Duration: 14 Days
From snow-capped mountain peaks and turquoise-hued lakes to charismatic towns and cosmopolitan cities, you’ll be spoiled for choice on this action-packed New Zealand holiday. From Auckland to Christchurch and everywhere in between - there’s so much waiting to be seen on this 14-day tour.
Throughout your cross-country adventure, you’ll encounter some of the best natural scenery that New Zealand has to offer. Discover the tranquil beauty of Lake Taupo on a kayaking tour through its hidden bays; get up close to native rainforest on the West Coast Treetops Walk; soak up the silence of Doubtful Sound as you cruise across its unspoiled waters; and take in the sweeping Southern night sky during a farewell dinner in Tekapo.
Foodies rejoice, with opportunities to participate in a progressive dinner through the nation’s well-cultured capital, sample the local cider in sunny Nelson, tour Wanaka’s world-famous Cardrona Distillery, and savour local wine and cheese at a boutique Southland winery. Designed to give the perfect mix of active adventure and free time, this Cosmos tour captures New Zealand at its absolute finest.
Welcome to Auckland! Please meet your Tour Director at your leisure in the hotel lobby from 2.00pm - 5.30pm to complete the tour check-in process. Later, join your Tour Director and travelling companions for a welcome meeting and drink.
Start your day with the All Blacks Experience, an interactive, fully-guided showcase of one of New Zealand's greatest sporting teams. Discover the stories behind some of world rugby's most famous players and face the full force of the haka from a virtual All Blacks side. Depart Auckland and head south, travelling through rolling green countryside, stopping in the quirky town of Tirau for a guided walk. Arrive in Rotorua, the geothermal and Maori centre of New Zealand. The remainder of the day is at leisure. This evening, why not enjoy a walk amongst the majestic redwoods on the Rotorua Tree Top Walk? (B)
Today, experience an intimate look into day-to-day life at Whakarewarewa Living Maori village. Your Local Guide will educate and delight you with stories of the Village. Take a walk on the boardwalks to see boiling hot mud pools and learn how the residents use the natural geothermal energy for everyday use. Experience traditional dances and songs, including the legendary haka. The rest of the day is yours to explore on your own. You may want to visit the Polynesian Spa for a relaxing treatment, enjoy views of Lake Rotorua from a zip line, hire a bike and explore the network of local trails, see the lake district on a genuine WWII amphibious landing craft, or get a bird's eye view of volcanoes, craters, and lakes on a scenic flight. (B,L)
Travel south today to Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake. Enjoy a kayak tour past steep cliffs and inlets before viewing 12 metre-high Maori rock carvings. Your guide will explain the carving's cultural significance to the lake and surrounding areas as you float beneath them. Continue to Wellington where this evening you'll participate in a fun progressive dinner. (B,D)
See the highlights of Wellington this morning on a city tour before boarding a ferry for the scenic journey across the Cook Strait to the South Island. Continue to Nelson, known as "Sunny Nelson" due to its fantastic climate. There's time for an orientation tour and a cider and wine tasting at McCashins Brewery before arriving at your hotel. This evening, why not opt to explore the thriving art and craft scene, stroll through one of the many gardens and parks, or try some of the fresh local cuisine. (B)
Enjoy a day at leisure in this spectacular part of New Zealand. You may choose to take an optional excursion and explore the Farewell Spit with its dramatic coastal cliffs, abundant wildlife, historic lighthouse, and stunning views. Other options include kayaking in nearby Abel Tasman National Park, browsing local art galleries, taking in some of the region's stunning scenery on a bicycle tour, or discovering local specialties including craft beers, wine, fruits and seafood. Your Tour Director will have suggestions to make the most of your stay. (B)
Travel to Greymouth, a former gold rush town on the west coast. This afternoon, enjoy a private jade carving demonstration with a traditional carver. The remainder of the day is at leisure. You may wish to tour Monteith's Brewery, get some exercise on the Enchanted Forest Quad bike tour, or visit the unique glowworm caves. (B)
This morning, enjoy the breathtaking views from the Westcoast Treetops Walk where you will walk among these rainforest giants. Next, explore the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage area of Franz Josef. A Glacier Valley walk will take you up alongside the mighty Waiho River bed, following the glacier's path of retreat in this remarkable landscape. Here you will learn about the glacier's history, see what is left behind by this majestic giant, and learn the legend of Ka Roimate o Hine Hukatere. After a brief climb, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the changing face of the glacier. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. You may opt to take a kayak tour, explore more walking tracks on your own, take a scenic flightseeing or helicopter tour, spend time at the West Coast Wildlife Centre, or relax in one of the glacier hot pools. (B)
Today, journey through rainforests and over Haast Pass. Stop in the resort town of Wanaka and visit Cardrona Distillery, maker of fine spirits, for a tour, tasting, and nibbles. Arrive in Queenstown for an orientation tour. Your evening is at leisure to explore more on your own. Why not take the gondola to the top of Bob's Peak for some of the best stargazing? (B)
Enjoy a day at leisure. Options for your free time include an exciting jet boat ride on the Dart River, a self-guided cycling tour, see movie locations on a Lord of the Rings tour, grab a burger at the famous Fergburger, sample some of the region's best wines, go to new heights on a scenic helicopter flight, or browse the many shops and art galleries in town. (B)
Leaving Queenstown, head into the best kept secret in New Zealand, Doubtful Sound. Experience a journey which rivals Milford in spectacular beauty but remains completely uncongested. Join a cruise along the fiords and marvel at the waterfalls, the beauty of the surrounds, and a chance to see wildlife such as dolphins, seals, and penguins. In the afternoon, return to Te Anau for an evening at leisure. (B,L)
En route to Dunedin, the "Edinburgh of the South", visit the Croydon Aviation Centre and see its heritage collection of 1920s and 30s aircraft. Arrive in Dunedin and enjoy a city sightseeing tour followed by a tasting at the famous Speights Brewery. The remainder of the day is at leisure. You may opt to visit Larnach Castle & Gardens, the Settlers Museum, or spend time at the Royal Albatross Centre. (B)
This morning, enjoy a wildlife cruise along the rugged coastline. Learn about the local wildlife, history, and geology. Keep your eyes open for fur seals, hector's dolphins, blue penguins, and ocean birds including the royal albatross. Stop in Oamaru with free time to explore the Victorian heritage and experience the quirky Steampunk attractions. Next, enjoy a wine and cheese tasting at boutique winery, River-T. This evening, join your Tour Director for a farewell dinner under the sweeping southern night sky. (B,D)
This morning, you may wish to take the Lake Tekapo walk to admire the views of the lakefront and the picturesque, Church of the Good Shepherd. Continue to Christchurch. The coach will make a stop at the Christchurch International Airport for homebound passengers. Schedule flights after 2pm. A stop will also be made at the Ibis Christchurch Hotel for any guests wishing to extend their time in Christchurch. Hotel nights are available for purchase. (B)