Highlights of New Zealand Luxury Vacation

A 13 day trip to New Zealand 
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Pinch yourself in New Zealand and prove you aren’t dreaming. Between the long white clouds, deep green prairies, and mountains that breach the sky, enter a world that is simultaneously luxurious and unspoiled. Soak in the mud in Rotorua. Drink wine on an island in Auckland, and ski down the Southern Alps. You will experience the dream that is New Zealand, a dream you will never want to wake from. 

Customize This Trip For Me
Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Warm geothermal springs and ponds that create a kaleidoscope of colour, Rotorua.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Auckland, Rotorua, Waitomo Caves, Christchurch, Canterbury Region, Queenstown

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: The Adventurous Dream Begins!

Leave home and fly to Auckland, New Zealand.

Day 2: Time and Space

Journey through time and space, as only people in dreams can do, by crossing the International Dateline, and watch a day slip past.  Don’t worry, it will come back.

Day 3: Watch the Dream Come True In Auckland

Arrive in Auckland and be whisked away to the beautiful SKYCITY Grand Hotel, where you will have a pre-registered, early morning check-in. The SKYCITY Grand Hotel boasts a harbor view and beautiful modern amenities, designed to luxuriate the smallest detail and maximize your comfort. The design of each room is created for luxury, down to a menu for you to choose your preference of pillow. Relax at the indoor pool or visit the spa.

When you’re ready, take the day to explore Auckland; witness the collection of sails that rise above the harbor like clouds and see why Auckland is called “The City of Sails.” You are a ferry ride away from Rangitoto Island, where a summit hike awaits you. You can trek through the black, rocky lava fields, up to the top of the volcano and enjoy the fresh air. Look down on the kayaks and sailboats that circle the island. Rangitoto is one of the many islands off of Auckland’s coast, some bustling with culture, people, and animals, others filled with only the quiet of plant life and the salty smell of the ocean.

Embrace Waiheke Island by ziplining across the beautiful terrain, then raise a glass to the best of local vineyards like Goldie Vineyard, known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, or Kennedy Point Vineyard and Olive Grove, which offer tastes of its wine and honey. Sip your wine with the music of the ocean shore in your ears and the sand at your feet.

What's Included: SKYCITY Grand Hotel
 with deluxe harbour view, breakfast, airport transfer

Day 4: Experience the Surroundings of the City of Sails

With so many possibilities, the City of Sails is yours to captain. Spend the day on a tour with a Maori guide. Learn about the legend of New Zealand’s beginnings, myths about the deep blue water, and why the islands are such a vibrant green. Journey to the top of Sky Tower, similar to the Seattle Space Needle. At night the Sky Tower glows with a purple and green iridescence that can be seen from in and out of the city. To experience the only view in the city better than Sky Tower, take a bridge-walk on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. There you can watch the sails of the city pass beneath your feet, and almost taste the ocean below.

Day 5: The Night Comes Alive in Waitomo Caves and Rotorua

Leave Auckland and its sails behind, and be ready to travel through the center of the earth in the Waitomo Caves. Hop on a boat, cruise down the river, and raise your eyes to the mesmerizing cave ceiling speckled with bright, colorful glowworms. In the depths of the dark, the flecks of light look like a starry night; you may even forget that you’re in a cave altogether. After the tour you will continue south to the cultural center of New Zealand, Rotorua, where you will arrive in the late afternoon and transfer to Treetops Luxury Lodge and Estate.

What's Included: Treetops Lodge
 suite for three nights, breakfast, private transfer from Auckland, full day shared tour from Auckland to Rotorua

Day 6: Plenty of Time to Keep Dreaming in Treetops

Explore Treetops Lodge and its beautiful surroundings. Enjoy a horseback ride through the lush, green forest up to the waterfalls deep on the property. Cup your hands, dip them into the cool water, and taste the crisp, clean flavor of the rain. Smell the pine that surrounds the property. Brush your fingers through the lush leaves as you slowly pass beneath them.

Later you can scour the property on a hunting excursion in search of deer, pigs, and free-range pheasant. Use the talents you have, or the ones that you have learned while at Treetops, to create a delectable meal in a cooking class back at the lodge, using the vibrant squashes, sweet tomatoes, herbaceous tarragon, and tender pheasant that can be found on property. 

Day 7: Dreams Continue In Rotorua

Go for an adventure off the Treetops property to a geothermal wonderland. These volcanoes – both extinct and active – are steeped in beauty, like Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley, where white steam rolls off the ripples of the lake, up the land, and into the sky. The whitewater cascades down Tarawera Falls. Watch a Haka, the traditional Maori war cry/dance live, and see the hangi, or “earth oven.” Your mouth will water as the food—including pork, lamb, beef, fresh fish, shellfish, and vegetables—are slow cooked to perfection. With the scent permeating the air, you’ll feast on the succulent and rich food until you think you may pop.  Finish the day with a nocturnal tour of Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park to see live kiwis in the flesh—or the fur. These fuzzy, football shaped creatures with toothpick legs will make you wonder how they move at all.

Day 8: You Can Fly in Dreams and to Christchurch

You’ll be ready to take on more of New Zealand after your time in Rotorua. A quick flight to Christchurch will have you on the South Island, in the Garden City, and checked in at The George. With views of Hagley Park, The George is the only hotel in Christchurch with a one-to-one staff to guest ratio, which means an attentive, courteous, and caring experience.

Stroll through the flower-scented beauty of Hagley Park. Whether the park is stained with purple, blue, red, or pink flowers in bloom and full of the scents of summer, or painted in autumn with the crisp, cold air, take a cruise down the Avon and watch the park roll by.  Walk through the center of Christchurch and admire architecture that is both unique and familiar. With an English sensibility, the antique buildings used dark basalt blocks and cream-colored stone. In spite of damage from recent earthquakes, Christchurch is able to assert part of its charm through its architecture. The recent Christchurch earthquakes also spurred the creation of Gap Fillers. This city initiative fills open spaces around the city with various events, from cultural dances to evenings with food and wine. If you’ve dreamed of blending in like a local, a Gap Filler event would make your dream come true.  

What's Included: The George Christchurch
 Executive Room for two nights, breakfast

Day 9: An Entirely New Realm of the Garden City

The surroundings of the Garden City are as lush and majestic as Christchurch itself. Ride in a luxury train car to the Southern Alps. With their peaks often bleached white with snow and high in the sky, you may mistake the Alps for clouds. Take a seat in the dining car, sip a rich, hot chocolate, and let the snow pass you by.

While in Christchurch, watch the blue of the Akaora dolphins blend into the depths of the sea. Be sure to pay a visit to the penguin colony to see the colorful, streaked feathers of the little blue penguin. The cold of the mountains and the cool of the sea are at your leisure. Enjoy one, or both, because New Zealand is your dream to experience.

Day 10: The Feeling Moves You to Queenstown

Fly from Christchurch to Queenstown, an easy and quick way to reach the beautiful lakeside city. Do not miss the opportunity to look out the window of the plane to see how vast the Southern Alps are, especially when they reach as far into the sky as you can see. Once in Queenstown you will be taken to Eichardt’s Private Hotel, a property so close to the lake you can inhale the chill of the water. Eichardt’s has the comfort of home, luxury fit for royalty, and the view of a dream—your New Zealand dream—just outside the window.

What's Included: Eichardt’s Private Hotel
 Suite for three nights, breakfast 

Day 11: Dream With The Remarkables

Surrounded by the mountain range known as the “The Remarkables,” Queenstown gives you the opportunity to do almost anything you can dream of: soar through the air in the comfort of a gondola, ski down The Remarkables, or take a jet boat safari across the lake. Whether by land, air, or sea, you’ll enjoy having the cool wind in your hair and the gorgeous lake at your doorstep. The gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak will give you a view over the whole of Queenstown. You can fly high into the sky on a helicopter tour circling around the city and over the lush white peaks of the mountains.

Later, relax with a lakeside massage in the warmth of your accommodation. You’ll encounter dishes with New Zealand lamb so tender it melts in your mouth, succulent pheasant, rich and salty mussels that go perfectly with a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Anyone with a sweet tooth should save room for a local favorite, Hokey Pokey, vanilla ice cream with pieces of honeycomb. It’s an indulgent dream in every bite.

Day 12: A Dream In a Dream in Queenstown

Today gives you yet another opportunity to see the unbelievable beauty that lies in and around Queenstown. Tour Milford Sound, New Zealand’s own fjord, filled with the greenest mountains and the whitest snow (depending on the season). Waterfalls rush down the mountainsides. It is a world untouched and unspoiled. Be on the lookout for the fur seals and bottlenose dolphins that are frequent visitors. Don’t forget to visit the Underwater Observatory where you can get a glimpse of the life of local fish, uninhibited and free as they swim past the glass to say hello, then swim back into the depths of the ocean. The beauty and elegance of Queenstown wasn’t just made for a queen, it was made for you.

If you aren't ready for your trip to end, consider adding on a few days.  See the New Zealand travel reviews section for ideas and reviews from real travelers.

Day 13: The Dream is Ending, But the Memories Never Will

Although you will be leaving Queenstown for Auckland, and Auckland for your return trip home, you will look out the window of the plane on the ride home searching for the Southern Alps, the smoke of a volcano, or the distant sounds of a Haka. You may not find what you are looking for on the flight, but if you close your eyes, you won’t have to think too hard to remember the dream that is New Zealand. 

Price

Starting Price 

$3,245
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

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.