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This tour is conducted at a medium-fast pace. Some long travel days may be required to complete this itinerary and you will typically spend two nights at each destination, with some one night stays required. This trip includes a mix of sightseeing and free time to explore at your own pace. You will be required to move about unassisted, including getting on and off vehicles, walking up and down stairs and some activities will be conducted on uneven or steep terrain. You will be required to handle your own luggage.
On these packages you will travel from city to city on your own, exploring at your own pace. We have arranged transportation in most cases and day tours for you to see the destination. Enjoy the time and flexibility to linger longer or pick up the pace and see as much as possible. The choice is yours.
Take advantage of our 7 day cooling-off period.
✓ Incredible sightseeing including Bay of Islands, Waitomo and Hobbiton, all of New Zealand’s renowned great journeys including all three famed, scenic rail journeys and the Interislander ferry, whale watching in Kaikoura, visit New Zealand’s famous glaciers and national parks including Mount Cook and Franz and Fox Glaciers
✓ 19 nights in quality, 3 and 4-star hotels and motels
✓ Travel on board all three renowned Northern Explorer, TranzAlpine and Coastal Pacific rail journeys
✓ Cruise between Wellington and Picton on the Interislander scenic ferry
✓ Cruise the Bay of Islands’ ‘Hole in the Rock’
✓ Guided day tours along with the flexibility of independent travel
✓ 8 days Toyota Corolla car rental (automatic, unlimited kilometres)
Travel with the experts for a carefully curated, value-packed discovery of the world's most iconic destinations. Our tours are bursting with must-see sights, rich experiences and quality inclusions, all at an unbeatable price. Bucket list dreams are ticked off on these all-encompassing journeys.
Welcome to Auckland. On arrival, please make your way to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is at leisure to get acquainted with this vibrant city.
Check in & arrival information.
Auckland airport is connected to the city by the Auckland City Express SkyBus and offers a great cost-effective means of getting directly into Auckland City. For $17 each one way (or $32 return), they will take you directly from the airport into the city. The service operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, taking between 40 and 50 minutes. As you’d expect, you’ll need to allow additional time if travelling in peak hours.
Hotel check in is at 2pm. Should you arrive earlier than this, hotel staff will do all possible to check you in as soon as possible. If your room is not available before check-in time, you are welcome to leave your luggage in storage and explore the surrounding area.
Make your way to the Sky City Coach Terminal on Hobson Street by 12.30pm to board your 1pm coach to Paihia. New Zealand runs one of the world’s best tourist coach networks all across the country. Intercity coaches are modern and comfortable air-conditioned buses.
Note: You will be returning to the same hotel in Auckland. You may wish to leave your main suitcase and travel with an overnight bag to Paihia. If you take the below Auckland Revealed optional Tour you will be dropped off at the Sky City Coach Terminal in time to take your bus to Paihia so bring all your luggage with you.
Paihia is considered the gateway to the Bays of Islands. If you want to discover the coves and beaches of the Bay of Islands, Paihia is the perfect place to start. On arrival, your coach will drop you off close to Paihia Wharf, from here it is only 200m to your hotel.
This Auckland city tour showcases the highlights of the city of Auckland and takes you on a journey to explore the history and sights as well as to see how Aucklanders live and play. Our small group tour gives an insight into the Māori history of the area and the legends and stories behind some of the place names.
Our guides will talk about Auckland’s history and take you to some of the most photogenic parts of the city.
After we pick you up from your city accommodation we travel up Queen St, through Auckland’s central business district, past Auckland University and into the city park known as The Domain where there is a photo stop.
We continue on through the picturesque suburb of Ponsonby, known for its historic buildings, before heading over the Harbour Bridge to the North Shore. Here you can stroll on a beautiful beach with views out across the Waitemata harbour to Rangitoto Island. There is also a small local cafe here if you want to try some local baking and coffee.
Next there is a short drive through historic Devonport to get to the panoramic views over Auckland that you can only get from Mount Victoria – often considered the best view of Auckland.
Then travel back over the Harbour Bridge to stop at Westhaven Marina, one of the largest marinas in the Southern Hemisphere, with views through the yacht masts to the city skyline. The Auckland City tour is an easy morning tour introducing you to the diverse city of Auckland.
Tour includes: 3-hour guided tour, hotel pick up and drop off, multiple photo stops, stop by a beach and cafe (food and drink not included)
Make your way to the wharf by 8.30am to board your morning ‘Hole in the Rock’ cruise. Take in the stunning views as we glide out through the islands and along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse keeps watch over Piercy Island/Motukōkako, or as it is popularly known the ‘Hole in the Rock’. You can expect to return to the wharf by 12pm
This afternoon, take the scenic 2km walk (approximately 25 minutes) to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds (entry fee included).
This morning, reboard your coach back to Auckland. Coaches depart Paihia from the location you disembarked. On arrival back in Auckland, make your way to your hotel.
Today you will be collected from your hotel to join a guided tour of Hobbiton and Waitomo. Travel south from Auckland over the Bombay Hills to the rich farmland of the Waikato region. Your journey takes you through undulating green hills reminding you that you are approaching The Shire. Your guide will give you commentary on the way to Hobbiton with insights into the areas you are travelling through, along with some background to the movies.
On arrival at Shire’s Rest you embark on your Hobbiton movie set tour. This location is the largest “green set” in the world and the only part of the set remaining in New Zealand. You see 44 hobbit holes, the Mill and the Party Tree. At this stunning location you can take a photo at the gate to Bilbo’s house, “Bag End”, looking out over the whole set to the hills in the distance. You will be treated to a sumptuous buffet lunch in the marquee. There is time for shopping before your tour continues to Waitomo. (Drive time 1 hr 20 min). On arrival in Waitomo, join a 45 minute guided tour of the incredible Waitomo Glow Worm caves. Discover an ancient world 30 million years in the making. Enjoy the delicate cave formations and be wowed in the Cathedral, before taking the iconic boat ride through the glow worm grotto (subject to water levels). Marvel in silence at thousands of magical glow worms, which are unique to New Zealand before exiting the cave. Upon conclusion you will be returned to your hotel in Auckland.
Today make your way to Auckland central station to board the Northern Explorer. New Zealand's longest running passenger service, the Northern Explorer is a long distance scenic train service running between Auckland and Wellington, stopping at Palmerston North, Ohakune, National Park and Hamilton. This iconic train journey allows you to experience the extremes of New Zealand’s scenery, from the fertile farmlands of Waikato to the volcanic peaks of the Central Plateau and the sparkling Kapiti coast.
The train has panoramic windows, open-air view carriage, a fully licenced cafe plus commentary allowing you to connect with the histories, legends and myths of New Zealand.
On arrival in Wellington, disembark your scenic train and make your way to your hotel. We recommend a short taxi service which can be found easily when exiting the station.
This morning, you’ll be collected from your hotel to join a half day city sights tour of Wellington. An intimate tour looking at the unique aspects of the World’s Coolest Little Capital. Drive through Courtenay Place and Oriental Parade and head up Mt Victoria for spectacular views of the City and Harbour. Then travel the stunning, rugged coastline, now a marine reserve, stopping along the way to taste some famous Wellington coffee. Return to the central city for a drive through the quirky Cuba Street district and along Lambton Quay, the main shopping street, for a chance to ride the famous Wellington Cable Car. We finish the tour with stops at Parliament and Old St Paul’s Cathedral. The tour concludes at your hotel around 1:30pm where the rest of the day is at leisure.
A big day of stunning landscapes is ahead of you today. This morning, make your way to the central wharf to board the Interislander ferry to Picton. Connecting the North Island and South Island together since 1962, the Interislander ferry service is New Zealand's original Cook Strait ferry. Sailing between Wellington and Picton several times a day, the Interislander journey is considered one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world and one of New Zealand's most iconic experiences and connects seamlessly with the Coastal Pacific train which is the next leg of your journey.
On arrival in Picton the ferry and the train are separated by only metres. The location is well sign posted. The Coastal Pacific train takes you along rugged coastlines, across remote beaches, between mountains and sea, on a timeless journey of breathtaking beauty.
Explore the stunning Kaikōura Coastline, famous for its marine life and whale watching. On arrival in Kaikoura disembark the Coastal Pacific and make your way to your hotel either on foot or using the local Kaikoura shuttle service which can be found at the station on arrival.
Note: For itineraries commencing on 27 Jan, 17 Feb, 24 Feb, 02 Mar 2024, the Coastal Pacific train is not available. Transport from Picton to Kaikōura will be by Intercity Coach.
This morning make your way to the wharf to board a half day whale watching tour. The main focus of your tour is to locate and view the Giant Sperm whale. They average between 1 to 2 whale sightings per tour due to the length of time the whales can stay submerged.
This afternoon, make your way back to the station to take the train from Kaikoura to Christchurch. On arrival in Christchurch, make your way to your hotel. We recommend a short taxi service which can be found easily when exiting the station.
This morning you will be collected from the hotel to enjoy a half-day guided tour of Christchurch. Your guide will explain both the history of the city and the effects of the earthquake, you will see for yourself both the destructive powers of nature and the rebuild taking place. On leaving the inner city, the tour travels to Mona Vale, a historic homestead and gardens. We then travel to the Sign of the Takahe, an historic building with a lookout providing spectacular views over the city, Canterbury Plains and to the Southern Alps. The tour then travels via the Port Hills and Lyttleton Harbour by way of the Sign of the Kiwi and Governors Bay to the Port of Lyttleton. The tour proceeds through the Lyttleton harbour tunnel to the seaside suburb of Sumner and cave rock before returning to your hotel where the tour will conclude. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.
Enjoy a free day at leisure to explore Christchurch at your own pace.
Visit the beautiful unspoilt old French whaling depot of Akaroa. Stop at the Hill Top to experience panoramic views of Akaroa Harbour and visit the Cheese Factory at Barry’s Bay to sample some fine New Zealand cheeses. In the afternoon enjoy a 2 hour harbour cruise on the Canterbury Cat, sightseeing dolphins, penguins and seals.
Duration: This tour departs at 09.00am and returns at 05.00pm.
Inclusions: Hotel pick up and drop off; Harbour Cruise and lunch.
Today the driving portion of your holiday begins! Check out from your hotel (up to 11am) and make your way to the Budget downtown office (150 Kilmore Street) to collect your vehicle. Your car includes unlimited kilometres in a compact Group C vehicle.
New Zealand is a drivers paradise, stunning scenery, leisurely speeds and easy navigable roads. Leaving Christchurch, begin the drive south. Watch the scenery and skyline become jaw-dropping with the Southern Alps towering over the horizon.
Mt Cook, locally known as Aoraki, is the highest mountain in New Zealand at 3,754m. The drive takes approximately 4.5hrs from Christchurch. At the foot of the mountain sits the village of Mount Cook - a comfortable haven in one of the most unforgiving parts of New Zealand. On every side, the Southern Alps scrape the sky. On arrival check in to your hotel and enjoy the alpine village. The nearby Hooker River is accessible to see huge glacier carved icebergs.
Approximate driving distance: 330km, 4.5-5 hrs
Leaving Mt Cook, continue your drive south to Queenstown. It seems impossible the scenery can get any better, but today’s drive takes you even deeper into the majesty of New Zealand.
On arrival in Queenstown make your way to your hotel for check in and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.
Approximate driving distance: 270km, 3.5-5 hrs
Enjoy a free day at leisure to explore Queenstown at your own pace.
Considered one of the most beautiful drives in the world, experience this journey in comfort on our exclusive ‘state of the art’ coaches. The only operator providing glass roofed coaches with glass above every seat, enjoy the panoramic views from our theatre style, reclinable seats that are angled outwards to maximise viewing. There are multiple stops along the Milford Road and time for short walks and photo opportunities. Our friendly coach drivers provide detailed commentaries throughout the trip. On reaching Milford Sound, join a spectacular one hour 40 minute cruise to the mouth of the fiord on a modern vessel with excellent viewing opportunities. Large windows, spacious decks and comfortable lounges offer uninterrupted views of towering peaks and surging waterfalls. Hotel pick up and drop off included. Plus morning tea.
Enjoy a free day at leisure to explore Queenstown at your own pace.
Join a Skippers Canyon adventure is a half-day heritage tour that follows the rugged and once treacherous Skippers Road. Travel the road that was hacked by hand into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley making this an exciting adventure the whole family will enjoy. As your guide navigates this awe-inspiring canyon you will visit many historic sites such as the Skippers Suspension Bridge and the township of Skippers. Visit the restored school house where you will gain a real insight into the local heritage through photos and histories of life in this tough environment. British Automobile Association voted Skippers Canyon Road as one of the 25 most scenic roads in the world. Hotel pick up and drop off included.
Enjoy a free day at leisure to explore Queenstown at your own pace.
This full day walk in the ancient beech forest of the Mount Aspiring National Park starts with a scenic drive to the northern end of Lake Wakatipu and into the Routeburn Valley. The high snow capped mountains provide a magnificent backdrop for the walk up this beautiful river valley. A journey along the edge of the lake from Queenstown to the head of Lake Wakatipu is the ideal preparation for the splendour of the world-famous Routeburn Track. Your walk begins among towering ancient beech forest, climbing gradually through blankets of forest moss and fern and skirting the thundering Routeburn through the gorge it has carved over the millennia. The woodland eventually parts to reveal the rich grassland of Routeburn Flats, overlooked on all sides by cloud-scraping mountains, some so high they have permafrost and small glaciers. The flats is a pristine site for us to enjoy a well earned lunch, as is the next stop, Routeburn Falls, a short stride through more alpine forest. You and your guide will decide which point suits you best.
Walking time: 3 to 5 hours (optional)
Walking distance: 16kms (easy)
Track: Well formed easy walking track (8km each way)
Today, make the short drive to Wanaka. The suggested route is via Cardrona Road along the Crown Range. The Crown Range road climbs to high altitudes and crosses a mountain chain the Cromwell route doesn’t. While the Crown Range Road is a shorter distance to journey between Queenstown and Wanaka, travel time is longer and the road is more challenging than the usual route through Cromwell. You should also allow time to stop and admire the massive views, which are often accompanied by amusing encounters with kea (mountain parrots). On arrival in Wanaka make your way to your hotel for check in and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.
Approximate driving distance: 80km, 1.5-3 hrs
Leaving Wanaka, make your way up the western coast of New Zealand. This trip tracks down the West Coast through the breathtaking Haast Pass and to Glacier country. Fox Glacier and Franz Josef allow you to see two glaciers in one day. The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are unique relics of the last ice age. Mighty rivers of solid white, tumbling down ice-hewn rock valleys, they are classically beautiful in the glacial sense. Nowhere else in the world have glaciers advanced so close to the sea at this latitude. On arrival in Franz Josef make your way to your hotel for check in and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.
Approximate driving distance: 290km, 4.5-5 hrs
Continuing driving the West Coast until arriving in Greymouth. On arrival in Greymouth, drop your car at the Budget office before 12pm and check-in to the TransAlpine train to Christchurch. Your scheduled train departure time is 2pm and you must be ready to board 20 mins earlier. Whilst there is a small cafe on board your train, we recommend you to allow time to have lunch in Greymouth before departing.
Considered one of the world's greatest train journeys, this journey you’ll see epic vistas, travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River, traverse the Southern Alps, and see miles of native beech forest.
The train has panoramic windows, open-air view carriage, a fully licenced cafe plus commentary allowing you to connect the scenery all around you.
On arrival in Christchurch, disembark your scenic train and make your way to your hotel. We recommend a short taxi service which can be found easily when exiting the station.
Approximate driving distance: 180km, 2.5-3.5 hrs
Today your New Zealand Rail Journey comes to an end! At the appropriate time today make your way to the airport or continue your onward journey.
Alternatively, contact us if you wish to extend your stay in Christchurch as we can help you make arrangements for additional accommodation.
Check out & departure information.
A taxi or Uber from your hotel to Christchurch airport costs approximately NZD 45-50 per car. Hotel check out is at 11am. You are welcome to leave your luggage in storage and explore the surrounding area if departing later.
TranzAlpine, between Greymouth and Christchurch
Scenic Class carriage experience combines comfort and panoramic views, making our trains the perfect way to explore New Zealand.
At the heart of our Scenic Class experience are spacious reclined seats, panoramic windows, glass shelves and skylights. These details bathe our carriages in light and bring New Zealand's famous landscapes to your seat.
Our Scenic Class carriages deliver extremely wide viewing angles by spacing the seating out. This spaciousness also creates generous amounts of legroom and comfort.
Driver License Requirements
All drivers must be 21 years old or over and hold a Full, current non probationary drivers licence (with an English translation shown on the driver licence) for their home country. If the licence is not issued fully (i.e. every single endorsement) in English, it must be accompanied by either an international driver permit or an approved translation. There is no maximum age for hiring a vehicle in New Zealand.
Each additional driver will cost $5+GST NZD per day up to a maximum of $25+GST NZD for the entire length of rental. Partner / Spouse (not restricted to marriages / relationships between individuals of any gender) are exempt from this fee.
All additional drivers must meet the above criteria
A credit card issued in the renter’s name must be provided at time of collection. A minimum of $100 NZD pre-authorisation will be charged plus total value of any optional extras elected
Damage Excess Reduction
The excess amount can be reduced to NZD$350.00 +GST by purchasing Excess Reduction at commencement of the rental. Excess Reduction is NZD$25+GST per rental day.
Please Note: For Standard rates, $1400+GST will be charged if a windscreen (front or back) is cracked or broken that requires replacement. For Excess reduced (Inclusive) rates, the excess will be charged, Chip on windscreen will cost $60+GST
Please Note: Cost of tyre replacement is not covered unless the Road Side Assistance is purchased at the counter.
Goods and Services Tax (GST), currently at 15%, Unlimited kilometres Standard Motor Vehicle Damage Waiver
Special Request Delivery Fees, Optional Extras (GPS, child safety seats, etc), Damage Excess Reduction, Fuel.
These above items are to be paid directly by the clients on car collection.
Upgrade to a Budget Intermediate SUV (Toyota Rav 4 or similar)
You may want to upgrade your car hire to a Budget Intermediate SUV (Toyota Rav 4 or similar) for an extra ₹15,566 in total.
Budget Standard Terms and Conditions can be found here
We offer two payment options – the choice is yours. Our advertised price is based on our 'Pay in Full' option, which includes a discount by making full payment at the time of booking. Alternatively, choose our 'Installment Payment Plan' option for the flexibility of incremental payments, beginning with a low deposit.
Please click 'Book Now' and proceed to the payment page to select your preferred option under the heading ‘Choose how to pay’. The total due will be reflected accordingly.
Pay In Full Option:
Installment Payment Plan Option:
While the tour itinerary should give you some guidance and overview to the expected requirements, to determine if this tour is right for you we categorise each of our tours in terms of their intensity. These guidelines are to ensure that each tour group is conducted as expected and to ensure the overall satisfaction of all Inspiring Vacations customers.
As a general rule, porterage is not included, therefore at all times you are expected to handle your own luggage where help may not be available.
This particular tour is categorised as a “3”.
3 – Moderate Tour: A good level of fitness and mobility is required, as this tour includes a moderate level of physical activity and is considered a medium-fast paced tour. You should be able to walk up and down stairs and able to walk reasonable distances of approximately 2 kilometres per day or more with ease. Any physical ailments you may have must be disclosed at the time of booking to determine your suitability. If you have any form of walking aids, other than a walking stick or hiking poles, then this tour is not suitable.
The accommodation listed is subject to change. Any changes will be of an equal or higher standard. Bedding configurations (double or twin) are requests only. All efforts will be made to meet your preferences, however any changes are beyond our control.
Single supplement is ₹128,218.00 per person, in addition to the twin-share price.
Travel insurance is recommended to protect yourself against the unexpected. In addition to the support that a policy may provide, you may be asked to present a copy of your travel insurance documentation while traveling.
Visa & Passport information
It is the traveler's responsibility to ensure they have a valid passport. The passport may need to be valid for a minimum of six months from the intended date of return to your home country.
Australians do not require a visa for New Zealand.
Please note that these details are subject to change without notice. We recommend visiting https://smartraveller.gov.au for up to date information in terms of entry requirements
Children must be 5 years old or above and share a room with parents at all times. Children are charged the same price as adults.
Maximum of 60 people
When travelling with a group, no matter the size, we ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience.
We do our best to meet your bedding preference, however, bedding configurations (double or twin) are requests only and cannot be guaranteed. All efforts will be made to meet your preference, however, any changes are beyond our control and limited by the hotel facilities and availability.
Tour Styles - This package is an Independent style.
To meet the needs of various types of travellers, we choose to operate various types of tours and depending on your selected package will mean different services are provided throughout your trip. The following descriptions of each tour style we hope will ensure that each traveller has appropriate expectations before they start their travels:
Who is operating this package
We have partnered with a wide range of third party operators who assist in fulfilling your booking and delivering an enjoyable on-tour experience. Each package will consist of multiple operators meaning both guides and fellow travellers may change day to day. But don't worry, regardless of the operator, you'll be in good hands to experience the most out of each destination.
To enhance your journey, we are offering guests a choice of the following optional activities (prices are per person):
Optional tours can be selected once you have finalised your tour purchase and paid your deposit. When completing your Passenger Booking Form, you will be asked if you would like to add Optional Tours, where any applicable cost will be added to your final balance. If you choose not to select them at this time, you can choose to add them later by logging in to your Account online.
Please note that you must select your Optional Tours no later than 70 days before departure, after which you will be required to purchase them on tour. Please keep in mind that anything purchased on-tour is subject to availability and prices may vary as you will be paying in local currency. We appreciate your understanding.
You can enhance your holiday by arriving or departing before or after the tour. On this tour you can choose from the following options:
Pre Tour Accommodation
Post Tour Accommodation
Please select the number of extra nights required in the 'Additional Nights Accommodation' field when making your purchase. The additional cost for these arrangements will be added to your final payment invoice and are subject to availability.
This package is sold as land only, however you do have the option of adding international airfares to your booking. Simply click on’ book now’, and under upgrades , you will be asked “Would you like us to contact you around our flight service?”
By selecting this option Inspiring Vacations will contact you to discuss adding flights to your chosen destination. We can assist with flying the airline of your choice to turn your booking into a flight inclusive package.
We would be more than happy to provide you with a quote for the following requests:
We are currently unable to provide a quote for the following requests:
Some airlines may not permit online check-in where flights have been booked by a travel company. Where unavailable to do so online, you will be required to check-in at the airport. Inspiring Vacations cannot check-in online on behalf of our customers.
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