‘Haere Mai’ … Welcome to New Zealand!
Welcome to Auckland ‘The City of Sails’. On arrival into Auckland make your way to your accommodation for this evening. You may have time to explore New Zealand’s largest city before joining your travel companions early evening for a pre-dinner drink and a preview of your National Geographic Journey of New Zealand itinerary.
Some Activities and sightseeing options if you have time:
|Explore Waiheke Island||Island Kayaking Adventure||America’s Cup Sailing|
|Auckland's Sky Tower||Relax on the Beach||Rangitoto Island Cruise & Walk|
|West Coast Wine Tour||Whale and Dolphin Safari||Muriwai Surf Beach|
Accommodation: CityLife Auckland - 2 nights (or something similar)
WAIHEKE ISLAND WINERIES
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.
Waitomo Caves & Rotorua
Heading towards Rotorua we stop at Waitomo Caves where we will take a boat ride through the caves and see thousands of flickering glowworms lighting up the walls.
Rotorua sits over an active geothermal zone with bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools in different areas around the town. This is a fascinating region with Maori history and culture tied directly to the geothermal aspects of the land.
Waitomo Cave Excursion
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.
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Rotorua - 1 night (or something similar)
Rotorua at Leisure & Maori Cultural Experience
Rotorua at leisure
Whatever you want to do is your choice. Relax in the Polynesian Spa, ride the amphibious Rotorua Duck or take a scenic flight out over Lake Rotorua for a bird’s eye view of the region. You may even want to stop at the top of Mt Tarawera, the site of the largest eruption in New Zealand’s living memory!
Some alternate excursions available:
|See Geysers & Boiling Mud||Polynesian Hot Springs||Whirinaki Forest Walk|
|Thermally Active Golf||Biking the Mighty Forests||Flight to Volcanic Island|
|Museum of Art & History||Evening Cultural Experience||White Water Rafting|
Maori Cultural Experience Rotorua
This evening we visit the Tamaki Tribal Village for an evening of culture. You will experience a traditionally prepared Maori Hangi (feast) followed by a cultural performance featuring Maori songs, chants, and dance including the famous haka - lots of fun!
ROTORUA - CHRISTCHURCH
Enjoy free time this morning in Rotorua before catching a flight to Christchurch. This afternoon, meet with a local expert and explore lesser-known paths around Christchurch on a unique walking tour of the city.
Walking Tour of Christchurch
Meet with a local expert and explore lesser-known paths around Christchurch. Learn how the people of Christchurch are transforming the community of Christchurch after the devastating earthquake in 2011.
Accommodation: Chateau on the Park - 1 night (or something similar)
TRANZ ALPINE RAIL JOURNEY
Travelling by train still remains one of travels most exciting experiences. This morning we board Tranz Alpine Train that journeys between Christchurch and Greymouth. We leave Christchurch crossing the Canterbury Plains before following the Waimakariri River and traversing the spectacular Southern Alps. before finally descending through native beech forest into Greymouth. From Greymouth we transfer to a coach and continue down the west coast to the township of Franz Josef.
Accommodation: Rainforest Retreat - 2 nights (or something similar)
EXPLORE FRANZ JOSEF
Today is a free day to explore the region around Franz Josef. You are in the heart of the Westland National Park, considered to be the most diverse and beautiful areas in New Zealand and the home of the Kea, a protected native parrot that thrives in the chilly environment and is infamous for its inquisitive and often destructive behaviour!
Simply relax in the Glacier Hot Pools or if you are feeling adventurous take a Glacier Heli Hike and land on the glacier with an experienced guide to explore the towering peaks and ice formations.
Excursions available in and around the Franz Josef area:
|Glacier Hot Pools||Glacier Scenic Flight|
|Walk to Glacier Face||Glacier Heli-hike|
WILD WEST COAST TO QUEENSTOWN
Today is a travelling day. We travel south along the rugged West Coast this morning stopping at Lake Matheson to view the stunning snowcapped peaks of the Southern Alps reflected in the lake’s dark waters. We then continue through the Haast Pass, one of only three passes through the Southern Alps to Queenstown ’The Adventure Capital’ of New Zealand.
Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu the scenery surrounding Queenstown is incomparable. On arrival, we will take a Gondola Ride above the town to take in the magnificent panoramic views of Queenstown, the Remarkables, and the surrounding district.
You can opt to enjoy an outstanding dinner showcasing locally produced and iconic New Zealand dishes at Queenstown’s Skyline Restaurant located at the top of the Gondola ride.
Accommodation: Peppers Beacon Hotel - 1 night (or something similar)
Fiordland National Park and Cruise
From Queenstown we drive the scenic route to the lakeside town of Manapouri in Fiordland National Park a World Heritage Area.
From Manapouri we embark on an amazing cruise through the moody and mysterious Doubtful Sound. Onboard the Fiordland Navigator experienced nature guides will provide commentary on the wildlife sightings ensuring you don’t miss any of the highlights. Watch out for bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and the Fiordland yellow eyebrow crested penguin. After anchoring for the evening you will have the opportunity to explore the shoreline by kayak or tender boat.
Dinner will be prepared by an onboard chef and served in the dining saloon. Before retiring to your private cabin (with ensuite bathroom) take time to gaze at the stars and listen to the sound of ‘silence’.
**Please Note: The itinerary for this day varies in the winter: 18 May – 20 Sept. Also, these tours go to either to Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound overnight
Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Accommodation: Fiordland Navigator Doubtful Sound (or similar) - 1 night
Fiordland National Park - QUEENSTOWN
After a hearty breakfast, we spend the morning cruising Doubtful Sound back to Deep Cove. In particular, we are on the hunt to view the resident bottlenose dolphins that patrol the fiord or the New Zealand fur seal seen basking as the sun rises warming the rocks they occupy and when in the season the rare Fiordland crested penguin.
**please note the tour may go from either Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound
We return to Queenstown.
Accommodation: Peppers Beacon Hotel - 2 nights (or something similar)
QUEENSTOWN AT LEISURE
You may want to try some activities today or may just want to relax in one of the many waterfront cafes and reflect on your fabulous National Geographic Journey of New Zealand.
Recommended excursions in and around Queenstown:
|Routeburn Day Walk||Highest Bungy Jump||Explore Arrowtown|
|Biking Skippers Canyon||Round at Millbrook Golf Resort|
|Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise||Dart River Jetboat Safari|
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before departing from Queenstown Airport to connect with your flight home.
Haere rā and Bon Voyage!
Haere rā (goodbye) we hope you enjoyed our National Geographic Australian & New Zealand Journey and our promise to make your travels through New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible. We hope you leave with a huge smile on your face when recalling your time in New Zealand.
Have a great homeward journey and we hope to see you again soon.
You may also be interested in the 23 Day Australian and New Zealand National Geographic Journey...
- Visit scenic Bridal Veil Falls
- Farm visit with local lunch
- Raglan Harbour cruise
- Tour Waitomo Caves
- Meet a Maori elder
- Enjoy traditional Maori hangi feast and entertainment
- Orientation walk in Christchurch
- Scenic TranzAlpine train
- Queenstown gondola ride
- Wilderness day cruise (winter) or overnight cruise (summer) in Fiordland National Park
- Internal flights only
- All transport to/from included activities
- Comfortable 4 Star Accommodation
- Chief Experience Officer (CEO)
- Modern Mini Coach and Guide
- Meals (see day by day itinerary)