UK - In flight
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your flight to Auckland.
Auckland - Christchurch
Following our arrival into Auckland, we take a connecting flight to Christchurch in the South Island. Upon arrival, we transfer to the Chateau on the Park - Christchurch, a DoubleTree by Hilton (3T+). The remainder of the day is free.
We head to the Banks Peninsula, named for the botanist Joseph Banks, who sailed with Captain James Cook on the Endeavour. On arrival in Akaroa, we board a comfortable catamaran for a two-hour cruise of the harbour and view the giant volcanic sea cliffs. We learn how the entire Banks Peninsula was created from a huge volcano, now extinct for several million years, and keep an eye out for the abundance of marine life including fur seals, the rare Hector’s dolphin and little penguins - mainland New Zealand’s largest colony resides in the area. Afterwards, you are free to take lunch and explore the country’s only French settlement.
Christchurch - Dunedin
We travel south to Dunedin. With a strong Scottish heritage, Dunedin is home to New Zealand’s only kilt shop and produces the country’s whisky. We stay at the Scenic Hotel Southern Cross (4T), one of the city’s top hotels, for two nights.
Our excursion today takes us to the Otago Peninsula, home to many species of magnificent marine life including blue penguins, the rare New Zealand sea lion and endangered yellow-eyed penguin. We take to the walkways to get a closer glimpse of the wildlife and admire spectacular views over the sheer cliff faces of this volcano-born peninsula. Our visit includes the Royal Albatross Centre.
Day 7 - Dunedin - Doubtful Sound/Milford Sound overnight cruise
An overnight bag is needed today, as we travel to Fiordland, one of the most spectacularly scenic areas of New Zealand, where we enjoy an overnight cruise on either Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound. We’ll first journey to Lake Manapouri or Te Anau, before boarding Fiordland Navigator (3T) or Milford Mariner (3T) for our cruise.
We spend the remainder of the afternoon gliding through this unspoilt wilderness and watching for rare wildlife as the awesome scenes of smooth fiord waters and steep green banks unfold. This evening the vessel anchors in a quiet part of the sound where you spend an enchanting night.
Doubtful Sound/Milford Sound - Queenstown
We return to our coach for the journey to Queenstown and our hotel, the Heritage Queenstown (4T) or Millennium Queenstown (4T).
These two days are free for you to explore the alpine resort of Queenstown and the sublime wilderness that surrounds it. This cosmopolitan city boasts a great art scene, excellent vineyards and five international-standard golf courses. Keen walkers may like to look into hiking from the city to Queenstown Hill or through the pine forests of Ben Lomond Reserve to Bob’s Peak (with a gondola option available) to enjoy stunning views over the city and Lake Wakatipu.
Queenstown - 4WD Safari - Wanaka
Departing Queenstown today, we embark on a 4WD off-road safari to explore some of New Zealand’s hidden wonders. Take in stunning mountain and canyon vistas, some of which were used in the Lord of the Rings films, and long abandoned heritage sites. We return to our coach for the journey to the scenic town of Wanaka and the Edgewater Resort (4T), where dinner is included tonight.
Wanaka - Haast River - Franz Josef
Following breakfast there is some time to enjoy your spectacular surroundings, before we depart to Haast Bridge where we join an exhilarating 30km river safari along the crystal clear, glacial Haast River to Billy Falls, tumbling down the untamed landscape of Mt Aspiring National Park. Our journey continues by coach to the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (3T+) in Franz Josef.
Franz Josef - TranzAlpine - Hanmer Springs
This morning we travel to Greymouth, where we board a train for the famously scenic TranzAlpine journey. Ascending through thick beech forest, we traverse the mammoth Southern Alps and beautiful Arthur’s Pass National Park to Springfield. On arrival, we board a coach for Hanmer Springs where we check-in to the Heritage Hanmer Springs (3T+).
Hanmer Springs - Kaikoura Whale-Watching Cruise - Blenheim
Today we travel to Kaikoura for a whale-watching cruise (weather dependent). The waters off this stunning coast are full of nutrients that attract marine wildlife including the giant sperm whale. You are free to take lunch before we continue to Blenheim and our hotel, the Chateau Marlborough (4T) or Scenic Marlborough (4T).
We head to the multi award-winning Yealands Winery for a tour and tasting, before a free afternoon in Blenheim. As well as numerous wineries, this agricultural town offers a museum on the history of Marlborough and the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, located a few miles out, displays the world’s largest private collection of Great War aircraft. You may choose an optional cruise through Queen Charlotte Sound to historical Ship Cove.
Blenheim - Wellington
This morning we travel to Picton where we board a comfortable Interislander ferry for the journey across the Cook Strait, named after Captain Cook who was the first European to sail the route in 1770. Upon our arrival in Wellington we take a short orientation tour of the city before check-in at the Rydges Wellington (4T), where we stay for two nights.
Enjoy a free day in Wellington where you can relax on the inner-city beach, visit art galleries, enter Weta Cave to get a look behind the scenes of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy and view Te Papa Tongarewa Museum; New Zealand’s national museum re-tells the country’s fascinating history, cultural and natural heritage. The city is also an ideal base for outdoor adventure, with beautiful walks including the visually stunning Makara Track.
Wellington - Napier
Today we leave Wellington and travel north to Hawkes Bay, pausing at the highly-acclaimed Church Road winery for a tour and tasting. The first vines were planted here in 1897, making this one of New Zealand’s oldest wineries. We continue to the town of Napier, famed for its beautifully preserved Art Deco buildings, constructed after a devastating earthquake in 1931. We take a short walking tour of the town before continuing to the Scenic Hotel Te Pania (3T+), where we stay for the night.
Napier - Rotorua
Today we travel to Rotorua, where we stay at the Holiday Inn Rotorua (4T). Later, we get an unforgettable insight into Maori culture at Tamaki Village. Learn ancient Maori customs and protocols as you enter the village, deep in a natural forest, and find out about the distinctive facial tattooing, weaving and carving techniques through demonstrations. You may also have opportunities to participate in warrior training and perform the haka, all before a delicious hangi feast.
Today is free for you to explore Rotorua, a town where volcanic activity manifests in many forms. Visit the geothermal area to see the bubbling mud pools and sulphur vents, or just relax in the Polynesian Pools, Rotorua’s hot springs located by Lake Rotorua.
Rotorua - Coromandel Peninsula
This morning we make a stop at Te Puia and the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute, located within Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. Here you can visit a kiwi enclosure, the world-famous Pohutu Geyser, and more than 500 natural geothermal wonders. The Maori people who live here work hard to keep their ancient skills and heritage alive. We then continue along the coastal highway to the Coromandel Peninsula and the Grand Mercure Puka Park (3T+).
Coromandel Peninsula - Auckland
A discovery of the stunning Coromandel Peninsula is this morning’s excursion, including Hot Water Beach, before our exploration takes to the water, as we join a ferry from Cooks Beach to Whitianga. There will be free time to explore before we continue to the iconic city of Auckland. Our hotel for two nights is the Heritage Auckland (4T) or Grand Millennium Auckland (4T+).
We discover Auckland, known as ‘The City of Sails’ on a morning sightseeing tour. This afternoon is free to do as you wish in this easily-navigable city. Perhaps visit Parnell Village, home to boutiques and Victorian-styled shops. Or choose to ascend Auckland’s Sky Tower, for incredible views over the city.
Auckland - Bay of Islands
We leave this stunning city and head north to the Bay of Islands - New Zealand’s subtropical region and home to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where in 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi (New Zealand's founding document) was signed. We arrive at our hotel for two nights, the Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands (3T+) or Copthorne Hotel Bay of Islands (3T+).
Bay of Islands
Following breakfast this morning we embark on a delightful cruise to the Cape Brett Peninsula and the famous Hole in the Rock on Motukokako Island. According to Maori legend, local warriors used to paddle through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle and drops of water from the cave roof above were a good omen. If conditions allow, we will sail through ourselves. Whales and common and bottlenose dolphins can be spotted in this area, so keep your camera ready. On returning to the hotel, the remainder of the day is at leisure in the beautiful area.
Bay of Islands - Auckland - In flight
We travel south along the Hibiscus Coast to Auckland Airport for your return flight to the UK.
Day 27 UK
Upon arrival, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.