New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of 2 main islands, both marked by volcanoes and glaciation. Capital Wellington, on the North Island, is home to Te Papa Tongarewa, the expansive national museum. Wellington’s dramatic Mt. Victoria, along with the South Island Fiordland and Southern Lakes, stood in for mythical Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films.
New Zealand is famous for its national rugby team, its indigenous Maori culture and its picturesque landscape. New Zealand wine is world-famous for its quality, quite amazing when you consider that the country makes less than one percent of the world’s total.
This is the ultimate travel experience for travelers who want to enjoy New Zealand but may need some special care or assistance along the way. We will show you the best New Zealand has to offer and will ensure your needs are met at every step along the way. These tours are specifically tailored for travelers with disabilities, limited mobility or senior travelers who may need a helping hand along the way but are in no way limited to that. Breath in the fresh air in what we fondly known as “Paradise”. Let us show you all we have to offer as we invite you to experience our beautiful country, New Zealand or in Maori… Aotearoa meaning. The land of the long white cloud.
Welcome to New Zealand!
Auckland – Christchurch
If you are flying long haul, we recommend you arrive in Auckland a couple of days earlier.
This will help overthrow the effects of jetlag and able you to start touring refreshed.
Welcome to New Zealand!
Today we will be meeting you at Auckland Airport International Terminal. Depending upon your arrival time we may have the chance for a look around the Auckland Waterfront before taking you to your accommodation in the heart of Auckland City as check-in is not until 2pm local time.
You can then decide whether you want to relax and catch up on some sleep – if you have traveled a long way then please do.
Dinner will be at the Auckland Sky Tower Orbiting Restaurant which is the tallest building in New Zealand. Enjoy your perfectly cooked New Zealand meats or enjoy one of the many vegetarian options all while enjoying 360-degree views across the city.
This is a day for you to settle in and prepare for the adventure ahead.
This is the first day of your adventure through New Zealand. This morning we will meet at around 10am to indulge in a Harbour Cruise which will give you a fantastic view of the heart of Auckland city while you breathe in that refreshing Pacific Ocean air. Auckland has more boats per capita than any other city in the world, hence its name the “City of Sails”. Following this we will be slipping into “cruise” mode and heading south.
The Coromandel Coast is a favorite NZ location and you will see why. From now on we will be switching to “beach time”. You will feel it immediately. Time just slows down as the white sandy coasts just roll on by. Arriving around 5pm we check you into your accommodation to sit back and watch the sun go down.
9 am Start. Today is just about sitting back and enjoying the ride. We will be heading south to Mt Maunganui where we will be relaxing for 2 nights.
Your luxury beach side accommodation will enable you to be in the centre of everything. The main shopping area, hot salt water pools and accessible boardwalk lining the beach right at your doorstep. Watch the sun go down each night with the locals.
This is one of New Zealand premier holiday destinations with white sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, continuous surf rolling in, and a lifestyle for locals which makes it the fastest growing city in New Zealand.
The “Mount” boasts numerous summertime activities, hosting everything from surf lifesaving events to beach volleyball, National Surf Contests to sandcastle-building. Mount Maunganui or Mauao, is the name of the extinct volcano that rises above the town. Shrouded in history and legend, the mountain is a dominant feature of the landscape. A climb to the summit offers amazing views of the surrounding city and ocean. There is also an accessible walking track around the base affording spectacular views of the ocean and Harbour.
For those that are interested we can arrange activities such as kayaking, blokarting, if some would like to swim with dolphins we can organize that. The Mount is a fantastic place to people watch, which is what a lot of people tend do. Sit out and have a coffee and your breakfast as you watch the people go by.
10 am Start. We will leave the Mount in the Morning as our journey leads us further South to Rotorua. Rotorua is NZ’s most dynamic thermal area. From the moment you enter Rotorua you know you are somewhere like nowhere else. This is nature’s spa of the Pacific. This is the spiritual home of the Maori. Throughout this hugely volcanic area, natural geysers and mud pools are found all over the city and are often found popping up in local’s back yards. Yes they are dangerous due to the heat and pressure however locals are used to it now and it’s just a natural part of the surroundings. The area is made up of over 16 lakes and a lot of native bush which you will see.
This evening we will be attending the Tamaki Cultural Experience. Here you will taste a traditional Maori meal, the Hang, and watch the traditional Maori dance and haka. The Maori locals will welcome you in a traditional Maori way on to their land and believe me you will love it. We get shivers every time we see the Haka performed and this is an evening of culture and good food. You will leave smiling with a full belly, a warm heart and cultural experience never to be forgotten.
On the second day here, you will have some free time to look around the shops, the government gardens or have a soak in the hot pools or a relaxing massage. In the afternoon we will visit Te Puia and experience the unique environment of geothermal wonderland. See firsthand the geothermal activity with hot springs and steam vents used for cooking (natural cooktops and ovens) and the natural mineral waters used for communal bathing. The natural environment here in the central North Island is so varied, as you will experience, with something new and natural around every bend.
9 am Start. The capital of New Zealand here we come! We are heading south to the bottom of the North Island to NZ’s capital city. Wellington is known as New Zealand’s art city and has a name of being a little alternative. Its nickname is “Windy Wellington” and it generally never fails to live up to its name. Wellington is draped around bushy hillsides encircling a magnificent Harbour with super lookouts on hilltops, golden sands on the promenade and spectacular craggy shores on the south coast. Today’s journey is one of the longest being a 6-hour drive. We will stop along the way at the Huka Falls and other scenic points. The Huka Falls mark the spot where NZ’s largest river, the mighty Waikato, is forced into a narrow chasm making a dramatic 10 metre drop into a surging pool. There are great viewpoints for all ability levels.
On the next day in Wellington you will have a 9 am start. Today we will do a bit of a “Tiki Tour” (Little tour) around Wellington Harbour. We will pass “The Beehive” (NZ’s Parliament Building – shaped like a beehive). The tour will continue round the coast to Mount Victoria which generally allows you to experience why Wellington has such a reputation for its wind. Hold on to the rails so you don’t get blown away and take time to enjoy the views right across the city.
We will visit Zealandia if weather permits. This is 80 million years of natural history in a fascinating exhibition of remarkable nature in a beautiful sanctuary valley. This is the world’s first fully-fenced urban eco-sanctuary – a conservation success and safe haven for some of New Zealand’s rarest native animals. Remarkable species of birds, reptiles, insects and more are living wild in this beautiful valley (225 ha or 560 acres) which used to be the town water supply. Of course, there is a cafe and gift shop on site. This is very popular attraction for cruise ship visitors to Wellington.
Before we leave Wellington, we will visit Te Papa, New Zealand’s best museum. We will catch the ferry to Picton at 3pm. This ferry crossing sailing takes around 3 hours. Depending on the weather it can be a really beautiful trip from the North to the South Island. At other times, if the weather is not so good, the crossing can become quite “adventurous” shall we say. Look out for dolphins which are known for enjoying the ferries wake.
Once off the ferry, we will get you checked in and then head down to the local pub/restaurant at the marina on the waterfront to enjoy a relaxing casual meal.
Today – Driving from Picton and heading toward Nelson you will get a small taste of some of the extraordinary scenery that you will experience during your tour of the South Island. This is an area where some of New Zealand’s top wines are produced. There are approximately 40 wineries in such a small space, so we really are spoiled for choice. We visit a Chocolate Factory where they will tempt you with their delicious taste tester treats. Then time for lunch on Raupara Road before heading to Nelson.
This morning we will travel via the Buller River Gorge to the former coal mining town of Westport at the mouth of the Buller River where we all stop for lunch. We will then drive along the coast to Cape Foulwind to view a seal colony in the wild before travelling further south to the famous and spectacular “pancake rocks” at Punakaiki. When conditions are right, heavy ocean swells thunder into the caverns beneath the rocks and huge water spouts blast skywards through the blowholes – a truly spectacular sight. This is when everything changes. This is where New Zealand’s natural beauty really just begins.
From here we travel south via Greymouth to Hokitika (where we will stay 2 nights). The West Coast is known as the wildest and most diverse region of New Zealand. The locals are known as “coasters”. It has the highest level of rainfall and the lowest population it has an abundance of lush bush and wildlife. A 150 years ago with the discovery of gold ago miners from all over the world rushed to Hokitika with gold-fever.
Today there is still gold around but Hokitika has since become New Zealand’s leading Pounamu = Green Stone Centre. This stone (jade) was and remains highly treasured by Maori. Most of our guests never want to leave. Dinner provided. After dinner we can take a short drive to the “Glo-Worm Dell” and witness the spectacular “glo-worms” of New Zealand.
A must see!.
We will pick you up and take you to breakfast before we enjoy a stunning “Tree Tops” Walk. Here you will wander across walkways suspended high in the trees. This is an experience not to be missed. We return to Hokitika for lunch and can explore the many attractions (retail opportunities) in the town. If you are hunting for a genuine quality New Zealand Souvenir to be found nowhere else in the world – you will find it here!. Alternatively, you may wish to have a relaxing afternoon or take a walk along the beach from your motel. The choice is yours.
Today we are continuing south into Haast. It is a short spectacular drive skirting the mighty Southern Alps to the small settlements of Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. We have the opportunity of viewing Franz Josef Glacier, unfortunately, the track to the glacier face is definitely not for wheelchairs. However, if you have a few spare dollars you may be interested in a Fox & Franz Josef Glacier and Mt Cook Scenic Helicopter Flight.
We then continue to Lake Matheson. The lake is world famously known as the “mirror” lake and if the weather gods allow affords an amazing reflection of Mt Cook (Aoraki) the tallest mountain in New Zealand. Here we stop for lunch and stretch our legs with a walk to the lake before we continue along the Westland Coast to our destination for the night Haast. After checking – we will have dinner at the local tavern which is a short (100 m) walk from our motel.
From Haast we will leave around 9am to make our way to Queenstown via the spectacular Haast River Valley before winding up into the alps. The drive today and tomorrow is simply stunning! There are photo opportunities around almost every bend. After traversing the mountains, we skirt around Lake Wanaka and Hawea before stopping at Wanaka Town for lunch on the lakefront. Another climb up the Crown Range as we leave Wanaka and pass through the winter playground before descending spectacularly into Queenstown where we stay for three nights.
Tonight, we will enjoy a ride up the gondolas and take our time with a delicious meal overlooking Queenstown. This is one of the best viewpoints and no better way to enjoy fresh NZ Cuisine.
Today you have the opportunity to enjoy one of New Zealand’s most untouched areas and the epitome of natural beauty at the Milford Sound. This is something that I would recommend everyone takes advantage. This is a long 12-hour day with a lot of driving but it is well worth the trip and there is plenty of stunning scenery to keep you entertained along the way.
This morning we can explore Queenstown for bargains and souvenirs before taking a short 20-minute drive to the ‘gold rush” settlement of Arrowtown nestled alongside the mountain ranges and the Arrow River. Quaint streets and parks everywhere with interesting historical buildings, cafes and shops. A perfect place for a stroll and lunch.
Today we will be travelling to our final destination. Our journey takes us past ice-blue glacier fed lakes that is the engine room for the massive hydro-electric power generation that supplies the whole of the country. This is Central Otago at its best! We will be passing through the rural towns of Omarama, Cromwell and Tekapo. Gliding from Omarama is the envy of pilots all over the world with its stunning scenery. Cromwell is a very small town which is famous for its fruit. A lot of travelers come here for fruit picking to earn a bit of money in order to continue their travels. This is where some of New Zealand’s best wine is crafted.
Again, there are many photo opportunities along the way. Tekapo is a beautiful town nestled on the southern edge of Lake Tekapo in the heart of the McKenzie Country. We stop for lunch in the South Canterbury Town of Fairlie before crossing the Canterbury Plains on our run into Christchurch where we will arrive late afternoon and get checked in, relax and get ready to say our goodbyes.
Depending upon the time of your flight we may have the opportunity for a scenic drive through the city out to the coastal suburb of New Brighton.
Sad goodbyes today, we will then accompany you to the airport for your journey home. Departures from Christchurch International Airport.