There is no bad time to visit New Zealand. Plan your trip around your interests, whether that is skiing the Southern Alps or kayaking on mountain lakes. The Southern Hemisphere’s seasons are the opposite of those in North America. Summer lasts from December to February. Spring is September through November. Autumn is from March to May. Winter runs June through August.
Australia is roughly equivalent to the U.S. in size, with many variations in climate. Summer, the rainy season in the tropical north, lasts December to February. November to March is hottest. Spring and autumn are mild and the best time for bush walks. Winter, June to August, is mild with snow in southern mountains and balmy temperatures in the north. In general, April to September temperatures are between 18°C/66 °F and 31°C/88°F. September and October are warm but not extremely hot.
Eastern Standard Time GMT +10 NSW, ACT, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania
Central Time GMT +9.5 Northern Territory and South Australia
Western Time GMT +8 Western Australia
Australian Dollar (AUD)
Day 1: Auckland, New Zealand / Queenstown
Arrive Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and amid the towering peaks of the Southern Alps. Your driver welcomes you for your private transfer to your hotel, a distinctively contemporary luxury lodge located on a hilltop overlooking some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand. Its nine private villas were designed to let you absorb the incredible views in chic luxury and total privacy. Incorporating a lounge, dining area, a private sun deck with a choice of either a king or twin beds dressed in luxury linens. Soak up the spectacular unobstructed views from the bathtub, which has been set into a bay window to give you a feeling of being outdoors; or opt for a luxurious in-villa massage. Azur Lodge – Private Villa
Day 2: Queenstown
This morning you will be met at your accommodation and for a shared transfer to Queenstown Airport for an enjoyable helicopter excursion through the Alps, flying above rainforests, across frozen lakes to majestic Milford to touchdown on an ancient glacier. The views of the glaciers are simply stunning, with their crevasses and blue and green ice falls. Return to airport and then back to the city via shared transfer. Later, join in on another adventure as you board a shared transfer and follow the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu to the remote town of Glenorchy about 45 mins away. After a briefing, you journey by 4WD coach through a wilderness so untouched it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Area. Travel along the back roads to the upper reaches of the scenic Dart River, where you set out on a thrilling jet boat ride on the river, taking in pristine wild area, where some for the movies sequences from the Lord of the Rings trilogy were shot. Return to your lodge in late afternoon. The evening is at leisure. Savor dinner at the lodge. Azur Lodge – Private Villa (B)
Day 3: Queenstown
Today is left at leisure to explore on your own to pursue your own interests. Queenstown’s jewel of a setting provides the perfect location for a staggering menu of outdoor adventure activities – from kayaking pure rivers and lakes to mountain biking, to skydiving, to exploring old farm homesteads and historic gold mining villages. You can also opt to browse boutiques and art galleries of Queenstown. The area also has a rich Maori heritage. In Maori mythology, Lake Wakatipu itself was formed when the indentation left by a sleeping giant was flooded. Members of South Island tribes ventured into the Wakatipu Basin in search of food and New Zealand’s precious pounamu (jade) long before the first European settlers arrived. You can explore this heritage with dinner and a cultural show or with a visit to one of the shops selling pounamu. The natural beauty and the unique energy of this region create the perfect backdrop for adventure, discovery and rejuvenation. Azur Lodge – Private Villa (B)
Day 4: Queenstown
Depart Queenstown for a half-day private wine tour venturing through the rugged Kawarau Gorge to visit four of the area’s finest vineyards in the Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell regions. En route take in stunning scenery such as the Otago Goldfields, historic Old Cromwell and Lake Dunstan. Learn about the early pioneering history and stop at the historic Kawarau Bridge, site of the original AJ Hackett Bungy Jump. Hackett opened the world's first permanent commercial bungee jumping site at the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge near Queenstown in in the South Island in the 1980s, inspired by, among other things, the Vanuatu ritual of land diving from tall poles. Lunch is included at the Carrick Winery. Transfer back to your hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure. Azur Lodge – Private Villa (B)
Day 5: Queenstown / Nelson
After breakfast, you begin your day with a private transfer to Queenstown airport to board your flight to Nelson. On arrival, you pick up your intermediate-size, automatic rental vehicle, which includes daily insurance, unlimited mileage, and GPS device, and drive to your accommodation. Nelson is a haven for artisans seeking a casual lifestyle amid a landscape of mountains, valleys, unspoiled shores and national parks. The idyllic climate offers the perfect compliments when exploring the winery and orchard trail that extends into the small byroads and valleys throughout the region. Your lodge is the Te Koi - The Lodge at Bronte, set on the headland of Nelson’s historic Bronte Peninsula, overlooking Waimea Estuary. Your suite overlooks the waters of the Waimea Estuary, and you are welcomed with furnishings that include art from the hotel’s private collection, fresh flowers and cool, superb quality linens. You can end the day on your own deck sipping a wine grown only a few hundred meters along the estuary, nibbling on a freshly made delicacy or two as you watch the sun go down. Te Koi - The Lodge at Bronte – Shoreline Suite (B)
Day 6: Nelson
This morning drive your rental car to Stephens Bay and check in for your day cruise in the Abel Tasman National Park with Abel Tasman Charters. The park is at the north end of New Zealand’s South Island; and was named after Abel Tasman, who became the first European explorer to sight New Zealand in 1642. Board the boat for your shared day trip, exploring the coastline. You will sail past landmarks such as Split Apple Rock, the gateway towns of Kaiteriteri and Marahau, Adele and Fisherman’s Islands and on to Tonga Island seal colony. The cruise itinerary is flexible so if there is something to see on your day trip, like dolphins riding the bow wave or New Zealand fur seals fishing, then you have the opportunity to take a look; or if there's a particular bay you want to visit or park feature you want to see, then please do let the skipper know and he'll try to accommodate you.
After a light lunch, you have the chance to swim, sea kayak, go ashore for a bush walk, or just relax on the boat. There is plenty of snorkeling equipment if you are keen to work up an appetite. The delicious platter-style lunch is made with fresh local ingredients, local beer and wine are also available. Return to Stephens Bay this afternoon and drive back to your hotel. Te Koi - The Lodge at Bronte – Shoreline Suite (B,L)
Day 7: Nelson / Napier
Drive to Nelson airport and return your rental car before flying to Napier. On arrival, collect your
Intermediate-size, automatic rental vehicle, including daily insurance, unlimited mileage and GPS, and drive to your accommodation. The Hawke’s Bay region is known as one of New Zealand’s richest agricultural areas, and is a long-established wine region. The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is among the rich vineyards and pasturelands of Hawke’s Bay. This beacon of land was discovered by Captain James Cook in 1769. The lodge is set on a 6,000-acre sheep farm on some of the most dramatic coastline in New Zealand. The lodge is a cluster of buildings with 22 cottages plus the luxurious four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage. All are graciously scaled and awash in natural light with breathtaking views as they open to large porches overlooking a stunning Pacific Ocean panorama. Its par 71 Tom Doak-designed, links-style golf course was voted the 27th best golf course in the world by Golf Magazine. Cape Kidnappers offers golfers and non-golfers alike a luxurious base while exploring the wonders of Hawke’s Bay. Facilities include two dining rooms and a covered loggia featuring a gourmet a la carte menu with private dining and room service available on request. Other rooms include a lounge/living room, library, intimate sitting room, wine cellar tasting room and a computer room. The Farm At Cape Kidnappers – Hilltop Room (B, Pre-dinner Drinks, D)
Day 8: Napier
This morning, enjoy a round of golf at Cape Kidnappers Course. The course is a par 71 and measures 6,510 meters/7,119 yards, and will challenge golfers of all skill levels. Cape Kidnappers overlooking Hawke’s Bay was awarded Best New Golf Course developed anywhere in the world in 2004, by prestigious Travel and Leisure Golf Magazine, and rates as the 16th best course in the world. (Tee Time to be booked, greens fees to be paid directly to lodge). Please note, most tee times play as foursomes so you may be paired up with other players. The balance of the day is free. For non-golfers, there is a host of other activities from hikes across the farmland, to a visit to the gannet colony, to sheepherding shows. The Farm At Cape Kidnappers – Hilltop Room (B, Pre-dinner Drinks, D)
Day 9: Napier / Keri Keri
Drive to Napier airport, return your rental car and board your flight to Keri Keri. On arrival, collect your intermediate-size, automatic rental vehicle, which includes daily insurance, unlimited mileage and GPS. and set out to Matauri Bay. In the Far North of New Zealand lies an unspoiled peninsula. High cliffs plunge to the sea and meet three private pristine beaches. Huge native trees interspersed with giant fern crowd the inland forests. The Lodge At Kauri Kliffs’ magnificent golf course meanders through the forests and lowlands, and is ranked 58th in the world by Golf Magazine. Set on 6,600 acres near Matauri Bay, the lodge affords spectacular 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and overlooks the championship golf course. The panoramic views encompass Cape Brett, the famous “hole in the rock” and the Cavalli Islands. This splendid plantation lodge hosts a spacious living room, two private day rooms, computer room, and a beautiful dining room with outdoor decks overlooking the Pacific. The outstanding cuisine reflects the abundant local produce combined with the very best food and wine available from around the world. Eleven outlying guest cottages, each with two guest suites, along with the opulent Owner’s Cottage, are superbly appointed and the designer decorated suites are the epitome of luxury and taste. The suites overlook the ocean and golf course while the spa facility is nestled on the edge of a native Totara forest, designed to offer the same stunning 180-degree vista as the main lodge. The Lodge At Kauri Kliffs – Standard Suite (B, Pre-dinner Drinks, D)
Day 10: Keri Keri
This morning, enjoy a round of golf at Kauri Cliffs. The par 72 championship golf course measures 6,510 meters/7,119 yards, and offers five sets of tees to challenge every skill level. Fifteen holes view the Pacific Ocean, six of which are played alongside cliffs that plunge to the sea. Kauri Cliffs was designed and built by David Harman. (Tee Time to be booked, greens fees to be paid directly to lodge). Please note, most tee times play as foursomes so you may be paired up with other players. The balance of the day is free. Non-golfers can opt for quad-biking or tour the islands by helicopter. Note that Keri Keri is New Zealand’s earliest European settlement, and is often described as the Cradle of the Nation. The Lodge At Kauri Kliffs – Standard Suite (B, Pre-dinner Drinks, D)
Day 11: Keri Keri /Auckland
Today, you’ll savor a drive to Auckland, about a four-hour scenic drive to your hotel for the night. Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour – Luxury Marina View Room (B)
Please note, we do not book any harbor-front located hotels as there are scheduled cruise ship arrivals that impact the room views.
Day 12: Auckland / Adelaide, Australia / Barossa Valley
This morning, drop off your rental car and board your flight to Australia. You will be met on arrival in Adelaide after completing customs and immigration formalities, by your Big Five representative and transferred to the Barossa Valley and to your hotel. There’s something very special about the Barossa. You can feel it in the land, the people, the food and the wine. It’s a region of villages, vineyards and farms dotting a patchwork landscape. Barossans are famous for their generous hospitality, their love of a shared table and their passion for local food and wine. Festivals, celebrations, markets and music thrive here. Barossa is life’s great pleasures, in one unique place. Your hotel offers spacious comfort, pure luxury and sophisticated contemporary design. A private courtyard presents an entrance to your intimate hideaway. Each suite is created to cocoon and pamper. Outdoor rain showers, generous bathrooms and spa tubs spoil the senses. Enjoy seasonal gourmet treats and delicious breakfasts in the tranquility of your suite. Secluded terraces enhance a sense of breathing space with glorious vistas of rolling vineyard landscapes in the heart of the stunning Barossa wine valley. The Louise Barossa Valley – Suite (B)
Day 13: Barossa Valley
Today you explore Australian wines with your private specialist wine guide and vehicle. Begin with morning tea at a local food icon that produces an exceptional range of gourmet products. Your specialist guide escorts you on this day of discovering the Barossa Valley wine country. The success of the wine industry has historically been celebrated every two years with a week-long Barossa Valley Vintage Festival, which draws visitors from all over the world, including a huge street parade, concerts and gourmet dining. The Barossa Valley is primarily known for its red wine, in particular Shiraz. Large proportions of Barossa Shiraz are used in Penfolds Grange, Australia's most famous wine. Other main grape varieties grown in the region include: Riesling; Semillon; Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Fortified wines have been traditionally produced in the region as well.
Savor a delightful leisurely two-course lunch paired with local wines, which may include Bin 707, Yattarna, and the iconic Penfolds Grange. At the end of the day, you stop at Mengler’s Hill’s lookout on the Barossa Range for the most distinctive views before returning to your accommodation in late afternoon. The Louise Barossa Valley – Suite (B,L)
Day 14: Barossa Valley / Adelaide / Hamilton Island
After breakfast, you enjoy a private transfer back to Adelaide airport for your flight to Hamilton Island via a connection in Brisbane. On arrival at Hamilton Island, resort staff will welcome you and transfer you to your hotel, a world-class luxury resort in the Whitsundays situated on the secluded northern-most tip of Hamilton Island surrounded by all the splendor of the Great Barrier Reef. With a relaxed aspect and mesmerizing calmness, time seems to stretch forever. Distinctively Australian and international in understated style and luxury, qualia’s elegant private pavilions capture the beauty of a blue horizon edged with islands. Its exquisitely designed pavilions promise privacy and luxury. Each of the 60 light-filled pavilions faces the water, surrounded by lush tropical bushland within the resort. All pavilions boast the spectacular tropical bushland or stunning postcard views of the Whitsundays. Natural tones of timber, stone and glass reflect the serenity of the locale, subtly framing the seafront setting and providing sweeping views from every room. Each includes lounge area, stone en-suite bathroom with bath and separate shower, gourmet mini bar, Broadband internet access, DVD player (by request), flat-screen TV with complimentary movies on demand, and use of electric golf buggy. You are surrounded by pristine white beaches and a kaleidoscope of coral and marine life. Hamilton Island is a perfect base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef. Please note that qualia is exclusively for guests aged 16 or over. qualia – Pavilion (B)
Days 15-17: Hamilton Island
Spend your time here exploring this stunning luxury resort with culinary classes and tastings hosted by the executive dining team. Enjoy personal beach drop-offs complete with a picnic lunch. Go snorkeling in the pristine waters of North and West Henning Island. Savor a round of golf at the Hamilton Island Golf Club, designed by five-time British Open winner Peter Thomson, which is located on neighboring Dent Island. Spoil yourself at Spa qualia ds of Spa qualia with one of their signature treatments. Escape to a world of relaxation. Explore the legendary Great Barrier Reef, both above and below the surface. Scuba charters, sunset and snorkeling cruises, sea kayaking, catamaran sailing in one of two 16-foot Hobie catamarans, which you can use to explore the local area. Enjoy self-guided and guided walks of the island allows you to explore the unique tropical flora, fauna and aesthetics of the resort and the area. qualia – Pavilion (B,L,D)
Day 18: Hamilton Island / Sydney
This morning, you transfer to Hamilton Island airport for your flight to Sydney. On arrival, you are met and privately transferred to your hotel, Intercontinental. This central Sydney hotel is the epitome of modern elegance. Once the city's Treasury Building, a soaring atrium now leads to stylish rooms, where you can watch white-sailed boats, ferries, yachts, jetboats and harbor cruises crisscross Sydney Harbour. You can sample imaginative Pacific-rim cuisine in our superb restaurant 117 dining, head to our wrap-around rooftop terrace for a spectacular sundowner, or host a high-style wedding or event. Circular Quay wharf, where ferries depart for Sydney’s best beaches, is a few steps away.
The sparkling waters of the bay are framed by the world famous white sails of the Opera House and the distinctive coat hanger-like Harbour Bridge. The colonial sandstone warehouses of the lively and historic Rocks District nestle at the foot of tall glass towers and contrast with the modernity of Darling Harbour. Intercontinental – Eastern Harbour View Room (B)
Day 19: Sydney
This morning you will be met at your accommodation by your local host and vehicle for a private day tour that takes you off the beaten track to see Sydney through local eyes. Please note: Walking is conducted at a relaxed pace, covering approximately 7.5km/4.7mi in total. A moderate level of fitness and comfortable walking shoes are required. First, enjoy a private guided tour of the Sydney Opera House. Step inside the most famous building of the late 20th Century to discover the stories behind Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s remarkable achievement. What inspired him to base his revolutionary design on ships’ sails? How did he solve an engineering challenge, considered one of the most difficult attempted anywhere in the world? You’ll find out on this very special one-hour private guided tour into the intricate workings of a living, breathing Opera House. Experience its daily operation as you are guided into the different theaters, given a fascinating account of the history and introduced to the excitement of the performing arts in Australia. Then travel to Sydney’s Northern Beaches to enjoy spectacular views of the harbor and the well-known beachside suburb of Manly, before commencing your walk along the harbor shore, part of a national park as your local guide shares his knowledge of the native fauna and flora, local Aboriginal culture and overall history. This morning’s walk takes in stunning harbor vantage points, a unique community of hermit huts and one of Sydney’s secluded harbor beaches where you can enjoy a quick swim. Savor a relaxed lunch and genuine Australian hospitality at a private home in one of Sydney’s prettiest harbor-side suburbs. At picturesque Shelley Beach, you may be tempted to enjoy a quick swim in the Marine Park that is home to an impressive variety of subtropical fish or just relax and enjoy a cool drink and the views. A short walk brings you to the busy beachside suburb of Manly, where you can visit a local pub for a cold beer before returning to your accommodation. Intercontinental – Eastern Harbour View Room (B,L)
Day 20: Sydney
This morning you will be met at your accommodation by your private car and driver and transferred to
Rose Bay where you will board a shared sea plane for a spectacular scenic flight. Departing Sydney Harbor late morning, your seaplane flight tracks north past Sydney’s spectacular northern beaches before touching down in the expansive waterway of Pittwater. Jonah’s courtesy vehicle will meet you at the dock and transfer you the short distance to the restaurant where you enjoy a leisurely three-course lunch (beverages additional). Jonah’s offers modern Australian cuisine under the direction of award-winning chef Peter Ridland. Reflecting Jonah’s unique seaside location, the seasonally updated menu will showcase some exceptional Australian and International produce, ensuring that Jonah's diners are as impressed about the food as they are about the restaurant’s 180 degree views of the Pacific Ocean. Enticing you to leave such a stunning location is difficult, however the prospect of a glorious afternoon seaplane flight back to Rose Bay, encompassing a Sydney Harbor circuit in front of the Harbor Bridge and Opera House does it for most! Upon arrival back into Rose Bay you will be met by your water taxi and transferred to your accommodation. Later, you make your way independently to Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb office in The Rocks to begin an exhilarating shared climb of the iconic bridge. You must wear suitable enclosed, rubber-soled shoes such as runners, track or hiking shoes. PVC and leather soled shoes are unsuitable. You will need to pass a breath test (for a blood alcohol limit of 0.05% or less) before being allowed to climb. During this small group adventure you will climb stairs and catwalks and wind your way through a tangle of hatchways and steel girders suspended above the traffic. You'll see the place where the arch was joined for the first time making Sydney Harbor Bridge History, and access walkways only recently used exclusively by maintenance teams. At the top, you climb between the arches to the summit, 134 meters/440 feet above the water, and see all of Sydney laid out before you. Along the way, a Climb Leader will share the Bridge's rich history while you absorb a 360-degree panorama of Sydney on the original climb experience. The twilight climb departs just before sundown and allows you to experience the best of both day and night views. Take in a spectacular sunset and watch the moon and stars appear during your climb. Upon conclusion of the tour, make your way independently to your accommodation. Intercontinental – Eastern Harbour View Room (B)
Day 21: Sydney / Depart
Today you have a private transfer to Sydney airport for your flight home. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price starts from US$1,500 per person per day.