Must do's in Auckland

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Sky Tower

At 328 metres, the Sky Tower is the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand and offers breathtaking views for up to 80 kilometres in every direction. Glass-fronted elevators take visitors up to the observation levels in only 40 seconds, travelling at 18 kilometres per hour along the way. The main observation level provides a 360 degree view of Auckland.

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Kelly Tarltons Sealife Aquarium

Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World offers a unique Pacific and Southern Oceans marine experience. The Antarctic Encounter is home to New Zealand's only sub-Antarctic penguins, offering a rare opportunity to see the playful King and Gentoo penguins up close in their icy domain from aboard a Snowcat. In the Underwater World get face-to-face with nature's assassins of the sea along the world's first curved aquarium tunnel. There you'll spot a host of killers in the Predator Tank, the graceful underwater flying of giant rays in Stingray Bay and everything from Piranha to Seahorses along Fish Alley. Are you brave enough to swim with the sharks? Then you can't miss the adrenaline rush of a face-to-face encounter with the ocean's great predators either with a Shark Cage, or without in a truly thrilling Shark Survival experience.

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Kelly Tarltons Sealife Aquarium - Shark Cage

The cage is submerged in our predator tank so you're guaranteed to have a close encounter of the shark kind, every time. Through the cage's clear Perspex bottom you can marvel at sharks, stingrays and other fish from New Zealand's coastal waters swimming below, or past the mesh walls of the cage - often only feet away. 

 

This snorkel experience is the easiest, safest and most exciting way to meet the often feared predators of the deep!

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Auckland Zoo

Discover our kiwi and more than 50 of New Zealand's amazing natural treasures. Take an immersive journey through New Zealand's natural world at Te Wao Nui - The Living Realm at Auckland Zoo. Six stunning habitats that showcase our native wildlife, north and south, all in one place, Auckland Zoo. Includes General Admission to Auckland Zoo.

Zip, Dine and Wine​ - Waiheke Island

Collect your Fullers Ferry and Taste Tour Tickets from the Fullers Ticket Office; 99 Quay Street, Auckland. Catch the Fullers Ferry to Waiheke Island and meet your Eco Zip Adventures Driver to commence a full day Zip, Wine and Dine tour. Bringing you the very best of beautiful Waiheke Island in a single, relaxing day: scenic ferry transfers from downtown Auckland to Waiheke Island, our fabulous flying-fox zipline and native forest walk experience, wine tasting and light lunch at trendy Stonyridge Vineyard, olive oil tasting at pretty Rangihoua Estate, wine tastings at Casita Miro, wine tasting at picturesque Mudbrick Vineyard, and a complimentary all-day travel card to continue to explore the island after the tour ends. 

Must do's in Bay of Islands

Cape Reinga & 90 Mile Beach Tour

Your full day tour enjoying the natural wonders of the North and uncovering the wild beauty of this vast and untouched region that is rich in Maori culture and tradition. Highlights include an easy boardwalk through ancient Puketi Kauri Forest past 1,000 year old Kauri trees and sand-boarding down the massive sand dunes on boogie boards at Te Paki Stream. Lunch is fish and chips at Houhora Game Fishing Club. The coach then thunders along the vast and empty Ninety Mile Beach. Upon arrival at Cape Reinga, you can wander out to the lighthouse and stand on the northern most tip of New Zealand to watch the Pacific Ocean collide with the Tasman Sea. You will also see where, according to Maori legend, spirits depart on their journey to the homeland of Hawaiki.

Bay of Islands - Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

Dolphin Seeker will allow you to take in the stunning views as you glide out through the islands and along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse keeps watch over and Piercy Island/Motukôkako, or as it is popularly known the Hole in the Rock'. According to Mâori legend, local warriors used to paddle through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof above were a good omen. If conditions permit, your skipper will expertly guide the ship through the narrow space... and if you get dripped on, consider yourself lucky!

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Take an enlightening journey through history at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Stand on the spot where New Zealand's founding document the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) - was signed on 6 February 1840, and find out more about how this document has forged the unique land now called Aotearoa New Zealand. See the historic Treaty House, the magnificently carved meeting house and the world's largest ceremonial war canoe. Explore the brand new, state of the art Museum of Waitangi. Take in the ground floor exhibition Ko Waitangi Tenei (This is Waitangi) with its multi-media displays and significant taonga (treasures), and first floor gallery exhibition. Sit back and watch the introductory film in the Visitor Centre and browse the quality selection in the gift shop.

Must do's in Rotorua, Matamata & Waitomo

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Te Puia - TERA (Geothermal Experience)

Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley has inspired the local Maori people for centuries the guides will recount stories handed down from their ancestors as you explore this unique geothermal reserve with its boiling mud and sulphur pools and the 30 metre (100 ft) Pohutu Geyser, which erupts up to 20 times a day.

Te puia: TE PO Experience

Join your guide to commence an Evening Cultural Experience. Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley has inspired the local Maori people for centuries - Te Po is a combination of cultural storytelling, entertainment and a traditional dinner.

Agrodome

You’ll hear amazing facts and have a few laughs as you’re introduced to 19 breeds of sheep. Then, witness a live sheep shearing demonstration and a fun sheep auction with bidding from the floor and audience participation.

But our animal stars are not just sheep. Our remarkable farm dogs will amaze you, as they demonstrate their ability to respond to commands and keep those sheep (and ducks!) in line!

If a hands-on experience is what you want, jump up on stage for the opportunity to feed the baby lambs or even hand-milk a cow!

Rainbow Springs

The Park offers natural and man-made shelter throughout. Our walkthrough aviaries, trout and reptile viewpoints are all under cover, and the Kiwi Burrow experience and National Kiwi Hatchery Tours are fully indoors. Playscapes and water activities are scattered throughout the lush forest, providing shelter on hot days.

Our on-site café offers indoor seating options as well as some sheltered outdoor tables during the summer months.

 

Hells Gate and Wai Ora Spa - The Soothe Experience

The unique geothermal muds and waters of Rotorua are renowned for their curative and invigorating properties - and this is particularly so at Hell's Gate - Rotorua's most active geothermal reserve. For more than 700 years Hell's Gate or Tikitere as it is known to the Maori (New Zealand's indigenous people) has been a special place of wellness from the medicinal sulphur lake to the curative waters and muds of Hurutini (name of a geothermal pool). With the arrival of the Europeans to New Zealand (Aotearoa) some 150 years ago, the special qualities of the muds and waters of Hell's Gate Tikitere, have been sought after with many documented and medically certified cures being effected. The special muds and sulphurous waters have been guarded for centuries by the Kaitiaki - 'Wai Ora' (guardian warrior) after whom the spa is named. There are special qualities retained in Hell's Gate mud which is a very fine suspension in the mineral enriched geothermal waters of the Hurutini pool.

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

Your guided tour will take you through over 250 metres of stunning underground scenery commencing with the impressive Cathedral. Your tour begins at the upper entrance of the cave and proceeds along a low narrow passage to the Tomo, a deep limestone shaft. Other magnificent cave formations include the Banquet Chamber, the Pipe Organ and the Catacombs. The highlight of your tour is an unrivalled boat trip through the spectacular Glowworm Grotto. As your eyes adjust to the dark, the walls and roof sparkle with the lights of glowworm larvae. Glide silently through the starry wonderland of the glowworm grotto, your way lit by a myriad of tiny glowworm lights glittering, and reflecting off the water. Your experienced tour guide will deliver a highly informative commentary about the formations and the history of the area.

Hobbitton  Movie Set Tour  

The tour starts with a drive through a 1,250 acre working sheep farm. The Hobbit Holes, Green Dragon Inn, Mill and other structures created for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films can then be viewed. See how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle Earth. A tour guide escorts the clients through the 10 acre site while recounting fascinating details on how the Hobbiton movie set was created. At the end of the tour enjoy a sample bespoke beverage at the Green Dragon Inn. Relax in hand-crafted leather chairs in front of a crackling open fire and take in the view across the lake to the mill and Bag End.

Polynesian Spa  

Polynesian Spa is New Zealand’s leading international spa, providing a unique thermal spa experience on the shore of Lake Rotorua. In a picturesque, tranquil setting overlooking Lake Rotorua, visitors can enjoy a wonderful fusion of hot mineral spring bathing, spa therapies and lake views.

Zorb  

Superman dive into the OGO on your own or have one, two or three friends in there together as you slip, slide and laugh your way down the 250m long slope where you come to a gentle stop. There are two straight OGO tracks side by side. Tour concludes approximately 1 hour after commencement, at OGO Rotorua base.

Redwood tree walk  

The entry is a walk up a spiral staircase 25 meters into the Redwood canopy. We then proceed to make our way around the course, moving from platform to platform, crossing themed swing bridges and even zipping between the trees on 3 flying foxes. Along the way there are several stops where the guides provide customers with information on cultural history, the forest and information on a variety of plants and creatures found in the forest. The course ends with a descent down another spiral staircase before walking back to the starting point.

Kaituna Whitewater Raft  

Join the Original Kaituna Rafting Company for an unbeatable grade 5 white-water experience on one of New Zealand's most exciting and beautiful rivers!

Experience the thrills and spills of the Mighty Kaituna River as we take on the world famous 7 metre Tutea Falls, the highest commercially rafted waterfall.

Together with your expert guide, your team will enjoy a 50 minute action packed ride down 14 epic rapids in a tight and twisting warm water jungle canyon.

This is a white water enthusiasts dream and is a must do for adrenaline junkies and 1st time rafters alike!

 

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland 

A Wonderland of Stunning Geothermal Activity. Located 27 kilometres (20 minutes drive) south of Rotorua on SH5, the Visitor Centre provides the gateway to New Zealand's most colourful natural volcanic environment. Visitors can walk at their own pace and absorb the unique features including the world famous champagne pool, steaming ground, expansive vistas, huge volcanic craters and sinter terrace formations. The natural bush setting adds another dimension to the experience as does the daily presentation of the Lady Knox Geyser at 10.15am and the ever active nearby Mud Pool.

 

Must do's in Taupo

Maori Rock Carvings

See the majestic Maori Rock Carvings in complete comfort on the two storied catamaran. Explore the largest crater Lake in the North Island with a live commentary, whilst enjoying a homemade muffin and hot drink. A great tour with spectacular views of Lake Taupo, the township with suitability for all weathers. Activities on board for children (colouring, drive the boat, treasure hunt) and you may even be able to feed the ducks out of the window

Hukafalls Jet Boat Ride  

Nothing gets you closer to the majestic power of the magnificent Huka Falls. Get set for a thrilling half-hour jetboat ride, filled with our world-famous 360° spins. This is the ultimate up close and personal' adventure thrill! Your journey will take you along the beautiful Waikato river environment, lined with native bush, sheer rock cliff faces and natural hot springs. From the unique vantage point on the jetboat you'll have the best water-level view of Huka Falls New Zealand's most visited natural attraction. The manoeuvrability of the Hukafalls Jet boat is legendary, you'll awe at the speed and precision in which you torpedo gracefully down the river to play in the tail of the mighty white water of the Huka Falls. You will pass by clouds of steam rising where a hot stream joins the river, you will see the Huka Prawn Park, the Wairakei Geo-Thermal Power Station and the Aratiatia Dam. You will zoom past sheer rock cliffs with just centimetres to spare, exhilarated and secure in the knowledge that your driver is an expert and that you're enjoying the most thrilling ride of your life.

Lava Glass: Glass Blowing  

The Lava Glass complex offers a unique window into the art of glassblowing and original New Zealand inspired glass art.

 

Must do's in Wellington

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Lord of the Rings City Locations & Weta Cave Tour

A Wellington Rover Tours vehicle will pick you up from your accommodation for your transfer to Wellington Information Centre, the departure point of your tour. At 08:30am or 01:30pm join your guide to commence a Lord of the Rings Half Day Tour around the Wellington region exploring the film locations used around Wellington. Head past the Embassy Movie theatre that held the world premier of LOTR: Return of the King. See where the stars walked and 100,000 people gathered to watch. Then it's up to Mt Victoria. After a quick stop at the lookout, your guide will drive down to the 'Green Belt'. Here you will walk through the forest to stand where the actors stood while filming. Next stop is the Weta Cave and Workshop Exhibition for a guided tour of the prop-making and make-up side of Weta Studios. Tour concludes approximately 4 hours after commencement, at which time accommodation drop offs will commence.

Te Papa Museum

Zealandia 

TThe ultimate way to experience New Zealand's rare and amazing wildlife! Join one of our experienced guides on an engaging and informative walk through the picturesque sanctuary to witness the native wildlife that is once again living on the mainland. With everything in ZEALANDIA living wild, our nature-guru guides will use their knowledge of birdsong, habitats, and local flora to track down even the rarest of our unique animals. New Zealand has some of the most unique biodiversity and advanced conservation techniques in the world. Soak up the beautiful scenery while learning more about our unique ecological history.

 

Must do's in Queenstown

Milford Sound Cruise

Depart Queenstown and travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu through rolling countryside to Te Anau. Continue along the spectacular Milford Road through impressive alpine scenery. Upon reaching Milford Sound, board the scenic cruise vessel and enjoy views of dramatic highlights such as Mitre Peak and the Pembroke Glacier. Look out for wildlife such as seals basking on the rocks from the vessel's purpose-built observation lounge and large deck. Following the cruise re-board the coach for the return journey to Queenstown

Skyline Gondola and Luge + Star Gazing + Dinner

Take a scenic Gondola ride on the Southern Hemisphere's steepest Gondola for quick and easy access to Queenstown's most spectacular views. The Gondola rises 450 vertical metres above Queenstown on an average incline of 37.10 to the Skyline complex on Bob's Peak.

Stargazing
Explore the Milky Way and encounter neighbouring stars, nebulae and clusters and more. Get a look at the Southern Cross and other famous constellations in our all-weather Stargazing experience.

Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar
Enjoy a scenic Gondola ride and sumptuous buffet-style lunch or dinner at Stratosfare Restaurant, serving iconic New Zealand dishes infused with international flair. Allow at least 20 minutes (40 mins in peak periods)to travel up the Gondola prior to the time booked for
Dinner.

Thunder Jetboat

Discover Queenstown as we race down the Kawarau river, dart past the Shotover River and pack in plenty of those famous 360 degree spins for 25 minutes or 60 minutes. With twin V8 engines accelerating you down the K-river at speeds of up to 95kmph.

 

You will experience one hour or 25 minutes of exhilarating adventure starting right in the heart of Queenstown Bay.

Spirit of Queenstown and Nicholas Farm

Spirit of Queenstown offers the longest, premium cruising experience on Lake Wakatipu. Board the vessel and enjoy a return cruise to Mt Nicholas High Country Farm on the western shores of the lake on a modern, spacious, purpose-built catamaran. Cruise through Bob's Cove and view flora and fauna up close, and enjoy spectacular views towards Glenorchy, Mt Earnslaw, the Southern Alps and Remarkables mountain range. Disembark the vessel and join the farm guide on a short tour of this truly authentic, working high country merino sheep farm. Watch the farm guide round up sheep, meet working farm animals used on the farm, and get up close to merino sheep whose wool is provided directly to Icebreaker clothing company. Enjoy a light Farmers Platter Lunch at the woolshed before boarding the vessel for the return cruise to Queenstown. Complimentary tea and coffee is provided on the cruise and at Mt Nicholas High Country Farm.

Onsen Hot Pools

Onsen Retreat & Day Spa is located high on a cliffside overlooking the magnificent Shotover River canyon, providing views over breathtaking alpine scenery and the perfect vantage point to watch the Shotover Jet boats on the river below.

Our world-renowned cedar hot pools are hot and steamy on snowy days, warm on rainy days, cool and shady on sunny days, and simply magical in the evenings!

With a choice of either an Original Onsen Experience or Outdoor Onsen Experience, our exclusive use cedar hot tubs are ideal for individuals or groups of up to 4 people. Heated to approx. 38.5 degrees, you will have 60 minutes to soak and relax in nature while you enjoy a complimentary drink and snack for the ultimate in relaxation.

Our Original Onsen Experience and its idyllic cedar-lined hot tubs have long been a highlight for Queenstown visitors and locals alike. A unique feature of this experience is the retractable roof which allows you to convert your room from indoor to outdoor and back again at the touch of a button

Dart River Cruise – Funyark

Your Funyak journey begins with an exhilarating jet boat ride from Glenorchy up the Dart River deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Experience exciting 360 degree spins along the way as you marvel at the untouched beauty of this location, inaccessible by other means. Learn about Pounamu and the long-standing history of the area.

After your jet boat ride, you will travel back down stream with our expert guides in our unique Funyaks (inflatable kayaks) steering your way through pristine waters as they flow from the Southern Alps to Lake Whakatipu. Explore channels and side-streams in this spectacular wilderness location and witness the native flora and fauna of the area.

Just when you think your Funyak journey is over, you will enjoy a gourmet buffet lunch in the wilderness before heading home via 4 wheel drive coach to explore locations used in movies ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’.

This action-packed full day of exploration gets you away from the hustle and bustle of Queenstown to experience the natural, untouched wilderness New Zealand is so famous for. With free transport and only a 45 minute, breathtaking drive from Queenstown, what are you waiting for?

Nomads Safari Safari of the Scenes 

A Nomad Safaris vehicle will pick you up from your accommodation for your transfer to downtown Queenstown, the departure point of your tour. At either 8.30am or 1.30pm join your vehicle to commence a half day Safari of the Scenes tour. This scenic Lord of the Rings tour is based around the Wakatipu Basin and combines an off road adventure with visits to several filming sites, including The Remarkables (The Misty Mountains), Deer Park Heights (The Battle of the Wargs) and the Kawarau Gorge (Argonath / Pillars of the Kings). The tour then heads out to Arrowtown where the loss of The One Ring at Gladden Fields was filmed. Experience some true off roading by following a historic gold mining road up the Arrow River before crossing to get to the Ford of Bruinen. At this point a rest is taken for morning or afternoon tea and you can try your hand at gold panning. Afterwards, the tour continues to the entrance of Skippers Canyon for spectacular panoramic views of the Wakatipu Basin. Tour concludes at approximately 12.15pm-12.30pm or 5.30pm, at which time accommodation drop offs will commence.

Must do's in Franz Josef

Glacier Hot Pool

There are three main pools that weave their way through the rainforest and offer a superb place to relax and rejuvenate amongst nature. The pools range in temperature from 36 to 40 degrees centigrade, and are covered by giant sails offering protection from the elements.

The three main pools have been gifted their names by our local Māori tribe, Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio: 

Glacier Valley Walk

Hike the ancient path of where the glacier once stood; through lush rainforest and alongside the Waiho river.  Discover the legends and history of the glacier and learn all about the flora and fauna you encounter along the way.

Your guide will lead you on an informative journey through this unique valley, with plenty of opportunities to explore the remarkable landscape and see what the glacier has left behind.

Experience pristine waterfalls, ancient temperate rainforest and the dynamic Waiho river.  After a brief climb you will be rewarded with views of the glacier’s constantly changing terminal face and enjoy a well-deserved hot drink.

An ideal option for those who prefer to stay off the ice, our Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk can be tailored to suit groups of most abilities and interests

Snow landing Experience - Helicopter Ride

With the combination of an exhilarating helicopter ride, jaw-dropping scenery and a two hour hike through the most spectacular glacier features, it's no wonder our guests often label their Glacier Heli Hike as the highlight of their visit to Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Your journey starts at our glacier base in Franz Josef Village where our friendly team will check you in, get you kitted out with the essential gear and give you a pre-trip briefing.

From here, your guide will lead you a on a short walk through native forest to the heli pad and get you ready to board your helicopter. Adrenaline levels start to spike as you board your helicopter and our highly trained pilot then whisks you away over the jaw dropping landscape - an opportunity to take in the full panoramic majesty of Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere nestled within the surrounding mountains.

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Must do's in Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo Region

Tekapo Springs Stargazing

The ultimate in stellar relaxation, Tekapo Star Gazing is the only guided hot pools and star gazing experience in New Zealand. The tour operates from the renowned facilities of Tekapo Springs, combining the stunning Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve with our soul-warming hot pools.

Glacier Explorer

An amazing encounter with Tasman Glacier and its terminal lake. Depart from The Hermitage Hotel. The bus will take you to the Tasman Valley, followed by a 30 minute alpine walk  through the moraine and National Park. Board your custom built MAC boat, and enjoy the ever changing scenery, view the Tasman Glacier ice face from a safe distance and  icebergs of all shapes and sizes with the opportunity to touch and taste the 300-500 year old ice crystals.

Snow landing Experience - Helicopter Ride

A Helicopter Line vehicle will pick you up from your accommodation in Mount Cook for your transfer to the Helicopter Line tour at Glentanner Park, Mt Cook, the departure point of your tour. Join your crew to commence a Alpine Vista helicopter tour. Sweep through the rugged high country landscape of the Ban Ohau Mountain Range to a landing site on a snow field high in the mountains. Enjoy the fantastic vista from this alpine setting as you look out to the mountains and glaciers, and down into the valleys that were carved out by glaciers centuries ago. Tour concludes approximately 20 minutes after commencement, at which time hotel drop offs will commence.

Must do's in Canterbury, Christchurch and Kaikoura

International Antarctic Center

A Helicopter Line vehicle will pick you up from your accommodation in Mount Cook for your transfer to the Helicopter Line tour at Glentanner Park, Mt Cook, the departure point of your tour. Join your crew to commence a Alpine Vista helicopter tour. Sweep through the rugged high country landscape of the Ban Ohau Mountain Range to a landing site on a snow field high in the mountains. Enjoy the fantastic vista from this alpine setting as you look out to the mountains and glaciers, and down into the valleys that were carved out by glaciers centuries ago. Tour concludes approximately 20 minutes after commencement, at which time hotel drop offs will commence.

Punting on Avon

Board a classic wooden Punt and take a tour through Hagley Park or Christchurch City. Your Edwardian Punter will guide you quietly past trailing willows, woodlands and leafy banks as you absorb the beauty of Christchurch's Botanic Gardens or the redeveloping centre of town. Punting on the beautiful Avon River is an iconic Christchurch attraction not to be missed. Each punting tour is accompanied by informative commentary. At the end you are returned to your point of departure.

Kaikoura Whale Watching

Board your Whale Watch Kaikoura vessel at "The Whaleway Station, Railway Station Road, Kaikoura to commence a Whale Watch Kaikoura cruise. The vessel is a modern catamaran designed especially for whale watching. The main passenger cabin is enclosed, air-conditioned and fitted with comfortable seating, while large outside decks offer great viewing and photo opportunities. Prepare for exciting up-close encounters with Giant Sperm Whales. Clients may also see migratory humpback whales (June-July), Hector's and Dusky Dolphins, Orcas (December-March) and NZ Fur Seals, as well as plenty of bird species including Royal Albatross, Petrels and Shearwaters. Cruise concludes approximately 3 hours 30 minutes after commencement, back at "The Whaleway Station.

Purepods

PurePods is a total immersion, totally private experience of your own slice of the beautiful New Zealand landscape. Your PurePod is made of heavy duty glass so you can see everything – from the starry night skies above to the native plants growing beneath your feet. Pull back the sliding doors on all three sides and indulge in the isolation. You will experience nature’s show vividly, utilising all of your senses whilst remaining sheltered in luxury. Imagine watching a winter storm roll in from the warmth and comfort of the PurePod, or basking in the summer sunshine while relaxing on the deck and taking in the stunning views.

The privacy, the isolation of a luxurious glass cabin completely surrounded by nature – the sky, the hills, the sea, the birds, the bush – takes you to another world.

Tranz Alpine Train

Experience the South Island’s striking natural landscape by taking a train between Christchurch and Greymouth. Along this journey you’ll see epic vistas, travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River, traverse the Southern Alps, and see miles of native beech forest.

The TranzAlpine is one of the world's great train journeys covering 223 kilometres (139 miles) one-way, taking just under 5 hours. You’ll traverse the majestic Canterbury Plains, to the backdrop of the mighty Southern Alps - the journey of a lifetime.