Auckland, Hobbiton, Rotorua, Christchurch, White Island, Queenstown, Milford Sound
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
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.
Arriving in Auckland
There's a wonderful tinge of excitement as you touch down in New Zealand, disembarking at Auckland International and walking straight into a luxury chauffeured private transfer. Despite being New Zealand's largest, this city has an endearing atmosphere and small town feel. With yachts flickering across the harbor and cute streets offering doses of intrigue, your first day on vacation is an easy one. Explore the local sights at your own pace and settle into the local rhythm. You'll notice that everything moves slowly here, the relaxed lifestyle ensuring that there's always time to say hello and meet the locals.
Exploring The Holes of Hobbiton
It's only ten minutes outside Auckland to the place where the immersion into Middle Earth begins. The volcanic landscape is littered with peculiar green hills, mythical seeming riverine forests, and rural roads that wind into a lost world. Weave through exceptional panoramas to Hobbiton, the renowned movie set untouched from the time when Peter Jackson's epic was filmed. Forty-four Hobbit Holes can be explored, each fastidiously complete with intricate details. Even the fences have been carefully painted with 500 year old mould. It's a whole village of wonder, complete with smoke emitting cottages and the chance to drink a glass of Hobbit Stout in the Green Dragon Tavern. After the enchantment of Hobbiton you continue the journey south, the Hobbits replaced by traditional warriors as you arrive in the heart of Maori culture – Rotorua.
Day 3 - 4
Thrilling Outdoor Adventure and Maori Culture in Rotorua
It's impossible to shake the feeling of mystique here. Everything looks recognizable yet foreign. Hundreds of movies and commercials are filmed in New Zealand and, from up close, the landscapes blend the sublime with the surreal. Over the next two days this astonishing nature is yours to explore, a backdrop of Maori culture coating the adventure in intimacy. The itinerary is dictated by you. There's mountain biking through untamed forest, with easy beginner trails through thick pines to international standard competition tracks that head deep into the wilderness. An eclectic myriad of hiking routes explore the rolling natural surroundings. You can easily meander off to hidden waterfalls and natural wonders miles from any road. Your guide explains the options and then allows you to craft the perfect adventure, everything suited to your own tastes and fitness level.
You can opt to take a rafting trip through the forest, a small inflatable craft paddling through gushing white water and thrilling rapids. If you're brave enough there's even the world's highest commercially raftable waterfall, a narrow 20 foot drop plunging you out of the forest and into a wide calming pool. Perhaps you would like something more serene. Try kayaking across a placid lake to an uninhabited island of natural hot springs. Lie back in the thermal baths and savor the view, green mountain scenery encircling this tiny piece of paradise. Throughout it all, your guide knows where and when to stop for the regions’ best coffee and organic lunch.
Bubbling beneath Rotorua is irrefutable volcanic activity, the heat from the earth's core occasionally spurting through the earth's crust. The town is covered in exploding geysers and fizzing mud baths, champagne pools and remarkable prehistoric rock. Spend the evening of day four at Tu Puia, marveling at this natural spectacle of volcanic brilliance. These thermals are essential to Maori culture. Your evening dinner has been cooking underground, a feast of lamb, beef, and vegetables, being naturally roasted on the hot stone.
Rotorua is the heart of traditional Maori culture and ancient practices are enthusiastically passed through the generations. The Maori chief comes out to meet you, drums and dancing accompanying his offering of peace. Accept the welcome and you're invited into a traditional Maori meeting place, Tu Puia, one of the only places in the country where this is possible. Sounds of the haka war dance reverberate through the wooden home before the tone is relaxed and you're treated to Maori storytelling through song and dance. This may be a fun evening for visitors, but it's an essential part of preserving local culture. By having this regular opportunity to continue old practices, Maori ways are not diluted generation to generation. And while this evening has a Maori focus, all your time in Rotorua is imbued by the charm of indigenous culture.
Standing on the Edge of an Active Volcano
White Island last erupted in 2001 and there continues to be background rumblings and activity. Travel out to Whakatane Wharf and board a boat to this active volcanic island, a gentle journey bringing you slowly closer to the iconic dome. Start trekking across rugged boulders, ascending to a unique vantage point, the very edge of the crater rim. Gaze down and shake your head at the view. Bright yellow sulphur crystals, the hissing and roaring crater lake, steam and ash floating away in the distance, the volcano's mesmeric beauty is revealed at stunningly close quarters. It's an unquestionable display of nature's power, energy, and beauty defined in a single vista. After you've returned the hard hat it's a soothing journey back to the mainland, whales and dolphins regularly visit these shores.
Note that volcanic activity is constantly monitored and if there is risk of danger then trips do not take place.
Exploring the Enthusiasm of Rebuilt Christchurch
New Zealand sits on a fault line of fire, volcanic domes covering the landscape and the devastation of earthquakes impossible to ignore. Christchurch was decimated recently, half the city crumbling into dust. Yet it's not a depressing destination. Cheerful locals don't linger on the past, they look forward, finding ingenious ways to rebuild and redefine the city. After a morning flight from Rotorua and a luxuriant private transfer, you have a day to explore Christchurch's enthusiasm and unforgettable atmosphere. It's hard to find more welcoming and optimistic residents anywhere else on the planet.
Traveling solo can sometimes be daunting but Christchurch epitomizes why New Zealand is such a great choice for single travelers. It's extremely safe, with none of the irritations that mark major cities and tourist destinations around the world. The locals follow a relaxed lifestyle and greeting strangers is part of culture so, even though you're traveling solo, the adventure is marked by many new friends and characters.
Swimming With the World's Smallest Dolphin Species
Just an hour from Christchurch is Akaroa, a historic town surrounded by marine enchantment. Be driven out to the harbor and board a wildlife cruise, the waters dancing with the antics of dolphins and, occasionally, whales. These are Hector's dolphins, endemic to New Zealand and the smallest of all the dolphin species. They're also probably the cutest, ever exuberant and mischievous in the water. But you're not just admiring them from the boat. Jump into the water and swim with these happy creatures, an inspiring natural experience that immerses you with their antics. You can also choose to sea kayak alongside them for another incredible angle. Return to Christchurch and your guide will have lots of recommendations for interesting ways to spend the evening in this novel city.
A Day of Tranquility in Queenstown
Fly south, keeping your eyes to the window as the snow tinged peaks of the Southern Alps glisten in the distance. Lake Wakatipu guides you into Queenstown, a lush expanse of blue encircled by triangular peaks. After the customary luxury pick-up and chauffeured transfer, spend the day indulging in the town's natural bliss. Relax on pebbled beaches and admire the lake's reflections, white summits gently mirrored in the water. Take the cable car to the mountaintop for new panoramas, the mountains reaching far beyond the horizon and delighting the camera. Such pristine beauty emanates absolute tranquility and Queenstown provides an idyllic final stop to your unique New Zealand vacation. Now might be a good time to write the postcards and tell everyone how free it feels to be traveling on your own.
A Day of Adrenalin in Queenstown
Serenity is just one side to Queenstown. This southern town is proud of its reputation, always finding ways to elevate its status as the adventure capital. The plethora of adrenalin-fueled activities is just another reason why Queenstown always features high on lists of the planet's best destinations for solo travelers. Today's heart racing action starts on Shotover River, the sapphire glacial melt drifts between stark mountain rock and into a narrow canyon. Hold onto the handlebars as the pilot plunges forward, putting the jet boat into a 360º spin and then hurtling into the canyon. It's gripping and frightening, the skilled pilot skirting past rocks and skipping across the water. If ever an activity brings a group of strangers together it's this one, all the passengers staggering off in communal wonder.
Queenstown's status as adrenalin hub was heavily influenced by A.J Hackett, the man who installed the world's first ever commercial jump in a nearby canyon. This afternoon you have a choice of bungee jumps, each at different notches on the fear factor scale. For an historical slant you can take the famous first ever bungee. For insane views then throw yourself off a platform that's perched above Queenstown. Or for crazy height, head into a canyon and propel yourself from a cable car. If this sounds a little too hectic, then swap the bungee jump for parasailing above Queenstown. The great thing about traveling solo is that there's no need to negotiate what to do with a travel partner, so this itinerary can be customized to your exacting preferences.
Helicoptering Into Milford Sound and Fjordland National Park
After nine days of exploring New Zealand, the penultimate day bursts with intimate wonder. Something extra special has been saved for today, a helicopter ride into Fjordland National Park. But be patient, because before the delights from the air you get to savor it all from the ground, a winding road heading along mountain passes and past jaw dropping lakes in the wilderness. Keep taking photos as you head deep into the Fjords, transferring to an elegant boat that saunters onto the water of Milford Sound. Rock your head back and look up; those mountain peaks are 4000 feet above the water, sheer vertical walls that coat Milford Sound in mystery and grace. Dolphins and seals play along the rocks, and as the nature cruise continues you coast beside 1,000 foot waterfalls that appear from hidden streams. This journey into Milford Sound could be the unforgettable highlight of any vacation.
But now you're getting a new vantage point, the helicopter taking off and soaring between the rugged mountain ridges. Individual fjords roll into the distance and the shimmering whiteness of glaciers juxtapose with hypnotic mountain summits. From up here the views are staggering, a full 360º of absolute splendor. The pilot descends, intimate details of ice sculptures getting closer until you touch down on a hidden glacier. Few people ever see this place, never mind set foot on it. Lose yourself in the beauty and look around at the domineering mountains, soaking up the dazzling inimitability. You're only halfway back to Queenstown, so the propellers start to turn again and you're treated to another journey of stupendous panoramas before a spectacular landing beside the lake.
Departure from New Zealand
Today you depart from New Zealand. You've made many new friends, had countless unique experiences, and return home with a lifetime of memories. A luxury private transfer takes you to the airport where your international departure awaits.
- Experience the evocative round holes of Hobbiton, the renowned movie set coming alive before your eyes
- Enjoy two days of serious adventure in the Maori hub of Rotorua; the astonishing landscape explored by white water rafting, trekking, mountain biking, and lake kayaking
- Stand on the edge of an active volcano, and then descend into its inner reaches, following the fault line of fire on this once in a lifetime trek
- Admire the world's smallest and cutest dolphin species, then jump in the water and get acquainted with their jovial antics
- Accelerate across jaw-dropping rivers in a jet boat, a dazzling ring of domineering mountains omnipresent throughout the journey
- Marvel at the unadulterated natural wonder of Milford Sound and Fjordland National Park, boat cruises and helicopter rides revealing secluded glaciers and unforgettable waterfalls
- Enjoy the services of some of New Zealand's finest guides, each ensuring your solo travel experience brings eclectic new friends and an itinerary that runs at your pace
- Connect to destinations with internal flights, minimizing travel time and maximizing the unique adventure
Superlatives cascade out of New Zealand, the country exuding natural marvel and effervescent adventure. An eclectic range of experiences burst from its seams, everything from trekking on volcanoes to learning how to perform a Maori warrior dance, swimming with dolphins to landing on a glacier in a helicopter. You don't need to wait for a travel partner to enjoy this once in a lifetime adventure. This itinerary has been carefully handcrafted for the solo traveler, combining the country's most popular destinations with its most unique experiences. New Zealand's best guides become new friends and the country's great reputation for friendliness and safety is an omnipresent part of the experience. While traveling alone can sometimes sound scary, it offers a wonderful sense of freedom and opportunity. Nowhere amplifies this promise more than New Zealand.
Fly into Auckland, and after a day to relax, engulf yourself in Middle Earth. Wander around the cute circular holes of Hobbiton, the stunning movie set so real that you're surprised when Gandolf doesn't saunter past. The whole New Zealand landscape is packed with mythical revelry, each angle more disbelieving than the last. In Rotorua you get far off the road and into this surreal world of ancient forests, tranquil lakes, thermal baths, and thunderous rivers. The adventure is always tailored by you and this volcanic landscape can be explored by mountain bikes, river rafts, kayaks, and stunning hiking trails. A whole fault line of fire crosses New Zealand and some of the volcanic craters are still active. You'll stand on the edge of one, watching the eerie steam roar out of the crater lake as you explore a fascinating rugged geology. Like everywhere in New Zealand there's nothing to fear. This is one of the easiest and safest countries for solo travelers to visit. Most rural houses never lock the doors and the ebullient geniality of locals means you're always making new friends. Furthermore, the carefully selected destinations on this itinerary are well regarded around the world for being ideal for single travelers.
Christchurch is your next destination. Ravaged by an earthquake just a few years ago, it's being ingeniously rebuilt by wonderfully determined and enthusiastic residents. Soak up the quirky sights and spend a day cruising the ocean waters, gazing at the world's smallest dolphin species and then jumping into the water with these playful marine marvels. Your final stop is Queenstown, majestically fringed by snow tinged mountains and gazing across a tranquil blue lake. It's a place of indelible relaxation and serenity; the dazzling natural surroundings soothe every soul. Yet it's also one of the planet's most thrilling adventure capitals, and your four days include bungee jumping, jet boat riding, followed by a helicopter tour into Fjordland National Park. Land on a secluded glacier and fly between shimmering natural ice sculptures with a boat cruise into world famous Milford Sound adding to the enchantment.
This is just a small sample of the highlights. Add in a pervasive smothering of Maori culture, a continual immersion in astonishing landscapes, and a smooth collection of luxury transfers and connections and your vacation will be no less than perfect. While New Zealand runs on a laid-back rhythm the overarching professionalism means all your experiences run on time. Everything on this itinerary is customizable. This is your adventure so there's no need to negotiate the details with a travel partner. Any New Zealand interests and dreams can be incorporated and each facet of the itinerary will be carefully scheduled to meet your individual tastes.
$7,695 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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