Our introduction to New Zealand ticks all the boxes when it comes to Maori culture, natural wilderness and epic, cinema-worthy scenery.
Our introduction to New Zealand ticks all the boxes when it comes to Maori culture, natural wilderness and epic, cinema-worthy scenery. You’ll experience geothermal magic in Rotorua, taste world-class wine in Hawkes Bay and explore Wellington, regularly voted one of the world’s most liveable cities, before embarking on a journey through the dramatic wilderness of the South Island. Here vast glaciers, rugged mountains, deep lakes and ancient fiords make it feel like the scenery is on steroids.
Day 1 Auckland
You’ll be met on arrival at Auckland airport and transferred to your hotel.
Auckland, New Zealand’s ‘city of sails’ sits on the shores of the Hauraki Gulf and must-do experiences include a trip to Rangitoto, a dormant volcano that lies just off-shore, exploration of the West Coast beaches and taking the ferry across to Waiheke for a day of wine tasting.
Days 2-3 Rotorua
Rotorua is your next port of call for 2 nights. Sitting within the Pacific Rim of Fire, steaming geysers bubble and spurt and natural hot springs abound. You’ll find a wealth of cultural experiences showcasing the spiritual Maori heritage and plenty of opportunities to explore the geothermal wonderland at places such as Wai-o-tapu Thermal Valley, Te Puia and Hells Gate Geothermal Park.
Days 4-5 Hawkes Bay
Gourmet food and wine, Art Deco architecture and sunshine are all things synonymous with Hawkes Bay. Along with being New Zealand’s Art Deco capital, Hawkes Bay is first stop on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail and the region is known for its cabernet sauvignon, merlot and chardonnay’s. At Cape Kidnappers you’ll find the world’s largest mainland gannet colony.
Day 6 Wellington
This compact city has an abundance of attractions, both historical and natural, plus an incredible array of dining options. Wellingtonians are also passionate about their coffee! Te Papa Tongarewa on Wellington’s waterfront is regarded as one of the finest interactive museums in the world.
Day 7 Christchurch
We’d recommend spending the morning in Wellington, before taking an afternoon flight (not included) to Christchurch. This vibrant city is where you’ll find impressive urban regeneration, innovation and state of the art architecture, whilst also staying true to its more traditional heritage.
Days 8-9 Franz Josef
Today begins with a rail journey aboard the TranzAlpine, which crosses the country from east to west. Leaving the patchwork of the Canterbury Plains behind the train climbs through the snow-dusted peaks of the Southern Alps over a series of viaducts. From Arthurs Pass the train descends through native rainforest, passing the calm waters of Lake Brunner, before arrival in Greymouth. Here you’ll collect your rental car and drive south to Franz Josef for 2 nights. Explore the ancient glaciers of Franz Josef and Fox, which flow almost to sea level, with glacier landings, Heli hikes and scenic flights.
Days 10-11 Haast
Before turning inland towards the Southern Lakes region you’ll spend two nights at Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki. Sitting within the Southwest New Zealand Heritage Area this a true paradise for lovers of nature and wilderness. Enjoy complimentary activities including guided rainforest walks, kayaking and glow worm tours and choose from a further range of guided half and full day experiences (charges apply). There are also plenty of options for exploring on your own.
Days 12-14 Queenstown
The drive to Queenstown is nothing short of spectacular. The road follows the shores of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea before winding over the Crown Ranges into Queenstown.
Set against Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by a crown of snow-capped peaks, Queenstown is home to a plethora of outdoor activities. Alongside the usual high-octane suspects, you’ll find walking and cycling trails, 4WD tours through Lord of the Rings country, vineyards to explore and scenic flights. Queenstown is also a good base from which to visit the Fiordland National Park and we’ve included a day trip to Milford Sound with a nature cruise.
Day 15 Departure
Hotels on a room only basis unless otherwise stated
Private arrival transfer in Auckland
TranzAlpine rail journey
Milford Sound day trip with nature cruise from Queenstown
Ask about upgrading your Milford Sound experience to return by scenic flight over the Southern Alps.