Grand New Zealand Vacation Package

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Total Trip:

19 Days
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Countries Visited:

New Zealand
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Places Visited:

Auckland, Rotorua, Bay of Islands, Nelson, Wellington, Queenstown, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hawke's Bay, Franz Josef Village, Milford Sound
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
The intensity and natural charm of dramatic landscapes speaks volumes on this expansive tour of New Zealand, tailored to showcase the sensational life of the North and South Islands. Watch the colors of a translucent bay shimmer in the sunlight. Touch the cold ice of an ancient glacier. From the opulent glow of the glacial lakes to breaching whales and dancing warriors, New Zealand holds the wonders and majesty of an entirely different natural world, where you will wander, wonder, and see it all.

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Day 1

Auckland - The City of Sails Expands

Arrive in Auckland and settle into the beauty of the City of Sails. The water sparkles in the sunlight as sailboats drift along the sea lending Auckland to its nickname. Begin your adventure through the stunning variety of the natural world with a visit to Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter. As you enter the building the rush of cold wind rushes against your cheeks. The encounter simulates the frozen tundra of Antarctica, along with the world beneath the shores that we often long to see. Ride along the snowcat and virtually traverse the rocky snow-scape of the tundra. Penguins waddle along the icy exhibition, diving into the water for fish and fun. As you continue through the exhibit you can see the variety of fish that swim around and over you. Walk through the viewing tunnel,  and pay a visit to the Stingray Bay where you can dip your fingers into the cold water and run your tips over the slick skin of a stingray; Kelly Tarlton’s offers you the natural wonders of the arctic and the world underwater without ever having to step foot onto, or into, either.

Continue your adventure through Auckland with a ride along the Pride of Auckland. The sails billow in the breeze as the mist rises from the sea. The gentle scent of the sea surrounds you. The skyline spreads over the city with the Sky Tower, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, shining like an adorning jewel. The lush green shores of surrounding islands glisten in the setting sun. Glide along the water’s edge, watch the beauty of Auckland as the sun disappears behind the horizon and the city begins to glow.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

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Day 2

Bay of Islands - The Wonders of the Bay of Islands

Transfer to the Bay of Islands where the vibrant beaches of New Zealand come to life. Arrive in Pahia where the water shines an opulent green and blue along the shores. The waves are calm and almost non-existent as the scent of lively trees mixes with the sweet perfume of the sea. Visit the Waitangi National Trust where the most important document in New Zealand history was signed between the British Crown and Maori Chiefs, creating the Treaty of Waitangi. The Treaty House sits along the waterfront where the water laps at the sandy shore. Wander through the Meeting House, carved in traditional Maori form, where spirits are carved directly into the banisters with exceptional detail; from the ta moko (body art) that decorates the spirits, to the textured and textiled walls; the Meeting House connects to the Treaty House as a symbol of partnership agreed to by the Maori and The Crown.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 3

Bay of Islands - The Hole in the Rock

Venture along the waterway and wave goodbye to beaches, for now, as you explore the coastline of the Bay of Islands. The water is calm and perfumes the lightly salted air. The coastline changes from lush prairies to dropping cliffs and back again. Traverse the entirety of Cape Brett where an antique lighthouse shines bright white in the vibrant green of the foothills. The crash of the water against the rocks sings in the sunlight. Pay a visit to Piercy Island, known for the famous Hole in the Rock, carved from the wind, the water, and time. Travel through the hole and see the smoothed limestone and stranded mollusks before heading back to shore and returning to Auckland.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

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Accommodation

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Tour

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Breakfast

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Day 4

Rotorua - Glowing Caves and Chanting Tribes

Depart from Auckland in the morning and begin your journey southward towards Rotorua. The cityscape gives way to the towering trees and stretching prairies before you arrive at the craggy entrance to the Waitomo Caves. Enter the caverns with your guide and step into the depths of the earth, surrounded by limestone and the scent of damp terrain. The sound of gentle water echoes through the tunnels. Your guide brings you to the edge of the subterranean river where you climb aboard a small boat and drift along in the darkness. In the distance you can see a subtle glow spread throughout an open cavern. You have reached the famous Glowworm Grotto, known for being home to the exceptional light and stunning existence of the glowworm. As they light your way in the darkness with radiant purple and blue color, you will exit the boat, leave the cave, and continue on your way to Rotorua.

In Rotorua the streets are filled with the remnants of the city’s 19th and 20th century British Resort history. Victorian architecture is mixed with balcony-lined streets and colorful facades. Steam rises from Lake Rotorua on the edge of the city. Tonight you will experience the cultural majesty that is a Maori hangi, a traditional Maori feast. Be welcomed into the feast with a hongi, the welcome greeting of pushing your nose to the chief or welcome party’s nose, and immediately the songs begin. Warriors chant as they push down the river in their canoes. The beat of drums and strum of guitars fill the meetinghouse. The decadent aroma of succulent meats and earthy vegetables lingers in the air. As the fire burns bright you have been invited and welcomed into a new world, a world filled with rich history, tenacity, and as much inherent beauty as the landscape within New Zealand.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Transfer

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Accommodation

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Breakfast

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Day 5

Napier - Art Deco on the Beach

Today you will depart from Rotorua and continue your journey southbound arriving at the shores of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. The water reflects the snowcapped mountains on the horizon. The crisp breeze blows in off of the lake and rushes through your hair. No visit to Taupo would be complete without a visit to the sensational Crater of the Moon. The cratered valley hisses and clouds with steam. Walk along the track and feel the heat emanate from the earth where pools of mud boil. The water pressure from the nearby geothermal power station has superheated the water, making it rise to the surface and escape through any and every possible vent. Puffs of slightly sulfurous steam swirl into the air as the active world beneath the earth becomes noticeable and unforgettable.

Arrive in Napier, considered the Art Deco Capital of the world. The city center shines with a pastel color palette that makes the city feel like a constant celebratory parade. The spherical buildings twirl into the air, and the sloped roofs are as colorful as the sea. The city mixes classic Hollywood imagery with the exotic sentiments of Africa and South America rolling into the industrial inspiration of railways, steamships, and cars. The city sits along the shore as the soft breeze of the sea rolls through the streets. Enjoy a night tour of the city where the apparent charm of Napier will blend with the city’s history and culture buried deep within its roots. From the colorful buildings to the colorful people, Napier is filled with charm and a quirkiness that will immediately welcome and settle you.

What's Included:

included

Tour

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Transfer

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Accommodation

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Breakfast

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Day 6

Hawke's Bay - Capital Beauty

Wave goodbye to the glowing buildings and subtle waves of Napier as you make your way inland into Hawkes Bay wine country. The vineyards are lush and expand across the valley like a prairie. The hills roll along the distance giving the grapes and the land a beautiful variety, along with the sea breeze and radiant sun. The deep perfume of rich earth rises from beneath the vines. For a sensational taste of Hawkes Bay, venture to Trinity Hill and taste the exceptional 2012 Trinity. Perfumed with leather and plum, the wine combines the spice of Merlot, the rich currant of Cabernet Franc, and the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon. The outcome is rich and soft, serious yet delightful. After your bounty of the beautiful New Zealand earth you will continue to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city set between the foothills of Mount Victoria and the sapphire waters of Cook Straight.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

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Breakfast

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Day 7

Wellington - Lovely with a Capital “L”

Today is at your leisure to explore as much or as little of Wellington as you like. The city glistens in the sunlight and feels more like a large town than a capital city. The lush foothills of Mount Victoria creep into the city’s border as the scent of rich coffee drifts through the streets. The semi-bohemian culture of the city blends effortlessly with the plethora of cultures, from Maori to Polynesian, film communities to tech, all revolving around the cafés and coffee shops that keep the pulse of Wellington on its toes. It is a perfect day to visit Te Paupa, New Zealand’s National Museum and free of charge. Te Paupa helps showcase New Zealand’s identity, from Maori roots to European settlers, from the geological past to a cohabitating present. The rooms are scented with soft cedar and filled with the quiet of a library, often with revolving exhibits that help express the nations identity, whether through New Zealand’s connections and strengths or struggles with its own identity. No matter what exhibits rotate through Te Paupa, you know they will always be super fun and incredibly informative, whether exploring cultural history or the evolving landscapes.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

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Accommodation

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Breakfast

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Day 8

Christchurch - The Expanse of the Garden City

Leave the wonders of Wellington behind you as you make your way to Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island. Known as the Garden City, make your way through the cobblestone charm of the city center, the scent of blooming tulips drifting through the streets. The gentle hum of the trolley cars surround you, as Victorian spires from the Christchurch Cathedral tower into the sky. The rose window glows colorfully in the sunlight as the soft trickle of the Avon River lingers. Climb aboard one of the many boats that speckle the river and punt down the Avon. The water winds through and around the city center meandering along the various gardens and parks of the city. Lupines sway in the breeze. The sweet scent of roses floats from the gardens. Let your fingers drag along the surface of the water, the cool river rippling from you touch, as you settle into the South Island, the manicured gardens welcoming you.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

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Breakfast

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Day 9

Christchurch - Where Whales Never Fear to Tread

Venture to the outskirts of Christchurch and through the Canterbury Plains. The sectioned grasses radiate life and roll the impressive expanse to the foothills. Watch the mountains along the horizon peak into the sky; make your way along the rugged coast to Kaikora. The water below you crashes along the rocks before you reach the harbor of the town. Climb aboard the Great Sights sightseeing boat for the incredible opportunity to see the stunning whales off of New Zealand’s coast. Glide along the cool water, the salty mist spraying around you. The ocean is vibrant with life as seals bark along the rocky shore; dolphins dive in the boat’s wake and play in the waves. In the distance you can see the large spritz of a whale’s breath. The boat wades in the water. The whales linger along the surface of the sea before breaking the calm water, breaching into the air and crashing down again. The sound thunders into the sky, the crash is somehow both elegant and chaotic, and the most beautiful thing you have ever seen.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Transfer

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Accommodation

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Day 10

Franz Josef - A Trained Landscape

Travel along the sensational TranzApline Railway for stunning views of the Southern Alps on your way to Franz Josef Village. The railway is considered one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world as you meander along the foothills of the jagged mountaintops and high-altitude plateaus. Travel across the thundering waters of sapphire rivers. Explore Albert’s Pass, a small, high-altitude town located in the pass that feels like you have traveled back in time to the Wild West. The cabin car contains perfumed hints of coffee and hot chocolate. The world outside of the window is shaped and reshaped by mountains and sky. Arrive in Greymouth and transfer to the charming village of Franz Josef at the foot of the Franz Josef Glacier.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

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Breakfast

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Day 11

Franz Josef - The Majesty of Ice

Today you will visit the Franz Josef Glacier and experience its beauty first hand. The white and blue color of the glacier shines off of the ice in the sunlight like deep water. The pure mountain air surrounds you. The glacier sits between the mountain pass like a flood frozen in motion, textured and stunning from the viewing platform. For a unique experience you have the option of taking a scenic flight, or guided hike up the glacier. Whether up in the air or set on the glacier, the landscape is exceptional and the experience is one of a kind due to the constant movement of the glacier. You can feel the ice crunch beneath your feet and the cold breeze on your cheeks. Travel through tunnels of ice and along the undulating surface of the glacier and feel like you’re climbing the secluded mountain passes of Everest.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Transfer

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Accommodation

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Breakfast

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Day 12

Queenstown - Alpine Landscapes

Depart Franz Josef for the alpine luxuries of Queenstown. The glow of the glacier fades in the distance as you make your way through Haast Pass and along the edges of Lakes Hawea and Wanaka. The twin waters shine a turquoise from the glacial irrigates that feed the lakes. A small strip of land separates the lakes, keeping them as twins instead of merged as one. The snowcapped peaks of the surrounding mountains frame the stunning waters as you continue on to Queenstown. The city sits bordered by the lush foothills of Bob’s Peak and the reflective water of Lake Wakatipu. The Remarkables Mountain Range cuts through the sky with jagged peaks on the opposite side of the lake. The charm of Queenstown sits in its quaint city center, capturing the beauty of an alpine village in its streets lined with gas lamps and cedar storefronts.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

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Accommodation

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Breakfast

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Day 13

Queenstown - A River Shot Over

Journey outside of Queenstown for an adventure through the South Island’s fantastic landscape. Arrive in Shotover Canyon where you will climb aboard a jet boat that will speed you through the sensational waters of the Shotover River. The mist sprays against your face as the wind brushes through your hair. The riverbanks change from pebbled shores to sandy beaches to beech tree forests. The canyon sits at the foothills of snowy peaks and towering trees. Speed along the turquoise waters of the river where the fresh scent of glacial water sits along the foothills, and the wonderful world of the South Island comes to life.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Transfer

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Accommodation

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Breakfast

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Day 14

Queenstown - Fit for Lords and Queens

Your day in Queenstown will take you to some of the most iconic sights outside of the city on a 4WD Lord of the Rings tour. Whether an ardent fan of the Lord of the Rings movies or an ardent fan of breathtaking nature, this tour gives you the opportunity to see the incredible natural backdrops for which New Zealand is famous. Wander through golden fields, whether you know them as the plains of Rohan or just for the sensational glisten of the grass in the sunlight, the plains of Otago and the cool streams cutting through hills are nothing less than majestic. In the evening you will travel up Bob’s Peak on the steepest gondola in the Southern Hemisphere. Watch the city shrink beneath you as you rise into the sky. The lake shines bright in the sunset as you settle at the top of the mountain. The night lingers on and you will enjoy a tasty buffet dinner while the lights of the city twinkle like the stars.

What's Included:

included

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Accommodation

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Breakfast

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Day 15

Milford Sound - Landscaped Sound

Today you will journey into the depths of Fiordland National Park traveling into the majestic wonders of Milford Sound. Climb aboard a sightseeing boat and glide through the sound. The mountains are lush green with peaks that roll along the skyline. Mitre Peak stands tall in the distance, the tallest of the surrounding peaks, topped with snow and dripping into waterfalls. The thunder of crashing water rises into the air. Penguins nest on the boulder-rich shores, waddling along the water’s edge, diving beneath the surface, flying through the sea, and bursting through schools of fish. From the tops of mountains to the mysterious world beneath the surface of the sea, the landscape of the sound is nothing less than breathtaking, where the serenity of the sound could never be repeated.

What's Included:

included

Tour

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Transfer

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Accommodation

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Breakfast

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Day 16

Dunedin - Train Stations and Stained Glass

Today you will depart from the alpine city of Queenstown and venture along the railway through the stunning Taieri Gorge. The tracks stretch along the open air of the gorge and winds along the meandering foothills. The vegetation is lush, blanketing the gorge with trees and grass. The water changes from the jade rush of the river to the calm turquoise of the sea as you come closer to the seaside town of Dunedin. Once you arrive in Dunedin you will settle into the beautiful city showcasing a mixture of Victorian and Edwardian architecture. The train station is tiled with colorfully polished marble. Stained glass windows shine vibrant life onto the floors, and the structure is filled with the history of the New Zealand railway, from the building’s conception to the trains that have traveled the expanse of the islands.  The stone façade stretches wide with white trim glowing in the sunlight and towering spires. The garden blooms red and yellow in the spring and summer and is carpeted in snow in the winter, both seasons equally beautiful with the wonders of New Zealand and the inviting nature of the city.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

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Breakfast

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Day 17

Dunedin - An Unforgettable Peninsula

The morning is at your leisure to explore and experience the majesty of Dunedin. With so much to see in and around the city there is no doubt as to where you should spend your morning: visiting the only castle in New Zealand, Lanarch Castle. It’s almost as if you have been taken to an estate in the English countryside, as the stones from the castle shimmer in the sunlight. The grass glows against the sprouting fountain and blue pond while you enter onto the grounds. The interior sparkles with opulent, preserved history, from the beds to the dinning hall. The gardens bloom colorfully and expansively in the spring and summer, where the newly blossomed purple lupines and red tulips contrast against the antiquated façade of the castle.

In the afternoon you will be guided through the beauty of the Otago Peninsula. The ocean quietly laps at the shores. The green hills roll along the peninsula’s interior. A cool mist rises from the ocean while the sweet scent of the sea sits on the breeze. You can see the rare yellow-eyed penguins waddle along the sandy shores of the peninsula, nesting in the warm coastline, and taking turns diving out to sea to cool down, fish, and frolic. The yellow stripe that circles around the crown of their head and decorates their eyes glows against their black fur. The golden grass sways in the breeze while the squawk of the penguins rises into the air. During the season the royal albatross can also be seen lingering along the shallow edges of the peninsula, their expansive wingspan prominent in the shimmering water.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 18

Christchurch - Return of the Gardens

Transfer to Christchurch where you will have the day at your leisure to explore the Garden City. The gentle sound of the Avon River follows the water around the city and through its center. The Victorian architecture towers over cobblestone streets. The sweet scent of blossomed lupines sits in the air. The relaxing sound of the river fills the city center where you can watch the water drift by. Trees dangle their branches down over the waterway. Whether paddling or floating, the river offers you a serene way to see the city, enjoy the gardens, and soak in the beauty of Christchurch.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

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Accommodation

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Breakfast

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Day 19

Christchurch - Landscapes Remembered

Today you will make your way to the Christchurch Airport for your flight home. Your time in New Zealand has taken you from the northern beaches of the North Island to the fiords of the South Island. By airplane, coach, ferry, and train you ventured across the expanse of the islands to experience the country’s sensational landscapes. From the opulent glow of the glacial lakes to towering mountain peaks, breaching whales to dancing warriors, New Zealand holds the wonders and majesty of an entirely different world where you have wandered, wondered, and seen it all.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Experience the serenity of Milford Sound
  • Journey across the landscape of Otago on a 4WD Lord of the Rings Tour
  • Travel across the sensational shores of the Bay of Islands
  • Watch the whales meander off the stunning coast
  • Take part in a Maori feast and concert
  • Witness the gorgeous luminescence of glowworms at the Waitomo Caves
  • Speed through Shotover River on a jet boat
  • Journey to the wondrous Franz Joseph Glacier
  • Explore the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine Train
  • Wander through charming Art Deco architecture
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Detailed Description

This is one of the most fabulous trips to New Zealand with 21-days to see this beautiful country. This tour has you journeying through the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand and is designed for nature lovers, adventure seekers, luxury enjoyers, or anyone that has ever wondered how special the world could be. The majesty of the North and South Islands will enrapture you; the glaciers will stun, the mountains will awe, and the lakes with inspire you as the world comes to life. Let the luxuries of Maori feasts beneath the stars and jet boat safaris along the riverbed surround you. The North and South Islands are yours to experience as you make your way along the custom tailored path through the wondrous landscapes and majestic nature.

Your holiday begins as you arrive in Auckland, New Zealand where the city is surrounded by lush forests and the ocean is dusted with islands. Explore the city’s and the island’s natural wonders with a visit to the Auckland Zoo and the Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World. Your journey continues with a visit to the Bay of Islands, where the water sparkles a translucent blue and you can swim in the cool sea as water laps at the craggy island of the Hole in the Rock in the distance.  Venture through the glow of the Waitomo Caves on your way to Rotorua where you will enjoy being immersed into the Maori culture by taking part in a traditional feast. Watch the world smolder beneath your feet as you venture through the Craters of the Moon on your way to Napier where you can wander along the streets of the city, standing like an outdoor museum, showcasing the wonders of Art Deco architecture.  Arrive in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, and watch the vast vineyards stretch along the valley and into the foothills. Visit the Te Paupa museum where you will see how the landscape and natural beauty of New Zealand are linked to the culture of its people, whether of indigenous or European settlers’ descent.

Continue your exploration of New Zealand on the South Island where the city of Christchurch is surrounded by flat plains and gardens. Wander through the many gardens of the city where flowers bloom and the river trickles, where the buildings are as sharp as the mountains in the distance. In Kaikora you can watch dolphins jump and see whales drift through the calm water as they migrate along the shores of the South Island. Once in Franz Josef you will see the Franz Josef Glacier sit between the foothills of the mountains and stretch into the distance. The ice crunches beneath your feat as you wander along the glacier’s surface.

Journey through the impressive plateau of Haast Pass where Mount Cook lingers over Lake Tekapo on your way to the alpine city of Queenstown.  The Remerakables Mountains roll through the sky as Lake Wakatipu sparkles in the sunlight. Cruise through Dart River on a jet boat safari and see the landscape pass around you while the wind blows through your hair. Speed along the famous world of Lord of the Rings as you journey through the central Otago region on a 4WD Lord of the Rings Tour. Explore the outskirts of Queenstown at a leisurely pace before drifting through the sensational nature of Milford Sound, where the glacial waters reach into the sea, and the mountains stretch into the sky. Your final day on the South Island takes you to Dunedin where you will be able to view the Edwardian and Victorian Architecture, along with a visit to the only castle in all of New Zealand, Lanarch Castle. Outside of the city and along the shores of the Otago Peninsula, you can watch the majesty of the endangered yellow-eyed penguin, known for the vibrant yellow hair around their eyes and their beautiful ecosystem before you make your way to Christchurch and, eventually, home. New Zealand holds the wonders and majesty of an entirely different world, where by the end of your journey through the natural wonders of the islands you will have wandered, wondered, and seen it all.

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Starting Price

$4745 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

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What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
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.

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