New Zealand

An exploration of landscapes and ecosystems from the island's north to south.

Country Information

New Zealand

New Zealand Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

New Zealand


(Interest Type(s))

Romantic Getaways

,

Sustainable Travel

,

Adventure Travel

,

Family Travel


(Tour Length)

16 Days


Tour Highlights

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  • Discover New Zealand’s welcoming capital city, Auckland, the ‘City of Sails,’ known for its casual, outdoor lifestyle
  • Delve into the many options of the beautiful Bay of Islands, from a swim with dolphins, to diving at the Poor Knights Islands, to golf at the championship Kauri Cliffs, a par 72 course
  • Cruise, helicopter, jet boat, yacht, mountain bike – this journey offers a varied menu of active adventures
  • Savor sampling wines from the country’s oldest wine growing region in Hawke’s Bay
  • With your rental car, set your own pace through the geologic highlights from Auckland to Christchurch

Day 1:  Arrive Auckland, New Zealand
Upon arrival at Auckland International Airport, you will meet a representative, who will present you with your New Zealand documentation before transferring you to your accommodation.  On the North Island, Auckland, the ‘City of Sails,’ is known for boating and casual, outdoor lifestyle.  Set on the shores of the Waitemata Harbour, Maori name for ‘sparkling waters,’ the city boasts marine reserves, excellent swimming beaches and black sand surf.  As New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland has a diverse ethnic mix providing a myriad of cultural experiences, reflected in the Pacific atmosphere and cuisine.  Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour - Double/Twin Luxury Room  

Day 2:  Auckland
This morning, your private car and driver take you on an exploration of Auckland’s West Coast, starting with a scenic drive across Harbour Bridge, which spans the Waitemata Harbour to Auckland’s North Shore.  You will enjoy expansive views of the city’s beaches and Hauraki Gulf.  Continue your journey west to the spectacular West Coast beaches, where you find black sand and a cool ocean breeze.  Visit Muriwai Beach and enjoy a short walk to see this unique coastal landscape with its rugged surf and cliffs.  You may see nesting sites of one of the world’s largest sea birds, the Gannet.  Travel to the Kumeu area, New Zealand’s most concentrated wine making region, which has a distinct Mediterranean flavor.  Dalmation migrants from Europe settled many of the vineyards in valleys and on the slopes footing the Waitakere Ranges.  Continue to a local vineyard for an optional lunch and wine tasting amid the rolling vineyards and fields.  On your return to Auckland, you will enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the city, its harbor and the outlying islands.  Sky Tower soars 328 meters/1,076 feet above Auckland, offering the best views of the city.  One of the tallest buildings in the southern hemisphere, the tower has two observation decks including a glass lift and floor panels and multi lingual audio guides.  Return to your accommodation this afternoon.  You may wish to take part in an optional activity such as sailing.  The sailing enthusiast will savor the opportunity to sail one of the yachts that won The America's Cup, the world's oldest sporting trophy and ultimate yachting regatta.  Team New Zealand held the Cup for two consecutive regattas.  NZL40 and NZL41 have been sailing on the Auckland Harbour since January 2000, and have been changed as little as possible to allow passengers to experience the thrill of sailing an authentic America’s Cup yacht.  Thirty-five minutes by ferry from downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island provides a welcome haven.  Rich in natural beauty, with stunning golden sand beaches, rocky foreshores and native birdlife.  A day excursion can be done by either ferry or helicopter.  The island is home to boutique vineyards and restaurants, art galleries, an olive oil mill and gardens.  Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour - Double/Twin Luxury Room (B)

Day 3:  Auckland / Bay of Islands
This morning, you will pick up your full-size automatic rental vehicle, which includes daily insurance, unlimited kilometers, accident excess reduction and GPS.  Enjoy a scenic drive to your retreat in the stunning Bay of Islands (approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes drive).  The Bay of Islands is a gorgeous collection of some 144 islands in the clear waters of the glistening Pacific Ocean.  The islands host an astonishing array of marine wildlife and natural beauty along with the local townships steeped in colonial history.  Please note that gentlemen are required to wear a jacket to dinner at the lodge.  The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs - Double/Twin Deluxe Suite (D)

Day 4:  Bay of Islands
Today is at leisure to pursue your own interests.  Optional activities available include a scenic flight, via either fixed wing or helicopter, to Cape Reinga, private boat charter, a swim with the dolphins cruise, game fishing (seasonal), a cruise to Cape Brett and the famous “Hole in the Rock”, diving at the Poor Knights Islands, and golf at the renowned Kauri Cliffs, a par 72 championship course.  Historic sites include the Waitangi Treaty House, where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the Maori and the British Crown; Pompallier House, 1842, a French factory built in colonial New Zealand to print books for the Catholic Mission; Kemp Mission House, dating from 1822 is one of New Zealand’s oldest buildings; and the Stone Store at Kerikeri.  The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs - Double/Twin Deluxe Suite (D)

Day 5:  Bay of Islands / Taupo
This morning, drive to Kerkeri Airport to return your rental vehicle prior to your onward flight to Taupo.  On arrival at Taupo Airport, collect your full-size automatic rental vehicle, which includes daily insurance, unlimited kilometers, accident excess reduction and GPS.  Drive to your accommodation in Taupo, known as the ‘Trout fishing capital of New Zealand.’  Set on the shores of the country’s largest lake, it offers awe-inspiring panoramic views of the volcanic landscapes from the pristine lake to the surrounding mountain peaks of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe.  The remainder of the day is at leisure to experience some of the optional activities such as a guided helicopter or 4x4 vehicle fly fishing,  golf at Wairakei or Kinloch International course, horseback riding, nature walks,  cruise on Lake Taupo, kayak or boat trip to sacred Maori rock carvings, a visit to Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park, and a walk along spectacular nature trails to Huka Falls and the Aratiatia Rapids.  Huka Lodge - Double/Twin Junior Lodge Suite (B,D)

Day 6:  Taupo - Rotorua
Today you are at leisure to do as you wish.  You may wish to explore the nearby thermal wonderland of Rotorua, a city known for its geothermal activity and geysers – notably the Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa.  The hot pools of bubbling mud are fascinating to see.  This is also a center of the traditional Maori culture.  The most current reliable evidence strongly indicates that initial settlement of New Zealand occurred around 1280 CE.   Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, the Buried Village of Te Wairoa, and Mitai Maori Village, an indigenous cultural experience, shed light on the history and traditions of this ancient community.  Other activities include scenic helicopter flight over Mt Tarawera and White Island; Lake Tarawera boat charter excursion; Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park featuring unique flora and fauna and endangered and native species; Paradise Valley Springs – Trout springs and wildlife experience; spa treatments at Polynesian Spa Thermal Pools and Beauty Retreat or Hell’s Gate (Tikitere) Thermal Reserve and Spa. This is a partial list of adventures available.  Surrounded by steaming lakes, bubbling hot pools and bursting geysers, Rotorua is host to some of the world’s most incredible earth forces, capturing all that is precious and unique – feel its spirit – Manaakitanga.  Huka Lodge - Double/Twin Junior Lodge Suite (B,D)

Day 7:  Taupo / Hawke’s Bay
Today, you’ll drive to Hawke’s Bay (approximately 2 hours drive).  The remainder of the day is pursue your own interests.  The Pacific Ocean provides a stunning backdrop to the Hawke’s Bay – renowned as one of New Zealand’s richest agricultural areas including viticulture.  The long established wine-growing region has produced some of the finest wines of almost every variety.   The Farm At Cape Kidnappers – Double/Twin Deluxe Suite (B,D)

Day 8:  Hawke’s Bay
You will be met at your accommodation by your private car and driver for a full day tour of Hawke's Bay, which offers activities to suit every taste.  Highlights may include wine tasting in the country's oldest wine growing region with over 40 wineries to choose from; meeting fascinating local artists; exploring stunning scenery; experiencing a Powhiri (Maori welcome) and learning about Maori Culture.  Drive to the summit of Te Mata Peak for stunning views of the region (weather permitting), and enjoy a platter lunch at a winery restaurant.  Visit a rural coastal settlement and talk with a Maori, who can provide a spiritual insight into her culture and can clearly demonstrate what it is that makes this indigenous people so special.  You can elect to visit the Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony, the world's largest, most accessible Gannet nesting place.  From September through to May, enjoy an overland safari, helicopter safari or guided walk through the spectacular scenery of Cape Kidnappers Station.  Visitors will see adults and young nesting in serried rows carrying out their daily routine.  Return to your accommodation in late afternoon.  The Farm at Cape Kidnappers – Double/Twin Deluxe Suite (B,L,D)

Day 9:  Hawke’s Bay / Napier / Nelson
This morning, drive to Napier Airport and return your rental vehicle before connecting with your onward flight to Nelson.  On arrival at Nelson Airport, you will pick up your full-size automatic rental vehicle, including daily insurance, unlimited kilometers, accident excess reduction and GPS.  Drive to your accommodation in Nelson in the Orinoco Valley.  The city is a haven for artisans seeking a lifestyle amid a landscape of mountains, valleys, unspoiled shores and national parks.  The idyllic climate has enabled a winery and orchard trail to extend into by-roads and valleys throughout the region.  Edenhouse – Double/Twin Cottage Suite (B,L)

Day 10:  Nelson – Stephens Bay
This morning, drive to Stephens Bay for a private day cruise in Abel Tasman National Park at the north end of the South Island.  It is renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, and the world-famous Abel Tasman Coast Track.  It also has a mild climate and is a good place to visit at any time of the year. Explore the coastline, Split Apple Rock, Kaiteriteri, Marahau, Adele and Fisherman’s Islands, and Tonga Island Marine Reserve’s seal colony.  The cruise itinerary is flexible to allow for the best sightings – dolphins riding the bow wave or New Zealand fur seals fishing.  Similarly, if there is a particular bay you want to visit or park feature you want to see, the skipper will try to accommodate your wishes.  Settle in a quiet bay for lunch. Swim, snorkel, sea kayak, go ashore for a bushwalk, or just relax on the boat while lunch is prepared.  Edenhouse – Double/Twin Cottage Suite (B,L)

Day 11:  Nelson / Kaikoura
Drive to Kaikoura (approximately 4 hours 30 minutes drive), situated on a peninsula on the rugged east coast of New Zealand’s South Island overlooked by majestic often snowcapped mountain.  The remainder of the day is free to pursue your own interests or just relax.  An optional Maori excursion lets you discover the culture of the Maori people.  Hapuku Lodge – A Double/Twin One Bedroom Tree House (B,D)

Day 12:  Kaikoura
This morning, enjoy an exhilarating whale watching excursion to look for sperm whales, dolphins and fur seals.  Depending on season, you may also spot humpback whales, pilot whales, blue whales and Southern Right whales.  This afternoon enjoy a dolphin encounter cruise with the pioneers of dolphin swimming in New Zealand.  They have refined their tours for those wishing to enhance their understanding of dolphins in their natural environment, a truly unique experience.  The dusky dolphins inhabit the coastal waters year round, making Kaikoura a unique place in the world where wild dolphins can be encountered every day, weather permitting.  Hapuku Lodge – A Double/Twin One Bedroom Tree House (B,D)

Day 13:  Kaikoura / Christchurch / Queenstown
This morning, head south to Christchurch Airport and return your rental vehicle prior to your onward flight (approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes drive) to Queenstown.  On arrival at Queenstown Airport,  collect your full-size automatic rental vehicle, including daily insurance, unlimited kilometers, accident excess reduction and GPS.  Drive to your accommodation.  Queenstown is called the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’.  Set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, amid the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, the scenery provides a perfect backdrop for endless activities and an idyllic haven in which to relax.  Azur - Double Villa (B,D)

Day 14:  Queenstown / Glenorchy
This morning you will be met at your accommodation by your private car and driver for a day of sightseeing in the Queenstown area. Enjoy a visit to Arrowtown, which has become an attraction as an example of a living historic gold-mining town.  Strict preservation orders protect the originality of the town's historic buildings, and the excellent Lakes District Museum has many displays pertaining to the pioneering past of the district.  Continue to the Kawarau Bridge – to watch the action at the world's first bungy bridge, established in November 1988.  The Kawarau Bungy Centre is an ecologically designed building, which has been created in harmony with the unique landscape of the region and includes merchandise, cafe, interactive and interpretive areas, with excellent views of the 45 meter jump itself.  Visit the Gibbston Valley for the opportunity to enjoy some wine tasting at one of the many fine boutique vineyards in this area.  In Queenstown, drive your rental vehicle along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to your accommodation in Glenorchy (approximately 45 minutes drive).  Glenorchy at the remote head of Lake Wakatipu is encircled by the spectacular, towering peaks of the Southern Alps.  Blanket Bay - Double/Twin Suite (B,D)

Day 15:  Glenorchy - Milford Sound
This morning, your private helicopter waits for you on the lawn of Blanket Bay to take you on an amazing journey to majestic Milford Sound.  Fly through the grandeur of the Alps over rainforests, frozen lakes and Milford to touchdown on an ancient glacier.  The views of the glaciers are awe-inspiring, with their many crevasses and blue and green ice falls.  Return to Glenorchy with views of New Zealand’s southern lakes en route.  This afternoon enjoy a private jet boat excursion on the scenic Dart River, which takes you through wilderness so untouched it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Area.  You may enjoy an optional guided forest walk en route (approximately 3 hours duration).  Queenstown offers some of the best activities in the Southern Hemisphere.  Our specialist guides can customize trips designed to suit your requirements and pace.  Choose from a variety of half or full day excursions to include activities such as hiking, mountain biking, hunting, bungy jumping, white water rafting, canyoning, paragliding, quad biking, jet boating, skiing, sky diving, rural encounters, family friendly touring and more!  Blanket Bay - Double/Twin Suite (B,D)

Day 16:  Glenochy / Queenstown / Auckland / Depart
This morning drive to Queenstown Airport and return your rental vehicle prior to your onward flight to  Queenstown.  Upon arrival at Auckland Domestic Airport, you will be met by a representative who will transfer you to the international airport prior to your onward flight.  (B)

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