Day 1 – Arrive in Auckland, New Zealand
Once you clear customs & immigration, your driver will meet you in the main arrivals area. Transfer to your city accommodation by private vehicle.
Encircled by three harbors totaling 18,000 miles of coastline, hundreds of Auckland’s beaches are within easy reach. And they’re all so different, from idyllic white-sand beaches to wild black-sand surf spots. Get into some of the countless activities on and off the water or just unwind and soak up the views. Or opt to see modern and traditional works from around the world at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Visit smaller local galleries to pick up a special painting, sculpture or carving to take home, stroll through modern sculpture parks, or join an intimate art appreciation tour.Starting Accommodation:
Day 2 – Auckland Maori Tour
Experience Auckland by exploring some important historic sites and learn more about the fascinating Maori culture and history along the way. This luxury tour features Auckland's well known cityscapes with its numerous volcanoes, as well as the amazing West Coast with TIME Unlimited Tours, winner of multiple global awards including the National Geographic World Legacy Award.
Experience Auckland like a local through the eyes of a passionate guide, who can share their cultural knowledge and upbringing along with special aspects of the Maori culture. Take in Magnificent views of several ancient volcanoes including Rangitoto Island in the Hauraki Gulf, at 600 years the largest and youngest of all the volcanoes in Auckland. Explore Auckland Domain, Auckland's 2nd largest volcano and home of the Auckland Museum and Wintergarden before driving through the boutique suburb of Parnell with its many colonial homes. Experience Tamaki Drive with sweeping views across the Waitemata Harbour toward Bastion Point and Mission Bay, Auckland city's most well-known beach, and then ride over the Auckland Harbour Bridge and see the beautiful marine village of Devonport. You'll get the chance to visit Arataki (Pathways to Learning) Visitor Centre at the gateway to Auckland's famous West Coast with its soaring cliffs, roaring surf and spectacular volcanic black sand beaches, and learn about indigenous flora and fauna in an ancient native rainforest.Starting Accommodation:
Day 3 – Auckland to Bay Of Islands & Waitangi
This one way tour to the Bay of Islands takes you through spectacular scenery of native forests and sub-tropical bush to the foreshores of the National Maritime Park, arriving at your destination, the seaside town of Paihia. Tour the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, then you will be transferred to your hotel or drop off point in Paihia. Please note that hotel pick ups and drop offs may be provided by a third party operator.Starting Accommodation:
Day 4 – Cape Reinga Fly and Drive Excursion
You are transferred from Paihia to Haruru Falls airfield for the 45-minute flight up to Cape Reinga via Northlands' spectacular harbors. Pass across some beautiful beaches such as Coopers Beach, Doubtless Bay and the famous Ninety Mile Beach. From Ninety Mile Beach, the flight heads inland to land at the airfield just 12 miles from the Cape Reinga lighthouse. Once on the ground, a mini-bus will meet the aircraft to take guests on a 2-hour tour of which the highlights include the Cape Reinga Lighthouse where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean and a stop in Tapotupotu Bay for a freshly baked light refreshment and time for a stroll on the beach.
The return 1-hour flight to the Bay of Islands includes some of the most spectacular coastal scenery Northland has to offer. You will fly over the Parengarenga Harbour and Great Exhibition Bay, which are only visible by air or by sea. This area is very remote and without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand with its pure white silica sand and crystal-clear water. The flight also passes across the Houhora Harbour, the Cavalli islands, Kauri Cliff's golf course and the spectacular Bay of Islands.Starting Accommodation:
Day 5 – Travel to Rotorua
Takeoff to Rotorua and continue on the next stage of your adventure.Starting Accommodation:
Regent of Rotorua
Day 6 – Rotorua Eco Thermal Full Day; Rotorua At Leisure; Marae Hangi & Concert
Depart from your Rotorua city accommodation for this small-group tour of Rotorua's most natural and popular geothermal parks. Today you 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 Know geyser. At Waimangu Volcanic valley, the guide will explain the Mount Tarawera eruption that 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 the hot springs. The afternoon is spent learning about the history and legends of the great eruption of Mount Tarawera. To bring the story alive, visits are made to The Buried Village, Lake Tarawera, Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake). The Buried Village is the site of a former Maori village destroyed during the Tarawera volcanic eruption. Here, visitors may walk through excavations of the buried village and learn the stories of the how the eruption affected people of this time. The tour includes a beautiful native bush walk to a waterfall and Lake Tarawera lookout. Visits to the clear and colorful Green and Blue lakes are a favorite stop for visitors. Please note that today's tour is a combination of two half day excursions, and lunch is at your own expense today. Tour departs at around 8.30am with city hotel picks up made prior, returning at approximately 5pm.
Explore Rotorua, which provides an abundance of things to do and places to go for travelers of all ages. Rotorua will certainly ensure a wonderful holiday, from peaceful tours through to adrenalin-pumping action, in the air or on the lake, river or land. In fact, there is such a mind-boggling array of wonderful attractions and distractions that you may not even know where to start upon arrival. You could soar high up in the sky and receive a bird's eye view of Rotorua or experience the geothermal Rotorua through its distinctive sights and smells. There of course are more relaxing activities for those searching for a calmer experience and a basket full of free and low-cost activities and attractions for those traveling on a budget. Offering culture and history as well as adventure and thrills, Rotorua is a perfect destination!
Tonight experience the warmth of the Maori people during an evening of ceremonial rituals, powerful cultural performance, storytelling and hangi feasting. This Twilight Cultural Tour offers transport to and from a Marae by coach. En route to the Marae, the guide explains the protocol to take place. The group on board is prepared for the wero (challenge) and powhiri (ancient ceremony of welcome) before you will be invited into the Pre-European Maori village nestled within the native Tawa forest. Enter the living village, as it comes alive with the sights, sounds and activity of days gone by, including facial tattooing, weaving, carving and demonstrations on how food was cooked and preserved many years ago. At the heart of the Village, enter the ancestral Meeting House and relax as the families entertain you with a powerful Cultural performance, including action songs, poi, stick games and the famous 'haka' - Maori War Dance. The sharing of food is an important part of Maori custom - join in the traditional hangi buffet feast, followed by New Zealand dessert. The evening draws to an end with the Poroporoaki - the official closing ceremony, before you are safely transferred back to your Rotorua accommodation by motor-coach.Starting Accommodation:
Regent of Rotorua (D)
Day 7 – Drive Rotorua to Wellington
You will be at your leisure for this 280-mile drive through the center of the North Island. You will need to allow 6-7 hours' driving time, plus extra time if you plan to make stops along the way. The main features of the area are the farmlands, the active volcano area of Tongariro National Park and Lake Taupo and the Ruahine Forest Park. Depart Rotorua on State Highway 5 towards Taupo. Once you pass through Taupo, you join State highway 1, which is the main highway taking you right into Wellington.Starting Accommodation:
QT Museum Hotel
Day 8 – Capital Tastes Walking Tour and Te Papa - Mana Maori Tour
Today, your tour guide will show you through the fabulous Marlborough wine region stopping to enjoy two fine wine experiences including Marlborough's Iconic winery, Cloudy Bay. After the winery visits, you will depart the wine region through to the small seaport town of Havelock. Havelock is the gateway to the Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds, and has the official title of Greenshell Mussel Capital of the World. Enjoy a view of the waterfront , after which we depart Havelock on the Marlborough Travel launch for the Greenshell Mussel Cruise through the Marlborough Sounds.
Take in the natural beauty of the native bush and the tranquility of the Sounds. Learn from your experienced Skipper the history of the Marlborough Sounds and the history of the pioneering families who have settled in the Sounds over 6 generations. Visit a Greenshell Mussel farm and learn why this delicacy grows so well in the Marlborough Sounds. Taste a local favorite - freshly steamed Mussels matched perfectly to a complimentary glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Te Papa Tongarewa literally means 'container of treasures.' At Te Papa, you'll discover the treasures of New Zealand's land and people, and the stories are told with authority and passion. The museum is built on a unique bicultural partnership that recognizes and celebrates Maori as tangata whenua - the original people of this land. Collections are spread over six floors of fascinating, interactive displays. You'll encounter Maori and Pacific cultural treasures, New Zealand's extraordinary natural environment, its most important works of art and its unique history. During your Maori Highlights 90-minute guided tour, take an in-depth journey through Te Papa's taonga (Maori cultural treasures) and hear their stories. From historic, artistic, and contemporary perspectives, this tour will enrich your understanding of what makes New Zealand's Maori culture unique.Starting Accommodation:
QT Museum Hotel
Day 9 – Travel to Queenstown
Takeoff to Queenstown and continue on the next stage of your adventure.Starting Accommodation:
Day 10 – Gourmet Scenic Wine Tour
An indulgent and varied full-day tour seeing local sights, enjoying fresh cuisine and tasting a selection of fine wines, cheeses and handcrafted chocolates. Taste wines at four vineyards over two Central Otago wine regions. Included is the Gibbston Valley wine cave tour, a splendid cheese and wine presentation and a divine-wine barrel-cooked lunch matched with wines. Visit the historic precinct of Cromwell and return to Queenstown via the must-see Arrowtown, with time to take a stroll and sample locally made chocolates at one's pleasure. City hotel pick up and drop off is provided.Starting Accommodation:
The Dairy (L)
Day 11 – Lakeshore, Forest and Bird Guided Walk and Queenstown at Leisure
The best of native flora & bird-life, with magnificent lake & mountain views in an area with its own micro-climate; plants are protected from the elements so species are much larger than elsewhere. Native birds are readily seen & heard & you'll be introduced to an array of edible & medicinal plants used by Maori & European settlers on this fun half day walk.
Later enjoy time at leisure to explore the adventure capital of New Zealand. Set between the towering Remarkable Ranges and the bottomless Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown has it all. Originally settled by the gold miners and station owners, it is now home to adrenaline-filled adventures such as bungee jumping, the Canyon Swing, jetboating, rafting and amazing scenic helicopter flights. Take a more sedate gondola ride to Bob's Peak for great views or the 110-year-old steamer, The Earnslaw, as she cruises around Lake Wakitpu. You may wish to visit Milford or Doubtful Sound or the old gold mining town of Arrowtown. There are some interesting wineries, including Amisfield (great for lunch or early dinners), which is just outside the town. You will find all the souvenirs you need here for your New Zealand visit, including a 'Lord of the Rings' gift store. Queenstown is home to some superb restaurants that cater to all the desires of your appetite.Starting Accommodation:
Day 12 – Queenstown to Mt Cook and Christchurch
Depart Queenstown and travel by Great Sights tour coach through the rugged and beautiful landscape of Otago. Cross the Lindis Pass into Mackenzie Country to visit Mount Cook Village at the base of New Zealand's highest mountain - Aoraki (Mount Cook). There are 17 peaks over 10,000 feet in Mount Cook National Park including Mount Cook itself at 12,349 feet. To one side of Mt. Cook is the mighty Tamsan Glacier, a 30 kilometer (18 mile) giant, and one of the longest outside the Himalayas. At Mount Cook Village, there is time to experience an optional scenic helicopter or ski plane flight (weather permitting and additional cost) which may be booked in advance or on the day. Lunch is included today. From Mount Cook, head back to the highway to continue north along the Tasman River, to Lake Tekapo, where you may view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd - a historic church dedicated to the early pioneers of this area, and the sheepdog - a statue that is a tribute to high country farmers' best friend. The tour continues through diverse farmland before arriving in Christchurch. Tour duration is around 12 hours, and stops may be made along the way to collect and drop off additional passengers.Starting Accommodation:
The Classic Villa (L)
Day 13 – Christchurch City Garden Tour and Christchurch at Leisure
Explore the garden city and the surrounding areas of Christchurch with a small group of guests in a deluxe mini-coach. Departing from your hotel, the tour heads through Christchurch and by the city's center. Next, the tour heads towards the Port Hills, which overlook Christchurch, and offer stunning views of the city, Canterbury Plains, Lyttleton Harbour and the distant Southern Alps. After dropping into Lyttleton Harbour, you will have time explore a private garden that has been growing since 1865 and includes a variety of exotic trees, shrub rhododendrons, camellias and a good variety of New Zealand native plants. Head over the crater rim to another private garden that is 15 years old; the garden has a strong New Zealand theme and a largely formal layout. Within the evergreen structure of totara hedges, there are many native New Zealand plants and hybrids of exotic varieties raised in this country. The tour then heads back towards Christchurch city, stopping for a relaxing lunch, then a visit to the botanical gardens. Here you will see exotic trees that are some of the largest, the tallest or the oldest of their kind in New Zealand. You will see spectacular color, intriguing sculptures and memorial plantings that celebrate local and international history. If time permits, a stop will be made at another public garden that is rich in history, color and tranquility.
Christchurch, the city of parks and gardens, trees and beauty, is said to be the most English city outside England. Following an earthquake in 2011, parts of the Christchurch central business district, including Cathedral Square, continue to be rebuilt. Until remedial work is completed, there are still plenty of retail and tour opportunities. Visit the 're-start' retail and cafe precinct featuring 29 retail shops built in fashionably presented shipping containers. And, the city can still cater to your taste-buds whether you are after a five-star dining experience or simply want to go somewhere for great coffee. Vintage car, horse and carriage, hot air ballooning and guided walking tours: these are just a few ways to explore the Garden City.Starting Accommodation:
The Classic Villa (B, L)
Day 14 – Depart Christchurch
Please wait for your driver in your hotel lobby for your transfer to Christchurch airport by private vehicle.