On arrival at Christchurch Airport you'll be driven by private car to your hotel. Spend some time at leisure to relax or explore on your own. Perhaps visit the Christchurch Botanical Garden or take a ride on the Christchurch Tram. In the evening meet your Journey Director for a Welcome Reception.
It's all aboard the TranzAlpine train. Rated as one of the world's great scenic railway journeys, you'll travel in comfort across the Canterbury Plains through to the Southern Alps. From Arthur's Pass, visit the small town of Hokitika, the heritage and cultural centre of the West Coast, to learn about the importance of Pounamu, better known as jade or greenstone. Later we continue to Franz Josef. Your eco-friendly accommodation is set amid native bush, with an emphasis on relaxation and rejuvenation. This evening, why not enjoy Franz Josef's local geothermal hot pools or perhaps a massage.
After a relaxed start we explore this area, where a local guide explains the history behind the mighty Franz Josef Glacier.
This morning it’s time for an adventure as we journey down the Haast River in a purpose built, fully enclosed river jet boat. After a lunch stop at Makarora then travel on to Arrowtown where there is time to explore this historic gold-mining village on the Arrow River. Continue to Queenstown for an orientation tour. Tonight, dinner is included at your hotel.
Enjoy Queenstown your way! Perhaps join a wine tour and taste some of Central Otago’s world-renowned Pinot Noir or view The Lord of the Rings film locations on a scenic tour of Queenstown and Glenorchy. Tonight, you can dine at one of the local restaurants along the waterfront in town or simply relax at your hotel.
Make the most of your extended stay in Queenstown. Why not sit back and enjoy a peaceful cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand’s oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station, take a jet boat ride down the mighty Shotover River. Or simply relax, shop or enjoy time at one of the many cafés and restaurants while soaking up the alpine views. Tonight, enjoy a highlight dinner at one of Queenstown’s exclusive restaurants.
Travel south along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau on the shores of the South Island’s largest lake. Later you’ll travel through the rainforest of the UNESCO-listed World Heritage site of Fiordland National Park, sighting glaciers and mountain ranges onto the amazing Mirror Lake before driving through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel. Tonight, stay at the magical Milford Sound Lodge, with views of the Cleddau Valley.
Wake up to the startling beauty of Milford Sound. This morning, explore a section of the famous Milford Track on an easy going half day guided walk. This place is steeped in rich history and stories, the flora and fauna are unique and special. This afternoon aboard the Southern Discoveries vessel sit back and relax as a specialist nature guide introduces you to the natural wonders of Milford Sound often called the ‘eighth natural wonder of the world’.
We leave the majestic Fiordland National Park for the fertile sheep-dotted pastures of South Otago. Travel through Te Anau known for its beautiful lake and on to the country musical town of Gore for lunchtime, before arriving in Dunedin, New Zealand’s southernmost city. Enjoy dinner tonight at Parcels Restaurant at your hotel.
Enjoy a relaxed start this morning, before taking a guided tour oat Emerson’s Brewery, sample the tasty craft beer before an afternoon at leisure. Relax or continue exploring Dunedin as you wish. Perhaps ride the historic Tairei Gorge Railway or take a wildlife cruise of the Otago Pennisula.
Travel up the east coast of the South Island via Oamaru and Timaru. On arrival in Christchurch embark on a sightseeing tour of the city to learn about its rebirth after the devastating 2011 earthquake.
Travel up the rugged Pacific Ocean coast this morning to Kaikoura, where sperm whales can often be seen not far from shore. Pass the pink tinged crystallisation ponds of the Lake Grassmere Salt Works, then travel to pretty seaside fishing village of Picton. Later cruise Queen Charlotte Sound and cross the Cook Strait to the North Island. On arrival in Wellington embark on a city orientation tour. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.
Today see Wellington your way! Perhaps visit Weta Workshop, home to the creative wizards behind ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogies or learn about New Zealand history and culture on a visit to Te Papa - Museum of New Zealand. Your Journey Director can assist in booking your optional experience.
Continue north today, travelling through the dairy farming land of Manawatu to Napier in Hawkes Bay. Tonight, enjoy dinner with wine matching at Craggy Range Winery, one of the regions world famous wineries situated in the shadow of the spectacular Te Mata Peak.
Enjoy a relaxed start before we venture out to explore the Hawkes Bay region. Relive the glamour and style of the jazz era with a luxurious vintage car tour. Your driver will provide a fascinating commentary as you are driven in style, through Art Deco Napier and surrounding areas. You’ll learn about the earthquake that destroyed the city, hear stories of the people that led the rebuild, and discover the Art Deco style. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.
Enjoy a leisurely start before continuing the journey to Rotorua. This afternoon visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley where you will connect with the beating heart of the world’s youngest geothermal valley, it’s unique history and legacy. Along the guided walk you’ll experience geothermal activity, hot springs, volcanic craters, nature and wildlife. Followed by a relaxing 45-minute cruise around the tranquil waters of Lake Rotomahana see stunning geothermal activity only accessible by boat as well as rare native birdlife. Immerse in the stories of the Mt Tarawera volcanic eruption and the resulting dramatic landscape changes that created this amazing part of the world.
Ascending to the breathtaking Redwoods Treewalk, enjoy an elevated bird’s eye view of the 115-year-old redwood giants and the beautiful surrounds of the forest from a unique perspective. Next stop is Rainbow Springs Nature Park for a behind the scenes look at the National Kiwi Hatchery. Tonight, an evening of culture, history and scrumptious food awaits you at Tamaki Maori Village. Wander through the ancient forest village and learn about Maori art forms and traditions, followed by a cultural performance. Experience an authentic Maori Hangi meal, steamed underground in the traditional way.
Begin your day with a dazzling show during an exclusive five-star Eco Glow Worm experience at Caveworld Waitomo. Your guide sets the scene for a cave experience where you will see glow worms, cave formations and appreciate the beauty of Footwhistle Cave. Later, travel through the dairy farming district of Waikato, and onto Auckland. Tonight, Toast your trip together tonight at a Celebration Dinner.
Say farewell to your fellow travellers as your Inspiring Journey comes to an end and we transfer you to Auckland Airport for your onward flight.