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Follow the Spirit of the Maori
Best time to go: January to April, October to December
15 Nights | from £4,179pp
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Holiday type: Tailor-made
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- Drive north from Auckland to the Bay of Islands to spend two days exploring important Maori landmarks
- Drive south to Rotorua via Hobbiton or the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, taking a guided tour of Mokoia Island
- South Island's Queenstown is famous as the country's adventure capital, but is also a great base for wine-tasting and cultural tours
- Take a cruise among the spectacular fjords of Marlborough Sound
Days 1 - 2 Arrive Auckland
Start your journey exploring Auckland with a Maori, who will guide you around this great city and the Maori section of the Auckland Museum. Later, you can enjoy a Maori cultural performance including the famous Haka war dance.
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Days 3 - 4 Auckland / Bay of Islands
Collect your hire car and head north to the picturesque Bay of Islands where you'll enjoy a guided visit of the Waitangi Treaty Reserve. Set off from Hokianga to visit the mighty Waipoua Forest where you will meet 'The Lord of the Forest', the giant Tane Mahuta, the largest tree you are ever likely to come across! Your Maori guide will share his insight to enable you to appreciate the affinity that early Maori had with the forest and the deep spiritual respect they hold for the giant trees still growing there.
Flagstaff Lodge & Day Spa | Meals: Breakfast
Distance: 145 miles | Driving time: approx. 3hrs
Day 5 Bay of Islands / Auckland
Head south at your own pace from the Bay of Islands, returning to the Sofitel Auckland to stay overnight.
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour | Meals: Breakfast
Distance: 145 miles | Driving time: approx. 3hrs
Days 6 - 7 Auckland / Rotorua
Set off towards Rotorua via Hobbiton or the Waitomo Caves where you can experience the real Middle-earth with an in depth tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set or take a guided tour through the limestone chambers of the ethereal Waitomo Glow Worm Caves. When you arrive in Rotorua, you will be staying at the Black Swan Lakeside Hotel. You’ll have time to take a guided tour of Mokoia Island, a renowned native bird sanctuary playing host to rare and endangered species such as the kokako, saddleback, stich bird and the New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi.
Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel | Meals: Breakfast
Distance: 140 miles | Driving time: approx. 2hrs 45mins
Days 8 - 9 Rotorua / Wellington
Head to Wellington for two nights during which time you will experience the myths and legends of the Whanganui-a-tara (Wellington Harbour) and discover a treasured Maori tradition that spans three centuries of well-known Maori Artists Journeys with their ancestors. End your day at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
InterContinental Wellington | Meals: Breakfast
Distance: 280 miles | Driving time: approx. 5hrs 45mins
Day 10 Wellington / Christchurch
Leaving your hire car in Wellington, fly down to Christchurch, where, having checked into The George Hotel, you’ll head out on a sightseeing tour of the city.
The George Hotel | Meals: Breakfast
Days 11 - 12 Christchurch / Oamaru
Having collected another hire car, set off from Christchurch to Oamaru where you'll discover the stories of Maori rock art at the tribal Rock Art Centre and enjoy the amazing interactive exhibitions.
Pen-y-bryn Lodge | Meals: Breakfast
Distance: 155 miles | Driving time: approx. 3hrs 15mins
Days 13 - 15 Oamaru / Queenstown
Drive from Oamaru to New Zealand’s adventure capital Queenstown where home for the next three nights is the Sofitel. From here, (weather permitting) experience Milford Sound in the best possible way - flying by fixed wing plane over the spectacular fjords. Once landed, you’ll board a luxurious vessel for a scenic nature cruise of the Sound. After a picnic lunch on board, you’ll fly back to Queenstown. Set off the next day to Gibbston Valley Winery for a winemaker’s tour - and of course tasting – followed by a delicious lunch. In the afternoon, head to the historic gold-mining settlement of Arrowtown and a ride on the Skyline Gondola to Bob's Peak for views over Lake Wakatipu.
Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa | Meals: Breakfast
Distance: 180 miles | Driving time: approx. 3hrs 30mins
Day 16 Depart Queenstown
You'll be driven to Queenstown Airport for your return flight.
At A&K all of our journeys are individually tailored to suit your needs and timescale. As a guide, this 16 day itinerary costs from £4,179 per person, based on two sharing, excluding international flights.
If you have birthday or anniversary coming up, or just fancy throwing one heck of a party, why not celebrate in style. Whatever the occasion, we are brimming with ideas. Find out more...
Our office in Auckland is managed by a local team of experienced and passionate travel professionals with an intimate knowledge of New Zealand, enabling them to provide clients with great insight into this fascinating destination, and ensuring a seamless experience every step of the A&K journey. With their long standing personal connections and networks they're also there to help you uncover local secrets and experiences, and to open doors to people and places normally beyond the reach of the ordinary traveller.
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Meet the Orient & Indian Subcontinent Team
Annie, Brandon, Debbie, Margaret, Vicky Smith, Lynne and Rachel - are experts in designing travel experiences across the region to suit your personal needs, interests and budget.
Best time to be there
Summer on the north island (December to February) is ideal for outdoor pursuits with mild temperatures and hours of sunshine. Venture to the numerous ski slopes and warm up close to a crackling fire during the winter months in June to August.
Auckland (Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, daily)
26 hours, one stop
GMT +12 hours
Not required for UK passport holders
Yellow Fever certificate if arriving from an endemic area