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New Zealand Tours

New Zealand exceeds the realm of perception, conjuring amazement with natural grace and overwhelming beauty. Become entranced by its mythical qualities as you uncover the country’s surreal landscapes and its wonder unravels before your eyes. Zicasso welcomes you to a land like no other with a personalized itinerary.

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Sample Itineraries

You can have any trip tailor made for your private travel.

Highlights of New Zealand Tour

13 Day Custom Tour

From $9,095

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.
New Zealand Tour for Couples

12 Day Custom Tour

From $2,995

Bask in romance and passion during your 12-day New Zealand tour for couples. The stunning landscape will take you on a journey across the spectacular North and South islands to explore the highlights of sprawling prairies, rugged coastlines, and undulating mountains. You will hear traditional Maori songs, sip delicious wines, witness the steam rise from celebrated geysers, and bask in wondrous luxury during your romantic New Zealand getaway.
Ultimate New Zealand Family Vacation

12 Day Custom Tour

From $2,995

Dramatic landscapes will lure you into adventure during your ultimate 12-day New Zealand family vacation. The spectacular journey will take you deep into the caves to view glowworms and have you speed upriver on a jet boat safari, lounge on scenic beaches and traverse undulating hills. Your New Zealand tour celebrates the stunning scenery and exciting excursions of New Zealand perfect for the young and young at heart.
Heritage Tour of New Zealand’s South Island: Powhiri...

13 Day Custom Tour

From $3,245

Discover 800 years of dynamic heritage during your 13-day culture tour of New Zealand. Experience the powerful pōwhiri welcome and search for Scottish and Victorian architecture. Find a spirit of exploration exuding from pioneer history and the customs of wayfinders. Explore raw natural history and local traditions during your custom-tailored tour connecting the timelines between settlers and explorers, archipelagos and cities across the North and South islands.
Spectacular Sights of New Zealand for Seniors

10 Day Custom Tour

From $2,495

Your private 10-day New Zealand tour for seniors reveals the highlights of the North and South islands from Maori culture in Rotorua to the captivating nature of Marlborough Sound. Sample delicious wines, cruise the stunning Hauraki Gulf, search for enchanting whales, and wander the lively streets of Christchurch. You will experience the mixture of relaxation and adventure, heritage and natural wonder at your preferred pace.
New Zealand Getaway for Honeymooners

14 Day Custom Tour

From $3,495

Natural splendor and endless adventure will highlight the romance of your 14-day New Zealand honeymoon tour custom-tailored to your tastes. You will enjoy elegant views of the Southern Alps on a scenic train and sample delicate wines on a private island vineyard. You can bask in a candlelit dinner or an exceptional starry sky. You will share the experience hand-in-hand as you explore the tender heart of New Zealand.
New Zealand Tour: Wineries, Maori Tribe & Pristine...

15 Day Custom Tour

From $3,745

Unparalleled beauty and welcoming culture will charm you during your 15-day New Zealand highlights tour. Dolphins will swim in quiet bays. Tender vines will produce celebrated wines. The dramatic peak of Mount Cook will dominate the skyline. From European descendants crafting cosmopolitan cities to traditional Maori songs echoing around a fire, vast pastoral hills to wonderlands of waterfalls hidden inside steep fiords, you will discover endless majesty.
Immersive New Zealand Exploration: Two-Week South Island...

14 Day Custom Tour

From $9,795

Reality will blend into a dreamy landscape during your two-week New Zealand tour of the South Island. Specialist guides will lead you on customizable tours that highlight the shimmering waters of captivating fiords and the steep slopes of dramatic coastline. Whether you reveal the secrets of Middle Earth or sail on glacial lakes, you will turn New Zealand’s majestic nature into a spectacular outdoor playground.
Best of New Zealand Nature Vacation: Mountains &...

10 Day Custom Tour

From $6,995

Experience nature like nowhere else in the world during your 10-day best of New Zealand tour. You will venture into the outdoors to find tumbling glaciers and remarkable rainforest. You will travel beneath dramatic volcanic peaks and along shimmering fiord waters for adventures across six national parks. From heli-hiking along rugged glacial surfaces to trekking over rolling hills, your New Zealand adventure will highlight the marvels of the great outdoors.
Deluxe New Zealand & Australia Tour

21 Day Custom Tour

From $16,795

Prepare for a grand adventure during your 21-day Australia and New Zealand tour. Your customizable tour will immerse you in Australia's Red Centre and have you uncover glassy lakes on New Zealand’s South Islands. From the majesty of the Great Barrier Reef’s exotic coral to the wonders of milky-blue glaciers set beneath New Zealand’s jagged mountain peaks, you will find breathtaking scenery and captivating colors.
New Zealand’s South Island: Leisure Tour for Seniors...

14 Day Custom Tour

From $3,495

You can indulge in idyllic vineyards and rugged glacial landscapes during your 14-day New Zealand tour for seniors. You will travel at your preferred pace on a custom-tailored tour perfect for an easy-going exploration that reveals the highlights of South Island. You will cruise the majestic Milford Sound, watch for fascinating whales off the Kaikoura coast, and witness preserved Maori heritage for your perfect New Zealand adventure.
15 Year Anniversary of New Zealand as Middle-earth...

15 Day Custom Tour

From $5,935

Bask in the fantastical world of Hobbits, wizards, and orcs on your 15-day New Zealand as Middle-Earth tour. You will step into the home of Frodo Baggins at Hobbiton and view the models of Helm’s Deep. Magic and reality will converge as you discover the drama of Mordor’s steaming landscape at Waimangu Volcanic Valley and witness the ashen grounds of Mount Doom set beneath the peak of Mount Ngauruhoe.
New Zealand South Island Itinerary in One Week

8 Day Custom Tour

From $5,595

Adventure, exploration, and unforgettable experiences highlight your perfect 7-day New Zealand tour. Your private tours and specialized guides will immerse you in the splendid landscape around the South Island. The majesty of New Zealand will emerge from Queenstown to Abel Tasman National Park, Milford Sound to Canterbury. Fly over shimmering glaciers, sip celebrated wine in lush vineyards, and cruise down serene fiords in search of waterfalls and wildlife.
Best of New Zealand: Private Two-Week Tour

14 Day Custom Tour

From $9,795

Luxury and exploration will highlight diverse landscapes and timeless adventures during your 14-day best of New Zealand tour. Tropical islands in the north will juxtapose the mist-covered fiords of the south. Vineyards will blanket the hills leading to dramatic coastlines. Glaciers will tumble through mountain passes and calve into glassy lakes. Maori culture and remarkable scenery will highlight history as you discover the best of the North and South islands.
Best of Australia & New Zealand Vacation

18 Day Custom Tour

From $4,495

On your 18-day best of Australia and New Zealand tour, you will find the point at which the lush rainforest meets the vibrant coral reef and where the traditional Maori war song can reach the slopes of the Southern Alps. Explosive geysers and rich valleys, jagged mountainscapes and rich culture will highlight the timeless marvels of the land and sea for an adventure into Australia and New Zealand’s indelible wonder.
Adventurous Two-Week South Island Family Vacation

14 Day Custom Tour

From $3,495

Your epic two-week family-friendly New Zealand tour will create unforgettable memories of timeless adventures on the South Island. You can swim with dolphins and cycle down winding hilltop trails. Kayaking on clear turquoise waters will provide surprising wildlife sightings. Cruise through the pristine wilderness of Doubtful Sound and immerse the family in Middle Earth by visiting Lord of the Rings filming locations for a dynamic New Zealand family excursion.
Romantic South Island Vacation for Couples

14 Day Custom Tour

From $9,795

Sublime scenery and secluded luxury will create your perfect 14-day romantic New Zealand vacation. You can reach isolated mountainscapes by helicopter for a private picnic and sample delicious wines on celebrated vineyards. An opulent cruise will take you along the sparkling waters of Milford Sound while the charming waters provide exceptional views passing whale pods. You will experience the opulence of New Zealand’s South Island for passionate and spirited couples.
Discover Australia, New Zealand & Cook Islands...

15 Day Custom Tour

From $3,745

The sails of the Sydney Opera House, the songs of Maori warriors, and Rarotonga’s pristine beaches will reveal splendor on your 15-day cultural tour of Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. You will sample distinctive flavors informed by local tradition and climb to the top of Sydney’s Sky Tower. Sip wine on Waiheke Island and snorkel the reefs of the Cook Islands for a remarkable discovery of Oceana.
The Classic New Zealand Discovery Tour

12 Day Custom Tour

From $8,395

Fantastical landscapes and vibrant culture will captivate you during your 12-day New Zealand highlights tour. The majesty of dramatic cliffs lining a pristine sound and caves shimmering glowworms will reveal the spirit of the North and South islands. You will have an immersive experience to the heart of Middle Earth and witness captivating blue glaciers as you venture into luxury and epic scenery on your New Zealand adventure.
New Zealand Tour of Enchanting North and Magical South...

13 Day Custom Tour

From $3,245

Your 13-day green-friendly New Zealand tour will combine luxury with eco-conscious adventure on the North and South islands. Pristine nature will enchant you as you cruise the depths of Doubtful Sound and listen for traditional Maori songs in Rotorua. The Sky Tower will soar above Auckland’s skyline while a scenic flight over an active volcano will reveal the continued geothermal activity of the archipelago for an enticing customizable tour.Designed to deliver the most authentic New Zealand experience through hand-selected lodges and retreats in stunning natural environments as well as arrange the most impressive excursions and activities, this itinerary utilizes all Green Journey accommodations and touring options.
New Zealand Coastal Tour: Christchurch, Dunedin, Milford...

8 Day Custom Tour

From $1,995

The epic grandeur of the South Island will immerse you in endless wonder on your 8-day New Zealand tour. You will trek an ancient glacier and delight in the scenic views of the Southern Alps from a historic train. Waterfalls will crash down Milford Sound's dramatic cliffs while Queenstown’s vibrant ambiance will highlight the friendly local culture for a classic exploration of New Zealand’s South Island.
New Zealand Glacier Tour

7 Day Custom Tour

From $4,895

You will discover dynamic and vibrant landscapes in frozen scenery during your 7-day New Zealand nature tour. Frozen rivers and their contrasting blue and white icy features will shimmer as you touch the crisp surface of renowned glaciers. Whether climbing through ice caves or standing beneath soaring mountain peaks, cruising on pristine glacial lakes or finding drifting icebergs, you will have an immersive adventure of New Zealand’s epic South Island.
Grand New Zealand Vacation Package

19 Day Custom Tour

From $4,745

The dramatic landscape and natural wonder will captivate you on your complete 19-day New Zealand tour. Touch a glacier’s ancient icy colors. Watch for whales breaching the turquoise sea. Listen to the sounds of traditional Maori chants accompanying a customary feast. Embrace the inspiring features of Middle Earth. Enjoy Art Deco architecture, Alpine scenery, and soft sands as you experience New Zealand’s unparalleled diversity.
Luxury New Zealand Tour: The Ultimate Experience

11 Day Custom Tour

From $7,695

Embrace gentle seaspray and snowcapped peaks during your 11-day ultimate New Zealand luxury tour. Five-star accommodations will immerse you in secluded destinations and extreme comfort as you discover Maori culture and witness some of the North and South islands’ tallest peaks. Cross through dramatic alpine scenery on a scenic train and witness inspiring volcanic formations. Rippling lakes, marvelous coastlines, and natural thermal springs will highlight New Zealand’s unique majesty.
12 Day Best of New Zealand Tour

12 Day Custom Tour

From$8,395

You don’t have to ask for the best to know that the best is what you’re getting. The silence of Milford Sound surrounds you. The vista of the Panorama Restaurant stretches before you. The steam from the crater on White Island rises into the sky. From the Art Deco architecture of Napier to the extraordinary culture of Rotorua, New Zealand is filled with the unique, the diverse, and nothing less than the exceptional. This is New Zealand at its best and it never settles for less.

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New Zealand Alpine Vacation from Nature to Culture

9 Day Custom Tour

From$6,295

Enter the sensational world of New Zealand, where the culture resounds and the landscapes take your breath away. The rolling mountain ranges are seemingly endless. The ocean is incredibly calm. Waterfalls thunder down mountains as geysers explode into the sky. The saw-toothed mountains pierce the sky. The turquoise glacial lakes glisten in the sunlight. The consuming darkness disappears within the bright luminescence of glowworms. Step into the ineffable world of New Zealand and experience its unparalleled delights.

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New Zealand Tour for Independent Traveler

11 Day Custom Tour

From$7,695

New Zealand ripples with choice for the solo traveler, the nation of superlatives packed with the unique experiences of a lifetime. Volcano trekking, Hobbit Hole exploring, dolphin swimming, river rafting...there's no need to wait for a travel partner with this ultimate handcrafted journey; each day will bursting with thrilling excitement and untamed beauty. Just pack your adventurous spirit and let some of the country's finest guides do the rest.

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Luxury New Zealand Family Vacation

16 Day Custom Tour

From$11,195

Effortlessly blending natural superlatives with child friendly adventure, this custom tailored luxury vacation brings New Zealand to life for the whole family. Tranquility merges with exhilaration, sumptuous lodges hide amongst inspiring landscapes, and every activity holds the attention of both children and adults. Travel time is kept to a bare minimum and each of your four destinations burst with endless opportunity to explore New Zealand at its most authentic.

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Pokémon​ Inspired Family Tour to Australia & New Zealand

14 Day Custom Tour

From$4,993

Does someone in your family have Pokémon fever? This Pokémon-inspired Family Tour of Australia and New Zealand is perfect for families who want to see it all and catch em' all. Embrace the opportunity to turn this family vacation into a breathtaking and educational experience the whole family will never forget. Take the kids' Pokémon pursuit to the next level and have them experience the exhilarating feeling of exploring new lands and capturing regionally exclusive rare Pokémon such as Kangaskhan, which can only be found in Australia and New Zealand. Spend a day or two having them lead the family through the vibrant Great Barrier Reef and the serene Milford Sound in search of Pokémon in foreign lands; your private tour guide (who is also a Pokémon fan!) is able to expertly educate the family on the historical and cultural significance of the destinations you venture to.

Note: Zicasso and “Pokémon Inspired Family Tour to Australia & New Zealand” are not affiliated with, or sponsored or endorsed by, The Pokémon Company International, Pokémon Korea Inc., Niantic Inc., Google Inc., Alphabet Inc., ©Nintendo, ©GAME FREAK Inc. and ©Creatures Inc.

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“The Real Thing” New Zealand Tour: Auckland, Rotorua & Much More

15 Day Custom Tour

From$3,745

The wonder of New Zealand not only lies in its dramatic landscapes, but also beats in the heart of the country’s culture. Journey through the center of the North and South Island on a tour tailored to give you the majesty of New Zealand’s beating heart. Watch the world smolder around you in Rotorua. Kayak through crystal blue waters. Venture deep into the cavernous labyrinth of Kahurangi National Park.  From jet boat safaris to feasts beneath the stars, experience New Zealand’s heart by experiencing New Zealand’s culture.

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New Zealand’s South Island Tour: Christchurch, Queenstown & More

14 Day Custom Tour

From$9,795

New Zealand’s South Island is all about the journey. Here, you can ride on dreamy railways across the untouched wilderness, take a helicopter ride to a remote glacier, relax on overnight cruises through surreal fjords, and cruise on alpine roads past turquoise lakes. The destinations are also something that will have you dreaming about New Zealand for months to come. You can see villages with a mountain view, quaint cities of 19th-century heritage, and towns that are perched on lakes and beneath glaciers. Combine all these majestic highlights on this two-week, best-of tour that connects both nature and culture.

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“Back to Life” New Zealand Vacation

10 Day Custom Tour

From$2,495

New Zealand is a spectacular country from the northern beaches of the North Island to the southern fiords of the South Island. This 10-day trip will show you the lush land, opulent waters, and friendly people that give vitality to Kiwi life and make the country shine with excitement. Whether summer, spring, winter, or autumn, the thrill of New Zealand is not just from its extreme sports but comes from its core, its indelible and ineffable beauty. Exploring New Zealand allows you to not just see what makes the country stunning, but allows you to experience what makes its world effervescent. 

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Unexplored Kiwi Bliss: Off the Beaten Track North Island Tour

11 Day Custom Tour

From$2,745

This adventurous 11-day excursion will celebrate these places of privacy and enchantment, from hiking trails to romantic bays and the stories behind the scenes. It will provide you with a highly authentic Kiwi and Maori experience in places that are typically missed by others. New Zealand’s North Island remains a destination of unexplored treasures. Remote beaches ignite the imagination, magnificent waterfalls hide from the tourist trail, nearby islands evoke Pacific bliss, and rolling vineyards hide so many secrets.

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Unique & Boutique New Zealand Tour

23 Day Custom Tour

From$16,095

The All-Seeing Eye watches the land from atop Mount Doom. The smoke of Mordor drifts across the craggy landscape. Nazguls traipse across Middle Earth in search of the ring, which sits quietly hidden in the lush hills of the Shire. From the depths of Helms Deep to the towering trees of the Fangorn Forest, watch Middle Earth come to life before your eyes as you venture across the unimaginable world of New Zealand to experience the journey of a lifetime.

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New Zealand

How to Book a New Zealand Tour

New Zealand is incredible nature and thrilling adventure as natural wonders pack into the archipelago with snowcapped summits, isolated fiords, and untouched rainforest just the beginning. The sounds of the haka and aromas of the hangi showcase Maori heritage and secluded seaside towns reflect colonial history. Finding the right balance between culture, adventure, nature, and luxury for your perfect vacation can be daunting but Ziasso is here to help.

There are three ways to plan and book a trip:

1. Get a customized tour planned and booked by a travel professional. Travel independently on your own schedule.

2. Book a group tour. Join an escorted group tour with a fixed departure date.

3. Plan and book a trip yourself.

Zicasso offers the best solution for a customized tour by matching you with top travel specialists who plan and book the trip for you. Our travel agency division, Marageti, specializes in helping you book an escorted group tour. There is no extra cost to you for either service.

Custom Tours

A customized tour is one that is planned by a travel specialist according to your specific interests, preferences, and schedule. Whether you desire a family-friendly adventure or a romantic getaway, each of the accommodations, activities, and destinations is tailored to your preferences. The knowledge and experience of your travel specialist makes a big difference. Zicasso has spent thousands of hours vetting the best travel partners. We act as a referral service, matching you with specialists that best meet your goals and priorities.

Escorted Group Tours

A group tour offers the advantage of convenience at a great value. The schedule is fixed, the itinerary is pre-planned, and a dedicated tour director travels with the group throughout the trip. A group tour can be 30 - 50% less expensive than an equivalent customized tour. Out of the many hundreds of group tours, how do you select the right one for you? Our travel agency division, Marageti, has sales agents who specialize in helping travelers weigh the pros and cons of each group tour. We give you personalized recommendations to find the best tour for you.

Goals and Priorities

What are your goals and priorities for the trip? These should drive your decision for either a customized tour or a fixed departure group tour. We are here to help you make the right decisions to make your dream trip a reality.

Must-See Destinations in New Zealand

Zicasso has worked with our New Zealand travel specialists for the best recommendations for any length of trip. A custom Zicasso tour will organize your days according to your travel goals but the following suggestions work as a great outline.

The majority of travelers from the United States spend between 12 to 14 days in New Zealand. 14 days gives you a good amount of time to travel at your own pace or visit more destinations within New Zealand depending on your specific travel goals. We offer recommendations based on our travel experts’ advice and the amount of time you have for your trip.

7 to 9 Day Trips

If you have around one week for your New Zealand trip, we suggest you visit Rotorua, Nelson/Abel Tasman, and Queenstown/Milford Sound. When considering your time in New Zealand, how you organize your trip will greatly affect how you see the country. You can use Rotorua, Nelson, and Queenstown as bases for day trips that will help minimize travel time so you can experience the essential highlights and your Zicasso travel specialist can help.

7 Days

Days 1-2: Rotorua

Days 3-4: Nelson/Abel Tasman

Days 5-7: Queenstown/Milford Sound

8 Days

Days 1-2: Rotorua

Days 3-5: Nelson/Abel Tasman

Days 6-8: Queenstown/Milford Sound

9 Days

Days 1-2: Rotorua

Days 3-5: Nelson/Abel Tasman

Days 6-9: Queenstown/Milford Sound

If you have more time (10-16 Days), we recommend:

If you have approximately two weeks in New Zealand, you can take your time between destinations for a more authentic experience or spend more time traveling to new, unique places across the North and South islands. With around 14 days, we suggest adding Auckland, Franz Josef, and Napier to the original sites of Rotorua, Nelson, and Queenstown.

All Zicasso tours are customized to your preferences, but here is how we recommend you spend your time:

10 Days

Day 1: Auckland

Days 2-3: Rotorua

Days 4-6: Nelson/Abel Tasman

Days 7-8: Franz Josef/West Coast

Days 9-10: Queenstown/Milford Sound

12 Days

Day 1: Auckland

Days 2-3: Rotorua

Days 4-6: Nelson/Abel Tasman

Days 7-8: Franz Josef/West Coast

Days 9-12: Queenstown/Milford Sound

14 Days

Day 1: Auckland

Days 2-3: Rotorua

Days 4-5: Napier/Hawkes Bay

Days 6-8: Nelson/Abel Tasman

Days 9-10: Franz Josef/West Coast

Days 11-14: Queenstown/Milford Sound

15 Days

Day 1-2: Auckland

Days 3-4: Rotorua

Days 5-6: Napier/Hawkes Bay

Days 7-8: Nelson/Abel Tasman

Day 9: Kaikoura

Days 10-11: Franz Josef/West Coast

Days 12-15: Queenstown/Milford Sound

16 days

Day 1-2: Auckland

Days 3-4: Rotorua

Days 5-6: Napier/Hawkes Bay

Days 7-8: Nelson/Abel Tasman

Day 9: Kaikoura

Days 10-11: Franz Josef/West Coast

Days 12-16: Queenstown/Milford Sound

How many days is enough to see New Zealand?

21 days is the ideal number of days to visit New Zealand. While many people plan 14-day New Zealand trips, they often do not account for the two days of travel time that only gives them 12 days of actual touring. 21 days in New Zealand gives you enough time to experience an authentic mix of culture, natural beauty, pop-culture, and adventure. In New Zealand, you could start in a city, visit pristine beaches, and end your day in the rugged mountains within a few hours but 21 days will let you travel at a more leisurely pace to also find the glaciers, secluded coastal towns, and preserved heritage.

Essential Experiences for the Best New Zealand Vacation

During your New Zealand tour, you can trek snowcapped summits and experience extreme sports, meet with local farmers focusing on sustainable crops and discover the light of ancient glowworms. You can also find giant sand dunes, cultural villages, award-winning wineries, and untouched fiords.

Best Way to Experience Queenstown

Queenstown is more than just the country’s adventure capital and instead acts as a luxurious gateway to the South Island’s natural beauty. The town acts like a jewel in the country’s crown of grand nature offering access to glassy lakes, jagged mountains, glistening glaciers, and breathtaking fiords. During your New Zealand tour, you can have the following essential experience when first visiting Queenstown.

What to See & Do

The Main Must-Do Tours (2-4 days depending on pace):

  • Active Exploration: Cycle the trails winding around the eclectic alpine town to find sensational vistas of sweeping across Lake Wakatipu to the Remarkables Mountains. Follow the walking trails that weave around the shores of Lake Wakatipu or to the top of Bob’s Peak for a different perspective of town and the surrounding nature.
  • Natural Grandeur: Discover the pristine marvels of Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park where penguins, dolphins, and whales add to the luster of the bordering lush cliffs
  • Sample Local Culture: Delight in the local wines of the Central Otago wine region to sample celebrated varietals like pinot noir and pino gris.

Best Way to Experience Nelson/Abel Tasman

Rotorua embodies culture and the living earth. As New Zealand’s cultural capital, the Maori heritage remains a prevalent part of city history and contemporary regional life with cultural performances and traditional hangi banquets. The landscape highlights how nature breathes as seen through sulfur-rich air, shimmering springs, erupting geysers, and distinctive moonscapes. You can have the following essential experiences when in Rotorua.

What to See & Do

The Main Must-Do Tours (2 days depending on pace)

  • Extreme Nature: Witness the marvels of the landscape at Waimangu Volcanic Village and Wai-O-Tapu to find steaming lakes, bubbling mud pools, and active geysers.
  • Wildlife Views: Find the bird for which New Zealanders are named when visiting a kiwi birdhouse or partaking in a kiwi encounter. Venture deep into caves of the geothermal region to witness the fascinating natural lights of glowworms on a guided walk, abseil, or blackwater excursion.
  • Cultural Experiences: Enjoy an immersive village visit in the geothermal area for deeper insight into traditional New Zealand culture and Maori heritage.
  • Fantastical Stories: Wander into the fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien and the insights of Peter Jackson at Hobbiton, where the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies were filmed

Best Way to Experience Rotorua

Nelson highlights the best of New Zealand in a hidden corner of the South Island beside the country's only protected coastline of Abel Tasman National Park. As one of the country's most livable cities, Nelson possesses elegant art culture, celebrated gastronomy, and captivating beaches. The following experiences are essential when visiting Nelson in New Zealand.

What to See & Do

The Main Must-Do Tours (2-3 days depending on pace)

  • Passive Nature: Indulge in the golden sands of the coastline and the network of easy walking trails that offer grand panoramas.
  • Active Discovery: Enjoy the glassy waters of Tasman Bay on kayak and snorkeling excursions that showcase the divers wild- and marine life against a backdrop of coastal cliffs.
  • Art Experiences: Experience art culture and preserved heritage displayed in sites like the Museum of Wearable Art and Classic Cars, Founders Heritage Park, and Suter Art Gallery

Special Interests & Activities in New Zealand

Traveling with Zicasso provides you with exclusive access to many activities, excursions, and tours for a distinctive experience. The following information offers insight into our recommended experiences and can be tailored to focus on your unique interests.

Best Food & Wine Destinations

The food and wine scene in New Zealand has become more recognizable on the world stage with chefs highlighting traditional recipes, local and seasonal ingredients, as well as highlighting customary cooking practices. From an award-winning food truck serving traditional hangi meals to Michelin-starred chefs, New Zealand’s food-scene celebrates the diversity of culinary perspective crowned by gold medal wines crafted in across 11 different regions producing much more than the Sauvignon Blanc that made local wines famous. The following suggestions focus on some of the best New Zealand destinations for food and wine:

Marlborough: Marlborough represents the largest wine-growing region in New Zealand with its prestige stemming from its delicious Sauvignon Blanc. The diverse landscape supports a range of succulent flavors in the varietals stemming from soils along valleys and sheltered waterways affected by sunny days and cool nights, river plains and coastal breezes.

Hawkes Bay: Hawkes Bay is situated in the Central North Island with a mild climate that supports the river plains and bordering forested mountain ranges, endless beaches and thriving vineyards. The alluvial soils and Mediterranean weather influences the sophisticated layers of weight reds and structured chardonnays that pair perfectly with inspired local cuisine like prawns and traditional hangi ingredients.

Zicasso’s Exclusive Access to New Zealand Best Wine

Zicasso travel specialists can organize your perfect food and wine experience in New Zealand with private tours on secluded wineries and exclusive tastings under the stars. You can meet with celebrated vintners and learn more about New Zealand’s impressive array of varietals from a sommelier during a food and wine pairing.

Art & History

New Zealand is referred to as a relatively young country for art and history but retains a majestic display of natural history across the islands and a tremendous connection to cultural artistic expression. Maori art often consists of carving, tattooing, weaving, and painting but can also be expressed through the senses, such as cooking, dancing, and singing. Cultural villages reveal decorated meeting grounds and the dynamic movement of the Haka war dance while art galleries in towns like Nelson and Christchurch highlight the contemporary art movement showcasing the diverse reasons New Zealand is a fantastic destination for art.

Must-See Art Museums & Attractions:

  • Experience the Christchurch Art Gallery’s embrace of New Zealand artists who capture bold landscapes with traditional methods and contemporary art with interactive focus
  • Discover how cultural history coincides with artistic inspiration at Auckland Museum, which hosts Maori and Polynesian treasures
  • Embrace diverse artistic perspectives on display at Wellington’s New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, where contemporary works create an innovative and interactive culture

History

History in New Zealand feels both fresh and ancient, with Maori culture on the islands dating back approximately a millennium set against the backdrop of timeworn forests and ancient mountain ranges. European colonial towns juxtapose Maori cultural villages, while giant sand dunes contrast dramatic peaks topped with snow. History represents seafaring heritage and gold-mining traditions, the stories of Captain Cook to the myths of Tane separating the sky from the earth. On a customized Zicasso trip, we can design custom tours with expert guides, such as members of Maori communities and naturalists with a PhD. We can also organize history- or cultural-focused small-group tours with a certified guide.

Active Tours

An active tour immerses you in the beauty of the countryside, the grandeur of the coastline coastal, and the undulating mountain ranges of New Zealand. You can travel at your preferred pace in a unique context. We recommend the following for you to experience some of New Zealand’s best active tours.

Hiking: Milford Track - The famous hiking trail takes you through Fiordland National Park between Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound for an immersive trek that can take up to four days while surrounded by impressive waters, forests, and wildlife.

Mountain Biking: Queen Charlotte Track - The magnificent views and rugged trails winding around the ridges, hills, and bays of Marlborough Sounds lets you uncover the unseen while also finding luxury resorts and endless water-sport opportunities.

Kayaking: Abel Tasman - The only coastal national park will highlight the splendors of pristine water along the Abel Tasman Sea. Penguins and seals lounge on the rocks dolphins swim in the bays, and the clear, turquoise water reflects the fringing subtropical rainforest.

Private Excursions and Special Access

Zicasso’s travel specialist partners have insider knowledge of unique experiences and relationships with locals to ensure customized experiences that you cannot get any other way. With each activity tailored to your specific interests, your unforgettable excursions will often become the experience of a lifetime. Here are some examples, but the possibilities are endless:

  • Glamp on a secluded riverbank with a private guide and chef.
  • Learn to weave traditional Maori patterns and designs with a collection of women who carry on the custom
  • Get access to the post-production studios that helped create the art, backgrounds, set design, and costumes for films like The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogies
  • Visit with Maori chiefs to learn about the ancestral lineage and cultural myths of New Zealand in addition to revealing the historic establishment of the local community.

How much is a tour to New Zealand?

The starting price of a custom-tailored New Zealand trip is approximately $250 per person, per day.

The cost of a New Zealand vacation is dependent on several factors, such as:

  • Length of your trip
  • Season (month) of travel
  • Class of hotel
  • Number of locations/cities you visit
  • Number of guided day tours and activities (e.g., cooking class, wine tasting, etc.)
  • How much you spend on meals, shopping, etc.

A vacation such as this is often the biggest purchase of the year. It will also likely be one of the most memorable experiences of your lifetime. To get the most out of your trip, we highly recommend using an expert New Zealand travel specialist to plan a customized New Zealand tour that is tailored to your specific interests and budget. You can also join an escorted group tour so that most travel arrangements are pre-planned for you. This way, you can travel hassle-free and relax while a professional tour director and guide takes care of all logistics and any issues that might arise.

The cost of a tailor-made New Zealand tour typically starts at $3,500 per person for a 14-day trip, i.e., at $250 per person, per day during the low or mid-season.

This includes:

  • 3-star hotels (shared twin room)
  • Some guided day tours and activities
  • Transportation in New Zealand such as airport transfers and domestic flights

A 5-star, tailor-made New Zealand tour, where most services are upgraded and extra unique experiences are included, typically starts at $9,800 per person for a 14-day trip, or $700 per person, per day.

Everyone’s priorities, interests, and preferences are different. Submit a trip request on Zicasso, and we will personally match you with an expert trip planner who will help you customize your dream trip or help you to select the right group tour while also taking your budget into consideration.

Best Time to Visit New Zealand

Updated: January 21, 2020

The best time to visit New Zealand is between December and February. December, January, and February represent the summer season for the Southern Hemisphere and bring many visitors eager to celebrate the good weather and festive holidays such as Christmas, New Years, and Chinese New Year. December, January, and February can also see a large influx of crowds due to the festive atmosphere and good weather across the country.

The climate can vary across the different regions of New Zealand, with the North Island having a subtropical climate and the South Island possessing a temperate climate. November, March, and April are also great months to visit New Zealand with the shoulder season also accounting for smaller crowds around the country. The weather can be rainy in November or a bit cold near the end of summer at the close of April. Along with smaller crowds, the shoulder season also offers lower prices.

Visit the New Zealand Tourism guide for more information about the weather and climate.

How far in advance should I plan a trip to New Zealand?

To have your preferred experiences, tours and hotels, you should book your New Zealand trip between six to nine months in advance. Many boutique and luxury hotels in New Zealand have limited space which means the rooms book quickly. If traveling during peak season, you should book between 12 to 18 months in advance to make sure you can stay at your preferred choice of luxury lodge.

Modes of Transportation in New Zealand

The best way to see New Zealand in 10 days is by a mix of private guide and helicopter. A private guide gives you the flexibility and freedom of traveling at your preferred pace between destinations. They also have knowledge and insight into New Zealand history and local culture for a more personalized experience. For instance, if a traveler mentions liking tea, a private guide often knows the best tea producing region in New Zealand or a local cafe that makes the best cup of tea in the country.

Helicopters

New Zealanders can use helicopters like taxis across the islands. A helicopter cuts down travel time across the country while also offering tremendous views during travel. A private helicopter ride can also make stops or detours based on your travel goals or whims.

Trains and ferries are available when traveling in New Zealand but force your travel plans into their schedule and points of travel. Private guides and helicopters open the country to what you wish to see on your schedule.

Your Zicasso travel partner ensures that your logistics are as smooth as possible by including private airport transfers, domestic flights, and any necessary helicopter or city transfers between destinations to create a stress-free New Zealand tour.

What to Consider When Traveling Through New Zealand

When traveling on a New Zealand tour, considerations about safety, travel logistics, and accessibility are always a concern before your arrival. The following suggestions offer you more information on what you should consider.

Is New Zealand Safe for Travel?

New Zealand is very safe for travelers. While you should exercise normal safety precautions, such as not leaving your belongings unattended, New Zealand is incredibly safe and rated in the 2017 Global Peace Index as one of the world’s most peaceful countries.

The greatest safety concern in New Zealand stems from natural disasters such as earthquakes. However, these do not occur often and the majority of injuries occur from falling objects or debris.

Bug bites can be an issue when traveling in New Zealand during summer. When traveling in New Zealand, especially in summer, you should cover exposed skin and use appropriate insect repellent. For more information on ways to stay safe and prevent bug bites, you can visit the CDC website.

Travel Insurance

You’ve booked your dream vacation, now protect it with travel insurance. A wide range of factors can leave your vacation in limbo. Medical emergencies, inclement weather, and unexpected cancellations can cause turmoil for your trip, so in the unlikely event of a disaster, get the travel insurance coverage that provides peace of mind. To get a quote, visit our travel insurance page.

For Families

New Zealand tours focus mainly on activities, with a range of experiences having age limitations for young children. Having a family-friendly guide who understands the concerns, demands, and needs of children of different ages can help you maximize your time around the country and enhance your experience.

For Seniors

Walking distances and carrying luggage are a consideration when in New Zealand. A Zicasso travel specialist has invaluable information on accommodations, activities, and destinations that can both capture quintessential New Zealand while also minimizing or eliminating challenges for seniors. Arrangements can be made for accommodation hotels or for specific forms of travel. You can also travel with a small group through Marageti. Guided tours that hit the highlights easily account for logistics and specific services.

For Couples

A New Zealand travel specialist will understand the demands of a couple’s trip that can balance romantic excursions with active exploration. You can find intimate experiences at secluded luxury resorts accessible only by helicopter or delight in dinner with a private chef in an isolated location. Exclusive tours will help create your unforgettable experience in New Zealand.

For Travelers with Disabilities

Your New Zealand travel specialist who understands your needs can help any guests with mobility challenges by focusing on access and alternative arrangements. Our attention to detail can find proper vehicles, accessible hotels, and craft unique experiences from helicopter rides to pop-culture tours for you to experience with relative ease.

Best Airports to Fly In & Out of New Zealand

The best airport to fly in and out of when visiting New Zealand is Auckland’s International Airport (AKL). Auckland has New Zealand’s largest airport and hosts the majority of flights traveling direct from North America. The ease of plane travel across New Zealand makes it easy to fly between regional and metropolitan airports. For instance, you could land in Auckland at 8 am, pass through customs, pick up your bags, transfer planes, and arrive in Queenstown by noon on New Zealand’s longest domestic flight, which takes 1 hour and 55 minutes from Auckland to Queenstown.

For most travelers, the most convenient airport is Auckland (AKL) followed by Christchurch’s International Airport (CHC), which will see more direct flights to the South Island in 2020. The busiest airports in New Zealand include:

Find the Best Flight

When flying in and out of New Zealand, you do not need to book your arrival and departure from the same airport. The majority of flights to and from North America funnel through Auckland. This means that if you book a flight to or from a different airport, you will most likely have a layover or transfer in Auckland before reaching your final destination. However, plane transfers in New Zealand are very easy and quick.

Domestic Flights

Domestic flights are one of the best ways to travel distances in New Zealand, especially if traveling between the North and South islands. Flights are quick and you can generally arrive at the airport for your flight up to 30 minutes before departure. Domestic flights travel between large cities and smaller regional airports, so you can avoid long drives or tumultuous waters when on a ferry. Depending on your plans, your travel specialist will prioritize the best routes so you can experience more.

Flights Via Zicasso

Zicasso Air Desk is an international air ticketing service that eliminates the stress of finding and booking the right flights for your upcoming vacation by employing the same personalized service you can expect from planning a trip with Zicasso. Our competitive flight pricing, 24xX7 Service & Support, and Complimentary Consultation of Routing vs. Pricing with an Expert Flight Specialist make finding the perfect flight for your trip effortless.

Recommendations for the Return Traveler

When returning for another New Zealand tour, you can travel deeper into the countryside beyond the essential destinations to experience culture and scenery from a new perspective. You can venture off the beaten path to find sights equally worth your attention at the following recommendations.

East Cape

The East Cape represents an untouched New Zealand, with villages centered around historic churches and breathtaking scenery. History features Captain Cook’s arrival and Maori mythology, while the slopes of Mount Hikurangi sees the world’s first light in summer.  Fresh seafood, horseback riding, and a tranquil ambiance remain essential parts of daily life.

Golden Bay

The top of the South Island features natural diversity with an endless array of golden beaches, mountain valleys, and tranquil rivers leading into the serene sea. Rural charm inspires artistic communities and an alternative lifestyle that celebrates the dynamic landscape. With the wetlands of Farewell Spit supporting a renowned bird sanctuary and the seaside offering views of passing whales, natural wonder takes center stage.

Stewart Island

As New Zealand’s third island, Stewart Island exudes mystery and majesty. With the largest population of kiwi birds and plenty of outdoor adventures, from kayaking to hiking, the landscape possesses a different rhythm that moves with the sea and the tides. Dirt roads, no traffic lights, and a connected local community quickly reveals the island’s charm and its distinctive ecosystem.

Related New Zealand Tours by Zicasso

Themed:

Duration:

Specific New Zealand Destinations:

Multi-Country New Zealand Vacations:

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