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AUCKLAND AND QUEENSTOWN

Tour Code : ITTNZ-22, Duration : 16 Days

Highlights Itinerary at a Glance
- Auckland
- Coromandel Peninsula
- Fascinating old goldmine town of Thames
- Leisurely walk through beautiful regenerating Kauri forest
- Walk up onto the old Maori fortification
- Bay of Plenty
- New Zealand's "Mural town", Katikati
- Travel over the Kaimai ranges to the Waikato region
- Tongariro National Park with its magnificent 10,000ft high volcanoes
- Thermal wonderland of Rotorua
- Huka Falls
- Waimungu Valley with the largest thermal lake in the world
- Christchurch the oldest officially established city in New Zealand
- Arthur's Pass National Park
- Hokitika, once the capital of Westland
- Franz Josef Glacier
- Lake Moeraki
- Queenstown
- Milford Sound through the Fiordland National Park
Day 1 : Auckland
Day 2 : Coromandel
Day 3 : Bay of Plenty - Tongariro
Day 4 : Taupo - Rotorua
Day 5 : Rotorua, Geysers
Day 6 : Rotorua - Christchurch
Day 7,8 : Christchurch
Day 9 : High country
Day 10 : Arthur's Pass - Hokitika
Day 11 : Franz Josef Glacier - Fox Glacier
Day 12 : Lake Moeraki
Day 13 : Wanaka - Queenstown
Day 14 : Queenstown
Day 15 : Queenstown - Milford Sound
Day 16 : Queenstown

Detailed Itinerary
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Day 1 : Auckland - Coromandel Peninsula, arrival, greeting and orientation
Coromandel Peninsula
Your nature-loving guide from the world famous company, Kiwi Dundee Adventures, meets you in Auckland. We escape from Auckland City in the air-conditioned luxury of Kiwi Dundee Adventures mini coach, travelling south through picturesque farmland and along the seabird coast to the beautiful, historic Coromandel Peninsula. You will enjoy a visit to the fascinating old goldmine town of Thames with its buildings and churches dating from the 1800's. After a delightful lunch we will travel up the Thames coast, lined with ancient Pohutukawa, New Zealand's Christmas tree, to visit a giant Kauri tree, over 30ft round, set amongst the world's largest ferns and semi tropical rainforest. We then travel over mountains, clad with dense rainforest, to the Pacific coast of the Peninsula with its many offshore islands. A short journey to a quiet coastal town takes you to your accommodation for the next two nights. (MT, L, AT, D)
Read more about Auckland
Day 2 : On the Coromandel - Glowworms, giant ferns, white sand beaches & fun
Highlights of your day will be a leisurely walk through beautiful regenerating Kauri forest full of fern trees, along the old tracks of Puketui, the 1890's gold mining town. See glowworms in an historic old gold cave. Learn about the flora and fauna of this magic area. Lunch will be at a delightful cafe, or a delicious picnic with a chance to view your guide's spectacular collection of quartz, obsidian, minerals, old photos of the Coromandel and beautiful rocks full of gold. From the panorama of mountains and forest, travel to the contrasting coastal scenery with beautiful beaches, off-shore islands and magnificent cliffs decorated with ancient Pohutukawa trees. Visit Hotwater beach (tide permitting) where you can dabble your feet in the natural hot-springs on the beach. Walk up onto the old Maori fortification to enjoy the spectacular panorama. This day includes many of the "highlights" of the Coromandel Peninsula. (B,MT,L,AT,D)

Day 3 : Coromandel - Bay of Plenty - Tongariro, A day of variety
This day is an ever-changing panorama of forests, mountains, beaches and islands until we leave the Coromandel behind and enter the Bay of Plenty, home to plantations of kiwi fruit, citrus, avocados, flowers and deer farms to name a few. Stop at New Zealand's "Mural town", Katikati, with its open-air art on the history of the area. Continue south to visit a private working orchard, growing Kiwi fruit, avocados and export flowers. Travel over the Kaimai ranges to the Waikato region famous for it's dairy and horse breeding farms, along the western side of Lake Taupo before entering the Tongariro National Park with its magnificent 10,000ft high volcanoes standing proud and impressive. Your accommodation tonight is "The Chateau", situated at the base of Ruapehu Mountain. This amazing region is such a contrast from anything else in New Zealand. Alpine flowers and tussock, waterfalls and beech forest in summer, and ski fields in winter. (B,MT,L,AT,D)

Day 4 : Tongariro - Taupo - Rotorua, Volcanoes, forests, lakes and waterfalls
Tongariro National ParkYour Kiwi Dundee guide will be available for a drive up the mountain and alpine walk, or we can arrange a scenic flight over the crater lake and volcanoes. (Cost not included in itinerary). After lunch at The Chateau, enjoy a leisurely walk through rainforest to a beautiful lake before we depart this fascinating region for the thermal wonderland of Rotorua. Travel beside Lake Taupo stopping to view the famous Huka Falls enjoying spectacular photo stops during the afternoon. The luxury Lodge we have arranged for the next two nights is a favourite - set beside Lake Rotorua in one acre of mature gardens with panoramic views. A gourmet dinner and full lodge breakfast is included. (B, MT, L, AT, D)

Day 5 : Rotorua, Geysers, boiling lakes and mudpools
Today we will tour the highlights of this thermal wonderland including a walk in the Waimungu Valley with the largest thermal lake in the world, bubbling mud pools, the Blue and Green Lakes and Lake Tarawera which last erupted in 1886. Rotorua is the home of our Maori culture and history. We can visit the Maori arts and crafts centre as part of the day. Your Kiwi Dundee Adventure guide will bid you a sad farewell at the conclusion of the day. (B, MT, L, AT, D)
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Day 6 :Rotorua - Christchurch
A free morning to explore Rotorua before flying south to the garden city of Christchurch. After transferring to your Christchurch accommodation, you can enjoy the ambience of this very "English" city. (B)
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Day 7 : Christchurch - A day at leisure in the Garden City
Today is a day on your own to explore this city which is sometimes said to be "more English than England". Founded by English settlers in 1850, Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter in 1856 which makes it the oldest officially established city in New Zealand. The peace. The open spaces. The lush colours and rich textures of a city, where a leisurely pace still prevails, never fail to capture the imagination. Located on the east coast of the South Island, Christchurch - just like the rest of New Zealand - is a city of contrasts. A place where residents continue to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle amidst a natural environment. Officially known as the "Garden City", Christchurch has over 3,000 hectares of parklands which include Hagley Park and the famous Botanic Gardens. Located next to these gardens is the Christchurch Arts Centre which is the hub of Christchurch art and the headquarters of many art, craft, recreation associations and groups. Christchurch is perfect for exploring on foot because it is attractive, fascinating - and flat! The central city is a particularly dynamic place, offering numerous opportunities to shop, sightsee and socialise. And it's surprisingly easy to get about. You can hop aboard one of the beautifully restored vintage trams, hire a bicycle, enjoy a punt on the Avon river or simply stroll about on foot. (B)

Day 8 : Christchurch - Arthur's Pass , Christchurch, plains & alps
Kaikoura RangeYour personal guide will meet you and take you through the "Garden City" and up onto the Port Hills, the flanks of one of the ancient extinct volcanoes that form the Banks Peninsula. From the hills there are spectacular views of the city and the Kaikoura Range can be seen far to the north, while the Pacific Ocean sparkles to the east. To the south and west the vast Canterbury Plains stretch to the horizon and in the distance, the Southern Alps beckon you to discover them. This is an opportunity to talk about where we are going and what we will see on the tour.

Having orientated ourselves in Christchurch, we then escape the city and start our journey west across the Canterbury Plains. As the distant mountains become closer, we wonder like the Maori and the early settlers before us how we shall find a way through. Crossing Porter's Pass, a dramatic landscape change occurs as we enter the highcountry, a high tussock grass basin bounded by the Torlesse Mountains to the east and the Craigieburn Mountains to the west. Travelling through this region we pass glacial formed lakes, the limestone formations of Castle Hill which dominate the landscape and the wide expanse of the Waimakariri River. (B,MT,L,AT,D)

Day 9 : A day in the mountains - High country, sheep, valleys & keas
This is a day to discover the real high country - a day where you can explore and learn about the alpine landscape and plants, the animals and take in the spectacular Southern Alps. A tour of the high country sheep farm which is part of the lodge will enable you to visit the woolshed and see a sheepdog demonstration. From the lodge we will head into the heart of the Southern Alps - Arthur's Pass National Park which has an incredible diversity of flora and landscape. They range from the eastern beech clad hills and tussock grass valleys to the luxuriant rain forest in the west. From the lodge, we will again travel on New Zealand's trans-alpine highway and head into Arthur's Pass National Park where we will take walks to see waterfalls, learn about the forests and alpine plants of this area and experience the alpine landscape. Your guide will tell you of the history of Arthur's Pass as you explore the glacial landscape and learn about the features that the Ice Age left behind. Seek out and hopefully find a unique South Island personality who is mischievous, inquisitive, comical and rowdy; the cheeky kea - the world's only alpine parrot. You may have to defend your mini coach as they have been known to try and remove aerials and door trims with their beaks! For those who might be escaping from a busy lifestyle and are seeking some quiet relaxation at the beginning of their tour, the lodge is just the place to relax in the lounge and gaze at the surrounding peaks and perhaps take a short nature walk. Discover the real high country - a day where you can explore and discover the alpine plants and animals and take in the spectacular Southern Alps. Experience the workings of a high country sheep farm and help with day to day activities such as feeding out, mustering or working with dogs. Walking, canoeing and mountain bike riding are available or perhaps just relax in the lounge and gaze at the surrounding peaks. (B, MT, L, AT, D)

Day 10 : Arthur's Pass - Hokitika - Franz Josef Glacier, Mountains, pioneers, greenstone and ice
After breakfast we will travel through the Arthur's Pass National Park and depart Canterbury province for Westland ("The West Coast"). Originally used by the Maori to move greenstone from the west coast and later as a link to the gold rush fields, this route will reveal great mountain valleys and we will marvel at the road as it winds it's way down the spectacular Otira Gorge - a geographer' dream. We follow rivers that flow to the West Coast and observe the changes to the rainforest and the many varieties of ferns that contribute to their character. Travel on a backcountry road, walk through old gold miners' tunnels and marvel at the tenacity of the miners in their quest for gold. Visit Hokitika, once the capitol of Westland, a roaring gold mining town and also a place where the Maori sought their treasured greenstone (jade). Greenstone is a feature in the town's bustling centre of art and craft shops. As we journey south we will be able to visit the Bushman's Centre where we can meet some "coasters" in a village with a population of 2! Heading farther south see the West Coast bush and further evidence of the last Ice Age in the kettle lakes created by the melting ice sheets. We then arrive at Franz Josef for our overnight stay and view the Franz Josef Glacier pushing into rainforest - truly incredible! (B, MT, L, AT, D)

Day 11 : Franz Josef Glacier - Fox Glacier - Lake Moeraki, Geology, Ice Age and podocarps
Franz Josef GlacierDepart Franz Josef Glacier for a dramatic drive through the glaciated landscape to Fox Glacier. Here you can enjoy a highlight of the tour, a hike with an alpine guide up on to the ice. For this experience, you are provided with the necessary equipment and instruction. For those who would like something a little more passive, alternative walks are available to the terminal face of the Fox Glacier or to a glacier viewpoint to witness the glacier's descent down the mountain into the rainforest. An exciting helicopter ride to view the Southern Alps with a snow landing on the upper reaches of the glacier is also available. (Please note that the optional helicopter trips are not included in the tour cost and are subject to the weather). After lunch, a beautiful and tranquil walk can be taken around the edge of Lake Matheson. It is here that incredible reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman towering on the horizon above the lake can often be seen. Alternatively, a drive through the lush rainforest to a remote beach on the Tasman Sea for views of the alps and where we can look for the rare Hectors Dolphins. From Fox Glacier, travel south to the Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki, set in the heart of Te Wahi Pounamu - the South West New Zealand World heritage area. This lodge is a Tourism Award Winner providing a first class wilderness experience. (B, MT, L, AT, D)

Day 12 : Lake Moeraki , Wilderness, wildlife and rain forests
Another opportunity to spend a day at a Wilderness Lodge with its own special attractions. Untouched lowland rain forests spread between pristine lakes and rivers which drain the snow capped Southern Alps. Few places on earth can match the unique natural setting of Lake Moeraki in the heart of the 2.7 million hectare Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area. This special place is home to breeding colonies of the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin (seasonal), a seal colony, the world's smallest dolphin, the Hectors Dolphins and numerous native birds. Lake Moeraki is a nature lover's paradise. Visits can be made to spectacular beaches that are home to crested penguins (seasonal) and fur seals that were hunted in the nineteenth century. Activities include guided walks to get close to the wildlife, learning about the forest and experiencing amazing scenery. If you prefer to have a restful day then you can take a canoe out on the tranquil lake or just relax in the lodge. (B, MT, L, AT, D)

Day 13 : Lake Moeraki - Wanaka - Queenstown, Estuaries, explorers, tussocks and gold
From Moeraki we travel to nearby Ship Creek. From a viewing tower on the beach there is a good chance of seeing the rare Hectors Dolphin playing beyond the surf. We walk through a primeval swamp forest to see ancient "dinosaur" trees, view a coastal lagoon and fossick for greenstone on the remote beach. After a little while the road turns east, following the Haast Highway. We can now observe how the landscape again changes dramatically as the road climbs over the Haast Pass from the dense rain forest of the West Coast to the drier tussock lands of Otago. On the way, there are short walks to see waterfalls and if there has been recent rainfall, the Haast River passing through the gorge known as the Gates of Haast can be truly spectacular. A while after the Haast Pass the road skirts first along the banks of the headwaters of Lake Wanaka and then making a slight turn and rising over a ridge, Lake Wanaka is left behind and Lake Hawea is before us. The road follows the shoreline of this lake and then we reach Wanaka. This is a quiet mountain resort on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka. From Wanaka, we head over the rugged and remote Crown Range, the site of gold diggings in the 1860's. We arrive in Arrowtown and visit the old Chinese gold miners' settlement and view this quaint old village tied into the history of gold. It is then a short drive to your Queenstown accommodation. (B, MT, L, AT, D)

Day 14 : Queenstown, Adventure and relaxing in the mountains
Steamship EarnslawA "free" day for you to experience and enjoy some of the many activities which Queenstown has to offer. Your guide is available to transfer you to the venues and activities in the Queenstown area of your choice. You might like to enjoy a relaxing cruise on the old steamship Earnslaw, the lady of the lake. For those wanting more excitement, try an exhilarating jetboat trip through the Shotover Canyon. Another New Zealand experience is a bungy jump at the Kawarau Bridge, the first bungy jumping site in the world. There are wineries to visit and also an art and craft trail around the district to visit some of the many artists and craft studios. Golf and horse trekking are other possibilities available in Queenstown. For some this is an ideal opportunity to do some shopping. A ride up the gondola offers spectacular views across to the mountains known as the Remarkables. For those who wish to hike, a climb up Queenstown Hill offers spectacular views or perhaps a walk around a remote and beautiful glacial lake. Your guide will be available to advise and assist with transfers as required. (B, MT, AT, D)
Read more about Queenstown
Day 15 : Queenstown - Milford Sound Excursion, Milford Sound, glacial lakes, alps & fiords
The road to Milford through the Fiordland National Park is absolutely breathtaking with sheer U shaped glaciated valleys and waterfalls everywhere. The rain forests are Jurrasic Park and the Homer Tunnel, entry to the Cleddau valley and Milford Sound is tribute to the engineers' skills in the 1930's. Explore the fiord on a cruise before heading back to Queenstown. Catch a glimpse of the extremely rare Takahe, a flightless bird at a sanctuary at Te Anau and we can take short walks to see waterfalls, alpine views and lakes. Optionals (not included in tour cost) for to the day are a return flight from Milford to Queenstown by plane or perhaps a private helicopter charter which can include a snow landing in the mountains. (B, MT, L, AT, D)

Day 16 : Queenstown & Farewell
After breakfast, perhaps relax and indulge in the odd bit of pampering with some of the many health and beauty facilities. A range of products designed to revitalise and relax weary bodies are available and we all need a little care and attention sometime! Time for that last minute shopping or to experience that last piece of adventure before it is time for your guide to bid you farewell. Your guide will transfer you to the airport, car rental office or coach depot, as required. (B)
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