Tours in New Zealand

New Zealand Splendour: Auckland to Christchurch Tour

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Cruise Milford Sound & Queen Charlotte Sound, explore glow worm caves and discover Franz Josef Glazier. Travel on the TranzAlpine train and immerse yourself in rich Maori culture with a traditional Hangi.

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15 nights
  • Accommodation
  • Tips & gratuities
  • Selected entry fees
  • Selected drinks
  • Selected meals
  • Day cruises
  • Day tours

About this holiday

Milford Sound, New Zealand

From the tip of the spectacular North Island to the bottom of the South Island, this journey offers a wealth of wonderful expriences. Cruise glorious Milford Sound, journey through towering pine forests and verdant pastureland, and fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing on the beach outside your hotel in rugged Punakaiki.


  • Waitomo & Glow Worm caves

  • Maori Culture with a traditional Hangi

  • Te Papa, the museum of New Zealand

  • Cruise Queen Charlotte Sound

  • Kiwi BBQ at Morelea Farm

  • Cruise Milford Sound

  • Discover Franz Josef Glacier

  • Walk around Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

  • Travel on the Tranz Alpine Train


Franz Josef Glazier exterior accommodation

This guided holiday includes a range of quality accommodation including: The Cordis, Millennium Rotorua & Queenstown, James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Chateau Marlborough, Distinction Christchurch, Mackenzie Country Hotel, Scenic Hotel Southern Cross & Franz Josef Glacier (Douglas Wing), Distinction TenAnau Hotel & Villas, Punakaiki Resort.

Travel dates

20 Nov, 2018, 27 Nov 2018, 4 Dec 2018, 18 Dec 2018, 25 Dec 2018, 01 Jan 2018.


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. After you check-in, you can head out and explore Auckland. Take a walk down Queen Street, to the main shopping precinct by the Viaduct Harbour and the Auckland Waterfront region. This recently developed area of central Auckland has cafes and restaurants galore. Take a seat in the sunshine, enjoy a glass of one of New Zealand’s famous Sauvignon Blancs and watch the maritime activity on Waitemata Harbour. This evening, meet your fellow travellers and your AAT Kings Travel Director at a welcome reception
back at your hotel. WR

Hotel: The Cordis, Auckland

Day 2   Auckland – Bay of Islands
This morning depart Auckland City and travel north over the Harbour
Bridge past the sprawling suburbs of the North Shore of Auckland. Our travels then take you through Nothland’s lush farmland scenery before arriving into the beautiful Bay of Islands. Experience spectacular scenery as you cruise through game fishing waters to Cape Brett and, weather permitting, through the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’ formation. The return cruise to Paihia meanders through picturesque islands – see deserted sandy beaches and secluded bays and keep your eyes peeled for the marine life. This evening enjoy dinner at your hotel. B, DW

Hotel: Copthorne Resort (Water View), Bay of Islands, 2 nights

Day 3    Bay of Islands ‘Included Choice’
Today is a completely free day for you to experience the beauty of the Bay of Islands. Perhaps head back out on to the water and go on a dolphin watching cruise, and maybe even jump in the water for a swim with these magnificent creatures. Experience a day of sailing aboard a historic tall ship, enjoy wine tasting in Kerikeri, or join a Russell Mini Tour and learn a little more about the settling of the Bay of Islands. We offer a wide range of Included Choice activities for you to choose from. Your AAT Kings Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen Included Choice
and optional experiences. Tonight, you are free to dine as you wish. B

Day 4   Bay of Islands – Auckland
Enjoy a leisurely morning in the Bay of Islands before you travel back to Auckland. Our journey south takes us to Whangarei, the northern-most city in New Zealand, where you can wander around the art galleries and through the marina in the Town Basin. Later, enjoy a stop at Parry Kauri Park and take a walk among New Zealand’s native forest giants, the Kauri trees before arriving into Auckland late afternoon. Tonight’s ‘highlight dinner’ is at The Cordis. Your personal degustation menu is made from the freshest, quality ingredients, including mouth-watering seafood and desserts. B, HD

Hotel: The Cordis, Auckland

Day 5   Auckland – Rotorua
A city sights tour will start your morning in Auckland. Travel around the 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 Harbour. After leaving Auckland you will follow the meandering trail
of the Waikato River to Waitomo Caves. Tour the amazing limestone caverns and sail through the still waters of the sparkling Glow Worm Grotto. From Waitomo to Rotorua you will venture through the King Country region which was at the centre of the New Zealand Wars in the 1860s. On arrival in Rotorua an orientation tour takes in views of Lake Rotorua. B

Hotel: Millennium Hotel, Rotorua, 2 nights

Day 6   Rotorua
Today choose from a range of Included Choice sightseeing experiences. Perhaps unwind at the Polynesian Spa. Visit Te Puia and tour through the Whakawerawera Thermal Reserve. Or you could take a fascinating tour of the Hobbiton movie set. Or explore Rotorua and its three lakes in an amphibious WWII era Duck. Your Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen Included Choice experiences. Tonight an evening of culture, history and scrumptious food awaits you at the Tamaki Family Marae. Wander through the ancient forest village and learn about Maori art forms and traditions, followed by a concert featuring local performers. Experience an authentic Maori Hangi meal, steamed underground
in the traditional way. B, HD        

Day 7   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. Enjoy an exclusive after-hours guided tour of Te Papa Museum of New Zealand. Before leaving there, top off the night with a Highlight Dinner. B, HD

Hotel: James Cook Grand Chancellor, Wellington.

Day 8   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.  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, including selections from Villa Maria and Saint Clair wineries. B, HD

Hotel: Chateau Marlborough, Blenheim

Day 9   
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 Chirstchurch. Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining
recommendations in Christchurch’s inner city. B

Hotel: Distinction Hotel, Christchurch.

Day 10 Christchurch – Twizel
This morning enjoy a Christchurch city sights tour, 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! Next we 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 barbecue lunch and hear about a lifetime spent farming in New Zealand. This afternoon. view the little stone-hewn Church of the Good Shepherd.Your day finishes in the heart of the Mackenzie Country in Twizel. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel. B, BG, DW

Hotel: MacKenzie Country Inn, Twizel

Day 11 Twizel – Dunedin ‘Included Choice’
Your day starts with a journey along the Waitaki River, and a photo stop
at the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam. 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 Included Choice option. 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. B, DW

Hotel: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, Dunedin

Day 12 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. This afternoon travel through lush green pastures, crossing sheep-filled farming land.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 biggest lake and the town of Te Anau.Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel. B, DW

Hotel: Distinction Hotel, Te Anau.

Day 13 Te Anau – 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 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 these 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 before arriving at your hotel. B

Hotel: Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, 2 nights.

Day 14 Queenstown ‘included Choice’
Today choose one from a range of Included Choice sightseeing
experiences. You have the option to ride the Shotover Jet, take a gondola to Bob’s Peak for thrilling luge rides, or visit our native birds at Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park, or perhaps take a 4WD minibus tour through spectacular Skippers Canyon. 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-a-long or a dance across the polished wooden floors of the Earnslaw. B, HD

Day 15 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. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel. B, DW

Hotel: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (Douglas Wing), Franz Josef.

Day 16 Franz Josef – Punakaiki
In the morning 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! B, DW

Hotel: Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki

Day 17 Punakaiki - Christchurch
Enjoy a leisurely start this morning before you will travel inland to
the small settlement of Arthur’s Pass. Here 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 new-found friends for a farewell dinner with wine. B, FD

Day 18 Farewell from Christchurch
Your holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. Your flights can depart any time today, and you will be transferred by private car to Christchurch Airport. B


Flights to arrive by 4pm, Tour start time - 8am, Tour End time - after breakfast.

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Travel at 60 and AAT Kings Booking Conditions apply

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