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Itinerary

Countries Visited

New Zealand

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

Immerse yourself in New Zealand's stunning landscapes and multicultural heritage, travelling by plane, train, van, boat, and cable car through the North and South Islands. Discover magnificent fjords, ethereal glowworm caves, and snowcapped peaks; visit picturesque vineyards and explore vibrant cities; and imbibe the wisdom and knowledge of the country's indigenous Maori culture.

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)

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)
Meal(s): Breakfast

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)
Meal(s): Breakfast

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)
Meal(s): Breakfast Dinner

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)
Meal(s): Breakfast

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)
Meal(s): Breakfast

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)
Meal(s): Breakfast

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)
Meal(s): Breakfast

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)
Meal(s): Breakfast Dinner

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)
Meal(s): Breakfast

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)
Meal(s): Breakfast

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

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Inclusions

Meals Included
11 breakfasts, 2 dinners

Transport
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.

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Accommodations

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

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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

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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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