Best of New Zealand 17 Day Educational Experience
Best of New Zealand 17 Day Educational Experience
Auckland Museum – Sky Tower – Driving Creek Railway – Kiwi Fruit Farm – Maori Culture – Te Papa Museum – Ferry – TranzAlpine – Greenstone Factory – Deer Museum – Gondola – Orchard Visit – Milford Sound Boat Trip
On this spectacular 17 day educational tour of New Zealand, you will really see and experience everything that this wonderful country has to offer. You will learn about our marine life with a visit to Auckland’s Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World, be taken through a native kauri forest to discover our plant and bird life, visit Hot Water Beach, one of the few places in the world where geothermal water lies underneath the sand, get involved with our Maori Culture with an evening performance and learn all about our Parliamentary system in the nation’s capital. In the south island you will discover native rainforests, waterfalls, fjords and their fantastic ecosystems and wildlife such as the kea, paradise duck and pukeko.
Day 1 – Auckland Arrival Day
Welcome to New Zealand. You will be met by your friendly guide at the airport and your tour begins. This evening you will take a short city tour featuring Auckland’s sky tower and waterfront.
Day 2 – Auckland – Whitianga via Coromandel (210km approx. 4 hours driving)
South we go. Leaving New Zealand’s largest city we head for the Coromandel, one of the key locations for the New Zealand gold rush in the 1800’s. We will take a walk together in one of our native forests to learn all about our native plant and bird life and see our most ancient tree up close, The Kauri Tree. These trees grow up to 60m in height and can be as old as 2,000 years old. Our next stop en route is Coromandel’s Driving Creek Railway. This has been built and designed by kiwi ingenuity over many years on a local resident’s land. You will get a chance to ride the mini train and see his pottery work up close. We arrive in Whitianga late afternoon where we will be based for the next 2 nights with views of Buffalo Beach and its palm tree lined shores.
Day 3 – Whitianga
This morning we will take a visit to the world famous Hot Water Beach. Did you know that this is one of the only places in the world where one can discover thermal water underneath a beach? Water in places can be as hot as 70 degrees Celsius. Bring your swimming gear, as you will have the opportunity to dig your very own thermal pool and bathe in its waters. This afternoon upon return to Whitianga, the evening is free for leisure activities. Options include; A boat trip to a marine reserve, walking along Buffalo Beach and Horse-riding at a local farm.
Day 4 – Whitianga- Rotorua (232km approx. 4 hours driving time)
Leaving the Coromandel area, our first stop today is a visit to an open cast gold mine in the town of Waihi. The gold industry is still very much a booming trade in New Zealand and it is estimated that as much as $1.3 million dollars per day of gold can be extracted from this mine. Heading into the Bay of Plenty we will visit a New Zealand Kiwifruit farm and see how our native fruit is grown and the many products that can be made from it on a guided tour around the orchard. We arrive in Rotorua late afternoon and pay a visit to a Maori church on the shores of Lake Rotorua known as Ohinemutu. This church combines a variety of fantastic Maori wood carvings as well as strong evidence of both the Anglican and catholic faiths. Tonight we will really get up close and personal with our native culture with a ‘Hangi’. This is an important part of Maori Culture. We will see a show and enjoy a 3 course sumptuous meal together.
Day 5 – Rotorua
Rotorua is known not only for Maori Culture but also geothermal activity and geysers. This morning you will be guided around Te Puia village and discover mudpools and geysers up close. You will also get the opportunity to learn all about Maori woodcarving and flax art and see our native kiwi bird up close. This afternoon is free to discover Rotorua, you may enjoy; A cruise on Lake Rotorua’s Lakeland Queen, a walk through our redwood forests, a trip up Rotorua Gondola or a visit to Rainbow Springs.
Day 6 – Rotorua- Tongariro National Park (145km approx. 2 hours driving)
Our first stop today is Huka Falls. This is nature at its best. It is where our largest river, Waikato River, drains out of Lake Taupo, our largest lake. 220,000 litres of water per second gushes out through its gorge. Along the road you will see evidence of our geothermal industry with its power stations and pipe system. Late this afternoon we will take a guided walk around the foot of our three largest active volcanoes, Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngaurahoe. We overnight in the National Park.
Day 7 – Tongariro National Park – Wellington (331km approx. 5 hours driving time)
If we are feeling active this morning there is a possibility of taking one of the many stunning short walks in the Tongariro National Park. Heading south we arrive in Wellington in the afternoon to discover New Zealand’s capital city. We take a Wellington city tour taking in sights such as Mt Victoria, Wellington’s most spectacular viewpoint with 360 degree views of the city, harbour and mountain ranges in the background. We will take a look around our Parliamentary grounds and visit Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum with 5 stories of information on everything from earthquakes to bird and plant life. This evening feel free to take a stroll down our capital city’s main street and absorb the atmosphere and culture on offer.
Day 8 – Wellington- Christchurch via Interisland Ferry (340km 4 hours driving time + 3.5 hour ferry crossing)
Today you will be transferred to Wellington airport for your ongoing travel arrangements. We trust that you had The Road Trip of a lifetime.
Day 9 – Christchurch- Arthurs Pass via Tranz Alpine Train and drive to Franz Josef Glacier. (2.5 hour train + 3 hours driving) 450km total
Today you will be taken to Christchurch train station for your journey through the Southern Alps to Arthurs Pass and Greymouth on the South Island’s west Coast. This was voted one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. Keep a look out for the Bealey River and lakes Pearson and Lyndon with the towering Alps above. You will disembark and be met by your guide in Arthurs Pass and we will take one of the many short nature walks in the national park Our favourite secret spot features stunning 150 metre waterfalls and spectacular views of the mountains as we peek through native beech forest and learn all about the ecosystem in the area and our native parrot, The Kea, which is found only in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. These birds are thought to have the intelligence of a 6 year old child. Driving further we will stop in Hokitika to have a look at the greenstone factory, we will view up close how the local people carve necklaces and sculptures from the precious stone. We will also visit a local museum and learn all about the deer industry of New Zealand and view animals such as wallabies, possums, eels and chamois. This afternoon or early tomorrow morning you will have the option of a flight over the majestic Franz Josef Glacier, one of the only glaciers in the world to be flanked by rainforest on both sides.
Day 10 – Franz Josef Glacier- Wanaka ( 250km approx. 4 hours driving)
One of the prettiest and most dramatic journeys in the country is what you can experience on this tour over the Haast Pass through to Wanaka. En route we visit Lake Matheson, otherwise known as ‘Mirror Lakes’ where on a clear day it is possible to see the reflection of New Zealand’s highest mountain Mt Cook (3754m/12,316ft). The walking possibilities are endless today around Haast and Haast Pass and we can do one of or several walks, some of which feature spectacular waterfalls and deep blue coloured pools where it is possible to see trout swimming. One of our favourite hidden spots at The Road Trip is an isolated beach featuring native Totara trees hugging rugged coastline. Keep a look out for dolphins bobbing up and down on the shoreline. Tonight we stay in Wanaka, one of the most popular kiwi vacation hot spots situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka.
Day 11 – Wanaka- Te Anau (260km approx. 4 hours driving)
This morning we will take a visit to the local Airforce Museum, Warbirds and wheels. Among other things we will see the Skyhawk. This was one of the key aircraft purchased by New Zealand’s government in the 1960’s. This afternoon our South Island tour takes us over The Crown Range, New Zealand’s highest highway to Arrowtown which was one of New Zealand’s most important towns in the gold rush to Central Otago in the 1860’s. We will visit a Chinese gold mining settlement and view their dwellings up close as well as learning all about the history of their settlement in New Zealand. This afternoon we drive a further 2 hours to Te Anau situated on the shores of New Zealand’s 2nd largest lake and the gateway to Fiordland National Park.
Day 12 – Te Anau- Milford Sound- Te Anau (240km approx. 4 hours driving time)
Be prepared for one of the jewels of the New Zealand landscape. The spectacular drive from Te Anau- Milford Sound is one of the most spectacular in the world and certainly a highlight on any New Zealand tour. En route you will see spectacular valleys, breath taking mountains and waterfalls. We will take a 1 hr 40 minute boat cruise through the fjords and learn all about the ecosystem in the area and its wildlife. Keep a look out for dolphins, seals and penguins! This afternoon on the way back to Te Anau we will take a guided walk in New Zealand’s largest national park and look for our native woodpigeon.
Day 13 – Te Anau – Queenstown (180km approx. 2 hours driving time)
Skirting our way today around the shores of Lake Wakitipu, New Zealand’s 3rd largest lake, keep a look out for scenic spots that put New Zealand on the film industry map with Lord of The Rings. This afternoon we will take a trip up to the top of Queenstown gondola to see its spectacular sights from above. You will see the Remarkables Mountains, Lake Wakitipu and the Crown Range with stunning 360 degree views. The rest of the evening is for leisure activities.
Day 14 – Queenstown
Today is free to explore Queenstown at leisure and take part in some of the fantastic activities that this ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ has to offer. Options for the adventurous include: Skydiving, Bungy Jumping, Jet Boating, White Water Rafting and Paragliding. If you feel like taking a more relaxed approach to the day, a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw 100 year old steam ship or a walk through Queenstown’s Botanic Gardens are not to be missed.
Day 15 – Queenstown- Tekapo via Mt Cook (280km approx. 4 hours driving)
We leave Central Otago today through the Kawarau Gorge and Cromwell where we make a stop en route and visit a local fruit orchard and learn about the many fruits that are grown in the Central Otago region, we can also try ‘Real Fruit Ice cream’ and sample a few of the New Zealand famous manuka honey products. From there we cross the Lindis Pass (965m) to the Mackenzie Country, known for its Merino Sheep and wool industry. We will visit the ‘Shrek the Sheep exhibition in Tarras. Shrek was a merino sheep that went missing in our high country for 7 years and was later discovered unshorn and his fleece contained enough wool to make suits for 20 men, weighing 27 kg (60 lb) — an average Merino fleece weighs around 4.5 kg (9.9 lb ). Weather permitting we can take one of a short walk together at the foot of Mt Cook- New Zealand’s highest mountain and take in its blissful surrounds. We then head through to Lake Tekapo and our accommodation is situated on the waterfront.
Day 16 – Mt Cook- Christchurch plus city sightseeing (270km approx. 4 hours driving)
Today we will drive through to Lake Tekapo and take a drive up Mt John to view its turquoise blue colour and surrounding mountain from this spectacular look-out point. At 1000m above sea level one really does have a feeling of being at the top of the world here. Also en route will be a stop at the historic Church of the Good Shepherd, featured on all New Zealand postcards. We arrive in Christchurch late afternoon and take a city tour together. We visit the Port Hills. These hills are a part of Banks Peninsula and part of our excursion will feature a visit to the port of Lyttelton. This was the first place settled by the Europeans in the South Island. Later on this afternoon we will have a stroll around Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens and learn about the many species of introduced plants, some planted by the first Europeans to settle Christchurch. Tonight we can enjoy a farewell dinner together in one of ‘The Garden City’s many restaurants.
Day 17 – Departure Day
Today you will be transferred to your onward travel connections. We trust that you have had a memorable Road Trip.