From the dramatic scenery of Waikato and the rolling hills of The Hobbit's Shire to the magical waters of Milford Sound, New Zealand will have you in its grip.
Arrive Auckland (2 Nights)
Welcome to the City of Sails! On arrival in Auckland you will be transferred to your hotel (flights to arrive prior to 4pm). Take some time to relax, or venture out and start exploring New Zealand's largest city before meeting your Travel Director and fellow travellers this evening for a Welcome Reception and dinner.
Auckland Sightseeing and Free Time
Dive Into Culture with a city sightseeing tour this morning, starting at the city's beautiful harbour. Explore the waterfront, from the commercial hub of central city out to the vibrant beachfront suburb of Mission Bay. Have your camera at the ready as we ascend to Bastion Point and the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial for sweeping views of Waitemata Harbour and the North Shore. Spend the afternoon at leisure, gazing at the yachts in the harbour or relaxing in one of Auckland's many harbourside cafes.
Auckland - Rotorua
Journey through the dramatic scenery and landscapes of the North Island's Waikato region, passing through Cambridge, 'The Town of Trees and Champions', on your way to Rotorua. Once there, you'll enjoy an orientation of the city before joining a Local Specialist at Rainbow Springs Nature Park. Encounter New Zealand's indigenous creatures that find sanctuary alongside the park's crystal-clear mineral springs, learn about the work being done to save New Zealand's national bird, and see if you can spot the shy kiwi amongst the native bush, ferns and trees. This evening, Dive Into Culture and gain a deeper understanding of Māori traditions, dance and music while enjoying a Regional Dinner at the Tamaki Maori Village, a traditional 'gathering place' of Māori storytelling, rituals and cultural experiences.
Auckland - Queenstown (3 Nights)
This morning, we'll enjoy breakfast in the charming village of Hobbiton - the movie set of the now iconic The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies. Experience the rolling hills and green pastures of The Shire before continuing to Auckland to board your flight to Queenstown. Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Queenstown.
Journey south, over the Devil's Staircase and along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, the gateway to South Island's spectacular fiords. Continue along this stunning alpine highway to Fiordland National Park, enjoying photo stops at Mirror Lakes, Knobs Flat, Hollyford Valley Lookout (Pop's View), Cleddau Valley and the Chasm. Drive through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel towards the iconic Mitre Peak and Bowen Falls, before reaching Milford Sound. Take to its still waters for a nature cruise, complete with lunch and incredible 'pinch-me' moments. Return to Queenstown for an evening at leisure.
Queenstown Free Time
Your final day in Queenstown could see you take an Optional Experience ride on the famous Shotover Jet Boat or a cruise aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue lunch. This evening, join your Travel Director for dinner at The Boatshed, set in the historic New Zealand Railways Shipping Office built in 1936. Restored and relocated to its lakefront setting, The Boatshed, with its spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables, is the perfect venue for your exclusive Regional Dinner.
Queenstown - Lake Tekapo
Leave the alpine wonderland of Queenstown behind, travelling through Central Otago to the Mackenzie region, enjoying stops in Arrowtown, with its lovingly-restored mining cottages, and Cromwell on the banks of Lake Dunstan. Indulge in some of the area's delicious stone fruit before heading over the dramatic Lindis Pass and onto Tekapo's world-renowned UNESCO Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. Enjoy the views of Mt. Cook before viewing the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd. This evening we'll join a 'Local Specialist' on an incredible voyage of discovery through the Southern Hemisphere's night sky, including the Southern Cross, Magellanic Cloud and the Milky Way. Your guide will enhance your knowledge and understanding of our southern skies as you admire and ponder the possibilities through powerful optical telescopes.
Lake Tekapo - Christchurch (2 Nights)
Enjoy a relaxed start before heading north through South Canterbury, visiting the charming boutique village of Geraldine en route to Christchurch.
Pop into the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square, the temporary home of the Christchurch Cathedral, which was destroyed in the 2011 earthquake. It is the world's only cathedral made substantially of cardboard! After a city sights tour, you're invited to 'Connect With Locals' at the home of Tim and Isabelle Weston, owners of Britten Stables, for a unique 'Be My Guest' experience over morning tea. They'll tell you the story behind the Britten V1000 motorcycle, which was designed and built by Isabelle's late father in the garage at Britten Stables. This evening, join your Travel Director and your new-found friends for a Farewell Dinner.
Our New Zealand adventure has sadly come to an end. Say a fond goodbye after breakfast as we transfer you to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).