American breakfast daily, 2 lunches, 6 dinners including a farewell dinner in Queenstown
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Arrive in Auckland, New Zealand. Welcome to Aotearoa, Maori for “land of the long white cloud.” Your hotel room is available for immediate check-in. Please schedule your flights to arrive by 4:30 pm in order to attend this evening’s welcome briefing.
Auckland–Bay of Islands. Start your day with a sightseeing tour of Auckland, the “City of Sails.” See bustling Queen Street, the city’s oldest park, Auckland Domain, and historic Parnell Village. Continue to the Bay of Islands, known for its stunning beauty and history. Visit the WAITANGI TREATY HOUSE to learn about New Zealand’s past.
Bay of Islands. This morning, embark on a sightseeing CRUISE to view the “Hole in the Rock,” have a chance to see dolphins, and learn more about the rich history and culture of this region. The remainder of the day is at leisure. You may wish to enjoy a hike, explore some of the islands historic attractions, shop for souvenirs, or just relax at your hotel.
Bay of Islands–Rotorua. Today, travel through the Bay of Plenty region to Rotorua, home to geothermal wonders, adventure activities, and a thriving Maori culture. Dinner this evening is a traditional [LF] HANGI DINNER, followed by an authentic MAORI CULTURAL PERFORMANCE.
Rotorua. This morning starts with a visit to RAINBOW SPRINGS to view native bush and wildlife, including a walk through the kiwi bird enclosure. Last stop is TE PUIA, Rotorua’s most prominent thermal area, with New Zealand’s largest geyser, boiling mud pools, and silica terraces. The afternoon is at your leisure. You may wish to relax in a natural hot spring, zipline through the forest, be pampered at one of the city’s spas, or board a floatplane for flightseeing of this beautiful area. This evening, join a [LF] New Zealand family for dinner in their home, a unique opportunity to interact with a local family and immerse yourself in New Zealand culture. Before the evening is over, you’ll feel like part of the family.
Rotorua–Marton–Wellington. Travel south today through rolling farmlands and past massive Lake Taupo. Stop in the historic rural town of Marton, where we’ll visit a [LF] LOCAL FARM and enjoy a barbecue lunch. Continue to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. (B,L)
Wellington. Our day begins with a sightseeing tour of Wellington. Take a scenic CABLE CAR ride, visit the beautiful BOTANICAL GARDENS, see the famous Beehive and Parliament buildings, and enjoy 360-degree, panoramic views of the city and harbor from the top of Mount Victoria. Time will also be spent at TE PAPA, the Museum of New Zealand. The remainder of the day is yours to explore on your own.
Wellington–Christchurch. Fly to Christchurch. Upon arrival, enjoy an orientation tour.
Christchurch–Arthur’s Pass–Franz Josef. Today, travel on the scenic TRANZALPINE, one of the world’s great train journeys. From the comfort of first-class carriages, see fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmlands, followed by the spectacular gorges and rivers of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the majestic Southern Alps to Arthur’s Pass National Park. The train features large panoramic windows, an onboard café, and at-seat audio commentary. Spend the next two nights in the small town of Franz Josef, located at the base of the impressive Franz Josef Glacier.
Franz Josef. This morning, explore this spectacular UNESCO World Heritage area. Your GLACIER VALLEY WALK will take you up alongside the mighty Waiho River bed, following the glacier’s path of retreat in this remarkable landscape. Here you will learn about the glacier’s history, see what is left behind by this majestic giant, and learn the legend of Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere. Near the terminal face, after a brief climb you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the rapidly changing face of the glacier. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. You may opt to take a scenic flightseeing or helicopter tour, relax in one of the glacier hot pools, spend time at the West Coast Wildlife Centre, or pick up a picnic lunch and just take in the gorgeous scenery.
Franz Josef–Queenstown. Our journey today takes us along the coast and the Tasman Sea. Climb through rainforests and over Haast Pass to arrive in Queenstown, the “Adventure Capital of the World.” Upon arrival, enjoy a tour and a tasting at a local [LF] WINERY. Tonight, why not enjoy dinner at one of Queenstown’s many restaurants or cafés and sample some of the region’s wines?
Queenstown. Excursion to Milford Sound. Today, travel into FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. During your CRUISE, see cascading waterfalls, wildlife, and experience this pristine natural setting just as early Maori and European explorers did. (B,L)
Queenstown. Enjoy a full day at leisure in one of New Zealand’s prettiest towns. Tour some of the sights used to film The Lord of the Rings trilogy, shop for souvenirs, or take a thrilling jetboat ride on the Dart River. This evening, enjoy a special farewell dinner.
Queenstown. Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.