Day 01 - Auckland
Day 02 - Auckland
Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping, and you’re beginning to get the picture of Auckland, New Zealand, our largest and most diverse city.
More than just a city, Auckland is a whole region full of things to see and do. Best of all, with so many experiences close by it’s easy to hop from one adventure to the next.
Day 03 - Auckland to Rotorua
Day 04 - Rotorua
From crystal-clear streams and magical forests, to epic biking trails and explosive geysers, Rotorua has it all. The city offers a raft of attractions and experiences for everyone from adventure-seekers to those just looking to unwind.
Sitting within the Pacific Rim of Fire, Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland with bubbling mud pools, clouds of steam, and natural hot springs perfect for bathing and relaxing in. After marveling at the distinctive landscapes and volcanic activity within a geothermal park, enjoy a simple soak in a natural hot stream or indulge in a wellness getaway at a luxurious spa.
Experience Maori culture, hospitality and food here - try a hangi feast cooked in the steaming ground or take a tour of an authentic pre-European village.
The city is surrounded by mountains, rivers, native forests and 18 fresh water lakes, making it the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Rotorua is a mountain biking Mecca with world-class mountain bike trails. Walking, horse riding, and swimming or fishing in the lakes and rivers are some of the best ways to see the wildlife, breath-taking scenery and discover the region’s hidden gems. It’s also a big trout fishing area with fishing on the lakes and tributary rivers and if you’re unlucky there you can sight some of the huge trout (but, alas, not catch them) at Rainbow and Fairy Springs.
Day 05 - Rotorua to Christchurch
Christchurch, New Zealand is interwoven by two rivers linking parks, gardens and avenues. Bordered by the Port Hills and the Pacific Ocean, it is situated on the Canterbury Plains with the Southern Alps as a majestic backdrop. The award-winning Christchurch Botanic Gardens feature one of the finest collections of exotic and native plants found in New Zealand,
In February 2011, Christchurch was hit by a huge earthquake. Much of the central city with its classic neo-gothic architecture was destroyed. But it remains a beautiful city, a city where you can cycle alongside the river, stay in good hotels and indulge in fine sophisticated dining, and a city where, just 15 minutes from the centre you can scramble up mountain bike tracks or ride a wave at a surf beach.
The buildings may have been damaged but the soul of the city and the welcoming spirit of the people remain very much intact. Innovative shops and businesses are springing up as the city rebuilds.
You can explore the city by foot, on an open top bus, tram or even relax in a punt as you float down the Avon River on a punt. Experience polar life at the International Antarctic Centre, see the rare kiwi at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, dive into aviation history at the Air Force Museum or visit Orana Wildlife Park, New Zealand’s only open range zoo. Don’t miss visiting Christchurch
Day 06 - Christchurch to Franz Josef
While glaciers around the world are retreating, the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers still flow almost to sea level. The temperate climate at this low altitude means these glaciers are among the most convenient to visit in the world. Easy walks to the foot of the glaciers pass along ancient river valleys with steep sides bearing gigantic horizontal scars from when the glaciers have retreated and advanced over millennia. When you stand close to the foot of these glaciers, their sheer enormity is very humbling.
Here are some facts to help you get the picture: Over its 13 kilometre length, the Fox glacier plummets 2,600 metres from high in the Southern Alps. It is fed by four alpine glaciers that receive around 30 metres of snowfall each year. The snow is compacted at the top of the glacier into blue ice hundreds of metres deep.
This ice slides down hill to the more level river valley below, where it is still 300 metres thick. The movement is lubricated by ice that melts under pressure between the glacier and the steep valley floor. This effect, combined with the high snowfall feeding the top of the glacier, means the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers flow around ten times faster than most valley glaciers.
Day 07 - Franz Josef to Queenstown
Day 08 - Queenstown
Queenstown sits on the shore of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu among dramatic alpine ranges; it’s rumoured that gold prospectors - captivated by the majestic beauty of the surrounding mountains and rivers - gave this now cosmopolitan town its name.
With a smorgasbord of outdoor activities, Queenstown is the home of the ultimate adventure bucket list. There’s skiing in the winter and activities such as bungy jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, jet boating, horse trekking and river rafting all year round. It has also become a renowned cycling destination, providing everything from easy scenic tracks to backcountry trails, road rides to heli-biking and the Southern Hemisphere’s only gondola accessed downhill mountain biking.
If hardcore adventure isn't your thing, there are plenty of mellow options available. Experience one of the many walking and hiking trails, sightseeing tours or indulge yourself with spa treatments, boutique shopping and excellent food and wine.
A popular holiday spot at any time of the year, Queenstown is renowned for its four distinctive seasons. Winter brings crisp, blue-sky days, spring retains the snow but blooms into longer, warmer days, summer offers sunshine and long twilights, and autumn a burst of brilliant red and gold. Queenstown is rated internationally as one of the world’s top holiday destinations and in 2014 was named New Zealand’s number one destination in the Travellers’ Choice Destinations by TripAdvisor as well as the second best destination in the South Pacific.
Day 09 - Queenstown
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