mt Cook and follow the shores of Lake Pukaki south through the historic Central Otago region to the 'Alpine Resort' of Queenstown. (Breakfast)
Day 06 : Queenstown
A free day to explore the endless optional attractions available. Queenstown offers bungy jumping, jetboating, white water rafting, gondola rides and much more. Optional activities not included in the tour price. (Breakfast)
Day 07 : Queenstown - Glacier Region
Departing Queenstown this morning, travel along the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea to the Haast Pass, gateway to World Heritage Westland National Park. Continue up the West Coast past spectacular mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to the glacier region of Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. (Breakfast)
Day 08 : Glacier Region - Christchurch
Travel north to Greymouth today and board the Tranz Alpine train (seat in coach passengers only). Ascend through lush beech forests past the alpine village of Arthur's Pass before crossing the spectacular Southern Alps. Travel beside the Waimakariri River to Christchurch. (Breakfast)
Day 09 : Departure Day
Your arrangements conclude today with a departure transfer or the return of your rental car. We trust you enjoyed your Kiwiway Vacation! (Breakfast)
Why not add an extra night in Queenstown and take a day trip to Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound?
Packages starting from NZD 2263 per person
SELF DRIVE Package includes the following :
8 nights accommodation at the level chosen.
Meals as specified in the itinerary.
Sightseeing entry fees as specified in the itinerary
12.5% Goods and Services Tax
Transport by self drive rental vehicle including unlimited kms
Standard motor vehicle insurance and applicable vehicle pickup fees