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New Zealand Discovery

This motorhome escorted tour is designed to give you the opportunity to see as much of New Zealand as possible, and you will be visiting many bucket list sights and destinations.

Crucially, you’ll have the convenience of a well-thought out, tried-and-tested itinerary and the reassurance of experienced, knowledgeable Tour Leaders who will be with you all the way.

Stunning scenery, an endless variety of landscapes, wonderful experiences and memories to last a lifetime are all assured.

At a glance

  • 36 day escorted motorhome tour
  • Prices start from £4,999pp
  • Departs November to April 2019/20
  • Return international flights included
  • Motorhome hire and accommodation included
  • Led by an experienced New Zealand tour leader

Call our friendly, knowledgeable team for more information 01580 214089

What to expect

Make no mistake, this is a ‘Big Trip’. That’s why we have made the whole trip as convenient as possible and built in all the key elements as well as the unmissable features.

Your holiday price includes the following:

  • Return international flights from the UK
  • 2 nights in 4-star hotel in Christchurch on arrival
  • Welcome dinner
  • 2 nights in a 4-star hotel in Auckland at the end
  • Farewell dinner
  • Motorhome hire
  • Campsite reservations for each night
  • Traditional Maori hangi (feast with dancing)
  • Inter Islander ferry through the Cook Straits
  • Skyline Gondola (cable car) and dinner in Queenstown with sensational views
  • Milford Sound nature cruise, with coach
  • Full tank of fuel (no need to return it full)

Your motorhome

You’ll have full use of your vehicle for 29 nights, with sat nav, on board wifi, unlimited mileage and motorhome insurance. Nights will be pre-booked for you at selected campsites.

You will be provided with all bedding, linen, towels, sleeping bags, as well as crockery, utensils and cutlery.

You will receive a personalised handbook before departure, with tips, itinerary and instructions. Your tour leaders will provide further daily information. All you need do is relax and enjoy this trip of a lifetime.

Christchurch to Te Anau

Highlights

  • Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook National Park – Sir Edmund Hilary’s training ground
  • The mysterious Moeraki boulders
  • The gorgeous Otago peninsula
  • Te Anau and the gateway to the Fiordland National Park
  • Milford Sound cruise

Days 1-4: London to Christchurch

Arriving from London on day 3 (due to international time zones), you’ll be transferred to your 4-star hotel in the Garden City of Christchurch for two nights. It’s a chance to relax, get to know the rest of the group and explore the city: stroll through the Botanic Gardens, take a tram ride or a punt on the River Avon.

Days 5-6: Lake Takepo & Mt Cook National Park

Distance 274 km / 170 miles

You’ll be transferred to the motorhome depot where you will have an orientation session to familiarise you with your vehicle. The adventure starts here!

Head out of Christchurch, crossing the Rakai river on New Zealand’s longest bridge. Cruise across the Canterbury Plains, stopping at the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd – it’s tiny but immensely picturesque in its lakeside setting, surrounded by lupins (in season).

Beyond Lake Tekapo is Lake Pukaki and this is home for the next two nights, twenty minutes from Mt Cook village.

You’ll be surrounded by stunning mountain scenery, all part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, with sublime sunrises and sunsets over the snowy peaks. Explore the glacial lakes, hike the trails of Hooker Valley (mostly easy going with loose surfaces).

Days 7-8: Dunedin

Distance 266 km / 165 miles

Travelling south towards the coast through the lush Waitaki valley, time your journey to arrive at the surreal other-worldly Moeraki boulders at low tide (they’ve sat here for 56 million years).

Further on, Dunedin is known as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’ and is renowned for the amazing wildlife of the Otago peninsula. Visit Lanarch Castle, take the Taieri Gorge Railway from Dunedin’s beautiful ‘gingerbread’ station (one of the world’s great rail journeys) or enjoy the stunning drive to the Royal Albatross Centre.

Days 9-10: Te Anau & Milford Sound

Distance 291 km / 180 miles

A scenic drive through the fertile farmlands of Central Otago, ending at Te Anau at the edge of the Fjordland National Park. A popular option is to take a slightly longer route via the scenic Catlins and Invercargill. This takes you through beautiful forests, bush walks and the Matai and Horseshoe waterfalls – little gems shrouded in lush, temperate rain forest vegetation. The seascape views at Florence Hill lookout are incredible.

At Te Anau the underground world of waterfalls and rock formations of the Glow Worm Caves, illuminated by millions of glow worms is a big hit.

The nature cruise on Milford Sound is unforgettable, with a chance to see penguins, seals and dolphins in majestic surroundings. The coach will pass through sensational scenery, stopping at key points to admire temperate rain forest, epic valley views, tumbling waterfalls and the stunning Mirror Lakes. Not to mention the cheeky Kea birds - hooligans with a taste for car window seals and aerials!

Queenstown to Blenheim

Highlights

  • Stunning drive to Queenstown
  • Incredible glaciers at Fox and Franz Josef
  • The almost tropical Abel Tasman National Park
  • Explore the Blenheim vineyards of Marlborough
  • Take the Inter Islander ferry to the North Island through the Cook Straits

Days 11-13: Queenstown & Lake Wanaka

Distance 173 km / 107 miles & 67 km / 42 miles

It’s a great drive through to Queenstown, passing along Lake Wakatipu. Take the cable car gondola up to Bob’s Peak for a really enjoyable dinner (included) with amazing views across the lake to the Remarkables mountain range.

Stroll in the Queenstown Gardens by the Bowls Club, take a trip on the elegant 1912 steam ship TSS Earnslaw or visit the picturesque old gold mining town of Arrowtown.

Day 13 involves an epic drive to the peaceful town of Wanaka via the craggy Crown Range, the highest public road in New Zealand. After Queenstown’s bustle, Wanaka is very laid back with fabulous lake views.

Days 14-15: Fox & Franz Josef glaciers

Distance: 286 km / 178 miles

A day of truly dramatic scenery. You’ll drive up Lake Hawea with the white-tipped mountains of Mount Aspiring National Park in the distance. Pass the pristine rain forest and shimmering lakes of the UNESCO World Heritage Westland National Park before entering glacier country on the coast.

Follow the walking trail up to Fox and Franz Josef glaciers to get a sense of their sheer scale. Then head to Lake Matheson for incredible mirror views of the Southern Alps.

Days 16-18: Westport and Nelson & Abel Tasman National Park

Distance: 273 km / 170 miles & 222 km / 138 miles

The drive continues up the rugged West Coast with the Tasman sea on one side and the Southern Alps looming up on the other.

Stop at Punakaiki to admire the ‘Pancake Rocks’, formed 30 million years ago, before heading to Westport for an overnight stop.

Day 17 sees a change in terrain as you leave behind the rain forests and say hello to the sunny Nelson region with its French Riviera feel.

Enjoy the beach, take a kayak and explore the shoreline of nearby Abel Tasman National Park - a popular choice is the Kaiteriteri kayak excursion to Split Apple Rock, ideal for beginners and departing right from the beach. Or go dolphin spotting on a leisurely cruise along the beautiful coast of the Abel Tasman National Park.

Days 19-20: Blenheim

Distance: 115 km / 72 miles

It’s a really pleasant, interesting drive to Blenheim: skirting round Nelson on the coast road, with sublime seascapes and bobbing yachts, you climb up into forested hills and twisting mountain passes.

Enjoy wine tastings at the Marlborough vineyards, famous for their Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs.

Wellington to Lake Taupo

Highlights

  • Discover Wellington, the capital
  • Stroll the distinctive streets of Napier, the Art Deco capital of the world
  • Explore the Wairarapa region
  • Experience the volcanic and geothermal wonders of Rotorua, the Maori heartland

Days 21-22: Inter Islander Ferry & Wellington

Distance: 28 km / 18 miles

The three hour ferry crossing passes through Queen Charlotte Sound, so enjoy the wonderful scenery as you leave the South Island, hopefully interspersed with sightings of dolphins playing in the calmer waters.

In the capital of Wellington, visit the Te Papa museum which is so informative and brings real understanding of so much that you’ll experience on this trip. Take the jaunty red cable car up to Mt Victoria for great views of the city, enjoy the botanical gardens and just stroll along the waterfront.

Days 23-24: Napier

Distance: 322 km / 200 miles

Napier was devastated by an earthquake in 1931 and is today the Art Deco capital of the world with many 1930s architectural gems. Take a guided walking tour or wander at your own pace.

Hawke’s Bay is famous for superb vineyards, so wineries such as Mission Estate, Craggy Range and Elephant Hill might be on your list, either on a pre-planned tour or ad hoc. Cape Kidnappers is home to the world’s largest mainland colony of gannets – quite a sight!

Days 25-26: Lake Taupo & Rotorua

Distance: 222 km / 138 miles

On your way north, pause at Lake Taupo and visit the relentless torrent that is the Huka Falls nearby. Marvel at the power of nature as the mighty Waikato river is forced through a gorge just 15 metres wide.

In Rotorua you’ll experience a traditional Maori evening with hangi feast and a cultural performance. The whole region is a geothermal hotspot with volcanoes, geysers, vividly coloured mineral lakes and thermal vents.

Don’t miss the Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Reserve, featuring all things boiling and sulphurous: bubbling mud pools, mineral pools of myriad colours, including the 62 metre deep Champagne Pool, and the famous Lady Knox geyser.

To the north east lies Hobbiton, the movie set used in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Pose outside Bilbo Baggins’s front door and sample a hobbit ale in the Green Dragon. You don’t have to be a big fan to appreciate the charm, and ingenuity, creating a hobbit village known around the world.

Bay of Plenty to Auckland

Highlights

  • Drive along the sublime Bay of Plenty
  • Discover the natural beauty of the Coromandel
  • Admire Cathedral Cove
  • Drive up the stunning Hibiscus Coast to Bay of Islands
  • Get to know the cosmopolitan city of Auckland - City of Sails

Day 27-28: Bay of Plenty & Coromandel Peninsula

Distance: 243 km / 151 miles

The drive north offers the stunning scenery of rural Waikato or the Bay of Plenty (especially Mt Maunganui beach). You can head north to Paeroa and east through the Karangahake Gorge, which is very special - allow an hour or two to walk along the old miners’ paths and admire the dramatic views.

The beautiful Coromandel peninsula offers twisting roads and masses of stunning sights, so take your Tour Leader’s advice and plan. The vaulted cavern of Cathedral Cove is absolutely a ‘must do’ and why not dig yourself a warm bath in the sand at Hot Water Beach.

Explore the beautiful sandy beaches of Mercury Bay or wander around the quaint township of Coromandel.

Days 29-32: Orewa & The Bay of Islands

Distance: 225 km / 140 miles & 229 km / 142 miles

Just north of Auckland is Orewa with a long, sandy beach gazing out to the Pacific. You’ll stop here for the night, maybe with time to visit the Kauri Museum which explains the significance of this mighty tree to the earliest inhabitants.

Heading north, you’ll come to the Bay of Islands, a national maritime park with 144 beautiful islands. Relax here for three nights in the charming little township of Russell - white painted timber houses, picket fences, a lovely waterfront and jetty, as well as a well preserved sense of Maori history.

Enjoy a sundowner overlooking the bay in the characterful Duke of Marlborough. Catch the ‘Dolphin Seeker’ cruiser and glide past gorgeous beaches, secret coves and (hopefully) pass through the historic Hole in the Rock. Dolphin spotters are not usually disappointed.

Days 33-34: Auckland

Distance: 258 km / 160 miles

Savour your last days. Take the ferry across the harbour to pretty Devonport with its Victorian villas and beaches, or head over to Waiheke Island for lunch at Mudbrick Vineyard -spectacular views and food. Explore downtown Auckland - the Wynyard Quarter eateries, the yachts moored in Viaduct Basin, or stroll through the Botanic Gardens and the highly rated War Memorial Museum.

Days 35-36: Return flight to the UK

Finally, the adventure is over. It’s time to bid farewell and head home with amazing memories of your amazing trip of a lifetime.