Travel Buddies Tour New Zealand

Details of 24 January & 25 January itineraries added Dec 10, 2012 AB
New Zealand Customs Service information about medications added Dec 12, 2012 AB
Information from final_day_to_day_itinerary._122712.pdf added Dec 27, 2012 AB
New Zealand electrical plug information added Dec 29, 2012 AB
City forecasts and more pictures added Jan 3, 2013 AB




13 January


Departure from USA for Auckland

We suggest Air New Zealand

14 January

Fly over International Date Line which means you lose one day on outbound flight


15 January


Arrival in Auckland.  Departure at 4.00pm for a 3 hour tour of Auckland highlights. This will include The Domain, Tamaki Drive Waterfront and Westhaven Marina. If time and traffic permits, He will also drive over the Harbour Bridge to Devonport.

Time to relax and some sightseeing en route to Stamford Plaza Auckland Hotel.  Dinner tonight in hotel.

16 January


8:30 AM start: Visit Paihia, excellent base for exploring the Bay of Islands and we will do so today.  Bay cruise at 1:15 PM. Continue to Whangarei and back to Auckland.

8:30/9:00 PM dinner included at Orbit Restaurant orbit

17 January


Departure Auckland and drive via scenic countryside to Rotorua.   Lunch at shopping at Whitianga.

Novotel Rotorua Lakeside Hotel for dinner and overnight.

18 January


Depart at 9:00 AM for the 9:30 AM Agramonde sheep show and farm tour, then on to the Buried Village which was destroyed by the eruption of Mt Tarawere in 1886.  After lunch  visit Te Puia and its spectacular geysers and bubbling pools which is also incorporated with the New Zealand Maori art and Crafts Institute. A promise here of a sacred, spiritual, personal encounter with the land, the artistic treasures of old and with the Maori people. Back to town for the Polynesian Spa's mineral bathing pools.

Cultural show and hangi meal at Tamaki Heritage Villagetamaki

19 January


After breakfast depart for Rotorua airpofrt for a 9:50 flight to Blenheim on South Island. Upon arrival visit the famous Marlborough vineyards for wine tasting and lunch. This area is in particularly famous for its Chardonnay. Continue to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Center.

Scenic Hotel Marlborough Dinner in hotel


20 January


Drive from Blenheim to Christchurch. We will travel via Kaikoura on the East coast to Christchurch. Afternoon, time to relax and time to explore the largest city on the South Island.

George Hotel. Dinner in hotel

21 January


Leave hotel at 7:30 AM for an 8:15 departure on the TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth. This scenic train journey takes you from the East to the West coast of the South Island. Travel via the Southern Alps and through lush beech rain forests followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River, via 16 tunnels and over 5 viaducts, the highest being the Staircase standing at 73 meters (about 210 feet). Meet the coach at 1:00 PM and travel to Franz Josef National Park for overnight stay.

Westwood Lodge Franz Josef. Dinner in local restaurant

22 January


Continue south through the rugged coast line to the lakeside town of Wanaka and drive over the Crown Range into Queenstown.

Distinction Hotel Nugget Point in Queenstown. Dinner in hotel

23 January


There is a lot to do in Queenstown. It is a fabulous, sophisticated city with fantastic scenery. After the nonstop traveling since arrival in New Zealand we are keeping this day at leisure for you to explore and relax. However if you want to take advantage of any of the local activities then ask Manuela and she will assist you.

Breakfast included as each day but NO dinner included today


24 January


Depart at 8:30 AM for a half day Lord of the Rings location tour, taking you to some of the most famous set regions from New Zealand's most famous movie. The Wakatipu Basin tour takes you to The Remarkables, which were used as various mountains throughout the trilogy including the Misty Mountains. Traveling part way up this beautiful mountain range you get a birds eye view onto Deer Park Heights, which was used for the refugees of Rohan and the Battle of the Wargs scenes.

Traveling from The Remarkables we head to the Kawarau Gorge where the filming took place for the Argonath, or The Pillars of Kings. Leaving the Kawarau Gorge the trip heads to Arrowtown where the loss of The One Ring at Gladden Fields was filmed. Near Arrowtown you will experience some true off road adventure. Following a historic gold mining road up the Arrow River you will cross the river to get to the Ford of Bruinen. At this point you can indulge in morning or afternoon tea and try your hand at a spot of gold panning.
From Arrowtown you will travel to the entrance of Skippers Canyon where you will be offered spectacular panoramic views of the Wakatipu Basin and over Skippers Canyon.

Remainder of day at leisure to relax or sightseeing independently.

Buffet dinner and amazing views in Skyline Restaurant


25 January


Depart from Queenstown at 7:30 AM and travel to Te Anau through the spectacular Fiordland National Park and into the Milford Sound.

1:15PM Real Journeys Nature Tour:

Get up close and personal with Milford Sound on our leisurely Nature Cruise. As you cruise the length of the fiord, learn about the history of the region and benefit from the knowledge of your specialist nature guide. Experience the spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces or watch out for dolphins, seals and in season, the rare Fiordland crested penguins.  Cruise duration: 2hrs 30mins

Distinction Hotel Te Anau in Te Anau. Dinner in the hotel.


26 January


Depart at 9:00 AM for Dunedin. This is New Zealand’s most Scottish town.

Overnight in Mercure Hotel Dunedin with dinner in the hotel

27 January


Depart at 9:30 AM for the Bontanic Gardens and Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens then on to the Royal Albatross Centre. At 2:30 PM enjoy nature at its best with the world’s rarest penguins, the yellow eyed penguins, little blue penguins, New Zealand seals and cormorants all live in harmony. This tour is a must for all who visit Dunedin as here you find all the wildlife at Natures Wonders Naturally during a cross country tour in an 8 wheel drive all terrain vehicle

NO dinner included for tonight


28 January


Travel via Moeraki Boulders and through the historic town of Oamaru and the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre to Mount Cook

Hermitage Hotel or nearby chalets.   Dinner at the Alpine Restaurant.

29 January


Depart at 9:30 AM for tour with Glacier Explorers.  Depart between noon and 1:00 PM Continue through the Southern Alps to picturesque Lake Tekapo for overnight stay

Dinner in hotel


30 January


Departure over the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch airport for your start of your return journey back home

Peppers Bluewater Resort (Alan, Gloria, Manuela, Howard, Vivian, Simon)

Medications  Prescriptions

The Medical section of the New Zealand Customs Service Tips for Visitors to New Zealand

"If you need to bring medication with you that contains narcotics, make sure you have a doctor's certificate saying the medication is necessary and is being taken under medical instruction. This will avoid possible problems with New Zealand Customs."

Electrical plugs  Australasian socket

  • The US's electrical power is 110 volts at 60 hertz.  New Zealand's electrical power is 240 volts at 50 hertz.  Verify that your electrical equipment will run on this voltage.
  • The Australasian power plug's pins are in a V shape.  Inexpensive plug adapters are available online and in San Jose.  Note that these adapters do not convert the voltage.
Click the map to enlarge.

New Zealand

Bay of Islands

Maori crafts

Pohutu Geyser

TranzAlpine Train

Franz Josef Glacier

Crown Range

Moeraki Boulders

Lake Tekapo