18 Day Ultimate New Zealand Tour
This is the ultimate travel experience for travelers who want to enjoy New Zealand but may need some special care or assistance along the way. We will show you the best New Zealand has to offer and will ensure your needs are met at every step along the way. These tours are specifically tailored for travelers with disabilities, limited mobility or senior travelers who may need a helping hand along the way but are in no way limited to that. Breath in the fresh air in what we fondly know as “Paradise”. Let us show you all we have to offer as we invite you to experience our beautiful country, New Zealand or in Maori… Aotearoa meaning.. The land of the long white cloud.
Auckland – Christchurch
Day 1 Auckland City
Welcome to New Zealand!
Today we will be meeting you at Auckland Airport International Terminal. Depending upon your arrival time we may have the chance for a look around the Auckland Waterfront before taking you to your accommodation in the heart of Auckland City as check-in is not until 2pm local time.
You can then decide whether you want to relax and catch up on some sleep – if you have traveled a long way then please do.
Dinner will be at the Auckland Sky Tower Orbiting Restaurant which is the tallest building in New Zealand. Enjoy your perfectly cooked New Zealand meats or enjoy one of the many vegetarian options all while enjoying 360 degree views across the city.
This is a day for you to settle in and prepare for the adventure ahead.
Day 2 Auckland and Coromandel Town
This is the first day of your adventure through New Zealand. This morning we will meet at around 10am to indulge in a Harbour Cruise which will give you a fantastic view of the heart of Auckland city while you breathe in that refreshing Pacific Ocean air. Auckland has more boats per capita than any other city in the world, hence its name the “City of Sails”. Following this we will be slipping into “cruise” mode and heading south.
The Coromandel Coast is a favorite NZ location and you will see why. From now on we will be switching to “beach time”. You will feel it immediately. Time just slows down as the white sandy coasts just roll on by. Arriving around 5pm we check you into your accommodation to sit back and watch the sun go down.
9 am Start. Today is just about sitting back and enjoying the ride. We will be heading south to Mt Maunganui where we will be relaxing for 2 nights. Your luxury beach side accommodation will enable you to be in the centre of everything. The main shopping area, hot salt water pools and accessible boardwalk lining the beach right at your doorstep. Watch the sun go down each night with the locals. This is one of New Zealand premier holiday destinations with white sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, continuous surf rolling in, and a lifestyle for locals which makes it the fastest growing city in New Zealand. The “Mount” boasts numerous summertime activities, hosting everything from surf lifesaving events to beach volleyball, National Surf Contests to sandcastle-building. Mount Maunganui or Mauao, is the name of the extinct volcano that rises above the town. Shrouded in history and legend, the mountain is a dominant feature of the landscape. A climb to the summit offers amazing views of the surrounding city and ocean. There is also an accessible walking track around the base affording spectacular views of the ocean and harbour. For those that are interested we can arrange activities such as kayaking, blokarting, if some would like to swim with dolphins we can organize that. The Mount is a fantastic place to people watch, which is what a lot of people tend do. Sit out and have a coffee and your breakfast as you watch the people go by.
Day 5 & 6 Rotorua
10 am Start. We will leave the Mount in the Morning as our journey leads us further South to Rotorua. Rotorua is NZ’s most dynamic thermal area. From the moment you enter Rotorua you know you are somewhere like nowhere else. This is nature’s spa of the Pacific. This is the spiritual home of the Maori. Throughout this hugely volcanic area, natural geysers and mud pools are found all over the city and are often found popping up in local’s back yards. Yes they are dangerous due to the heat and pressure however locals are used to it now and it’s just a natural part of the surroundings. The area is made up of over 16 lakes and a lot of native bush which you will see. This evening we will be attending the Tamaki Cultural Experience. Here you will taste a traditional Maori meal, the Hang, and watch the traditional Maori dance and haka. The Maori locals will welcome you in a traditional Maori way on to their land and believe me you will love it. We get shivers every time we see the Haka performed and this is an evening of culture and good food. You will leave smiling with a full belly, a warm heart and cultural experience never to be forgotten. On the second day here you will have some free time to look around the shops, the government gardens or have a soak in the hot pools or a relaxing massage. In the afternoon we will visit Te Puia and experience the unique environment of geothermal wonderland. See firsthand the geothermal activity with hot springs and steam vents used for cooking (natural cooktops and ovens) and the natural mineral waters used for communal bathing. The natural environment here in the central North Island is so varied, as you will experience, with something new and natural around every bend.
9 am Start. The capital of New Zealand here we come! We are heading south to the bottom of the North Island to NZ’s capital city. Wellington is known as New Zealand’s art city and has a name of being a little alternative. Its nickname is “Windy Wellington” and it generally never fails to live up to its name. Wellington is draped around bushy hillsides encircling a magnificent harbour with super lookouts on hilltops, golden sands on the promenade and spectacular craggy shores on the south coast. Today’s journey is one of the longest being a 6 hour drive. We will stop along the way at the Huka Falls and other scenic points. The Huka Falls mark the spot where NZ’s largest river, the mighty Waikato, is forced into a narrow chasm making a dramatic 10 metre drop into a surging pool. There are great viewpoints for all ability levels.
On the next day in Wellington you will have a 9 am start. Today we will do a bit of a “Tiki Tour” (Little tour) around Wellington Harbour. We will pass “The Beehive” (NZ’s Parliament Building – shaped like a beehive). The tour will continue round the coast to Mount Victoria which generally allows you to experience why Wellington has such a reputation for its wind. Hold on to the rails so you don’t get blown away and take time to enjoy the views right across the city. We will visit Zelandia if weather permits. This is 80 million years of natural history in a fascinating exhibition of remarkable nature in a beautiful sanctuary valley. This is the world’s first fully-fenced urban eco-sanctuary – a conservation success and safe haven for some of New Zealand’s rarest native animals. Remarkable species of birds, reptiles, insects and more are living wild in this beautiful valley (225 ha or 560 acres) which used to be the town water supply. Of course there is a cafe and gift shop on site. This is very popular attraction for cruise ship visitors to Wellington.
Day 9 Wellington – Picton
Before we leave Wellington we will visit Te Papa, New Zealand’s best museum. We will catch the ferry to Picton at 3pm. This ferry crossing sailing takes around 3 hours. Depending on the weather it can be a really beautiful trip from the North to the South Island. At other times, if the weather is not so good, the crossing can become quite “adventurous” shall we say. Look out for dolphins which are known for enjoying the ferries wake.
Once off the ferry, we will get you checked in and then head down to the local pub/restaurant at the marina on the waterfront to enjoy a relaxing casual meal.
Day 10 Picton – Kaikoura
Today – Driving from Picton and heading toward Marlborough you will get a small taste of some of the extraordinary scenery that you will experience during your tour of the south Island. This is an area where some of New Zealand’s top wines are produced. There are approximately 40 wineries in such a small space so we really are spoiled for choice. We visit a Chocolate Factory where they will tempt you with their delicious taste tester treats. Then time for lunch on Raupara Road before we travel to Seddon to a world famous vineyard that has won international acclaim for its eco footprint and sustainability.This is a must and a truly great experience. The wine has won many awards globally.
We will then take a 2 hour drive along the coast to Kaikoura. You will get up close and personal with the wild fur seals which line these coasts. Kaikoura has some extreme scenery and is renowned for its seafood (Kai =food Koura=crayfish ) whales and marine life.
This morning you have the opportunity to Whale Watch from Sea or by Air (4 hr return Boat Trip) or (30 minutes by Air). Theses activities are optional and must be booked ahead. Please advise so we can make your booking ahead of time. (Both are reliant on the weather and neither is included in the tour cost). These activities are not completely wheelchair accessible, but with a little coaxing we have always managed OK. The crews are amazingly helpful and the experience is fantastic. This is something that can change your life. Being so close to these amazing mammals, you cannot imagine how big they are till you see them up close and personal. You will feel uplifted and renewed, I guarantee it.
This afternoon we have about a 4 hr drive. We head to the West Coast of New Zealand via Lewis Pass over the Southern Alps. Our first stop will be the famous and spectacular “pancake rocks” at Punakaiki. When conditions are right, heavy ocean swells thunder into the caverns beneath the rocks and huge water spouts blast skywards through the blowholes – a truly spectacular sight. This is when everything changes. This is where New Zealand’s natural beauty really just begins. From here we travel south along the Westland Coast via Greymouth to Hokitika (where you will stay 2 nights). The West Coast is known as the wildest and most diverse region of New Zealand. The locals are known as “coasters”. It has the highest level of rainfall and the lowest population it has an abundance of lush bush and wildlife. A 150 years ago with the discovery of gold ago miners from all over the world rushed to Hokitika with gold-fever. Today there is still gold around but Hokitika has since become New Zealand’s leading Pounamu = Green Stone Centre. This stone (jade) was and remains highly treasured by Maori. You will enjoy your luxury beach front accommodation tonight. Most of our guests never want to leave. Dinner provided. After dinner we can take a short drive to the “Dell” and witness the spectacular “glo-worms” of New Zealand. a must see !.
Day 12 Explore the West Coast
We will pick you up and take you to breakfast before we enjoy a stunning “Tree Tops” Walk. Here you will wander across walkways suspended high in the trees. This is an experience not to be missed. We return to Hokitika for lunch and can explore the many attractions (retail opportunities) in the town. If you are hunting for a genuine quality New Zealand Souvenir to be found nowhere else in the world – you will find it here !. Alternatively you may wish to have a relaxing afternoon or take a walk along the beach from your hotel. The choice is yours.
Day 13 Hokitika – Haast
Today we are continuing south into Haast. It is a short spectacular drive skirting the mighty Southern Alps to the small settlements of Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. We have the opportunity of viewing Franz Josef Glacier, unfortunately, the track to the glacier face is definitely not for wheelchairs. However, if you have a few spare dollars you may be interested in a Fox & Franz Josef Glacier and Mt Cook Scenic Helicopter Flight. We then continue to Lake Matheson. The lake is world famously known as the “mirror” lake and if the weather gods allow affords an amazing reflection of Mt Cook (Aoraki) the tallest mountain in New Zealand. Here we stop for lunch and stretch our legs with a walk to the lake before we continue along the Westland Coast to our destination for the night Haast. After checking – we will have dinner at the local tavern which is a short (100 m) walk from our motel.
Day 14 & 16 Queenstown / Milford Sound
From Haast we will leave around 9am to make our way to Queenstown via the spectacular Haast River Valley before winding up into the alps. The drive today and tomorrow is simply stunning stunning stunning. There are photo opportunities around almost every bend. After traversing the mountains we skirt around Lake Wanaka and Hawea before stopping at Wanaka Town for lunch on the lakefront. Another climb up the Crown Range as we leave Wanaka and pass through the winter playground before descending spectacularly into Queenstown where we stay for three nights.
Queenstown is one of the major tourist attractions in New Zealand. The activities whether summer or winter are endless. Jet Boating or Bungy jumping, this is where you step up and get involved. A high-speed jet boat will race recklessly down the cliff encompassed snowfed river! Wheel chair accessible so no excuses. You will not regret this one I promise you that! Bungy Jumping here is where it all began and now spread all around the world. There can’t be a better location to throw yourself off a bridge.
Tonight we will enjoy a ride up the gondolas and take our time with a delicious meal overlooking Queenstown. This is one of the best viewpoints and no better way to enjoy fresh NZ Cuisine.
DAY 15 Queenstown – Milford Sound – Queenstown
Today you have the opportunity to enjoy one of New Zealand’s most untouched areas and the epitome of natural beauty at the Milford Sound. This is something that I would recommend everyone takes advantage. This is a long 12 hour day with a lot of driving but it is well worth the trip and there is plenty of stunning scenery to keep you entertained along the way.
DAY 16 Queenstown
This morning we can explore Queenstown for bargains and souvenirs before taking a short 20 minute drive to the ‘goldrush” settlement of Arrowtown nestled alongside the mountain ranges and the Arrow River. Quaint streets and parks everywhere with interesting historical buildings , cafes and shops. A perfect place for a stroll and lunch.
Late afternoon we will cruise through Lake Wakatipu overshadowed by the Remarkable Mountains on the iconic Steam Ship TSS Earnslaw steam ship to Walter Peak Station for a Gourmet Dinner and Farm Show. The return journey in the evening across the lake to Queenstown is a wonderful sight.
Day 17 Queenstown – Christchurch
Today we will be travelling to our final destination. Our journey takes us past ice-blue glacier fed lakes that is the engine room for the massive hydro-electric power generation that supplies the whole of the country. This is Central Otago at its best!. We will be passing through the rural towns of Omarama, Cromwell and Tekapo. Gliding from Omarama is the envy of pilots all over the world with its stunning scenery. Cromwell is a very small town which is famous for its fruit. A lot of travelers come here for fruit picking to earn a bit of money in order to continue their travels. This is where some of New Zealand’s best wine is crafted. Again there are many photo opportunities along the way. Tekapo is a beautiful town nestled on the southern edge of Lake Tekapo in the heart of the McKenzie Country. We stop for lunch in the South Canterbury Town of Fairlie before crossing the Canterbury Plains on our run into Christchurch where we will arrive late afternoon and get checked in, relax and get ready to say our goodbyes.
On 4 September 2010 the largest city in the South Island – Christchurch (population 350,000) was hit by a devastating magnitude 7.1 earthquake. On 22 February another earthquake of magnitude of 6.3 had further devastating effects to the city already weakened destroying much of the re-build that had taken place. Major icons have been destroyed and the damage to the city still visible today. Earthquakes have continued ever since.
Day 18 Christchurch – Haere Ra
Depending upon the time of your flight we may have have the opportunity for a scenic drive through the city out to the coastal suburb of New Brighton.
Sad goodbyes today, we will then accompany you to the airport for your journey home. Departures from Christchurch International Airport.
All prices are in New Zealand Dollars plus the New Zealand Government Goods and Services Tax of 15%.
Prices are based on twin share accommodation and do not include flights.
Prices are for our packaged tours only.
Personal Tours and Single Supplement Accommodation – incur an extra charge
All accommodation is 3-4+ star in most places including beach front and central city. All Accommodation and bathrooms are fully wheel chair accessible.
Airport Transfers; using our wheelchair accessible vehicles with hoists and transfer seating available. Knowledgeable, experienced and friendly, local guide will escort you personally throughout your tour. We are available to offer a helping hand along the way, however if a carer is needed we ask that this be provided by yourself . All reservations included.
Auckland Harbour Cruise, Auckland Sky Tower Observatory and Orbiting Restaurant, Mitai Village Cultural Experience, Te Puia Thermal Wonderland, Te Papa National Museum, Zelandia Eco Sanctuary, Cook Straight Ferry Crossing, NZ Fur Seal Viewing, Punakaiki Rocks, Tree Top Walk, SS Earnslaw Steam Ship Walter Peak Station Meal and Farm Show, Queenstown Gondola, Milford Sound.
All Breakfasts and 5 Evening Meals
SkyCity Auckland – Mitai Village Rotorua – Picton Tavern – SkyLine Restaurant Queenstown – Walter Peak Station Dinner and Show
All Other Meals (except for breakfasts) and Refreshments at Your Cost
Extreme Sports, Kaikoura Whale Watching, Swimming with Dolphins, Bungy Jumping, Jet Boating, Jade Carving, Agrodome, Blokarting, and any other activities not specified.