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New Year's in New Zealand

Explore The Garden City, hike through glaciers in Franz Josef, fly over Queenstown, and ring in the new year in the City of Sails. Your journey starts in Christchurch where you will experience a never-ending list of activities such as walking through Hagley Park and admiring the Botanical Gardens. Take a four day tour via Arthur's Pass and make your way through New Zealand to Punakaiki resort. Then onto Queenstown and Rotorua before completing your journey in Auckland. Enjoy a special New Year's Eve dinner at the SKYCITY Grand Hotel and witness the beautiful fireworks display at midnight.

Trip Type: Adventure, Cultural

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Day By Day

Day 1 – Fly 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 Christchurch
When you arrive in Auckland, clear customs to continue for your domestic New Zealand flight. 

Once in Christchurch, a driver will meet you in the baggage claim area to take you to The George Hotel. Located only minutes from the heart of the city, opposite Hagley Park and the Avon River, you will discover this deluxe boutique hotel which combines luxury and attentive, friendly service. The superb location is complemented by many leisure facilities both on-site or available close-by. Stroll to Hagley Park and take in the gardens, sports field and golf course or admire the Botanical Gardens, Arts Center and Museum. The hotel offers a choice of restaurants and cuisines, from an international menu to truly elegant dining.

You have an afternoon at leisure in Christchurch; home to many retail and tour opportunities. Visit the "re-start" retail and cafe precinct featuring 29 retail shops built in fashionably-presented shipping containers. Let the "most English city outside of England" cater to your taste-buds, whether you are after a five-start dining experience or simply want a great coffee. Vintage car, horse and carriage, hot air ballooning and guided walking tours are just a few ways to explore the Garden City.

Starting Accommodation: The George

Day 4 – Marlborough-Arthur's Pass-Glaciers-Queenstown, 4 Day Tour
You will be transferred to the train station, take the train from Christchurch to Greymouth, collect the Budget rental car and self-drive to Punakaiki. Upgrade options for private chauffeur experience available upon request.

Punakaiki Resort
Situated on New Zealand's West Coast, Punakaiki Resort is surrounded by the Paparoa National Park, 300m south of the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, and extremely close to the beach. Two styles of accommodation are available; Standard Resort and Eco Suites. All rooms are modern studio units with en-suite bathrooms and wireless internet access. 

The Resort's restaurant and bar serves delicious food and beverages, which can be enjoyed while you also take in gorgeous views of the sea. Local activities include numerous walks in the Paparoa National Park, kayaking, horse trekking, jade hunting on the beach and the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.

Starting Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort (L)

Day 5 – Punakaiki to Franz Josef
At your leisure for the drive along the scenic West Coast via Greymouth and Hokitika to Franz Josef (allow 3 hours drive time, 140 miles). On the way, you could stop in Ross, a gold mining town that still has working goldmines. Visitors may take a goldfields heritage tour from the Ross Goldfields Information and Heritage Centre. 

Westwood Lodge
Just two minutes north of the village of Franz Josef on New Zealand's rugged and beautiful west coast, Westwood Lodge is set in rural surroundings with views of native rainforests and the Southern Alps. Breakfast is included, but you will need to make your way to town for dinner; The Blue Ice Cafe is great for light foods and the Canopy Restaurant is superb for a five course dinner. Activities in this area include scenic flights to the glaciers and Mt. Cook, fishing, glacier walking and kayaking.

Starting Accommodation: Westwood Lodge

Day 6 – Glacier Valley Walk
The Glacier Valley Walk is a morning excursion that takes participants alongside the mighty Waiho River bed following the glaciers path of retreat in this remarkable landscape. Here, you will learn about the glacier's history, see what is left behind by this majestic giant, and learn the legend of Ka_Roimata o Hinehukatere. Cross over the public barriers, and after a brief climb you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the rapidly changing terminal face of the glacier. 

Afternoon at Leisure
This is your afternoon at leisure to explore Franz Josef.

Starting Accommodation: Westwood Lodge (B)

Day 7 – Franz Josef to Queenstown
The drive from Franz Josef to Queenstown is 220 miles and will take at least five hours, though you should allow longer for stops along the way. On arrival to Queenstown, you will return your Budget rental car.

Sofitel Queenstown
This is the first international five-star hotel in Queenstown, completed to the highest European standards. Located in the heart of the city, just a 15 minute drive from the airport and 20 minutes from Coronet Peak ski fields. This boutique hotel is close to all of Queenstown's major attractions and surrounded by shopping, restaurants and nightclubs.

Starting Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa (B)

Day 8 – Day at Leisure
Public Holiday - Christmas Day
Please note that many restaurants, tours, attractions and services or shops will be closed. 

Today is at your leisure to explore the adventure capital of New Zealand. Originally settled by the gold miners and station owners, Queenstown is now home to all the adrenaline-filled adventures such as bungee jumping, the Canyon Swing, jet-boating, rafting, and amazing scenic helicopter flights. Take a more relaxed gondola ride to Bob's Peak for great views of the 110 year old steamer, The Earnslaw as she cruises around Lake Wakitpu. You could also visit Milford or Doubtful Sound or the old gold mining town of Arrowtown. There are also interesting wineries just outside of town like Amisfield (great for lunch and early dinners). 

Queenstown is home to delightful restaurants that cater to all your appetite desires. The Cow has great pizzas, Bella Cuccini for Italian, and Blue Kanu for Polynesian cuisine. If you are looking for the ultimate burger, swing by Fergburger. 

Starting Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa (B)

Day 9 – Milford and Glaciers Heli
Public Holiday - Boxing Day
Please note that many restaurants, tours, attractions and services or shops will be closed.

Milford and Glaciers Heli
Experience the most dramatic scenery New Zealand has to offer. Sit back and be taken on a journey through the grandeur of the Southern Alps, over Glaciers, Milford Sound, rainforests and frozen lakes to the heart of Fiordland. Depending on weather and time spent landing, the excursion will take about 1.5 hours. 

Starting Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa (B)

Day 10 – Day at Leisure
Today is a day at leisure to explore Queenstown.

Starting Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa (B)

Day 11 – Fly Queenstown to Rotorua
Transfer to Queenstown airport for the flight via Christchurch to Rotorua. On arrival, you are met and transferred to your accommodation.

Rotorua provides an abundance of activities to do and places to go for travelers of all ages. Rotorua will ensure a wonderful holiday through peaceful tours to adrenaline-pumping action, in the air, on the lake and river or on land. You could soar high in the sky and receive a bird's eye view of Rotorua or experience the geothermal Rotorua through distinctive sights and smells. 

Novotel Rotorua Lakeside
The hotel is located on the edge of Rotorua's central business district, in the heart of Rotorua's restaurant quarter, a 10 minute walk to the city center, and only 100 meters to Lake Rotorua. Novotel Rotorua Lakeside also has their own geothermal spa facility and health management center.

Starting Accommodation: Novotel Rotorua Lakeside (B)

Day 12 – Half Day Eco Thermal Park Tour
Join a small group for this half-day morning excursion tour of Rotorua's most natural and popular geothermal parks. The 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 that blew open this now mesmerizing, 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. 

Afternoon at Leisure
Explore the rugged destination that is Rotorua at your leisure.

Starting Accommodation: Novotel Rotorua Lakeside

Day 13 – Rotorua-Waitomo-Auckland Private Tour
Today you will travel from Rotorua to Auckland with your private driver/guide via the breathtaking Waitomo Caves, taking in the beautiful countryside and scenery along the way. You will travel over the Mamaku Ranges into the heart of the King Country, through rolling pastures and hill country with magnificent views over the valleys and farmlands. 

Your guide will point out significant sites as you travel towards Waitomo. Your day includes a tour through the world-famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves and lunch at a local restaurant or cafe. After lunch you will travel up through Waikato, then pass through Ngaruawahia and Taupiri before arriving in Auckland. 

SKYCITY Grand Hotel
Indulgent, restful, comfortable, and stylish, you will unwind in one of the 316 rooms in this elegant hotel. Located on Level 3 is a chic restaurant offering an exceptional a la carte dining experience. Take time to pamper your body, mind and soul at the luxury health and beauty spa. Or refresh and tone at the well-appointed gym or in the heated lap pool.

Starting Accommodation: SKYCITY Grand Hotel (L)

Day 14 – Auckland Highlights
The Auckland City Highlights Tour includes pristine beaches, panoramic views from several Auckland volcanoes and the exceptional Auckland Museum. On this half-day tour, you will experience the very best of the beautiful city of sails: picturesque ocean vistas, dramatic volcanic landscapes, lush green parkland, iconic landmarks, tranquil harbor-side bays and a historic marine village. Includes pickup and return to the central city or you can do a harbor cruise from the charming village of Devonport back to Auckland city.

Afternoon at Leisure
Explore the city of sails this afternoon at your leisure.

Starting Accommodation: SKYCITY Grand Hotel

Day 15 – NYE Dinner in the Sugar Club
The Sugar Club is located on Level 53 of the fabulous Sky Tower, with mesmerizing views across the dynamic city of Auckland. The Huraki Gulf is to the East, and to the West is the Tasman Sea. The decor evokes 1930's Art Deco Italy, with brass fittings, stone table tops and gorgeous tableware all adding to the atmosphere. A special menu will be presented on New Year's Eve.

After your meal, you will make your way downstairs to view the fireworks display at midnight.

Starting Accommodation: SKYCITY Grand Hotel (D)

Day 16 – Day at Leisure
Public Holiday - New Year's Day
Please note that many restaurants, tours, attractions and services or shops will be closed.

Day at Leisure
With more boats per capita than any other city in the world, it is no surprise that Auckland is nicknamed the City of Sails, or that it has hosted two America's Cup challenges. The city also houses one-third of New Zealand's population and the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Auckland is filled to the brim with culture; museums, Maori influences, bustling markets and a myriad of restaurants specializing in world-class seafood make this city a great destination. For those looking for something a little different, take a ferry over to Waiheke Island and stay at The Boatshed, a boutique seaside hotel that features a cozy nautical feel blended with the ambiance of a luxurious intimate retreat.

Starting Accommodation: SKYCITY Grand Hotel

Day 17 – Fly Auckland to USA
Transfer from accommodation to the airport for your return flight.

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Highlighted Activities

Arthur's Pass National Park and TranzAlpine
Arthur's Pass National Park and TranzAlpine
Length: Full-day
Milford Sound Heli Tours
Milford Sound Heli Tours
Length: Half-day


ChristchurchThe George
PunakaikiPunakaiki Resort
Franz JosefWestwood Lodge
QueenstownSofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa
RotoruaNovotel Rotorua Lakeside
AucklandSKYCITY Grand Hotel


Pricing for this package is on request. Please call a Swain Destinations Specialist to customize this journey.

Terms and Conditions

Prices are per person, twin/double share in USD. All highlighted savings are reflected in the price. Travel may be limited to certain days of the week. Hotels and tours remain subject to availability. Cancellation penalties and other booking or alteration restrictions may exist. Please note blackout dates may apply to Christmas, New Year and local special event periods. Pricing may increase over Holiday and special event periods and may not be reflected in price grid. Prices indicated remain subject to change without notice. Prices are not guaranteed until full payment is received and processed. CST #2012413-20 See our full Terms and Conditions: