Day 1 – USA to Rarotonga
Today you will begin your Swain Destinations customized itinerary. Please note, international air has not been included in this package price.
Day 2 – Welcome to Rarotonga, Cook Islands
You will be met after clearing customs and immigration, and transferred to your accommodation.
A net of 15 islands in the heart of the South Pacific spread over an area the size of India with a population no bigger than a small New Zealand country town, 14,000 souls. These unique and friendly Polynesians have their own language and government and enjoy a vigorous and diverse culture with significant differences between each island.Starting Accommodation:
Day 3 – Rarotonga to Aitutaki
Today you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Aitutaki. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Life on Aitutaki moves at a wonderfully relaxed tempo which is why it is such a popular destination. The lagoon can be approached in leisurely fashion in traditional outrigger canoes for quiet paddling just off the beach or in more sophisticated launches favored by foreign anglers who know its reputation for saltwater fly-fishing for the fighting bonefish.Starting Accommodation:
Day 4 – At leisure, Aitutaki
With its multihued lagoon and rolling plains, it is easy to see why Aitutaki is called the 'Bora Bora of the Cook Islands.' Although eerily similar to Bora Bora in appearance, Aitutaki has a personality all of its own. Reminders of old Polynesia hide around every corner. Most of the island's 2,100 residents work the coconut, pineapple, and banana plantations dotting the island, and can be found fishing one of the South Pacific's most beautiful lagoons on the weekends.Starting Accommodation:
Day 5 – At leisure, Aitutaki
Activities are many and varied. They include hiking, pony trekking, scuba diving, snorkeling, sports and game fishing, cultural tours, bird-watching tours, scenic flights, golf and tennis. Explore the surrounding area on your own or on one of our additional day excursions
Day 6 – At leisure, Aitutaki
The Aitutaki Lagoon is a major highlight of any trip to the Cook Islands. It boasts the most vivid lagoon colors and is dotted with other uninhabited isles. As many parts of the lagoon are marine reserves, the schools of fish here are abundant and truly a sight to behold in crystal clarity. Fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, diving and windsurfing...the lagoon is the perfect place for it all. The outer reef is equally impressive, with surf created as the mighty deep-blue Pacific waters hurl themselves at this natural barrier.Starting Accommodation:
Day 7 – At leisure, Aitutaki
Today is your last day at leisure to enjoy the beautiful Cook Islands.Starting Accommodation:
Day 8 – Aitutaki to Auckland
Today you will board your flight transfer from Aitutaki to Rarotonga. Once in Rarotonga, you will board your overnight flight to Auckland, New Zealand.
Day 9 – Welcome to Auckland New Zealand
On arrival into Auckland, you will be met and transferred to your accommodation.
Auckland, ‘City of Sails’, located between two stunning harbors, enjoys a mild year-round climate Auckland is the country's most visited region and largest urban area, offering exciting activities and great shopping.
The city lies across a 7-mile wide volcanic isthmus separating two harbors. The Waitemata to the east opens into the Hauraki Gulf, and to the Pacific Ocean. The Manukau Harbour to the west offers many estuaries and surf beaches and opens to the Tasman SeaStarting Accommodation:
Day 10 – Auckland Harbour Sailing
This morning is at your leisure to get acquainted with Auckland. Later in the day you will take off on your Auckland Harbour sailing adventure.
Enjoy the unique Auckland landscape from the water on this peaceful cruise. Feel the wind fill the sails and guide you under the harbor bridge and back past Auckland's landmarks. Engage the friendly local crew, and find out more about Auckland harbor and its great sailing past. Take a rope or steer the helm and help the crew sail this harbor cruising yacht. Sit back in the open cockpit for expansive views of the bustling city from the best view in town. Enjoy the 'City of Sails' as you join the yachts on the harbor and the relaxed pace of harbor sailing.Starting Accommodation:
Day 11 – Auckland Maori Tour
Experience Auckland with a local Maori, who will guide you around this fantastic city and region, providing lots of information about its interesting history, places and people throughout the tour. See this magnificent city with its 48 volcanoes, as well as the amazing West Coast with just a small group of like-minded guests, and a Maori guide as your host throughout the day.
Experience some of New Zealand's finest scenery in the Auckland region and explore some important historic sites and learn more about the fascinating Maori culture and history along the way. Walk on the crater's edge of an ancient volcano and learn about Maori myths and legends that accompany many of the special places you visit. Discover dramatic cliff tops, stormy seas, unique black sand beaches and much more on the famous 'Wild West Coast'. Gain an insider's view into Maori Culture through your Maori guide, see Takarunga (Mount Victoria) in Devonport, where significant Maori chief Patuone is buried and see Tamaki Drive, one of the world's most beautiful city drives with sweeping views across the Waitemata Harbour.Starting Accommodation:
Day 12 – Auckland to Rotorua via Hobbiton
Enjoy a magical journey through Middle-earth to the Hobbiton Movie Set from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy for a fascinating guided tour. Travel south from Auckland over the Bombay Hills to the rich farmland of the Waikato region. Travel through the heritage town of Cambridge where tree-lined streets add to the English-style atmosphere. From here the journey continues through undulating green hills reminding you that you are approaching Hobbiton Shire.
On arrival at Shire's Rest, embark on a Hobbiton movie set tour. This location is the largest 'green set' in the world and the only place where you get an emotional response with a movie set in a natural setting. There are 44 hobbit holes, the Mill and double arch bridge, the party tree and the Green Dragon Inn. At this stunning location, guests may take photographs at the door of Bilbo's house, 'Bag End', and looking out over the whole set to the hills in the distance.
After the tour, lunch is available for purchase at the Shire's Rest Café before joining the shuttle to transfer you to Rotoroua.Starting Accommodation:
Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel
Day 13 – Rotorua TouringEco Thermal Park Tour
Depart from your Rotorua city accommodation for this small group half day tour of Rotorua's most natural and popular geothermal parks. Today's tour will visit Wai O Tapu and Waimangu Volcanic Valley. The two parks offer a variety of thermal activity; at Wai-o-tapu the colorful hot springs are the key features along with the famous Lady Knox geyser. At Waimangu Volcanic valley the guide will explain the Mt. Tarawera eruption which blew open this now spectacular, bush covered, geothermal park.
The local naturalist guide will explain the volcanic processes of Rotorua and New Zealand, while you have the opportunity to view the volcanoes, geysers, New Zealand's largest boiling mud pool, and hot springs.Mitai Maori Cultural Experience
An evening at Mitai will give you an authentic introduction to Maori culture leaving you amazed and in awe. Be enthralled by the natural bush setting, see warriors in traditional dress paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream, and don't miss your only opportunity in the Rotorua area to see glow worms in their natural habitat.
Marvel at the crystal clear water full of eels and trout, flowing directly from the earth at the sacred Fairy Spring. See your traditionally cooked Hangi meal being lifted from the ground. During our cultural performance, you'll learn about our past, carvings and ta moko (tattoo art). Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat, coupled with the grace and beauty of the poi dance. You'll be amazed by the spine tingling haka finale. The Mitai family is proud to have created a sacred and spiritual place that offers you an indigenous cultural experience like no other.Starting Accommodation:
Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel (B, D)
Day 14 – Floatplane to White Island
Located 30 miles off the Bay of Plenty coast, experience the fury of nature at work on this awesome Island of the Pacific 'Ring of Fire'. This is New Zealand's most active volcano and we fly over this dramatic venue by floatplane, giving you a view like no other!
Departing Rotorua, we fly over Hell's Gate Thermal Park and the Northern lakes to the Pacific Ocean coastline. Circle and view from above the crater and fearsome activity of White Island active volcano, before returning to Rotorua over the Northern Lakes.Starting Accommodation:
Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel (B)
Day 15 – Rotorua to USA
This morning you will transfer from your hotel to Rotorua Airport for your domestic flight to Auckland. Upon arrival in Auckland, you will board your international flight back to the USA. (B)