Day 1 – USA to Auckland
Today you will begin your Swain Destinations customized itinerary. Please note, international air has not been included in this package price.
Day 2 – Cross the International Date Line
Cross the International Date Line, an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth that runs from the North to the South Pole - and defines one calendar day from the next. Crossing the International Date Line adds one day (24 hours) traveling west, and subtracts one day (24 hours) traveling east.
Day 3 – Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand
On arrival into Auckland, collect your rental vehicle from the airport depot and self-drive 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 Sea.Starting Accommodation:
Day 4 – 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 look out over the whole set to the hills in the distance. After the tour, lunch is available for purchase at the Shire's Rest Cafe before joining the shuttle to transfer you to Rotorua.Starting Accommodation:
Novotel Rotorua Lakeside
Day 5 – Rotorua City Tour
See the highlights of Rotorua - this tour shows you the best of Rotorua's natural and man-made attractions. Your half day tour includes a visit to Rainbow Springs and Rainbow Farm for a sheep show and working sheep dog demonstrations. Continue to Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve to see bubbling mud pools, steaming geysers and intricate Maori wood carvings.Hangi dinner and concert
This Twilight Cultural Tour offers transport to and from a Marae by coach. Tonight is a spiritual experience you will never forget with Marae protocol, entertainment, Maori culture and feasting.
En route to the Marae, the guide explains the protocol to take place. The group on board is prepared for the wero (challenge) and welcome to the Marae. Upon entering the exquisitely carved meeting house, you will hongi (greet - pressing of noses) with your host. The tradition means you are a friend and may consider yourself one of the family. Now sit back and enjoy the culture of the Maori people. See the fierce Haka (war dance), twirling of poi balls, stick games and other entertainment.
From here we move to the Hangi pit to see the traditional Maori method of food preparation before heading into the dining room for a Hangi (feast). After the feast, you are transferred back to your Rotorua accommodation by coach.Starting Accommodation:
Novotel Rotorua Lakeside (D)
Day 6 – Rotorua to Queenstown (Via Christchurch)
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Queenstown. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Nestled beside the deep blue waters of Lake Wakatipu, at the foot of the Remarkables Mountain Range, Queenstown is a year round resort, where you can be as active as you want, or just leisurely enjoy the magnificent scenery.Starting Accommodation:
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Day 7 – Milford Sound Tour
An early start as you leave your hotel and coach through some of the most beautiful countryside in New Zealand. On arrival at Milford Sound, board the vessel for a leisurely cruise along the sound to the Tasman Sea. The vessel stops at various points and plenty of time is available to view waterfalls, rainforests, mountains and seals. You may even see dolphins frolic alongside the boat. A picnic lunch is included during the cruise.Starting Accommodation:
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside (L)
Day 8 – Dart River Jet Boating
Transfer from Queenstown by coach to Glenorchy and the mouth of the Dart River. Here we board the 18 foot specially prepared jet boat and thread our way through a maze of channels between river flats in only inches of water. Snowcapped mountains surround you as you view the World Heritage Grandeur, and waterfalls cascade into the lush bush clad valleys – a magical, untouched place.
Your guide shares his knowledge and explains all about the area, then pulls into a bank so that you may explore the area by foot. This optional 30-45 minute guided walk takes you into the native forests at an area called Paradise in the spectacular Rees Valley. You will then be collected by the 4 x 4 coach to take you back to Glenorchy, before transferring back to Queenstown. Trip duration is 6 hours.Starting Accommodation:
Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Day 9 – Coach from Queenstown to Christchurch
Travel from Queenstown to Mount Cook via the Lindis Pass and then down the Southern Alps to the Canterbury Plains and Christchurch. Lunch is included en route.Starting Accommodation:
Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch (L)
Day 10 – Akaroa Tour
On this amazing tour, visit the extinct volcanoes of Banks Peninsula and view the beautiful harbors & green farmland. Make photo stops at scenic places and enjoy morning & afternoon teas and a cheese tasting at the Barry's Bay Cheese Factory.
Once at Akaroa, included in your tour is a nature and harbor cruise on the Canterbury Cat. This cruise explores the volcanic harbor and sightings may be made of the world's smallest dolphin - the Hectors Dolphin, NZ Fur Seals and numerous seabirds.
If time allows, stroll through the village and along the waterfront, taking in the quaint French charm which is unique to Akaroa. Lunch is included today, and the return to Christchurch is around 5.30pm.Starting Accommodation:
Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch (L)
Day 11 – Christchurch to USA (Via Auckland)
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Auckland. On arrival, make your way to the international terminal for your departure flight to the USA.