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New Zealand: Natural and Cultural Heritage (15 days)

New Zealand: Roto poolJoin us as we explore the stunning landscape of New Zealand's National and World Heritage Parks, in the North and South Islands.

This 16 day tour includes many of New Zealand's outstanding natural landscapes. Visit primaeval rainforests, spectacular waterfalls, bubbling volcanic thermal valleys, majestic fiords and magnificent mountain ranges. Experience the warm hospitality of the New Zealand culture, meet and share stories with local experts and the Maori, "people of the land".

2018 Departure Dates & Cost

This is a sample itinerary.  DAILY DEPARTURES are available, and each trip can be cutomized to individual interests.  Ask for details.
Per person, share twin from Auckland: $ 5,230 CAD
Single Supplement: $ 1,525 CAD

Does not include International airfare from home city to Auckland. Tours of Exploration will be happy to make international flight reservations.


New Zealand: Roto PoolDay 1 Auckland
On arrival in Auckland you will be met after clearing customs. Depart for Rotorua, travelling through the Hunua Ranges. Discover the beauty of the native forests of New Zealand. We travel to the coastal community of Miranda where our local guides explain the history of the Siberian migrating wading birds. We travel through the rich dairy farming country of the Waitako, (where Hobbiton was set) to the Rotorua Thermal Region and enjoy lunch. Welcome Dinner and slide show presenting an overview of New Zealand's natural heritage that we will see on our tour.

Day 2 Rotorua
A day of maori culture and geothermal phenomena. Morning trip to Mt. Tarawera & guided walk of the volcano. Lunch and afternoon guided tour of the geyser valley and traditional Maori dinner at Whakarewarewa Maori Arts and Crafts Meeting House.

Day 3  Mt. Ruapehu
Travel to Lake Taupo, stopping at the thundering Huka Falls. We will explore the area around the lake. We then continue to Mount Ruapehu, the highest of all New Zealand's volcanoes, and at 2797m (9176') the highest mountain in the North Island. Drive through the magnificent podocarp forest around Pihanga Saddle (which survived the Taupo Eruption) and arrive at Whakapapa village in Tongariro National Park. Dinner at the historic Grand Chateau, our hotel for two nights. Evening walk.

Day 4 Tongariro
Full day at this Unesco Heritage site.

Day 5 to Christchurch
Drive from Whakapapa to Rotorua airport for flight to Christchurch, "The Garden City" and gateway to our South Island tour. We lunch and tour the Antarctic Centre, stroll the Botanical Gardens and Christchurch Museum exhibitions of early Maori settlements, with time to visit Christchurch's Art Gallery and Arts Centre.

Day 6 Mt. Cook
Travel to Mt. Cook though the expansive Canterbury Plains. Enroute enjoy the views of the Southern Alps and the great glacial lakes; Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. Dinner at our lodging.

Day 7 Mt. Cook
Take the opportunity for an optional sunrise climb to Red Tarns for reflections of Mt Cook if weather fine -- for fit members of group, before breakfast. Visit the Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park Visitor Centre and walk up Hooker valley & enjoy the alpine flora and spectacular mountain scenery, including Mt Cook. Picnic lunch. Optional Tasman Glacier flight for less fit members. Evening walk to view Tasman Glacier with Les Molloy Buffet at The Hermitage.

Day 8 Te Anau
Long drive to Te Anau in Fiordland National Park via Lindis Pass and Lake Wakatipu. En route, check the "Kingston Flyer" for steam train buffs. Dinner at our Te Anau Hotel. Evening cruise on Lake Te Anau to Te Ana-au Glow Worm Caves.

Day 9 Milford Sound
Depart for day trip to Milford Sound. Cruise Milford Sound. Walk to Bowen Falls. Dinner at our Te Anau Hotel.

Day 10 Doubtful Sound
Walk to Fiordland National Park visitor centre and museum on Te Anau lakefront. Depart for Lake Manapouri and Doubtful Sound. Join others (with Navigator overnight tour) at Pearl Harbour, Lake Manapouri and cross the lake by launch to West Arm, Lake Manapouri. Traverse by bus across Wilmot Pass and meet our vessel Fiordland Navigator for the spectacular overnight cruise experience. Afternoon walk on shore of Doubtful Sound and option to kayak.

Day 11 Doubtful Sound - Wanaka
Further journeys into the remote fiords of Doubtful Sound then return to Wilmot Pass. Picnic lunch. We depart for Queenstown where we enjoy a few hours of free time for shopping or short walks for photos on the lake edge.

Day 12 Wanaka - Franz Josef Glacier
Drive from Wanaka through Mt Aspiring NP via Lakes Hawea & Wanaka, across Haast Pass to Haast and great forest and rivers of South Westland. Continue through rainforests and scenic coastline to Fox Glacier. We take time for a short walk at tranquil, forest-fringed Lake Matheson. Visit Fox Glacier terminal if weather is fine. Continue to Franz Josef for dinner at hotel.

Day 13 Franz Josef Glacier
Breakfast and time to rest or explore on your own. Walk to the impressive Franz Josef Glacier terminal where the glacier descends into the rainforest only a few hundred metres above sea level.

Day 14 Arthurs Pass
We depart through Westland National Park for Arthurs Pass. Drive to Hokitika. Hokitika is the best preserved of West Coast gold towns. We visit Hokitika Museum for gold prospecting history and explore the mouth of Hokitika River. We continue to Arthurs Pass National Park via Otira Gorge, stopping for a short walk. In the evening, celebrate the tour with a Farewell Dinner, alpine views and local cuisine.

Day 15 Drive to Christchurch. Departures from the airport for international connections.

Accommodation and day tour options can be arranged in Auckland before tour departure and in Christchurch following the tour.

Additional Information

Tour includes accommodation at the following hotels:

  • Two nights in Rotorua, Millennium Rotorua
  • Two nights in Tongariro National Park, The Bayview Chateau
  • One night in Christchurch, Holiday Inn on Avon Christchurch
  • Two nights in Mount Cook Village, Hermitage Chalets
  • Two nights in Te Anau, Te Anau Hotel and Villas
  • One night aboard the Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound
  • Two nights in Wanaka, Mount Aspiring Hotel
  • Two nights in Franz Josef, West Coast, Scenic Circle Hotel
  • One night in Arthurs Pass, The Bealey Hotel, Arthurs Pass

Other details:

Meals: 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 13 dinners, including festive welcome and farewell dinners.
Entry Fees: All sightseeing, admission fees and excursions, as per itinerary.
Transport: Superior motor-coach and ferry transportation.
Numbers: Minimum: 6, Maximum: 16
Hotels: Rooms are superior twin/double (queen or king) based on the configuration limitations of the property
Transfers: By superior chartered vehicle, otherwise, as mentioned in the itinerary. Airfares are not included.
Guides/ Leaders: This tour is guided by Les Malloy, author, specialist guide and expert in World Heritage Park design and management. A tour manager also accompanies the tour. Local guest speakers and guides join the tour as mentioned in the itinerary.
Admissions: Optional activities are at an additional cost as noted in the itinerary (optional).
Baggage: 2 pieces of baggage per person, plus one carry-on. (For domestic luggage on Air New Zealand, 7 kilos carry on limit)
Fitness level: An average level of fitness is needed for most walks, but options are carefully designed for travellers with limited mobility.
Deposits are required $ 800 on booking plus any optional cancellation insurance. Balance due 60 day before arrival.