Amplified New Zealand, 16 Days
Selected travel dates 9 February 2019 - 30 March 2020
16 day tour departing Auckland.
15 nights accommodation in private room.
Continental breakfast every day.
Orientation tour of every location.
Cross Cook Strait on the Interislander ferry.
Traverse the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine train.
Traditional Maori hangi dinner cooked in an underground oven.
Experience a Maori cultural performance in Rotorua.
Carve your own pounamu/jade pendant in Franz Josef.
Discover NZ's most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas.
Journey through multiple National Parks.
Service of a passionate Kiwi guide.
Transport by comfortable bus.
Day 1 Auckland to Coromandel. Kia ora (hi) and welcome to Aotearoa (New Zealand) After our welcome breakfast, we hit the road together on our way to the North Island's best-kept secret: the Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel is a paradise of beautiful beaches and misty rainforests. Just a couple of hours from Auckland, we hit one of the most stunning drives in the North Island, where the road twists and turns dramatically round the coastline. We take the time to go this way to give you a taste of the more unique areas of the Coromandel that other tours don't go to. The colour of the ocean gets clearer and more pristine before your very eyes, as the landscape gradually changes all around you. Cameras at the ready - the views are magnificent. The Coromandel is home to the famous Hot Water Beach - thousands visit each year to dig their own personal "hot tub" here. If the tide times allow us to visit today or tomorrow, grab your bucket and spade and get busy We arrive in Whitianga with plenty of time to spare for you to explore the town and sample the sandy beaches. Day 2 Coromandel to Waitomo. This morning we'll walk together out along the cliffs down to Cathedral Cove (which you might recognize from the Chronicles of Narnia). Beautiful in its own right, with perfect beaches and massive rock arches and columns, it's one of the most popular spots in the Coromandel and for a good reason: It doesn't look real. Alternatively you could take a guided kayak trip to Cathedral Cove to check out this stunning coastline from a different angle (see optional activities below). Possibly accompanied by a dolphin or two. Later today we say goodbye to the East Coast and hello to the West as we head for Waitomo, where the glow worms await. Day 3 Waitomo to Rotorua. Ever been caving in a place with twinkling glowworms on the ceiling? Now's your chance Daredevils can opt to abseil 100 metres into the caverns on an epic 4-hour adventure. Or float along an underground river on a Black Water Rafting trip as the glowworms light your way. If heights or wet feet are not your thing, ask your Haka Guide about the excellent and informative guided walking tours of the caves. Back in daylight, we jump on the bus and make our way to Rotorua, famous for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. For thrills and spills along the way, there's the chance to roll down lush green hills in a giant air-cushioned inflatable ball or mess up your hair with a hair-raising spin on one of New Zealand's fastest jet boats. Day 4 Rotorua. With a full day to play in Rotorua, there's plenty of time to get amongst it and make the most of Rotorua's diverse activities and attractions. Lord of the Rings fans can channel their inner hobbit with a visit to picturesque Hobbiton - have a ginger beer at the Green Dragon for us. Alternatively you can fly through the lush forest canopy on a zipline tour for a truly epic brush with nature - or even do both. This is your trip, it's entirely up to you. This region is exceptional for its geothermal activity. With neon blue and red lakes, steaming rivers and bubbling mud, the natural wonders here will blow your mind - take an optional trip to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park if you'd like to make the most of the sights (and smells) of this unique landscape. This evening is a major tour highlight for many - we are welcomed to a Maori village for an unmissable cultural performance featuring combat demonstrations, beautiful poi dance, and - of course - the breathtaking haka. But you won't just be watching the show. You will also have the privilege of learning a haka or a poi dance from local Maori, a truly special experience. A traditional hangi meal, cooked in an earth oven, rounds off your evening and will fill your puku (belly) to bursting. Day 5 Rotorua to Taupo. This morning, you have some time to explore the city. Alternatively, if adrenalin's your thing, the highest commercial waterfall drop in the world, on the Kaituna River, is begging to be conquered on an exhilarating rafting trip. It's only a short drive to our next destination, and there's plenty to discover along the route. From mesmerising mud pools to the thundering rapids of the Huka Falls, your Haka Guide will make sure you don't miss a thing. Taupo is a beautiful lakeside town with a stunning mountain backdrop. Lake Taupo is New Zealand's largest lake - believe it or not, it's roughly the same size as Singapore This place is all about the thrills and spills, and there are plenty of options in store this afternoon. Get your hair wet with a water touch bungy jump, or take an unforgettable skydive for amazing lake and mountain views. Day 6 Taupo. For many, the ultimate adventure on offer here is the hiking (or tramping, as we Kiwis know it). The Tongariro Crossing, is among the top full-day walks in the world. This 19.4 km mountain trek boasts emerald green lakes, venting steam, lava flows and craters. You'll come back grinning from ear to ear before falling into bed and sleeping like a baby. If you'd prefer to relax, jump on a boat for a sailing trip to view Maori rock carvings. Or head to Spa Park and soak until your fingers are wrinkly. However you choose to spend today we guarantee you won't forget it. Day 7 Taupo to Wellington. It's a big drive today from Taupo to Wellington, but there's some unmissable scenery on offer. Lord of the Rings junkies - charge up those camera batteries, you're in for a treat. Our journey to Wellington takes us through Tongariro National Park via the Rangipo Desert (bet you didn't know New Zealand had one of those). Some of your favourite Lord of the Rings battle scenes were filmed right here, ladies and gentlemen. The Desert Road, as State Highway 1 is known in these parts, gives incredible views of three active volcanic peaks - Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Ruapehu. You may know Mount Ngauruhoe as Mt Doom, so be sure to snap that all-important Mordor selfie. We pass through two of the North Island's quirkier towns - as ever, your Haka Guide has a couple of surprises up his sleeve... We pull into Wellington around late afternoon. New Zealand's capital is famous for its bars and eateries, and is a paradise for lovers of craft beer - you'll be spoilt for choice tonight. Day 8 Wellington to Kaikoura. Packed with quirky cafes, beautiful street art and heaps of things to do, Wellington will blow you away. Don't get blown away by the wind though, Wellington is famous for it Your Haka Guide will show you around some of our favourite spots this morning. We take a trip up Mt Victoria for the best views in town. Prepare to be amazed at Weta Studios, where the special effects of Lord of the Rings and Avatar were produced. This afternoon we say farewell to the North Island with a scenic ferry journey across the Cook Strait. The South Island has a stunning welcome in store for us - gliding through the sounds as we approach Picton Harbour, you'll feel like you're in another world. Our next destination, Kaikoura literally means 'to eat crayfish', and the area is teeming with them. The nutrient-rich waters of this area attract a wide variety of marine wildlife including the stars of the show - the whales and dolphins. Day 9 Kaikoura to Christchurch. The chance to swim with dolphins in the wild is a massive New Zealand highlight for many travellers, and Kaikoura is one of the best places to find them, with pods of up to 300 of these playful creatures hanging out here at any one time. If you want to get up close to the giants of the ocean, a whale watching tour here is the way to do it. Humpbacks, sperm whales and killer whales all stop by the area at various times of year, so this is a great chance to meet some of them. After saying hello to the local seals on our way out of town, our road trip continues to our home for the night - Christchurch, a beautiful garden-filled city with lazy rivers and heritage buildings. Day 10 Christchurch to Tekapo. This morning we'll explore iconic downtown Christchurch and your Haka Guide will show you the cool ways the city has reunited and is being rebuilt after the 2011 quake. With lots of quirky shops, cool cafes and spots to dine, along with a young fun Kiwi culture, Christchurch shouldn't be missed. After lunch we leave the city behind and head for MacKenzie Country, named for James MacKenzie, one of New Zealand's most enduring folk heroes. There's even a statue of his faithful dog at today's destination - Lake Tekapo. The lake's breathtaking turquoise colour and mountain backdrop is a photographer's dream come true. The iconic Church of the Good Shepherd stands right at the water's edge. Grab some confetti and congratulate any passing brides - couples travel from all over the world for wedding shots in front of the chapel. If you're feeling energetic, hike up to the summit of Mt John. With awesome views of the Southern Alps, you'll feel like you're on top of the world. Or take a scenic flight over the mountains, glaciers and lakes of this beautiful part of the world. Thanks to the super clear skies, the area around Tekapo has been declared a "Dark Sky Reserve" and it's the best place in New Zealand to see the stars and galaxies on a clear night. Sit back, relax and enjoy. Day 11 Tekapo to Queenstown. Today's drive to Queenstown is a show-stopper. From the golden tussocklands of MacKenzie country - where the epic battles of Return of the King were filmed - to the dramatic mountain peaks of the Southern Alps surrounding us, it's like you're driving into a postcard. We'll pause to admire these stunning views so get ready to give those camera batteries another workout. Whether you're an adrenalin junkie, an avid hiker, wine taster or scenery lover, Queenstown has something for absolutely everyone. With two nights and one full day here, get ready - this town certainly knows how to party. Day 12 Queenstown. With a full day in Queenstown, it's time to get cracking on your bucket list. There are many different options to choose from: paragliding, mountain biking, bungy jumping while your Haka friends cheer you on, horse riding through some stunning Lord of the Rings locations in Glenorchy, and swinging through a canyon are all on offer. Queenstown is also home to New Zealand's most famous burger: Fergburger. Why not grab one with your new friends as you explore the town? For scenery lovers, Milford Sound is not to be missed. Whether you choose a scenic flight or a cruisey coach trip, you'll love the scenic journey as much as the destination. Once on the Sound, sailing around the fiords beneath thundering waterfalls and towering cliff faces, you'll understand why some call it the '8th Wonder of the World'. Beautiful in rain or shine, Milford takes the biscuit as one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful areas of the South Island. Back in Queenstown, with around 40 bars to choose from, there are plenty of spots to catch up with your travel buddies, share stories of your day, and party the night away. Day 13 Queenstown to Wanaka. After all the excitement of Queenstown, today is a chance to chill. Wanaka is Queenstown's slightly quieter little sister, only an hour's drive away. A year round destination, Wanaka is blessed with towering mountains and a glacial blue lake. It's widely regarded as one of New Zealand's most beautiful mountain towns. There are stunning hikes and bike rides all around the area for a welcome change of pace. One of the best ways to admire Wanaka is from the air. Treat yourself to a skydive or a scenic flight in a vintage plane - you can even take a flying lesson, Or if you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, stroll around the lake and check out the famous Wanaka Tree, standing all alone in the water. It's up to you. Day 14 Wanaka to Franz Josef. After a free morning in Wanaka, the journey to Franz Josef is an absolute stunner - many of our Haka Guides rate it as their favourite drive in New Zealand (and they should know) From mountain passes to cascading waterfalls to classic Kiwi coastal views, you won't even dare to take a nap on the bus in case you miss anything. Your Haka Guide will have some epic surprise stops for you along the route as well. Between September and December it's whitebait season (a small fish that's a delicacy in New Zealand). Fried up with eggs and served on toast, it' a local treat and shouldn't be missed. We'll stop at one of the local spots to try it out. We roll into Franz Josef around late afternoon/early evening. This world heritage area is famous for its spectacular glacier, just 5km from town, which is begging to be explored tomorrow. Day 15 Franz Josef. With Aoraki (Mt. Cook - New Zealand's highest mountain) twinkling behind the glaciers, Franz Josef is about as beautiful a setting as you can find in New Zealand. Te Wahi Pounamu (which means 'the place of greenstone' in Maori) is the name given to the this part of the West Coast because of the abundance of greenstone (jade) to be found here. Included in your tour today is the chance to carve your very own greenstone souvenir to take home. There are heaps of ways to enjoy Franz Josef Glacier; weather permitting, to get up onto the bluest ice you can take a scenic helicopter flight and hike onto the glaciers. Maybe you'd prefer to kayak on a glacial lake; or just relax in the steamy hot springs down below. As well as the awesome glacier activities you could also try out quad biking, horseback riding and even a bit of group karaoke tonight in Franz Josef Day 16 Franz Josef to Christchurch. Before you know it, it's your last day After breakfast we head further along the beautiful west coast on another of the most spectacular drives in the country (and, some would say, the world): a rugged, primeval landscape of luxuriant rainforest juxtaposed against breathtaking beach and ocean waves. We stop at Hokitika and visit a greenstone factory, a great place to stock up on souvenirs for your friends and family back home. Time permitting, we may also visit the National Kiwi Centre where there is guaranteed viewing of rare Kiwi birds in their nocturnal house. On the way back to Christchurch, we take the stunning TranzAlpine Train Crossing. Travelling across the Southern Alps through Arthur's Pass, we arrive in Christchurch around 6.30 pm and head to our accommodation.
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