Experience charm, excitement, and tranquility during your 13-day New Zealand highlights tour. You can indulge in the dreamy natural splendor of the scenery as you travel from coastline to cityscapes, mountain peaks to surreal sounds. Follow hobbits to Middle Earth, sail around the Bay of Islands, and enjoy an aerial view from a hot air balloon as you discover the endless wonders of New Zealand.
Bay of Islands – Warm Welcomes to New Zealand
New Zealand’s remoteness has always aided its natural idiosyncrasy, the country developing in isolation from the rest of the world. Your first aerial vistas confirm your arrival in a lost landscape, rolling green and endless beaches visible through the plane window. Connect in Auckland to a domestic flight and touch down at Kerikeri Airport, the northern most reaches of the country offering an unforgettably serene welcome. You’re probably tired after the flight, so soak up the tranquil sight of lush islands in the marine blue. Relax. Take your time. This is New Zealand, and almost immediately you settle into a gentle rhythm, nothing rushed or stressful, yet everything running on your time.
Bay of Islands – Majestic Private Sailing
Bay of Islands – Flying Over Ninety Mile Beach and Exploring Sand Dunes
Rotorua – A Maori Immersion
Rotorua – Stunning White Water Rafting on Rangitaiki
Rotorua – Standing on the Edge of a Live Volcanic Crater
Christchurch – Admiring the Reconstruction
Christchurch – Hot Air Ballooning Above Canterbury
Christchurch – Swimming With the World’s Smallest Dolphins
Queenstown – Jet Boat Thrills
Queenstown – The Dazzling Beauty of Milford Sound and the Fjordlands
Queenstown – A Journey to Middle Earth
Auckland – Leaving New Zealand with Indelible Memories
- Sail through the uninhabited beauty of the Bay of Islands, a private yacht stopping by secluded bays and beaches devoid of footprints and full of majestic tropical wonder
- Soak up the visual intoxication of a micro flight across the far north of New Zealand, the pilot takes you along Ninety Mile Beach and landscapes full of delight and intrigue
- Stand on the edge of a live volcano crater, peering down on the hissing and bubbling that epitomize the country’s volcanic history
- Change the pace with an evocative look at reconstructed Christchurch, the enthusiastic locals finding novel ways to recover from natural disaster
- Swim with dolphins, hot air balloon above the green patchwork of Canterbury, and white water raft down the thrilling Rangitaiki; just another three highlights from this handcrafted itinerary
- Literally journey to Middle Earth with a tour through the famous filming locations used in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
- Shake your head in disbelief at the staggering natural beauty of Milford Sound and Fjordland National Park, the unforgettable landscape admired from glass ceilinged coach, elegant boat, and helicopter
New Zealand has many different sides, each connected and infused by a local commitment to intimacy and inimitability. The country can be indelibly calm, astonishing natural beauty soothing every soul. This same nature offers thrilling adventure, from white water rafting through the wilderness to helicoptering across endless fjords. A cultural immersion imbues throughout, from indigenous Maori welcomes to the enthusiasm of locals rebuilding Christchurch. You’ll venture through Middle Earth and uninhabited tropical islands; swim with dolphins, or stand on the rim of a live volcanic crater. This handcrafted itinerary unveils each of the country’s angles, serving up the perfect concoction of serene break, majestic nature, and unique adventure. Highlights keep cascading, each day bringing something new and unforgettable as the very best of the New Zealand is explored.
This itinerary is split into four parts, enabling you to settle and explore four very different destinations. Start in the dazzling Bay of Islands, the far north of New Zealand marked by uninhabited tropical paradise and beaches without footprints. Spend a day exploring with a private yacht, and then enjoy the delights from the air, a micro flight offering wonderful panoramas of Ninety Mile Beach and thick green landscapes. Rotorua is your next base, geysers bubbling beneath the land and indigenous Maori locals providing an evocative traditional welcome. Get closer to the geology by standing on the edge of White Island, a live volcanic crater that hisses beneath your feet. Wilderness is a continual feature of this trip, perhaps epitomized by a thrilling white water rafting journey down the achingly beautiful Rangitaiki River. Another feature is domestic flights; your travel time is minimized and the immersion in enchantment is never broken.
With three days in each base there’s plenty of time to explore at your own pace. Next comes Christchurch, devastated by earthquake but wonderfully rebuilt with ingenuity and enthusiasm. Like everywhere, expect an indelibly warm welcome and plenty of opportunity to meet the locals. Just outside the city boundaries the idiosyncratic nature continues; take a hot air balloon ride above the dazzling patchwork of Canterbury, then spend a day in the ocean, swimming with the world’s smallest, and most charming, dolphin species. This vacation of nonstop highlights culminates in Queenstown, the alpine town tucked amidst white tinged fjords and sapphire lakes. You’re now in South Island, completing the journey from the far north. Milford Sound is the world-famous highlight here, and you’ll be experiencing its majestic beauty by driving across the white tinged peaks and taking a cruise along the mystical waters. Increase the feeling of wonderment by returning to Queenstown by helicopter, landing on a glacier midway.
In New Zealand, it’s hard to shake away the feeling of being in Middle Earth, each landscape framed by a dedication to the ethereal. A movie-themed tour reveals the actual locations from Lord of the Rings and other epics, although each forest and mountain resembles something from a director’s imagination. Throw in a hair-raising jet boat ride down the Shotover River and you will get an idea of how this itinerary never once veers into the mundane or predictable. These 13 days burst with unique experiences, and as you fly back across the Pacific you’re wondering which will linger longest in the memory.
Related information: For additional tour options, read about other New Zealand vacations offered by Zicasso. For traveler experiences, read the New Zealand travel agent section.
$11,825 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.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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