Experience the Best of New Zealand: An 11-Day Adventure As Guided by Constance!
Day 1: Auckland – Waitomo – Hobbiton – Rotorua
Despite the rain, our clients embarked on an unforgettable journey, exploring the enchanting glow worm caves of Waitomo and the magical world of Middle Earth in Hobbiton. Between tours, we stopped at the new and vibrant Fat Kiwi Cafe in Otorohanga, which offered exceptional food and service. For dinner, we indulged in the culinary delights of Eat Streat in Rotorua at the renowned Atticus Finch restaurant, savouring dishes that surpassed our expectations.
Day 2: Rotorua
Our clients couldn’t stop raving about their Kahukiwi experience, immersing themselves in the rich Māori culture and indulging in a hangi dinner at the Te Puia cultural show. We enjoyed a delightful lunch at Capers Deli, a favourite haunt, before visiting the Agrodome for an insightful farm tour and captivating sheepdog show. The clients were captivated by the sheep shearing demonstration and the intelligence of the working dogs.
Day 3: Waimangu – Taupō – Napier
We embarked on an awe-inspiring walk through the breathtaking Waimangu Valley, followed by a serene cruise on Lake Rotomahana beneath the majestic Mt Tarawera. This geothermal wonderland left us in awe of its natural beauty. Although we missed the Aratiatia Rapids due to timing, we made up for it by visiting Huka Honey and witnessing the power of Huka Falls. Lunch at Dixie Brown’s on Taupō’s Lakefront was a treat, and we continued our journey to the picturesque art-deco town of Napier on New Zealand’s East Coast. En route, we made a quick stop at Trinity Hill, one of Hawkes Bay’s renowned wineries. Dinner that evening was a delightful affair at Restaurant Indonesia, conveniently located within walking distance of our clients’ accommodation on Marine Parade.
Day 4: Napier – Martinborough – Wellington
We woke up to a mesmerising snow-covered landscape, prompting a quick shopping stop at Kathmandu to ensure our clients were well-prepared for the colder temperatures. Afterward, we enjoyed a lunch stop at the famous Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka, Pahiatua. The snow-covered ranges along our journey were a sight to behold. We then ventured to Palliser Estate in Martinborough for an afternoon wine tasting before traversing the scenic Remutakas, adorned with melting snow, to reach Wellington. For dinner, we treated our clients to the authentic flavours of Indian cuisine at Chilli Spice in Petone, a new gem in the culinary scene that left them suitably impressed.
Day 5: Wellington
The guide enjoyed a well-deserved day off, giving our clients the opportunity to explore New Zealand’s compact capital city on their own. Pre-arranged activities included a ride on the Historic Cable Car, a visit to Zealandia Bird & Wildlife Sanctuary, and a journey through history at Te Papa, Aotearoa’s National Museum.
Day 6: Wellington – Blenheim
Blessed with glorious sunshine, we embarked on a captivating crossing of Cook Strait aboard the Interislander Ferry, marvelling at the picturesque Queen Charlotte Sound along the way. Our clients were then entrusted to the capable hands of Bubbly Grape, who provided a delightful winery tour in the Marlborough region, complete with a scrumptious lunch. Meanwhile, the guide transferred the vehicle to Christchurch in preparation for the next leg of our adventure.
Day 7: Christchurch
Reunited at the airport the following morning, our clients expressed their excitement about visiting the Antarctica International Centre, where they encountered penguins, huskies, experienced a blizzard, and even took a thrilling ride in a Haaglund snowmobile. After checking in at the Sudima Hotel, we embarked on a walking tour of Christchurch, a city that rose resiliently from the devastating earthquake of 2011. For dinner, we discovered the hidden gem of 5th Street, a delightful culinary haven that exceeded our expectations with its flavourful and satisfying dishes.
Day 8: Christchurch – Greymouth – Franz Josef
The day began with an early morning start to embark on the renowned Tranz Alpine Scenic Train journey. As we traversed the breathtaking Arthur’s Pass to Greymouth on the West Coast of New Zealand, we were treated to awe-inspiring landscapes that left us in awe. Although our original lunch destination, Monteith’s Brewery, was closed for lunch, we found solace in the Speights Alehouse, even though they had run out of whitebait, a delicacy our clients were eager to try. After lunch, we explored Hokitika, a charming town known for its wild foods festival and precious Pounamu, or greenstone. Continuing on, we reached Franz Josef, our destination for the night.
Day 9: Franz Josef – Haast Pass – Wanaka
Although the weather prevented us from taking a helicopter ride to the glacier, we embarked on a serene forest walk that led us to a beautiful viewing point. Unfortunately, the weather conditions at Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson were not favourable either, prompting us to continue our journey. We stopped for lunch at a Salmon Farm and Cafe, understanding the struggles they faced during the challenging times of the pandemic. Supporting local businesses became even more crucial, and we were glad to savour their delicious offerings. We then enjoyed captivating walks at Ship Creek, Thunder and Fantail Falls, and indulged in afternoon tea at The Hard Antler, an iconic cafe nestled in the scenic Haast Pass. Finally, we arrived in Wānaka, a charming town within the Queenstown Lakes District. Dinner reservations were made at Amigo’s, a vibrant Mexican joint that provided a lively and enjoyable dining experience.
Day 10: Wanaka – Milford Sound
This day was marked by a truly epic journey, filled with numerous breathtaking sights along the way. We began by admiring the famous Wānaka Tree and the unique Breast Cancer Bra Fence (known as Bra-drona) at Cardrona. As we continued our drive, we were treated to sweeping views of Queenstown and Arrowtown while descending the Crown Range. Along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, we reached the Alpine Centre Cafe & Bar on the outskirts of Te Anau, where we stopped for a delightful lunch. From there, we continued our journey to Piopiotahi, better known as Milford Sound. Our clients embarked on an unforgettable overnight experience aboard the Milford Mariner, where they witnessed dolphins gracefully bow-riding, fur seals basking in the sun, and penguins captivating us at dusk and dawn. The buffet dinner, nature talk, and slideshow further enriched this incredible adventure.
Day 11: Milford Sound – Te Anau – Queenstown
Our return journey from Milford Sound to Te Anau was a leisurely drive, allowing us ample time to admire the majestic mountains, pristine rivers, cascading waterfalls, and the mesmerising mirror lakes. We made sure to keep an eye out for the mischievous Kea, a fascinating Alpine parrot known for its playful nature. After a delightful lunch at Baillez Cafe in Te Anau, our clients embarked on the Fiordland Jet Pure Wilderness tour, immersing themselves in the untamed beauty of the region. As the day drew to a close, we bid farewell to Te Anau.
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