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23 Day New Zealand Wildlife Encounters

Auckland

Christchurch

Dunedin

Franz Josef

Kaikoura

Napier

Queenstown

Rotorua

Te Anau

Wellington

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrive Auckland
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: On arrival at Auckland Airport pick up your late model rental car and drive to your central city accommodation.
    Remainder of the day is at leisure. Depending on your arrival time, we suggest an optional afternoon Whale and Dolphin cruise to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park or perhaps visit Kelly Tarlton' Sea Life Aquarium to see the live penguins from the Antarctic.
Day 2: Auckland - Rotorua (via Waitomo Caves)
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Drive south to Waitomo Caves to view the amazing Glowworm Grotto (optional) before continuing on to Rotorua, one of New Zealand's most significant Maori cultural centres.
    Approx drive time Auckland/Waitomo: 2 hours, 40 mins
    Approx drive time Waitomo/Rotorua: 2 hours 15 mins
Day 3: Rotorua
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: A free day to explore the amazing geothermal reserves. Included visit to Rainbow Springs Wildlife Park to view a large range of trout living in the many rock pools located amongst native forest. Two aviaries, Kiwi Encounter breeding programme and tuatara (NZ's ancient native lizard). Optional sightseeing can include the spectacular geothermal reserves, hiking and cycle trails of the Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest, an exhilarating zipline or perhaps a scenic flight over Mt Tarawera and Lake Rotorua.
Day 4: Rotorua - Whakatane
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: A short drive to Whakatane for an optional day excursion to White Island, a truly unique live offshore marine volcano. Travel by boat for an 80 minute scenic cruise to reach the island for an in-depth guided tour. Get up close to boiling mud pools and hissing steam vents, venture right up to the crater's rim. Reasonable fitness & agility required. Return by boat to Whakatane. A helicopter option is also available.
    Approx drive time: 1 hour, 30 mins
Day 5: Whakatane - Gisborne
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: A morning drive to Gisborne, seaside city. At nearby Tatapouri enjoy a guided reef ecology tour to hand feed wild stingrays at low tide. Kitted out with "designer" waders, walk out over the reef. Regular visitors can include short-tail stingrays, eagle rays, a number of local fish species, crayfish, octopus and conger eels. Timing of this experience is dependent on low tide.
    Approx drive time: 3 hours, 15 mins
Day 6: Gisborne - Napier
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: A scenic drive south to Napier, New Zealand's art deco city. Optional afternoon tours can be to the renowned local vineyards or a safari to the nearby gannet breeding colony at Cape Kidnappers. This is the world's largest, most accessible nesting sites where some 20,000 birds can be viewed Sept to early May.
    Approx drive time: 3 hours
Day 7: Napier - Wellington
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Enjoy the rolling farmland en route to Wellington. Perhaps detour to the rustic wine village of Martinborough en route. The Capital City, Wellington, sprawls the hills overlooking the sparkling harbour and boasts a sparkling arts and cafe lifestyle successfully blending with the political edge.
    Approx drive time: 4 hours, 30 mins
Day 8: Wellington
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: An optional half day Seal Coast Safari by 4WD to view NZ fur seals at remote Cape Palliser. Breathtaking city and coastal landscapes, also wild goats and wild horses often seen. Other optional sights include Te Papa National Museum, Carter Observatory at the top of the cablecar.
Day 9: Wellington - Kaikoura
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Drive your rental car on to the InterIslander at the Wellington ferry terminal then enjoy a 3 hour scenic cruise across Cook Strait, through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds to Picton. Be on the lookout for dolphins in the Tory Channel. Disembark at Picton ferry terminal, then drive south to Kaikoura, following the coastline for much of the way. Often you'll see fur seals languishing on the rocks.
    Approx drive time: 2 hours, 5 mins
Day 10: Kaikoura
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: A free day for optional wildlife trips. Choices include a dolphin encounter boat trip to view resident dusky dolphins, albatross and sea bird encounter or further afield for whale watching. Sea kayaking at South Bay to view fur seals. This spectacular coastline will have your camera buzzing!
Day 11: Kaikoura - Akaroa
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Take the morning to drive south through the vineyards of the Waipara wine region to Christchurch City and further on to the seaside village of Akaroa on Banks Peninsula. The highlight here is an included wildlife harbour cruise this afternoon to view the rare hectors dolphin, the world's smallest. Option to swim with dolphins available. Akaroa's picturesque location on its sparkling harbour and historic French ambiance will delight you.
    Approx drive time: 4 hours
Day 12: Akaroa - Dunedin
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Drive south via the seaside towns of Timaru and Oamaru to Dunedin. A stop to view the strange Moeraki Boulders is worthwhile. Dunedin's charming Edwardian architecture and compact city centre makes the city easy to explore on foot.
    Approx drive time: 6 hours
Day 13: Dunedin
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Included today, a half day guided wildlife tour of the spectacular Otago Peninsula and Taiaroa Head. This outstanding Peninsula Encounters trip includes viewing the Royal Albatross soaring above their nesting site, rare yellow eyed penguin reserve and wading bird habitats.
Day 14: Dunedin to Invercargill
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Take the time to meander the Catlins Coast, with its breathtaking coastal views and remote beaches. Porpoise Bay, with its resident pod of dolphins, and the petrified forest at Curio Bay are worth take time to enjoy.
    Approx drive time: 4 hours
Day 15: Invercargill (optional Stewart Island day trip)
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: A free day for an optional side trip to Stewart Island. From Bluff, take the one hour ferry trip to Oban and join a guided cruise and walk to Ulva Island, a remote bird sanctuary, now totally pest-free. Spectacular forest and harbour landscapes.
    Alternatively, perhaps visit the Invercargill Museum to view the tuatara breeding programme or take a drive to scenic Riverton for a relaxing cafe lunch with sea views.
Day 16: Invercargill - Te Anau
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: The lush rolling farmland of Southland features during the drive to Te Anau, the gateway of the World Heritage Fiordland National Park. Free time this afternoon for leisure activities that could include an optional cruise to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves.
    Approx drive time: 2 hours, 15 mins
Day 17: Te Anau
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: World renowned Milford Sound is one of the many highlights of this trip. Included today is the 3 hour Discover More Cruise which includes entry to the Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory. Picnic or BBQ lunch included. The longest and best value daytime cruise in Milford Sound enables you to really explore the beauty of the fiord. Local, knowledgeable nature guides ensure you discover the wildlife, nature and history of this remarkable sanctuary.

    An optional overnight cruise on either Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound is possible this evening
  • ask us for details.
Day 18: Te Anau - Queenstown
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Free time for local walks or perhaps a jetboat trip to the remote reaches of the Waiau River between Lake Te Anau and Lake Manapouri.
    Queenstown, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, with the Remarkables mountains, offers all the famous photo opportunities.
    Approx drive time: 2 hours, 25 mins
Day 19: Queenstown
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: An option this morning is a guided lake shore forest and bird walk to view local bird species up close. Other options include local cycle and hiking trails, boutique wine tours, thrilling river jetboating, scenic lake cruising.... mild or adventure, your choice!
Day 20: Queenstown - Franz Josef
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Drive through the rugged Kawarau Gorge en route to beautiful Lake Wanaka, then through the Mt Aspiring National Park and Haast Pass to the West Coast. At Franz Josef the glacier dominates the alpine landscape as it reaches from alps to rainforest near the coast.
    An option this evening is a luxuriating soak in the hot pools, surrounded by native bush.
    Approx drive time: 4 hours, 40 mins
Day 21: Franz Josef - Hokitika
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Time for an optional guided glacier hike or guided tour to the white heron nesting colony at Whataroa (seasonal). See these amazing birds up close from special tree top hides. Lake and lagoon kayaking is also available in this area.
    At Hokitika, the Treetops Walkway offers outstanding views from the Tasman Sea to the Southern Alps and a short evening walk to the Glow Worm Dell is worthwhile.
    Approx drive time: 1 hour, 45 mins
Day 22: Hokitika - Christchurch
Hotel
Motel
  • Highlights: Cross the spectacular Southern Alps, via Arthurs Pass. Watch out for cheeky keas (native parrot), ready to steal your lunch! The vast Canterbury Plains are your final route into the city of Christchurch.
    You may have time this afternoon to stroll graceful Hagley Park and the outstanding Botanic Gardens or visit Orana Wildlife Park.
    Approx drive time: 3 hours, 20 mins
Day 23: Depart Christchurch
  • Highlights: Time at leisure until you drop off your rental car near Christchurch Airport before your flight home.
Fares and Pricing
Tour Code: WE
 
Hotel
Motel
Self drive - small car
Share Twin
$4480
$3955
Self drive - medium car
Share Twin
$4600
$4056
 
4 Share
N/A
N/A
Self drive - large car
Share Twin
$4710
$4185
 
4 Share
N/A
N/A
Prices valid from 01 January 2017 to 31 March 2018 and are priced in NZ$ per person
Includes:
  • 22 nights' accommodation in 3.5 and 4 star hotels/motels (as selected) on a share twin/double room basis
  • 23 days rental car hire (as selected) with unlimited km and standard insurance (excess applies)
  • InterIslander ferry crossing Wellington to Picton for your rental car and 2 adults
  • Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter Combo, Rotorua
  • Dive Tatapouri Reef Experience Feed the Stingrays, Gisborne
  • Akaroa Dolphins harbour and dolphin cruise
  • Elm Wildife Tours Peninsula Tour from Dunedin
    *Discover More 3 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise, Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory
  • Itinerary planning and reservations service
  • 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Complimentary ticket wallet with your travel vouchers and driving maps

    Bonus:
  • 10% discount for travel between 01 May and 30 Sept

    This itinerary can be modified for families. The itinerary can be customised if you prefer shorter or longer duration, larger car size, different style of accommodation etc. Feel free to ask us!
Includes:
  • 22 nights' accommodation in 3.5 and 4 star hotels/motels (as selected) on a share twin/double room basis
  • 23 days rental car hire (as selected) with unlimited km and standard insurance (excess applies)
  • InterIslander ferry crossing Wellington to Picton for your rental car and 2 adults
  • Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter Combo, Rotorua
  • Dive Tatapouri Reef Experience Feed the Stingrays, Gisborne
  • Akaroa Dolphins harbour and dolphin cruise
  • Elm Wildife Tours Peninsula Tour from Dunedin
  • Discover More 3 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise, Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory
  • Itinerary planning and reservations service
  • 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Complimentary ticket wallet with your travel vouchers and driving maps

    Bonus:
  • 10% discount for travel between 01 May and 30 Sept

    This itinerary can be modified for families. The itinerary can be customised if you prefer shorter or longer duration, larger car size, different style of accommodation etc. Feel free to ask us!