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8 Day - Taste of Both Islands Tour

8 Day - Taste of Both Islands Tour

Discover the North and South Islands of New Zealand

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 itinerary - 7 nights

Day 1: Auckland City/North Island (Optional day trip to Waiheke Island)
Day 2: Auckland - Rotorua (Hobbiton, Geothermal area, Cultural Show)
Day 3: Rotorua - Waitomo Caves (Glow-worm Caves, Farm-stay)
Day 4: Auckland – Domestic flight to Queenstown/South Island (Jet boat ride)
Day 5: Queenstown (Scenic flight/cruise into Milford Sounds/Fiordland National Park, Glenorchy)
Day 6: Queenstown - Mt Cook (Helicopter flight and landing on Glacier Ice, Stargazing)
Day 7: Lake Tekapo – Christchurch (Akaroa Peninsula, Dolphin cruise)
Day 8: Christchurch airport departure (airport transfer)

Prices: We recommend the following guidelines for customized tour packages, excluding international flights: 
4* (3* internationally) to 5*: From around NZ$ $400 - $1150+ 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 enquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.

Day 1: Auckland City (City tour)

Start off your private guided tour! You will be met on arrival at Auckland International Airport by your Aroha NZ Tours Representative, and transferred to your accommodation in our luxurious vehicle. Your Tour starts with a relaxing sightseeing tour of Auckland and a chance to explore the CBD and outer areas of the city, taking in the spectacular harbour views of the Waitemata from Auckland's illustrious waterfront, and through some of the most expensive real estate in NZ. You will also have the opportunity to stop off and visit one of Auckland's most prestigious shopping areas 'Parnell Historic Village'. From here your tour continues on to the summit of Mt Eden one of 48 dormant volcanoes situated in and around Auckland. From the summit, you can take in a stunning 360-degree view of Auckland city and it's surrounding harbours. Later on, you can spend the afternoon in the Inner City and near the America’s Cup Village and visit the nearby Viaduct Basin and its many lively bars and restaurants. Walk onto Queen Street and explore the new Britomart, a vibrant shopping, entertainment and business precinct in the heart of downtown Auckland. Surrounded by beautiful heritage buildings, it’s a neighbourhood of buzzing restaurants and bars, world-class fashion boutiques and interesting art spaces.

Recommended:
(Optional - additional charges apply) Ferry to Waiheke Island, winery and food tour:
Home to numerous vineyards, lodges and cottages, Waiheke which is just a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland, is embracing his bohemian side. The 35 square mile island is now dotted with new shops and galleries that sell sculptures and paintings from the dozens of local artists. A private wine-tour can be organised to the Island's most respected vineyards. A “small is beautiful” philosophy yields low quantities of extremely high-quality fruit, which is made into internationally award-winning wines. The secrets of Waiheke's stunning worldwide success in fine red wines will be revealed to the interested visitor. You'll come away with a deep appreciation of the vintner’s art and an understanding of the terrier, the weather and the tides of tradition which make up this art. You'll learn which vintages to look out for and be able to purchase the best for your cellar direct from the vineyards. 

Accommodation: Auckland City

Day 2: Auckland - Rotorua (Hobbiton, Geothermal area, Maori evening show and Hangi)

Driving distances 3h
In the morning experience the real Middle-earth with a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set, featured in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. Your guided tour starts with a drive through the picturesque 1,250-acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. Take a look at Bag End, where Frodo and Bilbo’s adventures began. Get lost among the hobbit holes and visit the Green Dragon Inn, the Mill and the Party Tree. Listen to spell-binding tales of how Hobbiton came to be. In the afternoon we reach the geothermal Capital of Rotorua and take a journey through a world of unique thermal formations at Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland. View the fascinating 'Champagne Pool' and experience the panorama of vividly colourful hot and cold pools, steaming fumaroles and hot boiling mud pools. In the evening your guide will take you to the Mitai Maori Village which will give you an authentic introduction to Maori culture leaving you amazed and in awe. Be enthralled by the natural bush setting, see warriors in traditional dress, paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream, and don’t miss your only opportunity in the Rotorua area to see glow worms in their natural habitat. Marvel at the crystal clear water full of eels and trout, flowing directly from the earth at the sacred Fairy Spring. See your traditionally cooked hangi meal being lifted from the ground. During the cultural performance, you’ll learn about the past, carvings and ta moko (tattoo art). Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat, coupled with the grace and beauty of the poi dance. You’ll be amazed by the spine-tingling haka finale. The Mitai family is proud to have created a sacred and spiritual place that offers you an indigenous cultural experience like no other. 

Accommodation: Rotorua

Day 3: Rotorua - Waitomo Caves (Glow-worm Caves, Farmstay)

Driving distance 2h
In the morning we travel north through the lush green rural farm land of the Waikato region. The rich and fertile pastoral land of the Waikato is one of New Zealand’s major dairy producing and horse breeding areas, and host to incalculable stands of exotic timber. One of the major attractions of the Waikato/King Country region is the famous Waitomo Caves (translation: 'where the water disappears into a hole in the ground'). Enjoy a short shuttle ride to the cave while your experienced guide reveals the rich history of Waitomo. Then, take a short walk through breath taking New Zealand native bush to the cave entrance. There, your guide lights the candles setting the scene for an intimate cave experience, where you will see glow-worms and cave formations up close and appreciate the beauty of Footwhistle Cave (also known to local Maori as Te Anaroa Cave). The solar-powered lights are kept low so you can appreciate the magnificent glow worm displays at their best, only inches away. Around a corner lie the bones of one of New Zealand's lost treasures, the ancient Moa. The soothing sound of Footwhistle cave stream flows in the darkness below. Formation lights are especially turned on to cast a warm glow over stunning cave formations. The guide tells the stories of the insect life that live here - titiwai, the glow-worm, and tuna, the eel. After enjoying a relaxed stroll through the cave, you'll be seated in Footwhistle's Cathedral to see it lit up by a dazzling magnesium torch. Although the display only lasts a few seconds, your memories of the Footwhistle Cave will last a lifetime. Relax in the evening in the only 5*star farm-stay in the country and enjoy a home cooked meal with your friendly host. Or (Optional) Hairy Feet Hobbit Film Location: Visit the stunning farm location at Mangaotaki Rocks, Piopio, near Waitomo, where the troll and camp fire scenes in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" were filmed. Towering limestone cliffs, massive rock formations and a primaeval forest on the Denzie family farm became the location for Staddle Farm and Trollshaw and the home of "Sting". 

Accommodation: Waitomo (or we take you back to Auckland)

Day 4: Auckland/North Island – Domestic flight to Queenstown/South Island (Shotover jet boat ride)

Driving distance 2h
In the morning we depart with a domestic flight from Auckland to Queenstown. Your day’s itinerary will lead you to some of the most interesting adventures that Queenstown has to offer. Queenstown is the Southern Hemisphere’s premier four season lake and alpine resort. Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, the stunning scenery is inspiring and revitalising. The region is renowned for incredible adventure activities and spectacular outdoor terrain. You could try skiing, snowboarding, bungy jumping, paragliding, jet boating, skydiving and more! Or, if you want something a little more relaxed, you can choose from numerous family activities, nature experiences, tours and beauty spas. Your first stop of the day is Arthur's point, home of the Shotover Jet Boat Company. Here you have the option to experience one of New Zealand’s most exciting adventure rides, Jet Boating on the Shotover River (this is a safe excursion for both children and adults). We then take you to your next stop in Arrowtown, a historic colonial village that takes you back into the Gold Mining days of the Otago region. From there you can encounter what is widely regarded as a safe spectator attraction, the famous Kawarau Gorge Bungy Jumping exhibition (this is free for spectators, however, if you desire to make a jump the charge is additional to your tour package). From Kawarau Gorge, you return to Queenstown where you can take the opportunity to explore the town. There’s a permanent buzz in downtown Queenstown, where you’ll find a fantastic choice of restaurants, a lively bar scene and excellent shopping.

Accommodation: Queenstown

Day 5: Queenstown (Scenic flight/cruise into Milford Sound/Fiordland National Park, Glenorchy)

You are heading for the spectacular Milford Sound, described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world” which was carved out during successive ice ages and, at its deepest point off Mitre Peak, plunges to a depth of 265 meters. The awesome splendour of this region is unsurpassed anywhere else in the World, a daring claim in a country which offers extraordinary beauty around every corner. Fly from Queenstown to magnificent Milford Sound and enjoy a spectacular view of the mountains, lakes and fiords of the Fiordland National Park. At Milford Sound, your launch cruise travels the full length of Milford Sound. Return to Queenstown via the famous Sutherland Falls and glaciers of the Fiordland National Park. In the afternoon you take a drive 45m west of Queenstown where you find a little Paradise in the tiny settlement of Glenorchy. This is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand and used for a favourite location in several Hollywood film productions and commercials around the world. Glenorchy is one of the gateways to Mt Aspiring National Park covering a large World Heritage area. Travel further into the Park along a most picturesque river and multiple river arms to a forest glade. The high peak of Mt Earnslaw and its Glacier is powering over this area. Surrounded by awe-inspiring peaks and mysterious hidden valleys shrouded in native Beech forest, your specialist guides will bring to life the variety of landscapes, vegetation and wildlife within this unique area, as well the captivating stories of the original Maori and early pioneers. In Glenorchy take a short walk through the flatlands to the lagoon.

Accommodation: Queenstown

Day 6: Queenstown - Mt Cook (Helicopter flight and landing on Glacier Ice) ​

Driving distance 3hr
Speckled with small agricultural outposts, the Canterbury Plains are an area of serene, rural beauty. Our trip will take us through some of the most evocative hill country in New Zealand. To the east lies the coastal town of Timaru while, to the west, the Mackenzie Country accounts for a large percentage of New Zealand’s sheep population. We travel deep into the heart of the Southern Alps and to the southern slopes of Mt Cook National Park. In the afternoon experience awe-inspiring views of Mt Cook and Tasman, breath-taking views of the glaciers and neves. The rugged West Coast is hemmed between the Tasman Sea and the imposing Southern Alps, making for spectacular contrasts in the surrounding scenery. Two glaciers are located only 25 km from each other and are unique in the world as they seem to nearly reach the ocean. Discover the gigantic expanse of the Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier snowfields with a landing at high altitude. Step out of your helicopter and experience how it feels to stand in snow. The flight includes fantastic views of the Tasman Glacier and Mount Cook. We overnight in the small township of Lake Tekapo. You will encounter an array of spectacular mountain ranges including Mt Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand, rises 3700 meters. Lake Tekapo is an unusual beautiful turquoise colour and reflects the surrounding mountains. Relax at this mystical, tranquil place and take a stroll along the lake’s shores. Recommended: (Optional) Glacier Explorer boat cruise: In the afternoon we take you on a small boat trip to the bottom of Tasman Glacier. The only tour of its kind in New Zealand, and one of three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of these are accessible to the average person. Or - Stargazing: In the evening we can arrange a tour to explore the wonders of the Southern Sky at the Mt John Observatory high above the breathtaking landscape of Lake Tekapo – where Earth meets Sky.

Accommodation: Lake Tekapo

Day 7: Lake Tekapo – Christchurch (Akaroa Peninsula)

Driving distance 3h
We drive you through Canterbury and to the Christchurch area. Christchurch city promises an eclectic mix of historic elegance and contemporary culture. Described by Lonely Planet as a "vibrant city in transition, coping resiliently and creatively,” Christchurch's energy is evident wherever you go. The city has bounced back after the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 with innovative new attractions, as well as some old favourites. Visit the Re:Start container mall, the transitional Cardboard Cathedral, and some of the many pop-up restaurants and barsContemporary art galleries, boutique shops and open-air markets add to Christchurch’s creative vibe. There’s plenty to do in and around this rapidly changing city. We take you to your airport accommodation in Christchurch. If time allows! Just 75 kilometres from the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, Akaroa is a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano.  Akaroa, with its own beautiful bays and harbour, has a good range of activities to keep you busy. In Flea-bay you will find the largest little penguin colony on the mainland in New Zealand. Akaroa waters are home to the rarest and smallest marine dolphin, “Hector's dolphin”. Discover them and other special wildlife with a harbour cruise. (Optional) Akaroa is rich in Arts and Crafts which starts with a must-see visit to the 'Little River Art Gallery' as you drive through Little River, with many unique crafts shops in Akaroa. You will love the shopping in Akaroa where you can walk from one end to the other in 15 minutes, with some exquisite local boutiques. This is the perfect place to reflect on your holiday. 

Accommodation: Christchurch airport

Day 8: Christchurch airport departure

A short drive will take you to your departing flight in Christchurch.

Experiences in this tour

Auckland City

Auckland City

There’s always something happening in Auckland, cultural experiences, restaurants, inner-city hot spots or beautiful beaches and island escapes; from major sporting events, concerts and festivals to outdoor adventures.
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Rotorua

Rotorua

Cultural tourism is at it’s finest in the City of Rotorua. A city alive with music, storytelling, performance and more. Rotorua is the core of all things geothermal and is also known as the adventurer's playground.
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Hobbiton

Hobbiton

One of the most visited attractions in New Zealand. It has been the set of a number of movies but the most well-known and possibly the most-loved is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
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Queenstown

Queenstown

Queenstown like any great love is easy to fall for and difficult to get over. Queenstown’s natural beauty can rarely be competed with, but there is more to Queenstown than just a pretty face.
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Tekapo

Tekapo

Picturesque by day and dazzling by night, Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing.
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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.
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Mount Cook

Mount Cook

Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. At the foot of the mountain sits the village of Mount Cook - a comfortable haven in one of the most unforgiving parts of New Zealand.
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