Tailormade tour New Zealand luxury family tour New Zealand

18 nights/19 days

Auckland • Bay of Islands • Rotorua • Marlborough Sounds • Kaikoura • Arthur’s Pass • Franz Josef Glacier • Queenstown

This 18-night New Zealand luxury family touring holiday is perfect for a special family holiday to New Zealand. We transport you to destinations packed with activities for all the ages, and we choose hotels and lodges designed with children in mind. In the process, you will come face to face with the best of New Zealand, from Auckland to the Bay of Islands, Rotorua to Wellington, the Marlborough Sounds to Kaikoura, Arthur’s Pass to Franz Josef Glacier and finally to the iconic and adventurous Queenstown.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £4,800 per person.

Luxury tailormade touring holiday for families of New Zealand in 18 nights featuring North Island and South Island, including activities for all ages, with children in mind.

Highlights

Auckland • Mount Eden • Waiheke Island • Bay of Islands • Russell • Rotorua • Te Puia • Pohutu Geyser • Whirinaki Forest • Tongariro National Park • Wellington • Cook Strait • Marlborough Sounds • Kaihoura • Arthur’s Pass • Franz Josef Glacier • Queenstown • Lake Wakatipu • Fiordland • Doubtful Sound

Day by day

Arrive in Auckland and settle into the time-zone, and your luxury accommodation.

Soak up the sights and sounds of the iconic city of Auckland. For the best of the views, visit the 328-meter Sky Tower, or otherwise hike up Mount Eden, a volcanic peak that casts views over the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, and the iconic Eden Park – home of the All Blacks. For a different sense of perspective, families could choose to sail in the gloriously protected water of the bay on a real America’s Cup Yacht. With the wind ruffling your hair, and the skyline of Auckland as a backdrop, this is a fantastic way to introduce yourself with what a holiday in New Zealand is all about.

Today could be spent living as a true New Zealander by journeying to one of the classic city escapes from Auckland. To the east lie the Hauraki Gulf Islands, and the largest, Waiheke Island, offers something for everyone. Children will make the most of the beautiful beaches, whilst adults can sample some of the excellent wine produced in the local vineyards. Together, take a stroll on one of island’s trails which take you from cliff top vistas into the cool and dense envelope of the native forest. To the west, families will find unique volcanic beaches in Piha and excellent surfing lessons for all ages.

Picking up your 4x4 hire car, your first taste of a New Zealand road trip awaits. Today you drive north through the lush vegetation, spectacular coastline, orchards of citrus trees and roadside fruit stalls, bumpy volcanic peaks, and, of course, pastures of sheep. Arrive in Russell to find a spectacular, panoramic private villa, with ample room for all the family. Spend the evening spotting dolphins playing in the ocean below you whilst unwinding in your private heated pool.

A stay in the Bay of Islands really is about exploring the idyllic coastline that surrounds you. Lush fern filled valleys turn to cliffs, bays, inlets and beaches, and into the crystal-clear waters of the Southern Pacific. Choose from a range of family friendly activities including sea kayaking, swimming with the resident dolphins, or sailing. Land lovers may choose to admire the vistas on horseback, or by hiking. Otherwise, simply get onto the beaches and soak up the Southern Hemisphere sunshine.

Driving to Kerikeri Airport in the Bay of Islands, you will drop your hire car and board your flight to Rotorua. This flight will take you deep into the volcanic heartland of the North Island, where geothermal wonders, bubbling hot pools, exploding geysers, and lush rainforest. Pick up your new hire car, and perhaps join an evening Maori cultural display in a local Maori village. Rotorua is often considered the heart of Maori culture in New Zealand, so there is no better place to learn of their historic traditions and watch fascinating song and dance before settling down to an authentic feast cooked beneath the ground on hot stones.

Today would be best spent uncovering the geothermal wonders of the region. To do so, families should visit Te Puia – a 70-hectare park that contains the world famous Pohutu geyser, as well as mud pools, hot springs and silica formation. Indeed, families will also find the Kiwi bird, and national schools of Maori wood carving, weaving, stone and bone carving. The highlight of the experience is undoubtedly Pohutu geyser, an ancient geothermal feature, and the largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere. She erupts twice every hour and sometimes reaches heights of 30 metres. Next, travel to Whirinaki forest, where lush rainforest supports a great diversity of wildlife including many rare birds. A network of trails makes walking and mountain biking a joy amongst the awe-inspiring trees.

On your final full day on the North Island, some families may rightly choose to pay homage to a more modern cultural phenomenon in New Zealand. Located about an hour’s drive from Rotorua, near Cambridge, is the magical set of Hobbiton. Set amongst rolling green lush pastures, this was the iconic filming destination for The Shire in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Loose yourself in the magic of the set, where the landscape really does feel like something from Middle Earth. Alternatively, Taupo is also a convenient day trip from Rotorua where families can sail on the magnificent Lake in search of ancient Maori rock carvings, or hike on the Tongariro National Park, home to ‘Mount Doom’ from the Lord of the Rings.

Wake early to drop your hire car at Rotorua Airport and fly south to Wellington. From here, you can either cross the Cook Strait by scenic ferry, and then board a water taxi to your accommodation or opt to fly by scenic helicopter flight directly to your hotel from Wellington. Either way, the astonishing views of the Cook Strait and Marlborough Sounds are a highlight to any holiday in New Zealand. Accessible only by boat, seaplane or helicopter, the Marlborough Sounds comprise a tranquil network of ancient sunken river valleys filled with the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Here, forested hills rise steeply from the sea around an intricate coastline of sheltered inlets and sandy bays. Settle into your accommodation, and spot dolphins jumping in the afternoon sunshine, from the deck of your private apartment. In the evening, a short walk will take you into the bush, where the twinkling light of glowworms will provide a magical compliment to the overhead star displays.

A stay in the Marlborough Sounds really is a retreat into the heart of nature. On land, excellent hiking tracks, bird watching and island hopping prevail as the go-to activities. However, best of all, families can get out onto the water through a range of excursions. Here, you can choose to sail, kayak, cruise, and fish in the calm and tranquil waters of the Sounds, or even swim with Hectors Dolphins, thought to be one of the world’s rarest dolphin species! There’s plenty of time to relax too, and with fantastic beaches, an indulgent spa and swimming pools, it is the perfect way to round off a day of active exploration.

Taking a water taxi back to Picton, pick up a new 4x4 hire car and set out South East en route to Kaikoura. Spot striking beaches, and the friendly faces of sunbathing seals before arriving at your luxury family treehouse accommodation in mid-morning. This afternoon, families can choose to join a whale watching expedition in the rich, biodiverse waters just off the coast. Made famous by David Attenborough amongst many other naturalists, Kaikoura is home to an astonishing wealth of cetacean life, including sperm whales, orcas and dolphins, as well as variety of other species including seals and albatross. Whale watching boats really do offer a great perspective of this ‘maritime Serengeti’, however snorkelling and scenic flights are also available upon request.

Today an easy drive will take you from the Canterbury Plains outside of Christchurch into the start of the Southern Alps. The scenery from the road is some of the best in New Zealand, and postcard images of the South Island will pass by in their dozens, from pastures of grazing sheep to craggy cliffs and distant snow-clad mountain peaks. The vistas reach their crescendo as you approach Arthur’s Pass. Here, settle into your friendly and cosy luxury hotel, and perhaps join one of the walking tours of this alpine environment before tucking into a well-earnt hearty meal.

Families can choose to take part in a truly authentic Kiwi experience today by a tour of a real working sheep farm. With 3000 sheep and 120 Angus cattle, experienced guides will show you this typically New Zealand way of life, including traditional blade-shearing demonstrations, and handfeeding of tame shape. Alternatively, guests could hike or join an ecological guided tour of the area. The focus really is on wholesome education suitable for all the family, and the alpine scenery provides a magnificent backdrop. In the evening, observe the stars of the southern sky in this second-to-none setting where clean air and zero light pollution reveal the entirety of the milky way.

Continuing west across the Pass, today’s drive will eventually take you down to the coast. Here families will find a marvel of the latitude, with the pristine glaciers of Franz Josef and Fox advancing close to the sea. Settle into your luxury lodge and take a trip into town to find a charming town alive with Kea – a cheeky and comical West Coast Parrot. For pure relaxation, why not indulge in the glacier hot pools that weave their way through the rainforest.

Today can be adventurous in the most Kiwi of ways. One of the delights of the Franz Josef Glacier is the opportunity to take a thrilling helicopter ride onto the pale blue pristine ice formations, and hike along with the help of a qualified guide. This adventure is deceptively safe, and your well-trained guides will walk with you every step of the way. The views are exceptional, and the experience is unlike anything you will have tried before. It really is one of the highlights of a trip to New Zealand.

A scenic drive will take you along the west coast of New Zealand, past several achingly pretty stops. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Mount Cook National Park, Haast, Mount Aspiring National Park and Wanaka, before touching the wineries of Otago and passing into the famously adventurous Queenstown. Set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, and surrounded by snow-capped peaks, New Zealand has saved the best for last for families. Settle into your private lake-side apartment and revel in the alpine surrounds.

The choice of activities on offer in Queenstown is truly staggering. In the winter, head to the aptly-named Remarkables to find some of the best skiing in the Southern Hemisphere. In the summer, choose from mountain biking, white-water rafting or horse-riding amongst other activities. Many of these opportunities operate year-round, allowing families to acquaint themselves with Fiordland in an adventurous way. Queenstown itself is a beautiful and exciting home from home amidst all the adrenaline. There is a youthful energy available, as well as a palpable air of sophistication for those seeking outstanding hospitality, food and wine.

On your last full day in New Zealand, make the most of the adventurous capabilities of Queenstown in a way that suits you. Another option, is to join a day cruise of either Milford or Doubtful Sound to the South West of the city. These incredible fiords are home to an extraordinary mix of wildlife, from orcas to penguins, and feature some of the best scenery in New Zealand. In the evening, return to Queenstown and raise a glass to this incredible country.

With memories to last a lifetime, drop your hire-car at Queenstown Airport and catch your flight home.

Holiday price guide From about £4,800 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for economy flights from London.

Holiday Code NZSG03

Luxury tailormade touring holiday for families of New Zealand in 18 nights featuring North Island and South Island, including activities for all ages, with children in mind.

Holiday price guide From about £4,800 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for economy flights from London.

Holiday Code NZSG03

Our prices include ● Return scheduled flights with British Airways, Qantas, Air New Zealand or Emirates from London to Auckland, returning from Queenstown to London in economy class
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in Auckland
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in the Bay of Islands
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in Rotorua
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Marlborough Sounds
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in Kaikoura
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Arthur’s Pass
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Franz Josef Glacier
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in Queenstown
● Car hire where specified in our itinerary
● The meals included with your tour will vary by chosen accommodation. Please see our hotel suggestions for included board basis.
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except as specified in our hotel suggestions.
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, payable locally to the hotel
● Personal expenses
● Visa and Passport. You will need a full British passport with at least six months validity. You do not need a Visa for travel to New Zealand as a British Passport will allow the holder a six month stay upon arrival. More details are available from https://www.newzealand.com/uk/visas-and-immigration/

Luxury tailormade touring holiday for families of New Zealand in 18 nights featuring North Island and South Island, including activities for all ages, with children in mind.

Expressions Holidays includes these hotels in this touring holiday as suggestions, but they can be substituted by others in the same region, if you have a preference to stay elsewhere.
Hotels included in this tour
Auckland
Hilton Hotel

The Hilton Hotel in Auckland is a stylish and modern hotel in an excellent city centre location. Delicious cuisine and excellent quayside views make this an ideal place to recuperate after a day enjoying the sights.

Deluxe Harbour view room

Bay of Islands
Eagle's Nest

Eagles Nest is an exclusive 5-star hotel in an exceptional natural location. Superb cuisine and spa facilities and stunning luxury features, including private pools for most villas, afford guests a truly relaxing and restorative retreat.

Eagle Spirit villa

Rotorua
Peppers on the Point

Peppers on the Point is a luxury hotel and thoughtfully renovated traditional mansion located superbly on the waterfront of Lake Rotorua with private, wonderful views over the Lake and mountains beyond.

Lake Villa Apartment

Marlborough Sounds
Bay of Many Coves

The Bay of Many Coves is an exclusive, 5-star hotel in a beautiful, secluded location. The stunning design, fine dining and harmony with nature afford guests a truly luxurious and idyllic experience.

Two Bedroom Apartment

Kaikoura
Hapuku Lodge

Hapuku Lodge offers exclusive, luxury accommodation in a stunning natural location, nestled between the mountains and the sea. Delicious cuisine and beautiful surroundings make it the perfect place to relax after enjoying the natural attractions of the area.

Two Bedroom Family Tree House

Arthur's Pass
Wilderness Lodge

Wilderness Lodge at Arthur's Pass is an exclusive property in a breath-taking Alpine location. Delicious cuisine, excellent accommodation and unforgettable experiences - including the opportunity to experience a working sheep farm - afford guests a relaxing and restorative retreat.

Mountain View room

Franz Josef Glacier
Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Te Waonui Forest Retreat is 5-star luxury hotel in a stunning natural location. Gourmet cuisine, excellent spa facilities and luxurious accommodation provides an idyllic base from which to explore the rugged scenery and adventurous spirit of this iconic destination.

Deluxe room

Queenstown
The Rees Value option

The Rees Hotel is a 5-star boutique hotel in a stunning lakeside location. It offers supremely comfortable accommodation in the hotel and its curated apartments, award-winning cuisine and a private beach and jetty with boat available to guests.

Two Bedroom Apartment with Executive Lake View

Millbrook Resort Luxury option

Millbrook Resort is a 5-star resort set in a 500-acre resort, with stunning views and gorgeous gardens. Outstanding golf facilities, a superb spa, delicious cuisine and award winning wines, alongside comfortable spacious accommodation make this a truly relaxing retreat.

Two Bedroom Cottage

Holiday price guide From about £4,800 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for economy flights from London.

Holiday Code NZSG03

Luxury tailormade touring holiday for families of New Zealand in 18 nights featuring North Island and South Island, including activities for all ages, with children in mind.

Highlights of Auckland

Visit New Zealand National Maritime Museum, Enjoy an al fresco dinner at the Viaduct Basin, Take a ferry over to Waiheke Island and have lunch at a vineyard, Drive along Tamaki Drive to Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World and Antarctic Encounter for sharks and penguins, Visit the west coast surf beaches at Piha, Take the ferry to Victorian Devonport across Waitemata Harbour.

Luxury tailormade touring holiday for families of New Zealand in 18 nights featuring North Island and South Island, including activities for all ages, with children in mind.

Highlights of the Central North Island

Enjoy the mineral waters at the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua, Visit the Whakarewarewa Thermal area at Rotorua with its mud pools, Pohutu geyser and six other geysers, Maori carving school and meeting houses, Combine a visit to the Blue Lake with its beach and the buried village of Te Wairoa, Visit the Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland between Rotorua and Taupo with the Lady Knox geyser (shoots water and steam up to 21 metres at 10.15 am daily) and walk through the geothermal area past the Champagne Pool and Primrose Terraces, Keen fishermen should try the trout fishing at Lake Taupo.

Luxury tailormade touring holiday for families of New Zealand in 18 nights featuring North Island and South Island, including activities for all ages, with children in mind.

Highlights of the Central South Island

Whale and dolphin watching at Kaikoura by plane or sea, followed by a local crayfish lunch, Christchurch with its botanic gardens, Arts Centre and Art Gallery, Drive or take the train across the Southern Alps, Enjoy a scenic flight over Mount Cook, Tramping in the unspoiled alpine scenery of Arthur’s Pass with its mountain beech, alpine daisies, bellbirds and keas, Discover the natural beauty of the lush rainforests and deserted beaches with their Fiordland crested penguins near Lake Moeraki, Walk on the glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef.

Luxury tailormade touring holiday for families of New Zealand in 18 nights featuring North Island and South Island, including activities for all ages, with children in mind.

Highlights of Northland and the Bay of Islands

If a diver, dive the Rainbow Warrier site or in the marine reserve at Poor Knights Island, Take the car ferry from Opua to Okiato and drive to Russell, Drive along the stunning coast from Whangaroa to Matauri Bay passing the Cavalli Islands offshore, Swim with dolphins in the Bay of Islands, Walk and tramp through the Bay of Islands Maritime and Historic Park, Visit the Waitangi National Reserve with the Treaty House and Maori war canoe.

Luxury tailormade touring holiday for families of New Zealand in 18 nights featuring North Island and South Island, including activities for all ages, with children in mind.

Highlights of Otago and Fiordland

Doing or at least watching bungy jumping at the Kawarau Suspension Bridge or at Hackett’s Ledge above Queenstown, Jetboating in the Shotover or Kawaurau rivers, Climb up Queenstown Hill for a panorama over the town, lake and mountains, Helicopter trip to Milford Sound, Visit the Arrowtown gold mining settlement, Taieri Gorge railway trip from Dunedin to Pukerangi.

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