New Zealand Grand Tour
So here it is – the whole lot – both islands in all their glory.
- Thermal Areas
- Maori Culture
- Art Deco
- Abel Tasman
- Mount Cook
Day 1 Arrive Auckland
You will need today to find your feet and get over your jet lag. Explore the city centre, get out on the water, take in a museum, round off the day with a glass of wine overlooking the Viaduct Harbour – there is plenty to keep you entertained while you relax and adjust to New Zealand life.
Day 3 Drive Auckland to Rotorua
Pick up your hire car this morning from downtown Auckland and head south over the Bombay Hills, through the Waikato farmland to Rotorua.
There are several options for stops and detours today, whether it is the Hamilton Gardens, Hobbiton movie set or Waitomo Caves. The Waitomo Caves are one of New Zealand’s natural wonders – glow worms, limestone formations – there are a variety of ways to explore, walking, boats, cave tubing, adventure caving – depends on the cave – there is definitely something for everyone here – whether its open caverns or tiny squeezes!
Day 4 Rotorua
A day spent exploring Rotorua. Rotorua is a centre both rich in Maori culture and a geothermal / volcanic wonderland and plenty of opportunity for active adventure. You can’t miss its sulphurous smells, but there is a lot more to it than these!
Some of our ideas include: a helicopter trip to White Island, a scenic flight over Mt Tarawera, a visit to the Buried Village, a Maori cultural evening and hangi, a mountain bike ride or walk through the redwoods at Whakarewarewa, a soak in the Polynesian Spa or visit to the museum.
Day 5 Drive to Napier, Hawkes Bay
Start with the thermal reserves of Wai-O-tapu or Orakei Korako south of Rotorua, with their bright colours and bubbling mud, take a dip in a hot water river, cruise to the Maori Rock Carvings on Lake Taupo, marvel at the mighty Huka Falls where Lake Taupo empties into the Waikato River, all before you arrive in the Art Deco Capital, Napier.
Day 6 Napier
A whole day in the Hawkes Bay Region – Art Deco, Gannet Colony, Biking and Vineyards – enough to satisfy the historian, the naturalist, the exercise addict and the bon viveur.
Day 7 Drive to Wellington
A pretty drive, through sheep country and tracing part of Classic New Zealand Wine Trail.
Bird lover or not, everyone will enjoy the experience of coming up close to our rare and native birds at the National Wildlife Centre at Mount Bruce. Have lunch or coffee and a wander around charming Greytown before heading over the Rimutakas into Wellington.
Day 8 Wellington
Our Capital City. Whether cities are your thing or not, you can’t help but be enchanted by our administrative and cultural capital, Wellington – it is buzzing, beautiful, cosmopolitan and vibrant.
Day 9 Nelson
Fly across the Cook Strait to Nelson – sunniest city in New Zealand (or a close contender)! Food, wine, craft beer, arts, beaches and mountains – Nelson has it all. Spend the rest of the day exploring this, the most liveable city in New Zealand, and its hinterland.
Day 10 Abel Tasman
Up to you how you visit the Abel Tasman – cruise, kayak, walk or a combination of all of these, guided or unguided the choice is yours – the golden beaches, the azure waters and lush bush – it is impossible to resist. You could extend your visit by staying a night or two in the Park.
Day 11 Drive to Punakaiki
Leaving Nelson pass through Murchison and on head through the Buller Gorge where the road narrows in places to a single lane and cuts into the rock face at Hawks Crag into Westport. Spend an hour at the seal colony at Cape Foulwind, walk out to the lighthouse. And then, the final drive down the stunning West Coast to Punakaiki. Spend the rest of the day at the Pancake Rocks – we hope to time your visit so it coincides with the high tide, so that you can see the Tasman Sea, spouting up through the blowholes, but high tide or not, the stratified limestone rocks, set among the flaxes is a sight you won’t forget. The Truman Track, just north of the tiny settlement, will introduce you to the nikau palms and West Coast rainforest before you emerge on the beach carved out by the crashing Tasman Sea breakers.
Day 12 Drive from Punakaiki to Franz Josef
Travel down the Wild West Coast, stopping in the coastal town of Hokitika, greenstone (jade or pounamu) capital of New Zealand, or the historic gold mining town of Ross arriving in Franz Josef late afternoon.
Day 13 Franz Josef
Your choice – walk to one of the varying viewpoints or take a scenic helicopter flight with snow landing or join a heli-hike where you fly up onto the glacier and spend a couple of hours on a guided walk, through ice caves and glacial formations before climbing back on board your helicopter and returning to Franz.
You are not far from the Okarito Lagoon, so for a complete change of pace, you may choose a bird watching tour, kayaking trip or visit to the white heron sanctuary. You can even join a night time kiwi walk.
Day 14 Drive from Franz Josef to Queenstown
Head over the hill from Franz to Fox Glacier. If you got an early start and it is a clear morning, walk around Lake Matheson and see the reflection of Mount Cook. The dense bush gives way to the dry scenery as you pass over the Haast Pass and into the Makarora Valley into Wanaka. Spend an hour by the lake before heading over the Crown Range to Queenstown, passing the Cadrona Hotel. Again, we have heaps of suggestions for walks, pitched to your ability, which will break your drive and get you into this country.
Day 15 Queenstown
Adventure, adrenalin but so much more. When it comes to crazy adrenalin fuelled adventures – if you dreamt it – you can probably do it here. But if this isn’t your thing, we have heaps of suggestions for scenic drives, walks, winery visits, scenic flights, mountain biking, 4WD tours, Lord of the Rings film sites. Take a trip to Arrowtown, head up the Lake to Glenorchy. You do what you want at your pace. Round off the day in one of the many world class restaurants, drinking some of the best pinot noir in the world – or if you are into “best in the world” don’t go past a Ferg Burger!
Day 16 Queenstown
Another day to explore more of this region – or just relax! Sometimes a dies non is what you need. It is a holiday!
Alternatively take a trip to Milford Sound. It is a long but rewarding day – we recommend joining a tour to get the most out of it – coach – cruise – fly. The drive in is as impressive as the cruise itself and a scenic flight back to Queenstown is a great way to round off your day.
Day 17 Mount Cook
Head out through the Gibbston Valley, through Cromwell and over the Lindis Pass to the McKenzie Country and along the blue blue waters of Lake Pukaki.
Aoraki Mount Cook at 3724m is New Zealand’s highest mountain. It is unlikely that you will be looking to climb it, but time spent walking the many trails, particularly the 2.5 hour return up the Hooker Valley to Hooker Lake with its soaring alpine views is the best way to appreciate the area.
Day 18 Drive Christchurch
Head back down the shores of Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo. No trip here is complete without a drive to the Mount John Observatory. The view – the café here must have one of the best in the world! Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Monument to the Working Dog – when you see how much work they do, and how much work they save you – they most certainly deserve a monument. Drive through the Canterbury farmland, the dairy hub of New Zealand into Christchurch.
Day 19 Christchurch
This is a city on the up – coping remarkably well with the savage effects of the recent earthquakes. Visit the Transitional Cathedral, the Re:Start Mall, the Canterbury Museum, or the Antarctic Centre.
Day 20 Home
Some alternatives you may consider:
• Some alternatives you may consider.
• Fly to the South Island from Napier or Rotorua.
• Spend a couple of nights in Taupo and walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
• Fly to Christchurch from Wellington and take the Tranz Alpine Train to Greymouth to start your West Coast adventure.
• Travel up to Kaikoura from Christchurch for whale watching or dolphin swimming.
• Stay in Wanaka instead of Queenstown.
• Base yourself in Te Anau (closer to Milford and Doubtful Sounds) for a couple of nights and do an overnight trip on Doubtful Sound.
• Fly back from Queenstown
Remember – our knowledge, your journey – so mix and match bits of these itineraries so that they suit you! Nothing is fixed. We will talk and email as much as you wish until you get what you want– this is YOUR holiday.
Jenny’s deep love and knowledge of New Zealand is matched by her attention to detail and commitment to giving each client the best possible trip for them. “Jenny’s Bible”, as we called it, a dedicated itinerary with timings, maps, personal recommendations and local tips made for a wonderful, hassle-free trip of a lifetime. Thank you!
Our holiday was always going to be great because New Zealand is a stunning country but thanks to 'roundaboutnewzealand' it became a dream experience. All the pressure on making sure we visited the best places was lifted, there was no time wasted visiting attractions that didn't appeal to us as Jenny had ensured she knew our tastes and budget well in advance of proposing our itinerary.The attention to detail was incredible yet at the same time not onerous, pointing us in the right direction with suggestions on how long trips might take and even the best cafes in the small towns to experience the wonderful food and local wines. We didn't have to look over our shoulder wondering if we should have eaten at the 'place next door'.Roundaboutnewzealand ensured we maximised our enjoyment on what turned out to be a holiday of a lifetime. We certainly recommend Jenny and her team to anyone considering a holiday in New Zealand and we hope to be back very soon to enjoy their suggestions for further exploration.
Jenny this was the BEST holiday of my life! we had such an unforgettable time and it will be a memory for life deeply burned into our hearts” & "You and Graham had done such a wonderful job and put a magic trip together. We will never forget this and will be grateful for the rest of our life.
We had a wonderful holiday thank you very much. We loved Prospect Lodge and Blanket Bay – really superb!
....A superbly organised South Island trip by Jenny and Graham saving us hours of research. Our choice of destinations and the incredibly detailed itinerary they put together certainly gave us a wide variety of magical experiences. They certainly know and love their country and were more than happy to spend time to ensure the trip was personally suited to us. It's an amazingly 'wow' factor Island and with their exceptional guidance we had the most wonderful holiday .....
You have just pinged the star Jenny!!! The apartment and town are just amazing, love this place!! Thanks for every step of our holiday, and Raglan and apartment are the diamonds on the cake!! We will be back. Best wishes to you both!
Your attention to detail was just amazing and obviously you really, really know your stuff!
There are many good guide books to New Zealand but nothing compares to local knowledge. Jenny and Graham were excellent in providing this; it made a huge difference to the enjoyment of our trip, and enabled us to visit many wonderful places off the beaten track.
Jenny and Graham really helped us to maximise our experience of NZ - with such a limited time window to see a whole country - we didn't know where to start. Their guidance helped us to fit in glaciers, the Abel Tasman, whale watching and wine tasting with amazing views as well as enabling us to discover parts of the country that might never have found otherwise - such as riding on remote beaches and indulging a passion for steam railways. We will definitely be seeking their advice when we return.
It was such a pleasure to get some of the low down from Graham & Jenny when I recently visited Golden Bay. Visiting some of those lessor known gems is always a plus, but being directed towards the places of personal interest saved so much time in research. I have no hesitation in recommending both their service, & knowledge.
We had the most incredible holiday thanks to jenny and graham. Our three young boys (5,3 and 20 months - what were we thinking!!!!) were constantly jaws to the floor. Water taxis transporting us to beaches all to ourselves, timing of walks and water taxis to work with complicates tides, spectacular beaches full of wildlife and sand dunes to slide/surf down. It was totally magical and definitely needed insider knowledge to get the best out of places and situations we wouldn't have had any clue about.
Not only are Jenny and Graham a delightful couple, they have first class knowledge of travel in New Zealand. We found the help and advice they gave us for our trip to New Zealand was spot on. It is so easy just to go by brochures, but Jenny and Graham really know N.Z and that makes the difference. As well as the popular places to visit, they told us about places that only the New Zealanders know about. A few examples being, the more obscure Vineyards were the wines are top notch and the food they serve matches it; the best places to enjoy whale watching; advice on a range of accommodation to suit your taste; amazing beaches to visit. It is the detail that makes a holiday, so if you are planning a trip to N.Z. contacting Jenny and Graham for advice and to help you arrange things is the best thing you can do.
On my trip to New Zealand I contacted Jenny and Graham Pomeroy, who were a great help in giving me tips and pointers for where to go on the South Island and beyond. Jenny and Graham have an intimate knowledge of the region and recommended places, that the guide books have never heard of and I would had missed had it not been for their insightful guidance. Their knowledge and understanding of travel is not limited to New Zealand as Jenny was also able to tell me the best place to visit the Great Wall of China.
Landing in Nelson I was whisked off and immersed (immediately and literally) into the activity program - swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura. New Zealand is chock full of set piece tourist attractions, but the real trick is to be led to slightly different angles by Jenny and Graham. Going fishing with someone who goes fishing, rather than by someone who just takes tourists fishing (I never knew that baby sharks go back inside their mothers before); going horse trekking when and where you want to rather than on a pre-planned route the horses have been down so many times; visiting beaches when they are empty and the tide is right; knowing from a variety of restaurants and eateries which is really on form. These edges made all the difference to a generally relaxed family holiday – I can only imagine what benefit they would confer on the major trips…
Jenny and Graham are a unique blend...native kiwi meets international travel expert...an unrivalled combination. They really know their country (& accommodation recommendations) and know how to get you off the beaten track. Having lived in Auckland I was comfortable with finding our way around parts of the North Island but Jenny & Graham were able to point us to places we wouldn’t have found on our own. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip, although a number of years ago now, but can’t wait to go back with the kids. We were provided with some wonderful travel tips and excursions and loved kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park and hiking to Farewell Spit - experiences we would not have had without the helping hands of Graham and Jenny. Thank you, thank you.
Thank you Graham and Jenny - We have now had two amazing holidays in New Zealand, thanks to your tips, ideas and inspiration. Highlights definitely included kayaking the Abel Tasman (eating freshly dived scallops barbequed in beer!), walking the first part of the Heaphy track in the early morning, hot springs at Hamner, and the many foody indulgences including Ninn's Binn for lobster, The Boat Shed in Nelson, Rosie Glow Chocolates, and the amazing Mussel Inn.
Our Christmas in Jenny and Graham's special places in Golden Bay, was one that all of us will remember as one of our best ever. With our two little boys, we explored all over from Cape Farewell to the start of the Heaphy Trail, with the odd drink at the Mussel Inn! The Pomeroy's are knowledgable and generous in sharing their obvious passion for their country. We felt we saw places that 'normal tourists' don't get to as well as the 'must do' highlights and we can't wait to get back there again.
Here in England our Family and Jenny Pomeroy's Family have been good friends for many years, so that when Jenny married and settled down with a born and bred South Islander we knew that we had a reliable and well placed insider on the NZ scene. It transpired that when we put together our own month long holiday, we received invaluable guidance "from the inside". As one example, I achieved with Jenny's guidance my long held ambition to crown my undergraduate experience on Norwegian glaciers with a thrilling visit to Fox Glacier, and to the seismic centre at Rotorua and Taupo?
Me and my family have thoroughly enjoyed our last visit to New Zealand and are looking forward to having another one. And our experience wouldn't have been the same without all the brilliant advice and assistance you and Graham have offered. I will sure seek your kind help once again.
We had a fabulous three-week adventure from Queenstown to Auckland and a whole lot in between. I was very impressed with the detail and quality of all our bookings and there's no doubt that your extensive knowledge and connections made our visit the trip of a lifetime. Many thanks.
Just back from a marvellous three week holiday in New Zealand organised by RoundaboutNZ. New Zealand is amazing but the itinerary suggested by Jenny combined with the tips for restaurants and cafes to use, plus the superb accommodation that she arranged made the holiday a real "trip of a lifetime". Can't wait for the next opportunity to go back!