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Home » Destinations » Australasia and Pacific » New Zealand » Riviera Travel New Zealand
Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey through New Zealand’s breathtaking landscapes and must-see attractions. From Auckland to the Bay of Islands’ historic towns and golden coves, we’ll explore geothermal wonders in Rotorua and savor the delights of Hawke’s Bay’s wine-producing region. Napier’s unique architecture and Wellington’s harbor views await. Experience premium wines in Marlborough and enjoy the TranzAlpine train and a helicopter flight over Franz Josef glacier on this remarkable tour of New Zealand.
Travel to the airport for your overnight flight to Auckland
Continue your journey to New Zealand
Your journey begins as you touch down in Auckland around midday. From there, you’ll be transferred to your conveniently located hotel, where you’ll enjoy a two-night stay complete with breakfast.
After settling in, the remainder of your day is yours to explore and enjoy at your own pace.
Your sightseeing tour of Auckland, the ‘City of Sails,’ includes Bastion Point’s panoramic views, Parnell Village, the waterfront drive, and Viaduct Harbour. You’ll also visit the Auckland Museum, showcasing Pacific cultures, Maori heritage, and New Zealand’s diverse tapestry. Your afternoon is free for additional exploration.
Leaving Auckland, you’ll venture northward, crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and following the scenic Hibiscus Coast route to the Parry Kauri Park, where you can marvel at colossal Kauri trees.
Continuing our journey across the lush landscapes of the North Island, arrive in Paihia, nestled in the stunning Bay of Islands, during the afternoon. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the historic Waitangi Treaty House on a guided tour, where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, laying the foundation for New Zealand’s governance.
This morning, explore the Bay of Islands on a boat cruise, taking in its scenic beaches. Keep an eye out for the chance to spot wild dolphins, common in this area.
Next, sail to Cape Brett, passing through the famous ‘Hole in the Rock,’ weather permitting. Your destination is Russell, New Zealand’s first European settlement, accessible via a 10-minute ferry ride from Paihia (ticket included). Russell offers a great spot for lunch or a leisurely waterfront stroll.
The afternoon is free for you to enjoy various Bay of Islands activities at your own pace.
This morning, depart from the Bay of Islands and head south to Hamilton. Upon arrival, explore the magnificent Hamilton Gardens, located along the picturesque Waikato River.
Hamilton Gardens narrate the tale of gardens through five distinctive garden collections. The Paradise Garden Collection, a standout feature, showcases a range of gardens, including the Chinese Scholars Garden, English Flower Garden, Japanese Garden of Contemplation, American Modernist Garden, Italian Renaissance Garden, and Indian Char Bagh Garden.
This morning, visit a 500-acre dairy farm for a rural tour and morning tea with homemade treats and local products. Next, head to Rotorua, known for its vibrant thermal activity, including mud pools, geysers, and hot springs. Rotorua is also famous for its Maori cultural experiences.
Explore Te Puia with a local Maori guide, witnessing traditional arts, crafts, and the iconic Pohutu Geyser in Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. In the evening, you’ll enjoy a visit to the Tamaki Maori Village, a recreation of a traditional Maori community. Experience ceremonial rituals, storytelling, and Maori culture, followed by a Hangi buffet dinner cooked in an earth oven.
Leaving Rotorua, journey to the picturesque lakeside town of Taupo, with a stop at Huka Falls to witness the powerful Waikato River flowing through its narrow canyon.
Continuing your trip, you’ll reach Napier, renowned as the global capital of Art Deco. Following your arrival, local guides will lead you on a captivating walking tour of the town’s stunning Art Deco buildings, which were reconstructed in this style after a 1931 earthquake.
You’ll head south to Wellington for an overnight stay in New Zealand’s capital. Discover Wellington with a guided tour and leisure time to explore the lively waterfront and lush gardens. You’ll also explore Te Papa, the nation’s exceptional National Museum, delving into New Zealand’s geography, diverse cultures, wildlife, landscapes, and popular culture.
Today, you’ll embark on a cruise to South Island, crossing the Cook Strait via the Interislander ferry, passing through the scenic Marlborough Sounds, including the picturesque Queen Charlotte Sound, and arriving in Picton. Your journey continues to Blenheim, situated in the renowned Marlborough wine-producing region, where you’ll pause for wine tasting.
Conclude the day in Nelson, New Zealand’s sunlit town, celebrated for its abundance of art and craft galleries and laid-back ambiance.
This morning, you’ll embark on a catamaran cruise along the breathtaking Abel Tasman National Park coastline. On the way, you’ll discover the park’s history, spot landmarks like Split Apple Rock and a fur seal colony, and admire its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. For the adventurous, there’s an option to land at Anchorage and hike the pithead loop (about 2 hours). The boat will pick up the hikers at Anchorage on its return. Lunch is provided, and the afternoon is yours to enjoy at your leisure in Nelson.
Heading south through the Golden Downs Forest and over the Lewis Pass, you’ll reach Hanmer Springs for lunch (not included). Then, proceed to Christchurch, the “garden city,” where you can explore the Re-Start Mall, the unique ‘Cardboard Cathedral,’ and the Botanic Gardens, all part of the city’s post-earthquake rebuilding efforts.
Today, journey through the Southern Alps on the renowned TranzAlpine train, witnessing the transition from Canterbury Plains to stunning gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. At Arthurs Pass, switch to a coach for your trip to the West Coast, making a stop in Hokitika to explore a Greenstone workshop.
Continuing south, pass through picturesque landscapes with views of the Alps to the east and the Tasman Sea to the west, ultimately reaching Franz Josef village.
In the afternoon, get ready for a highlight of your trip! You’ll embark on an exhilarating 20-minute scenic helicopter flight over the magnificent glacial alpine terrain, witnessing the glacier’s winding journey from the mountains above and concluding with an alpine landing.
Heading south, pass by remote beaches, lush rainforests, and settlements within the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area, known for its stunning forest and mountain scenery.
Our journey will take you over the picturesque Haast Pass to Lake Wanaka, before reaching the year-round resort town of Queenstown.
Nestled beneath the Remarkable Mountains, Queenstown, dubbed the ‘adventure capital of the world,’ boasts breathtaking scenery. Today, you have free time to explore and enjoy the resort’s offerings.
Leaving Queenstown, w follow Lake Wakatipu’s shores, pass through Te Anau, and venture into the remarkable Cleddau Valley, reaching the renowned Milford Sound, considered one of New Zealand’s most spectacular fjords.
A boat excursion through this deep fjord, nestled amidst towering granite cliffs, provides breathtaking views of Mitre Peak and the impressive 500-foot Stirling Falls. Wildlife sightings, such as dolphins, fur seals, or penguins, are possible. Then return to Te Anau with a packed lunch included.
Our accommodation in Te Anau is the four-star Distinction Luxmore, including breakfast. In the late afternoon, there’s an optional visit to the unique Glowworm Caves, a New Zealand specialty.
Today, journey north and explore Arrowtown, a historic gold-mining town with a vibrant present. Its charming main street features art galleries, cafes, and boutiques.
Then, proceed through the picturesque Kawarau Gorge, past Lake Dunstan, and across the captivating Central Otago landscape, known for its Lord of the Rings film locations. Your route takes us over the dramatic Lindis Pass, leading to the expansive Mackenzie Basin.
Prepare for another day of stunning vistas. Journey north along Lake Pukaki’s glacier-fed waters to Mount Cook, New Zealand’s tallest peak at 12,316 feet, surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Explore the Hooker Valley with short walks (weather permitting), visit the Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre (entrance fee), or opt for a helicopter flight over the impressive West Coast glaciers.
Your route continues to the beautiful Lake Tekapo with its vivid blue waters, where you’ll visit the Church of the Good Shepherd. Then cross Burkes Pass, traverse the Canterbury Plains, and return to Christchurch, staying at the Quality Hotel Elms for our final night in New Zealand.
Transfer to the airport for your flight home
Arrive back in the UK
Grand Millenium Hotel, Auckland
This hotel offers a range of amenities, including a swimming pool, sauna, lounge, bar, restaurant, fitness center, 24-hour front desk, and air conditioning. Guests can also enjoy the convenience of a lift between floors, laundry service, and a terrace. The spacious rooms come equipped with a bath and separate shower, hairdryer, minibar (with local charges), safe, iron/board, TV, air conditioning, tea/coffee-maker, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Scenic Hotel Bay of Island, Paihia
Nestled among several small low-rise buildings, the hotel provides a pool, restaurant, and bar. The 114 newly renovated rooms are equipped with showers, hairdryers, ironing facilities, minibars (with local charges), TVs, tea/coffee-makers, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Novotel Hamilton Tainui, Hamilton
This hotel features a lounge, bar, restaurant with European and Pacific Rim cuisine, fitness center, 24-hour front desk, air conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi, and laundry service. The 177 comfortable rooms include a bath with a shower, hairdryer, minibar (with local charges), safe, flat-screen TV, tea/coffee maker, and free Wi-Fi.
Distinction Rotorua, Rotorua
The four-star Distinction Hotel in Rotorua offers a bar, three dining options, and a heated outdoor pool. The modern-style rooms are equipped with baths or showers, hairdryers, ironing facilities, TVs, mini-fridges, tea/coffee-making amenities, safes, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier
The hotel features a bar and a main restaurant. Its 109 spacious, contemporary rooms come complete with bath/shower facilities, hairdryers, ironing boards, minibars (with local charges), flat-screen TVs, tea/coffee makers, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington
The hotel offers a ground floor café for light meals and a 17th-floor restaurant with buffet and a la carte options. Its 268 rooms include bath/shower facilities, hairdryers, ironing boards, minibars (with local charges), TVs, tea/coffee makers, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Rutherford Hotel, Nelson
The hotel offers a restaurant, evening bar, and Atom Café for tea and cake. It includes a gym, sauna, and an unheated outdoor pool from October to March. The 113 comfortable rooms have baths or showers, TVs, mini fridges, tea/coffee facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a safety deposit box at reception.
Distinction Christchurch, Christchurch
The hotel provides a restaurant, bar, and 179 rooms equipped with baths or showers, hairdryers, fridges, minibars (additional charge), ironing boards, TVs, tea/coffee makers, safes, and free Wi-Fi.
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier, Franz Josef
The four-star Scenic hotel features two restaurants, including one offering à la carte dining, along with a welcoming bar adorned with a fireplace. Its 177 comfortable rooms include showers, hairdryers, fridges, TVs, tea/coffee makers, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Te Anau
The hotel boasts a well-liked bar, two restaurants, and a fitness room among its amenities. Its 180 rooms feature bath/shower facilities, hairdryers, fridges, ironing boards, TVs, and tea/coffee makers, with air conditioning and laundry service available, all complemented by a 24-hour front desk.
Heritage Gateway Hotel, Omarama
The hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, restaurant with outdoor seating, bar, garden, and laundry service. The 98 rooms, spread across low-rise buildings, feature bath/shower facilities, hairdryers, fridges, ironing boards, TVs, tea/coffee makers, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Copthorne Hotel and Resort Lakefront, Queenstown
The hotel features a 24-hour front desk, a spacious lobby area with a popular bar, and a sixth-floor restaurant boasting scenic mountain and lake views. Its 240 rooms come with bath/shower facilities, hairdryers, minibars, ironing boards, TVs, tea/coffee makers, and views of the town, garden, or partial lake. Air conditioning and laundry service are available, and complimentary tea and coffee are provided. While Wi-Fi is free in the lobby, it is an additional charge in the rooms.
*All transfer times are approximate and dependent on traffic
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