Embark on an exclusive expedition into the scenic highlights of New Zealand, a journey revealing the extraordinary depths of a land shaped by Maori legends, brave pioneers and ancient seismic forces.
Arrive Auckland (2 nights)
Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand's vibrant 'City of Sails'. On arrival, transfer to your hotel (flights to arrive prior to 4pm). This evening, join your Travel Director and travelling companions for a Welcome Reception and dinner.
Following a city tour of Auckland we'll board the ferry to Waiheke Island. With pristine beaches, world class wines, and fantastic cuisine it's easy to see why Waiheke Island is considered the jewel in the Hauraki Gulf's crown. You'll feel like you're a world away as we embrace the essence of Waiheke with our 'Local Specialist' . Enjoy wine tasting at some of Waiheke's award-winning vineyards, followed by a light lunch, before we cruise the Hauraki Gulf back to the city.
Auckland - Rotorua (2 Nights)
Begin your day by exploring the iridescent Waitomo Caves on an exclusive five-star Eco Glowworm experience with a 'Local Specialist'. Admire the magical subterranean world of Footwhistle Cave before continuing your journey to the volatile landscapes of Rotorua, where Maori culture takes centre stage. This evening,'Connect With Locals' on your visit the Tamaki Māori Village for insights into local rituals and traditions of this fascinating culture. Embrace their gracious Hongi greeting, experience the heart-pounding wero challenge during the Powhiri, a ceremonial welcome, and enjoy a 'Be My Guest' dinner, the delicious flavours of the Hangi cooked in the earth with geothermal steam.
'Dive into Culture' at the Living Maori Village Whakarewarewa, where a 'Local Specialist' will join you to view New Zealand's biggest geyser, bubbling mud pools and thermal springs. You'll also learn about their special bond with this ancient land. Your afternoon is at leisure.
Rotorua - Wellington (2 Nights)
Visit Rainbow Springs Nature Park for a guided tour with a 'Local Specialist' of the National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa, the national leader in kiwi husbandry. Learn about the work being done to save New Zealand's national bird, see kiwi eggs being incubated, the hatching process and newly hatched kiwi chicks. Fly to Wellington and spend the evening exploring on your own, perhaps enjoying dinner at one of the quirky cafes at Courtney Place or Cuba Street.
A harbourside city, Wellington is rich in natural beauty, but the wild wind has driven an exciting indoor life, too: there's a world-leading café culture, great multicultural restaurants, contemporary art and live music. This is your chance to know it like a local on a guided walking tour. Discover the stunning waterfront to the hidden laneways in the bohemian area: the heritage Cuba Street precinct. Once dimly lit back alleys, these newly rejuvenated laneways are now home to some of the country's funkiest bars, boutiques and breweries. Experience premium batch peanut butter tasting from an artisan supplier, and a taste of the Capital's very own chocolate and you'll see for yourself that Wellington really is the coffee and craft beer capital of New Zealand! This afternoon, we continue to the urban eco-sanctuary of Zealandia, admiring the extraordinary efforts of conservationists who have reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife that were absent from mainland New Zealand for over a century.
Wellington - Queenstown (3 nights)
Explore the country's fascinating culture, nature, heritage and art at Te Papa Museum of New Zealand. Then it's time to prime yourselves for a few days of adventure, flying to Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital. On arrival, journey to the gold rush village of Arrowtown. Enjoy a tour of Queenstown, and gaze at the natural splendour in its midst - from the peaks of the Remarkables to beautiful Lake Wakatipu.
Doubtful Sound Cruise
The legendary tears of two Māori sisters may have created Lake Manapōuri, but there's nothing sad about your memorable cruise across its deep blue waters. Travel to the heart of Fiordland National Park next and immerse yourself in the beauty and vastness of remote Doubtful Sound. The views from your Wilderness Cruise will take your breath away as you venture even deeper into the rugged wilderness, keeping an eye out for dolphins, fur seals and the occasional penguin.
Queenstown Free Time
Explore exciting Queenstown your way and consider an Optional Experience. Perhaps enjoy a guided walk through a native beech forest or embark on a minibus tour through the scenic gorge of Skippers Canyon. For a more sedate encounter with the adrenaline capital, visit one of the nearby wineries on a wine tour. As your final day ends, toast your trip at a Farewell Dinner with your Travel Director and new-found friends.
For now, all that's left to say is a fond farewell as your trip comes to a end after breakfast. Throughout today you will be transferred to Queenstown Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).