Kiwi Traverse by Magic Bus
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Travel New Zealand by Bus and Train through some of the country's most beautiful spots on your way from Auckland to Christchurch.
- Departure times: Varied
- Duration: 13 Days
- Starts in: Auckland
- Ends in: Christchurch
What to bring:
- Sleeping Bag
- Packed Lunch
- Light Refreshments
- Insect Repellant
- Comfortable Footwear
- Change of Clothes
- Warm Clothing
- Waterproof Clothing
Included in price:
AUCKLAND - THAMES - ROTORUA
CITY OF SAILS, COROMANDEL GATEWAY, HOBBITS, MAORI CULTURE & HOT POOLS
For many Magic Travellers this is the start of your New Zealand adventure and what a great day we have in store for you. First up we take you on a short scenic drive through Auckland city, locally known as the City of Sails. After taking in some stunning panoramas, we travel southeast over the Bombay Hills and out onto the Hauraki Plains. We will then cross the new Kopu bridge and stop into Thames. Thames is the starting point for any passengers heading off to one of New Zealand's best regional destinations - the Coromandel Peninsula.
From Thames we continue onto Paeroa, where can you grab a bottle of New Zealand's most famous drink; Lemon and Paeroa (also known as L&P). We'll then give you a chance pose for a group photo with the world famous (in NZ) giant L&P bottle. At 7 metres high, the bottle is a permanent reminder of the therapeutic Paeroa Springs water discovered before 1900, which, with the addition of a squeeze of lemon, became known as New Zealand's national soft drink.
After we leave Paeroa, we head into the spa town of Te Aroha, which translates from Maori to English as 'The place of love'. Jump off and spend the night here if you want to climb Mount Te Aroha or relax in hot soda springs to ease away any aches and pains.
Our next stop will be where we will at the Shires Rest near Matamata - home of the now world famous Hobbiton movie set. This stop will have you immersed in stunning New Zealand farmland and overlooking the rugged Kaimai Ranges. This is your chance to eat lunch and relax, feed the friendly sheep, get involved in some sheep shearing and even try authentic Lord of the Rings beer! Hop off the bus and do a tour of the set as seen in The Lord of the Rings movies and the upcoming movie; The Hobbit. The detail of the set is amazing and is like stepping into a new world.
After leaving The Shires Rest we will give you the opportunity to take part in a truly unique New Zealand activity; OGO. The OGO is a 3 metre (11 foot) transparent sphere constructed from over 100 square metres (300 square feet) of plastic. It;s pumped full of air to make a beautiful big ball that you can jump inside and tumble down a hill. OGO Rotorua provides your very own play-paddock where you can spend the afternoon rolling down our purpose built 250 meter long tracks. You can OGO solo or as a double or triple! If you're the adventurous type you should definitely try the Fishpipe! If you didn't come prepared with towels and a change of clothes these can be provided by the OGO team too.
To end your day on the bus we'll take you into our overnight destination of Rotorua. Rotorua is a mind blowing town where Maori culture and thermal activity combine to make an incredibly unique destination. Upon arrival, take a deep breath and the smell of Rotorua will fill your nostrils…. beware it does resemble the smell of rotten eggs! The dense sulphur deposits all over the city provide this pungent aroma.
Look out for steam rising from the ground on a scenic tour of the city via Government Gardens and Lake Rotorua. This will be followed by experiencing a heartfelt cultural welcome to the area at the Realm of Tane, which will take you on a short journey through Maori culture, mythology and stories. This evening, make sure you take the opportunity to try a superb Tamaki Maori Hangi (dinner) and Concert - a true New Zealand experience that shouldn't be missed!! We recommend you spend more than one night in Rotorua as there is so much to do in this exceptional place; including volunteering in the Magic Forest, epic whitewater rafting down the Kaituna River or relaxing in hot pools - you will also have a chance to do all of these activities tomorrow as we do not leave Rotorua until 11.30am (please note pick up times). Approximate arrival into Rotorua is 4pm.
Hop off the bus today and stay at: Thames or Te Aroha.
ROTORUA - TAUPO
GEOTHERMAL MUD, HUKA FALLS, SKYDIVING
Today we depart Rotorua beginning our pickups at 11.15am - giving you a great chance to indulge in some more activities such as gondola rides, riding luges or off-road driving. This morning will really make you fall in love with what Rotorua has to offer you
This morning also gives you the chance to hop on the Geyserlink shuttle and head out to the spectacular Wai-O-Tapu geothermal wonderland, famous for vivid mud pools and the Lady Knox Geyser. The Geyserlink shuttle will allow you time to see the Lady Knox geyser which erupts at 10.15am everyday of the year like clockwork, shooting jets of water reaching up to 20 meters and lasting for over an hour. You will also have plenty of time to wander around the park and see the other thermal wonders including the Champagne Pool. If you do choose to take the Geyserlink shuttle the Magic bus will pick you up from Wai-O-Tapu before we continue onto Taupo and our next incredible stop - the mighty Huka Falls. The falls throw over 200,000 litres of water a second into the river below. Those in for an adrenaline rush you will have the chance to try out the Huka Jet boat on the Waikato River. Ride up to the base of the falls or if you want you can even Bungy jump above them.
For those wanting to experience one of the best thrills in NZ, Taupo is one of the most amazing places in New Zealand to skydive. From 15,000 feet you can even see both coasts of the North Island. If you are not partaking in these adrenaline activities we continue into the town, situated on the edge of a lake bigger than the entire country of Singapore. In true Kiwi fashion all this water means there are heaps of things to do. Make sure you spend two nights here if you can to enjoy all the activities available. The nightlife in Taupo is outstanding, with many bars, cafes and restaurants to choose from.
Approximate arrival time in Taupo is 2.30pm.
TAUPO - WAITOMO - NATIONAL PARK
GLOWWORMS, TONGARIRO ALPINE CROSSING, MOUNTAIN WATERFALL
Today we head northwest to Waitomo to visit the famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves which are over 30 million years old. Here you can view the amazing caverns and glowworms, or be daring and have a go at one of the many activities Magic has on offer such as Black Water Rafting, or abseiling into the caves (this is something you certainly won't have the chance to do too often!). For those not partaking in the caving experiences, you can relax in the village and enjoy a bite to eat at the local pub.
We depart Waitomo early in the afternoon and head towards Te Kuiti - the sheep shearing capital of the world - before heading through some beautiful King Country farmland and onto Taumarunui; here you can pick up supplies from the supermarket for the evenings meal. Before you get to National Park, where we will stop overnight, we take you to Whakapapa Village in the heart of the Tongariro National Park. You have time here to enjoy a nature walk to the amazing Tawhai Falls and explore the Whakapapa Visitor Centre. This centre is full of information on the National Park, the ski fields and hiking tracks, local Maori stories and the volcanic history of the area.
Take some time to admire the elegant Tongariro Chateau set in spectacular grounds with the stunning backdrop of Mt Ruapehu. In winter you'll get a chance to play in the snow, make a snowman or have a snow fight with your travelling friends. Approximate arrival time in National Park is 5.00pm.
National Parkis the departure point for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This track is commonly known as New Zealand's best one day trek. You will need to spend at least two nights in National Park to undertake the walk that will take you into the middle of the active volcano field and to the slopes of famed 'Lord of the Rings' location of Mt Doom. National Park is also the departure point to canoe the Whanganui River which runs through the Whanganui National Park, a dense native rainforest with a wide rage of native birds including the Brown Kiwi.
Hop off the bus today and stay at: Waitomo.
NATIONAL PARK - WELLINGTON
CAPITALCITY, TE PAPA, CAFÉ CULTURE
Today we travel south around the Tongariro National Park with stunning views of Mt Ruapehu. We head through the alpine town of Ohakune; which is known affectionately as New Zealand's 'Home of Carrots'. On a sunny day make sure you ask your driver to stop for a photo with the giant carrot!! After your 'carrot encounter' we will briefly pass through Waiouru, the New Zealand Army training headquarters - so keep your head down! Later in the day we pass through the imaginatively named town of Bulls an 'unforget-a-Bull town like no udder. Make sure you pay attention and try and spot a few of the unique shop names like the café 'Delect-a-Bull', but avoid the police station; 'Consta-Bull'. Traveling down the Kapiti Coast, look to the right of the bus and see Kapiti Island - a bird and marine reserve and home to some of New Zealand's rarest wildlife. The road continues and follows the Tararua Ranges which form a dramatic backdrop along the length of the coastline. We arrive into Wellington, New Zealand's capital city in the afternoon. The first stop is to view New Zealand's Parliament Buildings; including the iconic 'Beehive'. From here we leave downtown Wellington and head to the summit of Mt Victoria. Here you will see some priceless 360 degree panoramic views of Wellington, Cook Strait and the surrounding area. There's plenty to keep you busy in Wellington including lively cafes. One definite 'do not miss' is a visit to Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum.
Approximate arrival time in Wellington is 3.00pm.
Coastal Pacific Train: Picton to Christchurch
MOUNTAIN RANGES, COASTLINE, MARINE WILDLIFE
This amazing five hour rail journey, which will take you through 22 tunnels and over 175 bridges, departs Picton at 1pm heading south. The first part of the trip sees you travelling through the hilly wine country of Marlborough and includes a very brief stop in Blenheim. The line then winds out to the east coast where on one side of the train you have spectacular mountain ranges and on the other the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline. Try and spot dolphins, seals and penguins from the comfort of your carriage. You can break your journey by jumping off to overnight in the village of Kaikoura for whale watching and to swim with the dolphins, or continue on direct to Christchurch. Approximate arrival time in Christchurch is 6.30pm.
Hop off the bus today and stay at: Kaikoura
TranzAlpine Train: Christchurch to Greymouth
PLAINS, SOUTHERN ALPS, BEECH RAINFORESTS
This trip has been named as one of the world's great scenic rail journeys. You will travel between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other. This four and a half our journey takes you across the Canterbury Plains and farmland then continuing on through spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. The train climbs into the Southern Alps stopping at Arthur's Pass Village for some fresh alpine air before heading down through beech rainforests to the West Coast town of Greymouth. Words really don't do this fantastic journey justice whether in winter snow or during summer.
Approximate arrival time into Greymouth is 12.45pm.
Hop off the train today and stay at: Arthur's Pass
GREYMOUTH - FRANZ JOSEF
GLACIER HIKING, GOLD, UNTOUCHED WILDERNESS
This morning we travel further down the West Coast before stopping in the township of Hokitika, famous for its often crazy local cuisine and Pounamu (Greenstone). Traces of the 'gold rush' times of the that brought thousands upon thousands of wannabe miners and gold panners to the area in the mid 1800s are still evident in the historic town of Ross, we'll even give you a chance to try some panning yourself and find some of your very own New Zealand gold. Heading further south we enter Westland National Park, an area containing numerous scenic lakes, dense forests, many of the Southern Alps highest peaks and two amazingly accessible glaciers. Time for more adventure! We arrive into the alpine village of Franz Josef in time for those who want to partake in a fantastic introduction to an enthralling world of ice. The new Ice Explorer is a short heli hop from the township which takes you into the remarkable Pinnacles area of the glacier. Here your guide will navigate you through a maze of ice and explain the dramatic environmental changes over the last few years. Those not taking part in the Ice Explorer today can be taken to the glacier lookout before being dropped at accommodation. If glaciers aren't your thing, another option here is to go kayaking on the scenic Lake Mapourika, surrounded by stunning mountain peaks. Tonight, relax the night away in the Glacier Hot Pools.
Approximate arrival time into Franz Josef in winter is 12.00pm and summer is 1.00pm.
Hop off the bus today and stay at: Hokitika
FRANZ JOSEF - WANAKA
WATERFALLS, MIRROR LAKE, MOUNTAINS
First up this morning we will pass through Fox Glacier, another small village nestled next to a huge and dramatic glacier. Fox Glacier is also the home of one of New Zealand's most picturesque spots; Lake Matheson. Often referred to as the 'Mirror Lake', it is famous for its reflections of the Southern Alps which dominate the skyline - perfect for those picture postcard photos. As we head inland through Haast and further away from the west coast the scenery changes from dense forest to boulder-filled river beds, cliff faces and incredibly powerful waterfalls. Make sure you snap a photo of the Gates of Haast - a truly amazing valley littered with huge boulders. After this the scenery will take another change and we head into the vast plateaus and many lakes of the Central Otago region. Make sure you have your cameras ready as we pass Lake Hawea and shortly after Lake Wanaka. At the head of the lake is the town of Wanaka. This is where we stop for the night - but not before we've taken you to Puzzling World - an amazing mind bending experience that will push your limits and one that you're sure to love.
Hop off the bus today and stay at: Fox Glacier, Makarora
WANAKA - QUEENSTOWN
UNLIMITED ADVENTURE, GREAT NIGHTLIFE, PANORAMIC VIEWS
This morning we head out of town and get you set for a huge day of adventure and exhilaration. Firstly we drop into the birthplace of Bungy jumping, the Kawarau Bridge. The bridge, which is 42 metres above the Kawarau River, is the site of the world's first commercial bungy jump. We dare you to jump - something you will never forget! From here we make our way past Lake Hayes and into Arrowtown. Arrowtown has an amazingly rich history and as such we'll give you the time to explore the quaint shops, the Chinese settler's village and historic buildings in town. In autumn the colours are amazing. From Arrowtown we'll head onto Arthur's Point; which is situated on a bend in the Shotover River. This is also the home of the world renowned Shotover Jet, and also the launch point for whitewater rafting. Be sure to get out onto the river if you've not yet had enough excitement in your day! We head into Queenstown early in the afternoon where there are endless activity options, from mild to wild. We have allowed two nights in Queenstown (but many people prefer to stay longer) to soak it all up.
Approximate arrival time in Queenstown is 1.30pm.
QUEENSTOWN - LAKE TEKAPO
Lake Pukaki, Salmon & Stargazing
Life slows down a little as we leave Queenstown behind us. We head of through Cromwell and onto the alpine environment of the Lindis Pass. Lindis Pass is an amazing road winding its way through some of New Zealand's most spectacular scenery and in winter is often blanketed by snow! As we make our way into McKenzie Basin we stop off in Twizel. This small town serves as a gateway to New Zealand's highest mountain; Aoraki Mount Cook. If you want to go and check it out your driver will arrange a connection bus for you. Our next stop of the day is the High Country Salmon Farm - this fantastic attraction will get you up close and personal with the salmon and give you a chance to hand feed them and even buy some to take away for your dinner! The tranquil Lake Tekapo is over overnight destination, a small town located at the end of the lake by the same name. There is a lot on offer here including an optional day trip to Mt Cook village, kayaking on the lake, fantastic sightseeing flights of the Southern Alps or the sedate visit to the idyllic Church of the Good Shepperd. Tonight, don't miss the chance to view the Southern Hemisphere stars up close. Tekapo is a great place to get together with your fellow travelers and share a group meal.
Approximate arrival time in Lake Tekapo is 1.45pm
LAKE TEKAPO - CHRISTCHURCH
PUNTING, DEVELOPMENT & RE-START MALL
After leaving the shores of Lake Tekapo, we travel around the edges of the stunning Mackenzie Country crossing over Burkes Pass and the foothills of the Southern Alps. We then pass through the picturesque towns of Fairlie and Geraldine, stopping here for a short time. Be sure to jump off at Geraldine if you want to try your hand at rafting some of the wildest white water in New Zealand with Rangitata Rafts. The bus then heads across the Canterbury Plains, the largest area of flat land in NZ and a huge contrast to our previous days travel! We will briefly look around Christchurch on the way into town but we will leave the exploring up to you! Be sure to check out Christchurch's amazing new 'unique' Re-Start Mall. This astonishingly creative mall is made entirely of shipping containers and one of the cities exciting new urban developments following the earthquakes that damaged much of the cities buildings in 2010/11. We would also definitely recommend all passengers consider travelling on the double-decker Discover Christchurch bus tour - it will give you an amazing insight into the cities recent challenges and let you see how amazing the people of this area really are - simply ask your driver about this if you are interested. If you are up for some fun tonight we would also suggest you check out SO- MO; which is a vibrant area of Christchurch alive with bars, restaurants and cafes! Approximate arrival time into Christchurch is 1.00pm.
Hop off the bus today and stay at: Rangitata
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