The serene blue and white of the Franz Joseph glacier stretches between two mountains. The cry of the haka echoes through the sky. A kiwi’s outline blurs before your eyes as the bird runs swiftly away. And the wondrous shine of New Zealand’s famous glowworms give a guiding light in the dark caves. Witness the amazing beauty of both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. You be the judge of how decidedly gorgeous they are, and how decidedly different they can be. New...
Auckland - Decidedly Different
Meet your guide and depart from the beautiful city of Auckland. Begin your adventure through the islands of New Zealand by first making your way through the incredibly lush dairy farmland of the Waikato region. The hills roll in the greenery that seems never ending. Stop at one of the many farms in the area for a fresh cup of coffee and a taste of the local flavor, from New Zealand’s famed hospitality to a delicious, rich cup of coffee topped off with a splash of the local milk. The fresh grass is sweet in the air as you make your way to the Waitomo Caves. Your voice echoes in the emptiness of the damp cavern. The sound of rushing water swirls around you. Float deeper into the darkness where bits of light scatter and hang like glowing icicles from the cave’s ceiling, until the cave’s glow fades, the water pushes you to the nearest opening and you exit the cavern with a taste of wonder and a small hint of the beauty of the North Island.
Settle into the “Cultural Capital,” of New Zealand: Rotorua. Once known for being a luxurious resort town, the city still bustles with spas and hot springs but has also grown to encompass a large connection to its Maori roots. Experience the Maori culture first hand. The warriors stand tall and proud in grass skirts, their eyes and tongues bulging out of their heads. Their arms flex as they jump and shout into the air. Once the tribe has calmed down, no longer sensing you as a threat, they greet you with a warm welcome and the promise of a hangi, a traditional Maori style BBQ, with succulent meats and hardy vegetables slow roasted in a deep hole dug for the occasion. The sounds of guitars and chants, rhythmically structured and continuous, move around the air mixing with the luscious smell of roasting food. As the sounds and flavors of the night fade into the ether it will always be a reminder of how unique the North Island is.
Rotorua - The Diversity of Wonder
Napier - Decidedly Natural (or Naturally Manmade)
Martinborough - More Than Just A People
Wellington - The Eclectic Beauty of Living
Blenheim - A Different Day
Kaikoura - A Time For Gold and A Time For Green
Canterbury - Decidedly Southward Bound
Queenstown - Farther South Further Transformations
Queenstown - The Different Sounds of Milford Sound
Wanaka - Emerald and Gold
Franz Josef Glacier - The Difference in Glaciers
Punakaiki - The Beauty of Land and People
Punakaiki - The Decidedly Different Railway
- Glide through Waitomo glowworm grotto
- View the incredible Franz Josef glacier
- Experience the TranzAlpine train
- Explore the wildlife of Milford Sound
- Have a rare glimpse of the native kiwi, the national bird
- Taste the beautiful wine of premier vineyards
- See a live Maori concert
- Watch gold mining history come alive at the Arrowtown Museum
On this 14-day tour, travel through the North and South Islands of New Zealand to see the different worlds that the islands have created. Whether in the warm summer months that blanket the prairies in lush green, or in the cool winter months that brush the mountain peaks with pristine snow, there is never a bad time to explore New Zealand. Even with their close proximity and shared country, the North and South Islands of New Zealand are incredibly different, from the varied tribes of the Maori to the awe-inspiring landscapes that shift the region. There is no question as to New Zealand’s beauty, but on this tour, you can experience the islands’ differences.
Beginning in Auckland you will make your way south to Rotorua where Maori culture thrives and spa resorts are part of the city’s history. Indulge in the culture and the museums that inhabit the area, along with the wildlife reserves that calls Rotorua home. In Napier you will be surrounded by a present day seaside fantasy of a one-time Art Deco vision. The Wairarapa region is surrounded by wildlife and vineyards to be explored and experienced. Make your way to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, where the waterfront shines bright in the sun and Mt Victoria watches over the bay. Enjoy the stunning beauty of Cook Strait as you make your way across the waterway in the luxuries of the Cook Strait ferry as you reach for the South Island.
Once on the shores of the South Island you will tour the premier wine and food region and taste the difference between the islands eventually leaving behind the golden hills of Marlborough for the stunning scenery of the Kaikoura Coast. Known for its sea life, in season you can watch the whales migrate. As you head farther south you will pass along the Southern Alps and the small village of Mt Somers before reaching Queenstown. Full of magnificent adventures, Queenstown will always keep you active, in addition to being a wonderful spot to stop on your journey to Milford Sound. Stay in Cardrona Valley and enjoy its history, stretching back to the gold mining era. Full of diversity, travel from a historically gold mining town to the stunning Franz Josef Glacier. Short walks take you to vantage points to view the glacier’s movement over time. The surrounding areas are also known for Pounamu (greenstone) carvings and glass blowing. At your journey’s end you can sit back and enjoy the magnificent view of the alpine scenery on the TranzAlpine railway. Whether from the snowy winter or the sunny summer, the differences of the North and South Island are apparent. The beauty of either island is no less inspiring, from their people and the landscapes, to their food and their wildlife.
$4,545 per person (excluding international flights)
- 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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