New Zealand enthrals a traveller with its outlandish scenery, fabulous festivals, superb food & wine, and magical outdoor experiences. Equally impressive is the country's potent, mainstream Maori culture. This is a country that recognises and celebrates its indigenous people - the world is a kinder, gentler, more respectful place down here! Auckland's blend of harbour, islands, Polynesian culture and modern city environment has created a lifestyle ranked amongst the best in the world.
Here is how you will spend your time
Day 1: Arrival At Auckland
Kia Ora! Welcome to New Zealand, the youngest country on Earth! On arrival in Auckland, 'The City of Sails', you will be welcomed by our Cox and Kings representative and transferred to your hotel. Auckland is a blend of islands, Polynesian culture, glistening harbours and modern city environment. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to explore the city and discover why it is one of the best places in the world to visit.
Day 2: Half Day Auckland City Sights
Today morning proceed for a half day tour of Auckland. Travel through the city centre, including Auckland's famous Queen Street, Karangahape Road with its chequered past and eclectic vibe and fashionable Ponsonby. Cross over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, enjoying views of the Hauraki Gulf and city skyline, and visit the Viaduct Harbour and the revitalised Silo Park waterfront precinct. See historic buildings around the University of Auckland before continuing over Grafton Bridge to the Auckland Domain. The Domain is the city's oldest park and, at 75 hectares, one of its largest. Developed around an extinct volcano, it features tropical gardens, duck ponds and public art, and is also home to the Auckland War Memorial Museum. After visiting the Domain, the tour continues through the boutique shopping area of Parnell Village, where you will make a brief morning tea stop, and along the scenic waterfront route of Tamaki Drive. Just above Mission Bay is one of the scenic highlights of your tour: Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park. Named after one of New Zealand's most revered Prime Ministers, the park, with its formal gardens and tranquil atmosphere, offers stunning views over the picturesque Eastern Bays, Auckland city and the Waitemata Harbour. Return back to your hotel by afternoon. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to explore the city and discover why it is one of the best places in the world to visit. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 3: Transfer From Auckland To Rotorua (Via Hobbiton Movie Set)
This trip from Auckland to Rotorua includes the Hobbiton movie set tour. Departing from Auckland city at 7am, this is a wonderful way to get to Rotorua and include a magical journey through Middle-earth to the Hobbiton movie set from “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” films. Travel south from Auckland over the Bombay Hills to the rich farmland of the Waikato region. Your journey takes you through undulating green hills reminding you that you are approaching the Shire. On arrival at Shire’s Rest you embark on your Hobbiton movie set tour. This location is the largest “green set” in the world and the only part of the set remaining in New Zealand. You see 44 hobbit holes, the Mill and double arch bridge and the party tree. At this stunning location you can take a photo at the gate to Bilbo’s house, “Bag End”, looking out over the whole set to the hills in the distance. The tour ends with a visit to the Green Dragon Inn where you can enjoy a complimentary ale, cider or ginger beer. At the end of your Hobbiton movie set tour you will travel on to Rotorua, arriving at approximately 1.15pm.
Travel from Auckland to Rotorua
Fly to Rotorua
Fly to Tauranga, bus
Day 4: Full Day Waitamo Caves And Gloworm Tour With Te Puia Thermal Reserve
Today experience the natural wonders and cultural highlights of Waitomo Caves and Rotorua with an action-packed full day sightseeing tour. Travel north into the King Country region, home of the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Travel through these underground limestone caverns on a 45-minute guided tour and hear how the amazing stalactites, stalagmites, and other weird and wonderful rock formations were formed over 30 million years. The magical Glowworm Grotto is a highlight – travel by boat along an underground stream, while above you thousands of tiny glowworms illuminate the cavern. Enjoy a picnic-style lunch served on board the coach (vegetarian and other dietary options available on request) as you return to Rotorua.On the outskirts of the city, get a taste of New Zealand's farming industry with a four-wheel drive tour of the Agrodome, a working organic farm. You'll also witness an entertaining farm show, including sheep-shearing and a sheep dog trial. Continue to Te Puia where you will enjoy a performance of Māori culture including singing and dancing, followed by a guided tour of the neighbouring Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley where you will see the mighty geysers and boiling mudpools, Return back to your hotel for overnight stay.
Day 5: Rotorua To Napier
Drive south through steam clad Wairakei, to the resort town of Taupo sits on the edge of New Zealand's largest lake, which is well stocked with sizeable trout with spectacular views of Tongariro National Park. Skirt Lake Taupo, and cross the Rangitaiki Plains. You might want to stop at the Waiarua Falls lookout, to view the twin waterfalls. At Tarawera you can walk to the hot springs, which are above the Waipunga River, before driving on to the wine producing region of Hawkes Bay and Napier famous for it's art deco architecture.
Travel from Rotorua to Napier
Day 6: Afternoon Wine Tour
Today after breakfast you are free to relax for some time and explore Napier on your own. Around 1 pm, you will be picked and head off to the first winery which will be Church Road Winery. Once we arrive we will enter the cellar door for a sample of 4 wines. Which will include a local champagne. From Church Road we will travel a short distance to the next winery, Mission Estate, New Zealand's oldest winery established in 1851. I will conduct a mini tour of the magnificent colonial style villa followed by a tasting of 6 of their wines. We then travel out to the Esk Valley for a tasting at Esk Valley Estate. Monday to Friday and during harvest season I am able to conduct a tour of the wine making facility. From Esk Valley Estate we continue through the picturesque Esk Valley to Linden Estate. At Linden Estate we taste an extensive range of wines predominately made from grapes your guide personally planted 15 years ago. From the winery we travel out into the vineyard and your guide will give a brief explanation about grape growing & vineyard management. The tour finale is a drive up Seafields farms road to my panoramic viewing platform (660ft / 202m above sea level). At the platform your guide will provide complementary wine, cheese and biscuits whilst you take in the magnificent views of Hawkes Bay. You will be returned to your pick up points at around 5:30pm. Overnight at Napier.
Day 7: Napier To Wellington
Check-out from your hotel in the morning and board the bus to go to Wellington. Travel through the Manawatu Gorge to Palmerston North. Enjoy a spectacular view while travelling down the Kapiti Coast formerly known as "The Golden Coast" line for almost 140kms to arrive in the capital city of Wellington.
Travel from Napier to Wellington
Day 8: Wellington Sightseeing
In the morning, enjoy city tour of Wellington. There's no better way to discover Wellington's rolling hills, rugged scenic bays, and iconic architectural landmarks than on this 2.5 hour guided tour. The must-see attractions include the famous Beehive and parliament buildings. The Old Saint Paul's Cathedral is the Southern Hemisphere's finest example of Gothic Revival architecture. Admire the Lady Norwood Rose Garden, and the breathtaking views of the city from the summit of Mount Victoria. Return to downtown with a drive around the rugged scenic bays of the harbour. Perhaps take a ride on Wellington's famous cable car (own expense). Visit the summit of Mt. Victoria and take in amazing, 360-degree views across the city, hills and harbour. On your return to Wellington, ride past the rugged southern bays and beautiful coastline. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 9: Departure From Wellington
Today, you will be transferred to the airport in Wellington for your flight back home.