New Zealand Active Family Holiday – 9 Nights/10 Days
This custom itinerary was designed for an active Family of 2 Adults and 2 children ages 8 & 11 for their Christmas & New Years Holiday.
The self-drive journey takes you from 1 night in Auckland through to Rotorua for 4 nights, then onto the Adventure Capital of New Zealand ‘Queenstown’ for your remaining 4 nights.
On arrival Auckland your Chauffeured Driver will meet you at the arrivals area and assist you with your luggage. You will be taken on a 3 hour sightseeing tour of Auckland City, including entrance to Kelly Tarltons Sea Life Aquarium.
Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium has recently undergone a $6 million upgrade and with over 30 exhibits and more than 80 different species, the sea change means Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium will continue to inspire, thrill and delight visitors of all ages for many years to come. Home to very vibrant and playful colonies of King and Gentoo Penguins. Be part of their Antarctic enclosure and experience how these amazing animals live and play in their natural habitat of snow, ice and very cold water. Further developments include Kelly Tarlton’s famous Shark Tunnel – the first in the world and housing New Zealand’s largest collection of Sharks. Featuring eight new themed zones, Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium boasts unique new attractions including New Zealand’s first-ever live jellyfish display, the world’s only display of Spiny Sea Dragons in Seahorse Kingdom and the world’s biggest species of stingray. The new Rockpool Experience allows visitors to touch a crab or hold a starfish and, with the new animal-themed quiz trail, Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium offers a truly interactive day.
On completion of your tour you will be dropped at your hotel. Balance of your day at leisure to explore this beautiful harbour city on foot and stroll through the marina and shops and enjoy lunch in one of the waterfront restaurants.
The City of Auckland occupies a superb site between two harbors, on one side the sheltered Waitemata Harbor merging into the Hauraki Gulf, and on the other the shallow waters of the Manukau Harbor. Built on a series of extinct volcanos, with the backdrop of the forest-clad Waitakere Ranges, Auckland is not only New Zealand’s financial and commercial center, but also an ideal base from which to begin your New Zealand vacation.
Optional touring can include: Harbour Cruise on the Pride of Auckland or Americas Cup Sailing Ship, tour of Waiheke Islnd or take the ferry across to picturesque Devonport on the North Shore.
12.30p.m. Departure time has been reserved for you to enter the Ruakuri & Waitomo Caves. Allow 2 hours for Ruakuri Cave, allow 45 minutes for Waitomo Caves, tours run every 1/2 hour through the Waitomo Caves.
Take a guided tour through the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Be amazed by the thousands of magical glow worms above as you glide silently by boat and see ornate cave decorations. Become part of over 120 years of cultural and natural history! Ruakuri Cave offers a captivating blend of Waitomo’s most compelling subterranean experiences. Journey down through the spectacular spiral entrance, and marvel at the softly folding shawl-like limestone formations and crystal tapestries. Hear the distant thunder of the subterranean waterfalls and get up close to the glow worms.
After your tour, continue your self-drive journey to Rotorua – approximately 2 hour drive.
For a casual dinner tonight at a very family friendly cafe, suggest the Fat Dog Café, Rotorua’s most famous Café landmark, alive with a vibrant atmosphere for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Serving creative New Zealand food within a colourful environment full of local artwork & cuisine masterpieces. Where the locals go for an eclectic array of dishes & hearty portions complimented by a cozy warm atmosphere. Great T-shirts, and a nice selection of local and imported wines and beers.
The Rotorua region captures the best of New Zealand all in one place! Whether seeking to experience Maori culture, geothermal earth forces, spa rejuvenation, thrills and adventure, or any of the other natural assets such as 16 lakes, some of the world’s best mountain biking trails, fantastic trout fishing and myriad forest walking tracks – Rotorua delivers it all!
Geothermal Overload 2 (Waiotapu/ Riverjet/ Orakei Korako)
This morning self-drive to arrive at Waiotapu by 09:00a.m.
Travel south until to you reach Waiotapu located 27 kilometres (30 minutes’ drive) south of Rotorua on SH5, New Zealand’s most colourful natural volcanic environment.
Enter Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland with the world famous champagne pool and daily eruption of the Lady Knox Geyser. Over one hour jet boating on the mighty Waikato River including a scenic jet boat ride to Orakei Korako Thermal Reserve, plus entrance to this magnificent thermal reserve with silica terraces and the stunning thermal Ruatapu Cave. Then an action packed jet boat thrill ride on return.
10:00a.m. Depart Waiotapu
Drive 3 minutes to Lady Knox Geyser to arrive before 10.15a.m. The geyser erupts daily at 10:15a.m. reaching heights of up to 20 metres and can continue to erupt for up to one hour.
10.30a.m. Drive to the NZ Riverjet base 10 minutes south.
NZ Riverjet adventure brings you up close to a slice of New Zealand scenery only a select few have seen. The stunning scenery of the mighty Waikato River makes you feel like time stood still as you gently cruise through the spectacular Tutukau Gorge where the canyon walls rise dramatically up to 50 metres above the water.
Next head to the Hidden Valley, Orakei Korako a unique visitor attraction – not to be missed. It’s a geothermal wonderland, one of nature’s true gifts.
1.30p.m. Your Total Riverjet Safari will finish!
This afternoon you have time to have lunch and relax before your Evening Cultural Dinner experience.
This Evening you will be picked up from your hotel for your Maori Cultural Experience.
Your tour takes you on a cultural journey to the marae (Maori village), the life force of New Zealand’s indigenous people. Imagination takes over as your guide instructs you on the protocol for visiting the marae. A chief is selected, a song is learnt and the eerie cry of the welcome is heard before you enter the world of the proud warriors of the ancient Maori. You will experience the Powhiri (Welcome Ceremony) before you enter the village (houses) and hear traditional Maori instruments and watch the daily activities of days gone by. In the wharenui (meeting house), a Rangiatea culture group offers a powerful display of haka song and dance. Then, as new friendships are forged, dine on a traditional hangi feast, where the food is cooked slowly beneath the ground in earth ovens.
Self-drive to Rainbow Springs (approximately 10 minutes drive from town) for the morning Exotic Bird Show (which is held weather permitting).
Rainbow Springs – Set in a purpose-built auditorium, enjoy the show as the team of exotic parrots do what they do best – play and entertain. A show filled with fascinating facts and engaging antics performed by our colourful and sometimes noisy exotic parrots, feathered entertainers don’t just fly, some of them will also show off their amazing intellects and skills with a range of games and tricks which are sure to be crowd pleasers.
Next you have been booked into the Behind the Scenes guided tour at “Kiwi Encounter”.
Kiwi Encounter – Get up close and personal with the NZ icon – the kiwi – and see conservation in action on this behind the scenes tour through the ‘Kiwi Encounter’ hatchery and nursery at Rainbow Springs, then return at night to see them foraging under the stars in their natural environment.
After your encounter, continue your self-drive (approximately 15 minutes drive from Rainbow Springs) to the Agrodome for the Farm Show
Agrodome Combo – Get ready for a fun-packed hour of entertainment and education at the legendary Agrodome Farm Show where you’ll hear amazing facts and have a few laughs as you’re introduced to 19 breeds of sheep, and witness a live sheep shearing demonstration. Access to farmyard nursery.
Dinner Reservations have been reserved for you at the Skyline Rotorua Restaurant–enjoy your free luge ride included with your dinner package.
After ascending in one of Skyline’s 8 seater gondolas, enjoy a very special Buffet Dinner selection in the relaxed atmosphere of the fully licensed Cableway Restaurant & Bar. Take in uninterrupted views of the city and lake whilst enjoying a scrumptious holiday buffet dinner.
This morning you will be picked up to join your nature guide on an early morning walk to experience the New Zealand rainforest dawn chorus. This is a great opportunity for the early riser to hear the hauntingly beautiful song and to possibly see our most magnificent songster, the Kokako. Unique to NZ, Kokako are today listed as an endangered species. If we are lucky a Robin may greet us on the track, looking for insects our footsteps may have disturbed. Enjoy the encounter, for these birds are no longer plentiful in North Island forests. Listen to the beautiful chime of the Bellbird and the more melodious Tui song as you enjoy breakfast in the rainforest. On the walk learn of the successful work being undertaken to protect these endangered birds and their rainforest habitat. Distance of walk is 2kms – suitable for most levels of fitness.
After your walking tour, you return to your accommodation with time to relax before you self-drive to your Canopy Tour departure point. (approximately 10 minutes drive).
Canopy Tour – Flying Fox Zipline (approximately 3 – 3 ½ hours.)
Adventure deep into beautiful native forest on a journey from forest floor to the forest canopy on an incredible network of walking trails, treetop platforms, ziplines (flying foxes) and canopy swing bridges. With 2 guides accompanying small groups of up to 10 people the three hour experience is a personal encounter with nature mixing thrill and excitement with passive forest observation and environmental appreciation.
You will assemble at the Rotorua Canopy Tours headquarters for an introduction, harness fitting and safety briefing. Then everyone is transported to the forest on an entertaining short drive from Rotorua. 2 expert guides accompany each group with a maximum of 10 guests for a 3 hour experience. 400 metre walk through native forest leads to the first launch platform where guides familiarize you with the forest, birds and history of the area.
Experience trail walking, 10 platforms, 6 ziplines and 2 swing bridges mixing thrill and slow paced observation of the forest. Top of the line equipment has been sourced from around the globe and guides are all trained to the highest standards. Rotorua Canopy Tours is an all-weather experience – the canopy in wet weather is magical beyond belief.
Things to remember:
* Arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled departure time.
* Please ensure you wear closed toe footwear and bring an extra layer of clothing.
* If it is raining Rotorua Canopy Tours will provide wet weather clothing for your comfort.
* You must weigh at least 35 kgs (77lbs) and no more than 120 kgs (265lbs)
* However Rotorua Canopy Tours can take children lighter than 35 kgs (77lbs) but need advance notice.
* If you are under 18 you will need parental consent form signed.
After you have collected your luggage, please make your way to the Rental Car airport counter to pick up your duplicate vehicle.
Self-drive about 10 minutes to your hotel. Once you get settled in your room, suggest you take a stroll into town and explore this lovely village and enjoy lunch in one of the many cozy Cafés. For a casual lunch try the Cow Restaurant or Fergburger all located just in town.
Cow Restaurant on Cow Lane
The oldest restaurant in Queenstown. A small log cabin with excellent wood fired pizzas and an array of lunch and
dinner dishes to enjoy in a casual atmosphere.
Fergburger at 42 Shotover Street
Serious burgers made in Queenstown. They create gourmet hamburgers for burger connoisseurs as well as provide a great selection of beers and premium-roasted coffee. Imagine wrapping your laughing gears around “Mr. Big Stuff” a deliciously prepared burger featuring 1/2 lb of prime New Zealand beef with American streaky bacon topped with melted Edam cheese, barbeque sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion and aioli washed down with a delicious NZ lager. The locals can’t get enough of it and the visitors wished they had a Fergburger in their hometown.
For dessert, you may like to try the Cookie Time Cookie Bar and enjoy hot, freshly baked cookies, hot chocolates and ice cold milk, all while listening to New Zealand music and reveling in views of Queenstown’s Village Green and surrounding mountains.
After lunch, head to the Skyline Gondola & Luge Ride
Just a 5 minute walk from central Queenstown; ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of the Skyline complex. The best views in the region are found here spread out in a spectacular 220 degree panorama, with breathtaking views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and across Lake Wakatipu. Then enjoy the fun filled gravity ride for all ages and abilities on 2 luge tracks situated behind the Skyline complex and accessed by chairlift or walking track.
Queenstown nestled on the shores Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by high country peaks. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful setting and the region is a playground for all seasons & interests. Queenstown has a fantastic range of touring possibilities. There is an endless list of activities available to you. Options range from jetboating & rafting the Shotover River, to paragliding and the latest: “canyoning”- rapelling & sliding down waterfalls! Or find a café, restaurant or colorful nightspot if you feel the need to be reacquainted with civilization! You can self-drive or take a local bus to visit quaint and historic Arrowtown, a village nestled beside the Arrow River. Visitors can enjoy gold panning, tours around historic buildings, the Chinese Miners Settlement, the district’s museum, a boutique cinema and numerous walking trails. Arrowtown a short distance away & is central to the region’s best wineries, artist galleries, golf courses, fishing and ski areas.
Board the luxury glass-roofed coach and enjoy a trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau . There is plenty of time for photo stops and short walks along the way.
On reaching Milford Sound, board the Milford Mariner for a relaxing cruise of Milford Sound as your Nature Guide provides an informative commentary throughout. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife.
Fly back to Queenstown by fixed wing aircraft (weather permitting) and take in the panoramic views of the spectacular alpine scenery and rainforest.
Including Picnic Lunch – An attractively presented lunch in individual boxes that includes a fresh salad; cold meat sandwich, savory pastry, mini muffin, fruit juice, cheese and crackers, sweet pastry and fresh seasonal fruit with complimentary tea or coffee.
Evening at leisure to enjoy dinner at one of the many fine Queenstown restaurants. You may like the Botswana Butchery steakhouse overlooking the lake. The historic lakeside cottage and villa has al fresco dining overlooking the lake with private rooms for two persons or a small group. A private upstairs bar to relax into, warming open fires throughout and a large climate controlled wine cellar makes for a most versatile and entrancing evening out. A wide ranging menu, including a carnivore’s selection of roasted and grilled meats of superior steaks, venison, lamb and seafood.
Drive along the picturesque Queenstown-Glenorchy Road beside Lake Wakatipu. Beyond Glenorchy we drive through Paradise and at the road end enter Mt Aspiring National Park and the renowned Routeburn Track. Cross the swing bridge and enter a spectacular Beech Forest. The path is smooth and flat, allowing you to look for birds as they flit through the trees – a treat is to see the Mohua (yellowhead) a rare endemic bird usually seen in small breeding flocks plus the native bush robin and NZ’s smallest native bird the rifleman
Your walk begins 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 snowcapped mountains provide a magnificent backdrop for the walk up to this beautiful river valley. Your tour includes a picnic lunch and refreshments. This great walk in Mount Aspiring National Park starts with a gradual climb through a 130 million-year-old magical world of ferns, mosses, lichens and beech forest. Enjoy lunch surrounded by the grandeur of alpine meadows, meandering streams and majestic snowcapped mountains. On you return explore the old forgotten paths of the Maori as you travel along the old Greenstone trails, finding new enchantment around each corner, where native birds abound.
Your tour features some of the world’s most spectacular scenery. Visit Mt Aspiring World Heritage Area, Glenorchy, The Dart River Valley and Paradise. Encounter ancient beech forest, braided rivers and glacier-carved valleys. Visit stunning locations from “The Lord of The Rings.” Encounter lsengard, The Wizards Vale, Lothlorien Forest, The Dead Marshes, Parts of the Misty Mountains, Ithilien and many more. Also visit locations from “The Hobbit.” Duration: approximately 4 hours. You will be dropped off at the city center at the end of the tour.
Balance of your day at leisure for optional touring or self-exploration with your rental car.
For optional touring ideas click here Queenstown Adventure Activities