Type of Journey
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This 12 day New Zealand vacation package takes you from Auckland on the North Island to Queenstown in the South Island, taking in the sensational scenery, ancient Maori culture, and wildlife of this beautiful country. You get to explore catamaran cruise, Abel Tasman and Mount Cook National Parks, waterfalls, volcanoes, bubbling mud pools, vast lakes, snowy peaks, vineyards, hip cities, and so much more. You’ll travel with a local guide passionate about showing you the very best of New Zealand tour. Stay in lovely accommodation perfectly placed near all the beautiful attractions. There are two private lunches with welcoming Kiwi hosts at Lake Tarawera and on a farm in Canterbury.
Auckland - Rotorua
Today our small group New Zealand tour begins with our drive southeast over Auckland’s Bombay Hills and across the Hauraki Plains to the Karangahake Gorge where we stretch our legs with a walk through tunnels and native bush to the historic Victoria Battery gold mining site. Traveling through Te Puke we learn about the history of the Kiwifruit industry. A fitting finale for your first day is our cruise on Lake Rotoiti on a 16-meter catamaran “Tiua” exploring secluded coves with the chance to take the helm, fish for trout, swim in the lake or soak in hot pools. The skipper and crew share local legends and point out historic sites.
The morning is free to chill or enjoy the numerous and varied attractions Rotorua has to offer. You will be taken out for a private lunch to beautiful, brush fringed Lake Tarawera. Kick back and chill with our local guests David and Karen Walmsley, over a bottle of wine. When Mt Tarawera erupted in 1886, Karen's ancestor Guide Sophia is renowned for leading visitors towards safety.
Rotorua - Tongariro National Park
Today the New Zealand tour heads to one of our favorite destinations, Wai-O-Tapu. At this geothermal landmark, you will wander on well-marked paths by brightly colored silica terraces and plopping mud pools. We visit dramatic, thundering Huka Falls and at Taupo, we stop to look across the lake to the three active volcanoes - Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu. The World Heritage Tongariro National Park is our destination and the wonderful Chateau Tongariro Hotel. This afternoon there's time to explore short trails in this national park or sit back and take in the breathtaking views.
Meals - Breakfast
Tongariro National Park - Wellington
After a relaxed breakfast at the historic Chateau Tongariro, we drive up the mountain road to the Top of the Bruce to enjoy panoramic views over the volcanic plateau. We drive around the slopes of Mt Ruapehu before we make our way down the center of the island to our capital Wellington. We stay for two nights in Wellington as we reckon you can’t miss "the coolest little capital in the world". We’ll check out the city's sights and head up Mt Victoria for the stunning views over the harbor before getting settled for the night. We’re right in the heart of Wellington's vibrant hub of museums, theatres, galleries, boutiques, and cafes.
The day is yours to enjoy, you are at the heart of the action at the Bolton Hotel. Take a short walk to the waterfront and Te Papa National Museum. Wellington is the food lovers' capital in New Zealand vacation packages with a huge selection of cafes and boutique breweries to choose from. Ask your Kiwi to guide his favorites.
Wellington is also the spiritual home of "The Lord of Rings" where you can visit the Weta Workshop and see how all the props are made.
Wellington - Cook Strait - Picton - Blenheim - Nelson
You 're going to catch the Interislander ferry this morning to cruise through Cook Strait into Tory Channel for three hours, and up beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton. Marlborough is home to perfect conditions for producing some of the most exclusive wines in New Zealand, including the sauvignon blanc which puts this area on the world map.
Before our run into Nelson, New Zealand 's sunshine capital, you'll enjoy a wine tasting and vineyard lunch.
Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park - Nelson
Today you have a choice of a full scenic cruise or a cruise and walk along the beautiful Abel Tasman coastline. Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand's smallest national park. It protects 23,000 hectares of the most natural stretch of easily accessible coastline in New Zealand. The coastline is characterized by near-shore islands, sheltered waters, estuaries, and golden sandy beaches. The park is sheltered from ocean swells and enjoys a mild climate in New Zealand's sunniest region.
After your cruise or walks, we return to Nelson.
Nelson - Kaikoura
The road hugs the rugged coastline between the Pacific Ocean and the Kaikoura Ranges in the direction of Kaikoura and the views are truly spectacular. Your afternoon will be free to explore the bountiful marine wildlife of Kaikoura-a result of the close offshore ocean canyon. One of the many highlights is viewing the seal colony with a backdrop of the Kaikoura mountains and coastline. There are many optional excursions including cruises and flights to watch the whales. The Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway provides an opportunity for anyone interested in a simple walk to discover the headland and admire the views of the Pacific Ocean along the way, with some fascinating Maori history.
Kaikoura - Akaunui Homestead - Aoraki / Mt Cook
Leaving the coast we drive to Canterbury Plains over the Hundalee Hills. At Akaunui, a 100-year-old farmhouse surrounded by large gardens, you will stop for a special lunch, and dine on wonderful fresh produce prepared by your warm hosts Di and Ian Mackenzie. Get a wonderful look into life on a dairy farm and working sheep. After lunch, you will continue to the spectacular Mackenzie Country via Burke's Pass for sweeping views of the tussock lands and the Southern Alps.
You're going to make plenty of stops along the way, you can't forget Lake Tekapo 's Church of the Good Shepherd and the unbelievable turquoise blue of Lake Pukaki fed glacier.
Aoraki/Mt Cook - Queenstown
You will be awoken at the foot of Mt Cook, the tallest peak in the New Zealand tour at 3,754 feet, known as Aoraki "the piercer in the air." Maybe taking an easy boat ride onto the Tasman Glacier 's terminal face or scenic flight this morning. Alternatively, it is amazing to travel early in the morning across beautiful alpine scenery to Kea Point. Later we'll drive through the Mackenzie Basin and Lindis Pass golden grasses. The rugged bridge across the Kawarau Gorge takes us to Queenstown.
Upon landing, you'll be on your way to your conveniently situated hotel-your three-night residence.
Queenstown - Te Anau - Milford Sound - Nature Cruise - Scenic Flight - Queenstown
You will travel to Lake Te Anau and Milford Sound alongside Lake Wakatipu, deep in the heart of Fiordland National Park. The Milford Road is a panorama of high mountains and deep valleys filled with peaks, waterfalls, and mirror lakes, which features a 1.2 km trip into the Homer Tunnel. You cruise down Milford Sound, a majestic waterfall-lined fiord dominated by iconic Mitre Peak, where the sound hits the seals' lounge colonies on the rocks at Tasman Bay.
On a spectacular scenic trip across the Southern Alps and over Lake Wakatipu, you can return to Queenstown from Milford.
At leisure in Queenstown
Today is yours to make the most of Queenstown 's endless range of day tours and events, and your "Kiwi Guide" will be right there to help. What are we loving at Queenstown? A speed boat ride on the remote and stunning Dart River in the backdrop of "The Lord of the Rings," cycling around the lakeshore and the Botanic Gardens, or enjoying an adventurous canoe trip on the Kawarau River. Many favorites include wine tasting in the famed Central Otago boutique vineyards, golfing on one of the best courses in New Zealand vacation packages, a daily stroll on the popular Routeburn Trail or floating Lake Wakatipu on the 1912 Steamship, the TSS "Earnslaw" Travel out in the evening after your workout, or prolong your stay.