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, 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 Sea.Starting Accommodation:
Day 4 – Auckland to Rotorua Via Waitomo Caves
Depart Auckland on board a motor coach for your ride south to Hamilton. Travel through the rich Waikato area, famous for its dairy farms, kiwi fruit orchards, thoroughbred horses...and the Waitomo Caves! You will enter subterranean limestone caverns to view the Glow Worm Grotto; surely one of the wonders of the world. Then continue over the bush clad Mamaku Ranges to Rotorua.Starting Accommodation:
Ibis Rotorua (L)
Day 5 – Explore RotoruaEco Thermal Park Tour
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.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:
Ibis Rotorua (D)
Day 6 – Rotorua to Queenstown (Via Christchurch)
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight south to New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. Upon arrival you will be 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:
Day 7 – Milford Sound Nature Cruise
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:
Day 8 – Dart River Wilderness Safari
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:
Day 9 – Coach transfer from Queenstown to Franz Josef
Depart from Queenstown to arrive at Franz Josef around 4.15pm. Sit back, relax and take in the spectacular scenery of Kawarau Gorge, Lake Hawera, Haast Pass and Fox Glacier. A stop is made en route for lunch (own expense).Starting Accommodation:
Punga Grove Motel
Day 10 – At leisure, Franz Josef
Set between the stormy expanse of the Tasman Sea and the unbroken chain of the Southern Alps, the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand is truly a land apart. For six hundred kilometers from north to south, this wild and often sparsely-populated region of mountains and glaciers, of lakes and unruly rivers, of primeval forest and magnificent coastline, overwhelms visitors with its natural beauty. Opportunities on the West Coast are now virtually endless for activities like beach and forest walking, tramping, fishing, horse-trekking, canoeing or exploring old gold mining regions and ghost towns abandoned in the wane of the gold rush era.Starting Accommodation:
Punga Grove Motel
Day 11 – TranzAlpine Train
A point-to-point coach service will transport you from Franz Josef to Greymouth. A stop for lunch is made at Shantytown (own expense) before continuing on to Greymouth to connect with the TranzAlpine train.
Board the TranzAlpine train at Greymouth and farewell the glacier country as you travel through the rugged mountains of the Southern Alps to the Canterbury Plains and on to the 'English' city of Christchurch. The train features panoramic windows for scenic views and a restaurant car to purchase snacks and drinks.
This train is one the most beautiful journeys in New Zealand so don’t forget to bring along your camera! On arrival into Christchurch you will be met and transferred to your hotel.Starting Accommodation:
Day 12 – Akaroa Tour with Cruise
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:
Ibis Christchurch (L)
Day 13 – Christchurch to USA (Via Auckland)
You will be transferred to the airport for your departure flights.