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New Zealand truly is one of the most sublimely beautiful destinations on the planet and this comprehensive escorted tour includes the very best it has to offer.
Depart London on your scheduled flight to Auckland, via Dubai.
You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel, which is centrally located in the beautiful harbour-side city of Auckland, 'The City of Sails'.
Following breakfast, journey north to the Waipoua Kauri Forest Reserve - one of New Zealand's most famous Kauri forests. Here visit Tane Mahuta or 'Lord of the Forest', the largest and most celebrated Kauri tree known to stand today. Continue to the stunning turquoise waters of the Bay of Islands where Captain Cook, the first European settler arrived back in 1769 and forged the first relationships with local Maori. This evening, enjoy a special welcome dinner.
The Bay of Islands is home to 144 islands providing a stunning aquatic playground off the north coast of the North Island. Enjoy a day at leisure to explore the idyllic subtropical surrounds.
Today you will travel to explore New Zealand's finest maritime park on a cruise to Cape Brett around the captivating coastline which provides sheltered waters for dolphins, whales, seals penguins and other marine life. Then, continue to the Hole in the Rock, a distinctive sandstone arch formation, which defines this remarkable coast. Later, return to Auckland.
This morning, travel to Waitomo, home of the famous glowworm caves where thousands of tiny luminescent creatures radiate an unmistakeable glow. Continue on to the geothermal capital of New Zealand, Rotorua to visit Te Puia - New Zealand's premiere cultural centre and enjoy a tour of the Maori Arts & Crafts Institute. Later head over to the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley and witness the phenomenal natural spectacle of erupting geysers and bubbling mud pools. The day will close with a Maori Hangi Feast along with a wonderful cultural dance performance.
After breakfast at the hotel continue your sightseeing with a visit to one of New Zealand's best-loved attractions, the agrodome, with its entertaining sheep shearing demonstration, dog trials and animal nursery. Enjoy an optional helicopter flight for views over the active white island volcano. Alternatively experience life on the land with a special overnight Country Homestay, where you can enjoy warm hospitality, home-cooked meals and gain a real insight into rural New Zealand life (both at an additional cost).
Departing Rotorua after breakfast, travel along the Thermal Explorer Highway through a region abundant with geothermal activity, crystal-clear lakes, natural spas and rich Maori culture. Visit Lake Taupo - the largest freshwater lake in Australasia and thundering Huka Falls with its striking blue water. Later, travel south across the vast volcanic plateau of World Heritage-listed Tongariro National Park en route to Wellington, the nation's capital, where you will spend the evening.
This morning, enjoy one of the world's most scenic voyages as the Interislander ferry traverses Cook Strait though the breath-taking Marlborough and Queen Charlotte Sounds to the seaside port of Picton. Once in Picton, enjoy a spectacular scenic drive as you continue to Kaikoura, famed for whale watching and nestled at the foot of majestic mountains. Later, arrive in Christchurch and settle in your hotel before dinner.
Today you have the option to take one of the world's most scenic rail journeys aboard the TranzAlpine Train (pre book at a fee) - crossing the Canterbury Plains and up into the Southern Alps to Arthur's Pass. Alternatively travel by coach where you can sit back and enjoy the vistas as you journey through this captivating landscape. Continue along the coast and through rainforest to Westland National Park home to the twin glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef, whose magnificent rivers of ice can be seen cascading down through the lush rainforests.
This morning, travel through the spectacular Haast Pass, skirting the tranquil shores of lakes Wanaka and Hawea to the alpine resort of Queenstown on Lake Wakatipu. Delicious food is always on the menu in Queenstown as it is renowned for its world-class culinary scene. This evening, during time at leisure, you may like to dine at one of the many local restaurants located within the heart of the city.
Today you have the freedom to simply relax on one of many exciting optional activities. You may wish to board the 1912 Edwardian vintage steamer for a relaxing cruise to Walter Peak Station or perhaps take a gondola ride to the top of Bob's Peak for spectacular panoramic views over Queenstown. Alternatively you may choose to set off in the Central Otago region independently - one of New Zealand's world renowned wine producing areas (all at own expense).
Departing in the morning, journey past The Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu to Fiordland National Park, a vast remote wilderness and the heart of New Zealand's World Heritage Area. Next continue along the Milford Road, thought to be one of the world's best alpine drives, to Milford Sound a magnificent fiord where you will enjoy a cruise with views of cascading waterfalls, dense rainforest and sheer cliffs.
Leaving the Fiordland region, travel through rolling Southland countryside before arriving in Dunedin to enjoy a tour taking in the city's most significant landmarks. Later, head to the nearby hills to the supposedly haunted Lanarch Castle, New Zealand's only castle, filled with magnificent antiques and offering breath- taking views of the surrounding area.
Travel along the east coast to see the Moeraki Boulders - large spherical stones formed over 60 million years ago. Continue to Oamaru to see some of New Zealand's finest 19th century Victorian architecture then continue into Mt Cook National Park to view Australasia's highest mountain, Aoraki. Arrive at your hotel, situated on the shores of Lake Tekapo for a farewell dinner.
Following breakfast your group will visit the tiny church of Good Shepherd, which was built as a tribute to the region's early pioneers and is arguably one of the most photographed in the whole of New Zealand. Your tour concludes on arrival in Christchurch airport for your return flight back to the UK, or continue on to your chosen extension.
British passport holders are not currently required to obtain a visa in order to travel to New Zealand. Further visa advice should be sought from the applicable tourist authority for other nationalities and for general queries. We strongly advise you to check with your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy for the most up-to-date guidelines regarding required passport validity.
You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Holidays is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices:
|Age in Years||Up to 64||65 - 74||75 - 85|
|Up to 24 days cover||£48||£94||£146|
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of €300pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
Your flights to New Zealand are with Emirates (EK), departing from London Heathrow Terminal 3. Each passenger is entitled to 30kg of hold luggage and hand luggage of 7kg not exceeding 56cm x 36cm x 23cm in size. Weight restrictions will be finalized on E-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Check-in should be at least 3 hours before departure.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 40. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date then you may be asked to change to a different date. A full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.
This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of the tour, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.
The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD) and we recommend you change some currency before you leave the UK. Cash machines will also be available throughout the tour in order to withdraw money in your local currency.
You will need to take money with you to cover any personal purchases such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £400 will be sufficient for the durations of the tour, depending on how much of a bargain-hunter you are!
|Depart UK||Arrive UK||Price|
|06 Apr 2018||22 Apr 2018||€4168pp|
|04 May 2018||20 May 2018||€4058pp|
|21 Sep 2018||07 Oct 2018||€4058pp|
Weather can vary quite considerably throughout the year, so please familiarise yourself with the climate charts below.
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