19 Day - Kaka Tour

The Kaka offers the perfect mix of exciting excursions and plenty of relaxing free time. Discover spectacular alpine scenery and the warmth of Rotorua’s Maori Culture and have close encounters with rare native wildlife on this unforgettable kiwi holiday. This is a leisurely holiday in the company of like-minded people on the this truly unique touring experience.

Day 1 - Arrive in Auckland

On arrival in Auckland, you'll be welcomed and transferred to your waterside accommodation in central Auckland.

Today is a day to explore on your own, central Auckland. Discover our central city shopping district, the various small cafes or exquisite restaurants on the Viaduct Harbour, Wynyard Quarter, Princes Wharf and Britomart Precinct.

For spectacular views over Auckland, head up to the Sky Tower, New Zealand's tallest man-made structure or look into our history at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

One Night Accommodation at Sebel Suites

Day 2 - Auckland - Rotorua (B)

Today we leave Auckland and head southeast through the lush dairy farmlands of the Waikato. Touring New Zealand's dramatic Karangahake Gorge we take a stroll alongside the Ohinemuri River through native bush to the relics and ruins of this region's gold-mining past. We pass through Te Puke, the Kiwifruit capital of the world, the landscape dotted with kiwifruit orchards before continuing on to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. Along the way, at Okawa Bay, we board "Tiua", a 53ft catamaran for a relaxing sail on serene Lake Rotoiti to secluded coves and natural hote pools reached only by boat - a great way to finish your day.

Two Nights Accommodation at Rotorua  Novotel Lakeside.  The hotel offers beautiful views over the lake and a contemporary modern decor for an enjoyable stay.

Day 3 - Rotorua (B,L)

A leisurely day in this lakeside town at the heart of Maori culture. Enjoy the morning at your own pace, stroll around the lakefront or visit Ohinemutu, one of only two living Maori villages left in New Zealand. The we head over to the famous "Buried Village of Te Wairoa" for a hosted lunch with our friends David and Karen.

After lunch we will take a walk around the village itself and then head over to Kiwi Encounter Rotorua where you will come up close to one of these famous birds and learn about all the effort that goes into ensuring their survival.

Day 4 - Rotorua - Tongariro National Park (B)

Today we visit the surreal, geothermal reserve, Wai-O-Tapu. The bubbling mud pools and incredibly colourful silica terraces are unforgettable.

On the road to Lake Taupo we visit the turbulent Huka Falls where the Waikato River thunders through a narrow chasm. From Taupo there are magnificent views across the lake to the three active volcanoes - Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu (2,797 metres), the highest mountain in the North Island. These mountains of the volcanic plateau are our destination for the nights, the World Heritage Tongariro National Park.

One Night Accommodation at Whakapapa Village, Chateau Tongariro.  The hotel is nearly as iconic a landmark as the mountain itself and embraces the history and tradition of it's surroundings.

Day 5 - Tongariro National Park - Napier (B)

fter breakfast we will make our way into idyllic Hawke's Bay with it's patchwork of orchards, pasture, vineyards and of course the coastline. Our destination for today is Napier, our very own Art Deco city. Napier was rebuilt in this style after an earthquake in 1931. These days it’s also an acclaimed wine region and your guide will introduce you to the premier vineyards before we end the day with a walking guided art deco tour. Your hotel is right on the waterfront.

One Night Accommodation at Te Pania Scenic Hotel. You will enjoy the central waterfront location and the extensive sea views from your hotel room.

Day 6 - Napier - Wellington (B)

Leaving Napier we drive through the countryside of farmland and vineyards then pass through the small farming towns of Norsewood and Dannevirke before heading down the Wairarapa Plains to historic, artsy Greytown. The picturesque main street is lined with antique, craft and gift shops. It is also the centre of the Wairarapa's premium wine growing region. We continue our trip further south to the quirky capital city of Wellington where you can enjoy the city's bustling food and wine scene.

One Night Accommodation at Bolton Hotel in the heart of Wellington's eclectic cafe scene.

Day 7 - Wellington - Interislander Crossing - Nelson (B)

This morning we catch the Interislander ferry  to cruise for three hours across Cook Strait into Tory Channel and up beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton. With our feet firmly planted on “Te Waka a Maui”, the South Island, our first stop is at Forrest vineyard in Marlborough’s premier wine and food region renowned for it's sauvignon blanc.  After wine tasting and lunch we head through the heart of Marlborough towards Nelson, the sunshine capital o New Zealand and gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. Along the way we cross the Pelorus River bridge, scene of the Barrel Run scene from the Hobbit movies. In Nelson relax and unpack and relax, we have reached our home for the next 2 nights.

Two Nights Accommodation at Century Park Motor Lodge.  Located only three minutes away from the centre of town it is an easy walk to the main restaurants and the Cathedral.

Day 8 - Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park - Nelson (B)

Today you have a choice of a full scenic cruise or a cruise and walk from Marahau along the stunning Abel Tasman coastline. Abel Tasman National Park is our country's smallest national park. It protects 23,000 hectares of the most natural stretch of easily accessible coastline in New Zealand. The coastline is characterised by islands just offshore, sheltered waters, estuaries and golden, sandy beaches. Lie on a beach or go for a swim if the weather is warm. The park is sheltered from ocean swells, and enjoys a mild climate year round. After your cruise or walk we return to Nelson.

Day 9 - Nelson - Kaikoura (B)

From Nelson we head over to Blenheim and down the spectacular Kaikoura coastline where big seas pound the rocks. Kaikoura is a small town beside the ocean and beneath the towering Kaikoura Ranges and the coastline is home to many marine mammals. Enjoy your free afternoon to explore the peninsula and town on foot or go on one of the local wildlife tours (additional cost).

One Night Accommodation at Kaikoura White Morph Motor Inn.

Day 10 - Kaikoura - Aoraki/Mt Cook (B,L)

The highway continues down the coast and winds inland over the Hunderlee Hills before dropping down to the Canterbury Plains. Our special lunch destination is Akaunui Farm homestead where we enjoy the warm hospitality of Di and Ian Mackenzie, picking up farming tips from Ian and lunching on fresh produce from Di’s bountiful garden. Afterwards, we drive towards Lake Tekapo, one of New Zealand's most photographed spots. The Church of the Good Shepherd and a sculpture celebrating the hard-working high country sheep dog are two irresistible photo stops.

One Night Accommodation at The Hermitage. Spectacular views of Aoraki Mt Cook and the surrounding National Park World Heritage area make this four star plus hotel and its Panorama Room restaurant a stunning destination.

Day 11 - Aoraki/Mt Cook - Queenstown (B)

Perhaps take an early morning stroll in the valley before we head down the mountain rimmed Mackenzie Basin, over the golden grass ranges of Lindis Pass and through the craggy Kawarau Gorge into Queenstown. We ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for a scenic overview of this picturesque resort and adrenalin adventure destination.

Three Nights Accommodation at Queenstown Scenic Suites. The hotel is just above the town with views to Lake Wakatipu and Remarkables Range.

Day 12 - Queenstown - Milford Sound - Queenstown (B)

Today is one of the highlights of your holiday in New Zealand. We travel along the breath taking Milford Road, admiring the glacier-carved valleys, sky-scraping mountain and mirror lakes and making plenty of photo stops along the way. Arriving in Milford Sound we board a boat and cruise the inky blue waters, spotting dolphins, penguins and seals with our onboard nature guide. We return to Queenstown on a scenic flight that showcases the beauty of Fiordland and Central Otago, rounding off an unforgettable day in New Zealand's Great Outdoors.

Day 13 - At leisure in Queenstown (B)

Take a day to experience the beauty of Queenstown exactly as you want to. Perhaps cruise on the Tss Earnslaw (optional), take a jet boat ride (optional) on the remote and beautiful Dart River in The Lord of the Rings scenery or walk the lakeshore.

Day 14 - Queenstown - Arrowtown - Cardrona Valley - Wanaka (B,L)

Our first destination is the stunning leafy village of Arrowtown where gold mining history comes alive beside the Arrow River. Heading into tussock country, the road climbs up the Crown Range with expansive views of the Gibbston Valley. We call into the Cardrona Hotel, its history also traced back to the gold mining era then continue on to your private lunch at a Wanaka homestead.

After lunch enjoy beautiful Wanaka at leisure - your hotel is right at the lakeside and beside a bike trail and walkway.

One Nights Accommodation at Edgewater Resort.

Day 15 - Wanaka - Haast Pass - Franz Josef (B)

We drive beside Lake Hawea and the top of Lake Wanaka before heading into pristine mountain and river scenery of the Haast Pass in Mt Aspiring National Park. Well-maintained tracks through native beech forests lead us to cascading waterfalls and clear blue pools where trout lurk. Leaving the mountains, the road winds along the edge of the river to Haast where the Department of Conservation Centre documents the region’s colourful history, flora and fauna. Continue north through the lush, primeval rainforest of Westland World Heritage Park, stopping at Ship Creek for a stroll on the beach to the dune lake and through swampland rainforest. Lake Matheson is famous for reflections of the Alps and at Franz Josef we view the advancing glacier descending through rainforest.

Two Nights Accommodation at Punga Grove, located in the heart of Franz Josef Glacier village in a beautiful rainforest setting feature.

Day 16 - Franz Josef - Okarito Lagoon - Franz Josef (B)

Today relax and enjoy the beauty of this remote World Heritage Park. We drive out to the coast to visit the tiny, isolated settlement of Okarito nestled between the Tasman Sea and Okarito Lagoon. You could kayak (optional) on the shallow waters of the lagoon, a feeding ground of the rare white heron (kotuku) which breeds nearby in the Waitangi Roto Nature Reserve, a 1,000-year-old kahikatea rainforest. Indulge in the tranquility of this remote World Heritage Park, perhaps take a helihike on the glacier or a scenic flight over the Alps to Aoraki/Mount Cook later today.

At the end of the day there’s nothing better than to soak in Franz Josef’s hot pools (optional) fed by pure glacier water before dining in the village.

Day 17 - Franz Josef - Hokitika - Punakaiki (B,D)

Travel up the coast passing mirror lakes, boulder-laden rivers and catching glimpses of the Southern Alps. At Hokitika there’s time to visit a host of craft galleries – Pounamu (greenstone) carving, glass blowing, wood and copper artisans. A beautiful coastal road following part of the ancient Pounamu trails used by Maori leads to your hotel on the coast at Punakaiki. Unique coastal flora includes the southernmost nikau palms. A little further up the road is the leading local attraction - the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, sculpted limestone sea stacks and towering cliffs. If the tide is right, blowholes thunder spreading clouds of spray. We celebrate our travels this evening in the hotel’s Jacob's restaurant.

One Night Accommodation at Punakaiki Resort. Flanked by the Tasman Sea and the rainforests, your four star accommodation is almost on the wild Punakaiki Beach just 50m from the high tide mark and 300m south of the Pancake Rocks & Blowholes.

Day 18 - Punakaiki - Arthur's Pass - Christchurch (B)

Retracing our steps down the coast we drive up the Otira Gorge on a spectacular cantilevered road through towering mountains to Arthur’s Pass National Park stopping at the lookout to watch the mischievous antics of the keas. Stretch your legs in the beech forests at Arthur’s Pass village and at the massive limestone rocks rising out of bare pasture at Castle Hill before we descend Porter’s Pass to the Canterbury Plains reaching Christchurch in the late afternoon.

One Nights Accommodation at Chateau on the Park. This resort style hotel is nestled amongst 5 acres of beautifully maintained gardens and offers tranquility and seclusion that you would normally expect to find miles from a city.

Day 19 - Depart Christchurch (B)

Time to say farewell to your new friends.

This morning, enjoy a delicious breakfast before getting picked up from your hotel to go to the airport for your flight home. If you have time prior to the transfer, catch up on last minute shopping for New Zealand classics such as merino clothing in the boutique Duty Free Stores or visit the Re-Start Container shopping mall.

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