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Gay New Zealand

New Zealand Adventure

FROM £1799 PER PERSON
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TRIP SUMMARY

This two week itinerary lets you get under the skin of both New Zealand's north and south islands. You'll visit cities and rural locations taking in some of the breathtaking scenery that New Zealand is renowned for. Enjoy a self-drive itinerary allowing you to pace yourselves between destinations. We've handpicked some of our favourite hotels where you'll enjoy both comfort and service as you take this trip of a lifetime.

time difference

TIME DIFFERENCE

12 hours ahead of the UK

flight time

FLIGHT TIME

26 hours direct from UK

Day 1

Auckland

On arrival into Auckland, you will be met and transferred by private vehicle and transferred to your accommodation in downtown Auckland.

Remainder of day at leisure.

Auckland is a colourful vibrant city, often called the ‘City of Sails’. Located on the spectacular sparkling Waitemata Harbour its major landmarks are the Harbour Bridge, the Sky Tower and Rangitoto Island, the region’s youngest volcano. Visitors can enjoy the magnificent harbour, the many and varied activities of the city or walk and hike in the nearby hills where native flora and fauna abound.

Optional Tour - Auckland Museum: The Auckland Museum is housed in one of New Zealand's most outstanding historical buildings boldly situated in the Domain - a central city pleasure garden. Here you will encounter exhibitions that will excite you with the artistic legacy and cultures of the peoples of the Pacific; the monumental carvings, buildings, canoes and taonga (treasures) of the Maori; and the diversity of cultures which now combine to form the rich tapestry of race, nationality and creed which is modern New Zealand.

Optional Tour - Sky Tower: A truly captivating experience awaits visitors to Auckland's Sky Tower. At 328 metres, it is the tallest man- made structure in New Zealand and offers breathtaking views for up to 80 kilometres in every direction. Travel up in the glass-fronted lifts to one of the three spectacular viewing platforms.

Optional Tour - Bay of Islands Excursion: Today your tour takes you across the Auckland Harbour Bridge, north via the Hibiscus Coast to the beautiful Bay of Islands - a haven for people who enjoy sea activities and the beauty of uncrowded sandy beaches and native forests. Arrive in Paihia and visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds, then join a cruise to Cape Brett and travel through the famous 'Hole in the Rock'.

Recommended Accommodation:
Hotel De Brett
Gay friendly hotel AucklandGay friendly hotel AucklandGay friendly hotel AucklandGay friendly hotel Auckland
Day 2

Auckland – Whitiangia

This morning you will be met and transferred to pick up your rental car to begin your journey through New Zealand.

Depart for the Coromandel Peninsula, a journey of approximately three hours south of Auckland and following the east coast through picturesque farmland and following the beautiful seabird coast, home to thousands of migratory and shore birds. Travel over steep volcanic mountains clad in dense rainforest to the Pacific Coast of the Peninsula with its many offshore islands.

Recommended Accommodation:
970 Lonely Bay Lodge
Day 3

Whitiangia (Coromandel)

Day at leisure.

Recommended Accommodation:
970 Lonely Bay Lodge
Day 4

Rotorua

This morning, make your way to Rotorua, a journey of approximately three hours following the coastal route to Tauranga and then inland to Rotorua.

Recommended Accommodation:
Regent of Rotorua
Gay hotel Rotorua
Day 5

Rotorua

Day at leisure. Or choose one of the following optional activities.

Optional Tour - Eco Thermal Half day: Your morning tour begins with a visit to a giant boiling mud field, walk through Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, see the Lady Knox Geyser perform, take a guided walk through Waimangu Volcanic craters, picnic lunch included plus a visit to the Buried Village, Lake Tarawera, the Blue and Green lakes and finally a stroll in the Redwood Forest.

Optional Tour - White Water Rafting: Experience the thrill of white water rafting on the Kaituna River. Join in an adrenalin rush that takes you down the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. Fast and furious, this exhilarating ride moves you through foamy water and over the awesome seven metre drop. Although this trip provides full on action the river is pool drop meaning that every rapid is followed by calm water making it very forgiving for a grade 5 river, adventurous beginners are welcome. 

Optional Tour - Discover Rotorua: This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour around three of Rotorua's iconic visitor attractions. Experience Te Puia, a place of Maori culture and a thermal wonderland of geysers and boiling mud pools. Explore Rainbow Springs Nature Park, which showcases native flora and fauna as well as the New Zealand Kiwi and see the Agrodome Show - a hands on experience giving you an animated insight into New Zealand's farming history.

Optional Tour - Maori Hangi and Concert: This evening your tour to Tamaki Maori Village 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.

Optional Tour - Volcanic Air Safari: Mt. Tarawera - Waimangu Volcanic Valley by Floatplane. View from above, this awesome dormant volcano and the 8km crater rift created by the massive 1886 eruption. From Lake Rotorua fly via the Crater Lakes District to the summit of Mt Tarawera to view the volcanic crater rift. Continue via the steaming cliffs of Lake Rotomahana, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, the Blue and Green Lakes, Whakarewarewa mud pools, geysers and forestry area to the Rotorua City Lakefront. Flight time approx 30 minutes.

Day 6

Rotorua - Napier

Today make your way to Napier, a journey of approximately three hours. Depart Rotorua through farmland to Taupo then continue to Napier. The major highlight on the road from Taupo to Napier is the fantastic scenery. There’s a bit of everything - rugged hills, beautiful valleys, gentle plains and huge vistas.

Napier and her sister city Hastings are located in Hawkes Bay, a gentrified coastal bowl of market gardens, rich orchards and vineyards. As the climate is similar to the best grape-growing areas of Europe, a French Catholic mission first planted vines in 1850. Napier owes its distinctive Art Deco appearance to a disastrous earthquake that shook the area in 1931 and almost completely destroyed the city. Today it is known to have the largest concentrated collection of Art Deco buildings in the world.

Recommended Accommodation:
The County Hotel
Day 7

Napier - Wellington

Today make your way to your accommodation in Wellington, a journey of approximately four and a half hours. On your way south you’ll drive through Dannevirke, a town originally settled by Scandinavians, you can inspect locally made knitwear. Woodville is a place for antique browsing. Before you reach Masterton, you’ll encounter the legendary town of Eketahuna (in kiwi slang Eketahuna is the archetypal hick town). The wildlife sanctuary at Mt Bruce is an essential stop.

Enjoy the clean, green Wairarapa scenery as you drive south. Carterton is a good place to shop for paua shell souvenirs, while Greytown has many beautiful examples of Victorian architecture and a quaint museum – take yourself on a self-guided walk. At Featherston, which has an interesting locomotive museum, you’ll turn left towards Martinborough.

After the town of Featherston, you’ll climb up and over the Rimutaka Range - great views in every direction. Once the mountains are behind you, it’s easy driving for the rest of your journey. You’ll wind through the picturesque Hutt Valley then a fast moving motorway will whisk you into the city. Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafes, restaurants, museums and all kinds of shops. Dance, theatre and musical performances are a Wellington specialty. As New Zealand’s capital, this city is rich in political history.

The Wellington region is an area of immense diversity and character. Victorian architecture graces the steep hills surrounding one of the finest harbours and beautiful coastlines in the country. Today Wellington is a vibrant cosmopolitan and sophisticated city. As the capital city of New Zealand it is home to Parliament and centre for government and many financial institutions.

Stay at Ohtel. Each of only ten spacious rooms, spread over three floors, has visually rich and unique décor schemes that will constantly have fittings and artwork changed. Bathrooms have luxurious two-person baths and oversized showers framed in large expanses of glass, accentuating each room’s natural light. Some even have decks overlooking Wellington harbour, marina and parks.

Recommended Accommodation:
Ohtel
Day 8

Wellington – Picton – Nelson

This morning make your way to the Interislander Ferry Terminal. Once here you will drop off your car and board the Interislander. The Interislander provides Cook Strait ferry travel between Wellington and Picton New Zealand. The 92km voyage takes 3 hours & 20 minutes and has been described as "one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world".

Upon arrival into Picton, you will pick up another rental car and continue your journey to Nelson which will take under two hours. The drive to Nelson first takes you to the town of Havelock, which is known as the Green Shell Mussel Capital of the World. Nearby Canvastown is a place to explore old gold mining fields – thousands tried to get rich here in the 1860s. At Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve you can enjoy a bush walk or a swim, depending on the time of the year. And if you’d like a glimpse of local life in 1890, Rai Valley has a beautifully preserved cottage museum.

Nelson lies right at the heart of New Zealand, on the curving coastline of the northwest corner of the South Island. The landscape of the region embraces alpine lodges, wilderness mountain country, clear rivers, forests, limestone outcrops, rocky coasts and legendary sandy beaches. Nelson culture boasts a vibrant arts and crafts scene and a great collection of wine and beer makers. Three National Parks are on Nelson’s doorstep, the most recognised, the Abel Tasman National Park, is a coastal wonderland of sea, sky and golden beaches.

Recommended Accommodation:
Wakefield Quay House B&B
Day 9

Nelson

Day at leisure.

Recommended Accommodation:
Wakefield Quay House B&B
Day 10

Nelson – Franz Josef

Today you will make your way to Franz Josef a journey of approximately six hours. You venture up the Buller River to the wild Tasman Sea views of the west coast. In Greymouth you’ll learn about the local treasures (gold and greenstone). Further down the coast you’ll need your warmest jacket to explore the Franz Josef glaciers. The road to Franz Josef is rural, but with a wild streak. The farmland is trying to turn back into forest, and the beauty of the rivers is raw and primeval.

Franz Josef Glacier Village’s natural credentials are impeccable and there is a huge variety of natural attractions just a short distance from the Franz Josef Glacier Village. Lakes, rainforests, surging waterfalls and the glacial rivers of ice mean that the area is an adventure and leisure destination that is ready to be explored. The Village itself is the hub of the region with restaurants, nightlife and shopping.

Recommended Accommodation:
Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Day 11

Franz Josef – Queenstown

Today make your way to your accommodation in Queenstown, a journey of approximately six hours. Discover the rugged scenery along one of New Zealand's most awe-inspiring highways. Your journey will take you via the Haast Pass, the southern most pass that connects the communities of the East and West, is humbling. Marvel at the vast rainforests to the clearest waterfalls that eclipse this untouched landscape. Enjoy breathtaking sights, from high mountain peaks to the blue lakes of Hawea, Wanaka, Dunstan and Wakatipu.

The first people to discover Queenstown's rare beauty were Maori pounamu (jade) hunters. Then came the gold miners, in search of another kind of treasure. Today Queenstown is treasured for its magnificent scenery, adventure opportunities and luxury lifestyle. While Queenstown is renowned for adventure, you'll also find mellow, relaxing attractions. In recent years, the region has acquired wineries, golf courses, art galleries, exceptional restaurants and fabulous day spas.

Recommended Accommodation:
Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel
Gay friendly hotel Queenstown
Day 12

Day at leisure. Choose from one of these optional tours.

Optional Tour - Scenic Cruise / Fly excursion: Today you will board an aircraft for the flight to Milford Sound. During the 35 minute flight, there are panoramic views of spectacular alpine scenery including glaciers, rivers, lakes and rainforest before landing at Milford Sound. On reaching Milford Sound, visitors board a luxury vessel for a cruise the full length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea. The vessel provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy the waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife.

Optional Tour - River Wilderness Safari: The Wilderness Safari takes you on a spectacular 1.5 hour Jet Boat journey through the Dart's ever-changing braided river system, where you'll be thrilled by our Jet Boat's capabilities including jet spins. Also includes an easy guided 30-40 minute walk through the 'Heritage Trail' at Paradise. You'll also journey by 4WD coach via a scenic back-road route and stopping to view scenery that has formed the epic backdrop for many international films, including The Lord of the Rings.

Optional Tour - Boutique wine tour: Enjoy an afternoon amongst the boutique vineyards and superb scenery of the Central Otago Wine region. Taste at least 4 of the regions vineyards - 2 in the Gibbston Valley and 2 in Bannockburn, enjoy a gourmet platter lunch with a complimentary glass of premium wine, bathe in the amazing scenery and learn about the gold history of this diverse region.

Optional Tour - Jetboat, helicopter and white water rafting: Combine jetboating with a helicopter flight into Skippers Canyon and white water rafting down the Shotover River. Enjoy the thrill and excitement of whipping through the narrow canyons of the Shotover River is what makes Shotover Jet so unique. With speeds of up to 85kph and its world famous 360 spins, these big red boats will get the adrenalin pumping. Your adventure doesn't stop there as you head next door to the rafting lodge. The rafting guides will kit you out with your wetsuits and equipment and transfer you to the heli-pad for your helicopter flight into Skippers Canyon. Experience the rugged beauty and unspoilt grandeur of the breath-taking scenery as you conquer the white-water rapids of wild and untamed Shotover River.

Optional Tour - Quad bike safari: Today you will enjoy a guided quad bike tour. You will be exploring the trails on Queenstown Hill. All the riding levels are catered for in a safe and fun exclusive terrain. You will have 360 degree panoramic views, great photo opportunities in comfort and safety as you ride your way around exclusive off-road terrain and take in some of the most awesome, panoramic views Queenstown has to offer.

Optional Tour - Bungee Jumping: Home to the original 43-metre Bungy Jump the world's first and most infamous of leaps is still going strong, with tens of thousands Bungying each year. Choose from a number of options; topple over backwards, forwards, with another person, spin or somersault and even choose to bob above the water, touch it, or be fully immersed.

Recommended Accommodation:
Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel
White water rafting in New Zealand
Day 13

Queenstown - Christchurch

Depart Queenstown for Christchurch, a journey of approximately five and a half hours. Travel through the rugged and beautiful landscape of Otago. Cross the Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country, you might like to visit the Mount Cook Village at the base of New Zealand's highest mountain Aoraki / Mount Cook (optional).

Another recommended stop is the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo, before continuing to your destination of Christchurch.


Recommended Accommodation:
Montreal by the George
Gay friendly hotel in Christchurch
Day 14

Today brings your adventure to an end as you depart for your onward journey.













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