Day 1 : Queenstown - Lake Tekapo
Discover the untouched beauty and crystal clear skies in the world's largest dark sky reserve. We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ‘Lord of the Rings’ territory. After stopping to admire Mt Cook at Lake Pukaki, we travel to Lake Tekapo with its amazing location by snow-capped alps and clear starry skies. Lake Tekapo has something for everyone - relaxing at the lakeside and taking in the untouched view, soaking in the hot springs, discovering one of the many scenic walkways or checking out the mind-boggling stars in what is the world’s largest dark sky reserve.
Day 2 : Lake Tekapo - Christchurch
A day of contrasts from snowy peaks to fertile plains home to the Garden City. We have a straight run into Christchurch, our largest city in the South Island and the 3rd largest in New Zealand. Witness a city rebuilding and flourishing in the wake of the 2011 earthquakes. Check out the funky Re:Start Mall and keep your eyes peeled for the sweet pop-up bars around the city.
Day 3 : Christchurch - Nelson
Today will see you travel over the Lewis Pass - the northernmost of the three main passes across the Southern Alps. It is higher than the Haast Pass, and slightly lower than Arthur's Pass. State Highway 7 traverses the pass on its route between north Canterbury and the West Coast; it passes through extensive unmodified beech forest. The pass is the saddle between the valleys of the Maruia River to the northwest and the Lewis River to the southeast. The saddle is located close to the small spa of Maruia Springs. The Lewis Pass is named after Henry Lewis who, together with Christopher Maling, was the first European to discover the pass, in April 1860 while working as a surveyor of the Nelson Provincial Survey Department. Before this time the pass was used by the Ngāi Tahu Māori of Canterbury to transport Pounamu (greenstone) from the west coast. The area around Lewis Pass is protected as a national reserve.
Day 4 : Nelson - Wellington
We make our way to the Picton ferry terminal in time to catch the afternoon sailing to the North Island. Say farewell to the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu) and we’re on our way! The ferry ride takes a few hours so chill out and enjoy the view of the amazing Marlborough Sounds!
Day 5 : Wellington - Taupo
The drive today has beautiful rivers and lakes as well as Lord of the Rings landscapes! With an early start from windy Wellington we head north and pass through Taihape, where we drop off and pick up people for River Valley Adventure Lodge. Departing Taihape - the gumboot capital of NZ - we head to the Central Plateau, home of the Tongariro National Park. Then it’s through to Taupo driving alongside New Zealands biggest lake. If the weather suits, it’s time to skydive!
Day 6 : Taupo - Auckland (via Rotorua)
Hop-off in Rotorua, or head onwards to the ‘City of Sails’. This morning we head north to Rotorua, renowned for its Maori heritage and thermal activity. After dropping off passengers in Rotorua who are spending a night or two here, we stop at Kiwi Encounter, where you can get up close and personal with our national icon – the Kiwi bird. Next, we make our way to Matamata (aka Hobbiton). You can jump off here if you’re a Lord of the Rings nut. Then it’s onwards through the rolling countryside to Auckland, otherwise known as the ‘City of Sails’. We call into the Kiwi Experience office for a chance to purchase merchandise, confirm future bookings or extend your trip even further!