Maori Art in Government GardensPhoto: Grand Pacific Tours
Lake Taupo, North Island
Lake Taupo, North Island
The Overlander - Sky Tower, Auckland
Bay of Islands
Avon River, ChristchurchPhoto: Christchurch & Canterbury, New Zealand Tours
Gondola in ChristchurchPhoto: Christchurch & Canterbury, New Zealand Tours
- Accommodation - Christchurch (2 Nights), Kaikoura (2), Wellington (2), Taupo (2), Rotorua (2), Auckland (2)
- US Domestic Flights not included per your request
- International Flights - Los Angeles to Auckland (Return) (Not included, but can be included upon request)
- New Zealand Domestic Flights- Auckland to Christchurch
- Shuttle Transfers - Christchurch Airport to Accommodation, Christchurch Accommodation to Train Station, Kaikoura Train Station to Accommodation (Return), Picton Train Station to Ferry Terminal, Wellington Ferry Terminal to Accommodation, Wellington Accommodation to Airport
- Day Tours Included - Christchurch: Ko Tane Maori Cultural Experience, Train ride from Christchurch to Kaikoura; Kaikoura: Maori Tour, Train ride from Kaikoura to Picton; Picton: Travel by Ferry from Picton to Wellington; Wellington: Maori Treasures; Taupo: Huka Falls; Rotorua: Hangi Feast and Concert, Te Puia Maori Institute & Geothermal Reserve
- All other Day Tours listed are Optional (Not Included)
- Visa Issuance for entry into Australia (additional US$15.00 per person)
- F.I.T. (Free & Independent Travel, i.e. this is not an Organized Group Tour)
- All Taxes and Fuel Levies (Except where noted)
- Rental Car Hires are base rate only and do not include taxes, insurance, fuel levies, drop off fees, or environmental fees.
- Itinerary is flexible and can be tailored to suit your needs.
14 Days / 12 Nights
Fly into Christchurch via Auckland, where you’ll stay 2 nights in the gateway to the South Island. Known as the “Garden City,” Christchurch – just like the rest of New Zealand – is a city of contrasts. It is a place where its residents continue to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle amidst a natural environment world-renowned for its beauty. A growing cosmopolitan ambience also adds a touch of excitement without overt flashiness. Everywhere there is an understated elegance that speaks of times gone by and promises a future where anything is possible.
The Kaikoura Township is located on a rocky peninsula, protruding from lush farmland beneath the mountains. In the waters off the peninsula, a complex marine system provides an abundantly rich habitat for marine mammals and seabirds making it an ideal place for getting close to nature. Kaikoura’s coastal waters are home to an array of other marine mammals and birdlife making it the perfect destination for marine experiences all year round. Several different species of whale can be seen off Kaikoura at different times of the year, but almost always the huge Sperm Whales.
Travel to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, also known as the arts and culture capital. It has a special blend of heritage buildings, museums and galleries, fine food and live entertainment. The central city is nestled between a beautiful harbour and forested hills. Wildlife sanctuaries, islands, seaside villages, ocean beaches and regional parks provide huge scope for outdoor fun.
Taupo is nestled on the banks of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. Taupo activities include many water bound activities such as world class fishing, boating, whitewater rafting and jet boating. If you prefer more land based activities there’s plenty of walks, biking tracks, golf, geothermal attractions and hot pools. The powerful beauty of the volcanic landscape that surrounds Taupo provides a dramatic backdrop to everything you do here and Mt Doom from the Lord of The Rings trilogy features in the background to Taupo. Highlights around Taupo include the Tongariro National Park, the Orakei Korako Geyserland, the mighty Waikato River, and the amazing Huka Falls.
Next is Rotorua, an exciting city with a vast history, tradition and culture. It is surrounded by volcanoes, lakes, parks and is a great place to go hiking or to view native birds and animals. The surrounding areas are a geothermal wonderland, with geysers, boiling mud pools, and steaming craters. Rotorua is also a showcase of Maori cultural activities and a place of exceptional natural beauty.
Arrive in Auckland and enjoy the city’s blend of landscape, Polynesian culture, glistening harbours and modern city environment. This creates an unbelievable lifestyle ranked amongst the best in the world. Not only is Auckland close to the beaches but it is also close to over twelve different Islands. There are 48 volcanic cones and more than 50 islands in the Auckland region. It is the largest city in New Zealand claiming one third of the entire population of the country.
Shortly after departing Los Angeles you will be served dinner and you will be given breakfast before landing in Auckland.
Relax, watch some movies, and try to get some sleep!
Please confirm with the airlines at Check-in that they have all your Frequent Flyer information on record.
Travel within New Zealand by domestic air from Auckland to Christchurch (South Island).
Travel by shuttle from the Airport to your vacation accommodation in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Please note: For airport transfers – 2 suitcases per person, extra pieces may be charged at $5.00 per piece. Surfboards, Bicycles etc – $5.00 each.
Travel to your accommodation in Christchurch, New Zealand, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 2 nights.
Your 3 Star vacation accommodation in Christchurch, is located on New Zealand’s South Island. Superbly situated in the very heart of this historic garden city, your accommodation in Christchurch is located just off Cathedral Square. Close to cafes, restaurants, museums and many of Christchurch’s most popular attractions. It is the newest hotel in the city and offers 155 spacious guest rooms, a modern bar and restaurant as well and an intimate meeting room. All rooms feature views overlooking the city as well as broadband internet access.
The Ko Tane The Maori Experience includes a Maori Welcome, Maori Village, Maori Interactive Performance, and 4-course Hangi Dinner.
The blowing of the Putatara (conch) starts your evening. The conch was used as a form of communication over great distances to inform of intruders or visitors.
Your guide will explain the night ahead, with stories that have been passed down through the generations.
Come face to face with the wildlife. The guide will explain the relationship between Maori, wildlife and conservation.
Be guided through and welcomed onto the Pa (village) with a powerful challenge by their fearsome warrior. The Wero or Challenge is where the warrior or most skilled warrior displays a number of movements to distinguish the intentions of the visiting parties. (Do you come in peace or to fight?)
This will be confirmed by the picking up of the TAKE laid by the warrior for the chief of the visitors. Once this gift has been accepted visitors will be allowed to enter onto the next stage.
Inside the village the chief will speak words of welcome to the visitors and thank the chief of the visitors for accepting the challenge to come in peace.
The pressing of noses (hongi) is the final part of the welcome process this is the sharing of life between the two parties and must be done between the two chiefs.
The Village: Here your guide will discuss the lifestyles, including some of the hunting techniques, of the Maori people. The village is a papa-kainga or hunting village. There were around 1,400 of these types of sites in and around the pre-European Canterbury region.
The hunting and capturing of bird species was a specialised skill with different types of birds serving different needs. The easiest birds to hunt for food were the flightless kiwi, weka and the large moa which were trapped with snares.
Flax was the most important fibre to Maori as it was used to bind buildings & boats, for clothing, hunting snares, rope & fishing nets. One of the traditional uses for musical instruments was to duplicate communication with the birds to trick the bird into a trap.
A Performance: Haka (war dance) the haka is a preparation for war. This is a dance usually for men however there are some haka where women participate, the first haka of the evening will be one such haka.
Poi dance (swinging ball): The poi was a flax ball commonly used to store food for long distance journeys. Other uses included training for warfare where the balls use was to assist with the strengthening of elbow and wrist joints to aid in greater flexibly for the heavy short and long club weapons
Waiata ringa (action songs with a hand display) spoke about events and family members of great mana (prestige). It also helped to record and preserve historical events.
Hangi Meal: After the performance you will move into the Restaurant where you will be served a 4 course dinner with Hangi cooked mains. There is a fully licensed bar.
This will conclude your tour.
Spend a day to relax or explore diverse Christchurch.
Christchurch is a beautiful lifestyle city, set on the expansive Canterbury Plains between the wide sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean, the spectacular snow-capped Southern Alps and the volcanic hills of Banks Peninsula. The city is interwoven by two rivers linking parks, gardens and avenues.
Browse the galleries and weekend markets. Savour local cuisine and award-winning wines and beers at the myriad of bars, cafes, restaurants and wineries.
Photo Credit: Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism
Discover Christchurch on New Zealand’s Only Top Double Decker Day Tour!
This tour takes place on a 1960’s London Open Top Double Decker bus for a fun and informative tour of Christchurch. Learn about Christchurch’s fascinating history from the pioneering days through to modern day times and learn how Christchurch is recovering from the devastating February 22 earthquake which has now become a major event in New Zealand’s history.
On tour, you will view some of the areas affected by the earthquakes, see how Christchurch is preserving some of its iconic heritage buildings and hear about the exciting vision to rebuild and restore the inner city.
Your experience includes a 1 hour Tour around central Christchurch on New Zealand’s only Open Top Double Decker and a 2 hour Tour on a closed top Double Decker visiting places of interest in greater Christchurch.
Open Top Bus highlights: Hagley Park and Antigua; Boatsheds; Botanic Gardens and The River Avon; Canterbury Museum and Arts Centre; Christchurch Art Gallery; Provincial Chambers; Catholic Basilica; Bridge of Remembrance and Friendship Corner; Cashel St ReStart Shipping Container Mall; Christchurch Cathedral and new Cardboard Cathedral; Art Deco New Regent Street; AMI Stadium and much, much more!
Closed Top Bus highlights: Picturesque Seaside Sumner – Visit the quaint seaside village of Sumner, here you will have time to explore the beach while taking in the beautiful views of the sea towards the Southern Alps. Port Hills/Sign of the Takahe – Travel up the Port Hills to the sign of the Takahe for breathtaking views overlooking Christchurch City, the Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps. Mona Vale Gardens – At Mona Vale you will enjoy a casual stroll through one of Christchurch’s most famous and spectacular gardens.
Journey to the remote and beautiful Mt Potts high country station, home of Mt Sunday.
See how this peaceful mountain was transformed into Edoras, the capital city of the Rohan people in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Immerse yourself in the natural unspoilt beauty of the high country’s sparkling clear lakes, glistening blue rivers and fresh mountain air.
This amazing day out includes 4wd access onto Mt Sunday/Edoras itself, a delicious champagne picnic lunch, full running commentary from our friendly and knowledgeable Kiwi tour guides and spectacular scenery you will never forget. You don’t have to be a Lord of the Rings fan to enjoy this amazing day out!
Make the most of the spectacular rural and alpine regions of Canterbury. This Day Tour includes the world famous Tranz Alpine train journey, ranked as one of the top 6 in the world.
Today commences with a coach ride across the Canterbury Plains to the Waimakariri Gorge. Spray jackets, hats and lifejackets are issued to each passenger before boarding the a jet-boat for a ride up one of New Zealand’s major snow-fed rivers. Weave in and out of rock faces, white water rapids and high walled rock canyons. From the headwaters of the Waimakariri Gorge you will then enjoy some four wheel driving action for a backcountry tour enroute to Te Kowhi Country Café (lunch). After lunch continue to Arthur’s Pass. The return journey is on the famous TranzAlpine train which is rated one of the top six train journeys in the world. Travel through numerous tunnels, viaducts, river canyons and the rainforest of the Arthur’s Pass National Park. Definitely a journey to remember.
Travel by shuttle from your vacation accommodation in Christchurch to the Train Station.
Please note: For transfers – 2 suitcases per person, extra pieces may be charged at $5.00 per piece. Surfboards, Bicycles etc – $5.00 each.
The Coastal Pacific train journey travels between Christchurch and Kaikoura.
One of the world’s most scenic train journeys, your Coastal Pacific rail travel includes 22 tunnels and crosses 175 bridges, one of them being New Zealand’s only road-rail bridge. You will travel through some of New Zealand’s finest horticultural and farmland areas, and see amazing wildlife such as dolphins, seals and penguins from the comfort of your train carriage.
Photo Credit: KiwiRail Limited
Travel by shuttle from the train station to your vacation accommodation.
Travel to your accommodation in Kaikoura, New Zealand, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 2 nights.
Your boutique luxury guest lodge located in a tranquil rural setting, surrounded by groves of native trees and bush, with spectacular views of the Kaikoura range mountains and beyond to the Pacific Ocean. A peaceful haven at any time of the year. Featuring the very latest in ‘In-room Technology’.
The lodge is located near some great wilderness walks and just minutes from the beaches and coastal scenic reserves of Kaikoura. Photography workshops available as part of your stay but must be pre-arragned. Neil, the owner, will take guests to places off the beaten track, or
combined with whale watching, dolphin and albatross encounter tours in Kaikoura
Picnic breakfasts for early morning excursion departures, picnic lunches by arrangement. A range of fine dining dinner options and evening snacks by prior arrangement. Wine list available.
Complimentary tea and coffee.
Enjoy your half day tour in a combination of laughter, learning and storytelling with hands on activities and a bushwalk to discover traditional uses of trees and plants as food and medicine.
Travel with us by mini-coach to some of our important places, and be introduced to them through our eyes as we share secrets of the landscape through stories handed down from our ancestors.
Right from the start you’ll be involved and as you join in customs and traditions – like weaving with harakeke (flax) and learning a Maori greeting – you can ask questions so you learn about the things you’re curious about.
Midway through we’ll stop for light refreshments and then travel to one of Kaikoura’s bush walkways where you’ll discover uses of trees and plants as food and medicine. The majority of New Zealand’s native bush is endemic so you’ll be in a landscape found nowhere else in the natural world – and again through stories you’ll come to know how Maori people view the world.
As your time with us draws to a close you’ll realise you have gained a rare insight and understanding of Maori people and way of life. You’ll receive a small memento to help you remember your time with us and for you to share with your own family and friends.
So ‘stand in the heart of the day’ with us and be part of a REAL cultural exchange that’s intimate and personal with a maximum of 10 guests per tour.
Operates all year round – up to two departures daily at 9:00am and/or 1:30pm – allow 3.5 hours
10 guests per tour – minimum numbers apply
Spend a day to relax or explore Kaikoura
Kaikoura is a base for wildlife experiences of all kinds – it’s also a great place to eat crayfish (in the Maori language kai means food, koura means crayfish). The environment is truly spectacular – the village is caught between the rugged Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean. In winter the mountains are covered with snow, adding to the drama of the landscape. Kaikoura’s special talent is marine mammal encounters – whales, fur seals and dolphins live permanently in the coastal waters. Whale watching trips leave the town several times a day and the local seal colony is always entertaining. There are plenty of cafés, restaurants and shops.
Photo Credit: Kaikoura Information & Tourism
Enjoy touring the waters of Kaikoura for your Albatross Encounter. Your vessel has been adapted for maximum wildlife viewing opportunities and on board identification guides.
Albatross Encounter was established in 1998 by the business owners of Dolphin Encounter. This tour takes you by boat off the Kaikoura Coast to visit the largest wingspan in the world and an incredible range of pelagic (ocean living) birds. Kaikoura is known as the albatross capital of New Zealand – if not the world, and up to twelve species of albatross can be found along this spectacular coastline.
It is the vast offshore canyons, with their nutrient rich waters, which is responsible for the variety of sea-life off Kaikoura. A travel time of only fifteen mintues by boat is required to commence viewing the pelagic birds including; twelve species of albatross, penguins, gannetts, skuas, shearwaters, petrels and terns.
The dedicated Albatross Encounter vessel has been adapted for maximum wildlife viewing opportunities and on board identification guides. We limit capacity to just fourteen passengers to provide an intimate tour and ensure close proximity to the birds. A full species list and souvenir information pack is provided by the skipper for every tour.
Enjoy whale watching offering visitors an exciting up-close encounter with the Giant Sperm Whale at all times of the year. Whale Watch scheduled tours operate daily.
Explore whale watching from the town of Kaikoura – a special place of lush pastures and towering, snow covered peaks that fall to the sea. This rare magic continues just offshore where a deep undersea canyon combines with unusual sea currents to attract an extraordinary abundance of marine life, the most famous being the Sperm Whale.
Tours are unsuitable for children under the age of 3 years.
Travel by shuttle from your vacation accommodation the train depot.
The Coastal Pacific train journey travels between Kaikoura and Picton.
This journey is a scenic feast of New Zealand, with the Kaikoura mountain ranges on one side of your train and the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline on the other. Travel through some of New Zealand’s finest horticultural and farmland areas, and see amazing wildlife such as dolphins, seals and penguins from the comfort of your train carriage.
Photo Credit: KiwiRail Limited
The 92 km journey across Cook Strait between Picton (South Island) and Wellington (North Island) takes only 3 hours and has been described as “one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world”.
The vessel offers a stunning view of the South Island’s Kaikoura ranges and the opportunity to spot dolphins and sea birds.
Your Kaitaki Plus ticket will give you access to an exclusive, onboard lounge that provides amenities including complimentary food and beverages and free internet access. The vessel also offers a Children’s Area, Nursery, Outdoor Observation Decks, Workstations, Movie Theatre and Souvenirs Shop.
Travel by shuttle from the Wellington Ferry Terminal to your vacation accommodation.
Please note: For airport transfers – 2 suitcases per person, extra pieces may be charged at $5.00 per piece. Surfboards, Bicycles etc – $5.00 each.
Travel to your accommodation in Wellington, New Zealand, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 2 nights.
Your 4 Star vacation accommodation is located conveniently in the heart of Wellington, New Zealand. It is a short walk from Westpac Stadium, Te Papa Museum and the waterfront. Your vacation hotel has a direct elevator to Lambton Quay via a shopping arcade. Travel to New Zealand’s top wine regions, Wairarapa and Marlborough, which are only a short drive away. Or participate in adventure activities such as mountain biking, sailing, bushwalking and much more.
Photo Credit: Tourism New Zealand
Te Papa, New Zealand’s bold and innovative national museum is set in a breathtaking location on Wellington’s beautiful waterfront.
Discover a treasured Maori art tradition that spans three centuries. A guided tour with an experienced, knowledgeable guide is a great way to explore Te Papa. As well as being fun, adds depth to the experience, increases understanding and helps orient the first time visitor.
The Maori words “Te Papa Tongarewa” can be translated to mean ‘a container in which precious objects are held’. So when you visit Te Papa, you will be entering a massive, six-storey treasure box.
Te Papa also is home to the Worlds Largest Squid frozen on ice, soon to be defrosted for further research.
Travel by shuttle from your vacation accommodation in Wellington to the Airport.
Please note: For airport transfers – 2 suitcases per person, extra pieces may be charged at $5.00 per piece. Surfboards, Bicycles etc – $5.00 each.
Discover New Zealand as you travel by rental car for six days.
Take the opportunity to explore parts of New Zealand at your own pace by car.. Please bring a valid American driver’s license with you and be aware that in New Zealand people drive on the left hand side of the road.
*Upgrade available to include GPS navigation system (additional cost).
Base rate only paid by About Australia. Insurance, Premium Location Surcharge, Fuel and Fees to driver’s credit card.
Enjoy a self-drive from Wellington to Lake Taupo (5 hours).
Travel to your accommodation in Lake Taupo, New Zealand, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 2 nights.
This Hotel and Resort in Taupo is situated right on the foreshore of the world-famous Lake Taupo, renowned for it’s scenery and fabulous fishing. The hotel has unsurpassed views of the lake and the majestic mountains of the Central Plateau.
Just minutes away from the township of Taupo and the many local attractions and activities the region has to offer.
This Hotel and Resort offers 51 rooms of luxurious lakefront accommodation. The hotel facilities include a tennis court, gymnasium, heated swimming pool, sauna and the unique ‘grotto’ plunge pool.
The hotel boasts two award-winning restaurants; Edgewater and Beach Brasserie, both offering fantastic lake views and superb dining. Relax at the lakefront bar and watch the magic sunsets Taupo so often displays.
The Resort also has three conference venues, providing the perfect setting for up to 250 people.
At Taupo DeBretts you will enjoy an authentic New Zealand Experience. For over 120 years Taupo DeBretts has been an iconic spot for weary travellers to enjoy thermal bathing and Taupo accommodation.
SOAK in the warm, restoring mineral waters of the historic Taupo Hot Springs. A variety of natural pools, fresh water pools and private pools at a variety of temperatures awaits you. The children will delight in our Warm Water Playground and Dragon Hydro-slide. After a relaxing soak, SOOTHE your body and soul with a therapeutic treatment in our day spa – Living Waters Spa.
For more information please visit: https://www.taupodebretts.co.nz/
Fun, Free, Family Activities in Taupo!
Aratiatia Rapids – See a raging torrent of water surge through the Aratiatia Rapids, when hydro gates are opened to bring this natural attraction to life. Spills occur 10am, 12noon, 2pm and 4pm in summer and 10am, 12noon and 2pm in winter. Signposted off SH5 approximately 10km north of Lake Taupo. For best viewing, arrive 15 minutes early and walk the short track to one of two lookout points.
Botanical Reserve – An 85 acre reserve containing alpine and native plants, azaleas and rhododendrons. Gates are open daily until dusk. Situated at the top of Shepherd Road, Lake Taupo.
Cycling – Great cycling trails for all levels. You could also pick up a cycling map from either the Taupo or Turangi i-SITE Visitor Centre.
Huka Honey Hive – See bees in glass hives, sample honey products and watch educational videos. Honey products for sale. Open daily 9am-5pm. Situated off SH1 north in Wairakei Tourist Park, Lake Taupo.
Huka Falls – The major waterfall on the Waikato River. NZ’s most visited natural attraction. Famous for the volume of water (approximately 220 liters per second) that hurtles through its narrow chasm. Situated off SH1 north.
Rose Gardens – Over 500 rose bushes grow here. The gardens are adjacent to the Museum in Story Place, Lake Taup?.
Scented Gardens – Raised garden filled with scented shrubs and herbs for the enjoyment of the visually impaired. Tongariro North Domain, Lake Taup?.
Spa Road Walk – Walk alongside the glorious Waikato River, NZ’s longest river. Enjoy the fresh air and surrounding bush. Stop off at Huka Falls or Aratiatia Rapids.
Tokaanu Historic Wharf – Dates from the early 1800s and is one of the oldest structures of its kind in NZ. It is now undergoing restoration and currently you can walk two thirds of its length. A popular picnic and fishing spot.
Tokaanu Thermal Walk – Located adjacent to the Tokaanu Thermal Pools. Free thermal bush walk, 15-20 minutes of bubbling mud and silica springs (wheelchair accessible).
Tongariro River Loop Walk – One hour walk alongside the world famous Tongariro River. Watch people fly fish and enjoy the views of the Kaimanawa Ranges.
Trout Fishing Turangi and Lake Taupo – Take a picnic and watch anglers fly fish for trout at the Waitahanui Stream. Situated on SH1 south at Waitahanui. Licence required.
Walking, Hiking and Tramping – The Taupo and Turangi areas offer a variety of walking opportunities.
For more information please visit: https://www.greatlaketaupo.com/new-zealand/free_activities/
Enjoy a kayaking trip at Lake Taupo and see the historic rock carving sites.
Beginning in the sheltered waters of Acacia Bay, come out with us and explore the secluded Rock Carvings at Mine Bay. Paddle below native bush, past steep cliffs and mini inlets that can only harbour a kayak before the amazing 100 metre-high carvings come into view. Your experienced guide will explain the carving’s cultural significance to the lake and surrounding areas while you float beneath them.
On our return we stop for gourmet refreshments, where you can take the opportunity to swim in the clear waters of our beautiful lake. If the breeze comes up, we can raft our kayaks together and sail back – bliss!
No experience is necessary, as all our trips are guided and full instruction is given. Our double kayaks are safe and easy for everyone to use. Children under the age of 12, must be accompanied by an adult in our kayaks.
This is truly a unique trip and one you will remember for ever.
Allow approx 4 hours per trip (3 hours on the water)
-Top quality kayaking equipment
-Transport from/to Taupo Information Centre – 30 Tongatiro St, Taupo
-Summer: 8.30am and 1.30pm
Travel to your accommodation in Rotorua, New Zealand, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 2 nights.
Located on the shores of Lake Rotorua your accommodation is only a short walk to the city centre, convention centre, cafes and restaurants. Here in the heartland of New Zealand’s Maori culture you’ll experience an enveloping warmth, proud spirit, deep sense of history and a quick humour. Picturesque cobbled and lantern lined streetways and striking Tudor architecture celebrates New Zealand’s significant colonial history. Travel the region by mountain bike or participate in local bush walks.
Upgrade Available (extra cost):
Lake View Room
Te Po is an authentic, one-of-a-kind evening event. It is a feast of storytelling, entertainment and Maori cuisine like no other you’ll ever experience.
Your evening begins with a visit to the hangi pit to watch the baskets being lifted from their distinctive underground oven in preparation for the evening’s traditional feast. Hangi preparation begins in the early afternoon to ensure your meal is cooked to perfection.
A true highlight of any Te Puia outing are the stunning cultural performances featuring traditional storytelling and entertainment. You’ll have the opportunity to join in the graceful poi dance or ferocious haka for a more intimate Maori cultural experience.
After a traditional blessing, you will be treated to an entrée of New Zealand mussels, corn on the cob, traditional rewana bread and dips, and a local drink made from kawakawa extract and manuka honey.
The main meal is an event in itself, with the hangi-cooked foods accompanied by flavoured meats, chicken, lamb, vegetables and salads. A range of drinks is available to complement your meal including wine, beer, juices, tea and coffee. We recommend leaving room for dessert, as you will definitely find something to satisfy your sweet tooth.
After dinner you will be invited to board the motorised waka (transporter) for a journey into the valley at night. Enjoy the ride and marvel at the sights before disembarking at Pohutu Geyser for the final stage of a magical evening.
End your unforgettable evening by sitting upon the warmth of the naturally hot rocks armed with a delicious hot chocolate. Listen to your guide tell stories while Pohutu Geyser sits before you, illuminated in its full glory beneath starry skies.
Return transfers from your Rotorua accommodation is included.
There is no better way to start or end your day in Rotorua.
Deluxe Lake Spa allows you to enjoy tranquil bathing and lake views in four shallow alkaline rock pools, each with different temperatures (36°C/96°F to 42°C/107°F) and a newly built acidic pool so guests are able to enjoy the benefits of the two types of hot mineral water offered at Polynesian Spa.
A cold plunge pool has been added for those looking for hot cold hydrotherapy. The extremes of hot and cold water cause muscle to expand and contract offering gently detoxification as toxins are squeezed from the muscles.
A large indoor relaxation lounge overlooks Lake Rotorua. You are welcome to move from the pools to the lounge once dried off and return to bathe in the Deluxe Lake Spa pools as you wish.
Learn about Rotorua’s fascinating history and culture.
A town full of natural wonders and evidence; discover the interesting history of Rotorua. The Buried Village once known as Te Wairoa, destroyed by the eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886, today serves as a living museum where visitors can experience this unique piece of New Zealand history. The excavated site, the only one to be open for public viewing in New Zealand, offers a first hand insight into the devastation, chaos and mayhem that transpired on the night Mt Tarawera erupted. Also visit the place where great stories began at the Rotorua Museum of Art and History. With its rich history and culture, it is easy to discover the essence of Rotorua in its people, culture and volcanic landscape.
Take a breath as you marvel at Mother Nature in Rotorua…
Find out how the world began, with a visit to Waimangu Volcanic Valley, where in geological terms was created just this morning! Flying Pan Lake, the world’s largest hot water spring; Inferno Crater with its mysterious geyser action; and Cathedral Rocks with vent billowing clouds of steam and more will be a photographic wonderland. Set amidst a landscape of erupting geysers, hot thermal springs and bubbling mud pools visit the authentic, living thermal village since 1863 of Whakarewarewa! Then see the unique lifestyles of a natural Maori village, filled with bubbling mud pools and mineral springs and the awesome powers of the ‘Pohutu’ and ‘Prince of Wales Feathers’ geysers. With so many natural wonders, Rotorua will inspire abundant moments of awe!
At this maori tourist attraction step into an ancient valley where geysers, mud pools and boiling waters still play after 40,000 years.
As direct descendents, your Maori guides will offer insight into their heritage, pride and values, that no other tour in New Zealand can match. Your guide will re-tell stories that have been handed down for generations while you experience a visual gallery of the myths and legends of the region. Make your way to the carving school where you are able to see and speak with the Maori students at work.
As the Kiwi bird has been at home in New Zealand for over 70 million years it is a fortunate experience to visit the specially designed Kiwi House, which takes part in the successful national breeding program, whilst listening to other song birds of the valley. Next you will be transported back to pre-European times as you walk through the recreation of a typical Maori village amoung a forest setting including the weaving house, sleeping and food storage houses, weapons and implements necessary to pre-European life. Lastly, enjoy a raw and powerful journey into a thermal wonderland some 40,000 years old as mud pools, hissing steam and geysers pay tribute to Mother Nature.
Today Self Drive from Rotorua to Auckland (4 hours).
Enjoy your scenic North New Zealand self-drive from Rotorua to Auckland. Upgrade your experience by taking time to explore Hobbiton or Waitomo.
Please note that entry fees to Hobbiton or Waitomo Glowworm Caves are not included and can be purchased for an additional cost. Please ask your destination specialist for details.
2 hours and 44 minutes – 215.7km
Travel to your accommodation in Auckland, New Zealand, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 2 nights.
Auckland is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, regularly voted one of the best lifestyle cities in the world– renowned as that ‘City Of Sails.’ Dramatic landscapes and seascapes provide a diverse playground in which a compelling range of attractions are available. Visitors come to enjoy an array of exciting entertainment, leisure, culture and dining possibilities in New Zealand’s largest city.
Visit one of Auckland’s many attractions.
Fly a kite or throw a Frisbee in the beautifully landscaped Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park. Critique a giant selection of both traditional and contemporary art at Auckland Art Gallery. Take a walking, swim or hike through any of Auckland’s 25 Regional Parks. Have a laugh at The Classic Comedy and Bar in Queen Street, New Zealand’s home of live comedy. Take the bus over to Eden Park, New Zealand’s largest stadium. In the evening you can join the dancing on K’Road and party on till the wee hours at one of the many nightclubs. Or maybe you would rather visit the trendy suburb of Ponsonby and enjoy delicious cuisine, superb lattes or cocktails if more to your taste. And if it is cafes, bars and restaurants you’re after, the Viaduct Harbour has a great selection.
Photo Credit: Tourism New Zealand – Julian Apse
Experience the best sights of Auckland City in the morning.
Auckland is set on 52 dormant volcanic cones and between two harbours, the sparkling Waitemata and the brooding Manukau. Known as the City of Sails, it is New Zealand’s largest and busiest city. The morning tour is a journey of discovery designed to explore the history and sights as well as see how Aucklanders live and play.
Travel up Queen Street, through Auckland’s central business district, past the Auckland University and through the inner city park, known as the Domain. Continue on through the picturesque suburb of Ponsonby, with its historic buildings before heading over the Harbour Bridge to Auckland’s North Shore. Stroll on Narrow Neck Beach in historic Devonport. There is time here for a coffee before continuing up to the summit of Mt Victoria with its stunning panoramic views of Auckland City.
Travel back over the Harbour Bridge to Westhaven Marina, one of the largest marinas in the Southern Hemisphere. Then visit the Auckland Fish Market, before continuing on to the Viaduct Harbour.
Take a journey into the heart of the Central North Island, visiting scenic highlights like the Waitomo Caves and the Hobbiton Movie Set on a full day sightseeing tour from Auckland.
Leaving Auckland in the morning by deluxe coach, we travel through the lush farmland of the Waikato and King Country regions. Your experienced local driver guide will inform and entertain you as you travel to Waitomo, pointing out sites of interest including Rangiriri, the site of a major battle between British forces and local Maori in 1863.
In Waitomo, enjoy a 45-minute guided tour through the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Explore the underground caverns and learn how stalactites, stalagmites and other limestone structures were formed over millions of years. The Glowworm Grotto is a magical way to end the cave tour, as you travel by boat through a cavern lit up by thousands of twinkling glowworms.
Leaving Waitomo, enjoy a delicious picnic-style lunch (vegetarian and other dietary options available on request) as we make our way to Rotorua, a city famed for its geothermal activity. At the Agrodome on the outskirts of Rotorua, you will transfer onto the Hobbiton Movie Set coach tour and enjoy a scenic drive across the Kaimai Ranges to Matamata. Just outside this rural town is the picturesque 1,250 acre farm where scenes from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies were filmed.
After being spotted during an aerial search by Sir Peter Jackson’s location scouts, the charming countryside of The Shire (as described in JRR Tolkien’s books) was carefully created on this working sheep and beef farm. The home of the hobbits has been preserved since filming wrapped, and now draws visitors from around the world. Visit Hobbiton and see where the movie magic was created with a guided tour. You’ll get the chance to see Hobbit holes, the Mill, the Green Dragon Inn and many other structures created for the films, and learn how farmland was transformed into a living, breathing piece of Middle-earth.
After your movie set tour, spend some free time in Matamata, before boarding the GreatSights coach for the final part of the day as we return to Auckland.
Comfortable walking shoes and a warm jacket are recommended for the Waitomo Glowworm Caves guided tour.
Visit a true thing of beauty and cruise the sparkling waters of Waitemata Harbour!
Head out on this one and a half hour tour to see the Devonport Naval Base, travel past the township and North Head, then cruise towards the iconic Rangitoto Island as you pass the historic Bean Rock lighthouse. You’ll pass under the Harbour Bridge twice and then off to Westhaven Marina to catch a glance at the viaduct harbour bustling with super yachts!
Daily at 10:45am & 1:45pm. Tours do not operate on Christmas day.
Take a unique, fun and informative tour of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city on the Hop on Hop Off Auckland City Explorer Bus!
Nestled between two harbours, this beautiful and vibrant city has a diverse mix of culture and landscapes. Something for everyone – attractions and activities, shopping and eateries, events and adventure – you can explore it all with Soaring Kiwi Tours!
Unique Vehicles with Fantastic Views: Discover the true magic of city sightseeing onboard our unique, classic and new, double decker buses. With a mix of open and closed top buses, you will ride in comfort and style, enjoying spectacular views from the top deck.
Entertaining ‘Live’ Commentary: Our friendly local guides provide a ‘live’ fun and informative commentary throughout your journey. Multi-lingual commentaries are also available on the central tour.
Hop-on, Hop-off and Visit Auckland’s Best Attractions: As you circumnavigate the city, visiting historic landmarks and all the ‘must see’ attractions, you can hop on and off at your leisure to ensure you don’t miss a thing.
Today depart Auckland and fly to the USA. Enjoy an in-flight dinner and movie with arrival in the USA. Note: you will be traveling back across the International Date Line. Gain that day back you lost on the way over, you actually arrive in the USA on the same day you leave Auckland.
Note: Flight may include a stop over in Australia.
- a) All prices are USD$/person (including all Taxes). Subject to availability. Other Conditions Apply (see Terms and Conditions).
- b) Land Content Only represents the pricing for the full itinerary as detailed, except the International Flights from the USA (and return) are NOT included.
- c) An Infant (Lapchild) must be less than 2 years old on the date of departure. Infant must travel with at least one adult. An infant with a seat pays the price of a Child.
- d) A Child must be aged between 2-11 years on the date of departure. Child must travel with at least one adult.