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Your Example Itinerary
Fly from the UK to Auckland
Soak up the sights of New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, a blend of modern life and traditional Polynesian heritage. Stroll around the numerous museums and galleries, then explore the heritage houses and sample one or two of the excellent eateries, perhaps ascending the 192m Sky Tower. Later, get away from all the hustle and bustle as you sail out on to the Hauraki Gulf to the golden beaches of Waiheke Island and hang out with the artists and millionaires who inhabit them.
Hit the Thermal Explorer Highway to Rotorua, popping in to the mesmerising Waitomo Glowworm Caves, lit by the glowworm’s unmistakable luminescence, along the way. Explore the erupting geysers and bubbling mud pools of this geothermically active town and enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot spring mineral pools at the Polynesian Spa. See Rotorua from a different perspective as you head up Mount Ngongotaha on the Skyline Gondola – at the summit you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the town and its surrounding lakes and forests.
Head to the lush wine-producing region of Hawke's Bay where you can and take a stroll through charismatic Napier, admiring the Art Deco architecture and palm-lined streets. The whole city was redesigned and rebuilt following the 1931 earthquake, and the buildings, including the classic Daily Telegraph office, have remained ever since. Afterwards, head out to the wineries and indulge in a glass or two of New Zealand’s finest wines. For further scenic vistas drive up Te Mata Peak to the south of town and admire the amazing panorama from the top.
Stop off in Wellington, the lively harbourside Kiwi capital, with its flourishing café culture, tasty local cuisine and eye-catching scenery. Among the craft-beer pubs, cocktail bars and boutique souvenir shops, National Museum Te Papa is an informative and enjoyable interactive experience of New Zealand’s history. Take a guided tour of the museum and learn more about the country’s unique wildlife and culture. Afterwards, perhaps take the cable car up to Wellington’s excellent Botanic Gardens. Not only will you be rewarded with pretty views, but there are native forests, rose gardens and a duck pond to boot.
Fly from Wellington to sunny Blenheim, in the heart of the country’s premier wine-growing region. Head straight for the vineyards and taste some of the delicious wines or take a cruise or a kayak on the blue waters of the peaceful Marlborough Sounds, exploring the beautiful remote coastlines and homes of the people who live here. If you fancy a bit of culture and history, try the Millennium Art Gallery or the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.
Take to the seas as you search for sperm whales, dusky dolphins and New Zealand fur seals in Kaikoura (seasonal) before continuing on to pretty Christchurch with its extensive parks and botanical gardens, giving it the nickname the ‘Garden City’. This charming metropolis feels like a little piece of England, especially as it is best viewed on a relaxing punting trip down the Avon River. As the landscape is relatively flat, Christchurch is easy to cycle around, taking in such sights as the Botanic Gardens and Riccarton Bush.
Heading south from Christchurch, perhaps stop to enjoy the stunning views of Aoraki Mount Cook, then continue on to gorgeous Lake Tekapo. Here, a shimmering turquoise lake surrounded by a ring of snow-capped peaks gives the town its name. Do not forget your camera as you take a stroll along the lakeshore to the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd for stunning views and picture-postcard vistas. For a slightly different perspective, hike up neighbouring Mount John, which is also the location for a fascinating observatory. Come in the evening to take a look through the telescopes.
Finish your Journey on a high in the adrenaline junkie paradise of Queenstown, chock-a-block with thrilling outdoor activities and white-knuckle challenges. There’s everything from bungee jumping and jet boating, to skiing and river rafting, all topped off with a pulsating nightlife. The town has a stunning setting on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by majestic mountains which are best appreciated from the Skyline Gondola. While you’re here, spend the day cruising the waters of stunning Milford Sound, observing all the glacially-carved cracks and crevices. Your day will start with a drive through the beautiful valleys of the Southern Alps, past mirror lakes, to Milford Sound. On board your boat you’ll see the scars left by the glacier that formed this beautiful fjord, dotted with waterfalls and covered in dramatic rock formations.
Depart Queenstown and return to the UK
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