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Itinerary

Tour Itinerary

Sample wine with local experts on Waiheke Island, learn about Maori myths and traditions, experience the geothermal mysteries of Rotorua, glide along the TranzAlpine railway, relax at a rainforest lodge, cruise through Fiordland National Park searching for wildlife and waterfalls

Countries Visited

New Zealand

  1. Day 1
    Auckland
    Arrive at any time.
    Activity: The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you're back in time to meet the group. Check for the meeting time on the welcome note at the hotel. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.
    Accommodation: CityLife Auckland (or similar)
  2. Day 2
    Auckland
    Take an orientation walk in Auckland, one of the most multicultural cities in the Southern Hemisphere. We'll then catch a ferry to beautiful Waiheke Island, a haven of world-class vineyards and idyllic beaches. Visit two wineries to learn about New Zealand's burgeoning wine industry and the history of viticulture in the country while sampling some of the local blends.
    Activity: Enjoy a brief walk with your CEO. He/she will give you some tips on finding things like supermarkets, main squares, and ATMs. For more specific or in-depth information, an official guided tour is recommended.
    Activity: Catch the ferry to picturesque Waiheke Island to learn about New Zealand's highly celebrated wine industry in its founding region. Tour a boutique vineyard and learn from our host about the process of making the syrahs, merlots, and chardonnays that the region is so well-known for. Enjoy a taste of the vineyard's estate-grown olive and avocado oils. After, continue to one of Waiheke's original wineries for a tour and tasting - while learning about the evolution of wine production in New Zealand. Return to Auckland this evening via a scenic ferry ride.
    Accommodation: CityLife Auckland (or similar)

    Meals:   Breakfast
  3. Day 3
    Auckland/Rotorua
    Drive to the lakeside town of Rotorua, situated over an active geothermal zone and known for its volcanic features and rich Maori heritage. Stop en route at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, and take a boat ride through this spectacular underground realm to see thousands of flickering glowworms light up in the dark.
    Activity: Enjoy a peaceful boat ride through caverns covered with magical glowworms that are unique to New Zealand. Hundreds of thousands of these tiny creatures radiate luminescent light in underground caves carved by rivers and time. Take in more than 120 years of cultural and natural history on this unique excursion.
    Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
    Accommodation: Millennium Rotorua (or similar)

    Meals:   Breakfast
  4. Day 4
    Rotorua
    Spend a free day in fascinating Rotorua. Opt to explore a geothermal park, walking past bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools, or go on a white-water rafting excursion. This evening, visit Tamaki Maori Village and enjoy a private welcome ceremony; then sit down for an exclusive talk with a Maori elder, learning about the community's traditions, myths, and legends. Later, we'll witness a captivating performance of Maori folklore while dining on an array of traditional foods prepared in a hangi, or underground oven.
    Free Time: Enjoy free time to visit the geothermal sites around town.
    Activity: Visit the Tamaki Maori Village. Receive the traditional Powhiri welcome ceremony followed by a captivating stage performance explaining Maori history, myths and culture. For dinner, enjoy a traditional Hangi meal, similar to the Hawaiian Luau, with dishes such as chicken, sweet potatoes (kumara), and lamb steamed over heated rocks.
    Activity: Enjoy a "mihi" (private welcome) in Tamaki Village from a "Kaumātua" (an elder in Māori society). Sit down to an exclusive talk with the elder and learn about the community's traditions, myths, and legends, including the Sky Father and Earth Mother. You'll also learn about the history of the Maori people and their deep connection to Rotorua landscape and its geothermal aspects.
    Accommodation: Millennium Rotorua (or similar)

    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  5. Day 5
    Rotorua/Christchurch
    Enjoy time at leisure this morning before catching a flight to Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island. Take some time to explore this small city on your own.
    Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
    Activity: Enjoy a brief walk with your CEO. He/she will give you some tips on finding things like supermarkets, main squares, and ATMs. For more specific or in-depth information, an official guided tour is recommended.
    Accommodation: Chateau on the Park Hotel (or similar)

    Meals:   Breakfast
  6. Day 6
    Christchurch/Franz Josef
    Board the TranzAlpine train—one of the world's most scenic rail routes—for a breathtaking journey through verdant plains, beech forests, and majestic, misty mountains. Disembark at Arthur's Pass—the highest pass in the Southern Alps—and continue on a private vehicle to a rainforest lodge near the town of Franz Josef, our home for the next two nights.
    Transport: Climb aboard, take a seat, and enjoy the ride.
    Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
    Accommodation: Rainforest Retreat (or similar)

    Meals:   Breakfast
  7. Day 7
    Franz Josef
    Discover the natural wonders of the Franz Josef area on your own today. Opt to take a helicopter up to the stunning Franz Josef Glacier and hop out for an unforgettable hike on the jagged ice; embark on a guided interpretive walk that follows a riverbed along the glacier's retreat; soak up in natural hot pools surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery; and more.
    Free Time: Opt for various hiking adventures in the area, the most popular being trekking to view Franz Josef glacier. If relaxing is more your style, there are shorter day hikes and bush walks or local hot pools to take a dip.
    Accommodation: Rainforest Retreat (or similar)

    Meals:   Breakfast
  8. Day 8
    Franz Josef/Queenstown
    Set out towards Queenstown on a drive along the South Island's magnificent west coast. Stop at tranquil Lake Matheson, where, on a clear day, you can capture a postcard-perfect image of New Zealand's highest peaks reflected in the water. Continue to Queenstown, pausing for short walks through the rainforest and visits to picturesque waterfalls.
    Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
    Accommodation: Peppers Beacon Hotel (or similar)

    Meals:   Breakfast
  9. Day 9
    Queenstown/Fiordland National Park
    Discover the glacially carved wilderness of Fiordland National Park on a cruise. Glide past shimmering waterfalls and towering cliffs, and look out for bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and little blue penguins with our naturalist guides. Depending on the season, we'll spend the night onboard in comfortable cabins, enjoying time to relax on deck and watch the stars.
    Activity: Cruise through stunning Fiordland National Park, one of the most untouched, remote places in the world. Depending on the departure, the cruise will be in either Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound - two of the most stunning regions within the park. Marvel at the steep cliff walls and cascading waterfalls, and keep an eye out for area wildlife: dolphins, penguins, seals, and a variety of birds. Want to get closer to the water? Feel free to use one of the boats' sea kayaks to explore the area more in-depth. After the day, moor at a secluded bay for the night, and sit back and relax on the spacious viewing decks.
    Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
    Accommodation: Doubtful Sound Cruise (or similar)

    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  10. Day 10
    Fiordland National Park/Queenstown
    Rise early for a wildlife viewing cruise along the pristine fjord. Then navigate back to Queenstown and spend the rest of the day at leisure in this fun-loving lakeside town, known as the adventure capital of the world.
    Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
    Accommodation: Peppers Beacon Hotel (or similar)

    Meals:   Breakfast
  11. Day 11
    Queenstown
    The day is yours to explore Queenstown. Choose to go bungee jumping at the world's first commercial bungee jumping site; Cruise lake Wakatipu on a historic steamer; experience a thrilling jet boat ride; or visit a local winery to sample the region's award-winning vintages. This evening, enjoy a cable car ride to the top of Bob's Peak for panoramic vistas of Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps.
    Free Time: There's plenty to see and do in Queenstown, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like mountain biking, bungee jumping, and jet boating. Your CEO has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!
    Activity: Take a ride up to the top of the mountain by cable car gondola. Get a spectacular 220º view of Coronet Peak, the Remarkables mountain range, and Lake Wakatipu below.
    Accommodation: Peppers Beacon Hotel (or similar)

    Meals:   Breakfast
  12. Day 12
    Queenstown
    Depart at any time.
    Activity: Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.

    Meals:   Breakfast

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Inclusions

Meals:
11 breakfasts, 2 dinners

Transportation:
Private vehicle, plane, train, boat, walking.

Inclusions
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Waiheke Island Wineries, Waiheke Island Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Meet a Maori Elder, Rotorua. Waitomo Caves tour. Traditional Maori hangi feast and entertainment. Scenic TranzAlpine train. Ride the Queenstown gondola. Wilderness day cruise (winter) or overnight cruise (summer) in Fiordland National Park. Internal flight. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Health and Safety Protocols for National Geographic Tours

Travel with Confidence

Your safety, as well as the safety of employees and partners, has always been G Adventures top priority, which is why new physical distancing and cleaning measures have been put in place on all of the tours. New Travel with Confidence policy features new health and safety procedures from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, without taking away from having the time of your life. The policy will evolve as time goes on and as G Adventures continues to monitor local public health recommendations, but what won't change is the commitment to keeping you safe as you explore big, beautiful world.


Before you join us

Global Connection Officers

GCOs (the people who answer when you call us) are available 24/7 to help with any questions you have prior to your trip, so you can feel confident and safe before leaving. No matter what time of day, they're there to respond to you — even at 3AM. They'll be up to date on local regulations and restrictions and can guide you through your travel process as smoothly as possible. And if you don't feel well before travelling, there's the Book with Confidence policy that helps you reschedule your trip for when you do, which they can help you with too (terms & conditions apply). If you book flights with us and there are any changes, rest assured that the team will support you by making new arrangements on your behalf.

Smaller groups

Groups have always been small. This offers security, access, camaraderie, and a connection with your destination you won't get by travelling on bus tours or on your own. The average group size is 12, ensuring travellers can engage with each other without being squeezed together like sardines — and that was before physical distancing became a reality. Plus, if you have 8 or more friends you'd like to adventure with, you can reserve the entire trip!

My own room

If you're joining one of the small group tours on your own, good on ya! If you are a solo traveller sharing a room with someone, G Adventures will do their best to ensure they will be your roommate for the entire journey to support distancing efforts. G Adventures has 'My Own Rooms' available as an extra option for tours (pending availability), and they'll be offering more of these at more affordable prices to make it even easier to have a bit more space.


When you arrive

Chief Experience Officers

CEOs are responsible for ensuring you have the time of your life while keeping you as safe as possible. Here's how they're ready to do that:

  • They're trained in First Aid, CPR, and other safety protocols
  • They're supported 24/7 by the field staff in offices around the world who are well-equipped to handle emergencies
  • They can help you find local clinics if you're feeling sick
  • They'll receive new training to ensure they are up to date on all health and safety policies during these evolving times
  • They have extensive local knowledge to proactively help you navigate wherever you're travelling
  • Their local knowledge allows for greater flexibility when it comes to knowing the best time to visit certain highlights to avoid crowds whenever possible and suggesting the restaurants with the strictest hygiene practices or those where you can reserve your own table or room in advance
  • They'll wear face masks when necessary based on local guidelines and recommendations

You & your fellow travellers

Travellers' safety and wellbeing is G Adventures biggest concern. If you're not feeling well before your departure, G Adventures has a Book with Confidence policy that provides you with flexibility and freedom to delay leaving until you're back to 100% healthy (terms & conditions apply). If you have a fever or any other symptoms on tour, you may be required to have a doctor clear you before rejoining us. All travellers are requested to bring face coverings, whether they're buffs, face masks or bandanas (extra style points encouraged). G Adventures makes every effort to have hand sanitizer available, but recommend bringing your own.


While on tour

Planes, trains, automobiles and more

Small private transport vehicles

  • Every surface in G Adventures well-kept fleet of private vehicles will get at least one daily deep cleaning
  • Each traveller will have a daily assigned seat
  • Hand-sanitizer will be required every time you board the vehicle
  • Facial coverings will be recommended while on-board
Boats
  • Every surface will get at least one daily deep cleaning
  • High-traffic areas will receive more frequent cleaning
  • Hand-sanitizer or hand washing will be required every time you board the boat, as well as before and after meals
  • To support physical distancing, meals may have assigned seating and there will be assigned slots for activities and rooming
  • Facial coverings will be recommended and welcomed on-board
  • Your crew is trained in health and safety measures (including food handling) and all cooking staff will follow up-to-date advice from health authorities
Local transportation
  • Use of local transportation will be limited wherever possible. Please reference the Trip Details for each individual tour for specifics
  • If local transportation is used, precautions will be followed in adherence to local health and safety regulations to keep travellers safe and sound.

Where you'll be staying safe

G Adventures has always carefully selected accommodation partners for high standards and local roots. Travelling in small groups means that the stay is in smaller hotels too, with fewer guests — which means less daily contact with others outside your group in public spaces. Now G Adventures is working with accommodation partners to optimize their health, safety and cleanliness procedures, as well as creating additional measures for physical distancing. Here are some of the things G Adventures is working on to help keep you safe:

  • Daily deep cleaning and disinfecting of all surface areas inside your room with extra cleaning on light switches, door handles, TV remotes, and thermostats
  • No hotel staff will enter your room after it has been cleaned
  • Increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of all public restrooms and all surfaces in public areas. This might include the closure of public spaces such as gyms, bars, restaurants, and meeting rooms for periods throughout the day
  • Wherever possible, groups will stay on the lower floors to limit elevator use
  • Hotels will implement social distancing protocols in line with local regulations
This is just the beginning of commitments to keeping you sleeping safe and sound. G Adventures will continue to evolve and roll-out these and additional policies as needed.

A good & safe place to eat

G Adventures has always carefully selected food service partners and worked closely with them to ensure they are meeting health, safety, and cleanliness standards with their facilities, staff training, and food preparation and delivery. Wherever possible, G Adventures will reserve separate tables or private rooms at the restaurants visited on the trip, opt for more "al fresco" opportunities when it is possible (gotta love that fresh air!), and ensure breakfasts can be "grab and go" boxes, while avoiding family style or self-serve buffets for meals. G Adventures wants you to feel comfortable and safe as you savour every last bite.

Activities

You've always had freedom and flexibility to do your own thing on tours with optional activities and experiences. Now, you'll still have those options with added measures to keep you healthy and safe. All equipment for activities on tour, including hiking poles, camping supplies, life jackets, snorkels, etc., will be cleaned thoroughly at least once a day and disinfected between use. When travellers are responsible for putting up their own tents on camping itineraries, you will be given the supplies required to disinfect your gear. G Adventures will also do their best to make activities and highlights stops happen during non-peak hours, so you can have fun and feel safe no matter what you're doing.


Before you leave

A healthy goodbye

If you're not feeling well at the end of your tour for any reason, let your CEO know and they can help get you access to medical care and support. Because we want you to head home after a life-changing experience feeling just as good (let's be honest, way better) than when you left.

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Accommodations

Hotels (10 nts), cruise boat (1 nt, seasonal).

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

National Geographic Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4.2
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.4
Professional Staff
4.8
Repeat with Operator
4.2
Value for Money
3.9

Ratings based off 42 reviews about National Geographic Tours - currently showing 2 reviews with comments only

Outstanding trip and tours with plenty of opportunities for planned and unplanned adventures. Knowledgeable, friendly, and capable guides who kept us moving while allowing adequate free time for exploring on one's own.

Affordable Tours was helpful, answered all questions, booked tour and all flights for us. Great experience! We will definitely book through AT again.

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