Unique, Boutique & Luxury New Zealand
Staying in quirky boutique hotels in beautiful natural surroundings, explore the highlights of New Zealand in comfort and style with this relaxed Journey.
Breathe in the fresh air and get away from it all among the spectacular scenery of the country’s mountains and lakes, and head to the coast for awe-inspiring whale and dolphin encounters.
Some of the highlights included are:
- Spot dolphins as you cruise the beautiful waterways of the Bay of Islands
- Learn more about New Zealand’s fascinating Maori culture in Tamaki Village
- Look out for the sperm whale’s enormous tail fluke in Kaikoura
- Take to the water and admire the tranquillity and beautiful scenery of Milford Sound
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- International flights
- 18 nights in 4.5-5* hotels
- 15 days car hire
- Dolphin Discoveries cruise in Paihia
- Tamaki Maori Village tour
- Kaikoura whale watching tour
- Milford Sound day tour
- Wellington to Picton ferry
- Picton to Bay of Many Coves return boat transfer
- Airport transfers
Need to know+
- Arrives: Auckland Airport (AKL)
- Time difference: GMT+13
- Visa requirements: British passport holders do not require a visa
- Language: English and Maori
- Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)
- Flying time from UK: around 27 hours
- Plug type: 3-prong flat blade plug
- Voltage: 240 volts/50 cycles
Fly from UK to Auckland
Take a walk along the harbourfront in Auckland, a vibrant city flecked with volcanic cones. Browse the many museums and galleries, including the fascinating New Zealand National Maritime Museum and the Auckland War Memorial Museum, or perhaps take a boat trip out across the Hauraki Gulf to peaceful Waiheke Island, home to artists and the well-to-do. If that’s not enough, there are plenty of excellent restaurants and quirky cafés to try out too.
Bay of Islands
Head to Paihia, gateway to the beautiful Bay of Islands. Here, you’ll take to the seas and cruise among the 144 pretty islets, sailing through the iconic Hole in the Rock and keeping an eye out for dolphins on your included Dolphin Discoveries Cruise. Back on dry land, swot up on your Kiwi history with a visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the location for the signing of the agreement between Maori Chiefs and British settlers that lead to the establishment of New Zealand.
Return to Auckland for another night. If you haven’t already, see the city from above at the 190 metre-tall Sky Tower, where you can dine with a view in the relaxed revolving restaurant. For a restful afternoon head down to the colourful Auckland Botanic Gardens and wander through 64 hectares of flowers and native forest. If you like greenery be sure to check out the Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park, set inside the crater of the Pukekawa volcano.
Discover the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, home to bubbling geysers, steaming hot pools and thermal springs. You might need to hold your nose while in town, as there’s a distinct whiff of sulphur in the air. But don’t let that put you off, as the town’s lakes, hiking trails and bicycle paths make it a great place to get outside and enjoy the scenery. While you’re here, take the chance to learn more about Maori culture at the Tamaki Village, included in your Journey.
Check out the art deco architecture in Napier, including the classic Daily Telegraph office and the National Tobacco Company building. You’ll be staying at the peaceful Breckenridge Lodge in nearby Hawke’s Bay, giving you the perfect opportunity to tour the vineyards and sample some of New Zealand’s finest wines. Added to the fabulous food on offer at the lodge, all made with local seasonal produce, you’ll be in for a tasty gourmet treat. You can even take a cookery class.
Stay in the lap of luxury at the beautiful Greenmantle Estate, located along the endless beaches of the Kapiti Coast. From here you can sail across to Kapiti Island and discover verdant forests, sheer cliffs and a wide variety of bird species, including the rare red-fronted parakeet. For a bit of adventure try the hiking trails in Nikau forest or the many walking trails in Queen Elizabeth Park. Cycling, rafting, scenic helicopter flights and even landsailing are also possible.
Admire the water filled valleys and blooming hills of the Marlborough Sounds, dotted with quaint little villages and home to the rare Hector’s dolphin. Staying at the secluded Bay of Many Coves Resort, you’ll be immersed in the beautiful scenery and peace and quiet of this picturesque region. There’s nothing better than sitting with a chilled glass of local Sauvignon and admiring the view. Or if you’d prefer, get out on the water in a boat or a kayak or walk part of the Queen Charlotte Track to explore the area and soak up the scenery.
Look out for marine mammals in Kaikoura, where you’ll stay in the delightful Hapuku Lodge, with a relaxing backdrop of mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Kairkoura is all about the wildlife, with whales, dolphins and seals all frequenting the waters here. You’ll have the chance to see them up close on your included whale watching tour, where you might be lucky enough to see the enormous tail flukes of the sperm whale, which reaches lengths of up to 12m.
Leave your worries behind and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Southern Alps with a stay at Heritage Hanmer Springs. Soak in the town’s natural thermal pools and take a walk among its pristine lakes and rivers, perhaps having a go at fishing for brown trout and salmon. Your hotel is surrounded by well-tended lawns and lush forests, so is the perfect place to relax, kick back and get away from it all.
Take a look around the funky art galleries of Hokitika, home to various heritage buildings. Relax on the lovely beach or take a stroll along the seafront promenade and call in at the various art galleries, many of which use pounamu, or jade, in their wares. Staying at the lovely Rimu Lodge, a boutique retreat with fabulous river and mountain views, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the only white heron breeding colony on New Zealand’s west coast.
See the creeping ice of the Franz Josef Glacier, 7.5 miles long and surrounded by lush rainforest. Choose to don your crampons and ice axe and hike on the glacier itself, or take the more leisurely approach with a walk in the valley alongside it. For something more adventurous, fly over the glacier in a helicopter, then land on the icy surface and hike back down again. Whichever way you choose, look out for the twisted blue ice formations and listen for the glacier’s creak.
Finish your trip in fun-filled Queenstown, where you can scare yourself silly with the various adventure activities on offer. Choose from skydiving, bungee jumping, jet boating and skiing (in winter only). If you’d prefer something more sedate, stroll around the mountain-backed Lake Wakatipu and take a day trip Milford Sound, where you’ll gaze up at the spectacular scenery and admire the towering cliffs and peaks, cascading waterfalls and thick forests that line the coast.
Depart Queenstown and return to the UK
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