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8 Day - Taste of North & South Islands Tour

8 Day - Taste of North & South Islands Tour

Active volcanoes, island sanctuaries and history top the list when visiting New Zealand's North Island. New Zealand’s South Island hosts the purest natural landscapes you’ll ever experience.

We are pleased to offer you what we consider a very exciting and diverse trip to New Zealand. The north is rich in Maori and European culture and shares beautiful sandy beaches, verdant vineyards, thermal reserves and the country’s largest cosmopolitan city “Auckland”. In the South Island, you will find yourself lost in the dramatic scenery that has been the backdrop for so many films, most notably, of course, is Lord of The Rings. The home of striking lakes, epic alpine ranges, glaciers and remarkable marine and birdlife.

Plan Your Tour

Highlights

Private guided tour 7 nights
Category: Culture, Active
Location: 
North Island
Departing/Finishing: 
Auckland to Christchurch (Itinerary can be reversed)
Accommodation: 
4* or 5* quality Hotels, boutique B&Bs, luxury serviced Apartments, Premium Lodges
Next Departure: Departs Daily

LOCATION AND HIGHLIGHTS:
Day 1: Auckland
(Half day city tour, optional visit of Waiheke Island and winery/food tour)
Day 2: Auckland – Matamata – Rotorua/Taupo
(Guided tour Hobbiton film set, walk geothermal areas, Maori evening show and Hangi, Or: zip line tour or Helicopter on top of a volcano)
Day 3: Rotorua/Taupo – Waitomo – Waikato
(Glow-worm Caves, Farm experience, optional Blackwater Rafting)
Day 4: Auckland – Domestic flight to Queenstown/Wanaka
(Lord of the Rings scenery, Shotover jet, Arrowtown, Skyline Gondola)
Day 5: Scenic flight to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound
Or:
Helicopter flight to Milford or Doubtful Sound
Day 6: Queenstown/Wanaka – Mt Cook – Lake Tekapo
(Helicopter or Grand Traverse Flight to Glacier, stargazing)
Day 7: Tekapo – Christchurch – Akaroa
(Punting on Avon River, Or: Akaroa Nature Harbour Cruise)
Day 8: Christchurch Departure

PRICE: We recommend the following guidelines for customized tour packages, excluding international flights: 4* to 5*: From around NZ$ $500 - $1250+ per person per day. The customized package will include accommodation, airport transfers and other transportation within New Zealand, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip. Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other customer preferences.

 

 

Day 1: Auckland City - Day to your leisure

Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping, and you’re beginning to get the picture of Auckland, our largest and most diverse city. Discover the diverse range of cafes and restaurants offering cuisine from around the globe. Visit the Seafood market in the bustling Wynyard Quarter and wander around the boutique market and deli. Soak up diverse shopping experiences and a delicious café culture on the ultimate day of shopping in the city – Auckland style.

With over a million hectares of sparkling blue waters dotted with emerald islands, the Hauraki Gulf offers countless water activities and island adventures. Relax on a harbour cruise, leap off the Auckland Harbour Bridge in New Zealand’s only ocean-touch bungy or even help race an America’s Cup yacht

Or: In the afternoon you have the option to take a short ferry ride and visit the jewel of the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island, a haven of beautiful vineyards, olive groves, farmland and golden beaches.  You can take a winery and food tour if you desire.  

Accommodation: Auckland City

Day 2: Auckland - Rotorua or Taupo

Two hours south of Auckland lies the lush farmland of the Hamilton - Waikato region. Famous for dairying and fine thoroughbred horses, it's easy to see why these green pastures and rolling hills were chosen to portray Hobbiton and The Shire.  

Rotorua is known for bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs, as well as showcasing our fascinating Maori culture. Sitting within the Pacific Rim of Fire, Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland. Get up close to spectacular geysers and colourful crater lakes, relax in a mud bath or enjoy a simple soak in a natural hot stream. The region has one of the world’s most active geothermal fields. The unforgettable smell of sulphur, clouds of steam and volcanic activity are a natural part of life in Rotorua.  

Or: If you want to see New Zealand like never before and experience an ancient forest up close and personal then this Canopy tour is for you!  There are over 200m of thrilling zip lines, swing bridges and treetop platforms all within an expansive forest network of towering ancient trees. 

Or: Fly to the site of the largest eruption in New Zealand’s living memory. Landing on Mount Tarawera offers a privileged view of spectacular craters and domes formed by the 1886 eruption.

Later on immerse yourself in Maori culture with a traditional introduction and performance, learning about the past, carving and dancing. You will taste an exquisite Maori feast prepared in the traditional Hangi style and watch the Maori cultural performance featuring traditional storytelling and entertainment.

Accommodation: Rotorua or Taupo

Day 3: Rotorua - Waitomo Caves

Under the green hills of Waitomo lies a labyrinth of caves, sinkholes and underground rivers. The area's name comes from the Maori words wai (water) and tomo (hole). The caves were carved by underground streams pushing through soft limestone over thousands of years. Many have amazing stalactites growing down from the ceiling and stalagmites growing up from the cave floor, pointy cones of layered rock formed over centuries by dripping water. The cave walls are also decorated with galaxies of native glow worms. 

Or: If you’re into adventure, try the unique experience of blackwater rafting - you'll crawl, swim and float through the caves on a rubber tube.

Your accommodation for the evening will be at a local farm stay. Waikato farm stays may farm cows, sheep, horses, pigs, goats, alpacas, chickens, ducks and other farm animals. The farm stays may include fun farm activities like feeding the animals, farm tours and even horse rides. Come, relax in your accommodation enjoying the slow pace of the countryside while watching frolicking and playful lambs, listening to singing birds and observing bellowing cattle as they contentedly graze the lush green pastures.

Accommodation: Waikato - Farmstay

Day 4: Auckland - Queenstown/Wanaka

Queenstown is one of New Zealand's top visitor destinations and if you come to the region you'll understand why. The town sits on the shore of crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu amidst dramatic mountain ranges; this stunning location will blow you away. Activities like paragliding, Zip lining, 4WD Driving, and kayaking are the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. If adventure isn’t your thing and you just need time to kick back and relax,treat yourself to some boutique shopping and be sure to experience the excellent local food and wine. 

Take a unique breathtaking ride through dramatic and narrow canyons, and hold on tight for Queenstown’s only exhilarating full 360° spins and beyond.  ‘Can you handle the canyons?’ with award winning Shotover Jet. 

Arrowtown is a living historic settlement with many stories to tell. Wander the tree-lined streets of restored cottages and explore gold mining sites.  A special highlight is a Chinese settlement at the edge of the river. In April and May Arrowtown ignites with colour as deciduous trees prepare for winter.

Sit back and relax and take in the stunning views as you ride the Skyline Queenstown Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the must-do activities in Queenstown! You’ll be carried 450 metres above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob's Peak, where you’ll enjoy the best views in the region unfolding before your eyes. 

Accommodation: Queenstown

Day 5: Day trip to Milford Sounds

Scenic flights are the best way to reach this isolated gem. Situated on the West Coast of the South Island, it is a world-renowned area of extraordinary beauty. Milford Sound is actually named incorrectly, it actually is a true fiord, which measures 12 km long and is up to 320 metres deep. When it rains in Milford Sound, and it often does, those waterfalls multiply with magnificent effect. Boat cruises – during the day or overnight – are an excellent way to experience the Sound. Adventurous types might also like to head out sea kayaking, diving or flightseeing.

One of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand; the power of Fiordland's scenery never fails to enthral travellers. This remarkable natural environment features stunning fiords, spectacular waterfalls and snow-capped peaks. Ancient rainforest clings impossibly to the mountains; waterfalls tumble hundreds of meters into massive fiords; shimmering lakes and granite peaks look the same today as they did a thousand years ago. 

Or: Take a helicopter flight to remote and spectacular, Doubtful Sound is less visited than its more popular counterpart Milford Sound but we think that makes it even more special.

Accommodation: Queenstown or Wanaka

Day 6: Queenstown - Mt Cook or Tekapo

Affectionately called ‘Central’ by those that know it well, Central Otago is New Zealand’s most inland region. It’s breathtakingly different with vast undulating landscapes, rugged snow-capped mountains, clear blue rivers, deep gorges and tussock-clad hills.  

We travel deep into the heart of the Southern Alps and to the southern slopes of Mt Cook National Park and experience awe-inspiring views of Mt Cook and Tasman, breath-taking views of the glaciers and neve's.  

Take a scenic helicopter or plane flight over this stunning scenery and see the ancient waters of the Tasman Glacier lake before flying the length of the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s longest glacier. If you opt for the helicopter flight you can experience what it feels like to stand in snow amongst the mountains as you take in a spectacular view of New Zealand's highest peak, Aoraki/Mount Cook. 

Picturesque by day and dazzling by night, Mt Cook and  Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing. The township faces north across the remarkable turquoise coloured lake to the mountainous drama of the Southern Alps.

Accommodation: Mt Cook or Lake Tekapo 

Day 7: Mt Cook or Lake Tekapo – Christchurch or Akaroa

Speckled with small agricultural outposts, the Canterbury Plains are an area of serene, rural beauty Your trip will take you through some of the most evocative hill county in New Zealand.

Christchurch city promises an eclectic mix of historic elegance and contemporary culture.  Traditionally known as the Garden City, Christchurch’s award winning Botanic Gardens are over 150 years old and boast an enviable collection of exotic and native plants. Contemporary culture and vibrant, modern spaces define Christchurch City's shopping culture. From modern hubs of creativity and charming boutiques and open-air markets, the shopping experience on offer in Christchurch is social, unique and fun. Restaurants, bars and breweries mean that there are plenty of options to recharge after a few hours on your feet exploring the shops.

The Avon River flows gently through the city centre, making Edwardian punt rides an iconic way to sightsee. Alternatively, catch a ride aboard the Historic Tram or take a bicycle tour to learn about Christchurch's history.  

Or: Located on the south-east side of the deep, sheltered Akaroa Harbour, the charming township of Akaroa has a special point of difference - it was the only French settlement in New Zealand. The best way to explore Akaroa is on foot. Visit local restaurants with their focus on French cuisine and head along to Barrys Bay Cheese, where they've persevered with original methods for over a century. If you have time, take a harbour cruise to view dolphins, penguins and fur seals.

Accommodation: Christchurch or Akaroa

Day 8: Christchurch departure

Your private chauffeur will take you to your departing flight at Christchurch airport.

Experiences in this tour

Queenstown

Queenstown

Queenstown sits on the shore of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu among dramatic alpine ranges; it’s rumored that gold prospectors - captivated by the majestic beauty of the surrounding mountains and rivers - gave this now cosmopolitan town its name. Queenstown’s natural beauty can rarely be competed with, but there is more to Queenstown than just a pretty face.
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Christchurch

Christchurch

The South Island's biggest city - Christchurch, is one of the world’s most unique destinations, combining urban regeneration and innovation with heritage, culture and exhilarating activity. The city’s award-winning Christchurch Botanic Gardens offer a relaxing inner-city escape and are found near The Arts Centre.
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Waitomo

Waitomo

World-renowned and a magnet for both local and overseas visitors, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves occupy a high placing in the New Zealand vacation wish-list.
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Fiordland

Fiordland

Fiordland is one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand. Fiordland National Park is a World Heritage Site and includes Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds. Milford Sound was described by Rudyard Kipling as the Eighth Wonder of the World; take a scenic flight over it and you will understand why.
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