AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23
Auckland to Christchurch
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AAT Kings

AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23

This epic New Zealand journey spans both Islands of this small, proud nation, revealing majestic snowcapped mountains, rugged coastlines, ice-blue lakes and sweeping rural vistas. Stories of the history and traditions of Māori culture and the intrepid settlers of Central Otago emerge as you travel from the stunning Bay of Islands in the north to the vibrant, multicultural city of Queenstown and awesome Milford Sound in the spectacular South Island.

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Quick Itinerary Details

Escorted coach tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$6,685 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Christchurch

17 days/16 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Pre and post tour options? YES

 Viewed 95 times in the last 7 days

Tour Inclusions

Christchurch City Tour
Milford Sound Cruise
TSS Earnslaw cruise and Walter Peak high country farm tour, Queenstown
TranzAlpine Train from Arthur's Pass to Christchurch
Visit to Jade Factory
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Huka Falls
Interislander ferry crossing
Wellington City Tour
16 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 6 dinners, 2 special dinners
Tour at a glance

Day 1: Welcome to Auckland
Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Auckland City (or similar)

Day 2: Pass through lush Northland farm country to reach the tropical Bay of Islands
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands (or similar)

Day 3: Enjoy the beauty of this idyllic tropical area with a dolphin cruise, a sailing trip or relaxing on the beach
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands (or similar)

Day 4: Return to Auckland via Whangarei and its quirky galleries
Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Auckland City (or similar)

Day 5: Travel south through lush king country - stopping at Waitomo Caves - before continuing on to geothermal Rotorua
Accommodation: Ibis Rotorua (or similar)

Day 6: Take a day to experience the thermal delights of Rotorua
Accommodation: Ibis Rotorua (or similar)

Day 7: Stop at Huka Falls, cross the 'volcanic plateau' then traverse the Kapiti Coast to Wellington
Accommodation: Travelodge Wellington (or similar)

Day 8: Cross the Cook Strait then cruise through the Marlborough Sounds to arrive in Picton
Accommodation: Hotel Beachcomber Inn Picton (or similar)

Day 9: Today traverse the Pacific Ocean Road through Kaikoura, then cross Canterbury Plains to Christchurch
Accommodation: Hotel Ibis (or similar)

Day 10: Head through the Mackenzie Basin to see lakes Pukaki and Tekapo, then arrive in Omarama
Accommodation: Heritage Gateway Hotel (or similar)

Day 11: Stop at the Benmore Dam and Oamaru before crossing into the rugged hills of Dunedin
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City (or similar)

Day 12: Leaving Dunedin travel through rolling green farmland to reach Te Anau
Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel (or similar)

Day 13: Travel the magical Milford road into the heart of the sound. Cruise this spectacular fiord before making your way to Queenstown
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront (or similar)

Day 14: Experience the delights of this pristine alpine town on your free day
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront (or similar)

Day 15: You'll see Lakes Hawea, Wanaka and the Haast Pass, ending your drive in Franz Josef Glacier
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (or similar)

Day 16: Travel up the wild West Coast before crossing the spectacular Arthur's Pass via Tranz Alpine train to arrive in Christchurch
Accommodation: Hotel Ibis (or similar)

Day 17: Depart Christchurch today

Tour full itinerary

Detailed itinerary: 17 day tour starting in Auckland

Day 1 - Welcome to Auckland
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 1
Welcome to Auckland

Auckland is hypnotic, the kind of place you could easily lose yourself in for a couple of days. Or weeks. Arrive at your leisure and explore waterfront precincts filled with yachts, take a cruise out to the wineries of Waiheke Island, or just meet fellow travel companions over a few local tipples tonight.

Your accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Auckland City (or similar)

A new hotel in Auckland's CBD with all the modern requirements for the discerning traveller.
Day 2 - Pass through lush Northland farm country to reach the tropical Bay of Islands
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 2
Auckland to the Bay of Islands

Say goodbye to the ‘City of Sails’ as you journey north to New Zealand’s dramatic Bay of Islands from Auckland – 140 droplets of land ringed by turquoise sea. It’s undeniably beautiful, but it also holds a special historical secret: this is where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, between Captain William Hobson and Māori chiefs. Your guide, likely an ancestor of one of the original signatories, will explain the significance of the site, while pointing out the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe and a carved meeting house.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands (or similar)

Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands is located within the Waitangi Treaty grounds, surrounded by native bush and the beautiful Bay of Islands Harbour.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Enjoy the beauty of this idyllic tropical area with a dolphin cruise, a sailing trip or relaxing on the beach
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 3
Free time to explore and enjoy the Bay of Islands

If there’s a travel destination that inspires wanderlust, the Bay of Islands is it. Today, trip the light fantastic and head off in whatever direction you please. Perhaps travel up to Cape Reinga/Te Rerenga Wairua, the very top of New Zealand, via idyllic Ninety Mile Beach. Or glide around on an historic tall ship, enjoy local drops on a wine tour of the region, or join a tour of Russell and learn more about the settling of the Bay of Islands.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands (or similar)

Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands is located within the Waitangi Treaty grounds, surrounded by native bush and the beautiful Bay of Islands Harbour.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 4 - Return to Auckland via Whangarei and its quirky galleries
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 4
Paihia to Auckland

Today, New Zealand’s most northerly city is well and truly on your radar. Whangarei is a place where waterfalls meet beaches, galleries meet museums. It’s like the country in a tantalising snapshot – a union of nature and forward-thinking culture. Explore at your leisure before sinking back into your seat for the mesmerising commute back to Auckland.

Your accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Auckland City (or similar)

A new hotel in Auckland's CBD with all the modern requirements for the discerning traveller.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 5 - Travel south through lush king country - stopping at Waitomo Caves - before continuing on to geothermal Rotorua
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 5
Auckland to Waitomo Caves onto Rotorua

Another day on a tour in Auckland. Lucky you. After a morning of sightseeing, set your GPS for the Waikato River and your Waitomo Caves tour. This place is radiant – quite literally. While cruising cavernous waterways, your route is cast in a magical light by thousands of glowworms. It’s a landscape almost as otherworldly as Rotorua, where mud pops and jettisons from bubbling geysers, and steam rushes skywards from cracks in the Earth. Tonight, delve deep into Maori culture and traditions at Te Puia. Your dinner, a hangi cooked underground, is served while you overlook the spectacular geothermal valley. The highlight is a Maori cultural performance in the beautifully carved meeting house, Te Aronui a Rua.

Your accommodation: Ibis Rotorua (or similar)

Hotel Ibis Rotorua is located on the shores of Lake Rotorua and a short walk to city centre shops and restaurants. The government gardens and museum are also close by.
Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner
Day 6 - Take a day to experience the thermal delights of Rotorua
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 6
Explore Rotorua

We’re leaving you up to your own devices today. But have plenty of North Island tour travel tips, depending on your mood. Want a bit of down time? Bliss out in the steamy thermal springs at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. Animal lover? Go behind the scenes on a working kiwi nursery and hatchery. Hobbit fans will want to take advantage of the opportunity to tour the sights featured in The Lord of the Rings movies at Hobbiton. These beautiful landscapes are not only a bucket list tour for Hobbit fans, but a gorgeous countryside getaway. The choice is yours.

Your accommodation: Ibis Rotorua (or similar)

Hotel Ibis Rotorua is located on the shores of Lake Rotorua and a short walk to city centre shops and restaurants. The government gardens and museum are also close by.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 7 - Stop at Huka Falls, cross the 'volcanic plateau' then traverse the Kapiti Coast to Wellington
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 7
Rotorua to Taupo and the capital city of Wellington

A staggering 220,000 litres of water thunder over Huka Falls’ 11-metre-high escarpment every second. It creates quite the calamity. From here, the road ahead unfolds in a broad panorama of Lake Taupo, its waters so vivid and blue they resemble an Ice Mint. Traverse the Kapiti Coast to New Zealand’s cool little capital, Wellington, where there are so many restaurants and bars to choose from, you’ll need a guidebook. Wait, you have an in-the-know Travel Director to talk to.

Your accommodation: Travelodge Wellington (or similar)

Located right in the city centre the Travelodge Wellington offers great accommodation and facilities all within easy walking of the city attractions.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 8 - Cross the Cook Strait then cruise through the Marlborough Sounds to arrive in Picton
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 8
Cross the Cook Strait to Picton by Interislander

Forget everything else you have to do today and focus on one thing: getting a cup of Wellington’s amazing coffee. The city is known for its uber-cool cafés, designed to fuel you through a session at Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand. Wellington tour done and dusted: onwards to the Interislander for a cruise across Cook Strait, from the North Island to the South, through a maze of arms and inlets into the sleepy seaside village of Picton.

Your accommodation: Hotel Beachcomber Inn Picton (or similar)

The Beachcomber Inn enjoys an enviable position, a sunny spot centrally located near the water's edge.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Today traverse the Pacific Ocean Road through Kaikoura, then cross Canterbury Plains to Christchurch
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 9
Picton to Christchurch

Black is the new black, as you’ll fast discover when walking along the dramatic ink-hued Kaikoura beach. Bonus points if you spot a sea lion or sperm whale frolicking offshore. Talk to your Travel Director for tips on the essential restaurants to dine in tonight – Christchurch has reinvented itself in more ways than one.

Your accommodation: Hotel Ibis (or similar)

Superbly situated in the very heart of the garden city, Hotel Ibis Christchurch is located just off Cathedral Square, and is close to cafes, restaurants, museums and many of Christchurch's most popular attractions.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 10 - Head through the Mackenzie Basin to see lakes Pukaki and Tekapo, then arrive in Omarama
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 10
Christchurch to Omarama

From its devastating 2010/11 earthquakes, Christchurch has become one of the most forward-thinking cities in the world when it comes to design. Case in point the mind-bending Transitional Cathedral, made largely of cardboard, and Turanga, the gold-clad central library. This Christchurch tour is as eye-opening as it is educational. From here, your outlook is the Canterbury Plains: the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo, snow-capped mountains and atmospheric towns. Choose to take it in from the air for added perspective, on an optional chopper flight around the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere.

Your accommodation: Heritage Gateway Hotel (or similar)

Positioned at the crossroads linking north, south, east and west, the Gateway Hotel features a full restaurant and cocktail bar with views of the Southern Alps, the Heritage Gateway Hotel has everything you need to rest and refresh.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11 - Stop at the Benmore Dam and Oamaru before crossing into the rugged hills of Dunedin
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 11
Omarama to Oamaru to Dunedin

Easing through the Waitaki Valley, you’re en route toward New Zealand’s oldest public gardens. They lie in the pretty town of Oamaru, known for its stately tree-lined streets and limestone buildings. Architectural drama of a different kind awaits in Dunedin. While away the afternoon in atmospheric art-lined alleys or sipping a lager or two in Speights Brewery (a national institution). Or venture further afield to discover Larnach Castle, which nods to Dunedin’s Scottish link – it’s known as ‘Little Edinburgh’ for a reason. In truth, it could also be known as ‘Little Galapagos’: fur seals and penguins thrive in this part of the South Island.

Your accommodation: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City (or similar)

Just two blocks from the Octagon in the heart of the city, Scenic Hotel Dunedin City is close to shops, parks and the best city attractions and services.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 12 - Leaving Dunedin travel through rolling green farmland to reach Te Anau
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 12
Dunedin to Te Anau

There’s no judgement that comes from a sleep-in. But if you have the energy, channel it into exploring Larnach Castle – the only one of its kind in the country. Dunedin’s Scottish ancestry is everywhere you look, from the manicured grounds of Otago University to the city’s main George Street. Rolling green hills dotted with doe-eyed sheep are replaced by soaring mountains as you weave your way into Fiordland National Park and the South Island’s biggest lake and the town of Te Anau. Soak up the serenity – it doesn’t get any better than this..

Your accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel (or similar)

The perfect base for all your Fiordland travel, Distinction Luxmore Hotel provides comfortable accommodation right in the heart of Te Anau.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13 - Travel the magical Milford road into the heart of the sound. Cruise this spectacular fiord before making your way to Queenstown
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 13
Milford Sound cruise then to Queenstown

There are some travel days that blaze into your memory. Today is one. Your route through Fiordland National Park is an intoxicating union of beech forests, alluvial flats, meadows and mirror-like lakes. Gin-clear rivers carve the countryside, with all roads leading to Milford Sound/Piopiotahi. Cruising this World Heritage listed expanse will give you goosebumps, a string of waterfalls creating a misty curtain across sheer escarpments. Look out for dolphins – they’re a common sight here.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront (or similar)

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: Breakfast
Day 14 - Experience the delights of this pristine alpine town on your free day
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 14
Explore Queenstown

Queenstown is known as NZ’s adventure capital for good reason. But don’t take our word for it. Feel the wind in your hair on the high-octane Shotover Jet, skidding, twirling and zipping along white-water river. Nature lover? Discover some of New Zealand’s feathered friends at a wildlife centre. Wherever you wander, make sure you’re back in time to glide across Lake Wakatipu aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue dinner.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront (or similar)

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: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner
Day 15 - You'll see Lakes Hawea, Wanaka and the Haast Pass, ending your drive in Franz Josef Glacier
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 15
Queenstown to Arrowtown, Wanaka and onto Franz Josef

As if Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu wasn’t pretty enough, you have a parade of gleaming waterways to keep you company today. After departing the movie-set-perfect streets of Arrowtown, discover Lake Dunstan, surrounded by orchards where you’ll pause to refuel on flavour-packed stone fruit. Then there’s Lake Hawea followed by Lake Wanaka, with its Instagrammable shoreline of poplars and willows. Over the Haast Pass, Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere sparkles like a gem. You don’t get many opportunities in life to land and walk on a glacier. This afternoon is one.

Your accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (or similar)

Located in the heart of Franz Josef Village the hotel offers all the amenities you would expect and is close to the shops, restaurants and activities on offer.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 16 - Travel up the wild West Coast before crossing the spectacular Arthur's Pass via Tranz Alpine train to arrive in Christchurch
AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23 - Day 16
Franz Josef to Christchurch

Swap white at Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere for green at Hokitika: the pounamu (native jade) found here is the stuff jewellery dreams are made of. In Māori tradition, it’s bad luck to buy this sacred stone for yourself; flutter your eyelids at your loved one. Just when you thought your adventure couldn’t get any better, you’ll aboard the TranzAlpine train bound for Christchurch, through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys.

Your accommodation: Hotel Ibis (or similar)

Superbly situated in the very heart of the garden city, Hotel Ibis Christchurch is located just off Cathedral Square, and is close to cafes, restaurants, museums and many of Christchurch's most popular attractions.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 17 - Depart Christchurch today
Christchurch final day

It’s remarkable what you can see when you have the right people guiding you. We can organise a transfer to deliver you to Christchurch airport for your onward journey.

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AAT Kings 17 Day Kia Ora New Zealand 22/23

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Remember - we can create this itinerary with any style of accommodation or customise to suit your interests and timeframe. Just contact us here.

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Starts Status Twin/Double (2 people sharing) Single occupancy You save  
Jan 7, 2023
(Saturday)
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was NZD$7,312
now NZD$6,887
was NZD$8,847
now NZD$8,422
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NZD$425
Jan 28, 2023
(Saturday)
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was NZD$7,312
now NZD$6,887
was NZD$8,847
now NZD$8,422
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NZD$425
Feb 11, 2023
(Saturday)
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was NZD$7,312
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was NZD$8,847
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Feb 18, 2023
(Saturday)
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was NZD$8,847
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Mar 4, 2023
(Saturday)
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was NZD$7,312
now NZD$6,887
was NZD$8,847
now NZD$8,422
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NZD$425
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Mar 11, 2023
(Saturday)
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was NZD$7,312
now NZD$6,887
was NZD$8,847
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NZD$425
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Mar 25, 2023
(Saturday)
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was NZD$7,312
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was NZD$8,847
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