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Travel dates: 1 February 2022
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AAT Kings
AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Vista

Wander up one of the forty eight volcanic cones that make up the rolling landscape of Auckland for panoramic city views. Relax at Oriental Bay, Wellington's golden-sand inner city beach. Amble alongside the Avon River, as it runs through the heart of Christchurch. Each of New Zealand's major cities offers something unique and charming.

Tour full itinerary
Day 1 - Welcome to Auckland
AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Vista - Day 1
AAT Kings 14 day New Zealand Vista

On this tour wander up one of the forty eight volcanic cones that make up the rolling landscape of Auckland for panoramic city views. Relax at Oriental Bay, Wellington's golden-sand inner city beach. Amble alongside the Avon River, as it runs through the heart of Christchurch. Each of New Zealand's major cities offers something unique and charming.

On arrival into Auckland airport you will be transferred to your hotel.

On arrival in Auckland, you will be transferred to your hotel.

Welcome to Auckland

This afternoon, explore Auckland at your leisure before meeting your travel director for a welcome dinner.

Your accommodation: VR Queen Street (or similar)

VR on Queen Street offers modern self catering accommodation at the top of Queen Street. You're just a short walk from the restaurants and bars of K Road and have all the facilities you need for a comfortable stay.
VR Queen Street (or similar)
Day 2 - Travel south through lush king country - stopping at Waitomo Caves - before continuing on to geothermal Rotorua
AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Vista - Day 2
Auckland to Waitomo Caves onto Rotorua

A city sights tour will start your morning in Auckland. Travel around the waterfront from central city out to Mission Bay. Prepare your camera for the stop at Bastion Point and the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, as you will get stunning shots of Auckland, the North Shore and the Waitemata Harbour. After leaving Auckland you will follow the meandering trail of the Waikato River to Waitomo Caves. Tour the amazing limestone caverns and sail through the still waters of the sparkling Glow Worm Grotto. From Waitomo to Rotorua you will venture through the King Country region which was at the centre of the New Zealand Wars in the 1860s. On arrival in Rotorua an orientation tour takes in views of Lake Rotorua.

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

Ibis Rotorua (or similar)
Day 3 - Take a day to experience the thermal delights of Rotorua
AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Vista - Day 3
Explore Rotorua

Today is your chance to experience the scenic wonders of the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. Choose from one of the varied Optional Activities on offer. Explore Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park and take a ‘behind the scenes' tour through the working kiwi nursery and hatchery. Visit Te Puia and join a guided tour through the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, home to famous Pohutu Geyser and the bubbling beauty of the mud pools. Later, why not spend a little more time experiencing the thermal wonders, with a soak in the hot mineral waters of the Polynesian Spas? Your AAT Kings Travel Director will assist you in booking all your chosen optional activities.

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

Ibis Rotorua (or similar)
Day 4 - Stop at Huka Falls before crossing the 'volcanic plateau' then traverse the Kapiti Coast to Wellington
AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Vista - Day 4
Rotorua to Taupo and the capital city of Wellington

Depart Rotorua this morning and journey out through pine forests and farmland to a little hidden spot, the turquoise torrent of rapids known as Huka Falls. The road ahead unfolds in a broad panorama of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. The stunningly blue fresh water of Lake Taupo is home to some of the best trout fishing in the world. You will then journey south over the Central Plateau, New Zealand’s main volcanic area. In a country of contrasts, perhaps nothing is more striking than the three peaks of Tongariro National Park rising starkly from the surrounding plateau of tussock and near-desert. Pass through a number of small towns along the road to Wellington, each with their own personality and quirks. Probably the quirkiest of all would have to be Taihape… the self-proclaimed gumboot capital of the world. Travel along the Kapiti Coast, the traditional summer playground of the inhabitants of Wellington city. And as you follow the state highway, the Kapiti Coast becomes New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. Tonight dinner is included at your hotel.

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

Travelodge Wellington (or similar)
Day 5 - Cross the Cook Strait then cruise through the Marlborough Sounds arrive in Picton
AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Vista - Day 5
Cross the Cook Strait to Picton by Interislander

After a city sights tour of Wellington taking in New Zealand's parliament buildings, and a visit to Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, enjoy some time at leisure. Indulge in Wellington's renowned coffee culture, or take a walk along Lambton Quay - the heart of the central business district of Wellington. You'll have lunch included today provided by "Eat My Lunch". Eat My Lunch is a charity organisation that provides lunch for New Zealand school children who otherwise would be going to school without. By having lunch today you are giving lunch to a child in need. This afternoon, your AAT Kings crew and coach will join you on board the Interislander for a cruise across the Cook Strait, from the North Island to the South. Surprisingly it takes longer to cruise up the Tory Channel and Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton than it does to cross the open ocean of Cook Strait. You will meander through a maze of arms and inlets into the sleepy seaside village of Picton. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

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

Hotel Beachcomber Inn Picton (or similar)
Day 6 - Today traverse the Pacific Ocean Road through Kaikoura and the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch
AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Vista - Day 6
Picton to Christchurch

Travel to Kaikoura, where Sperm Whales can often be seen not far from shore (an optional whale-watching flight is available). Travel along the Pacific Ocean coast and across the colourful Canterbury Plains to Chirstchurch. Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Christchurch's inner city.

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

Hotel Ibis (or similar)
Day 7 - Head through the Mackenzie Basin and see turquoise lakes Pukaki and Tekapo before crossing into Omarama
AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Vista - Day 7
Christchurch to Omarama

See how Christchurch has rebuilt itself after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Later, travel over the fertile Canterbury Plains to soak up the spectacular scenery. You'll view the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd. Your day finishes in the heart of the Mackenzie Country at Omarama.

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

Heritage Gateway Hotel (or similar)
Day 8 - See the Benmore Dam and Oamaru before crossing into the rugged hills of Dunedin
AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Vista - Day 8
Omarama to Oamaru to Dunedin

Your day starts along the Waitaki River, and a photo stop at the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam. From the Waitaki Valley you will then travel through to the township of Oamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and its famous white limestone buildings. This afternoon you will make your way down to the Southernmost New Zealand city, Dunedin. With the rest of your free afternoon you may wish to take part in an optional excursion to see more of the region. Take a Wildlife Cruise out to Otago Peninsula, or a visit the Speights Brewery - a New Zealand institution. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

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

Scenic Hotel Dunedin City (or similar)
Day 9 - Leaving Dunedin travel through rolling green farmland to reach Te Anau
AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Vista - Day 9
Dunedin to Te Anau

This morning you have some free time in Dunedin. You may want to journey out to the gorgeous Larnach Castle - New Zealand's only castle. Or you may just wish to roam around the beautiful grounds of New Zealand's first university, Otago University. Dunedin, also known as the Edinburgh of the South, has strong connections to its northern hemisphere sister city, even down to sharing many of the same street names - so take a wander down George Street, noting Dunedin's Scottish ancestry. This afternoon travel through lush green pastures, crossing sheep-filled farming land. New Zealand is internationally known for its sheep farming, and these are sights many visitors to this country recognise as typically New Zealand. You are sure to find the perfect sheep photo here! As your journey continues, the rolling, grassy hills once again turn back into heavily forested, rugged mountains, and you meander your way up into the Fiordland National Park to the South Island's biggest lake and the town of Te Anau. This evening you have the opportunity to head out across the lake to the Glow Worm Caves for a tour (Optional Experience, own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

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

Distinction Luxmore Hotel (or similar)
Day 10 - Travel the magical Milford road into the heart of the sound. Cruise this spectacular fiord before traveling to Queenstown
AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Vista - Day 10
Milford Sound cruise then to Queenstown

Today is one of those days where you will want to have your camera battery charged, and ready to go! After leaving Te Anau, you will journey through the Fiordland National Park and out to Milford Sound on one of the most scenic roads you could hope for. Travel through native rainforests, beech forests, alluvial flats and meadows. You will stop at Mirror Lakes where, as the name suggests, you can see the stunning mountain scenery perfectly reflected in the waters of the lakes. Then on to the Homer Tunnel, man's attempt to master the sheer rocky ranges, still left rough-hewn around the edges. As you emerge out the other side of the tunnel, you are presented with one of the world's most dramatic alpine drives, down through the Cleddau Valley. You will have a stop at the Chasm, where the roaring Cleddau River has carved its way through solid rock, and then it's on to Milford Sound, where you will cruise the waters of this natural wonder. Your cruise meanders down the sound, taking in the Bowen and Stirling Falls as these plummet from glacial hanging valleys sharply into the sea, and the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak, rising from the deep waters of the fiord. From the spectacular scenes of Milford Sound, you will travel on to the beautiful sights of Queenstown. An orientation tour skirting around the shores of Lake Wakatipu, takes you into the city centre before arriving at your hotel.

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

Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront (or similar)
Day 11 - Experience the delights of this pristine alpine town on your free day
AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Vista - Day 11
Explore Queenstown

Explore exciting Queenstown your way! Take the opportunity to encounter a Queenstown legend and ride the Shotover Jet Boat or venture out on a 4WD Skippers Canyon Scenic Tour. If laid-back and relaxed is more your idea of fun then join a Wine Tour and sample some of Central Otago's award-winning wines, or visit our native birds at Queenstown's Kiwi Birdlife Park. Your AAT Kings Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen optional experiences. After a day of activity, sit back and enjoy a peaceful evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand's oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak Station. Launched in 1912, the TSS Earnslaw is the largest and grandest vessel ever to ply Lake Wakatipu. Today, the TSS Earnslaw is believed to be the only coal-fired passenger carrying vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere. Partake in a gourmet BBQ Highlight Dinner at Walter Peaks Colonel's Homestead and then enjoy an entertaining after-dinner farm show providing a glimpse into high-country farm life. On the cruise back to Queenstown, join in a vintage sing-a-long or grab your partner for a dance across the polished wooden floors of the Earnslaw.

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

Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront (or similar)
Day 12 - You'll see Lakes Hawea, Wanaka and the Haast Pass, ending your drive in Franz Josef Glacier
AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Vista - Day 12
Queenstown to Arrowtown, Wanaka and onto Franz Josef

This morning you will leave the alpine wonderland of Queenstown behind, and begin the passage through Central Otago and out to Westland. On the way out of the Queenstown region, you will stop and visit the faithfully restored gold mining settlement of Arrowtown on the Arrow River, previously one of the world’s richest rivers. From here you will travel over to Cromwell, situated next to the sparkling pristine waters of Lake Dunstan, where you will stop in at a local orchard for a taste of some of the town’s delicious stone fruit. It is a day of gorgeous lakes, as after Dunstan, you will travel further into Central Otago and view the vivid blue waters of Lake Hawea, followed by Lake Wanaka, where the shoreline is charmingly lined by poplars and willows. Following an ancient greenstone trail, you will travel over Haast Pass, marking a change from the alpine scenery of the Southern Lakes, to the rainforest marvel of the wild West Coast. View the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls and the grand sight of Mt Hooker, flanked on three sides by extensive glaciers. Your final destination for today is the extraordinary rivers of ice that make up Franz Josef Glacier. You may want to get up close and personal with the glaciers on a helicopter flight. Your flight will hover over the snow face, and may land high up in the valley so that you can walk across the ice fall – subject to weather conditions (optional – at own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

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

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (or similar)
Day 13 - Travel up the West Coast then cross the spectacular Arthur's Pass via train to Christchurch
AAT Kings 14 Day New Zealand Vista - Day 13
Franz Josef to Christchurch

If weather conditions are unfavourable the previous day, you will get another chance to fly up to the glaciers this morning or you might want to take a stroll through the small but lively Franz Josef village. Then you head off to the drift-wood strewn beaches of Hokitika. As well as being one of the few West Coast communities to embrace its coastal landscape, Hokitika struck it rich in the resources stakes. Here you will visit a pounamu factory (native greenstone or jade), for the chance to see master carvers at work creating intricate pieces of jewellery and art. Maori tradition says it is bad luck to buy pounamu for yourself, so if you fancy a trinket of your own, make sure you have someone there to purchase it for you. From Hokitika, you will travel inland to the small settlement of Arthur's Pass. Here you will board the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch city. This spectacular train journey dates back to 1914, and is rated as one of the world's most scenic train trips. The train forges through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys. This evening join your AAT Kings Travel Director and Driver, and your new-found friends for a Farewell Dinner.

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

Hotel Ibis (or similar)
Day 14 - Depart Christchurch today
Christchurch final day and transfer to airport

Your tour arrangements conclude after breakfast today. A transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport for your onward journey.