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Grand Tour of New Zealand

4.7 stars(9 reviews)
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21 days exploring North and South Island

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
21 days Sold out

2021 Tour code: NZS21

About the tour

Enthralling scenery and breathtaking views are found at every turn in the 'Youngest Country on Earth'. Discover steaming geysers, mountains, fjords, and forests on this holiday showcasing the beauty of both New Zealand's North and South Islands.


What’s included


Day 1 - London to Auckland

Departing from London Heathrow, we fly via Singapore to Auckland.

Day 2 - To Auckland

Continue your flight to Auckland.


Day 3 - Arrive in Auckland

Arriving mid-morning on Day 3. The rest of your day is at leisure.

Day 4 - Waitangi Treaty House

Today we travel northwards through scenic farmland to Paihia for 2 nights, stopping en route at the Kawiti Glow Worm Caves; a series of underground caverns illuminated by these otherworldly creatures. We continue to the Waitangi Treaty House for a tour, where in 1840 the Maori and the British came to an historic agreement which effectively marked the birth of New Zealand as we know it. 

Day 5 - Bay of Islands

On Day 5, we enjoy a cruise around the Bay of Islands to rugged Cape Brett, sailing by the Cape Brett Lighthouse, Motukokako Island, and the famous Hole in the Rock. We drop anchor on Russell Island, known ominously in the 1800s as the 'Hell Hole of the Pacific' when it was a bustling base for whalers and seamen. Here we have free time before making the return journey by local ferry.

Day 6 - Auckland and Rotorua

This morning we drive back to Auckland, the country's largest city which dates back to around 1350 when it was inhabited by the Maori people. We head out on a sightseeing tour, taking in the views from Bastion Point, before stopping off at Parnell Village, the vibrant Viaduct Harbour area, and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. 

Day 7 - Glenbrook Vintage

We take a ride on the Glenbrook Vintage Railway on Day 7.

Originally opened in 1922, today the line transports us through the Bombay Hills and the Waikato Valley to Rotorua, the spiritual home of the Maoris and our base for the next 2 nights. We visit the internationally recognised and award-winning Hamilton Gardens in the afternoon, a peaceful oasis on the banks of the Waikato River. 

Day 8 - Lake Tarawera and Tamaki Maori Village

Day 8 begins with a guided tour that includes the incredible redwood forest, Lake Tarawera, the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, and the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. After some time to relax at our hotel, we head out on an evening excursion to the Tamaki Maori Village where we are welcomed in true Maori style, enjoying the chance to see, and even participate in, a real-life haka performance.

Day 9 - The Northern Explorer

Transferring to Hamilton across the Mamaku Mountain Ranges, we board the Northern Explorer for a rail journey through King Country. We view spectacular scenery from the panoramic windows, including the peaks of Tongariro National Park, the famous Raurimu Spiral, and the Kapiti Coast. 

Day 10 - Wellington

On Day 10 we tour Wellington, which includes visits to the city's chocolate factory for a tasting, as well as the Wellington Botanical Gardens. After time at leisure, use your included cable car ticket to make the return journey back to our hotel.

Day 11 - Christchurch, Blenheim and Marlborough wines

Today we take the Interislander ferry across Cook Strait, a stretch of ocean that serves as a passageway between New Zealand's North and South Islands. We arrive in Picton where we have a little free time to explore and grab lunch in one of the many waterfront cafés. We continue to Blenheim, where we spend the night. Blenheim is nestled in the verdant Marlborough wine-growing region, and is known as one of the sunniest towns in New Zealand. We're introduced to the region's most famous export this afternoon as we visit one of the excellent local wine estates for a wine tasting and a tour.


Day 12 - Blenheim

Enjoy a free morning in pretty Blenheim on Day 12 before we join the Coastal Pacific Train for a journey to Christchurch. Our rail journey affords us incredible views of the Marlborough region and the farmlands of the North Canterbury Plains, as we travel along a stretch of track where the ocean stretches out on one side and mountains rise towards the sky on the other. We arrive in Christchurch, where we spend the night. Christchurch is known as the newest city in the world, and there's a distinctly English atmosphere here.

Day 13 - Twizel

Leaving Christchurch, we continue by coach for a beautifully scenic journey to Twizle, seeing many of the highlights of the area. We journey through Fairlie, an attractive rural town, before crossing the mountainous Burkes Pass. We arrive in the lakeside town of Tekapo, where we pause to visit the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd, a pretty church set against a striking mountain backdrop on the shores of the lake. We also see Lake Pukaki, an endlessly beautiful alpine lake with striking, icy blue waters.

We arrive in Mount Cook National Park, a land of ice and rock that's home to immense glaciers and soaring mountains, including the highest alpine peak in Australasia. We spend tonight here in Twizel, a charming town nestled among the stunning surroundings.


Day 14 - Te Anau

We leave Twizel and travel to Te Anau on Day 14. Known as the gateway to New Zealand's Fiordland, Te Anau is a gorgeous destination, home to a host of splendid natural wonders.

Day 15 - Milford Sound and Queenstown

Our full-day excursion today starts with a drive through Fiordland National Park, where we make a scenic stop at the Mirror Lakes, traversing the Hollyford Valley, crossing the Homer Tunnel, before descending via the Cleddau Valley to Milford Sound. From here, we enjoy a peaceful cruise ahead of our journey by road to Queenstown, a popular destination dominated by magnificent scenery.


Day 16 - Queenstown

On Day 16, after a free morning, we embark on a sightseeing tour of the area, which includes historic Arrowtown, the site of a major gold rush in the 1860s and a 'Lord of the Rings' filming location, and the Gibbston Valley Winery. After a look around the cellars and a wine tasting, we cruise nearby Lake Wakatipu aboard the vintage steamship, TSS Earnshaw. We moor up at the Colonel's Homestead for a BBQ dinner and sheep shearing demonstration, ahead of our night-time return sailing.

Day 17 - Queenstown

Day 17 is at leisure in Queenstown.

Day 18 - The Franz Josef Glacier

We travel by coach to the Franz Josef Glacier, making a number of scenic stops along the way. An overnight stay and dinner at the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier, allows us to view the glacier up close or take a helicopter flight to the snowfield (payable locally).

Day 19 - TranzAlpine

 On Day 19, we visit Hokitika, the centre for New Zealand jade, before boarding the TranzAlpine for our scenic rail journey back to Christchurch. The route takes us through New Zealand's Southern Alps and across the Canterbury Plains.

Day 20 - The Antarctic Centre

On our final day in New Zealand, we visit the International Antarctic Centre for a snow and ice experience, learning how explorers have survived in such harsh environs over the centuries. We also get to meet some indigenous, and adorable, blue penguins, as well as seeing for ourselves the vital role husky dogs have played in scientific research here. Later, we transfer to the airport for our flight to London Heathrow, via Singapore, 

Day 21 - London

We touch down on Day 21  at London Heathrow.

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Please note: This may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.


Grand Millennium Hotel Auckland

Grand Millennium Hotel Auckland, Auckland

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Scenic Hotel Marlborough, Blenheim

Scenic Hotel Marlborough, Blenheim

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Quality Hotel Elms

Quality Hotel Elms, Christchurch

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Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier, Franz Josef

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier, Franz Josef

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Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

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Copthorne Hotel Queenstown Lakeview, Queenstown

Copthorne Hotel Queenstown Lakeview, Queenstown

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Distinction Hotel Rotorua, Rotorua

Distinction Hotel Rotorua, Rotorua

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Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Te Anau

Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Te Anau

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Mackenzie Country Inn, Twizel

Mackenzie Country Inn, Twizel

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James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

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Glenbrook Vintage Railway
Northern Explorer
Taieri Gorge Railway

Enhance your holiday


Combine your tour with the Australia & the Ghan
Flight upgrades
London Hotels
UK rail connections


4.7 stars4.7 / 5 · 9 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Mr T Lewandowski

4 stars

Submitted 19 Dec 2019

A few of the days were too long. Also a number of the lunch stops rushed us back to the bus.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr J Fairbairn

5 stars

Submitted 17 Dec 2019

Excellent, choice of hotels, excellent local guides, exceptional tour manager.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr B McLean

4 stars

Submitted 19 Apr 2019

Tour Manager very good.Hotels up to standard except the on at Bay of Islands where I have stayed in better Butlins Holiday camps.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr G Belsham

5 stars

Submitted 18 Apr 2019

Great time and well organised

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs S Devlin

5 stars

Submitted 26 Dec 2018

It was well planned, well executed and we well taken care of throughout our journey!!

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs M Plumb

5 stars

Submitted 27 Mar 2018

The tour was well organised and the itinerary was excellent with a superb tour manager and driver/guide.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Show all 9 reviews
Grand Tour of New Zealand

21 days exploring North and South Island


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