North & South Islands
All the very best of both islands including Rotorua, the Glow Worm caves, the Tranz Alpine Express plus Queenstown, Te Anau and majestic Milford Sound. The unique sights and sounds of an exotic land. Options & Rates
Upon arrival you will be met by our representative and transferred to the hotel. The city occupies a superb site on a slender bridge of land astride two seas, the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea. Auckland is also unique as it’s built on sloping hills, surrounded by forests and 65 extinct volcanoes.
Morning private half day tour of the city and its environs including the twin harbors, the heights of Mt Eden, the war memorial museum situated in 200 acres of gardens, housing the best Maori collection in the world. A visit to the zoological park reveals New Zealand’s national symbol, the Kiwi bird, a strange-looking fuzz-feathered wingless creature with a hunched back and a long skinny beak. Also at the park can be found the tuptara, a rare pre-historical reptile, and other feathered, furred and scaly inhabitants who are found nowhere else in the entire world. Afternoon at leisure.
This morning you will be met by your car and driver for the drive south through verdant farmland and along the country’s longest river, the Waikato, through several “service towns” to Hamilton, known for its themed gardens and local zoo containing the largest free-flight aviary in the Southern Hemisphere. Continue south to Cambridge, the country’s center of the equestrian and thoroughbred horse industry, to Rotorua.
Full day private sightseeing. Here the most spectacular phenomena in the world can be seen — geysers, boiling mud, hot pools, hot springs and spouts of gushing steam. Rotorua is also the center of Maori life and culture, with a model village, displays of carving and concerts of Maori music.
Day 5—LAKE TAUPO
Leave Rotorua this morning for the short drive to New Zealand’s largest lake, Lake Taupo, acclaimed locally as the trout-fishing capital of the world. The monster rainbow trout found in this lake descend from a single batch of eggs brought from California’s Russian River 100 years ago. Continue along the lake to the superb Huka Lodge.
Lake Taupo Lodge
Day 6—LAKE TAUPO
A full day at leisure for independent activities at this internationally renowned resort. Activities include fishing, boating, horse-back riding, tennis, golf and sailing — or just spend the day relaxing in these luxurious and understated surroundings.
Lake Taupo Lodge
Day 7—DE REDCLIFF VINEYARD
Leave Lake Taupo this morning, driving via Te Kuti. This west coast route passes the tiny village of Waitomo, honeycombed with caves containing limestone stalagmites and stalactites twisted in amazing, distorted shapes. The high spot here is a boat trip to the famous Glow Worm Grotto, lit by an unearthly blue-green radiance given off by tens of thousands of insect larvae covering the roof and walls. After your visit, continue northwards to Auckland and the DeRedcliff vineyards.
Hotel du Vin
Day 8—DE REDCLIFF TO CHRISTCHURCH
Leave the vineyards this morning for the 45 minute transfer to Auckland Airport for your flight to Christchurch. On arrival you will be met and transferred by private car to your hotel. Christchurch has been called “the most English city outside of England.” Much of the charm here has been created by the river Avon that flows through the center of the city. Afternoon walking tour with an official guide to discover the highlights of this river dominated city.
Day 9—THE TRANZ ALPINE EXPRESS
Leave Christchurch this morning to embark on one of the great rail journeys of the world. From the Pacific Ocean, the trip crosses the country through a fascinating variety of scenery including valleys, gorges and the Southern Alps until arrival on the shores of the Tasman Sea. In Greymouth your private car and driver-guide will transfer you via the famous Franz Joseph glacier to Fox Glacier.
Te Weheka Inn
Day 10—FRANZ JOSEPH TO LAKE WANAKA
After a morning tour of New Zealand’s most famous glacier, continue by private car along the west coast to Haast, which is the center of high stands of rainforests, and a major wildlife refuge with extensive wetlands. So unique is this area that it’s earned status as a World Heritage site. Continue over the Haast Pass, still in the Southern Alps, down to Lake Wanaka.
Day 11—LAKE WANAKA TO QUEENSTOWN
After a leisurely morning, drive to the fascinating old restored gold-rush mining town of Arrowhead. After your visit, continue to Queenstown, situated on a sheltered arm of the S-shaped Lake Wakatipo. From here, New Zealand’s grandest scenic treasures can be reached including Lake Te Anau and Milford Sound.
Mercure Grand St. Moritz
This morning embark on a cruise boat to the Walter Peak High Country Sheep Station. Following a meeting by the friendly staff, experiences of life on a sheep station are shared during coffee at the homestead. Visit the original wool shed and the sheep dogs in action. Afternoon at leisure.
Mercure Grand St. Moritz
Day 13—TE ANAU
Leave Queenstown this morning driving along the lake through mountain valleys into the Fiordland National Park and the township of Te Anau beautifully situated on the lakeshore. This is the main center for exploration of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural attractions including Milford Sound and one of the most famous walks in the world; the Milford Track.
Day 14—EXCURSION TO MILFORD SOUND
This morning embark on a full day motor launch cruise up the 16 km waterway of the fiord where sheer mountain walls tower above the tranquil waters. Afternoon return to Te Anau.
Transfer by private car to the Queenstown airport for your departure flight.