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Maori culture, New Zealand
Essential New Zealand
10 days from Auckland to Christchurch,
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information
Thrifty Tours

Essential New Zealand

From the north to the south, this journey will see you experience all the essential New Zealand destinations. Get up close and personal with the Maori culture, be amazed by the scenery onboard the TranzCoastal Train and cruise on the world renowned Milford Sound.

Tour summary and feature

This tour features

Departs every day - flexible independent travel

This suggested tour costs from NZD$3,351 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Christchurch

10 days/9 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 122 times in the last 7 days

This tour departs every day and also includes

All coach tour transport as specified in this tour package

Private airport transfers

Air New Zealand Airfare Wellington to Christchurch

Entrance to Rainbow Springs

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Day 1 - Travel to Waitomo Caves and then onto Rotorua, visit Tamaki Maori Village this evening

Auckland to Rotorua including Waitomo Caves with GreatSights

Enjoy a tour from Auckland to Rotorua including a guided tour of the fascinating Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Leaving Auckland in the morning, your experienced local driver guide will provide a commentary as you travel to Waitomo and point out sites of interest in the Waikato and King Country regions.
On arrival in the small town of Waitomo enjoy a guided tour through the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, with a silent boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto - a subterranean cavern lit up by the lights of thousands of tiny glowworms.
Continue your tour this afternoon by driving to Rotorua, passing through the beautiful Fitzgerald Glade where the roadside trees arch overhead to form a tunnel of natural greenery.

Tamaki Maori Village Cultural Tour and Hangi Dinner

Journey back in time to a Pre-European lifestyle experience of customs and traditions. Enjoy the night's festivities with the people of Tamaki Maori Village as you are treated to a banquet of succulent foods cooked the traditional Maori way. Rediscover the Maori village as it comes alive to the sound and activities of tribal songs, dances, myths and legends and browse throughout the largest after hour's tribal marketplace in Rotorua. Includes dinner.

Your accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua boasts a location that is second-to-none, right on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotorua. Adjacent to the world-famous Polynesian Spa complex and just a short stroll to all the attractions in Rotorua.

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Day 2 - Visit Te Puia thermal area, Rainbow Springs and the Agrodome. Free time this afternoon

Rotorua Sights: Te Puia, Rainbow Springs and Agrodome with GreatSights

Discover three of Rotorua's best visitor attractions on this morning Rotorua sightseeing tour. Gain an insight into New Zealand's Māori culture at Te Puia. You'll see Te Puia's woodcarving and weaving schools and see how these ancient Māori art forms are being passed on to a new generation of master artists. Experience Rotorua's famous geothermal activity with a tour of Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, then onto the Agrodome, a working organic farm where you can learn about farming life in New Zealand. Finally, visit Rainbow Springs Nature Park, where you can get up close to all kinds of native flora and fauna including the famous kiwi, a flightless native bird.

Your accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua boasts a location that is second-to-none, right on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotorua. Adjacent to the world-famous Polynesian Spa complex and just a short stroll to all the attractions in Rotorua.

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Day 3 - Travel south today to Wellington via Lake Taupo

Rotorua Accommodation to Rotorua Intercity Depot

You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to Rotorua Intercity Coach Depot.

Rotorua to Wellington by InterCity Coach

Your coach journey from Rotorua to Wellington takes you via the township of Taupō and New Zealand's largest lake. The lake itself is actually a gigantic volcanic caldera formed during one of the worlds largest ever eruptions. Skirting Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand's three world heritage sites and clouds permitting you can see the 2,500 metre peak of the still volcanically active Mt. Ruapehu. Heading south you pass through the rural towns of Taihape, Mangaweka and Bulls before arriving on the Kapiti Coast, which leads into Wellington, New Zealand's capital.

Private transfer Wellington airport to your accommodation

You will be met on arrival at Wellington airport and transferred to your accommodation.

Your accommodation: Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel

Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel is located in the heart of Wellington's CBD, close to shopping, restaurants and key attractions such as Te Papa Museum.

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Day 4 - Some free time in Wellington this morning before flying to Christchurch City

Wellington City

Wellington, home to New Zealand’s centre of government has a largely cosmopolitan feel. Often referred to as ‘mini-Melbourne’, this (self described) windy city is a melting pot of art, culture, food and fashion. Quirky laneway bars, underground art shows, and hipster eateries make up its inner city vibe, while a host of sandy beaches outside the urban bustle bring a cheerful holiday feel.

Head to Te Papa Museum for a history lesson and a ticket to one of its many international exhibitions or jump aboard the Wellington Cable Car at Lambton Quay - the only running funicular railway in the country. For those with an eye for boutique fashion wander through Cuba St to sample some of the city's best vintage stores. Break for coffee at a hipster cafe and be sure to snap a pic outside the ‘Beehive,’ New Zealand’s parliamentary debate chamber.

Go behind the scenes at Weta Workshop, the Oscar Award Winning design studio behind Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit, and Avatar. We recommend a 45 minute guided tour through both the Workshop and Weta Cave. If you're a foodie at heart, a two hour round trip to Martinborough is a must do. Take your time as you wind through spectacular wine country, and be sure to stop in at Martinborough Wines or Ata Rangi Martinborough. For a educational day out, learn about New Zealand's native species at Zealandia - the world's first fully fenced eco-sanctuary and home to over 40 types of endangered and native birds.

Private transfer Wellington hotel to Airport

You will be collected from your Wellington hotel and transferred to the airport.

Air New Zealand flight Wellington to Christchurch

Fly from Wellington Airport to Christchurch Airport.

Private transfer Christchurch Airport to your accommodation

On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your Christchurch accommodation.

Your accommodation: Chateau on the Park, DoubleTree by Hilton

A unique escape nestled in 5 acres of beautiful, tranquil gardens, the Chateau on the Park offers quality hotel accommodation in a convenient location to full experience all the city has to offer.

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Day 5 - Today head south to the Edinburgh of the South - Dunedin City

Private transfer accommodation to Intercity stop Lichfield St

A private transfer will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to the coach stop.

Christchurch to Dunedin by InterCity Coach

Leaving Christchurch early, you will cross the vast Canterbury Plains as you head South, crossing many braided rivers that start their life as glacial melt water high in the Southern Alps. New Zealand's longest bridge at Rakaia crosses such an example. Pass through the towns of Timaru followed by Oamaru, most famous for its buildings constructed with the unique locally quarried white stone. Continue along the coast and into the city of Dunedin.

Dunedin Coach Stop to Accommodation Transfer with Iconic

On arrival into Dunedin you will be met from your coach and transferred to your accommodation.

Your accommodation: Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Distinction Dunedin Hotel occupies the grand Chief Post Office built in the 1930’s. This art deco inspired building has recently been transformed into a 4 star hotel with elegant décor, set in the heart of the city.

Meals included: Lunch

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Day 6 - Cross the Southland farmland scenery to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland

Dunedin Accommodation to Coach Stop Transfer with Iconic

You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to the coach stop in time for your departure.

Dunedin to Te Anau by InterCity Coach

Enjoy this scenic coach trip across the magnificent Southland Countryside from the Edinburgh of the South, Dunedin, to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Your accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

The perfect base for all your Fiordland travel, Distinction Luxmore Hotel provides comfortable accommodation right in the heart of Te Anau.

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Day 7 - A highlight of your trip - the world heritage area of Milford Sound

Milford Sound Nature Cruise with return luxury coach transfers from Te Anau, and onto Queenstown

From Te Anau, you travel by coach along the spectacular Milford Road. Photo stops are made on the way into Milford, with additional photo stops and a short walk on the return journey. Real Journeys experienced drivers enjoy sharing their knowledge of the area. On reaching Milford Sound, you join a Nature Cruise for a leisurely cruise the full-length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife. A nature guide provides fascinating interpretation throughout the cruise. Includes picnic boxed lunch.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

The Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Queenstown Lakefront is conveniently located within walking distance to the centre of Queenstown and just a few minutes stroll from the picturesque Lake Wakatipu.

Meals included: Lunch

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Day 8 - Chill out or explore the adventure capital of Queenstown

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.
Head down the Gibbston Valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.
Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride

Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere! From which you can take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. Sit back and relax as you enjoy panoramic views of The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak, Coronet Peak and the magnificent Lake Wakatipu.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

The Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Queenstown Lakefront is conveniently located within walking distance to the centre of Queenstown and just a few minutes stroll from the picturesque Lake Wakatipu.

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Day 9 - Another day to enjoy the activities and scenery of this alpine resort

Enjoy a second day in Queenstown

With such an abundance of activities on offer, one day in Queenstown is never enough!  Today you’ll have some spare time for those things you didn’t get to do yesterday.  For more thrills you can choose from jet boating, luging, bungy jumping or a canyon swing. If golf is your game, the exceptional Millbrook Golf Course is the place for you. Explore a little further afield - nearby historic gold mining township Arrowtown, is a popular destination and features many original buildings and features. At the head of Lake Wakatipu sits Glenorchy, the scenic drive here is worth the trip alone, however arriving into this peaceful township you could easily rest the day away.  Nearby is the start of the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks.  You can enjoy a section of this track as a day walk or for the ultimate wilderness adventure choose the 3 day all-inclusive fully guided option.  To really appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds this area, a scenic flight or hot air balloon ride will take your breath away.  For a slightly more grounded experience, the Skyline Gondola offers fantastic views of Queenstown and the Remarkables.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

The Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Queenstown Lakefront is conveniently located within walking distance to the centre of Queenstown and just a few minutes stroll from the picturesque Lake Wakatipu.

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Day 10 - Head north today to Mt Cook National Park. Following lunch continue to Christchurch City

Queenstown to Christchurch with GreatSights (Includes Lunch)

Travel to the foothills of New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki / Mount Cook, on a full-day sightseeing tour from Queenstown to Christchurch. Travel through ruggedly beautiful landscape and over the Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country. Enter the amazing Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park, home to New Zealand's highest mountain and stop at Mount Cook Village, where you will enjoy a delicious lunch at the famous Hermitage Hotel.
In the afternoon, travel past Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo, where you can view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd. Then continue through the diverse farmland of the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, where your tour concludes.

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