[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!)

Auckland, New Zealand

Changi Terminal

This adventure is: #far far away, #scenic, #in the making

Auckland: [18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light ...

Your Organizer

“Hi, I am Tracy! I am a full-time Travel Blogger, Planner & Organizer. I am Indonesian and I stayed in Singapore for about 11 years before I moved back for good in 2016. I love nature - I hike and I dive. When I am not doing either one, I write and I plan. And yes, also meeting friends for a cuppa tea or coffee, too! :) Hope to see you around one day!”

35 Adventures organized
100 Friends came along
Total ratings:
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Highlights

The cost shown is for 2018. So, expect that there will be some adjustment for next year.

WHY WINTER?


1. Less crowded
2. Possibility to see the southern light is higher
3. Why not? The weather is chill on the north island (between 10-15ºC in average) and slowly changing to colder with snowy sight at some areas on the south island. :)

----

This trip will start from Auckland all the way to Queenstown and end at Christchurch. As it is during the winter season in New Zealand, expect to see some snow in some areas. This trip will cover both North and South Island of New Zealand. 

The activities will be around sightseeing, cultural, a little hiking, scenic train ride, snorkelling, cruises and glass bottom ride, skygazing (if we are lucky, we will see the southern light) plus many other optional activities of your choice.

This trip is suitable for anyone including children. There are days that we are fully-guided and there are free times where we can spend to do optional activities or just have a slow day as we wish to be. This is a trip of our lifetime if I may say so.

[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand


[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand




  
ITINERARY
DAY 1: AUCKLAND
 (D)


We will be welcomed to NZ by our guide and here is where our trip begins. We will be taken on a tour of the city, which could include a visit to one of Auckland’s inner city beaches, Mission Bay where it is possible to see stunning Pohutukawa trees. The trip could also take in sights such as Mt Eden, a stunning viewpoint and one of Auckland’s most famous volcanic craters, and perhaps a gander at one of the local’s lookout spots that boast great views of both Rangitoto Island and Waiheke Island.


Tonight we will take a trip to the top of the Auckland Skytower and view the City of Sails from above. At 328 metres, the Sky Tower is the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand and offers breath-taking views for up to 80 kilometres in every direction. We will dine at the Orbit 360 Restaurant atop the Sky Tower, a truly iconic New Zealand brasserie offering diners sensational views – and food to match. The dining room rotates once every hour, providing a truly unique experience with amazing 360-degree panoramas of the city, the Hauraki Gulf and beyond.







DAY 2: AUCKLAND – WHITIANGA VIA COROMANDEL (B)



210 km, 4 hours driving


South we go. Leaving New Zealand’s largest city, we head for the Coromandel, one of the key locations for the New Zealand gold rush in the 1800s. En route depending on how we feel there may be time for a walk through one the region’s many Kauri Tree forests, where we will encounter the flora and fauna of New Zealand’s North Island at its best.


We follow the coast road to the town of Coromandel, where we will take a trip on ‘The Driving Creek Railway’- New Zealand’s only narrow-gauge mountain railway, with a working pottery and wildlife sanctuary (included activity). From there we will take the stunning inland route to the coastal town of Whitianga, known for the famous Buffalo Beach and its palm trees that line the shore.


[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand









This morning we will visit the world famous Hot Water Beach. This is one of the only places in the world where one can discover thermal water underneath a beach! Water in places can be as hot as 70 degrees Celsius though, so approach with caution.


Bring your swimming gear, as we will have the opportunity to dig our very own thermal pool and bathe in its waters (35-40 degrees Celsius in the right areas). This afternoon we will take a ride on the glass bottom boat and have the chance to get in the water and snorkel. This 2-hour cruise takes us to the famous Cathedral Cave.



[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand









DAY 4: WHITIANGA – ROTORUA VIA HOBBITON (B)



232 km, 4 hours driving


Late morning bid farewell to the Coromandel and head south to Rotorua; a hot spot for Maori culture and thermal activity. En route you will visit Hobbiton and The Shire’s Rest, the only remaining film set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies (included activity).


Arrive in Rotorua in the afternoon and you have the opportunity to take a city tour featuring Kuirau Park mud pool reserve and view the stunning government gardens and lakefront. Tonight you will visit Mitai Maori Village where you will enjoy a traditional Maori dinner (Hangi) and see a cultural performance.[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand












This morning we will take a guided walk around Te Puia and experience mud pools and geysers and visit the Maori Weaving School and Kiwi House (included activity). This is a chance to see the national bird up close. This afternoon is free for leisure activities.


Available optional activities (at extra cost): Rotorua Gondola and Luge, a trip to Rotorua Agrodome to experience zorbing, a visit to a kiwifruit farm, a trip to The Buried Village of Te Wairoa, a walk through the redwood forest or the ultimate experience of a helicopter flight and guided walk around White Island; NZ’s most active volcano! Tonight perhaps relax and enjoy a soak in the famous Polynesian Spa.













218 km. 2 hours 40 minutes driving


Our first stop for the day is Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland – a Wonderland of Stunning Geothermal Activity. We will see New Zealand’s largest thermal mud pool, sinter terraces and stunning hot and cold pools of many different colours (included activity). Heading south and stopping at the mind-blowingly powerful Huka Falls we will take an exhilarating ride on the Huka Falls Jet Boat.


Continue on to Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake where we may wish to stop for lunch. Winding our way around Lake Taupo, we will eventually reach Tongariro National Park where we may wish to take a hike in the National Park itself. One of the local’s favourites is 2 hours long featuring native bush, volcanic views and stunning waterfalls. In clear weather, there is a great opportunity to spot New Zealand’s 3 most active volcanoes – Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngaurauhoe (also known as Mt Doom). Tonight we will be staying and dining at the Chateau Tongariro.


[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand















DAY 8: TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK – WELLINGTON (B)



218 km. 2 hours 40 minutes driving


If we are feeling active this morning there is a possibility of doing one of the many stunning short walks in the Tongariro National Park. One of the local’s favourites is 2 hours long featuring native bush, volcanic views and stunning waterfalls. Heading south, we arrive in Wellington in the afternoon to discover New Zealand’s capital city.


We can take a city tour taking in sights such as Mt Victoria – Wellington’s most spectacular viewpoint with 360 degrees of the city, harbour and mountain ranges in the background, Te Papa – the national museum, or Zealandia – A huge wildlife sanctuary on the outskirts of the city.  In the evening perhaps have a wander through the bustling streets of Wellington where we can enjoy a meal on the waterfront (optional – extra cost).

[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand
---

DAY 9: WELLINGTON – CHRISTCHURCH 
(B)

















35-minute flight


This morning we will catch a domestic flight to Christchurch. In the afternoon we could take a Christchurch city tour. Christchurch is known throughout New Zealand as ‘The Garden City”. This city tour could include a stroll in the botanic gardens and drive around the bays of Christchurch taking in Lyttelton which was the gateway for many of Christchurch and the Canterbury region’s first settlers. Perhaps go for a punt on the Avon River or visit the International Antarctic Centre. Tonight serves up the opportunity to enjoy dinner in one of the city’s many fantastic restaurants (all activities optional – extra cost).

[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand
---



















450 km, 5 hours driving, 2 hours and 15 minutes driving










Today our journey through the Southern Alps to Arthurs Pass and Greymouth on the South Island’s West Coast. This was voted one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. Keep a lookout for the Bealey River and lakes Pearson and Lyndon with the towering Alps above.


Arrive in Greymouth (named so for the Grey River flowing through the town), and head south to Hokitika where we can have a look at the greenstone factory. We will view up close how the local people carve necklaces and sculptures from the precious stone (also a great souvenir or gift for loved ones back home!).


Late afternoon arrives in the beautiful Franz Josef township, where we will stay tonight surrounded by nature and with the snow-capped Alps above. This evening we will also have the chance to visit the relaxing Franz Josef Hot Pools for a soak surrounded by lush rainforest (optional activity).











[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand
---


















DAY 11: FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER – WANAKA (B)


250 km, 4 hours driving










This morning we have the option of taking a scenic flight over or a heli-hike on the stunning Franz Josef Glacier, one of the only places in the world where we can experience a Glacier surrounded by rainforest (optional – extra cost).  One of the prettiest and most dramatic journeys in the country is what we can experience on this tour over the Haast Pass through to Wanaka.


En route we will visit Lake Matheson, otherwise known as ‘Mirror Lakes’ where on a clear day it is possible to see the reflection of New Zealand’s highest mountain Mt Cook (3754m/12,316ft). The walking possibilities are endless today around Haast and Haast Pass and we can do one of or several walks, some of which feature spectacular waterfalls and deep blue coloured pools where it is possible to see trout swimming. One of the local’s favourite spots is Ship Creek, an isolated beach featuring native totara trees hugging rugged coastline. Tonight we will stay in Wanaka, one of the most popular kiwi vacation hot spots situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka.











[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand
---


















DAY 12: WANAKA – TE ANAU (B)


260 km, 4 hours driving


This morning after further exploring Wanaka, our South Island tour takes us over The Crown Range, New Zealand’s highest highway to Arrowtown, an important location in the gold rush of Central Otago in the 1860s. Perhaps browse the preserved Chinese gold mining village or wander the boutique shops the town has on offer.


Our next stop is Amisfield Winery where we will enjoy a 3-course‘ trust the chef’ lunch with a wine tasting, including the trademark Pinot Noir which this region is famous for (lunch and wine tasting included). This afternoon we will drive a further 2.5 hours to Te Anau. This evening in Te Anau we will take a tour by boat across Lake Te Anau to the glowworm caves to view the shimmering light of thousands of luminous glow-worms in a 12,000-year-old grotto (included).

[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand
---

DAY 13: DOUBTFUL SOUND DAY TRIP (B)


















40 minutes driving


Today take the 20-minute drive to Manapouri Harbour for our day cruise through Doubtful Sound (or we can arrange bus transfers). This spectacular journey starts with a cruise to the other side of Lake Manapouri, followed by a bus trip over a pass to the fjords followed by a magical afternoon cruising through the towering peaks and stunning waterfalls of Doubtful Sound. The trip also passes by the famous Manapouri power station. The boat returns to Manapouri at 4:45. In the afternoon, take the 20-minute drive back to Te Anau and enjoy a further night on the shores of Lake Te Anau.


Note: Today is a legally required day off for our guide. Any transport will be provided by a 3rd party operator.

[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand
---


















DAY 14: TE ANAU – QUEENSTOWN (B,D)


184 km, 3 hours driving


This morning we will head to Queenstown, ‘New Zealand’s adventure capital of the world’. Skirting our way around Lake Wakatipu makes for some stunning photography and we will be amazed by the Remarkables Mountain Range, one of the most famous backdrops for Lord of the Rings. The afternoon is free to spend as our wish in Queenstown, and there is plenty to see and do! In the evening, take a trip to the top of the Skyline Gondola to view Queenstown from a 360-degree panoramic viewpoint and enjoy a delicious buffet dinner at Stratosfare Restaurant (included).

[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand
---


















DAY 15: QUEENSTOWN (B)


Today is free to explore Queenstown at leisure and take part in some of the fantastic activities that this ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ has to offer. Options for the adventurous include Skydiving, Bungy Jumping, Jet Boating, Canyon Swings, White Water Rafting, Flyboarding and Paragliding. If you feel like taking a more relaxed approach to the day, a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw 100-year-old steamship or a walk through Queenstown’s Botanic Gardens is not to be missed.


Perhaps drive out to the head of Lake Wakatipu and experience the breath-taking scenery of the Glenorchy area. A popular option is a helicopter flight to the top of Coronet Peak, where passengers are able to get out on the snow 365 days a year! (Weather permitting).

[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand
---


















DAY 16: QUEENSTOWN – AORAKI MOUNT COOK (B,D)


263 km, 3 hours and 15 minutes driving


We leave Central Otago today through the Kawarau Gorge and Cromwell where we can make a stop en route and visit a local fruit shop for a chance to try real fruit ice cream and perhaps sample New Zealand famous manuka honey products. From there, cross the Lindis Pass (965m) to the Mackenzie Country, known for its Merino Sheep and wool industry.


Weather permitting we can take a short walk at the foot of Mt Cook – New Zealand’s highest mountain. This afternoon take a hike in the Tasman Valley with our guide. Stay in the alpine village tonight where we will do a stargazing tour and marvel at the beautiful skies about Aoraki Mount Cook. If we are lucky and the sky is clear enough, we might be able to see the southern light, too!

[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand
---


















DAY 17: AORAKI MOUNT COOK – CHRISTCHURCH VIA LAKE TEKAPO (B)


332 km, 4 hours and 15 minutes driving


This morning we will skirt around beautiful lakes Pukaki and Tekapo and discover one of the local’s favourite lookout spots with 360-degree views of the lake and mountains; Mt. John. Stop at Lake Tekapo Village for lunch and see the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of the turquoise lake. Following this, we will drive through to Christchurch where the rest of the day is free to explore the city. Tonight we will enjoy a delicious restaurant dinner with our guide to farewell our tour.

[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand
---


















DAY 18: CHRISTCHURCH (B)


This morning, after further exploring Christchurch, we are transferred to our onward travel arrangements. I believe we have had a memorable tour of the beautiful country.

---

ACCOMMODATIONS
17 nights’ accommodation in 4 star and best available motel and/or hotel accommodation featuring mountain and lake views in locations that offer this (views subject to availability)
– 1 night in Auckland (Rose Park Motel or similar)
– 2 nights in Whitianga (Ocean Resort or similar)
– 2 nights in Rotorua (Silver Fern Motel or similar)
– 2 nights sin Tongariro (Chateau Tongariro or similar)
– 1 night in Wellington (Apollo Motor Lodge or similar)
– 2 nights in Christchurch (Colombo in the City Motel or similar)
– 1 night in Franz Josef (Aspen Court Motel or similar)
– 1 night in Wanaka (Manuka Crescent Motel or similar)
– 2 nights in Te Anau (Bella Vista Te Anau motel or similar)
– 2 nights in Queenstown (Alexis Motel or similar)
– 1 night in Alpine Village (Hermitage Hotel or similar)

[18D17N] Winter in New Zealand (Southern Light Alert!) starting at Auckland, New Zealand

IMPORTANT NOTE:


Please read through the following terms of participation before RSVP: http://www.threeplaygrounds.com/pages/champion-terms-of-participation

 

DISCLAIMER: Your safety and well-being during the trip are your sole responsibility. By RSVP for this event, you have confirmed that you have read, acknowledged, agreed and accepted the terms and conditions of participating on this trip.








Itinerary

DAY 1: AUCKLAND (D)
DAY 2:
AUCKLAND – WHITIANGA VIA COROMANDEL (B)
DAY 3:
WHITIANGA (B)
DAY 4:
WHITIANGA – ROTORUA VIA HOBBITON (B)
DAY 5:
ROTORUA (B)
DAY 6:
ROTORUA – TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK (B,D)
DAY 7:
ROTORUA – TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK (B)
DAY 8:
TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK – WELLINGTON (B)
DAY 9:
WELLINGTON – CHRISTCHURCH (B)
DAY 10:
CHRISTCHURCH – FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER via TRANZ ALPINE (B)
DAY 11:
FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER – WANAKA (B)
DAY 12:
WANAKA – TE ANAU (B)
DAY 13:
DOUBTFUL SOUND DAY TRIP (B)
DAY 14:
TE ANAU – QUEENSTOWN (B,D)
DAY 15:
QUEENSTOWN (B)
DAY 16:
QUEENSTOWN – AORAKI MOUNT COOK (B,D)
DAY 17:
AORAKI MOUNT COOK – CHRISTCHURCH VIA LAKE TEKAPO (B)
DAY 18:
CHRISTCHURCH (B)