17 Days: Highlights of New Zealand Tour [ST-3900]
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Highlights & Inclusions
  • Accommodation - Auckland (2 Nights), Rotorua (2), Wellington (2), Nelson (3), Punakaiki (1), Franz Josef (2), Queenstown (3)
  • International Flights - Los Angeles to Auckland (Return) Not Included in Starting Price (See pricing table below for details)
  • US Domestic Flights - Not Included in Starting Price (Request a Quote for Pricing)
  • New Zealand Domestic Flights - Rotorua to Wellington, Wellington to Nelson, Queenstown to Auckland
  • Day Tours - Rotorua: Hangi Feast Dinner, Soak and Sail Tour; Nelson: Seals and Beach; Punakaiki: Dolomite Point Tour; Franz Josef: Heli-Hike; Queenstown: Gondola Ride
  • Shuttle Transfer - Wellington Airport to Accommodation (Return)
  • Rental Car - 4 Day Rental: Pick-up in Auckland, Drop-off in Rotorua; 10 Day Rental: Pick-up in Nelson, Drop-off in Queenstown
  • Rental Car (Base rate only) does not include taxes, insurance, fuel levies, drop off fees, or environmental fees.
  • All Other Day Tours are Optional and not included
  • Visa Issuance for entry into Australia (US$15.00 per person)
  • F.I.T. (Free & Independent Travel, i.e. this is not an Organized Group Tour)
  • All Taxes and Fuel Levies (Except where noted)
  • Itinerary is flexible and can be tailored to suit your needs.
Itinerary Details
(Day 1) - International Flight, Los Angeles to Auckland (Check Quote for Inclusion)

Shortly after departing Los Angeles you will be served dinner and you will be given breakfast before landing in Auckland.

Relax, watch some movies, and try to get some sleep!

Please confirm with the airline at check-in that they have all your Frequent Flyer information on record (if applicable).

(Day 2 - 6) - 4 Days Car Rental, Pick up in Auckland, Drop Off in Rotorua

Discover New Zealand as you travel by rental car for four days.

Take the opportunity to explore parts of New Zealand in and around your vacation town. Please bring a valid American driver’s license with you and be aware that in New Zealand people drive on the left hand side of the road.

*Upgrade available to include GPS navigation system (additional cost).

Base rate only paid by About Australia. Insurance, Premium Location Surcharge, Fuel and Fees to driver’s credit card.

(Day 2 to 4) - 2 Nights Accommodation in Auckland

Travel to your accommodation in Auckland, New Zealand, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 2 nights.

Auckland is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, regularly voted one of the best lifestyle cities in the world– renowned as that ‘City Of Sails.’ Dramatic landscapes and seascapes provide a diverse playground in which a compelling range of attractions are available. Visitors come to enjoy an array of exciting entertainment, leisure, culture and dining possibilities in New Zealand’s largest city.

(Day 4) - Free Day to Explore Auckland

Visit one of Auckland’s many attractions.

Fly a kite or throw a Frisbee in the beautifully landscaped Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park. Critique a giant selection of both traditional and contemporary art at Auckland Art Gallery. Take a walking, swim or hike through any of Auckland’s 25 Regional Parks. Have a laugh at The Classic Comedy and Bar in Queen Street, New Zealand’s home of live comedy. Take the bus over to Eden Park, New Zealand’s largest stadium. In the evening you can join the dancing on K’Road and party on till the wee hours at one of the many nightclubs. Or maybe you would rather visit the trendy suburb of Ponsonby and enjoy delicious cuisine, superb lattes or cocktails if more to your taste. And if it is cafes, bars and restaurants you’re after, the Viaduct Harbour has a great selection.

Photo Credit: Tourism New Zealand – Julian Apse

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Auckland City Revealed

Experience the best sights of Auckland City in the morning.



Auckland is set on 52 dormant volcanic cones and between two harbours, the sparkling Waitemata and the brooding Manukau. Known as the City of Sails, it is New Zealand’s largest and busiest city. The morning tour is a journey of discovery designed to explore the history and sights as well as see how Aucklanders live and play.




Travel up Queen Street, through Auckland’s central business district, past the Auckland University and through the inner city park, known as the Domain. Continue on through the picturesque suburb of Ponsonby, with its historic buildings before heading over the Harbour Bridge to Auckland’s North Shore. Stroll on Narrow Neck Beach in historic Devonport. There is time here for a coffee before continuing up to the summit of Mt Victoria with its stunning panoramic views of Auckland City.

Travel back over the Harbour Bridge to Westhaven Marina, one of the largest marinas in the Southern Hemisphere. Then visit the Auckland Fish Market, before continuing on to the Viaduct Harbour.

Optional Day Tour (Not Included)- Auckland Harbour Cruise

Visit a true thing of beauty and cruise the sparkling waters of Waitemata Harbour!



Head out on this one and a half hour tour to see the Devonport Naval Base, travel past the township and North Head, then cruise towards the iconic Rangitoto Island as you pass the historic Bean Rock lighthouse. You’ll pass under the Harbour Bridge twice and then off to Westhaven Marina to catch a glance at the viaduct harbour bustling with super yachts!



Daily at 10:45am & 1:45pm. Tours do not operate on Christmas day.

(Day 4) - Self-Drive from Auckland to Rotorua

Today drive from Auckland to Rotorua approximately 4 hours.

North New Zealand Self Drive:
Auckland to Hamilton (2 Hours), Hamilton to Waitomo Caves (1 Hour), Waitomo Caves to Rotorua (3 Hours)

Today begin your self drive from Auckland to explore the Waitomo Caves and Rotorua. From Auckland travel to Hamilton via HWY 1 (78 miles) Hamilton city highlights include Hamilton Gardens with themed displays of trees, flowers and exotic plants, The Waikato Museum of Contemporary Art and History, as well as The Hamilton Zoo, which provides native birds with enormous freedom in a walk through free flight aviary. Continue on HWY 3 until you reach The Waitomo Caves District (48 Miles). Beneath the surface of this limestone region is a series of vast cave systems decorated with speleotherms (stalactites and stalagmites) and glow worms. Black water rafting is an intriguing way to appreciate the underground splendours of Waitomo, you’ll be drifting along subterranean streams on your own personal raft. Next travel on to Rotorua (97 miles). Rotorua sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so the volcanic activity is part of the city’s past and present. Overnight in Rotorua.

(Day 4 to 6) - 2 Nights Accommodation in Rotorua

Located on the shores of picturesque Lake Rotorua with commanding views over the lake and surrounding hinterland, your 2 nights accommodation is just a few minutes stroll to the city centre.

Your 4 star accommodation features the best of everything in Rotorua! The spa and fitness club have combined the benefits of the areas geothermal waters, culture and relaxation to enhance a holistic sense of wellbeing. Take some time to experience the Matariki Cultural Centre and encounter the warmth and spirit of the Maori people.

Upgrade Available (extra cost):
Lake View Room

Image Credit: Tourism New Zealand

(Day 6) - Evening Event: Te Po, Indigenous Evening Experience

Te Po is an authentic, one-of-a-kind evening event. It is a feast of storytelling, entertainment and Maori cuisine like no other you’ll ever experience.

The Te Po  Indigenous Experience begins with a mouth-watering buffet at the world famous Pataka Kai Restaurant, Bar and Cafe. With locally sourced cuisine and an authentic Maori twist in each dish, it is guaranteed to be a favorite with your group.

Following this, you will be led to view an exhilarating cultural performance which takes place in the beautifully carved meeting house, Te Aronui a Rua. It will include a Pohiri (Traditional Maori Welcome), Waiata (Song), Moteatea (traditional chant), Poi and Haka.

Afterwards, enter the geothermal valley on a waka (people moving vehicle) and discover one of New Zealand’s most magnificent geothermal wonderlands – featuring dramatic geysers, bubbling mud, and beautiful native bush. For generations Te Puia has welcomed manuhiri (visitors) from all over the world to explore the magic hidden within Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. During this experience, you will be viewing the valley afterhours and resting with a hot chocolate upon naturally heated rock seating beneath the powerful Pohutu Geyser.

Operates:
Daily 5:30pm-8:30pm (approx.)
Check-in is at 5:15pm

Includes:
– Return transfers from your Rotorua CBD accommodation
– Buffet dinner
– Maori cultural performance
– Hot chocolate
– Guided tour of the geothermal valley

Need to Know
This experience can be catered to your dietary needs. Please advise of any special dietary requirements when completing your Traveler Information Form.

(Day 6) - Free Day to Explore Rotorua

Enjoy some free time in Rotorua to explore this historic city!

Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland filled with a plethora of activities and attractions to check out. The region’s unique location is filled with hot pools, geysers, mud pools and geothermal activity.

Visit Waiotapu, where there are many sights to explore. Experience the Champagne Pool and waterfall filled with rich vibrant colours of the mineral salts, bubbling mud pools, craters, and Lady Knox Geyser when you visit. Arrive in the morning to see the Lady Knox Geyser at 10:15 am. For a full day of relaxation, visit the hot mineral pools and treat yourself to a relaxing Polynesian spa treatment that uses the local products (like a Rotorua mud wrap or manuka honey facial). Go Zorbing! Roll down a hill in an inflatable globe in this truly unique experience. There are different tracks to roll down with up to three people in the globe. You can choose to roll down with water in the globe for a fun time splashing around. For the adventure seekers, try Skydiving, the adrenaline rush of the jump will have you accelerating at 200 kilometres/hour. All the great views of Rotorua are best seen from 15,000 feet above.

Photo Credit: Tourism Rotorua

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Riverjet Thermal Safari - 1/2 Day

The only jetboat that incorporates a fantastic geothermal wonderland and a thrilling jet boating experience.

This awesome adventure brings you up close to a slice of New Zealand scenery. The stunning scenery of the mighty Waikato River makes you feel like time stood still as you gently cruise through the spectacular Tutukau Gorge where the canyon walls rise dramatically up to 50 metres above the water.

The stunning native bush and abundant wildlife you’ll encounter will leave you with a lasting impression. During several stops along the way the drivers explain about the rich history of the area and its unique wildlife.

Entry to Orakei Korako, also known as the Hidden Valley, is part of this awesome adventure.The serene beauty formed from and around all this geothermal commotion will leave you astounded.

On the way back the excitement begins! You’ll experience legendary 360-degree spins. The rides are tailored to suit the needs and adventure feel of all passengers, making sure it is a safe and enjoyable experience.

Insider's Tip: Relax in Rotorua

Embrace nature’s sanctuary and slip into five mineral hot pools overlooking Lake Rotorua.

Take time to embrace this magical oasis of geothermal pools. If looking for some therapeutic remedies, a cold plunge pool has been added for those wanting hot/cold hydrotherapy. The extremes of hot and cold water cause muscle to expand and contract offering gently detoxification as toxins are squeezed from the muscles.

Or, if looking to destress the mind and body, lounge in one of the 10 geothermally heated recliners. With 96.8-106 degree mineral waters, amazing views of the lake and Sulphur Bay Wild Reserve, this is sure to be an experience to remember.

Operates
Daily
Open 9:00am-11:00pm

Includes
– Access to 5 geothermal pools and cold pool
– Relaxation lounge
– 10 geothermal recliners
– Drinking fountains, hairdryers, and toiletries

Need to Know
– Cotton shirts and pants including underwear are not permitted to be worn in the pools at any time
– Children under 8 years of age must be actively supervised by a caregiver aged 16 or over
– It is recommended that you do not to stay in hot water for more than fifteen minutes. Alternate to cooler pools and maintain a regular intake of fluids

Upgrades
– Massages and other spa treatments
– Locker, towel, and swimsuit rentals
– Adult only pools

(Day 6) - New Zealand Domestic Flight, Rotorua to Wellington

Travel within New Zealand by domestic air from Rotorua to Wellington (North Island).

(Day 6) - Shuttle Transfer, Wellington Airport to Accommodation

Travel by shuttle from the Airport to your vacation accommodation in Wellington, New Zealand.

Please note: For airport transfers – 2 suitcases per person, extra pieces may be charged at $5.00 per piece. Surfboards, Bicycles etc – $5.00 each.

(Day 6 to 8) - 2 Nights Accommodation in Wellington

Travel to your accommodation in Wellington, New Zealand, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 2 nights.

Your 4 Star vacation accommodation is located conveniently in the heart of Wellington, New Zealand. It is a short walk from Westpac Stadium, Te Papa Museum and the waterfront. Your vacation hotel has a direct elevator to Lambton Quay via a shopping arcade. Travel to New Zealand’s top wine regions, Wairarapa and Marlborough, which are only a short drive away. Or participate in adventure activities such as mountain biking, sailing, bushwalking and much more.

Photo Credit: Tourism New Zealand

(Day 8) - Insider's Tip - Wellington Cable Car

The Wellington Cable Car is one of Wellington’s oldest & most popular tourist attractions.

The cars run from Lambton Quay in the heart of the central business district and within 5 minutes whisk you from under the corporate towers of The Terrace past Kelburn Park and Victoria University to the top entrance of the Wellington Botanic Gardens with its magnificent lookout over the City and harbour – Te Whanganui-a-Tara (The Great Harbour of Tara).

Other attractions immediately accessible from the top station are the award winning Cable Car museum situated in the old cable car winding room and the newly opened Carter Observatory. For those wishing to explore further, Kelburn village with its shops and Cafes is a short walk and an ideal stopping off point on your way to Zealandia. There are also easy downhill walks through the Botanic Gardens to Thorndon or back to Lambton Quay via the historic Bolton Street Cemetery and the Beehive.

A fully escorted tour of Wellington’s Cable Car and Museums is available. First stop the Museum of Wellington for the inside story on Wellington’s intruiging past. A short escorted walk along Grey Street then all aboard the Wellington Cable Car…to the top for the best views in Wellington. Learn more about these ‘Relentless red rattlers’ at the Cable Car Museum. The tour ends with tea/coffee and a homemade muffin at the Skyline Restaurant with its commanding views of the city. Take time to explore Kelburn Village or the Botanic Gardens before returning to Lambton Quay on the Cable Car.

Includes return trip on the Cable Car, guided tours and refreshments.

Departs from the Museum of Wellington at 10:00am. (Other times by arrangement) duration up to 2 1/2 hours. Bookings by 5:00pm the day before. Please make your bookings at the Museum of Wellington or at Wellington I-Site corner Victoria & Wakefield Streets Civic Square.

The Cable Cars run every 10-minutes; 7:00am to 9:00pm on Monday; 7:00am to 10:00pm on Tuesday through Friday; 8:30am to 10:00pm on Saturday and 9:00am to 9:00pm on Sunday & Public Holidays (Closed Christmas Day)

Photo Credit: Tourism New Zealand

(Day 8) - Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Seal Coast Safari Adventure

Enjoy New Zealand wilderness within minutes of downtown Wellington and immerse yourself in the native bird and wild life with stunning views of the city, sea and South Island snow-capped mountains.

Your excursion will have you experience a 4 Wheel-Driving on the beach in our Sealmobiles Off the beaten track. You will have exclusive access through private land driving right to the seals – no walking involved. Seals are guaranteed every trip.

Right from the start, you will be impressed by the friendly Kiwi “Gidday!” at the Wellington i-SITE Visitor Centre pick-up point when you are met by a Safari representative.

Your guide for the day will introduce you to the other guests, check he has enough gourmet muffins to satisfy your hunger pangs, and set off, pointing the powerful Landcruiser in the direction of the ocean.

Within minutes you have left the city behind and your 4WD adventure has begun! We traverse a local’s private land to access the sea, enjoying spectacular views and scenery along the way. This journey through our friend Steve’s ranch is a feature in itself that literally everyone comments on and loves.

Includes- Tea, coffee and fine muffins with the seals Laughing with knowledgeable and friendly guides

(Day 8) - Insider's Tip - Te Papa Museum

Explore New Zealand’s nature, art, history, and cultural heritage at Te Papa.

The tiny Colonial Museum opened behind Parliament Buildings shortly after Parliament moved to Wellington in 1865. Te Papa is situated in Cable Street on Wellington’s waterfront.

First-time visitors, don’t miss our exhibition highlights from the story of Maori in New Zealand to the interactive exhibition OurSpace. Te Papa’s user-generated interactive exhibition – contribute your photos and videos from home and, once here, get creative on our interactive wall.


Explore New Zealand’s culture and geography with the interactive map and adrenalin-pumping High Ride. Plus climb aboard a submarine simulator to explore a virtual undersea volcano. Discover the world of Maori as tangata whenua – the first settlers of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Shake things up in the Earthquake House! Discover the powerful geological forces that shape New Zealand’s landscape. See the heaviest colossal squid ever caught and the only complete one on display in the world.
Build a virtual squid from home and then come and find it in exhibition.

From kiwi to kauri, explore the variety of New Zealand’s animals and plants. Enter a junk shop that transports you through 100 years of New Zealand history on film. Visit the unique Marae (communal meeting place), designed and created by leading Maori artists. The Marae embodies the bicultural partnership at the heart of Te Papa.

For private study and research purposes only, you can photograph, film, or video: people in the Museum, general Museum scenes, the building itself. However, public display of these images is strictly prohibited.

You are not allowed to directly photograph, film, video, or otherwise copy any works on display in the Museum, including: display cases, paintings, objects, taonga (Maori cultural treasures). In some exhibitions, photography, filming, and videoing are completely prohibited. A sign at the exhibition entrance will make this clear.

With helpful hosts, cafes, shops, a library, and an onsite multimedia database, Te Papa looks after you well. Access and help for people with disabilities is provided, plus rooms for parents with young children.

Te Papa offers a range of tours, including daily tours and private group tours. We also provide a visitor booklet and an audio guide.

Free Entry (Charges apply to some short-term exhibitions and activities.)
Open Daily: Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 6:00pm / Thursdays: 10:00am – 9:00pm (Closed Christmas Day)

(Day 8) - Shuttle Transfer, Wellington Accommodation to Airport

Travel by shuttle from your vacation accommodation in Wellington to the Airport.

Please note: For airport transfers – 2 suitcases per person, extra pieces may be charged at $5.00 per piece. Surfboards, Bicycles etc – $5.00 each.

(Day 8) - New Zealand Domestic Flight, Wellington to Nelson

Travel within New Zealand by domestic air from Wellington to Nelson.

(Day 8) - 10 Days Car Rental - Pick-up in Nelson, Drop-off in Queenstown

Discover New Zealand as you travel by rental car for ten days.

Take the opportunity to explore parts of New Zealand at your own pace by car. Please bring a valid American driver’s license with you and be aware that in New Zealand people drive on the left hand side of the road.

*Upgrade available to include GPS navigation system (additional cost).

Base rate only paid by About Australia. Insurance, Premium Location Surcharge, Fuel and Fees to driver’s credit card.

(Day 8 to 11) - 3 Nights Accommodation in Nelson

Travel to your accommodation in Nelson, New Zealand, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 3 nights.

Located just minutes away from the heart of Nelson, with views stretching across the Waimea Inlet to the mountains of Kahurangi National Park, this accommodation is the perfect retreat.

What’s more, once you arrive you won’t need to go far, as the resort provides all the comforts and conveniences you could hope for.

There’s plenty on offer, including award winning restaurant, health and beauty spa, pool, gym, purpose built conference facilities and even a craftsman jeweller and a hairdressing salon onsite.

This hotel can accommodate up to 280 guests, with 20 hotel rooms, 42 one-bedroom cottages and 38 two-bedroom cottages.

Photo Credit: Nelson Tasman Tourism

(Day 11) - Day Tour, Seals & Beach Trip, Extended Cruise

For the best of everything, this trip is for you.

Beginning your tour with a guided kayaking trip to Split Apple and explore the spectacular Kaiteriteri coastline. Next stop on a golden-sand beach for a short break. Return to Kaiteriteri around 12 noon and have some lunch on the beach.
Next trade in your kayak for walking shoes and join the Vista Cruise to the golden sands of Onetahuti. On your cruise, you will see the seal colony at Tonga Island. Upon arriving into Tonga Quarry, disembark and enjoy a golden beach stop where you can explore historic Tonga Quarry and it’s associated native forest (or stay aboard for a full cruise). Rejoin your cruise en route to Kaiteriteri, where you will meet your coach and return to Nelson.

(Day 11) - Free Day to Explore Nelson

Spend a day to relax or explore the “lifestyle” of Nelson, New Zealand

Perhaps it’s the sun, perhaps it’s the location, but Nelson has long been a magnet for creative people. There are more than 350 working artists and craftspeople living in Nelson, traditional, contemporary and Maori. Visit their studios and find a unique piece to take home with you.

Walk the sun drenched sands of Golden Bay or head inland to Takaka and see the impossibly clear waters of New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs. Walk the Abel Tasman track – it’s a three to five day walk – or, for a different view, take a sea kayaking tour around the coast and see a seal colony and little blue penguins bobbing in the water.

Or just relax. Sit in the sun, sip a wine from one of the local vineyards, and dine on the famous Nelson Bay scallops.

Photo Credit: Tourism New Zealand

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Tonga Island Seals & Kayaking

Cruise the spectacular granite coastline to the golden beaches of the Marine Reserve.

Scenic Cruise, Walk & Kayak
Departing from Nelson or Kaiteriteri Beach and board a relaxing scenic cruise on the Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle which will bring you up to Totaranui. While on your cruise you will learn about the history of the park from the experienced skippers as they take you along a string of beautiful beaches. Then head south to Anchorage Bay where you disembark. Enjoy breath-taking views as you walk to Watering Cove where your kayak guide awaits you.
Kayaking south, we watch for playful seals as you visit Adele Island and embrace the wonderful
bird song ringing from this bush clad coastline. This kayak trip is great for taking it easy and
exploring the nooks and crannies of this stunning coastal paradise. Then kayak to Marahau beach where you connect with your return transport to Kaiteriteri Motueka or Nelson.

Operation: All Year round: Closed Christmas Day

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Abel Tasman National Park Scenic Cruise

Sit back and relax as we depart from picturesque Kaiteriteri Beach on a scenic cruise into the majestic Abel Tasman National Park.




View world-famous Split Apple Rock, fur seals, golden sands and the crystal-clear waters of Torrent, Bark, Tonga, Awaroa and Totaranui Beaches before you return to Kaiteriteri. A great 3 to 4-hour cruise for all ages.





Upon the conclusion of your cruise, you will arrive back into Kaiteriteri where you can take in all this attractive beach town has to offer on your 4-hour self-guided exploration. You may choose to relax and take a leisurely walk on the beautiful golden sand beach as you gaze out onto the clear blue-green water. Grab some souvenirs and keepsakes from the quaint shops and enjoy a delicious lunch, own expense, at one of the restaurants or cafes specializing in fresh seafood.

This trip includes a 4-hour self-guided scenic tour of Kaiteriteri, return transfers from Nelson to Kaiteriteri and round-trip cruise from Kaiteriteri to Totaranui with no Walking!

(Day 11) - Self-Drive from Nelson to Punakaiki

Drive time: approximately 3.5 hours.

Depart Nelson for Punakaiki via Westport.

Westport is known as a coal mining town, but it’s also a base for outdoor adventures. Visit the local coal mining museum, then strap on your walking shoes to investigate the seal colony. Black water rafting, jet boating, horse trekking and surf rafting are other opportunities for outdoor excitement.

The road to Punakaiki hugs the coast, providing spectacular views of wild beaches and the tempestuous Tasman Sea. At Charleston, formerly a prosperous gold town, you can arrange underground rafting and cave exploring trips.

(Day 11 to 12) - 1 Night Accommodation in Punakaiki

Travel to your accommodation in Punakaiki, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 1 night.

A modern accommodation complex located on Punakaiki Beach near the world famous Pancake Rocks and Blow Holes on the West Coast of the South Island. The resort has been designed to maximize the surrounding environment with beautiful ocean and rainforest views of the Paporoa National Park. Any closer to the sea and we would be floating!

Insider's Tip: Punakaiki's Pancake Rocks and Blowholes

Punakaiki’s top attraction is the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.

The Pancake Rocks that Punakaiki is famous for, are limestone formations that began forming 30 million years ago, when lime-rich fragments of dead marine creatures were deposited on the seabed, then overlaid by weaker layers of soft mud and clay. The seabed was raised above sealevel by earthquakes to form the coastal cliffs and coastline. The sea, wind and rain have since etched out the soft layers to form the unusual rock formations we see today.

Photo Credit: Tourism New Zealand

(Day 12) - Self-Drive from Punakaiki to Franz Josef

Drive time: approximately 3 hours.

Depart Punakaiki for Franz Josef. It’s a stunning trip where you have the wild Tasman Sea on one side, and the snow-capped Southern Alps on the other.

Activity suggestions: Be sure to check out the Punakaiki rocks – a pancake like rock formation; Around the town of Greymouth you’ll find galleries specialising in pounamu (New Zealand jade); Visit The Hokitika Gorge and view the vivid turquoise water surrounded by lush native bush.

(Day 12 to 14) - 2 Nights Accommodation in Franz Josef

Travel to just outside the main Franz Josef Glacier village, your Accommodation is the ideal base for you to enjoy your vacation and everything the Glacier region and the glorious New Zealand West Coast has to offer.

Franz Josef Glacier, a perfect paradox. This remote village is set on the six hundred kilometre coastline in the tranquility of Westland National Park and yet offers rest and recreation at city levels amongst some of the wildest scenery in New Zealand. A wonderful relaxing bush environment with one of only two glaciers in the world that descend from crisp, clear snowfalls into lush, temporate rainforest.

New Zealand’s West Coast in the South Island rises from sea level through luxurious rain forest to a breath-taking high country that draws visitors from all over the world on an all-round pilgrimage for the uncluttered and unspoilt beauty that it offers.

Heli-hike on the glacier; take a guided walk; jet boat; go hunting and fishing or take sedate walks. We can make arrangements for all your vacation needs. You are our priority.

Photo Credit: Gareth Eyres; Tourism New Zealand

(Day 14) - Day Tour, Franz Josef Glacier Helihike (3 Hours)

Enjoy the glacier exploration in a very unique way!

After an exciting scenic flight, you land high up on the glacier and undertake a two hour guided hike amongst some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacier scenery available. Your guide chooses the route as you go and with an eye for the most spectacular ice formations you’ll soon be making your way through a wonderland of towering pinnacles and brilliantly blue ice. You’ll enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and with plenty of photo opportunities and the chance to learn more about this magnificent glacier, this will almost certainly be your most memorable experience in New Zealand.

Operates
August to May 8.30am, 11.00am (1.30pm on request) June to July 9.00am and 11.30am

Includes
– Helicoptor flight transfer over glacier valley
– Glacier hike with knowledgeable guide

Need to Know
A moderate level of fitness is required for this hike. Please bring with you: Warm, breathable base layers such as merino or polypropylene, suitable long pants for walking in (jeans are not suitable, tracksuits and leggings are fine), sunglasses (these are essential – if you don’t have any with you we have a selection available for purchase at the front desk), sunblock, your own warm hat and gloves if you prefer, your camera or phone, a small water bottle and snack if you need one. Harness, helmet, waterproof jacket, waterproof over pants, weatherproof shoes, and trekking poles are provided on this tour. Must weigh less than 253.5lbs.

Upgrades
Glacier Adventure

(Day 14) - Self-Drive from Franz Josef to Queenstown

The approximately 5 hour drive from Franz Josef to Queenstown is visually spectactular and an easy drive.

It’s a good idea to check the road conditions on any trip, but especially important when driving in the mountains of the West Coast. Click here to plan find travel times, roadwork information and road condition updates.

Enjoy waterfalls and river scenery as you arrive in rainforest country. The vineyards of the Gibbston area and bungy jumpers at the Kawarau River Bridge are interesting distractions along the way. Be on the lookout for the famous bra fence; it started as a joke, but it’s become a local legend.

If you have time, stop to explore. Getting there is half the fun! View our map for some ideas.

-Seafood lovers will enjoy a bit of lunch at the South Westland Salmon Farm, stocked with fresh salmon originating all the way from Sacramento California!
-Check out the small town of Haast for lunch
-Take an easy 25 minute walk to see the 94 foot tall Roaring Billy Falls.
-Take in the Tasman Sea from the Knights Point Lookout
-See thunder Creek Falls, just a short 5-minute walk from the road.
-Stretch your legs on a 1-mile hike to Hasst Pass Lookout through the beech forest with the best views of Mt Aspiring National Park
-Load up with bug spray and take a, easy walk through the forest, over 2 swing bridges to enjoy an incredible view of one of the Blue Pools.
-Take a quick walk along Lake Wanaka and snap a photo of the hashtag worthy #ThatWankaTree
-Cardrona Bra Fence, locally known as Bradrona, started as a joke, became a tourist tradition and had lead to raising tons of funds for breast cancer research.
-Take a photo of the most photographed building in New Zealand at the Cardrona Hotel. (also worth a stop to grab an award winning pulled pork burger or nachos.
-Take a quick 10 minute walk up a steep path to have view of the entire valley at Crown Range Lookout.
-More amazing views and even a few of New Zealand’s most notorious parrots, the Kea, can be spotted at Summit Lookout. Keep an eye on your car! Keas love to eat windshield wipers!
-Take a quick stop at Arrow Junction Lookout Point for some amazing photos of Wakatipu Basin right off the side of the road.
-Seafood lovers will enjoy a bit of lunch at the South Westland Salmon Farm, stocked with fresh salmon originating all the way from Sacramento California!

(Day 14 to 17) - 3 Nights Accommodation in Queenstown

Travel to your accommodation in Queenstown, New Zealand, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 3 nights.

It’s all about location! Your 4 star accommodations sits in a tranquil lakefront setting only a minute’s walk from the heart of Queenstown with shopping, restaurants, nightlife and activities all within easy reach. This fresh, modern hotel features rooms and facilities furnished with the finest comforts and conveniences. A place where you can relax with superb uninterrupted views of the lake, mountains and adjoining gardens. Comfortable and serene you will surely enjoy your stay here!

Upgrades Available: Garden View Room, Lakeview Room

(Day 17) - Day Tour, Gondola Ride with Spectacular Views

One of the first sights to captivate visitors to Queenstown is the distinctive outline of the Skyline complex high above town.

Located an easy 5 minute walk from central Queenstown and exclusively accessed by scenic gondola, Skyline Gondola, Restaurant & Luge is a must-see attraction during your visit to Queenstown. The best views in the region are found here, spread out in a spectacular 220 degree panorama, with breathtaking views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkable mountain range and across Lake Wakatipu to Cecil and Walter Peaks. It’s truly magnificent and awe-inspiring!

Of course there’s more to do than just admire the view! For an additional cost you can:

  • Enjoy a dinner or relax in the bar in the Skyline Stratosfare Restaurant. Casual dining is also available during the day in the Cafe.
  • Thrill seekers can hurtle down the winding downhill Skyline Luge. Purpose built Luge carts put you in complete control as you take on a half-mile of banked corners, tunnels and dippers. Once you’ve conquered the course, hop on the chairlift and do it all again, and again, and again! Gentle and leisurely or steep and adventurous, you’ll be hooked.
  • Explore the southern night sky of Queenstown with a guided tour of the galaxy and learn about the stars, nebulae and planets that make up our solar system and beyond.

Ask your Destination Specialist about available combo packages to make your day at Skyline more enjoyable.

Various walking tracks can also be accessed from Skyline, from an easy 30 minute walk to a full day hike.

Operates
Daily. Stratosfare Restaurant closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Gondola rides operate from 9:30am to 8:30pm Monday, Thursday, Friday & Sunday. Gondola rides operate from 9:30am to 6:30pm Tuesday & Wednesday. Saturday operation hours are 8:50am to 8:30pm.

Includes
– Gondola ride

Need to Know
Gondola ride is approximately 7-10 minutes one way.

Upgrades
– Add a thrilling luge ride to your Gondola experience.
– Add the Taste of New Zealand buffet at Stratosfare Restaurant
– Stargazing evening event

(Day 17) - Free Day to Explore Queenstown

Spend a day to relax or explore dynamic Queenstown.

This region is renowned for its incedible adventure activities and spectacular outdoor terrain. You could try skiing, snowboarding, bungy jumping, paragliding, jetboating, sky diving and more! Or, if you want something a little more relaxed, you can choose from numerous family activities, nature experiences, tours and beauty spas. One hundred and forty years after our establishment as a gold mining camp, central Queenstown has transformed into a sophisticated cosmopolitan town, tucked into a picturesque bay on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, beneath majestic mountains. There’s a permanent buzz in downtown Queenstown, where you’ll find a fantastic choice of restaurants, a lively bar scene and excellent shopping.

Photo Credit: Tourism New Zealand

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Doubtful Sound - Full Day

Doubtful Sound is a beautiful fiord; three times longer than Milford Sound and a surface area ten times larger with twisting arms. With its rugged peaks, verdant rainforest and twisting, hidden inlets, Doubtful Sound will take your breath away.

The only way you can to get to Doubtful Sound is to cruise across the picturesque Lake Manapouri, followed by a bus trip over Wilmot Pass – New Zealand’s most expensive (and majestic) road.
Pause along the way to experience the dense Fiordland rainforest and view Doubtful Sound glistening below. This isolation makes this fiord a very special place, only those in the know get to see.
Once you arrive, you will board the Patea Explorer for a 3-hour cruise on Doubtful Sound – a spectacular pristine fiord. During the cruise, your knowledgeable and friendly skipper or nature guide will share with you their passion for the region. They’re always ready to answer questions, point out landmarks and provide all the information about the varied wildlife you may see, including dolphins, fur seals, and the rare Fiordland crested penguin.
Following the cruise, return to your Queenstown hotel by luxury coach.

Operates:
Daily
Departs 6:55am, Returns 7:30pm (approx.)

Includes:
– Transport by coach to/from Queenstown accommodation
– Lake cruise
– Fjord cruise
– Wildlife viewing
– Insightful commentary by nature guide

Need to Know:
Wear waterproof/warm clothing and non-slip shoes. Please bring sunglasses, sunscreen and camera. Due to the multi-leg journey and floating wharf access, guests will need to have a reasonable level of mobility. Because of the length of the tour, please bring a packed lunch. Food and drink available for purchase onboard.

Photo Credit: Tourism Media

Optional Day Tour (Not Included)- Dart River Safari - ½ Day

This jet boat adventure offers your senses a feast of spectacular natural beauty on a journey into the wilderness of the World Heritage-listed Mt. Aspiring National Park.

Your day begins with 1.5 hour journey on a jet boat through the Dart River system. You’ll be surrounded by beautiful snow-covered peaks, hidden valleys & waterfalls. Your day includes a guided walk (30 minutes) along the ‘Heritage Trail’ at Paradise. Your guide will provide you with informative & entertaining commentary about the ancient native beech forest. The forests of this region sit within a World Heritage Area, one of the only natural sites of its kind that is accessible to the public.

Your guide details the fascinating history of this area from the days of Gondwanaland, to quests by Maori for prized pounamu, to the present-day efforts of New Zealand’s department of conservation for the preservation of the area. On the ride home, you will stop to view the epic backdrop for many international movies, including ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.

Dart River Wilderness Safari is a high-country adventure. To ensure that your experience is truly enjoyable, please: Dress warmly and wear comfortable walking shoes, regardless of season or weather. Bring sunglasses, a sunhat and sunscreen (insect repellent could also be useful in some weather conditions). Note that cameras are carried at customer’s risk.

Tour itself is approximately 3 hours.

Operates
Daily. Does not operate on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Departs Queentown 8:30am
Departs Glenorchy 9:30am

Includes
– Highly experienced professional driver and guide 
– Thrilling ride on a modern, well maintained twin engine jet boat
– Life jackets 
– Transport from central Queenstown location or Glenorchy central location

Need to Know
This experience is not suitable for pregnant women, those with specific medical conditions, including people who suffer from back or neck injuries. Children must be at least 3 years old to join tour. Warm layers of clothing are recommended, including waterproof jacket, sturdy footwear and sunglasses. A small bag can be carried with you for the entire duration of the tour, should you require any extra items.

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Glow Worm Caves

Experience a mysterious underground world with a guided cave tour past the rushing water of an underground stream before drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of hundreds of glowworms.

Begin with a cruise to the western shores of Lake Te Anau on a purpose-built scenic cruise vessel. At the entry to the caves at Cavern House, view the informative displays and learn about this geological wonder before you join your guide underground. On the tour of the caves, your friendly guides will point out the highlights and share their knowledge of the caves and its history.
This underground world is astonishingly beautiful. By geological standards, the caves are very young (12,000 years) and are still being carved out by the force of the river that flows through them. The result is a twisting network of limestone passages filled with sculpted rock, whirlpools and a roaring underground waterfall. Deep inside the caves, beyond the roar of the water, you will be taken by small boat into a silent hidden grotto inhabited by hundreds of glowworms, unique to New Zealand. In the subterranean darkness, they produce a glittering display that is nothing short of extraordinary.

Operates:
Daily (except Christmas Day)
Departs several times daily from 10:15am to 8:15pm (2.5 Hours)

Includes:
– Returns from Te Anau Visitor Centre
– Scenic cruise across Lake Te Anau
– Guided tour by path and boat of glow worm cave
– Complimentary tea and coffee

Need to know:
This tour departs from Te Anau – a 2.5-hour drive from Queenstown (transfers are NOT provided). Please bring non-slip shoes/boots, sunscreen, sunglasses, waterproof jacket, warm clothing and camera. Photography is not permitted in the cave. Some bending is required at cave entrance and steps are involved.

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Walter Peak Farm & BBQ Lunch Excursion - ½ Day

This is a New Zealand farming tour like no other. A visit to the Walter Peak High Country Farm is the perfect opportunity to spend a relaxing few hours enjoying an interactive farming experience.

Farming in the New Zealand high country is a way of life – and it’s one you can get up close to at Walter Peak.
Situated on picturesque Lake Whakatipu’s south-western shores, Walter Peak High Country Farm is an idyllic place. The farm tour itself is a wonderful interactive experience, with something to keep everyone entertained and happy. You will be greeted by your rural host upon disembarking the TSS Earnslaw, who will take you to the amphitheater, where you will watch the remarkable skill with which the farm dogs round up sheep from the paddocks. You will have time for a walking tour of the farmyard, visiting the holding pens, where you can help feed the sheep and deer and even get up close to the Scottish Highland Cattle. Then a stroll to the charming old woolshed for afternoon tea. You may have time to stroll through the lakeside gardens before you re-board the TSS Earnslaw for your cruise back to Queenstown.

Operates
Daily (except Christmas and not operating 20MAY to 30JUN)
Starts multiple times daily from 11am to 3pm (3.5 Hour Tour)

Includes
– Return cruise on the TSS Earnslaw
– Guided Farm tour
– Sheep dog demonstration
– Enjoy afternoon tea, freshly baked at the farm

Need to Know
Licensed bar available aboard the TSS Earnslaw (Own expense). Substitute vessel used during 15May-26Jun maintenance period. Please bring non-slip shoes/boots, warm clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses and camera.

Upgrades
Can add BBQ lunch or dinner to your farm experience.

(Day 17) - New Zealand Domestic Flight, Queenstown to Auckland

Travel within New Zealand by domestic air from Queenstown to Auckland (North Island).

(Day 17) - International Flight, Auckland to Los Angeles

Today depart Auckland and fly to the USA. Enjoy an in-flight dinner and movie with arrival in the USA. Note: you will be traveling back across the International Date Line. Gain that day back you lost on the way over, you actually arrive in the USA on the same day you leave Auckland.

Note: Flight may include a stop over in Australia.

  • a) All prices are USD$/person (including all Taxes). Subject to availability and seasonality. Other Conditions Apply (see Terms and Conditions).
  • b) Land Content Only represents the pricing for the full itinerary as detailed, except the International Flights from the USA (and return) are NOT included.
  • c) An Infant (Lapchild) must be less than 2 years old on the date of departure. Infant must travel with at least one adult. An infant with a seat pays the price of a Child.
  • d) A Child must be aged between 2-11 years on the date of departure. Child must travel with at least one adult.