The Ultimate Explorer

Resort: The Ultimate Explorer
Operator: First Class Holidays
Destination: New Zealand
Price From: Contact for latest offers


Experience the stunning majesty of Mount Cook, the icy blue of the Fox Glacier and the unbelievable scenery of the Fiordland National Park and alpine Queenstown on the shores Lake Wakatipu. Explore New Zealands oldest city, Dunedin, visit historic Larnach Castle and explore the Otago; cross the Alps on one of the worlds most scenic rail journeys, the TranzAlpine, and cruise the Cook Strait to the capital city of Wellington. Experience the geothermal mystique of Rotorua, the tropical beauty of the Bay of Islands and the delights of Auckland, the City of Sails.


Day 1 – Arrive Christchurch

On arrival into Christchurch you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This evening meet your travelling companions over a complimentary pre-dinner drink. (D)

Hotel:The George

Day 2 – Christchurch – Mount Cook

After an introductory city sights tour depart Christchurch and travel through the southern Canterbury Plains to Lake Tekapo. On the shores of the lake youll see the beautiful Church of the Good Shepherd, where the altar window frames a perfect view of the Southern Alps beyond the lake. The church was built in 1935 for the pioneer families of the Mackenzie district, and its a popular photo spot for visitors, so popular in fact, that it is one of the most photographed places in New Zealand! Make sure to see the Sheep Dog Statue. Marvel at thespectacular mountain ranges including Mount Cook, New Zealands highest peak. The opportunity is available to enjoy a scenic flight (optional, weather permitting) over the Southern Alps.

Hotel:The Hermitage Hotel

Day 3 – Mount Cook – Dunedin

Depart Mt Cook and see Lake Benmore before following the Waitaki River to Oamaru, famous for its limestone. Explore the Victorian Precinct including the Loan and Merc restaurant, the Woolstore complex, auto museum, galleries and the penny farthing shop. Continue south to Dunedin and enjoy an informative city tour followed by some free time to explore at leisure. You may be interested in a tour of the Speights Brewery (optional).

Hotel:Distinction Dunedin

Day 4 – Dundein – Te Anau

Travel along the Otago Peninsula to Larnach Castle where you will hear of its tragic and scandalous history on a guided tour. Enjoy time to wander around this Garden of International Significance followed by High Tea in the Grand Ballroom. Farewell Dunedin and travel through Balclutha and Gore to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland and your overnight stay. Tonight you may like to visit the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves (optional).

Hotel:Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas

Day 5 – Te Anau – Milford Sound – Queenstown

Depart Te Anau for a fascinating drive to Milford Sound for a cruise on this magnificent fiord. See the spectacular Bowen Falls and towering Mitre Peak as you enjoy a picnic lunch. This afternoon travel to Queenstown, overlooking magical Lake Wakatipu. Spend the next two nights at this year round resort with its wide range of activities and attractions. This evening is free to dine at leisure.

Hotel for 2 nights:Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 6 – Queenstown

Today is free for you to explore Queenstown. Your Local Host can assist with the many sightseeing options available, whether it be the thrill of a jet boat ride, a tour to Skippers Canyon or get up close to a Kiwi bird. This evening board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw and cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station. On arrival be treated to the best high country cuisine in the Colonels Homestead. Afterwards take a farm tour then enjoy a sing along by the piano as you cruise back to Queenstown.

Day 7 – Queenstown – Fox Glacier

Travel to Arrowtown, an old goldmining village and visit the Lakes District Museum. Continue via the Haast Pass to the West Coast, an area of stunning beauty. See the snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps as you travel north to Fox Glacier. Fox Glacier is the longest of the West Coast Glaciers and has a long guiding history (guided walks first started in 1928). Time is available (weather permitting) to experience a scenic flight (optional) over the spectacular glaciers before continuing to your hotel.

Hotel: Distinction Fox Glacier

Day 8 – Fox Glacier – Arthurs Pass – Christchurch

Travel to Hokitika and visit the Greenstone Factory. Continue to Arthurs Pass and board The TranzAlpine, renowned as one of the great train journeys of the world. View rivers and valleys as you travel through the Waimakariri Basin, over massive viaducts and through the patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains to the elegant city of Christchurch. On arrival your Ultimate Coach will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel.

Hotel:The George

Day 9 – Christchurch – Picton – Wellington

Travel along the East Coast to the seaside village of Kaikoura. Enjoy the spectacular scenery as you travel through Marlborough Country, famous for its food and wine. Continue to Picton, where you will board the Interislander Ferry for your journey through the Marlborough Sounds and across Cook Straight to Wellington.

Hotel for 2 nights: InterContinental Wellington

Day 10 – Wellington

A highlight this morning will be time to explore Te Papa, New Zealands National Museum with exhibits that embrace both Maori and European views. Reboard your coach for a city tour. Enjoy free time this afternoon and this evening is also free to choose your own dining arrangements.

Day 11 –Wellington – Taupo – Rotorua

Depart Wellington and view the snow-capped peaks of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro as you travel to Lake Taupo. Visit the spectacular Huka Falls, the most visited natural attraction in New Zealand, where youll see up to 220,000 litres of water a second gushing through the gorge and shooting out over 8 metres to create a beautiful blue pool. Travel along the Thermal Explorer Highway to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua.

Hotel for 2 nights:Regent of Rotorua

Day 12 – Rotorua

Today begins with a gondola ride at the Skyline Rotorua for breakfast, with spectacular views and time for a thrilling luge ride! Next stop is the Agrodome for an action packed hour of farming entertainment and education thats unlike anything youve seen before. Continue to Rainbow Springs, spanning 22 acres of native trees. Set amongst the beautiful forests of Rotorua, Rainbow Springs Nature Park offers a fun-packed and educational experience. Learn about New Zealands fascinating natural history and meet the creatures who call this great land home. A highlight will be the Kiwi Encounter experience which offers a unique behind-the-scenes tour of a working kiwi nursery and hatchery. Some free time is available before travelling to Te Puia to see the boiling mud pools and awesome geysers that Rotorua is famous for. This evening experience an entertaining Maori Hangi and Concert.

Day 13 – Rotorua – Auckland – Bay of Islands

This morning depart Rotorua and travel north via Auckland to the Parry Kauri Park to see a magnificent example of a Kauri Tree. Continue via Whangarei to Paihia, situated in the heart of the beautiful Bay of Islands. Enjoy a guided tour of the Watitangi Treaty Grounds, the location of the signing of the treaty between the Maori tribes and the British.

Hotel for 2 nights:Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands

Day 14 – Bay of Islands

This morning cruise through the beautiful Bay of Islands on board a luxury catamaran to Cape Brett and the famous Hole in the Rock. Keep an eye out for bottlenose and common dolphins before returning to Paihia for a free afternoon. This evening is also free.

Day 15 – Bay of Islands – Auckland

Depart the Bay of Islands this morning and travel via Whangarei and Dargaville to Matakohe. Enjoy a visit and informative talk at the Kauri Museum before continuing to Auckland for a city sights tour. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner including selected beverages with your new found friends.

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Auckland

Day 16 – Depart Auckland

Time to say goodbye; youll be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

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