Day 1: Arrive Auckland (D)
‘Haere Mai’ …. Welcome to New Zealand. On arrival, you will be transferred to your downtown city hotel. This evening, join your fellow travellers for a welcome drink & dinner.
Day 2: Devonport, Waiheke Island (B,L)
After a leisurely start to the day, a brief ferry ride brings us to Waiheke Island, a haven for vineyards, olive groves, art galleries and sandy beaches. Enjoy a tour of the island before sitting down to a special lunch at the beautiful Mudbrick Winery, with its spectacular views over the Hauraki Gulf looking back to the city skyline.
Day 3: Hobbiton, Rotorua (B,D)
This morning, we travel south to Matamata where we experience a guided tour of Hobbiton Movie Set, the movie set used in the block-busting ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Hobbit’ films. Later, we continue our journey on to the geothermal city of Rotorua.
Day 4: Exclusive Lake Rotoiti cruise and Te Wairoa Buried Village (B,D)
Today’s highlight is an exclusive cruise across the serene, clear waters of Lake Rotoiti. Explore the bays and coves of the lake under sail on our luxury catamaran and bathe in the thermal waters of the Manupirua Pools, accessible only by boat. This afternoon, travel past the Blue and Green Lakes to the famous buried village of Te Wairoa. This evening, we visit Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve and are treated to a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and cultural performance.
Day 5: Lake Taupo, Napier (B)
Stop to view the mighty Huka Falls and Wairakei Geothermal Project and then take time to wander around the popular lakeside resort of Taupo. Continue on to Napier, one of the world’s best Art Deco cities. Here, your local guide will bring this fascinating architecture to life on your walk around the town this afternoon.
Day 6: At leisure in Hawke's Bay (B,D)
Widely regarded as the ‘Tuscany of the South Pacific’, this region boasts some of New Zealand’s best wineries. Enjoy a free day to experience some of the many optional activities available or simply relax and enjoy your surroundings. This evening, we visit Mission Estate, New Zealand’s oldest winery established by a group of French missionaries in 1851. Enjoy wine tastings followed by a fine dining experience in the elegantly restored seminary with its sweeping views over the vineyards, city and the coast beyond.
Day 7: Wairarapa, Wellington (B)
Travel this morning through the rural heartland of the Wairarapa region en-route to Wellington, the nation’s capital, where you enjoy a brief sightseeing and orientation tour before checking into your accommodation.
Day 8: Explore the nation's capital (B)
Named the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ by Lonely Planet, Wellington is nestled between a sparkling harbour and rolling green hills and is renowned for its arts, heritage, culture, and native beauty. A visit to Te Papa National Museum is highly recommended, as is a ride on the famous Cable Car up the hill to Kelburn for amazing views over the city. If you like action-packed adventure activities, Wellington has it all, as well as beautiful walks around the harbour and surrounding hills.
Day 9: Picton, Marlborough Sounds (B,D)
This morning we cruise across Cook Strait by Interislander ferry to the picturesque fishing village of Picton. At Havelock, we board our vessel for a scenic cruise to our remote resort located in the stunning Kenepuru Sound
Day 10: Enjoy Kenepuru Sound (B,D)
A free day to relax and marvel at the magic that is the Marlborough Sounds. Lodge staff will share their love of the region with you through the wide range of water and nature-based experiences they put at your fingertips. Complimentary fishing tackle, kayaks, and mountains bikes are provided at the lodge, and there are a number of bush walks to enjoy. Or, you can simply relax with a book and soak in the spectacular scenery.
Day 11: Blenheim, Kaikoura (B)
Return to Havelock by water taxi and board our coach for the journey to the small coastal town of Kaikoura. Here you can enjoy an optional whale-watching adventure, swim with the dolphins, or join local Maori for a unique, award-winning cultural experience.
Day 12: Lake Tekapo, Aoraki Mount Cook (B,D)
Travel south across the Canterbury Plains and stop at beautiful Lake Tekapo to view the Church of the Good Shepherd. Then travel up the western side of Lake Pukaki to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, a World Heritage-listed site. The park covers over 70,000 hectares of breathtaking alpine scenery.
Day 13: Tasman Glacier expedition (B,D)
Today we experience the Tasman Glacier in the most unique way possible. An experienced guide will whisk you away in a stable MAC Boat to explore the melting ice-face of the Tasman Glacier. Get up close to touch & taste 400-year old icebergs that have been carved into the murky waters of the lake. Later today, there is time to enjoy one of the many bush walks and optional ski-plane and helicopter flights are available subject to weather conditions.
Day 14: Cromwell, Te Anau (B,D)
Begin the assent over the Lindis Pass to the township of Cromwell, then continue on to the historic village of Clyde, nestled in a sheltered basin at the foot of an immense and crooked gorge. Stop for lunch at Alexandra, located on the banks of the mighty Clutha River, then travel across the farmlands of Central Otago to the township of Gore before arriving at the shores of Lake Te Anau, gateway to the Fiordland National Park.
Day 15: Milford Sound, Queenstown (B,L)
Today’s highlight is a leisurely nature cruise of the breathtaking Milford Sound, cruising the full length of the fiord to the Tasman Sea. An on-board nature guide will give you detailed information of the region’s history, flora & fauna and you will view spectacular waterfalls, rainforests and towering mountains, including the awesome Mitre Peak. Wildlife includes dolphins, seals, penguins & albatross when in season. Continue your journey on to Queenstown, regarded as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination.
Day 16: Queenstown at leisure (B)
Enjoy a free day to experience this magnificent alpine resort. Surrounded by majestic mountains, Queenstown boasts an incredible array of adventure & leisure activities in all forms, from extreme to relaxed exploration. Your guide will be happy to advise you on all the activities and options available.
Day 17: Arrowtown, Akarua Winery (B,L)
Set beneath the rugged Crown Range is Arrowtown, an historic village located beside the Arrow River which was once a haven for the gold prospectors of the 1860’s. It features a fascinating collection of mining cottages with an atmosphere straight out of last century. Enjoy time to stroll through this historic village, before enjoying a relaxing, sumptuous lunch at Walnut Cottage, the show piece of Akarua Wines and back dropped by the Remarkables mountain range.
Day 18: Wanaka, Franz Josef Glacier (B,D)
There is time to wander around the resort town of Wanaka before enjoying incredible scenery as we travel past the untouched native forests and pristine lakes of the World Heritage-listed Westland Tai Poutini National Park. On to Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, where there is the opportunity to experience an optional scenic flight over this remarkable region (subject to weather conditions).
Day 19: Spectacular TranzAlpine train, Christchurch (B,D)
Head north along the dramatic West Coast, steeped in history dating back to the gold rush era of the 1800s. This afternoon, we board the TranzAlpine train for a coast-to-coast rail adventure through the Southern Alps, rated as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. On arrival we transfer to our resort hotel for a farewell dinner.
Day 20: Depart Christchurch (B)
Sadly, your holiday ends today and you will be transferred to Christchurch Airport to connect with your onward flight home.