Welcome to the City of Sails. On arrival in Auckland you will be transferred to your hotel(flights to arrive prior to 4pm). Take some time to relax or venture out and start exploring New Zealand’s largest city before meeting your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a welcome reception and dinner.
Embark on a city sightseeing tour this morning. 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. This afternoon is at leisure.
Today, you’ll venture through Waikato region passing through Cambridge known as ‘The Town of Trees and Champions’ on your way to Rotorua. On arrival embark on an orientation of the area before visiting Rainbow Springs Nature Park for a guided tour of the National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa, the national leader in kiwi husbandry. Learn about the work being done to save New Zealand’s national bird, see kiwi eggs being incubated, the hatching process and newly hatched kiwi chicks. This evening enjoy a traditional Hangi Highlight Dinner and cultural performance at the Tamaki Maori Village.
Your day starts with breakfast at Hobbiton, experience the iconic rolling hills and green pastures of the Hobbiton Movie Set as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies before continuing to Auckland to board your flight to Queenstown.Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Queenstown.
Journey along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, over the Devil’s Staircase and along to Te Anau and its lake, the largest in theSouth Island. Experience magnificent scenery as you continue along this alpine highway to Fiordland National Park. Enjoy numerous photo opportunities afforded by the Mirror Lakes, Knobs Flat, Hollyford Valley lookout (Pop’s view), Cleddau Valley and the Chasm, drive through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel towards the iconic Mitre Peak and the Bowen Falls andMilford Sound. Enjoy lunch and a cruise on this wonder of nature. Later, return to Queenstown for the evening.
Today choose from a range of optional sightseeing experiences. You could ride the world famous’ Shotover Jet or enjoy a cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue lunch at the Colonel’s Homestead. This evening, join your Travel Director for dinner at the BoatShed. Set in the restored historic Railway Shipping Office and relocated to its lakefront setting in 1936, The Boatshed with its spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables is the perfect venue for your highlight dinner.
Today you will leave the alpine wonderland of Queenstown behind, traveling through Central Otago to the Mackenzie region with time along the way to stop in Arrowtown thenCromwell, situated next to the pristine Lake Dunstan and taste delicious stone fruit at a local orchard. Continue over the dramatic Lindis Pass before reaching the Starlight Highway and Tekapo's world renowned UNESCO Aoraki McKenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. This afternoon enjoys the views of Mt Cook before heading to the iconic Church of the Good Shephard. This evening, see amazing constellations that can only be seen in the southern hemisphere, including the Southern Cross, to the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way. Your local specialist expert astronomy guide will enhance your knowledge and understanding of our Southern Skies as you admire and ponder the possibilities through our powerful optical telescopes.
Enjoy a relaxed start before heading north through South Canterbury, visit the charming boutique village of Geraldine as you travel through to Christchurch.
This morning see how Christchurch is rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, 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! After a Christchurch city sights tour, you’re invited to a Be My Guest morning tea at the home of Tim and Isabelle Weston, owners of Britten Stables. Formerly a horse stables for nearby Mona Vale Gardens and following that, the birthplace of the world-record-setting Britten V1000 motorcycle designed and built in the garage by Isabelle's late father, John Britten. The couple restored the original charm of Britten Stables and transformed it into the exquisite home that it is today. This evening, join your AAT Kings Travel Director and Driver, and your new-found friends for a farewell dinner.
Your AAT Kings New Zealand holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. Your flights can depart any time today, and you will be transferred to Christchurch Airport.