New Zealand offers Glacial Fjords, Ancient Rock formations, beautiful beaches, and lakes with glorious mountain views. Yes, this gorgeous country has so much to offer you simply must come here and experience it for yourself. We will travel through both the North and South Island experiencing a variety of both city and country life as we travel through scenic roadways and cross lakes with fjords and mountains that will truly take your breath away. Indulge in a natural mud bath; have the chance to see dolphins and albatross. We will even experience the famous “Hobbiton” made famous from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. During your tour of New Zealand, you will stay in unique properties with breathtaking lake or country views.
Day 1 – September 1: Arrival in Auckland. Meet and Greet with Driver guide. City tour orientation: During a city tour you will see the highlights of Auckland, the “City of Sails”: on the weekends, thousands of boats cavort in the Hauraki Gulf, a recreation area on Auckland’s east coast. Mount Eden, which at 200m elevation is the highest of Auckland’s 63 extinct volcanoes, offers a magnificent view of the largest city in New Zealand. You will also see popular Parnell, a restored Victorian suburb with lots of cafes and interesting shops. Also on your city tour is the “Auckland War Memorial Museum” one of Auckland’s most historic buildings with its impressive collection of Maori and New Zealand exhibits (admission not included).
Tonight we enjoy a 3-course welcome dinner at the revolving Orbit Restaurant Situated at the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower. The dining room rotates once every hour, providing a truly unique experience with amazing 360° panoramas of the city, the Hauraki Gulf and beyond. Amora Hotel. (B,D)
Day 2 – September 2: Auckland to Rotorua – After breakfast, we depart with our driver and guide south toward Hamilton through the hill-country farming region to the Waitomo Caves area. The name Waitomo comes from the Maori wai (water) and tomo (shaft). This limestone area has thousands of caves full of glow worms. It is also covered in bizarre limestone formations.
We visit Te Puia Thermal Park. Here, you can also see the famous kiwi and a traditional Maori carving and weaving school. Te Puia is New Zealand’s living Maori cultural center. Situated in the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley with a 60 hectare site, home to the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, a live kiwi enclosure, the world-famous Pohutu Geyser, and more than 500 geothermal wonders.
Enjoy a famous boat ride under thousands of magical glowworms and become a part of over 120 years of cultural and natural history. Continue our trip to the famous and only geothermal Power Station in the country and the Maori culture. Long regarded by Maori as a place of healing, Tikitere also houses the Wai Ora Spa, where you can get muddy with a variety of treatments. Travel up to Mount Ngongotaha with the Gondola and enjoy a wine tasting (not included). Millennium Hotel Rotorua for 2 nights (B, D)
Day 3 – September 3: Rotorua – In Rotorua we have a special treat: we visit “Hells Gate” where we will enjoy a rejuvenating mud bath. The reserve covers 10 hectares, with a 2.5km walking track to the various attractions, including a hot thermal waterfall. You can also see a master woodcarver at work, and learn about flax weaving and other Maori traditions.
Visit a most picturesque private farmland “The Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies” in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. During your tour, you will see Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill, double arched bridge and other structures and gardens built for the films. Includes one complimentary refreshment from the exclusively crafted Southfarthing range. Tonight you will participate in a “Hangi” a traditional Maori meal cooked in a hole in the ground. After the feast, the Maoris sing, play and dance, including all in their lively musical culture.
Optional: experience the Maori Challenge and the Haka. The skill of the participants is tested in the stick games. See the swinging of the poi symbolizing the flight of the bird. All actions, games, and dances are accompanied by harmonious singing. VR Rotorua Lake Resort- Garden View (B, D)
Day 4 – September 4: Rotorua to Queenstown – We depart for the Rotorua airport for your flight to Queenstown. Upon arrival in Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world, we transfer to the wharf. Board the TSS Earnslaw, a 1912 coal-fired steamship to cruise the lake Wakatipu. The 1-hour cruise takes us to the other side of the lake to Walter Peak Station, a working sheep farm station in a glorious lakeside setting. You can visit the engine room and see it’s giant steam engines at work, view the collection of historical photos in the mini museum, check out the bridge or join a sing along with the pianist. There is also the opportunity to enjoy wine, beer or cafe style food at the on-board Promenade Cafe and Bar. Enjoy a fabulous relaxed buffet dinner and have some time to explore the farm and farm animals before you return to Queenstown. Scenic Suites Queenstown for 2 nights (B, D)
Day 5 – September 5: Queenstown at leisure – Your New Zealand vacation is at your leisure; enjoy any optional activities you wish to enjoy in Queenstown. Your local New Zealand guide will be on hand to suggest sites and activities. Buffet dinner at the hotel tonight. (B, D)
Day 6 – September 6: Queenstown to Lake Te Anau – Today you will experience one of the highlights of your journey. The spectacular Milford Road winds through a majestic mountain world. At Homer tunnel you can have a close encounter with the cheeky Keas, the only mountain parrots in the world, before you reach the Sound. Here you will have time to fully absorb the true mood and tranquility of this very special place from a cruise ship. Enjoy the romantic scenery of wilderness, which is determined by almost vertical mountain walls like the Mitre Peak and plunging waterfalls. You then head back to Te Anau on the shores of Lake Te Anau, where you stay the night.
Distinction Te Anau hotel and Villas- Garden view (B,L,D)
Day 7 – September 7: Lake Te Anau – Dunedin – You leave Te Anau and cross the region of Southland, known for its excellent deer farms, passing wide open spaces full of grazing sheep and cattle. Traveling northwards to Dunedin, the impressive Scottish founded University town. A significant city since its founding days, the first refrigerated ship laden with meat, took off from here in 1882. Today you will explore Dunedin with a city tour. A landmark of the city, the Railway Station, should not be forgotten. Dunedin is the “Scottish” capital of New Zealand and has the steepest street in the world. Also known is the city for your rhododendrons and gardens. We join a boat cruise to have a close encounter with the majestic albatross. Our crew give you a full commentary about the wildlife, history and geology as the boat explores the stunningly beautiful and rugged coastline close to the entrance of the Otago Harbour. You will see uninterrupted views of the world’s only mainland nesting place of albatross. You may be lucky enough to see the Northern Royals soaring and banking on three metre wings. Watch the NZ Fur seals breed, fight and play on the rocks around their breeding rookeries. The endangered and impressive NZ Sea lions are returning to the sandy beaches around the area. Out at sea you can spot rarely seen ocean birds including other albatross species and petrels, and you may see penguins, dolphins and other marine mammals. Scenic Hotel Dunedin- Superior room (B, D)
Day 8 – September 8: Dunedin to Canterbury – If time permits we will have a short stop at St Clairs beach. Continuing your journey towards the Mt Cook National Park you stop at the Moeraki Boulders, a curious looking mineral attraction thrown millions of years ago onto the East Coast of New Zealand and carry on through landscape covered in Tussock grass known as the MacKenzie Country.
Tonight we will stay in Twizel with views of Glen Mary Glacier, Ben Ohau Range and Mt. Cook. Mackenzie Country Inn- Deluxe room. (B, D)
Day 9 – September 9: We continue to Lake Pukaki at the Mt Cook National Park. Fed by the melting waters of the Tasman Glacier, which tints it blue with ground-up “rock flour”, beautiful Pukaki is itself a glacier lake. Mount Cook (3764m) towers behind it, and is often reflected in the waters.We continue to Lake Tekapo, the largest of the three lakes in the Mackenzie Country. Beautiful turquoise Tekapo is blessed with a magnificent vista up into the Southern Alps. We visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog statue. We leave the Southern Alps and enter the fruitful and rich Canterbury plain, one of New Zealand’s most important farming area. After a city tour in Christchurch we have our farewell dinner at the hotel. Check-in to Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch (B, D)
Day 10 – September 10: Departure Day – After breakfast transfer to Christchurch airport for your return flight home. (B)
Cost: $5038.00 based on Double Occupancy. (Roommates can be provided)
Single Supplement $758.00
Booking/final payment deadline is 60 days prior to departure.
SAVE 3% OFF Tour cost if paying by check or ACH transfer
9 nights’ hotel with taxes
Local Tour Guide
Private transfers to all included sites and cities visited
R/T airport arrival/departure transfers if traveling on scheduled days
TSS Earnslaw cruise incl dinner
Entrance fee to Hells Gate
Milford Sound Cruise incl lunch
Hangi and concert
Visit Waitomo Caves
Albatross boat cruise
Hells Gate Park entry and mud bath package
Airfare – Arrival into Auckland (AKL) departure from Chrsitchurch (CHC)
Meals not listed in itinerary
Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks with meals unless listed
Room charges such as calls, mini bar, laundry, room service.
All personal expenses
Pre nights in Auckland $86.50 Double and $173 singe per night
Gratuities for driver and guide
Domestic flights from Rotorua (ROT) to Queenstown (ZQN)
Passport, Visa fees, departure tax if any
International flights – You will need to depart the USA on December 22 to arrive into Auckland on December 24, 2017 and depart from Christchurch on January 2, 2018
Domestic flights – are as follows and need to be booked as noted.
December 27, 2017 Rotoru to Queenstown depart at 7 AM arrive at 11 AM
Approximate cost for domestic flight is about $235.00 at time of posting.
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