New Zealand Highlights
Discover some of New Zealand’s most scenic sights on this 12-day highlights itinerary. Auckland is a great start to your New Zealand journey, with a half day highlights tour and time to discover the city of sails at your own pace. Next head to Rotorua where you will see the natural and man-made wonders of this geothermal wonderland, before flying to New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. A trip to the majestic Milford Sound and a thrilling jetboat ride later, you are off to explore the glaciers and forests of the rugged West Coast. Last stop is the Garden city of Christchurch, with a dolphin watching cruise at Akaroa, surely a memorable end to your Highlights journey.
Trip Type: Adventure
Day By Day
Day 1 – Welcome to Auckland
Welcome to Auckland! Upon arrival into Auckland International Airport you will be met by your driver who will transfer you to your accommodation by private vehicle. Starting Accommodation: The Grand by SkyCity
Day 2 – Auckland Highlights Tour
See the highlights of Auckland City in one great half day Auckland experience. Your guide will show you the most iconic highlights of Auckland City; see beautiful beaches, panoramic views of several volcanoes, the Auckland Harbour Bridge, Westhaven Marina and the Auckland Domain all in a few hours. See Tamaki Drive with sweeping views across the Waitemata Harbour towards Bastion Point and Mission Bay, Auckland City’s most well-known beach. Marvel at Auckland’s icon, Rangitoto Island, as the youngest and largest volcano in the Auckland Volcanic Field.
Drive over the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge, spanning the sparkling blue waters of the Waitemata Harbour dotted with white sails, from which you can marvel at the iconic view back to Auckland’s skyline. Visit the Auckland Domain with views of Auckland Museum, one of the New Zealand’s architectural icons. See the suburb of Parnell, restored in the old colonial style and with many beautiful mansions. See see what makes Auckland so unique and why it is known as one of the most beautiful cities and regions in the world.Starting Accommodation: The Grand by SkyCity
Day 3 – Travel to Rotorua via Hobbiton
Depart Auckland to travel through the Waikato region, the heart of New Zealand's dairy country, passing through country towns along the way including Ngaruawahia, the official residence of the Maori King, and Taupiri, the burial place of his predecessors. Stop at Hobbiton for a shared guided tour through the 1250 acre sheep farm with its spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges.
Experience the real Middle-earth at the Hobbiton Movie Set, where, in the heart of the Waikato region, you can step into the lush pastures of the Shire. Your guide will then escort you around the set, showing the intricate detailing, pointing out the most famous locations and explaining how the movie magic was made. You will be fully guided around the 12 acre set; past Hobbit Hole, the Mill and into the world-famous Green Dragon Inn, where you will be presented with a complimentary, exclusive Hobbit Southfarthing beverage to conclude your own Middle-earth adventure. Enjoy lunch at the Green Dragon Inn, before departing Hobbiton to continue the drive through the rolling pastures and hill country towards Rotorua.Starting Accommodation: On The Point - Lake Rotorua
Day 4 – Rotorua Highlights
Travel to the Agrodome, a unique New Zealand Farm show where you will be introduced to the 19 breeds of sheep that are farmed extensively throughout the country. A demonstration of sheep shearing and wool handling will follow along with the amazing working farm dogs - live on stage and then outdoors over a typical New Zealand sheep-trial course. No visit to Rotorua is complete without a drive through the beautiful Government Gardens and adjacent lake district, including Tarawera, the Blue Lake (Tikitapu) and the Green Lake (Rotokakahi).
There is time for lunch at a local cafe, with a great choice of freshly prepared salads, light meals, soups and sandwiches. Or, you may decide to try the authentic Maori hangi meal at the next stop, Te Puia. Set in the beautiful Whakarewarewa geothermal valley which is alive with boiling mud, steaming hot pools and the fantastic Pohutu and Prince of Wales Feathers geysers.Starting Accommodation: On The Point - Lake Rotorua
Day 5 – Travel to Queenstown
Today you will be transferred to Rotorua Airport for your flight to Queenstown. Once in Queenstown you will be transferred to your accommodation by private vehicle. Starting Accommodation: Azur Lodge
Day 6 – Milford Sound
Today you’ll be shown the most magical spots en-route to Te Anau and through Fiordland National Park. You can discover the best of this iconic destination in just one day, in complete comfort and privacy. A knowledgeable expert guide will host you throughout the tour to ensure you get the most out of your Fiordland experience – and give you an all access pass to stunning, secret locations. With imposing mountains reaching into the sky, powerful waterfalls dropping across massive cliff faces and dense, lush bush-clad hills stretching into the distance, Milford Sound is a raw, Jurassic haven like nowhere else in New Zealand. Board the vessel to cruise the sound, this relatively small boat (approximately 20 meters in length), is undoubtedly the best way to explore Milford Sound, taking you as close as possible to the waterfalls and colonies of fur seals, the rare Fiordland crested penguins and the pods of dolphins swimming in the crystal blue waters. During your two hour small group Milford Sound cruise, you will be shown Lady Bowen Falls (a 162-meter waterfall that powers the Milford village), Sinbad Gully (a classic example of a hanging valley) and the magnificent Mitre Peak, which towers 1692 meters above sea level.
On completion of your cruise, you can spend time wandering around Milford and stretch your legs before the journey back to Queenstown.Starting Accommodation: Azur Lodge
Day 7 – Dart River
The Wilderness Safari takes you on a spectacular 45-minute jet-boat journey through the Dart's ever-changing braided river system where you'll be surrounded by snow-covered peaks, hidden valleys and waterfalls.
The tour includes an easy guided 30-minute bush walk at Rockburn at Paradise where your knowledgeable guide will enliven your walk with an informative and entertaining commentary about the native forest, the unique flora and fauna, as well as the fascinating Maori and colonial history of the area. Rejoin the jetboat for the 45-minute ride back to Glenorchy where you will board the coach for the 1 hour transfer back to Queenstown.Starting Accommodation: Azur Lodge
Day 8 – Travel to Franz Josef
Departing from your Queenstown accommodation, travel first to visit the quaint old gold mining village of Arrowtown, site of gold diggings in the 1860's. From here, head over the rugged and remote Crown Range toward Wanaka Village. Skirting the shores of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, travel over the mighty Haast Pass and through the Haast River Valley, before heading into Glacier Country, where you will see evidence of the last Ice Age in the kettle lakes created by the melting ice sheets.Starting Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 – Franz Josef
Time to explore the glaciated landscape of the Franz and Fox Glacier region. Walks are available to the terminal face of either glacier and to a viewpoint to witness the glacier's descent down the mountain into the rainforest. Time is allowed for optional extra activities such as a helicopter scenic flight or heli-hike (additional costs apply).Starting Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 – Travel to Christchurch
Heading north along the West Coast, leave the glaciers behind and head into the West Coast bushland. Short walks to explore the landscapes may be taken as required, your guide will communicate these options as you travel. Visit Hokitika, once the capital of Westland and a roaring gold mining town, now a bustling center of art and craft shops where greenstone and gold feature. Coming into Greymouth, travel east, through the Arthur's Pass National Park, then across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.Starting Accommodation: The George
Day 11 – Akaroa
On this amazing tour, visit the extinct volcanoes of Banks Peninsula and view the beautiful harbors and green farmland. Stops are made at scenic places and include morning and afternoon teas and a cheese tasting at the Barry's Bay Cheese Factory. Once at Akaroa, enjoy a shared 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 that is unique to Akaroa.Starting Accommodation: The George
Day 12 – Depart Christchurch
Ahead of your flight you will be transferred to Christchurch Airport by private vehicle. Meals:
Package Level: Deluxe
|Please note all prices listed are approximations and subject to current rate of exchange adjustments. Each itinerary can be fully customized to your interests and needs.|
|5/1/2023 - 9/30/2023||$9,120|
|10/1/2023 - 10/31/2023||$9,415|
|11/1/2023 - 11/30/2023||$10,025|
|12/1/2023 - 1/31/2024||$10,075|
|2/1/2024 - 3/31/2024||$10,100|
|5/1/2023 - 9/30/2023||$16,590|
|10/1/2023 - 10/31/2023||$17,175|
|11/1/2023 - 11/30/2023||$18,390|
|12/1/2023 - 1/31/2024||$18,445|
|2/1/2024 - 3/31/2024||$18,490|
Terms and Conditions
Prices are per person, twin/double share in USD. All highlighted savings are reflected in the price. Price does not include airfare unless otherwise stated. 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: www.swaindestinations.com/terms