Days 1-2 London - In flight
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow Airport and a scheduled Air New Zealand flight to Auckland via Los Angeles.
Day 3 Auckland - Christchurch
‘Haere Mai’ (Welcome). Having travelled through several time zones we arrive in Auckland where we connect with our onward flight to Christchurch. On arrival our coach transfers us to the Chateau on the Park a DoubleTree by Hilton (3T+) hotel where we stay overnight. The remainder of the day is free. You can stroll through Hagley Park, which is located opposite our hotel, to the wonderful Botanical Gardens that are fringed by the gently-flowing Avon River.
Day 4 Christchurch - Dunedin
Leaving Christchurch we travel south to Dunedin, elegant in its splendid hill and harbour setting. Known as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’, because of the strong Scottish influence in the area, Dunedin is home to New Zealand’s only kilt shop and produces the country’s whisky. This evening there is a grand Scottish-style dinner at our hotel, the Scenic Hotel Southern Cross (4T), one of the city’s top hotels, where we stay for two nights.
Day 5 Dunedin
Today you are at leisure.
Day 6 Dunedin - Te Anau
Leaving this charming city, with its seven hills reminiscent of Rome and century-old bluestone university buildings, we travel across rich Southland plains through Gore, the country music capital of New Zealand, before arriving at the gateway to Fiordland National Park. The Fiordland National Park is one of the largest in the world, known for its spectacular waterfalls, dense native forest and rare birds. Its importance is acknowledged by its status as a World Heritage Park. Our stay tonight is at the Distinction Te Anau Hotel (3T+) or Distinction Luxmore Hotel (4T), in the delightful lakeside township of Te Anau.
Day 7 Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown
We drive along the Eglinton and Hollyford Valleys, the thick bush and alpine aspect providing one of the most rewarding journeys in the country, to Milford Sound, commanded by the spectacular Mitre Peak. This majestic area was described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. A launch cruise with buffet lunch takes us along the fiord, out to the open sea and back again, where we may catch a glimpse of seals frolicking in their natural habitat. An impressive drive, skirting Lake Wakatipu, which means ‘the lake that breathes’, the only land-locked lake in the world with its own tide, brings us to Queenstown and the Crowne Plaza (4T), Heritage Queenstown (4T) or Rees Hotel Queenstown (4T+).
Day 8 Queenstown
Queenstown, dominated by the majestic Remarkables, is the most sophisticated resort in New Zealand. This stunning landscape is a favourite with all who love the great outdoors. This evening we take a cruise aboard the beautiful vintage TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu to the highcountry sheep station of Walter Peak where you will dine in the elegant Colonel’s Homestead.
Day 9 Queenstown - Mount Cook
This morning we visit Gibbston Valley Winery before we journey into the heart of the Southern Alps where we have our first glimpse of Mount Cook, known as ‘Cloud Piercer’ by the Maori, towering 3,754 metres above sea level. The Tasman Glacier, nudging one side of Mount Cook, is one of the longest glaciers outside the Himalayas. This evening we stay in this classic alpine region at the Hermitage Hotel (4T), where dinner is included.
Day 10 Mount Cook - Christchurch
Leaving the majestic Mount Cook, following breakfast, we skirt the glacial blue waters of Lake Pukaki. We pass Lake Tekapo and Geraldine. Our hotel this evening is the Chateau on the Park a DoubleTree by Hilton (3T+).
Day 11 Christchurch - Wellington
Head north across the plains to the coastal town of Kaikoura, famous for its crayfish. At Picton we leave the South Island and steam across the spectacular Cook Strait on the comfortable inter-island ferry. Wellington Harbour offers our first view of the capital city. On disembarking we are transferred to the centrally-located James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel (4T), Novotel Wellington (4T) or Rydges Wellington (4T), our base for the next two nights.
Day 12 Wellington
We take a short orientation tour of the city, which is often compared with San Francisco. Visitors generally agree that the harbour is the most beautiful in the country. The remainder of the day is at leisure and there are several attractions that are worthy of exploration, none more so than New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa. Free to enter and located on the waterfront in a purpose built, architecturally beautiful building, the museum showcases the history of New Zealand in many visually-stunning and thought-provoking ways.
Day 13 Wellington - Rotorua
We head north this morning, stopping at Huka Falls, where the wide Waikato River squeezes through a narrow gorge and down a 20m drop into a beautiful aquamarine pool. We then visit the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village, where the Tuhourangi/Ngati Wahiao tribe have opened their doors to share their way of life for over 200 years. We continue to one of the jewels of the country, Rotorua, endowed with its awe-inspiring geothermal activity, crystal clear waters of Lake Rotorua and lush forests. On arrival we check in to the Holiday Inn Rotorua (4T), located close to the Whakarewarewa Reserve.
Day 14 Rotorua
This morning we visit visit Wai-O-Tapu, the most colourful and diverse of thermal reserves with its Primrose Terraces and Champagne Pool, after which we continue to see the Lady Knox geyser erupting. We then head to Rainbow Springs, one of the world’s most magnificent trout and wildlife habitats, where you have a chance to see the rare, flightless kiwi. This afternoon we continue to the Agrodome for an interesting farm show, where the skills of mustering, shearing, milking and the use of sheep dogs are demonstrated. Return to our hotel for a short time before we depart for a Maori cultural experience, an authentic Maori concert and a traditional ‘hangi’ feast.
Day 15 Rotorua - Waitomo Caves - Auckland
We travel to the Waitomo Caves and take a boat along the underground river to see the glow-worms, spectacular in the darkness of the grotto. The glow-worm light shines as a blue/green colour and the hungrier the glow worm, the more brightly it glows. We travel on via the dairy centre of Hamilton to Auckland, which lies between the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours. The well-situated Crowne Plaza Hotel (4T) or Heritage Auckland (4T) is our base for the next two nights.
Day 16 Auckland
Today we will introduce you to ‘The City of Sails’, the largest and brightest metropolis in New Zealand. Our city tour will highlight the heart of the city, founded by Captain Hobson, who decided upon the location of the city due to its strategic setting. Also included is Old Customhouse, the shoppers’ delight of Lower Queen Street, otherwise known as the ‘Golden Mile’, and Parliament Street. Remainder of the day is at leisure to further explore this fascinating city.
Day 17 Auckland - Bay of Islands
Crossing the harbour bridge spanning the delightful Waitemata Harbour this morning, we can look back at Auckland’s famous landmark Rangitoto Island before heading to Northland, the birthplace of the nation. We drive along the west coast, passing sleepy harbourside hamlets and native forests, home to huge ancient kauri trees. We visit the Kauri Museum, where the history of the kauri and a magnificent collection of produce can be seen. The Waipoua Forest is home to the mature kauri trees, the largest of which ‘Tane Mahuta’ (Lord of the Forest) stands 30 metres tall. We then visit Waitangi Treaty House, where the historic signing between Maori and British formed the nation of New Zealand in 1840. Our visit includes a guided tour of Waitangi. Late afternoon we arrive at the Copthorne Resort (3T+), Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands (3T+) or Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge (3T) our base for the next three nights. Dinner is in our hotel this evening.
Day 18 Bay of Islands
Following breakfast this morning we embark on a delightful cruise around the bay to see Cape Brett lighthouse and view an area for game fishing where there may be a close encounter with a seal, dolphin or whale. We also cruise into the grand Cathedral Cave and through the ‘Hole in the Rock’. Later we transfer back to the hotel where the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 19 Bay of Islands
The charm of this region is the solitude and outstanding scenic beauty; and today, after breakfast, you are free to visit historic Russell, the country’s first capital, or perhaps join a launch cruise to see where Captain Cook first anchored on his voyage of discovery. The sand dunes and hillocks of shells along Ninety Mile Beach have also captivated the hearts of visitors; and today you are free to make your own discoveries.
Day 20 Bay of Islands - Auckland - In flight
Breakfast is included this morning before leaving the Bay of Islands behind as we head south along the Hibiscus Coast and return to Auckland Airport for our scheduled Air New Zealand flight to London via Los Angeles.
Day 21 London
Arrival at London Heathrow Airport where you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.