New Zealand Explorer

Thursday 11 September 2025 - Tuesday 30 September 2025

(19 nights)

From £5731

Enjoy the many delights of New Zealand - North & South!

New Zealand is a destination on many bucket lists – we appreciate that this isn’t a cheap one though (although we believe it is very competitive given everything that it includes) so do remember it is easy to pay bits off your balance each month before you travel through your Escapes dashboard.

NZ Day 4 Auckland highlights tour

Your holiday includes

  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Accommodation and excursions as described in itinerary (or similar)
  • 17 breakfasts and 4 dinners

Your holiday extras

  • Single supplement £1119
  • Tip kitty £200 taken with balance
  • Personal travel Insurance
  • Some meals & drinks
  • Optional excursions and personal extras
  • NZ electronic travel Authority NZeTA - NZD $9 on app or $12 online
  • International Visitor Conservation & Tourism Levy - NZD $35
  • Interim payment of £2000 due 15th December 2024 (non-refundable)
NZ Day 12 Lake Hawea
NZ Day 2 Waitangi Treaty House

Location & Itinerary

Day1/2 Thursday 11 September 2025/ Friday 12 September 2025


Welcome to New Zealand! You are met on arrival at the Auckland International Airport before being transferred to your hotel. Auckland is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with a busy nightlife, world-class restaurants, bush-clad mountain ranges and diverse neighbourhoods to explore. The Waitemata Harbour is a mecca for sailors, and the popularity of sailing on the harbour has led to the affectionate term, ‘City of Sails’.

Accommodation: Grand Millennium Hotel, Auckland (1 night)

Day 3 Saturday, 13 September 2025


Departing Auckland, travel north over the Auckland Harbour Bridge to first visit the Parry Kauri Park. Here you will view some fine examples of Giant Kauri Trees. Continuing you will visit the Matakohe Kauri Museum, at Otamatea. Gain an insight to the early New Zealand pioneer history, which helped form the New Zealand that you see today. Continuing our journey north, reaching Paihia in the beautiful Bay of Islands, where you’ll take a guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty House where New Zealand’s history began.

Accommodation: Kingsgate Autolodge – Paihia – 2 nights

Day 4 Sunday, 14 September 2025


Today is a day of leisure. The Bay of Islands has so many options for you to discover – perhaps a day trip to the light house at Cape Reinga the most northern tip of New Zealand, followed by a safari along 90 Mile Beach on the way home. Maybe try your luck at deep-sea fishing or take the plunge swimming with the dolphins or just take time out to relax within Paihia or Russell – New Zealand’s first capital.

Day 5 Monday, 15 September 2025


This morning board a luxury catamaran to cruise the Bay of Islands to Cape Brett before making a passage through the Hole in the Rock. After your cruise, travel south following the Twin Coast Discovery Highway to arrive in Auckland, where on arrival you’ll experience a highlights tour of Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’, exploring the lively waterfront area. Enjoy the relaxing views along Tamaki Drive, which runs east past peaceful sheltered bays to Auckland's most expensive real estate.

Accommodation: Grand Millennium Hotel, Auckland (1 night)

Day 6 Tuesday, 16 September 2025


This morning, depart Auckland to travel south crossing the Bombay Hills through the dairy rich Waikato countryside to arrive at the famous Waitomo Caves. Here a guide will take you underground to view the amazing limestone caves featuring stalagmites and stalactites, which have taken centuries to form. Continue to walk down to an underground stream to board a small boat to view the glow-worm grotto – an underground cavern featuring millions of glow-worms. From Waitomo travel to the thermal wonderland of Rotorua, the Sulphur City. Rotorua has the most energetic thermal activity in the country with bubbling mud pools, gushing geysers, beautiful coloured hot springs and terrace formations created by mineral water.

Rotorua also has a large Māori population whose cultural activities are interesting and accessible as will be witnessed tomorrow evening.

Accommodation: Sudima Hotel, Rotorua – 2 nights

Day 7 Wednesday, 17 September 2025


Today enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Rotorua. Start with a visit Te Puia – The New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute. Enjoy a guided tour of Te Puia combines a premier Māori culture experience with an introduction to the magnificent geothermal activity in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. Whilst in the valley see the boiling mud pools, steaming silica terraces, hot springs and geysers including the famous Pohutu Geyser which can erupt up to 30 metres high, depending on its mood. Visit the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute where young Māori are learning the traditional carving and weaving skills of their ancestors. Further highlights of the tour include Rotowhio Marae and Te Aronui a Rua, the sacred meeting house of Rotowhio Marae. After leaving Te Puia, visit the Redwood Forest where you will walk high amongst giant 118-year-old redwood trees. A peaceful haven for you to discover above the forest floor, surround yourself with gentle giants, native fauna and sweeping silver ferns. The Tree walk takes an average 40 minutes to complete. This evening you will be treated to a traditional Hangi (feast) and Māori Concert. You are transferred from our hotel to visit Tamaki Māori Village for a Cultural Experience and Hangi Dinner. Experience the warmth of the Māori people during an evening of ceremonial rituals, powerful cultural performance, storytelling & hangi feasting. Enter the pre-European Māori village, witness the earth being scraped carefully away from the hangi pit and enter their ancestral Meeting House to relax as their family entertain you with a powerful cultural performance before dining on the traditional hangi buffet dinner (Māori feast) cooked the traditional Māori way in an earth oven.

Day 8 Thursday, 18 September 2025


A relaxed start to the day before departing Rotorua, travel via New Zealand’s largest pine tree forests to Taupo. En-route stop off to visit to the Wairakei Geothermal Steam Field. This was a world-first, generating electricity by tapping a natural steam field then channelling the steam to a nearby power generation plant. Continuing to view the mighty Huka Falls. Huka in Māori translates to “snow” as the water here has the appearance of snow falling as it is forced along from Lake Taupo through the falls on its journey along the Waikato River. This afternoon you continue to the ‘Fruit Bowl’ of New Zealand, Hawkes Bay – Napier.

Accommodation: Scenic Te Pania Hotel, Napier

Day 9 Friday, 19 September 2025


Before departing Napier, take a city sights tour, featuring beautiful Art Deco buildings to give us an insight of why Napier is known as the Art Deco capital of the world. This afternoon we continue south to Wellington where we spend the rest of the day enjoying an informative sightseeing tour, including a visit to Te Papa, (Our Place) New Zealand’s national museum.

Accommodation: James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

Day 10 Saturday, 20 September 2025


Today begins with a cruise though Wellington Harbour out onto the Cook Strait on the Interislander and through New Zealand’s only true sound, the picturesque Queen Charlotte Sound into Picton. The bustling port of Picton is the terminal for inter-island ferries, and gateway to the ‘Mainland’, the South Island’s self-proclaimed nickname. Reboarding our coach, you continue to tour through to Pelorous Bridge. Here you can walk through the Beech and Podocarp Forest as well as view the many sculptured boulders in the Pelorous River. Continuing on for a tour of Nelson – this being the first city of New Zealand.

Accommodation: The Hotel, Nelson

Day 11 Sunday, 21 September 2025


Passing Brightwater, the birthplace of Lord Rutherford, the New Zealand science pioneer who split the atom, travel through the Golden Downs Forest to Murchison through the Maruia Forest over the Lewis Pass then into Hanmer Springs. Time out here for lunch in this lovely alpine village (at own expense) before joining the upper reaches of the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch where you’ll enjoy the sights of the ‘Garden City’ also known as “the most English city outside of England”, en-route to our accommodation.

Accommodation: Quality Hotel Elms, Christchurch

Day 12 Monday, 22 September 2025


From Christchurch traverse the Southern Alps aboard the famous Tranz-Alpine rail journey to Arthurs Pass. From your carriage you’ll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the Southern Alps. Crossing Southern Alps, into the village of Arthurs Pass where you will be met by coach to continue your journey to the West Coast – or “the Coast” as locals call it, stopping in Hokitika where a visit is made to the Greenstone and Glass Blowing factories. Further south, tour the Westland National Park, the home of Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. On arrival, time is available for optional scenic flights, before continuing onto our accommodation for the night.

Accommodation: Scenic Franz Josef Hotel, Franz Josef

Day 13 Tuesday, 23 September 2025


Departing this morning, journey through the nearby town of Fox Glacier before making a detour to visit Lake Matheson – created by the nearby glaciers 14,000 years ago, here enjoy a truly unique view: snowy mountains that reflect. Continuing south along the West Coast Road; there is a strong sense of entering a primeval land, and a feeling of total isolation. Arriving at Haast, you are surrounded by a landscape of rainforest, wetlands, sand dunes and surf-pounded shingle beaches. This wilderness forms part of the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area, so designated because South Westland and Fiordland have some of the most dramatic forest and mountain scenery and natural resources in the world. From the Westland National Park, travel through the Haast River valleys and over the Haast Pass to Makaroa and onto the upper reaches of Lake Wanaka. Travelling past Lake Hawea, reaching the popular Lake Wanaka, the starting point of the mighty Clutha River. This afternoon you travel via Cromwell following the Kawarau Gorge Road into Queenstown. Tonight ride the aerial gondola to enjoy a sumptuous buffet dinner at Skyline’s Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar, Queenstown's most spectacular location high above the city on Bob’s Peak. The menu is inspired by iconic New Zealand cuisine and infused with international influences and offers for everyone – from fresh seafood and delectable desserts to an array of vegetarian dishes. Whilst you dine, the panoramic view from the windows will captivate you.

Accommodation: Copthorne Lakefront Hotel, Queenstown – 2 nights

Day 14 Wednesday, 24 September 2025


Today is at leisure. Visit the Remarkables or Coronet Peak. Experience the thrill of a jet-boat ride along the Shotover or Kawarau Rivers. Perhaps a scenic 4-wheel drive excursion through Skippers Canyon, it’s up to you. Take a cruise this evening, across Lake Wakatipu on the steamer TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station to dine at the Colonel’s Homestead.

Day 15 Thursday, 25 September 2025


Leaving Queenstown you skirt the shores of Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand’s third largest lake. Travelling via Te Anau to reach the beautiful Eglinton Valley climbing to Homer Tunnel before descending through the spectacular Cleddau Canyon to reach Milford Sound and enjoy a cruise of the Sound. The Sound is dominated by the grandeur of Mitre Peak and the Bowen Falls. From Milford Sound you return to Te Anau reaching our

overnight accommodation.

Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Lake Te Anau

Day 16 Friday, 26 September 2025


Departing Te Anau, travel through some of New Zealand’s most populated sheep country through to Lumsden and onto Gore before arriving in Dunedin – “the Edinburgh of the South”. Upon our arrival into Dunedin, you can board an optional train ride - the Taieri Gorge Train Excursion from the historic Dunedin Railway Station for a scenic train ride into the spectacular Taieri Gorge to Pukerangi and return.

Accommodation: Scenic Dunedin City Hotel, Dunedin

Day 17 Saturday, 27 September 2025


This morning, visit Olveston House – an impressive turn-of-the-century house that is still home to all the lavish furnishings and art collections that have been collected from all corners of the world. Continue to then take in the sights of this old Scottish City before travelling onto Oamaru where you will have time to look at the ‘White Stone City’ where the old buildings have been constructed with local limestone. It was from Oamaru that New Zealand’s first frozen meat was shipped in 1882 taking over three months to reach England, and thus began New Zealand’s most important export industry. Travelling inland through Benmore and Otematata, through Sailors Cutting before arriving at Omarama.

Accommodation: Heritage Gateway Hotel, Omarama

Day 18 Sunday, 28 September 2025


Today is a day for spectacular sights as you head north to skirt the shore of Lake Pukaki to Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. Time is available to enjoy an optional scenic flight over the ancient rivers of ice and the West Coast Glaciers (weather permitting – a highly recommended option). Travelling to Tekapo, you’ll witness the magnificent blue waters of Lake Tekapo. Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and the statue of the Collie dog, before travelling the vast Mackenzie Basin, over Burke’s Pass through Fairlie, Geraldine, Ashburton and across the Canterbury Plains into Christchurch. This evening; enjoy a Farewell Dinner, as it is sadly the last night on tour.

Accommodation: Quality Hotel Elms, Christchurch

Day 19/20 Monday 29 September 2025/ Tuesday 30 September2025


Farewell from New Zealand. After breakfast you will be transferred from the hotel to Christchurch International Airport for your flight back home.

NZ Spice's 18 Day Discover New Zealand Tour
NZ Day 6 RotoruaTe Puia

Travel & Stay

NZ Day 10 Christchurch Tour of the Garden City (1)

Availability & Pricing

Build Your Quote
no flight or transfers£5731.00Available
London Heathrow£7021.00Available
Place in a twin share room (female)£0.00Available
Place in a twin share room (male)£0.00Available
Place in a single room£1119.00Available

Not enough spaces left for you? Click here to join the waitlist

Passport validity

For UK passport holders your passport must be:

  • Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’)
  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)
  • You must check your passport meets these requirements before you travel. If your passport was issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.

Travel Insurance

Please ensure that you have adequate personal travel insurance to suit your requirements in place before you travel. Spice Escapes have arranged a scheme with Staysure who are fully authorised and regulated by the FCA (firm reference number 663617) full details of which can be found on the FCA website For an instant online quotation please click here.

The latest FCO travel guidance for New Zealand

Travel to New Zealand

NZ Day 2 Parry Kauri Park
NZ Day 2  Bay of Island Waitangi meeting house
NZ Day 11 Tranz Alpine Train

Host & Everything Else

September marks the beginning of spring, and temperatures start to rise, though they can still be quite cool, especially in the early part of the month. Daytime temperatures typically range from around 8 to 18 degrees Celsius. Discover the enchanting allure of New Zealand in September, where spring unveils a symphony of colours across the landscapes. Embrace the mild weather, perfect for outdoor pursuits like hiking and biking, as the country sheds its winter coat.

In September, nature comes alive with blooming flowers, and wildlife enthusiasts can witness adorable baby animals, from seals to native birds. The shoulder season means fewer crowds, allowing you to explore iconic attractions at your own pace.

Immerse yourself in Māori culture, attending local events that showcase traditional arts, music, and dance. Indulge in New Zealand's world-class wines as the grape harvest season begins, accompanied by delectable local cuisine.

Take advantage of the longer nights for stargazing, experiencing the Southern Hemisphere's celestial wonders. New Zealand in September promises a unique blend of natural wonders, cultural richness, and warm hospitality, creating a memorable travel experience that resonates with the spirit of spring.

Lauren Fawkes - Spice Manchester Coordinator

3 others

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