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. Rotorua is one place where the turbulent forces that formed New Zealand are most evident.
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: 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 3: 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 4: Transfer From Rotorua To Queenstown - Evening Skyline Gondola
In the morning check-out from your hotel and you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Queenstown. On arrival in Queenstown, you will be transferred and check-in to your hotel. In the evening make your way to the base of the Queenstown gondola, located within walking distance from downtown. Take a seat on the gondola for an exciting ascent to Bob's Peakat Skyline where the Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar awaits. During the ride, soak up the magnificent mountain views of the Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Queenstown and the aquamarine waters of Lake Wakatipu — part of Southern Lakes region of New Zealand's South Island. On arrival at the skyline restaurant, fill your plate with a delicious buffet, with your choice of 4-course lunch or 6-course dinner. Sink your teeth into local favorites including South Island salmon, seafood, salads, roast meats and desserts. Return back to your hotel for overnight stay.
Travel from Rotorua to Queenstown
Fly from Rotorua
Bus to Auckland, fly
Drive, car ferry
Day 5: Full Day Milford Sound Cruise
Today take an unforgettable journey into the heart of Milford Sound, New Zealand's most famous tourist destination. You'll experience the world-famous fiord in all its natural glory – surrounded by dense rainforest, glacier-carved valleys and beautiful waterfalls. Leaving Queenstown, travel in comfort along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and into southern farmland to Lake Te Anau, the largest lake in the South Island. After a morning tea stop (own expense), travel along the lake and into Fiordland National Park. Enter the picturesque Eglinton Valley, a place of ancient alpine forest and gushing waterfalls and one of only a few road-accessible glacier valleys in New Zealand, and take advantage of the photo opportunities on offer along the Milford Road, like the stunning Mirror Lakes, where on a calm day the surrounding mountain ranges are perfectly reflected in the still waters, and Knobs Flat, where glaciers have carved their mark on the terrain. Your glass-roof coach will provide amazing views of the dramatic skyline as you cross the Main Divide of the Southern Alps, with stunning mountain peaks all around. Stop at Monkey Creek and sample some of the purest water in the world (but watch out for cheeky kea - native mountain parrots!). Travel under the mountains through the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km passageway drilled into solid rock, then experience The Chasm, a short but impressive walk over footbridges spanning a series of powerful, swirling waterfalls and rapids. At Milford Sound, board your 1 hour 45 minute cruise and set off to explore the region that Rudyard Kipling called the 'eighth wonder of the world'. Travel the length of the fiord and out to the Tasman Sea, gliding past glacier-scarred rock walls and waterfalls that tumble through valleys and crash into the sea far below. Lush native forest clings to steep cliffs, while wildlife including seals, penguins and dolphins are regular visitors to the icy waters. After your cruise, return to Queenstown by coach for overnight stay.
Day At Leisure
Today, the day is at leisure to explore the city or one can explore the endless optional attractions available.
Day 7: Queenstown To Glacier Region
Depart Queenstown this morning and travel along the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea to the Haast Pass. Continue up the West Coast past spectacular mountain ranges and native forests to the glacier region of Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Upon arrival check-in to your hotel.
Travel from Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier
Bus InterCity Coachlines
Day 8: Glacier Region - Christchurch
Morning check-out from your hotel. Today, travel north to Greymouth and board the world famous Tranz Alpine train. Ascend the lush beech forests past the alpine village of Arthur's Pass before crossing the spectacular Southern Alps. Truly one of the world's great scenic train trips through the dramatic contrast of dry beech forests and tussock land on one side of the Alps and lush landscapes on the other. Travel over Canterbury Plains to arrive in Christchurch. You will marvel at the snowcapped peaks and beautiful river gorges as you wind your way past waterfalls and rugged mountain scenery. Overnight stay at Christchurch.
Travel from Franz Josef Glacier to Christchurch
Bus to Hokitika, fly
Day 9: Departure From Christchurch
Today morning check-out from your hotel. You will be transferred to the airport to catch your return flight back home. Your tour ends with happy memories.