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Book a 7 day vacation package to New Zealand and get a free 2 night stopover on the Cook Islands at the Muri Beach Club located on the stunning Muri Lagoon among tropical landscaped gardens. Onto New Zealand and experience the romance of the south island with a 7 day journey from Queenstown along the remote west coast before traversing the Southern Alps by train to Christchurch.

Package Inclusions:
* Air New Zealand flights to New Zealand & Cook Islands

* All Internal flights within New Zealand
* 2 nights complimentary accommodation at The Muri Beach Club Rarotonga Including daily tropical breakfast, use of kayaks and snorkeling equipment
* Meet & greet and airport transfers in Rarotonga
* 6 nights accommodation in New Zealand at the standard of your choice - Queenstown (3), Fox Glacier (2), Christchurch (1)
* 6 Days Thrifty car rental
* Tranz Alpine Express rail journey from Greymouth - Christchurch
* All airport taxes and airline fuel surcharges

Day 1 - Depart US

Day 2 - Arrive Cook Islands
Receive a traditional Lei greeting on arrival before being transferred to the Muri Beach Club.

Retreat, relax and revive in chic sophistication on Rarotonga's best swimming beach, where the only distraction is the location! The Muri Beach Club Hotel enjoys an enviable location on the very best stretch of beach on Muri Lagoon. Beachfront rooms have stunning views over the lagoon and the small offshore islands (motu). This perfect getaway retreat is privately owned and operated with relaxation, privacy and guest satisfaction as its mission objective. Boutique in style and service, the Muri Beach Club Hotel welcomes you to experience the real rhythm of Rarotonga.... in absolute chic sophistication.

Day 3 - Muri Beach Club, Rarotonga
The location puts you right at the heart of one of Rarotonga’s most outstanding natural features – Muri Lagoon. The lagoon is our island’s aquatic playground, for superb and safe snorkelling and swimming. With other watersports like kayaking, wind surfing, kite surfing, sailing and glass-bottomed boat rides, there’s always an opportunity to get out on the water and away from it all. Naturally, the lagoon and beach are so beautiful that just walking and lying by the water will provide you with plenty of chances to banish stress and feel completely rejuvenated.

Amenities designed to pamper include a Fine Dining Restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner specialising in Pacific Rim Cuisine. The exclusive Lagoon Lounge, large central Swimming Pool, Beauty & Spa, personalised wedding and honeymoon coordinator, Business Centre, shopping including Polynesian Jewellery and Resort Wear, Aqua-Centre, Tour Desk, Rental Vehicles and 24 hour Reception ensure every need is catered for.

Day 4 - Depart Cook Islands
Fly Rarotonga - Auckland - Queenstown - cross dateline

Day 5 - Arrive Queenstown
Queenstown is the Southern Hemisphere’s premier four season lake and alpine resort. Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown’s stunning scenery is inspiring and revitalizing. With such a huge range of activities in Queenstown, no two days will ever be the same. Collect Rental car and drive to accommodation for 3 nights stay in category of your choice:

3.5* Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown (Standard Room incl Air Con)
4* Accommodation: Novotel Lakeside Queenstown (Guest room)
5* Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown (Superior Spa room)
Luxury Accommodation: Remarkables Lodge Including full breakfast daily (Lodge room)

Days 6 & 7 - Queenstown
Explore Queenstown at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - Some of our favorites:

75-milfordsound.jpg Milford Sound Nature Cruise
An on board nature guide with specialist knowledge of the region's history, flora and fauna provides detailed interpretation in English with a roving microphone. There is plenty of time available to explore points of interest and view the spectacular alpine scenery including waterfalls, rainforest and the towering peaks; and keep a lookout for wildlife including seals, dolphins and penguins when in season. Coach or flight transfers available.
75-funyak.jpg Dart River Safari - Funyaks
During your Funyaks full day experience you will experience NZ's most scenic jetboating experience and then float down river in their own inflatable kayak allowing plenty of time to explore the rivers hidden secrets. Enjoy a wilderness buffet lunch and exceptional guide interaction on this premium product. Funyaks is more suited towards visitors who are looking for a unique eco-experience - guests must have average fitness.
75-appellation.jpg Appellation Central Wine Tours
Appellation Central offers guided tours showcasing Central Otago's fine wine and cuisine. These tours venture into the heartland of Central Otago visiting vineyards in Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell. Small groups and custom fit minibuses ensure a relaxed and interactive day out from Queenstown and a great way to experience Central Otago.
74-shotover_jet_s.jpg Queenstown Rafting Triple Challenge - Shotover Jet/Helicopter/WhiteWater Rafting 
The Ultimate Adventure. Begin with the shotover jet, speed through rocky canyons and experience the Hamilton 360 spins. Climb aboard a helicopter for a spectacular flight into Skippers Canyon. Land at Deep Creek and meet your rafting guide, peaceful waters at first before hearing the roar of the"mother" section
75-nomads.jpg Nomad Safari - Skippers Canyon
a half-day heritage tour that follows the rugged and once treacherous Skippers Road. Hacked by hand into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley. Navigate this awe-inspiring canyon and visit many historic sites such as the Skippers Suspension Bridge, township of Skippers, and the restored school house - gain a real insight into the local heritage through photos and histories of life in this tough environment
74-real_journeys_s.jpg  Milford Sound - Overnight Cruise (seasonal)
Overnight on the Milford Mariner, a 40 metre motor vessel, leisurely cruise Milford Sound, explore points of interest and view the spectacular alpine scenery and keep a lookout for wildlife including seals, dolphins and penguins when in season. After reaching the open sea the sails may be hoisted, anchors overnight in sheltered Harrison Cove.

For more Queenstown tour options, see our e-brochure

Day 8 - Queenstown - Fox Glacier/Franz Josef Glacier

Queenstown_to_Wanaka.GIF

Queenstown to Wanaka
103 km (64 miles) Approximately 1.25 hours

The shortest route to Wanaka is over the Crown Range Road. It's a challenging drive, but the views are amazing and you'll probably encounter friendly keas (mountain parrots). More conservative drivers can take the route that runs beside the Shotover River, Lake Dunstan and the Clutha River. The vineyards of the Gibbston area and bungy jumpers at the Kawarau River Bridge are interesting distractions along the way.The lakeside resort town of Wanaka can provide you with an appealing mix of fine living, family fun and adventure. It has a high concentration of cafes, restaurants and interesting shops. You'll also find some unique attractions, like the 3D maze and the warbird air show, which is held every two years.

Wanaka_to_Haast.GIF

Wanaka to Haast
139 km (87 miles) Approximately 1.75 hours

Lake Hawea is the first scenic highlight of your journey, followed closely by the northern end of Lake Wanaka. The famous "bra fence" is impossible to miss, it started as a joke, but it's become a local legend. At the wilderness town of Makarora you can fuel up and refresh before you take on the dramatic twists and turns of the Haast Pass. Enjoy waterfalls and river scenery as you arrive in rainforest country. The settlement of Haast was once a construction camp for the Ministry of Works (the government department responsible for road and bridge building). It's a town with a touch of the wild west, helicopters fly deer hunters into the rugged ranges and local pubs make a feature of stuffed animal trophies.

Haast_to_Fox_Glacier.GIF

Haast to Fox Glacier
122 km (76 miles) Approximately 1.75 hours

Just north of Haast is Lake Moeraki, a peaceful forest lake with good fishing, a 40 minute walk takes you to the penguin colony at Monro Beach. Next is pretty Lake Paringa, where you can enjoy a delicious meal of salmon at the salmon farm. Just before Fox Glacier is the western end of the Copland track. In half a day you can walk to the hot springs at Welcome Flat. The terminal face of Fox Glacier is just 5 kilometres from the township that serves it. The road to the walking track crosses ancient moraine from earlier advances and retreats. Fox Glacier was named after an early New Zealand Prime Minister, William Fox.

Fox_Glacier_to_Franz_Josef.GIF

Fox Glacier to Franz Josef
23 km (14 miles) Approximately 0.25 hour

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. While in the area, you can choose from a wide range of adventure activities. After a short drive north, you'll arrive at Franz Josef Glacier. First explored in 1865, the glacier has been moving forward at a rate of about 1 metre a day since 1985. Previously it was in retreat. You can walk to the terminal of the glacier in about 10 minutes. Franz Josef township has a good range of accommodation and eating establishments.

 

Check into accommodation category of your choice for 2 night stay:

3.5* Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier (Standard Room)
4* Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef (Douglas Wing)
5* & Luxury: Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat Including Breakfast & Dinner (Double room)

Day 9 - Fox Glacier/Franz Josef 
Relax, self explore or consider adding one of our tour options:

75-glacier-guides.jpg Half or Full Day Glacier Guided Hikes
Your guide stops to explain the unique features of the Franz Josef Glacier and its surroundings. After strapping on crampons you make your way up the terminal face of the glacier, where pre-formed tracks make exploring the lower reaches of the glacier achievable for most agile people. For the most adventurous, the full day hike takes you further into the heart of the glacier.
pic-heli-1a.jpg Heli Hike 
Combine an awesome scenic helicopter flight over the glacier with a unique guided walk amongst the ice caves, pinnacles and seracs of this pristine, alpine environment. You'll see the extraordinary colours of the ice-flow from above and then up close, on an unforgettable guided walk.

 

Day 10 - Fox Glacier/Franz Josef - Greymouth - Christchurch

Franz_Josef_to_Hokitika.GIF

Franz Josef to Hokitika
133 km (83 miles) Approximately 1.75 hours

The road from the glaciers is rural, but with a wild streak. The farmland is trying to turn back into forest, and the beauty of the rivers is raw and primeval. At Ross there’s a goldfield walkway to explore, or enjoy a picnic by the shores of Lake Ianthe. A visit to the White Heron colony near Whataroa is a rare experience. Hokitika was first settled in 1860, after the discovery of gold on the west coast. It still has the feel of a frontier town, and there are some lovely old buildings to admire. Greenstone (NZ jade) is the town's treasure these days, watch it being carved. You might also want to investigate the museum and do the historical walk.

Hokitika_to_Greymouth.GIF

Hokitika to Greymouth
40 km (25 miles) Approximately 0.5 hour

The road between Hokitika and Greymouth provides great views of the wild west coast. Detour to the beach and breathe the salt spray air. Driftwood is the ornamentation of choice for west coast beaches  every shape, size and colour. Shantytown, just south of Greymouth, is a reconstructed 1880s gold rush town and great family entertainment. Greymouth has a long gold mining history. It's the largest town on the west coast and is known for its awesome seascapes. The local brewery runs tours or you can catch up with west coast history at the museum. White water rafting, sea kayaking and gold panning are other things to do.

 

Arrive Greymouth no later than 1pm, return rental vehicle and report for the Tranz Alpine train departure at 145pm. Departing through lush beech rain forest, your train then climbs into the Southern Alps, before descending into the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. From your carriage you’ll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland. All carriages include both one way seating and tabled group seating allowing you to experience the amazing views while enjoying the company of other passengers on-board. An open air viewing carriage allows you to get even closer to the stunning scenery and provides many opportunities to photograph your favourite spots. There’s a lot to look forward to! Our train journey sets off from Christchurch - New Zealand's largest city on the South Island. The trip is 223.8 kilometres long and takes just four and a half hours. There are 16 tunnels, and 5 viaducts, the highest being the Staircase standing at 73 metres.

Take a taxi on arrival from Railway station to accommodation (own expense)

3.5*Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold (Standard Studio)
4* Accommodation: Peppers Clearwater (Lakeside Room)
5* Accommodation: The George Christchurch (Executive room)
Luxury Accommodation: Huntley Lodge including full breakfast (Garden room)

Day 11 - Depart for US
Make your own way to Christchurch airport and flights to US.

Costing from 3-star 4-star 5-star Luxury
Now - 31 March 2014 $2,449 $2,589 $3,149 $3,259

 

Upgrade your Cook Islands accommodation for $230pp supplement

Te Vakaroa Villas, Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Absolute beach front set right on Muri Beach, Te Vakaroa Villas is a remarkable gated haven, offering unsurpassed views of the remarkable Muri Lagoon and beyond the reef to the South Pacific Ocean. The contemporary designs of the six villas are sympathetic to the natural surroundings, complete with floor-to-ceiling sliders that open onto a large private patio over looking their Infinity pool and Jacuzzi – the ideal places to unwind and enjoy a tropical cocktail. A short stroll along the beach gives access to some of the island’s renowned restaurants. Guests can enjoy a fully hosted holiday or choose to be full self-catering each villa has a beautiful fully appointed kitchen. Muri Lagoon is a water playground for snorkelling, kayaking, kite surfing and swimming. Kayaks and snorkelling equipment for those who want to pull themselves away from their luxurious villa to explore the attractions of the lagoon.

COMPLIMENTARY INCLUSIONS
Meet/greet fresh flower lei and return airport transfers
Welcome fruit platter
Daily light tropical breakfast delivered to your Villa
Snorkelling, kayaks and beach towels

Ariel-view-Muri-Beach.jpeg infinity-pool-over-lagoon.jpeg

 

Valid for departures until 31 Mar 2014. Prices are per person based on double occupancy for departures from Los Angeles based on low season. Add-on fares available from other cities. Seats are limited and may not be available on every flight. Hotels subject to availability. Hotels subject to availability. All prices reflect a 3% discount for purchases made by cash/check. There are no discounts for payment made by credit cards. Cancellation penalties and other restrictions apply.