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10 Day - New Zealand Highlights Tour

10 Day - New Zealand Highlights Tour

This tour covers both the North and South Islands. Starting in Auckland and ending in Christchurch you will visit key tourist towns.

You will have enough time to shop in the larger cities and take part in some fun activities. The highlights include the geothermal areas of Rotorua, the glow-worm caves in Waitomo, a cruise at Milford Sound and a helicopter flight and landing on a glacier.

Plan Your Tour

Highlights

Private guided tour itinerary - 9 nights

Day 1: Auckland City (Airport transfer, Day to your own leisure)
Day 2: Auckland - Rotorua (Hobbiton Film set, Te Puia Art Center and Maori Cultural show)
Day 3: Rotorua – Taupo (Wai-O-Tapu geothermal area and Huka Falls)
Day 4: Taupo - Waitomo Caves (Glow-worm Caves, Optional Farm-stay)
Day 5: Auckland – Domestic flight to Queenstown/South Island (Airport transfer, Afternoon to your own leisure)
Day 6: Queenstown (Arrowtown, Shotover jet boat ride, Glenorchy and Lord of the Rings scenery)
Day 7: Queenstown - Fiordland National Park (Encounter Cruise, Mirror Lakes, The Chasm)
Day 8: Te Anau - Mt Cook (Helicopter flight and landing on Glacier Ice)
Day 9: Lake Tekapo – Christchurch (City tour or visit to Akaroa Peninsula)
Day 10: Christchurch airport departure

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 (Airport transfer, Day to your own leisure)

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. Here you can spend the day 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. Worth a visit is also the Auckland Art Gallery with a collection numbering 15,000 works. The Gallery's collection includes major holdings of New Zealand historic, modern and contemporary art, and outstanding works by Maori and Pacific Island artists, as well as international paintings, sculpture and print collections ranging in date from 1376 to today. Visit the nearby harbour, its location makes the Auckland Fish Market an easily accessible and captivating destination for locals and tourists alike. The Fish Market building hosts a variety of fresh seafood retailers, a boutique food market, restaurants, licensed cafes, an extraordinary wine encounter and the ever popular Auckland Seafood School. At lunchtime, the open-air courtyard and cafes bustle with a steady stream of diners. By night it's the aromas of Asia that permeate the air as the standalone Hong Kong style and Korean eateries, come into their own.

Accommodation: Auckland City

Day 2: Auckland - Rotorua (Hobbiton Film set, Te Puia Art Center and Maori Cultural show)

Driving distance 3h
Start off your private guided tour of North Island! Before midday, discover the real Middle Earth on the most picturesque private farmland near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand, where you can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. The set has been completely rebuilt and will remain as it was seen in the movies. There are spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges from the rolling green hills of the movie set, which is still a working sheep and beef farm. As you depart Matamata your tour will take you through the Central North Island region of the Bay of Plenty. Your tour arrives in the geothermal capital of Rotorua after midday. Visit Te Puia, the premier Māori cultural centre in New Zealand - a place of gushing waters, steaming vents, boiling mud pools and spectacular geysers. The Māori tradition lives on at Te Whakarewarewa, our Māori culture, and our National Carving and Weaving Schools of New Zealand. The environment alone is of enormous geological significance, with thermal activity ranging from boiling mud to the world famous 30-metre (100-foot) Pohutu geyser, erupting up to 20 times each day. The Kiwi Conservation Centre is a valuable part of a national Kiwi breeding programme. Here you can see our New Zealand native flightless bird and national icon in a specially lit purpose-built nocturnal house, with expert guides and information at hand. Watch a cultural performance and learn about the past of our native people, 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. Optional: Relax in the geothermal bath of the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua.

Accommodation: Rotorua

Day 3: Rotorua – Taupo (Wai-O-Tapu geothermal area and Huka Falls)

Driving distance 1h
In the morning we take you to the fascinating “Champagne Pool” and experience the panorama of vividly colourful hot and cold pools, steaming fumaroles and hot boiling mud pools. Sculptured out of volcanic activity and thousands of years in the making, Wai-O-Tapu is considered to be New Zealand’s most colourful and diverse geothermal sightseeing attraction. You are introduced to a uniquely different natural landscape – the key to what you see lies below the surface – one of the most extensive geothermal systems in New Zealand. Upon leaving Rotorua you continue through the Waikato region, one of New Zealand's greenest places, and richest agricultural regions. You will pass land with lush grass for raising cattle, thoroughbred horses and vast stands of exotic timber. On the way to Lake Taupo, we stop at Huka Falls - these spectacular falls roar through a 15m wide chasm before plunging a further 11m. Lake Taupo is New Zealand's largest lake and is also the world’s largest volcanic crater, created in one giant explosion. The ash cloud floated all over the world - ice samples from as far apart as Antarctica and Alaska have determined the explosion to have occurred in 186AD. The effects of the ash were even recorded in China and Rome. You can gather your own free volcanic souvenir from the shoreline in the form of very light pumice stones (great for cleaning off rough skin) which were spewed out in that eruption. Just about everywhere you look in the Lake Taupo region, you'll see a volcano. Optional - Dinner/fishing cruise! For dinner, we have organised a boat cruise on Lake Taupo, where you can just relax and reflect on the day’s adventure or catch one of the many rainbow trout for your evening meal. The vessel is 60 foot long and the fish will be caught by downriggers. The average size of trout is 4 pounds and the flesh looks like Salmon.

Accommodation: Taupo

Day 4: Taupo - Waitomo Caves (Glow-worm Caves, Optional Farm-stay)

Driving distance 2h
In the morning you travel through the rich and fertile pastoral land of the Waikato, 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 breathtaking 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 up close, 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 the evening in the only 5Star farm-stay in the country and enjoy a home cooked meal with your friendly host.

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

Day 5: Auckland – Domestic flight to Queenstown/South Island (Airport transfer, Afternoon to your own leisure)

Driving distance 2h
In the morning we depart with a domestic flight from Auckland to Queenstown. 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, 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. Please talk with us as our team of experts is very happy to assist you with any further enquiries. Queenstown has transformed into a sophisticated cosmopolitan town, tucked into a picturesque bay on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, beneath majestic mountains. 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 6: Queenstown (Arrowtown, Shotover jet boat ride, Glenorchy and Lord of the Rings scenery)

Start of private guided tour South Island! Central Otago is New Zealand’s fastest growing wine region and also it’s most scenic. In the morning take a unique breathtaking ride through dramatic and narrow canyons, and hold on tight for Queenstown’s only exhilarating full 360° spins. ‘Can you handle the canyons?’ with award winning Shotover Jet, 'The World’s Most Exciting Jet Boat Ride' and the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons. From there the journey takes you past the Eastern shores of Lake Wakatipu and to Queenstown. There’s a permanent buzz in downtown Queenstown, where you’ll find a fantastic choice of restaurants, a lively bar scene and excellent shopping. Here you will be visiting one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand. Drive through the famous Kawarau valley and gorge. Stop at, which is widely regarded as a safe spectator attraction, the famous Kawarau Gorge Bungy Jumping exhibition. Visit the surrounding areas to Arthur's Point stop in Arrowtown, a historic colonial village that takes you back into the Gold Mining days of the Otago region. At some stage of the wine tour, we suggest stopping for a relaxing lunch at one of the wineries. Only 45m west you find a little Paradise the tiny settlement of Glenorchy. This is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand and 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.

Accommodation: Queenstown

Day 7: Queenstown - Fiordland National Park (Encounter Cruise, Mirror Lakes, Chasm)

Driving distance 6h
We 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. Getting there is half of the experience; we take you through the Fiordland National Park, past staggeringly beautiful valleys, lakes and creeks. If the time allows we will stop at the “Mirror Lakes”, before entering the narrow and dark 1km long Homer Tunnel. We take you on a day cruise into the magnificent wonder-world of the Milford Sound. You may encounter Kea’s, New Zealand’s cheeky alpine parrots and we stop and explore some of nature’s wonders on the way. At Milford, you board a vessel and cruise on the Fiord through sheer cliffs covered with vegetation that plunges into the sea. View the Bowen Falls, hurtling 165 meters into the sea, and the Stirling Falls further down the sound, set amidst the towering cliffs and dwarfed by Mitre Peak. On the drive back take a boardwalk into the “Chasm” to see surreal, water-hewn rock sculptures. In the evening the journey takes you to Lake Te Anau. Here you will be visiting one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand. The extraordinary scenic beauty has earned this region a reputation as a significant sightseeing and walking destination, and a 'must see' for anyone travelling to New Zealand. The scenery is spectacular and the track passes through many landscapes of the Fiordland National Park ranging from rocky mountain ridges to tall mossy forests along the lake shores.

Accommodation: Te Anau

Day 8: Te Anau - Lake Tekapo ( Mt Cook, Helicopter flight and landing on Glacier Ice)

Driving distance 5h
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 into 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. 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.

Accommodation: Mt Cook

Day 9: Lake Tekapo – Christchurch (City tour or visit of 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 bars. Contemporary 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 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, French and English history 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 on 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 10: Christchurch airport departure

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

Experiences in this tour

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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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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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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Taupo

Taupo

The Great Lake Taupo region is 'Nature's Ultimate Playground’, Taupo has something for everyone. Taupo is home to the majestic Huka Falls, the most visited natural attraction in New Zealand.
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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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