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Kiwiana - Overland Trip

3 weeks: Wellington to Auckland (KWZ)

Starting in Wellington, we board the Cook Straight Ferry and head straight for the South Island which we enter through the very scenic Queen Charlotte Sound. Our journey takes us south via Marlborough’s wine region and along the rocky coast to Kaikoura. From Kaikoura we travel to Christchurch and across the Canterbury Plains for stunning views of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps from Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki. We drive onto Dunedin before making our way south west to Fiordland and a boat trip on Milford Sound. Our next stop is Queenstown where you can try your hand at bungee jumping, skydiving, white water rafting, river sledging, or simply take in the magnificent views of this picture postcard scenery with a gondola ride to the top of the peaks. We head up the West Coast to Pukekura, Fox and Franz Glaciers, past the Pancake Rocks in Punakaikei and onto Abel Tasman National Park where you will have time to explore the golden beaches, sandy estuaries and natural forest. We cross back over the Cook Straight and have a chance to explore Wellington before heading north into the Rangitikiei, Pipiriki and National Park. We travel to Waitomo where there is 45 km’s of an underground cave and grotto network. Our last stop is a free camp after which you tour comes to an end in Auckland.

Accommodation

We use different forms of accommodation on our tours: Hotels, Lodges, Farm stays and Camping. This allows us to get the most out of the areas we travel. There are opportunities to upgrade to \'chalets\' in some camp grounds when available. These upgrades are booked en-route and are payable on confirmation. All accommodation is based on twin share unless circumstances dictate a change in room configuration.

Kitty Notes

In addition to the tour price there is a Local Tour Payment, which is paid to your Tour Leader at the beginning of each tour - in NZ$ cash only. This is part of your overall tour cost and is used to cover three meals a day whilst camping and accommodation as per itinerary on tour. Please refer to our website for a full list of optional excursions.

Itineraries (Wellington - Auckland)

20 Days

KIWIANA
19 Days Wellington to Auckland
Price: GBP£1060 + NZD$390 LTP

What’s Included
Accommodation: Hotels – Camping - Farm stays – lodges
Camping equipment: 3 person dome tents + sleeping mattresses
Meals: All meals while camping, most other breakfasts and some lunches
Transport: Overland Vehicle – Ferry
Staff: Tour Leader/Driver + Local Guides
Mountain Bikes
On board library

Cook Strait Ferry
Milford Sound Cruise
Pancake Rocks
\'Bridge to Nowhere\' tour

HIGHLIGHTS:
Auckland – Rangitikei - Wanganui River - Bridge to Nowhere - National Park - Waitomo Caves - Wellington - Cook Strait Ferry – Kaikoura – Christchurch - Mt Cook Region - Southern Alps – Dunedin - Franz Josef Glacier - Fox Glacier - Southern Lakes – Queenstown - Milford Sound - Pukekura - Punakaikei / Pancake Rocks - Abel Tasman National Park – Nelson - Wellington

TOUR ITINERARY - 20 DAYS

Day 1: Wellington to Kaikoura via the Cook Strait:
Today we cross the Cook Strait and enter the South Island through the scenic Marlborough Sounds, often dubbed New Zealand's 'little slice of Norway'. We arrive at Picton, the gateway to the Sounds, and make our way to Kaikoura via Marlborough which is New Zealand's top producing wine region. Kaikoura is home to some of the best sea creatures in the world. There is so much diversity and accessibility here because of the topography and depth of the ocean floor. You cannot be anything but impressed with Kaikoura; from the beautiful Peninsula backed by the snow-capped peaks of the Kaikoura Ranges to the whales, dolphins and seals.
*Possible upgrade available here.

Day 2: Kaikoura to Christchurch:
This morning before we depart Kaikoura we have the chance to go in search for the mighty Sperm Whale (weather permitting) - or maybe a swim with dolphins/seals in their natural environment. A drive along the Kaikoura coast and the 'Alpine Pacific Triangle' brings us to the very English looking city of Christchurch. The 'Garden City' has plenty to offer and you will have time to explore. Don't miss the Cathedral Square and the chance to meet the famous wizard! Take time out with a walk through tree lined Hagley Park which borders the city centre, and end your afternoon with a relaxed punt down the Avon River. Tonight we can head into town for a bit of local culture.

Day 3: Christchurch to Omarama:
We depart Christchurch and head South through the Canterbury Plains towards McKenzie Country. We stop for views along the way at Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki. We have the option of a flight over New Zealand's highest peak, Mt Cook, which is 3764m and produces fantastic aerial views of the mountains and surrounding areas. Tonight we spend the night at one of McKenzie Countries remote farm stations.

Day 4: Omarama to Dunedin:
Today as we make our way to Dunedin, New Zealand's Scottish and Victorian City, we stop along route to see Moreraki Boulders. Formed some 60 million years ago, these boulders have long been a subject of legend and curiosity. Dunedin is at the heart of one of New Zealand's most renowned eco tourism areas. Not only can one see the world's rarest penguin's, the Royal Albatross, New Zealand's Oldest University, but the world's steepest street, and a 19th Century Castle. And let's not forget an optional tour of the Speight's Brewery, 'The Southern Man's beer'. Tonight we can enjoy a night out in this Scottish City.

Day 5: Dunedin to Hollyford Valley:
We head into Southland on the 'Southern Scenic Route' towards the famous Milford Sound. We make the ascent up to the Homer Tunnel, which is 1200m long and an experience on its own. As we drive into Milford Sound you will soon understand why we have travelled so far off the beaten track to get here. Come rain or shine this is truly New Zealand at its unparalleled and glorious best. Tonight we will relax before we take in the spectacular scenery.
*Possible upgrade available here.

Day 6: Hollyford Valley to Te Anau via Milford Sound:
Today we hop aboard our boat for a breathtaking cruise in the heart of Milford Sound. You will see Mitre Peak, which has a dominate presence on the skyline. Milford Sound is 15km long and about 290m at its deepest. You also have the chance to visit the 160m Bowen falls. The fiords are home to a number of different wildlife, with Fur seals commonly being seen lying about on the rocks. We head back to Te Anau, New Zealand's second largest lake. This lovely little lake side town will allow you to appreciate the spacious open areas, beautiful lake views and the amazing contrasts that the South Island has on offer.
*Possible upgrade available here.

Day 7: Te Anau to Queenstown:
Today we head to the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown. You have more than a few options available to you for the next 48 hours. First, you can take time to relax and get your breath back, or you can fasten your seatbelt and jump in! .With the variety of activities on offer in and around Queenstown, you will be spoilt for choice. Jump off the bungee bridge, go white water rafting and follow that by a jet boat ride. When you think you have had enough, there's always more! It's out of the wet cloths and on with the dry, as we paint the town red by night. (Winter trips have the option of hitting the slopes, to catch up on some skiing).

Day 8: Queenstown:
You have today to explore this adventure town or just relax in the array of coffee shops on and around the lakes edge; the surrounding view will see your day pass very easily. Queenstown is one of top, and most scenic adventure venues in the world. Within the stunning setting of mountains and lake, you can do almost anything here. There are a number of wineraries here that offer very good wines - especially Pinot Noir - and claim to be the most southerly wineraries in the world. So instead of jetboating on the Shotover, perhaps a relaxing wine trail is more to your liking.

Day 9: Queenstown to Fox Glacier:
Today we make our way to the wild and wet West Coast; but first we will stop at Arrowtown, one of the first gold mining settlements in New Zealand. Its tree lined streets and historic buildings lie beautifully nestled at the foothills of the Crown Range. We will then make one more stop before arriving at Fox Glacier, at Wanaka, one of the most desirable places to live in New Zealand. With Lake Wanaka lapping at the shores, the picture postcard Southern Alps as its background and bordering Aspiring National Park, you will soon feel the same way as many others. We now head through the remote area of Haast and the dense rain forests, and make our way to the foot of Fox Glacier.

Day 10: Fox Glacier to Pukekura:
Covering 13 kilometres and descending 1200 metres, Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are only 6 km from the Tasman Sea and are amongst the fastest moving in the world. Here you have the chance to partake in some optional excursions such as a guided walk on ice, or maybe you would like to experience the thrill of a helicopter flight over this amazing mass of frozen water. After the glaciers have been conquered (or not..) we head up the West Coast to the small settlement of Pukekura, population 2. Pukekura is really known for the Bushman's Centre and Museum, and the adjoining cafe that serves 'road kill soup fo the day'....

Day 11: Pukekura to Punakaiki:
We drive further north today stopping at Paporoa National Park where we see the famous Pancake Rocks and blow holes at Dolomite Point at the small coastal settlement of Punakaiki. The National Park offers an array of outdoor activities: trekking, horse trekking, kayaking and rock climbing. For those that mya have had their fill of adventure in Queenstown, you can always take time to curl up with a good book or perhaps watch for the dolphin pods that vie with the surfers for the best wave.

Day 12: Punakaiki to Abel Tasman NP:
We continue north and for the next two nights we camp at Marahau, the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. Abel Tasman National Park, is New Zealand's smallest National Park, but one of the most beautiful. 23,000 ha of rolling hills, native bush, hidden golden sand beaches and over 91km of coastal scenery and is home to the Tonga Island Marine Reserve.

Day 13: Abel Tasman National Park:
The National Park can be enjoyed by walking the coastal track one way and with the return trip by launch or water taxi , or by sea kayaking the Coast and drifting slowly taking in the spectacular sights and watching dolphins, seals and the wildlife. There are numerous water taxi operators that offer day trippers the option of being dropped off at one beach and picked up at another. Or you can walk the length of the Coastal Walkway.. You can go sea kayaking, swim with seals, go sailing, have a microlight flight or go tandem hang gliding. Options galore.

Day 14: Abel Tasman to Nelson:
Before we leave the South Island, we will visit Nelson which is known as the sunniest place in the country. Nelson is a very lively and modern town and is renowned as a vibrant arts, crafts and festival centre. Within 100 kms are some of the best beaches in New Zealand and some of the most diverse National Parks. Nelson has over 300 artists resident in town, so it is obvious the Arts also feature heavily as an attraction. Wineries and local breweries are another big draw card..

Day 15: Nelson to Wellington:
Driving to Picton, we once again board the ferry to enjoy the scenery as we leave the South Island and head for Wellington. You will have time now to enjoy New Zealand's Capital city one more time.

Day 16: Wellington to Rangitikei:
From Wellington we travel north to the Rangitikei region. After passing through Taihape (the home of The World Gumboot Throwing Festival..) we carry onto a remote farmstay on the Rangitikei River. The Lodge is set in amazing countryside with million dollar views of the magnificent Rangitikei River; and with the Ruahines towering above the retreat, it is the perfect place to spend a very peaceful night. Spend the afternoon by the pool , fishing for trout in the river, taking a bush walk or even playing country style mini-golf.

Day 17: Taihape to Ohakune:
This morning you have the option to take a gentle raft trip up the crystal clear waters of the Rangitikei River to the Mokai Canyon where you can take a chair lift to the top of the bungy bridge and opt for either a Bridge Swing or a Flying Fox ride. Otherwise, jump in the truck and drink coffee in the Canyon cafe and watch your fellow travellers swing through the 80 metre deep canyon! From here we continue to Ohakune near the southern edge of the Tongariro National Park. Ohakune is our base for the next two nights.

Day 18: Ohakune to Pipiriki to Ohakune:
We travel to the tiny village of Pipiriki to take a jet boat ride to the 'Bridge to No-where. You will have a guided jet boat tour of the majestic Wanganui River and it's fern-clad gorges and then come to the Mangapurua Landing. This is the gateway to the 'Bridge to Nowhere' in 'The Valley of Abandoned Dreams' which you arrive at after an easy 40 minute walk through native bush. After lunch, you jump in your canoes and paddle back to Pipiriki. Simply relax and take in the tranquil and majestic river. Back in Ohakune for the night.

Day 19: Ohakune to Waitomo via National Park:
We travel through the National Park back in the Waikato region; one of New Zealand's richest agricultural areas, with its green rolling hills and the largest river in the country snaking its way north. Waitomo ('wai' water and 'tomo' hole) with its underground world of limestone caves is one of the regions biggest attractions. There are over 360 recorded caves in the area with the longest one being over 14km long. You can visit the Glow worm caves - a galaxy of luminous larvae which is well worth the effort. If you do not wish to visit the Glow Worms, you can always opt for the famous Black Water Rafting or other caving activities.

Day 20: Waitomo to Auckland
From Waitomo we head North over the Bombay Hills before arriving in Auckland where this tour comes to an end.

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Departures

Reference Departure Arrival Price GBP Kitty NZD Notes
KWZ24 Wellington Auckland £1060 NZD$390
KWZ25 Wellington Auckland £1060 NZD$390
KWZ26 Wellington Auckland £1060 NZD$390
KWZ27 Wellington Auckland £1060 NZD$390
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