Sensational South

A plethora of natural wonders and iconic landscapes await when you embark on a journey through New Zealand’s South Island. Join a local expert as they share with you the wonder of Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s longest glacier, before embarking on a scenic journey through the forests, flats and meadows of Fiordland National Park and out to the unmissable Milford Sound. Indulge in the culinary and cultural delights of the South as you enjoy a Be My Guest lunch at Morelea.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Welcome to Wellington

Welcome to Wellington, New Zealand’s Capital City. Flights can arrive any time prior to 4.00pm and you will be transferred from the airport to your Wellington hotel. This evening, meet your fellow travellers and your AAT Kings Travel Director at a welcome reception at your hotel.

Hotel: Novotel Wellington Hotel, 2 nights

Day 2: Wellington

This morning you will head out with a local specialist on a walking tour of quirky cultural capital of Wellington. You’ll discover an in-depth guide to Wellington’s culture and the vibrant food and drink scene. This afternoon, you’ll have free time to explore Wellington on your own.

Day 3: Wellington – Marlborough

This morning, you will board the Interislander for a cruise across the Cook Strait, from the North Island to the South. Surprisingly it takes longer to cruise up the Tory Channel and Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton than it does to cross the open ocean of Cook Strait. You will meander through a maze of arms and inlets into the sleepy seaside village of Picton. Later it’s onto Blenheim for an orientation tour before heading to your accommodation. Later we visit one of the regions famous wineries, Hans Herzog Estate for a 3-course dinner with wine matching. (winery may change).

Hotel: Scenic Hotel Marlborough, 2 nights

Day 4: Marlborough ‘Day at leisure’

Today explore the Marlborough region your way. You could choose to indulge in a half day winery tour of the best wineries in the region or embark on a Marlborough Icons tour, Indulge in Marlborough sauvignon blanc, the Marlborough Sounds and fresh local seafood. Your Travel Director can assist with booking your chosen excursion. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Day 5: Marlborough – Christchurch

Travel to Kaikoura, where Sperm Whales can often be seen not far from shore (an optional whale-watching flight is available). Travel along the Pacific Ocean coast and across the colourful Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. Upon arrival see how Christchurch is rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, and pop into the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square, the temporary home of the Christchurch Cathedral. It is the world’s only cathedral made substantially of cardboard and has to be seen to be believed. Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Christchurch’s inner city.

Hotel: Novotel Christchurch

Day 6: Christchurch – Mt Cook

Today is another day to get some warm kiwi hospitality at Morelea, the home of Angie and Stan Taylor, indulge in a Be My Guest barbecue lunch and hear about a lifetime spent farming in New Zealand. The famous Pavlova 50 dessert will also be on offer and you’ll also get to witness how this is made by Angie. From here it’s on towards the spectacular scenery of the Southern Alps and then along the shores of majestic Lake Pukaki, before arriving in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Mt. Cook, the mountain that helped Sir Edmund Hillary hone his skills in preparation for his conquest of Everest. Tonight, enjoy dinner with a breathtaking mountain view.

Hotel: The Hermitage Hotel, 2 nights

Day 7: Mt Cook

First up you’ll get to experience the Tasman Glacier – New Zealand’s largest glacier by boat. After a half hour walk to the terminal lake of the Tasman Glacier, explore the melting ice face of the Tasman Glacier and icebergs that have carved into its murky waters. The lake feels eerie and magical as the boat cruises slowly for one hour, from one point of interest to the next whilst the guide shares the history of the glacier, lake and Mount Cook National Park, allowing you to build your own picture to the unique nature of the area. All this plus an awesome backdrop of New Zealand’s highest and most spectacular mountains, including Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. Later you will have time to enjoy your surroundings back at the Hermitage, before you spend the night star gazing. (optional experience).

Day 8: Mt Cook – Te Anau

Today is another scenic day where you will travel over the Lindis Pass through Central Otago. You’ll get to visit Cromwell, situated next to the sparkling pristine waters of Lake Dunstan, where you will stop in at a local orchard for a taste of some of the town’s delicious stone fruit. On the way into Queenstown, you will stop and visit the perfectly restored gold mining settlement of Arrowtown. As you amble down the beautiful tree-lined avenues, past the 19th century wooden buildings, you will feel like you have stepped into a movie set. After, make your way to Fiordland National Park to the South Island’s biggest lake and the town of Te Anau. This afternoon, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of jet boating down the majestic trout filled Waiau River, to the serene Lake Manapouri, step foot into ancient beach forests and learn all about this unique location among Fiordland National Park. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Hotel: Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas

Day 9: Te Anau – Milford Sound – Queenstown

After leaving Te Anau, you will journey through the Fiordland National Park and out to Milford Sound on one of the most scenic roads you could hope for. Travel through native rainforests, beech forests, alluvial flats and meadows. You will stop at Mirror Lakes where, as the name suggests, you can see the stunning mountain scenery perfectly reflected in the waters of the lakes. Then on to the Homer Tunnel, man’s attempt to master the sheer rocky ranges, still left rough-hewn around the edges. As you emerge out the other side of the tunnel, you are presented with one of the world’s most dramatic alpine drives, down through the Cleddau Valley. You will have a stop at the Chasm, where the roaring Cleddau River has carved its way through solid rock, and then it’s on to South Island’s unmissable Milford Sound, where you will cruise the waters of this natural wonder. Your cruise meanders down the sound, taking in the Bowen and Stirling Falls as they plummet from glacial hanging valleys sharply into the sea, and the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak, rising from the deep waters of the fiord. After this unforgettable experience, you will travel on to the beautiful sights of the adventure capital, Queenstown. An orientation tour around the shores of Lake Wakatipu, takes you into the city centre before arriving at your hotel.

Hotel: Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, 2 nights

Day 10: Queenstown Included Choice

Today choose from a range of optional sightseeing experiences. You could ride the world famous’ Shotover Jet or enjoy a cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue lunch at the Colonel’s Homestead. This evening, join your Travel Director for dinner at Queenstown’s Boatshed. Set in the restored historic Railway Shipping Office and relocated to its lakefront setting in 1936, The Boatshed with its spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables, it is the perfect venue for your exclusive farewell dinner with wine.

Day 11: Farewell Queenstown

Say farewell to your fellow travellers when your holiday comes to an end this morning after breakfast. Throughout today you will be transferred Queenstown Airport for your onward flight.

2021 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
January: 09, 23$5,425.00$7,025.00
February: 06, 20$5,425.00$7,025.00
March: 06$5,425.00$7,025.00
October: 23$5,460.00$7,060.00
November: 06$5,460.00$7,060.00
December: 11$5,460.00$7,060.00
2022 Dates & Prices
January: 08, 22$5,460.00$7,060.00
February: 05$5,460.00$7,060.00
March: 05$5,460.00$7,060.00
Inclusions 
Meals: 10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 6 dinners
Transport:Airport Transfers & Travel by luxury coach
Accommodation: 10 nights accommodation
Guide: Experienced Travel Director & Driver Guide
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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New Zealand Uncovered

Discover the sights of New Zealand in this epic 17 Day Guided Holiday and experience the contrasts of both the North and South Islands. Enjoy a local connection in picturesque Hinuera Valley, journey through farmland to the turquoise torrent known as Huka Falls and immerse yourself in New Zealand’s Maori culture at Tamaki Maori Village. Each destination offers something unique and charming.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Welcome to Auckland

Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s City of Sails. Flights can arrive any time prior to 4.00pm and you will be transferred from the airport to your Auckland hotel in your private car. Tonight, enjoy a welcome reception and dinner at your hotel.

Hotel: The Cordis, 2 nights

Day 2: Auckland

Enjoy a relaxed start to the day before heading to the New Zealand Maritime Museum for an exclusive America’s Cup tour. Afterwards, enjoy an extended city sights tour of Auckland. Travel around Auckland’s waterfront from central city out to Mission Bay. Prepare your camera for the stop at Bastion Point and the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, as you will get stunning shots of Auckland, the North Shore and the Waitemata. This afternoon is at leisure.

Day 3: Auckland – Tauranga

You’re invited to a Be My Guest lunch at the home of Lance and Bridgette O’Sullivan, New Zealand horse racing royalty. Enjoy a sumptuous country-style lunch at the Red Barn on their beautiful Waikato farm. Later, travel to the harbourside city of Tauranga, located in the Bay of Plenty region. A bridge over the harbour connects Tauranga to Mount Maunganui, where you’ll have an afternoon at leisure. Why not walk up the extinct namesake volcano with winding walking paths or relax on the main beach, this glorious stretch of golden sand has been voted the best in the country. Later, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Hotel: Trinity Wharf Tauranga

Day 4: Tauranga – Rotorua

This morning we travel through Te Puke known as the kiwifruit capital of New Zealand with around 80% of all kiwifruit grown in New Zealand grown here. You’ll stop at Kiwifruit Country, a family owned business that is set amongst a 60-hectare orchard. Later, its onto Rotorua for an orientation tour that takes in views of Lake Rotorua. This afternoon visit Te Puia and tour through the Whakawerawera Thermal Reserve. Tonight, an evening of culture, history and scrumptious food awaits you at the Tamaki Maori Village. Wander through the ancient forest village and learn about Maori art forms and traditions, followed by a cultural preformance. Experience an authentic Maori Hangi meal, steamed underground in the traditional way.

Hotel: Millennium Hotel, Rotorua, 2 nights

Day 5: Rotorua Included Choice

Today choose from a range of Optional sightseeing experiences. You could take a fascinating guided tour through the long galleries and lofty chambers of the world-famous Waitomo Glow worm Caves. Or explore Rotorua and its three lakes in an amphibious WWII era Duck. Your Travel Director will assist you in booking all your chosen optional experiences.

Day 6: Rotorua – Wellington

Say Haere Ra (goodbye) to Rotorua this morning and journey out through pine forests and farmland to a little hidden spot, the turquoise torrent of rapids known as Huka Falls. The road ahead unfolds in a broad panorama of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. The stunningly blue fresh water of Lake Taupo is home to some of the best Trout fishing in the world. You will then journey south over the Central Plateau, New Zealand’s main volcanic area, and along the Kapiti Coast to New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. Tonight, you are free to dine as you wish.

Hotel: James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor

Day 7: Wellington – Blenheim

Why not discover more of Wellington this morning? There’s time to visit the Parliament buildings and the Beehive, home to New Zealand’s politicians. Later, you’ll visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand and explore the fascinating exhibits at your leisure, including their unique Marae (Meeting House). This afternoon, we cruise the Cook Strait into tranquil Queen Charlotte Sound. The village of Picton is next, then it’s on to Blenheim for a city sightseeing tour. Tonight, enjoy a 3-course ‘highlight dinner’ prepared from local produce and matched with wines of the Marlborough region.

Hotel: Chateau Marlborough

Day 8: Blenheim – Christchurch

Travel to Kaikoura, where Sperm Whales can often be seen not far from shore (an optional whale-watching flight is available). Travel along the Pacific Ocean coast and across the colourful Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Christchurch’s inner city.

Hotel: Distinction Christchurch Hotel

Day 9: Christchurch – Twizel

First up this morning you will get to partake in our Sustainable Tourism Commitment by planting a New Zealand native tree in the Port Hills of Christchurch. The Port Hills of Christchurch were hit with two separate wildfires on the 13th of February 2017 damaging a total of 5130 acres of land. Next, travel over the patchwork countryside of the Canterbury Plains to soak up some spectacular sightseeing. Visit Morelea, the home of Angie and Stan Taylor, for a be my guest afternoon tea and hear about a lifetime spent farming in New Zealand. Later, view the little stone-hewn Church of the Good Shepherd, and the bronze statue of a collie dog, the touching tribute to the sheepdogs which helped develop the Mackenzie Country. Your day finishes in the heart of the Mackenzie Country in Twizel. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Hotel: MacKenzie Country Hotel

Day 10: Twizel – Dunedin Included Choice

Your day starts with a journey along the Waitaki River, which marks the boundary between the regions of Canterbury and Otago, and with its large catchment it is an ideal source of hydro-electric power. The Benmore Dam holds back New Zealand’s largest artificial lake, and when the Benmore Power Station was opened in 1965 it was the largest power station in New Zealand. Even today, it is still the second largest, and generates 21 enough electricity each year for about 298,000 average New Zealand homes. From the Waitaki Valley you will then travel through to the township of Oamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and its famous white limestone buildings. As well as shipping limestone to the bigger cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin for construction of their Town Halls and various churches, Oamaru locals made sure that their own town represented the best in limestone building the mid-late 1800’s had to offer. This afternoon you will make your way down to the Southernmost New Zealand city, Dunedin. With the rest of your free afternoon you may wish to see more of the region with an Optional Experience. Perhaps take a Wildlife Cruise out to Otago Peninsula, visit the Speights Brewery – a New Zealand institution or ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Hotel: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross

Day 11: Dunedin – Te Anau

This morning you have some free time in Dunedin. You may want to journey out to the gorgeous Larnach Castle – New Zealand’s only castle. Or you may just wish to roam around the beautiful grounds of New Zealand’s first university, Otago University. Dunedin, also known as the Edinburgh of the South, has strong connections to its northern hemisphere sister city, even down to sharing many of the same street names – so take a wander down George Street, noting Dunedin’s Scottish ancestry. This afternoon travel through lush green pastures, crossing sheep-filled farming land. New Zealand is internationally known for its sheep farming, and these are sights many visitors to this country recognise as typically ‘New Zealand’. You are sure to find the perfect sheep photo here! As your journey continues, the rolling, grassy hills once again turn back into heavily forested, rugged mountains, and you meander your way up into the Fiordland National Park to the South Island’s largest lake and the town of Te Anau. This evening you have the opportunity to head out across the lake to the Glow Worm Caves for a tour (optional – at own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Hotel: Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas

Day 12: Te Anau -Queenstown

Today is one of those days where you will want to have your camera battery charged, and ready to go! After leaving Te Anau, you will journey through the Fiordland National Park and out to Milford Sound on one of the most scenic roads you could hope for. Travel through native rainforests, beech forests, alluvial flats and meadows. You will stop at Mirror Lakes where, as the name suggests, you can see the stunning mountain scenery perfectly reflected in the waters of the lakes. Then on to the Homer Tunnel, man’s attempt to master the sheer rocky ranges, still left rough-hewn around the edges. As you emerge out the other side of the tunnel, you are presented with one of the world’s most dramatic alpine drives, down through the Cleddau Valley. You will have a stop at the Chasm, where the roaring Cleddau River has carved its way through solid rock, and then it’s on to Milford Sound, where you will cruise the waters of this natural wonder. Your cruise meanders down the sound, taking in the Bowen and Stirling Falls as they plummet from glacial hanging valleys sharply into the sea, and the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak, rising from the deep waters of the fiord. From the spectacular scenes of Milford Sound, you will travel on to the beautiful sights of Queenstown. An orientation tour skirting around the shores of Lake Wakatipu, takes you into the city centre.

Hotel: Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, 2 nights

Day 13: Queenstown Included Choice

Explore Queenstown your way, choose from a range of optional sightseeing experiences. You could choose to ride the Shotover Jet, take a gondola to Bob’s Peak. Perhaps take a minibus tour through spectacular Skippers Canyon or immerse yourself among the boutique vineyards and spectacular scenery of Central Otago on a Boutique Wine tour. After a day of activity, enjoy a peaceful evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue highlight dinner at the Colonel’s Homestead. Then enjoy an entertaining after-dinner farm show providing a glimpse into high-country farm life. On the cruise back to Queenstown, join a sing-along or a dance across the polished wooden floors of the Earnslaw.

Day 14: Queenstown – Franz Josef

This morning you will leave the alpine wonderland of Queenstown behind, and begin the passage through Central Otago and out to Westland. On the way out of the Queenstown region, you will stop and visit the faithfully restored gold mining settlement of Arrowtown. As you amble down the beautiful tree-lined avenues, past the 19th century wooden buildings, you will feel like you have stepped into a movie set. From here you will travel over to Cromwell, situated next to the sparkling pristine waters of Lake Dunstan, where you will stop in at a local orchard for a taste of some of the town’s delicious stone fruit. It is a day of gorgeous lakes, as after Dunstan, you will travel further into Central Otago and view the vivid blue waters of Lake Hawea, followed by Lake Wanaka, where the shoreline is charmingly lined by poplars and willows. Following an ancient greenstone trail, you will travel over Haast Pass, marking a change from the alpine scenery of the Southern Lakes, to the rainforest marvel of the wild West Coast. View the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls and the grand sight of Mt Hooker, flanked on three sides by extensive glaciers. Our final destination for today is the extraordinary rivers of ice that make up Franz Josef Glacier. You may want to get up close and personal with the glaciers on a helicopter flight. Your flight will hover over the snow face and may land high up in the valley so that you can walk across the ice fall – subject to weather conditions (Optional Experience, own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner with wine at your hotel.

Hotel: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (Douglas Wing)

Day 15: Franz Josef – Punakaiki

If weather conditions are unfavourable on Day 12, you will get another chance to fly up to the glaciers this morning or you might want to take a stroll through the small but lively Franz Josef village. Then it’s time for an exhilarating adventure among temperate rainforest giants on the West Coast Treetop Walkway, followed by a visit to Hokitika, home of the native greenstone (jade) for a factory visit and jewellery demonstration. Later, travel to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. You’ll spend the night in an eco-friendly resort, right on the waterfront. This evening enjoy dinner with wine at your hotel, while watching the surf thundering at your doorstep!

Hotel: Punakaiki Resort

Day 16: Punakaiki – Christchurch

Enjoy a leisurely start this morning before you travel to Greymouth, here you will join a brewery experience at Monteith’s Brewery where you will be guided through the traditions and heritage of this national icon. You will get to experience and taste ever changing and innovative brews before enjoying a pub style lunch. Later you will board the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch city. This spectacular train journey dates back to 1914 and is rated as one of the world’s most scenic train trips. The train forges through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys. This evening join your AAT Kings Travel Director and Driver, and your new-found friends for a farewell dinner with wine.

Hotel: Distinction Christchurch Hotel

Day 17: Farewell from Christchurch

Your AAT Kings New Zealand holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. Your flights can depart any time today, and you will be transferred by private car to Christchurch Airport.

2021 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
January: 05, 12, 19, 26 $8,295.00$11,045.00
February: 02, 09, 16, 23$8,295.00$11,045.00
March: 02, 09, 16, 23, 30$8,295.00$11,045.00
April: 06, 13, 20, 27$7,305.00$9,925.00
June: 08, 29$7,305.00$9,925.00
September: 07, 14, 21$7,305.00$9,925.00
October: 05, 12, 19, 26$8,205.00$10,955.00
November: 02, 09, 16, 23, 30$8,205.00$10,955.00
December: 07, 14, 21, 28$8,205.00$10,955.00
2022 Dates & Prices
January: 04, 11, 18, 25$8,205.00$10,955.00
February: 01, 08, 15, 22$8,205.00$10,955.00
March: 08, 15, 22, 29$8,205.00$10,955.00
Inclusions 
Meals: 16 breakfasts, 2 lunch, 1 afternoon tea, 11 dinners
Transport: Airport Transfers & Travel by luxury coach
Rail: Journey over the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine Train
Accommodation: 16 nights accommodation
Guide:Experienced Travel Director & Driver Guide
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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