Vineyards in Wanaka, New Zealand

Best of New Zealand: Essential 12-Day Itinerary

Ratings of Zicasso's Service
Customizable Itinerary

This is a sample itinerary to inspire a personalized trip designed with your travel specialist

Countries Visited

New Zealand

Places Visited

Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, Aoraki Mt. Cook...

See all

Suggested Duration

12 Days

Marketing Summary

The magical landscape of New Zealand unfolds over 12 days of fjords, vineyards, lakeside bliss, and thrilling outdoor adventures. Handcrafted with a sublime selection of exclusive experiences, this luxury itinerary balances the surreal wilderness with inviting towns and scenes from Middle Earth. It features scenic flights, wild adventures, indulgent spas, and some of the country’s best lodges. Get closer to nature, explore astonishing landscapes, and bask in New Zealand’s...

Customizable Itinerary

Expand All

Trip Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in Fiordland National Park during an overnight Doubtful Sound cruise and a stunning scenic helicopter flight
  • Cruise past icebergs on a thrilling day of alpine experience around Aoraki Mt. Cook, which is New Zealand’s highest mountain
  • Fly into the Misty Mountains from the Lord of the Rings, hike in them, and then jetboat through a surreal natural landscape
  • Indulge in an authentic Polynesian spa, which is a superb experience for your first full day in New Zealand
  • Marvel at the iconicity of Hobbiton and catch your breath at other beautiful Lord of the Rings filming locations
  • Discover Central Otago’s vineyards and dine in style in the world’s southernmost wine region
  • Soar above the Canterbury Plains on a brilliant hot air balloon ride from Christchurch
  • Spend an intimate evening with a Maori community and discover the natural beauty of North Island’s thermal wonderlands
  • Customize your activities in Auckland and Queenstown, which are two waterside cities with very different atmospheres
  • Uncover the revitalized city of Christchurch and spend three nights beside the lake in Wanaka with hikes to glaciers

Detailed Description

There is a mystery to New Zealand as if the country really is Middle Earth. Cast adrift on the edge of the world, this country of volcanic islands will immerse you in wilderness settings and idyllic scenes. Nature dominates the landscape, from vast fjords and glaciers to peaceful lakes that are backdropped by alpine peaks. Adventures will have you flying, hiking, boating, and soaring, sometimes all on the same day. When evening comes, the wilderness reveals its other side, notably the supreme tranquility of lakeside lodges and an escape from your everyday schedule. New Zealand is far from the beaten path, and that is part of its beauty. Come here to get away from everything and to discover landscapes that are yet to be altered by human hand.

This luxurious 12-day adventure will lead you around the country’s finest wilderness highlights with a veritable journey into Middle Earth. After flying to Auckland, you will stop in Hobbiton before spending some time in an authentic Polynesian Spa. Thermal wonderlands will impress you before an intimate evening with a local Maori community, which will allow you to capture the best of the North Island over your first three days. Christchurch is vastly different in atmosphere and allure, especially when a local guide helps you discover how the city has been rebuilding itself since the 2011 earthquake.

From here, you will travel many ways through many magnificent landscapes, beginning with a hot air balloon ride over Canterbury. You can explore Aoraki Mt. Cook and be enveloped by alpine bliss before cruising through Middle Earth to Wanaka, where you will spend three nights. On day seven, you will have a scenic flight into Mt. Aspiring National Park, hike in the Misty Mountains from the Lord of the Rings, and jetboat back to your lodge. There will also be glaciers, vineyards, an overnight adventure at Doubtful Sound, and a scenic flight over Fiordland National Park. At times, it will be a thrill, but remember, New Zealand is delightfully relaxed, so you can expect sublime lakeside lodges and spas to conclude your escape into nature.

Starting Price

$3,895 per person (excluding international flights)

Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.

What's Included

The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.

Reviews of Zicasso's Referral Service

4.86 stars based on 1588 reviews.

Australia, New Zealand Luxury Vacation Review: Melbourne,...
"Zicasso's travel agent was fantastic to work with – highly...

Reviewed By John G.

New Zealand Luxury Trip Review: Rotorua, Queenstown, Hobbiton,...
"Our Zicasso agent and her team hit a home run. All of our...

Reviewed By Gerry W.

Australia, New Zealand Tour Review: Sydney, Wanaka, Milford...
"Our Zicasso tour agent effectively interpreted our travel...

Reviewed By Juliann W.

New Zealand Travel Review: Marlborough District, Queen Charlotte...
"Our New Zealand trip was not only breathtakingly beautiful,...

Reviewed By Holly C.

New Zealand Luxury Vacation Review: Milford Sound, Auckland,...
"This was our third experience using Zicasso. Having been...

Reviewed By Deborah Z.

New Zealand Luxury Vacation Review: Milford Sound, Rotorua,...
"This was the first time I have used a travel company and...

Reviewed By Karen G.

Your Dream Vacation

in 3 simple steps

  1. 1

    Describe your dream trip

  2. 2

    Get matched with top travel specialists

  3. 3

    Book the trip

Free service - no credit card required