18 Day New Zealand Fully Escorted Coach Tour from $8,799 per person, including international flights

In our opinion, the best fully inclusive 2.5-week fully escorted tour of New Zealand out there! Experience the natural beauty and unique culture of both the North and South Islands by a modern coach with a maximum of 32 travelers. This inclusive package features quality accommodations, most meals, the "must do" icons of New Zealand, and an extensive list of tours included in your tour price.

Commence your tour in Christchurch, travel across the Southern Alps to Lake Tekapo and the Scottish settlement of Dunedin before arriving at one of the highlights of the South Island – Milford Sound. Continue on to the alpine resort town of Queenstown, across the West Coast Glaciers, and board the stunning Tranz Alpine Express Rail Journey, lauded as one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. Head North and cross from the South to the North Islands by ferry and arrive at the capital city of Wellington, later on to the Maori cultural center of Rotorua, further north to the sub-tropical Bay of Islands and New Zealand's first capital before ending in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, having truly experienced the best of New Zealand from South to North

Escorted Tour Inclusions

  • Round-trip economy airfare from Los Angeles to New Zealand with Air New Zealand- Add-on flights from your local airport are available for an additional cost.
  • Personalized Meet & Greet on arrival & round trip airport transfers
  • Professional Coach Captain and Tour Leader 
  • All sightseeing and pre-paid attractions as outlined in the itinerary
  • 15 cooked breakfasts including 12 sumptuous dinners including complimentary pre-dinner drink at the Welcome Dinner and 3 specialty dinners: Walter Peak Homestead, Queenstown; Maori Hangi and Concert, Rotorua; Farewell Dinner including pre-dinner drink, Auckland, 1 lunch: Milford Sound Cruise, 1 delicious Devonshire Tea: Larnach Castle 
  • All airport taxes & fees

Itinerary

Day 1 - Depart Los Angeles or San Francisco for evening flight to New Zealand

Air New Zealand is the number one way to travel to New Zealand, and your vacation begins the second you step onboard your overnight flight. Air New Zealand offers direct service from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, and New York JFK, addon fares with United Airlines available from other cities.

The Air New Zealand onboard experience has a travel option for every passenger from Business Premier, Premium Economy, and Economy cabins, with the option to add the innovative Skycouch.

Day 2 - Cross International Date Line

Day 3 - Arrive Christchurch

On arrival into Christchurch, you will be met by a Grand Pacific Tours representative and transferred to your hotel. This evening enjoy a complimentary pre-dinner drink when you meet your Tour Leader and travelling companions for dinner.

Accommodation - Hotel Distinction Christchurch Hotel

Includes: Dinner

Day 4 - Christchurch - Mt Cook - Twizel

After an introductory city sights tour depart Christchurch and travel through the southern Canterbury Plains to Lake Tekapo. See the brilliant turquoise water, The Church of the Good Shepherd and the Sheep Dog Statue. Marvel at the spectacular mountain ranges including Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. The opportunity is available to enjoy a scenic flight (optional, weather permitting) over the Southern Alps before travelling to Twizel.

Accommodation - Hotel MacKenzie Country

Includes: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 - Twizel - Dunedin

Depart Twizel and see Lake Benmore, before following the Waitaki River to Oamaru, famous for its limestone. Continue south to Dunedin and enjoy a city sights tour followed by some free time.

Accommodation - Hotel Scenic Hotel Southern Cross

Includes: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 - Dunedin - Te Anau

This morning travel out along the Otago Peninsula to Larnach Castle where you hear of the tragic and scandalous history on a guided tour. Enjoy time to wander around this Garden of International Significance followed by a delicious Devonshire Tea. Farewell Dunedin and travel through Balclutha and Gore to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland and your overnight stay. Today you may like to visit the Te Anau Glowworm Caves (optional).

Accommodation - Distinction Luxmore Hotel Lake Te Anau (Deluxe Room)

Includes: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 - Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown

Depart Te Anau for a fascinating drive to Milford Sound where you board your launch for a cruise on this magnificent fiord. See the spectacular Bowen Falls and towering Mitre Peak as you enjoy a picnic lunch. This afternoon travel to Queenstown, overlooking magical Lake Wakatipu. Spend the next two nights at this year-round resort which offers a wide range of activities and attractions. This evening is free, you may choose to dine at one of the many fine restaurants.

Accommodation - Millennium Hotel Queenstown  (2 nights)

Includes: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 8 - Queenstown (Free Day)

Today is a free day for you to explore Queenstown at leisure. Your Coach Captain and Tour Leader are available to assist with the many optional activities available, including the thrill of a jet boat ride or a heritage tour of the scenic Skippers Canyon. This evening board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw and cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station. Sit back, relax and enjoy a delicious gourmet barbecue dinner featuring a menu of seasonal, fresh and locally sourced food at the Colonel’s Homestead. After dinner enjoy a short farm tour then reboard the TSS Earnslaw for a sing along by the piano as you cruise back to Queenstown.

Accommodation - Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Includes: Breakfast and Specialty Dinner

Day 9 - Queenstown – Arrowtown - Franz Josef

Travel to Arrowtown and visit the Lakes District Museum. Continue via the Haast Pass to the mighty West Coast, an area of stunning beauty. See the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps as you travel north to the township of Franz Josef. Time is available to experience a scenic flight (optional, weather permitting) over the spectacular glaciers.

Accommodation - Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (Douglas Wing)

Includes: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10 - Franz Josef - Arthur's Pass - Christchurch

Travel to Hokitika and visit the Greenstone Factory. Continue into Arthur’s Pass and board the TranzAlpine, renowned as one of the great train journeys of the world. View rivers and valleys as you travel through the Waimakariri Basin, over massive viaducts and through the patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains. On arrival into the elegant city of Christchurch, your coach will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel.

Accommodation - Sudima Christchurch Airport Hotel

Includes: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11 - Christchurch - Picton - Wellington

Travel along the East Coast to the seaside village of Kaikoura Enjoy the spectacular scenery as you travel through Marlborough Country, famous for its food and wine. Continue to Picton, where you will board the Interislander Ferry, relax in the comfort of the Queen Charlotte Lounge. Enjoy your journey through the Marlborough Sounds to Wellington.

Accommodation - James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor (Executive Room) (2 nights)

Includes: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 12 - Wellington

A highlight this morning will be time to explore Gallipoli: A Scale of War exhibition at Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum. Cutting edge technology brings these stories to life through the eyes of New Zealanders who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Reboard your coach for an extensive city tour which showcases the history and culture on show. Enjoy free time this afternoon and this evening is also free to choose your own dining arrangements.

Accommodation - Hotel James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor (Executive Room)

Includes: Breakfast

Day 13 - Wellington - Taupo - Rotorua

Depart Wellington and view the snow-capped peaks of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro as you travel to Lake Taupo. Visit the spectacular Huka Falls then travel along the Thermal Explorer Highway to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua.

Accommodation - Hotel Pullman Rotorua (City View Room) (2 nights)

Includes: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 14 - Rotorua

Today begins with a gondola ride and breakfast at Skyline Rotorua. There is also time for a thrilling luge ride! Next stop is Agrodome for an action-packed hour of farming entertainment and education that is unlike anything you’ve seen before. Enjoy some free time this afternoon before visiting Te Puia to see the boiling mud pools and awesome geysers that Rotorua is famous for. This evening experience an entertaining Maori Hangi and Concert.

Accommodation - Hotel Pullman Rotorua (City View Room)

Includes: Breakfast and Specialty Dinner

Day 15 - Rotorua - Bay of Islands

This morning depart Rotorua and travel north to Whangarei to the Bay of Islands. This afternoon enjoy a guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the location of the signing of the treaty between the Maori tribes and the British.

Accommodation - Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands (2 nights)

Includes: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 16 - Bay of Islands

Today you will cruise through the beautiful Bay of Islands aboard a luxury catamaran to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse keeps watch over Piercy Island, or as it is popularly known, the ‘Hole in the Rock’. Keep an eye out for dolphins and other marine life before returning to Paihia for a free afternoon. A range of optional activities are available, or you may choose to relax and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of the waterfront. This evening is also free, you may like to enjoy a relaxing dinner cruise (optional).

Accommodation - Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands

Includes: Breakfast

Day 17 - Bay of Islands - Auckland

Depart the Bay of Islands this morning and travel via Whangarei and Dargaville to Matakohe. Enjoy a visit and informative talk at the Kauri Museum before continuing to Auckland for a city sights tour. This evening enjoy a pre-dinner drink and reminisce on memories shared with your new friends at the farewell dinner.

Accommodation - Sudima Auckland City Hotel

Includes: Breakfast and Specialty Dinner

Day 18 - Depart Auckland

Time to say goodbye. You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home after a memorable New Zealand holiday.


 

Aspire Tip: This tour is very popular with the Australian traveler. So when you travel on the 18 Day Fully Escorted Tour of New Zealand, your traveling companions are most likely to be Australian which usually means for a fun time with a friendly group of like-minded travelers!

 

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Costing Per Person

Starting from $8,799

 

New Zealand Entry Requirements

Before committing to a trip, please ensure you have a valid passport. New Zealand welcomes US travelers with an approved Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA).

Read More about NZETA & IVL

Additional departure gateways & pricing

Add on airfares are available from most major airports – please ask an Aspire consultant for a quote

Upgrade Options

  • Upgrade to premium economy from $1,250 per person each way
  • Upgrade to business class from $3,500 per person each way*

Can take the upgrade one way or round trip and combine premium/business classes on same ticket

* Upgrade from pricing based on Monday through Thursday departures from Los Angeles - ask an Aspire consultant for the upgrade fee from other departure points and travel Thursday through Saturday.

 

 

Conditions

Package from pricing is based on double occupancy (2 people sharing a room) from Los Angeles or San Francisco for travel until May 2025. Add-on fares are available from other cities. Seats are limited and may not be available on every flight. Hotels are subject to availability. All prices reflect a discount for purchases made by check/wire; please see the terms and conditions for credit card payments. Cancellation penalties and other restrictions apply. Travel insurance is highly recommended for travel to New Zealand. Aspire Down Under partners with CSA Travel Protection.

 

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