Experience New Zealand that showcases New Zealand in a more relaxed and less structured way.
With no more than 24 guests, this tour combines the ‘must see’ highlights with many unique and exclusive activities. Stay in premium hotels and lodges and enjoy dining at some of New Zealand’s leading wineries.
2019: Jan 12, Feb 2 & 23 , Mar 2 & 16, Apr 6, Oct 19
Day 1: Arrive Auckland
On arrival you will be met by a Kirra representative and transferred to your downtown city hotel.
Day 2: Waiheke Island, Devonport
After a leisurely start to the day, a brief ferry ride brings us to Waiheke Island, a haven for vineyards, olive groves, art galleries and sandy beaches. Enjoy a special lunch at the beautiful Mudbrick Winery with its spectacular views over the Hauraki Gulf looking back to the city skyline. Later this afternoon, there is the opportunity to visit the historic and trendy seaside village of Devonport.
Day 3:Hobbiton, Rotorua
Travel south to Matamata, home to the famous Hobbiton Movie Set. Situated on private farmland, you’ll be treated to a fun and interesting guided tour before continuing on to the geothermal city of Rotorua.
Day 4: Cruise & Te Wairoa Buried Village
Today’s highlight is an exclusive cruise across the serene, clear waters of Lake Rotoiti. Explore native bays and coves of the lake under sail on our luxury catamaran and bathe in the thermal waters of the Manupirua Pools, accessible only by boat. This afternoon, travel past the Blue & Green Lakes to the famous buried village of Te Wairoa. The day ends with a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and cultural performance.
Day 5: Lake Taupo, Napier
Stop to view the mighty Huka Falls & Wairakei Geothermal project and then take time to wander around the popular lakeside resort of Taupo. Continue on to Napier, one of the world’s finest Art Deco cities.
Day 6: At leisure in Hawke's Bay
Widely regarded as the ‘Tuscany of the South Pacific’, this region boasts some of New Zealand’s best and oldest wineries. Enjoy a free day to experience some of the many optional activities available or simply relax and enjoy your surroundings. This evening, we visit Craggy Range Winery in the stunning Tuki Tuki Valley for a sumptuous dinner in its French bistro inspired restaurant, ‘Terroir’.
Day 7: Wairarapa, Wellington
Travel this morning through the rural heartland of the Wairarapa region en-route to Wellington, the nation’s capital, where you enjoy a brief sightseeing and orientation tour before checking into your accommodation.
Day 8: Explore the Nation's Capital
Recently named the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ by Lonely Planet, Wellington is nestled between a sparkling harbour and rolling green hills and is renowned for its arts, heritage, culture and native beauty. A visit to Te Papa National Museum is highly recommended as is a ride on the famous Cable Car up the hill to Kelburn for amazing views over the city.
Day 9: Picton & the Marlborough Sounds
This morning we cruise across Cook Strait by Interislander ferry to the picturesque fishing village of Picton. At Havelock, we board our vessel for a scenic mussel & wine cruise to our remote lodge located in the stunning Kenepuru Sound. For those who wish, an optional floatplane transfer & scenic flight to the lodge is available from Picton.
Day 10: Enjoy Kenepuru Sound
A free day to relax & marvel at the magic that is the Marlborough Sounds. Lodge staff will share their love of the region with you through the wide range of water and nature based experiences they put at your fingertips. Complimentary fishing tackle, kayaks & mountains bikes are provided at the lodge and there is a number of bush walks to enjoy.
Day 11: Blenheim, Kaikoura
Return to Havelock by water taxi and board our coach for the journey to the small coastal town of Kaikoura. Here you can enjoy an optional whale-watching adventure, swim with the dolphins or join local Maori for a unique, award winning cultural experience.
Day 12: Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook
Travel south across the Canterbury Plains and stop at beautiful Lake Tekapo to view the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd. Then travel up the western side of Lake Pukaki to the Mt Cook National Park, a World Heritage listed site.
Day 13: At Mount Cook
Today we experience the Tasman Glacier in the most unique way possible. An experienced guide will whisk you away in a stable MAC Boat to explore the melting ice-face of the Tasman Glacier. Get up close to touch & taste 400-year old icebergs that have been carved into the murky waters of the lake. Later today, there is time to enjoy one of the many bush walks and optional ski-plane and helicopter flights, (subject to weather conditions).
Day 14: Lindis Pass, Queenstown
Travel through the MacKenzie Country before beginning the ascent over the Lindis Pass and emerging into the lush green farmland that surrounds the spectacular alpine village of Queenstown, regarded as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination.
Day 15: Arrowtown
Set beneath the rugged Crown Range is Arrowtown, a fascinating collection of mining cottages with an atmosphere straight out of last century. Enjoy time to stroll through this historic village. On to Amisfield Winery & Bistro for a lunch overlooking Lake Hayes and back dropped by the Remarkables mountain range.
Day 16: Milford Sound Cruise
Your highlight today is a leisurely nature cruise of the breathtaking Milford Sound, cruising the full length of the fiord to the Tasman Sea. An on-board nature guide will give you detailed information of the region’s history, flora & fauna and you will view spectacular waterfalls, rainforests and towering mountains, including the awesome Mitre Peak.
Day 17: At Queenstown
Enjoy a free day to experience this magnificent resort town. Surrounded by majestic mountains, Queenstown boasts an incredible array of adventure & leisure activities in all forms, from extreme to relaxed exploration.
Day 18: Wanaka, West Coast Glaciers
There is time to wander around the resort town of Lake Wanaka before enjoying incredible scenery as we travel past the untouched native forests and pristine lakes of the World Heritage Westland National Park before arriving at Franz Josef or Fox Glacier.
Day 19: Christchurch
Head north along the dramatic West Coast, steeped in history dating back to the gold rush era of the 1800’s. This afternoon, board the TranzAlpine train for a coast to coast rail adventure through the Southern Alps, rated as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. On arrival you will be transferred to your resort hotel for a farewell dinner.
Day 20: Depart Christchurch
Sadly, your holiday ends today and you will be transferred to Christchurch airport to connect with your onward flight home.