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Independent New Zealand Travel Packages

New Zealand



Spirit of NZ Hostel & Coach

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Location Start: Anywhere     End: Anywhere 

For those who want to see it all. The beautiful Bay of Islands, thermal wonders of Rotorua, rainforests and glaciers of the West Coast, Milford Sound, the adventure capital of Queenstown.

Tour Options:

   

 

 

This is a hostel style travel and accommodation pass.

Accommodation is on a shared basis with linen, duvets and pillows provided.  All hostels have modern, fully equipped kitchens and comfortable lounges to relax after a busy and exciting day. You have total flexibility.  You decide how long you stay in each place. Coaches travel to each destination DAILY throughout the year.

 

You choose 14, 21 or 28 Nights Hostel Accommodation.  Starts anywhere, finish where you started.

 

Your Flexi Beds package includes:

                     Flexi Bus Transport Pass

                     10, 14, 21 or 28 nights YHA multi-share accommodation vouchers

                     YHA New Zealand membership

                     Transport by ' Super Shuttle' from the airport to your YHA hostel on arrival

                     Pick up and drop off to your hostel door

                     Travellers Guide to all things

 

Please Note:

  1. To purchase this pass and stay at YHA you must have a current   YHA membership card.  If you do not have one you will need to purchase this from us when making the booking for NZ$40. If you do have a YHA membership card please enter the details into the appropriate box.
  2. YHA has an Advanced Reservation System so it is always advisable to book your next nights in advance
  3. Freedom of New Zealand Passes are NOT available for purchase in New Zealand
  4. 72 Hours notice is required to confirm Freedom of New Zealand Passes
  5. When booking a Freedom of New Zealand pass we will automatically book your first nights accommodation at the YHA on the date that your flight arrives into New Zealand. Unless otherwise advised.

AUCKLAND - BAY OF ISLANDS

DOLPHIN WATCHING, HOLE IN THE ROCK, BEACHES

Our route today will take you along one of New Zealand’s most unique journeys. We’ll take you through the amazing Waipoua Kauri Forest and the beautiful Hokianga. After crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge we leave Auckland behind and cruise west to explore one of the unique destinations. First stop is the Matakohe Kauri and Pioneer Museum, which details how the native Kauri trees played a significant role toward shaping the new nation. After soaking up the information at the museum, we continue north to the Waipoua Kauri Forest where the road narrows as it twists and turns amongst giant trees hugging the roadside. We stop first at the Rickers Walk, where you can get your first taste of the Kauri forest. Then we head deeper into the Waipoua Forest where we get up-close to Tane Mahuta, ‘God of the Forest’. This mind-blowingly giant Kauri tree, estimated to be between 1250 and 2500 years old, is very important in Maori mythology.  This is an encounter you won’t forget.

Next is lunch at Opononi, a lovely town on the edges of the Hokianga Harbour. Opononi faces the impressive Hokianga sand dunes – where we will encourage you to try your hand at the exhilaration of sandboarding. We strongly recommends you overnight in Opononi to take advantage of the celebrated 'Footprints Waipoua', one of 82 Lonely Planet 'Experiences of a Lifetime'.

From there we head to Paihia, but before you settle into ‘Bay life’, we first take you to Waitangi for a panoramic look over the beautiful Bay of Islands. We strongly recommend those interested in the Maori culture and history of New Zealand visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the birthplace of our nation.

Finally we arrive in Paihia town, where we will give you an introduction to all there is to do in this great place, and then drop you off at your hostel.

If you are on a day trip you will have half an hour to explore the town before travelling back to Auckland.

Approximate arrival time into Paihia is 3.15pm.

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CAPE REINGA DAY TRIP

MAORI LEGENDS, 90 MILE BEACH, SAND BOARDING

This Connection travels as far north as you can go in New Zealand. The scenic drive travels through land rich in Maori culture and history to the very tip of New Zealand - Cape Reinga. Here you will absorb stunning views of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean crashing together. After stopping for lunch we travel up the Te Paki stream to the foot of some giant sand dunes; which are perfect for sliding down on boards that are provided. The special design of the bus allows you to actually drive along a section of the famous 90-Mile beach. On the way back to the Bay of Islands we stop at the fishing village of Mangonui, famous for its fish and chips, and then head back to Paihia.

Approximate arrival time into Paihia is 6.45pm.

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BAY OF ISLANDS – AUCKLAND

 We hope you enjoyed your time in Paihia! This afternoon we will cruise back to Auckland – the City of Sails, heading down State Highway 1 straight into the city. We will arrive back into Auckland in the evening, be sure to marvel at the city by night as you cross the Harbour Bridge. Be sure to check out Auckland’s great nightlife – the city is full of theatres, restaurants and bars.

Approximate arrival time into Auckland is 8.30pm.

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AUCKLAND - THAMES

CITY OF SAILS, COROMANDEL GATEWAY

For many our Travellers this is the start of your New Zealand adventure and what a great day we have in store for you. First up we take you on a short scenic drive through Auckland city, locally known as the City of Sails. After taking in some stunning panoramas, we travel southeast over the Bombay Hills and out onto the Hauraki Plains. We will then cross the new Kopu bridge and stop into Thames. Thames is the starting point for any passengers heading off to one of New Zealand's best regional destinations - the Coromandel Peninsula.

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THAMES - COROMANDEL TOWN - WHITIANGA

BEACHES, SANDY COVES, RELAXED LIFESTYLE

For those who purchase this great add-on, your Coromandel adventure starts by heading up the west coast of the Peninsula to your first destination; Coromandel Town. For those deciding to hop off and spend more time in this picturesque town, there is so much to do you will not be disappointed. The tour carries on through some amazing stops to our overnight destination of Whitianga. There is so much on offer in Whitianga, including beaches, shopping and some great pubs and bars. Spend a couple of days here and you will well and truly be converted to the kiwi beach way of life.

From Whitianga we strongly recommend that all passengers take the chance to make their way to Hahei and Hot Water Beach. If the tide is right, you will be able to dig a hole in the sand and enjoy your very own hot natural pool. From Whitianga you can also visit the famous Cathedral Cove. This secluded spot has been used for the backdrop for the movie ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian’, as well as appearing in countless postcards and when you get there you'll understand why. Kayaking and boat trips are available and for those of you who would love a walk on the beach you are really in for a treat, the setting is just breathtaking (you should be able to do the return walk in about an hour).,

Hop off the bus today and stay at: Coromandel Town

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WHITIANGA - THAMES

COASTAL DRIVE, BIRDLIFE, POHUTUKAWA TREES

An early start this morning as we take the quick but incredibly unique route back to Thames, so be sure to have the camera ready for the gorgeous coastal villages you will pass and views that will blow you away. Upon arrival in Thames you will board your connecting bus to travel north to Auckland or south to Rotorua. If you are connecting to Auckland you will have time to explore the quaint town of Thames before your afternoon connection, or consider continuing on to Coromandel Town and catching the ferry back to Auckland through the Hauraki Gulf.

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THAMES - THE SHIRES REST, HOBBITON MOVIE SET - ROTORUA

HOBBITS, MAORI CULTURE, BUBBLING MUD & HOT POOLS

From Thames we continue onto Paeroa, where can you grab a bottle of New Zealand’s most famous drink; Lemon and Paeroa (also known as L&P).  We’ll then give you a chance pose for a group photo with the world famous (in NZ) giant L&P bottle. At 7 metres high, the bottle is a permanent reminder of the therapeutic Paeroa Springs water discovered before 1900, which, with the addition of a squeeze of lemon, became known as New Zealand’s national soft drink.

After we leave Paeroa, we head into the spa town of Te Aroha, which translates from Maori to English as  ‘The place of love’. Jump off and spend the night here if you want to climb Mount Te Aroha or relax in hot soda springs to ease away any aches and pains.

Our next stop will be where we will at the Shires Rest near Matamata - home of the now world famous Hobbiton movie set. This stop will have you immersed in stunning New Zealand farmland and overlooking the rugged Kaimai Ranges. This is your chance to eat lunch and relax, feed the friendly sheep, get involved in some sheep shearing and even try authentic Lord of the Rings beer! Hop off the bus and do a tour of set as seen in The Lord of the Rings movies and the upcoming movie; The Hobbit. The detail of the set is amazing and is like stepping into a new world.

After leaving The Shires Rest we will give you the opportunity to take part in a truly unique New Zealand activity; OGO. The OGO is a 3 metre (11 foot) transparent sphere constructed from over 100 square metres (300 square feet) of plastic. It;s pumped full of air to make a beautiful big ball that you can jump inside and tumble down a hill. OGO Rotorua provides your very own play-paddock where you can spend the afternoon rolling down our purpose built 250 meter long tracks. You can OGO solo or as a double or triple! If you’re the adventurous type you should definitely try the Fishpipe! If you didn’t come prepared with towels and a change of clothes these can be provided by the OGO team too.

To end your day on the bus we’ll take you into our overnight destination of Rotorua. Rotorua is a mind blowing town where Maori culture and thermal activity combine to make an incredibly unique destination. Upon arrival, take a deep breath and the smell of Rotorua will fill your nostrils…. beware it does resemble the smell of rotten eggs! The dense sulphur deposits all over the city provide this pungent aroma.

Look out for steam rising from the ground on a scenic tour of the city via Government Gardens and Lake Rotorua. This will be followed by experiencing a heartfelt cultural welcome to the area at the Realm of Tane, which will take you on a short journey through Maori culture, mythology and stories. This evening, make sure you take the opportunity to try a superb Tamaki Maori Hangi (dinner) and Concert – a true New Zealand experience that shouldn’t be missed!! We recommend you spend more than one night in Rotorua as there is so much to do in this exceptional place; including volunteering in the Forest, epic whitewater rafting down the Kaituna River or relaxing in hot pools – you will also have a chance to do all of these activities tomorrow as we do not leave Rotorua until 11.30am (please note pick up times). Approximate arrival into Rotorua is 4pm.

Hop off the bus today and stay at: Thames or Te Aroha

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ROTORUA - TAUPO

GEOTHERMAL MUD, HUKA FALLS, SKYDIVING

Today we depart Rotorua beginning our pickups at 11.15am – giving you a great chance to indulge in some more activities such as gondola rides, riding luges or off-road driving. This morning will really make you fall in love with what Rotorua has to offer you

This morning also gives you the chance to hop on the Geyserlink shuttle and head out to the spectacular Wai-O-Tapu geothermal wonderland, famous for vivid mud pools and the Lady Knox Geyser. The Geyserlink shuttle will allow you time to see the Lady Knox geyser which erupts at 10.15am everyday of the year like clockwork, shooting jets of water reaching up to 20 meters and lasting for over an hour. You will also have plenty of time to wander around the park and see the other thermal wonders including the Champagne Pool. If you do choose to take the Geyserlink shuttle the bus will pick you up from Wai-O-Tapu before we continue onto Taupo and our next incredible stop - the mighty Huka Falls. The falls throw over 200,000 litres of water a second into the river below. Those in for an adrenaline rush you will have the chance to try out the Huka Jet boat on the Waikato River. Ride up to the base of the falls or if you want you can even Bungy jump above them.

For those wanting to experience one of the best thrills in NZ, Taupo is one of the most amazing places in New Zealand to skydive. From 15,000 feet you can even see both coasts of the North Island. If you are not partaking in these adrenaline activities we continue into the town, situated on the edge of a lake bigger than the entire country of Singapore. In true Kiwi fashion all this water means there are heaps of things to do. Make sure you spend two nights here if you can to enjoy all the activities available. The nightlife in Taupo is outstanding, with many bars, cafes and restaurants to choose from.

Approximate arrival time in Taupo is 2.30pm.

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TAUPO - WAITOMO - NATIONAL PARK

GLOWWORMS, TONGARIRO ALPINE CROSSING, MOUNTAIN WATERFALL

Today we head northwest to Waitomo to visit the famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves which are over 30 million years old. Here you can view the amazing caverns and glowworms, or be daring and have a go at one of the many activities the tour has on offer such as Black Water Rafting, or abseiling into the caves (this is something you certainly won't have the chance to do too often!). For those not partaking in the caving experiences, you can relax in the village and enjoy a bite to eat at the local pub.

We depart Waitomo early in the afternoon and head towards Te Kuiti - the sheep shearing capital of the world - before heading through some beautiful King Country farmland and onto Taumarunui; here you can pick up supplies from the supermarket for the evenings meal. Before you get to National Park, where we will stop overnight, we take you to Whakapapa Village in the heart of the Tongariro National Park. You have time here to enjoy a nature walk to the amazing Tawhai Falls and explore the Whakapapa Visitor Centre. This centre is full of information on the National Park, the ski fields and hiking tracks, local Maori stories and the volcanic history of the area.

Take some time to admire the elegant Tongariro Chateau set in spectacular grounds with the stunning backdrop of Mt Ruapehu. In winter you’ll get a chance to play in the snow, make a snowman or have a snow fight with your travelling friends. Approximate arrival time in National Park is 5.00pm.

National Parkis the departure point for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This track is commonly known as New Zealand's best one day trek. You will need to spend at least two nights in National Park to undertake the walk that will take you into the middle of the active volcano field and to the slopes of famed ‘Lord of the Rings’ location of Mt Doom. National Park is also the departure point to canoe the Whanganui River which runs through the Whanganui National Park, a dense native rainforest with a wide rage of native birds including the Brown Kiwi.

Hop off the bus today and stay at: Waitomo.

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NATIONAL PARK - WELLINGTON

CAPITALCITY, TE PAPA, CAFÉ CULTURE

Today we travel south around the Tongariro National Park with stunning views of Mt Ruapehu. We head through the alpine town of Ohakune; which is known affectionately as New Zealand’s ‘Home of Carrots’. On a sunny day make sure you ask your driver to stop for a photo with the giant carrot!! After your ‘carrot encounter’ we will briefly pass through Waiouru, the New Zealand Army training headquarters – so keep your head down! Later in the day we pass through the imaginatively named town of Bulls an ‘unforget-a-Bull town like no udder. Make sure you pay attention and try and spot a few of the unique shop names like the café ‘Delect-a-Bull’, but avoid the police station; ‘Consta-Bull’. Traveling down the Kapiti Coast, look to the right of the bus and see Kapiti Island - a bird and marine reserve and home to some of New Zealand’s rarest wildlife. The road continues and follows the Tararua Ranges which form a dramatic backdrop along the length of the coastline. We arrive into Wellington, New Zealand's capital city in the afternoon. The first stop is to view New Zealand’s Parliament Buildings; including the iconic 'Beehive'. From here we leave downtown Wellington and head to the summit of Mt Victoria. Here you will see some priceless 360 degree panoramic views of Wellington, Cook Strait and the surrounding area. There's plenty to keep you busy in Wellington including lively cafes. One definite ‘do not miss’ is a  visit to Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum.

Approximate arrival time in Wellington is 3.00pm.

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WELLINGTON - PICTON - NELSON

GOLDENBEACHES, NATIONAL PARKS, SAILING ADVENTURES

This morning you need to make your own way to the ferry terminal where you can catch the inter-island ferry across the stunning Cook Strait, through the Marlborough Sounds, and onto the South Island (please note: the price of the ferry is not included in some passes). This is a fantastic journey with more uniquely New Zealand scenery to see on your voyage. The bus will meet you as you disembark the ferry in Picton. This is a great little town full of life and great things to do. It is also a perfect place to spend a night or two if you would like to explore the world renowned Marlborough Sound and Queen Charlotte track a little more. If you decide to leave town you will quickly begin the next part of the journey by heading through the beautiful countryside and famous wine regions toward Nelson; where you will arrive late afternoon. Nelson 'the sunshine capital of NZ' is an arty city, has a relaxed atmosphere and is the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park. If you have time in your itinerary visit New Zealand’s smallest national park, a beautiful region with golden beaches, sparkling waters and plenty of activities on offer including kayaking, hiking and sailing. Approximate arrival time in Nelson is 3.30pm.

Hop off the bus today and stay at: Picton.

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ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK

NATIVE FOREST, BOAT CRUISE, SCENIC HIKE

If you choose to take this Connection you will not regret it - it's one of our favourites! We say farewell to Nelson and travel west passing vineyards, orchards and hop plantations to Kaiteriteri; gateway to the National Park. With this Connection you can choose to upgrade your pass to include a scenic boat cruise and walk or a ‘Seals and Sand’ combo. Of course you could also simply just walk around and explore this amazing area yourself. If you take up the chance of a cruise the boat will take you into the heart of the National Park allowing you to cruise the breathtaking Tasman Bay whilst viewing the beautiful scenery and many seabirds that frequent the area. You can get dropped off at Bark Bay or Torrent Bay, walking back through native forest and golden beaches to catch the bus back for another night in Nelson. Approximate arrival time in Nelson varies dependent on which returning bus you catch.

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NELSON - GREYMOUTH

BREWERY TOUR, WHITEBAIT FRITTERS, ‘COASTER’ HOSPITALITY

After leaving Nelson, we journey over the Hope Saddle and through the picturesque Buller Gorge to New Zealand's 'Wild West Coast'. This is one of the more remote, rugged and most sparsely populated areas of the country. Today you will become aware of the amazing scenery and warm welcome that the West Coast is famous for. First stop on the coast is Cape Foulwind, named so by Captain Cook after his ship was blown off course here as he explored New Zealand’s waters. The cape is home to a New Zealand Fur Seal breeding colony which you will have the chance to view. Travelling south down the ‘Coast Road’, one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world and on through Paparoa National Park, acoastal forest with limestone cliffs, canyons, caves and home to the famous Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. We stop off here to view these amazing rock formations which are especially dramatic when the sea is in full swing. Jump back onboard and enjoy coastal views all the way to Greymouth, our overnight stop. Tonight in Greymouth we recommend you take part in a tour of the (very kiwi) Monteiths Brewery including beer tasting and dinner at a local pub (hotel). It's a great chance to meet some of the interesting locals and fellow travellers. Approximate arrival time in Greymouth is 5.00pm.

Hop off the bus today and stay at: Punakaiki

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GREYMOUTH - FRANZ JOSEF

GLACIER HIKING, GOLD, UNTOUCHED WILDERNESS

This morning we travel further down the West Coast before stopping in the township of Hokitika, famous for its often crazy local cuisine and Pounamu (Greenstone). Traces of the ‘gold rush’ times of the that brought thousands upon thousands of wannabe miners and gold panners to the area in the mid 1800s are still evident in the historic town of Ross, we’ll even give you a chance to try some panning yourself and find some of your very own New Zealand gold. Heading further south we enter Westland National Park, an area containing numerous scenic lakes, dense forests, many of the Southern Alps highest peaks and two amazingly accessible glaciers. Time for more adventure! We arrive into the alpine village of Franz Josef in time for those who want to partake in a fantastic introduction to an enthralling world of ice. The new Ice Explorer is a short heli hop from the township which takes you into the remarkable Pinnacles area of the glacier. Here your guide will navigate you through a maze of ice and explain the dramatic environmental changes over the last few years. Those not taking part in the Ice Explorer today can be taken to the glacier lookout before being dropped at accommodation. If glaciers aren't your thing, another option here is to go kayaking on the scenic Lake Mapourika, surrounded by stunning mountain peaks. Tonight, relax the night away in the Glacier Hot Pools.

Approximate arrival time into Franz Josef in winter is 12.00pm and summer is 1.00pm.

Hop off the bus today and stay at: Hokitika

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FRANZ JOSEF - WANAKA

WATERFALLS, MIRROR LAKE, MOUNTAINS

First up this morning we will pass through Fox Glacier, another small village nestled next to a huge and dramatic glacier. Fox Glacier is also the home of one of New Zealand’s most picturesque spots; Lake Matheson. Often referred to as the 'Mirror Lake', it is famous for its reflections of the Southern Alps which dominate the skyline - perfect for those picture postcard photos. As we head inland through Haast and further away from the west coast the scenery changes from dense forest to boulder-filled river beds, cliff faces and incredibly powerful waterfalls. Make sure you snap a photo of the Gates of Haast – a truly amazing valley littered with huge boulders. After this the scenery will take another change and we head into the vast plateaus and many lakes of the Central Otago region. Make sure you have your cameras ready as we pass Lake Hawea and shortly after Lake Wanaka. At the head of the lake is the town of Wanaka. This is where we stop for the night – but not before we’ve taken you to Puzzling World – an amazing mind bending experience that will push your limits and one that you’re sure to love.

Hop off the bus today and stay at: Fox Glacier, Makarora

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WANAKA - QUEENSTOWN

UNLIMITED ADVENTURE, GREAT NIGHTLIFE, PANORAMIC VIEWS

This morning we head out of town and get you set for a huge day of adventure and exhilaration. Firstly we drop into the birthplace of Bungy jumping, the Kawarau Bridge. The bridge, which is 42 metres above the Kawarau River, is the site of the world's first commercial bungy jump. We dare you to jump - something you will never forget! From here we make our way past Lake Hayes and into Arrowtown. Arrowtown has an amazingly rich history and as such we’ll give you the time to explore the quaint shops, the Chinese settler’s village and historic buildings in town. In autumn the colours are amazing. From Arrowtown we’ll head onto Arthur’s Point; which is situated on a bend in the Shotover River. This is also the home of the world renowned Shotover Jet, and also the launch point for whitewater rafting. Be sure to get out onto the river if you’ve not yet had enough excitement in your day! We head into Queenstown early in the afternoon where there are endless activity options, from mild to wild. We have allowed two nights in Queenstown (but many people prefer to stay longer) to soak it all up.

Approximate arrival time in Queenstown is 1.30pm.

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MILFORD DISCOVERY

HOMER TUNNEL, MITRE PEAK, FIORD CRUISES

On one of your free days in Queenstown, we highly recommend taking the full day trip to Milford Sound, perhaps New Zealand's most famous destination. This fantastic day trip will see you travelling alongside the beautiful Lake Wakatipu and Lake Te Anau then through Fiordland National Park - all the while passing incredible scenery. The road journey itself is a highlight of the trip and includes numerous photo opportunities. When we arrive in Milford Sound we take a superb cruise on the fiord, past thunderous waterfalls and hanging valleys. Keep an eye out for the endangered wildlife that can often be seen basking in the sun on rocky outcrops. This trip is awe-inspiring whatever the weather. In fact, the more rain there is the more spectacular the waterfalls are!

Approximate arrival time back in Queenstown is 7.00pm.

Hop off the bus today and stay at: Te Anau

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QUEENSTOWN - LAKE TEKAPO

Lake Pukaki, Salmon & Stargazing

Life slows down a little as we leave Queenstown behind us. We head of through Cromwell and onto the alpine environment of the Lindis Pass. Lindis Pass is an amazing road winding its way through some of New Zealand's most spectacular scenery and in winter is often blanketed by snow! As we make our way into McKenzie Basin we stop off in Twizel. This small town serves as a gateway to New Zealand's highest mountain; Aoraki Mount Cook. If you want to go and check it out your driver will arrange a connection bus for you. Our next stop of the day is the High Country Salmon Farm - this fantastic attraction will get you up close and personal with the salmon and give you a chance to hand feed them and even buy some to take away for your dinner! The tranquil Lake Tekapo is over overnight destination, a small town located at the end of the lake by the same name. There is a lot on offer here including an optional day trip to Mt Cook village, kayaking on the lake, fantastic sightseeing flights of the Southern Alps or the sedate visit to the idyllic Church of the Good Shepperd. Tonight, don't miss the chance to view the Southern Hemisphere stars up close. Tekapo is a great place to get together with your fellow travelers and share a group meal.

Approximate arrival time in Lake Tekapo is 1.45pm

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LAKE TEKAPO – CHRISTCHURCH

PUNTING, DEVELOPMENT & RE-START MALL

After leaving the shores of Lake Tekapo, we travel around the edges of the stunning Mackenzie Country crossing over Burkes Pass and the foothills of the Southern Alps. We then pass through the picturesque towns of Fairlie and Geraldine, stopping here for a short time. Be sure to jump off at Geraldine if you want to try your hand at rafting some of the wildest white water in New Zealand with Rangitata Rafts. The bus then heads across the Canterbury Plains, the largest area of flat land in NZ and a huge contrast to our previous days travel! We will briefly look around Christchurch on the way into town but we will leave the exploring up to you! Be sure to check out Christchurch’s amazing new ‘unique’ Re-Start Mall. This astonishingly creative mall is made entirely of shipping containers and one of the cities exciting new urban developments following the earthquakes that damaged much of the cities buildings in 2010/11. We would also definitely recommend all passengers consider travelling on the double-decker Discover Christchurch bus tour – it will give you an amazing insight into the cities recent challenges and let you see how amazing the people of this area really are - simply ask your driver about this if you are interested. If you are up for some fun tonight we would also suggest you check out SO- MO; which is a vibrant area of Christchurch alive with bars, restaurants and cafes!  Approximate arrival time into Christchurch is 1.00pm.

Hop off the bus today and stay at: Rangitata

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CHRISTCHURCH – KAIKOURA

Garden City, Whale Watching, Seal Colonies

Upon leaving the Christchurch we follow the rugged coastline up to Kaikoura. There is so much to do in the amazing seaside town that you will need to plan your time well or possibly even stay an extra day or 2 to fit it all in and experience the amazing natural wonders of whale watching or dolphin/seal swimming; make sure you don't miss out! The name 'Kaikoura' translates to 'meal of crayfish' so back on dry land make sure you try some fresh Crayfish or indulge in a traditional

New Zealand fish & chip dinner here, it’s is regularly voted one of the best places in the country to do so! The sea is teeming with fish and you might even want to jump on a fishing trip and try to catch your own dinner!

Kaikoura has been awarded the international tourism standard ‘Green Globe’, a process developed to reduce the environmental impact of the community and the visitors and ensures that Kaikoura stays clean, green and beautiful.

 Approximate arrival time in Kaikoura is 12.00pm.

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KAIKOURA - PICTON - WELLINGTON

WINE COUNTRY, MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS, COOK STRAIT

Before leaving the Kaikoura Coast this morning we stop at Ohau Point, where there is a large seal colony. If the season is right you may be lucky to see the baby seals playing in a nearby waterfall. They are very curious little creatures and will get up close and personal with you!

After we travel inland through famous hilly pastures and wine country of Marlborough via the small and friendly township of Blenheim. We continue on to Picton, the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds, in time to catch the early afternoon ferry across to Wellington (price of ferry not included in some passes). If you are travelling to Nelson, stay onboard the bus and you will arrive into Nelson late this afternoon. Approximate arrival time in Wellington is 4.30pm.

Hop off the bus today and stay at: Blenheim

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WELLINGTON - TAUPO

RARE BIRDS, TUI HQ, DESERT ROAD

Today we head north out of Wellington travelling over the Rimutaka Ranges. The height of the ranges provides you with some great views of the countryside. Continuing north we travel through Masterton and some lush Wairarapa farmland before we reach Pukaha Mt Bruce – a wildlife sanctuary. This amazing complex is home to kiwi, tuatara and other critically endangered native New Zealand wildlife. It is even home to Manukura - an amazingly rare white Kiwi. Born in May 2011 she is already a favourite for all visitors. After leaving Mt Bruce we head on to Mangatainoka; the home of Tui beer. This is a true iconic ‘Kiwi’ landmark. We will stop here for lunch so take time to taste the beer, eat some ‘Kiwi tucker’ and even learn some of the ‘His-Tui’ of the brewery. After lunch we’ll head off through the Manawatu and up to the Tongariro National Park. This unique barren landscape forms part of New Zealand's only official ‘desert’, the Rangipo Desert - where we stop for spectacular photos of the National Park and the mountains.

For film buffs, this scenery is also another welcome to Lord of the Rings country, with amazing photo opportunities of the Tongariro National Park, live volcanoes and the Tolkien inspired 'Mt. Doom'. We drive through Turangi before following the lake into Taupo arriving mid afternoon. If you are finishing your trip in Auckland, we recommend you spend at least 1 night in Taupo to enjoy the many activities such as taking a jet boat ride on the Waikato River or Bungy jump above it. Experience one of the best thrills in NZ, skydiving from 15,000 feet you can see both coasts of the North Island and the sprawling Lake Taupo. It’s without a doubt the best way to see the Central Plateau. Taupo is also the starting point for any passengers heading off to New Zealand's Art Deco Capital Napier.

Hop off the bus today and stay at:  Turangi

If you are travelling north from Christchurch and finishing your trip in Auckland we recommend you catch the Waitomo Wanderer from Taupo or Rotorua. This will give you the chance to visit the famous Glowworm Caves which are over 30 million years old. Here you can view the amazing caverns and glowworms or be daring and have a go at one of the many activities the tour has on offer such as black water rafting, or abseiling into the caves (this is something you certainly won't have the chance to do too often!)

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TAUPO - MOUNT MAUNGANUI - AUCKLAND

BEACHES, SURFING, CHILLING OUT

Departing Taupo we stop off just out of town to walk to the mighty Huka Falls throwing over 200,000 litres of water each second – it’s a stunning sight, no wonder it’s New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction. The name Huka is the Maori word for 'foam', which is appropriate as the falling water and rapids certainly resembles it. We then head in to Rotorua at approximately 8.30am. Leaving Rotorua behind we carry on to the north-west, stopping off for a short wander through the Forest and to learn a little about conservation. The next stop is Tauranga and then onto the chilled out beach town of Mt Maunganui where you have enough time to grab something to eat, or relax on the beautiful beaches and soak up the atmosphere of this iconic Kiwi holiday destination. We recommend you stay an extra night to relax, join the sun-seekers and hit the surf; which is enhanced by an artificial reef. Leaving Mt Maunganui we will see a glimpse of rural New Zealand as we pass through small pioneer towns such as Katikati, the 'mural' town of New Zealand, and Waihi, where the gold rush which began in the 1800’s still continues today. We travel on through the incredible bush lined cutting of the Karangahake Gorge to Paeroa, where some unique landmarks pay homage to the iconic 'Lemon & Paeroa'. In Thames, those travelling to the Coromandel will connect onto their service and start their journey around the peninsula where you will see stunning native bush, a beach where the water is boiling hot and one of the most beautiful coves in New Zealand. For those who are heading on to Auckland, we continue on to meet the southern motorway, traverse the famous Bombay Hills and then deliver you back into the city. We recommend you stay a few nights in Auckland to do some of the sights, such as jumping off the Skytower, bungy jumping from the Auckland Harbour Bridge or catching a ferry to a nearby island. Approximate arrival time into Auckland is 3.30pm.

If Auckland is the end of your journey, why don’t you drop into the our office and share your travel stories with us, tell us what a great time you had and bring in some of the photos you’ve taken along your way. You never know, with your photo’s you could win you back the cost of your pass.

Hop off the bus today and stay at: Rotorua, Mt Maunganui or Thames

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