This tour showcases the highlights of New Zealand while staying in some of the most luxurious accommodations that New Zealand has to offer.
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Starting in Auckland at Auckland's finest five star hotel, you will have 2 days to experience the best of all world's that New Zealand's largest city and most vibrant city has. Experience a blend of cultures, fabulous dining and shopping opportunities within the cosmopolitan city area; and just minutes away you will find idyllic islands, wine regions and rugged spectacular coastline. Travel south to New Zealand's culture capital and geothermal wonderland region, Rotorua - where you will stay in one of New Zealand's finest lodges, Solitaire; a destination in itself. There are so many activities right at the lodge, but you may also want to venture a little further a field to get experience New Zealand's unique Maori culture and the ever changing geothermal activity.
Fly to New Zealand's South Island and the gateway city of Christchurch. Spend a full day exploring the Canterbury region from white-sanded coastline to the mountain peaks of the Southern Alps. Your last stop in New Zealand will be the most impressive – Queenstown! Here you will stay in the luxury Matakauri Lodge – in a spectacular location right on the lake. Queenstown is an exhilarating year round alpine resort, which will awe you at every turn.
Auckland, Waitomo Caves, Rotorua, Christchurch, Queenstown
Daily Private Departures.
Day 1 - FLY U.S.A. HOMETOWN TO AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Depart your U.S.A home town to fly to San Francisco or Los Angeles for a non-stop flight* to Auckland, New Zealand.
*International flights not included in price. Best sales fare available will be advised at time of booking.
Day 2 - CROSS THE INTERNATIONAL DATELINE
Lose this day as you cross the International Dateline.
Day 3 - ARRIVE AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Early morning arrival into Auckland, New Zealand. You will be met and transferred to your accommodations, where you will have a pre-registered, guaranteed early morning check in.
Sofitel Viaduct Harbour
Superior Room - Breakfast Included
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour is located in the heart of Auckland, a unique maritime experience between vibrant Viaduct Harbour and the new Wynyard Quarter. Inspired by New Zealand's landscape and culture with views of Waitemata Harbour, this beautifully designed hotel is a true landmark destination. All luxury appointed rooms and suites have private balconies, floor to ceiling windows and feature oversized bathrooms with separate rain showers and deep soaking bathtubs.
Remainder of this day to explore Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, but small by world standards. Wherever you are in Auckland, you're never far from breathtaking scenery, beautiful beaches, invigorating walks, idyllic islands, outstanding food and wine, great shopping and exciting nightlife.
Auckland's heart beats to a Polynesian rhythm, its people a melting pot of European, South Pacific and Asian cultures and a strong indigenous Maori heritage. This diversity brings with it an abundance of unique experiences.
Day 4 - AUCKLAND
This day is yours to experience the city that gives you the best of all worlds. We will provide you with a list of activities in Auckland and its surrounding region. Take a guided tour of Auckland with a local Maori guide, climb the Auckland Harbour Bridge for spectacular harbor views, cruise to an island known for its wineries and artists, race on an America’s Cup boat, tour the wild west coast and much more to choose from in New Zealand’s ‘City of Sails’.
Day 5 - ONE WAY TOUR AUCKLAND TO ROTORUA
Today you will travel south leaving Auckland behind as you cross the fertile Bombay Hills and drop down to the rich farmland of the Waikato Region. Follow the Waikato River, through the city of Hamilton and on to the world famous Waitomo Glow-Worm Caves. Begin a guided tour through the long galleries and lofty chambers to view stalactites formed over thousands of years. Continue with a boat ride through the glow-worm grotto that is illuminated by thousands of tiny lights emitted by glow-worms, suspended from the cave ceiling. After lunch, you will travel on to Rotorua, arriving late this afternoon.
From Rotorua you will be transferred to spectacular Solitaire Lodge on the edge of Lake Tarawera.
Solitaire Lodge Lodge suite – Dinner and Breakfast Included
Solitaire Lodge, one of the first luxury lodges in New Zealand, offers secluded luxury accommodation and attentive hosting from a spectacular lakeside location. With just 10 luxury accommodation suites Solitaire Lodge is a small exclusive retreat offering guests the ideal blend of indulgence and soft adventure from a picture perfect setting. The lodge is also the perfect setting to simply relax, indulge and rejuvenate. Unwind with a decadent spa treatment, take a leisurely bushwalk, or sip a glass of champagne while relaxing in the terrace spa pool.
Set on a privately owned peninsula on the shores of legendary Lake Tarawera, Solitaire Lodge’s suites each feature 180-degree views of the glassy lake and magnificent volcano, Mount Tarawera. Never has a place been more aptly named than Solitaire Lodge. Minutes from your doorstep you will discover secluded private bays, hot water beaches, majestic forest waterfalls and natural thermal hot springs beckoning you to soak in.
Renowned for its fine dining, the lodge serves New Zealand cuisine prepared with fresh local produce and complemented by superb wines from surrounding wine regions. Engage in lively conversation with fellow guests in the lodge’s dining room, or choose an intimate dinner in your suite or on the terrace. Solitaire is owned and hosted by Wayne Tomlinson and Ingrid Jaques. Wayne and Ingrid are both very proud Kiwis and their main goal is to provide guests with a truly authentic, New Zealand Lodge experience. Ingrid has an extensive career in education and shares a passion for visual arts, while Wayne has enjoyed the challenge of operating small businesses for much of his life, including 13 years spent owning, managing and developing a corporate hotel in Wellington. They wake up each day feeling very lucky to have a majestic volcano as a close neighbour, and hot water beaches, rainforest waterfalls and secluded private bays on their doorstep!
Day 6 - SOLITAIRE AND ROTORUA
The next two days are yours to enjoy Solitaire and the activities on offer right from the lodge. A selection of land, air and water activities are all easily accessible, including world-class trout fishing, scenic flights to volcanic White Island and natural geothermal bathing on the edge of Lake Tarawera. Kayak right from the grounds of the lodge, explore the lake in a small motorboat, or take a private charter on a luxury launch. Great hiking and mountain biking is also available. Take a helicopter flight and landing to the top of Mt. Tarawera or out to White Island, where you will land on and explore this live volcano. Your hosts will provide you with lots of options of things to do throughout your stay.
Day 7 - SOLITAIRE AND ROTORUA
Explore further a-field on a tour that Solitaire or we can organize for you. Scattered throughout the region are not only some of the most spectacular geothermal features to be seen anywhere in the world, but also an impressive array of volcanoes – extinct and active!
Rotorua is also a centre for Maori, the original inhabitants of the land, who’s intricately carved Marae (meeting house complexes) are frequently seen. There are many cultural opportunities and experiences throughout this area.
Day 8 - FLY ROTORUA TO CHRISTCHURCH
Today you will be transferred to the Rotorua Airport in time to board your flight* to Christchurch, the gateway city to New Zealand’s South Island. On arrival into Christchurch, you will be met and transferred to your luxury accommodations for a 2-night stay.
The George Christchurch
Executive Room – Breakfast Included
The George, a luxury boutique hotel, is the essence of supreme comfort and is renowned for offering a personalized stay and attentive staff as well as two award winning restaurants. Located in the heart of Christchurch overlooking the picturesque Hagley Park and river Avon you will find a peaceful retreat just steps from Christchurch's cultural precinct and key attractions. Impeccable service in an intimate ambience is guaranteed at The George, the only Christchurch Hotel with a one-to-one staff to guest ratio.
The George is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World; 'New Zealand's Leading Boutique Hotel' in every year since 2006.
*Domestic flights not included, and will be booked as part of your international ticket in order to secure best possible price.
Day 9 - AKAROA AND BANKS PENINSULA
This morning your local guide from Canterbury Trails will meet you at your hotel to begin a full day private tour across the stunning Banks Peninsula to Akaroa, including a cruise on the Akaroa Harbour.
You will travel to Akaroa over the beautiful Banks Peninsula on a high summit route, which gives glorious views of farmlands, Akaroa Harbour, the Canterbury Plains and the distant Southern Alps as well as remote bays indenting the coastline. You have an opportunity to wander around the charming 150-year-old French harbor-side village of Akaroa with its museum of settlers' history, art and craft shops and studios before enjoying lunch at a local cafe. After lunch enjoy a cruise on Akaroa Harbour to view Hector Dolphins before returning to Christchurch. On the journey back visit the Cheese Factory at Barry's Bay, the only one remaining on the peninsula from a bygone era.
There is also the possibility to swim with the dolphins, or kayak in this area. Please let me know if either of these options appeal.
Hector Dolphins – Hector's dolphins are members of the family 'delphinidae' - there are about 32 species of dolphins found throughout the world. The Hector's is the smallest oceanic dolphin with female adults only reaching about 1.2 to 1.4 metres long and weighing approx. 47 kilograms, while the males are slightly smaller and weigh about 10 kilograms less. Hector's dolphins are endemic to the coastal regions of New Zealand, and Akaroa is one of the best places to view them.
Day 10 - FLY CHRISTCHURCH TO QUEENSTOWN
Today you will be transferred to the Christchurch Airport to board your flight* for a short but very scenic flight, crossing the Southern Alps and landing in spectacular Queenstown.
On arrival into Queenstown, you will be met and transferred to your accommodations located on the edge of stunning Lake Wakatipu.
Lodge Room – Dinner and Breakfast Included
Matakauri lodge is located on the banks of Lake Wakatipu and is just minutes from the heart of Queenstown. The lodge boasts four luxury suites and six luxury villas, each with private terraces looking out to a dramatic Queenstown lakeside, with spectacular mountain views. This luxury spa resort was recently acknowledged by Tatler magazine as one of its top 101 hotels of the world. Matakauri Lodge is a small luxury boutique hotel with lodge style accommodation and provides the perfect, private hideaway retreat. Personalized concierge service will assist you in planning a memorable experience in Queenstown - the adventure capital of New Zealand.
Every suite offers its own private porch, bedroom with sitting area and open fireplace, walk-in wardrobe and bathroom with twin vanities and oversized bath tub. The suites are nestled in a native forest overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the mountain panorama. Styled by acclaimed interior designer Virginia Fisher, every suite also features high speed wireless Internet, fully-stocked mini-bar, room-controlled air conditioning, flat screen LCD TV, DVD player, CD player with iPod connection and security safe.
As a Relais & Chateaux property, Matakauri Lodge offers a unique dining experience in a luxurious setting. Head Chef Jonathan Roger’s modern New Zealand cuisine is focused on showcasing local seasonal produce with clean, fresh flavors in an a la carte menu that changes daily. Choose from a variety of dining spaces, including the Library, Dining Room, Remarkables Patio, Courtyard and Lounge, private dining can be arranged upon request. If you would like to dine privately, there are a variety of areas of the lodge that provide this unique experience. Room service is available on request.
Day 11 - QUEENSTOWN
You will need the next two full days to explore the remarkable region of Queenstown. Situated in the heart of the South Island, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by a beautiful mountain range, aptly named The Remarkables, Queenstown has been regularly rated as one of the world’s top tourism destinations. It is know as the Southern Hemisphere’s premier four-season alpine and lake resort. Queenstown was named because ‘it was fit for Queen Victoria.’ Certainly it’s lived up to that expectation. Today it’s an exhilarating alpine resort, perfect for both adventurers and leisure seekers.
We will provide you with a list of unique opportunities and experiences; from jet boating safaris, to wine tasting in Central Otago, to cruising on the stunning Milford sound, 4WD safaris, lake cruises and spectacular flight seeing possibilities. You won’t want to leave!
Day 12 - As per day 11
Day 13 - QUEENSTOWN TO AUCKLAND TO U.S.A HOMETOWN
Sadly you will depart Queenstown for your return flight* to Auckland, where you will board your International Flight** for the U.S.A.
Would you like to extend your stay in New Zealand?
Ask this New Zealand travel specialist to help you stay longer in New Zealand. Your itinerary is flexible to include additional stops throughout New Zealand, which can be added to the beginning, in between the days given above, or at the end of this Highlights journey.
2 nights Auckland: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour - Superior Room (Breakfast)3 nights Rotorua: Solitaire Lodge - Lodge Suite (Dinner & Breakfast)2 nights Christchurch: The George - Executive Suite (Breakfast)3 nights Queenstown: Matakauri Lodge - Lodge Room (Dinner & Breakfast)Private Airport TransfersFull day tour - Auckland to Rotorua
Domestic flights not included, and will be booked as part of your international ticket in order to secure best possible price.
Zicasso recommends the following guidelines for customized New Zealand tour packages, excluding international flights:
The customized package will include accommodations, airport transfers and other transportation within New Zealand, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip.
Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.
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