You will be visiting the highlights of New Zealand but also experience stunning remote areas. You will stay at beautiful small B&B's and lodges, of which several are situated in unique & special locations.
... close enough but far enough away from the main tourist centres. You meet locals and experience some great adventures and partake in activities that will leave fond memories. You will enjoy with us a private and friendly journey and an authentic New Zealand experience!Plan Your Tour
Private guided tour itinerary - 13 nights
Day 1: Auckland (City tour, Dinner/sailing cruise in Auckland Harbour)
Day 2: Auckland - Coromandel Peninsula (Water gardens, White Sand beaches)
Day 3: Coromandel - Bay of Plenty - Rotorua (Mt Manganui Beach)
Day 4: Rotorua - Taupo (Whakarewarewa Village and Maori cultural performance, Hangi lunch, Geothermal Hidden Valley, Huka Falls)
Day 5: Taupo - Volcanic National Park - Rangitikei River (Farm-stay, soft rafting trip through a deep gorge/Lord of the Rings scenery)
Day 6: Taihape - Kapiti Coast - Wellington (Capital, Te Papa Museum)
Day 7: Wellington – Marlborough Sounds (Ferry Crossing Cooks Straight, wine tasting)
Day 8: Marlborough Sounds - Kaikoura (Whale or dolphin watch cruise, seal colonies)
Day 9: Kaikoura - Christchurch – Akaroa Peninsula (city, penguin encounter)
Day 10: Akaroa - Lake Tekapo (Scenic flight over Glacier “Grand Traverse")
Day 11: Tekapo – Mt Cook – Wanaka (Glacier lakes encounter cruise)
Day 12: Wanaka – Te Anau (Wineries, Kawarau Gorge, Arrowtown, Fiordland)
Day 13: Te Anau - Milford Sound (Cruise in Fiordland National Park)
Day 14: Te Anau – Queenstown
Prices: We recommend the following guidelines for customized tour packages, excluding international flights:
4* (3* internationally) to 5*: From around NZ$ $400 - $1150+ per person per day. The customized package will include accommodation, airport transfers and other transportation within New Zealand, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip. Please enquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.
Start off your private guided tour! Your 14 Day Tour starts with a relaxing sightseeing tour of Auckland, a chance to explore the CBD and outer areas of the city, taking in the spectacular harbour views of the Waitemata from Auckland’s illustrious waterfront, and through some of the most expensive real estate in NZ. You will also have the opportunity to stop off and visit one of Auckland’s most prestigious shopping areas “Parnell Historical Village”, from here your tour continues on to the summit of "One Tree Hill" one of 48 dormant volcanoes situated in and around Auckland, from the summit you can take in a stunning 360-degree view of Auckland city and its surrounding harbours. Auckland is known as the City of Sails! Watch the fairy-tale lights of Auckland city pass while dining and cruising the Auckland Harbour. If you are still not tired then visit the nearby Viaduct Basin and its many lively bars.
Accommodation: Auckland City
Driving distance 3h
Your tour today takes you to the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel is one of New Zealand’s most popular and best-loved holiday destinations and when you visit it you will see why. A binocular’s view across the gulf from Auckland, it is everything that a big city isn’t. First, we pass through the historic gold mining town of Thames. From here, your drive takes you out along the beautiful winding coastline of the western side of the peninsula to Tapu. From Tapu your journey takes you into the hills of the Coromandel Ranges, stopping off to visit the Rapaura Water Gardens where we follow the narrow and winding scenic road alongside a small stream which provides a short walk to the magnificent stand of New Zealand native Kauri trees. Fabulous golden and white sandy beaches with magnificent coastal scenery, a rugged forest cloaked interior are waiting to be explored. These are just some of the natural attractions that have people returning to the Coromandel time after time. On arrival in Hahei, you will have the opportunity to explore the picturesque beach with its white sand and stunning shoreline to Cathedral Cove and its marine reserve. A fantastic view from the lookout point will give you spectacular photo opportunities and a fabulous view of the coastline. The Coromandel is the home of many artists and craftspeople. Pop into their studios – you’re welcome to visit – and pick up a unique piece of art or pottery to take home with you. Recommended (Optional) Take a sea Kayak trip along this stunning coastline to Cathedral Cove or explore the sea caves and sheer volcanic cliffs. Trips cover what we believe to be the most spectacular stretch of coast on the Coromandel Peninsula, if not New Zealand. Kayaking is backpacking on the sea. No rush, no noise, just you and nature at its best.
Driving distance 4h
In the morning visit nearby Hot water Beach with thermal waters brewing just below the surface of the sand. Take a look at a unique art store with its local and pacific souvenirs. As you depart the Coromandel Peninsula your tour will take you through the eastern North Island region of the Bay of Plenty, an area with a consistently mild climate which is ideal for farming. The Bay of Plenty is also famous for its kiwi fruit crops and vineyards. Visit Mt Maunganui which has become one of New Zealand’s biggest holiday destinations, with its long white sandy beaches. We take a break at Maketu Beach, a unique spot off the beaten track to a classic little seaside village where you can have or walk or go for a swim. Maketu is the landing place of the Arawa people, one of the 1st 3 canoes to come to New Zealand. This remote area is known for the stunning estuary, river and coastal panoramic views. Your tour takes you to the geothermal capital of Rotorua, where in the evening you can relax in your accommodation. Optional - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour: Discover the real Middle-earth on the most picturesque private farmland near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand, where you can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. The set has been completely rebuilt and will remain as it was seen in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. There are spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges from the rolling green hills of the movie set, which is still a working sheep and beef farm.
Driving distance 1h
Set amidst a landscape of erupting geothermal activity, hot thermal springs and bubbling hot pools is the living thermal village of Whakarewarewa, situated in the heart of the tourist diamond of Rotorua. Te Whakarewarewatanga O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao" meaning "The uprising of the warriors (war party) of Wahiao". Discover the unique lifestyle and traditions as you join a guided tour and witness the phenomena of mother nature and learn how the Maori people have come to live in harmony within this unique landscape and environment. Some cultural performers will share with you the culture through the performing arts enlightening you with song and dance. Hangi simply means “food cooked in the ground or an earth oven”. Using the gift of the geothermal activity when the ground gives way, a box is made above the newly created vent, a lid is placed on top. Food is then placed inside the box to steam and cook the food, this type of hangi is traditional within the village but not to Maori in general. In the afternoon travel further through the Waikato region and the beautiful Waikato River between Rotorua and Taupo and discover Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park. Also known as the Hidden Valley, Orakei Korako is a unique visitor attraction – not to be missed. It’s a geothermal wonderland, one of nature’s true gifts. Come and explore a world of gushing geysers, hot springs, bubbling mud pools and some of the largest and most amazing silica terraces in the world. Wander through the valley and visit the thermal Ruatapu Cave which extends 120 ft down to a hot pool at the bottom named "Waiwhakaata", which means "pool of mirrors."Up to 23 active natural geysers play freely through the area, with variable and interesting changes. View the vast number of boiling hot springs and mud pools or take a native bush walk through this untouched geothermal paradise described by the Lonely Planet Guide as "...possibly the best thermal area left in New Zealand and one of the finest in the world". Today we stay at nearby Lake Taupo, the largest Lake in the country, on the way we stop at the Huka Falls - these spectacular falls roar through a 15-m wide chasm before plunging a further 11-m.
Accommodation: Lake Taupo
Driving distance 3h
After breakfast, we travel around the edges of the Lake and stop at the remote Lake Rotoaira to get our first spectacular view of the Volcanic Plateau and Mount Tongariro. We pass the park ranges, which include wildly differing landscape and scenery: from deserts to vast areas of tussock land, mountain beech forests and wetlands, all with a mix of native flora and fauna. You will see active volcanic craters, natural springs, and valleys filled with jagged lava flows. Driving through the National Park area, which is a World Heritage Site, you will get superb views of the volcanic peaks of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. You then drive deeper into farming country to the remote Mokai Valley, where the picturesque Rangitikei River meets the rugged Ruahine Ranges. The location is set at the edges of the crystal clear waters of the Rangitikei River amongst the beautiful native flora and fauna, which provides a stunning and picturesque backdrop. Here we have organised a rafting trip through the gentle rapids and the crystal clear waters of the River. We pass secret waterfalls and unbelievable scenery and you will float quietly through Middle Earth and pass scenes from the Movie. Here you can stop to fish, swim or have a picnic. Your accommodation host provides a typical New Zealand farm environment. He will be happy to show you around the farm where you will experience an upfront encounter with the many farm animals on the property. There is plenty for the whole family to enjoy. They are always looking for help to collect the eggs, feed the chickens, pigs, deer, goats, cow, dogs, rabbits, possums, sheep, llama, alpaca and turtles. Plus any extras especially in spring when they are bottle feeding the orphaned lambs. Just before you settle back in your Tree House, take a soak in a hot pool, which overlooks this remote valley.
Accommodation: Mokai Valley
Driving distance 3h
Your journey today takes you to Wellington and along the Kapiti Coast. Lonely Planet named Wellington ‘the coolest little capital in the world’ (2011), and the city is renowned for its arts, culture and native beauty. Wellington buzzes with delicatessens, cafes and restaurants – it’s a city that enjoys gourmet food and fine wine. Known as the culinary capital of New Zealand, Wellington is famous for its tucked-away bars, quirky cafes, award-winning restaurants and great coffee. Head to Courtenay Place or Cuba Street to get amongst the good stuff. Lambton Quay is thoroughly upmarket, with designer fashions and food to match. And the Wellington Waterfront is for daytime exploration with parks, museums and landmarks to discover. Te Papa is New Zealand's innovative and interactive national museum. Explore the great treasures and stories of this country – its unique natural environment, Maori culture, art heritage, and fascinating history. With a combination of the latest technology and classic story-telling, Te Papa educates, entertains, and inspires. Experience an exquisitely carved marae, walk through lush native bush, and be shaken in the Earthquake House. One of Wellington's most popular tourist attractions, the cable car runs from Lambton Quay, tunnels under the corporate towers of The Terrace and emerges in Kelburn. The ride continues past Kelburn Park and the Victoria University to the top of Upland Road, where the Lookout, Carter Observatory, Planetarium and Cable Car Museum are located within the Botanic Gardens. The Thorndon area is New Zealand’s oldest suburb and remains the centre of New Zealand Government. Here visit the Capital Precinct. The Parliament buildings incorporate the early Parliament House, Library and the modern ‘Beehive’.
Accommodation: Wellington City
Ferry crossing 3.5h and then driving distance 1h
We board a ferry to cross the Cook Strait and encounter a glorious world as the ferry enters the Marlborough Sounds. “It must be one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world” commented a Wine Spectator recently. Another option is to take a short domestic flight from Wellington to Picton. (Optional) If you hit one of those magic days of great weather it will be one of the most wonderful panoramas of an introduction to an area one could hope for. Even under the worst scenario, the middle part through the Straits is the only really bad area even on the hardest of days. You will discover a region with a myriad of inlets and bays with dramatic hills that plunge steeply into the sea. The steep, wooded hills and small quiet bays of the sounds are sparsely populated, as access is difficult. Many of the small settlements and isolated houses are only accessible by boat. The main large port is Picton on the mainland, at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound. From Picton, we enter the sun-drenched wine region, New Zealand’s pre-eminent grape-growing area. Here you can taste some of the country’s best wines and visit wineries world famous for their Sauvignon Blanc’s and Chardonnays. We lunch at one of the wineries and enjoy the local delicacies and relax in the convivial atmosphere.
Accommodation: Marlborough Sounds
Driving distance 2h
Today you head to the small seaside town of Kaikoura which is nestled on a rugged peninsula on the East Coast and is backed by the breathtaking Seaward Kaikoura Ranges. A spectacular marine playground exists off the coast and living in this environment is the mighty Sperm Whale. Join a whale-watch tour and encounter the “Giant Sperm Whale” in their natural environment. Giant Sperm Whales are the biggest of the toothed whales and the world's largest predator. They are equivalent in size to four elephants. This deep-diving whale (up to 3 km) may stay submerged for over two hours while hunting prey such as the Giant Squid. Many of Kaikoura's Sperm Whales wear battle scars from close encounters with this monster of the deep. Sperm Whales have the largest head, proportionally, of any animal. This giant head contains a fibrous tank full of white waxy oil early whalers thought was sperm. It is believed the oil tank amplifies the whale's powerful acoustic clicks used for echolocation and hunting. Kaikoura is one of the few places in the world where Sperm Whales can be seen year-round and close to shore. They congregate here because the 3km deep Kaikoura Canyon runs right up against the coast creating a rare system of sea currents that sustain an incredibly rich marine food chain. Sperm Whales are at the top of this food chain and the abundance of fish ensures they make the waters of Kaikoura their home. Or: Join a dolphin watching tour if preferred, swimming cruise at the beautiful coastline of the South Island Dolphin. (Optional) The encounter takes you to swim with the dusky dolphins in their natural environment or watch their acrobatic displays from the comfort of the boat. The pod sizes of the resident dusky dolphins range in the hundreds along the Kaikoura coastline and they have an impressive success rate in locating these marine mammals. Fur seals, once almost hunted to extinction are now plentiful here, resting on warm rocks after a nights fishing. Walk among these creatures at this unique beach and watch the native Seabirds (Albatross and Shags), also enjoying the rich sea harvest.
Driving distance 4h
In the morning we drive you through the Canterbury region to Christchurch. Christchurch city promises an eclectic mix of historic elegance and contemporary culture. Described by Lonely Planet as a "vibrant city in transition, coping resiliently and creatively,” Christchurch's energy is evident wherever you go. The city has bounced back after the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 with innovative new attractions, as well as some old favourites. Visit the Re:Start container mall, the transitional Cardboard Cathedral, and some of the many pop-up restaurants and bars. Contemporary art galleries, boutique shops and open-air markets add to Christchurch’s creative vibe. There’s plenty to do in and around this rapidly changing city.
Just 75 kilometres from the city of Christchurch is Akaroa a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. Akaroa, with its own beautiful bays, harbour and French and English history has a good range of activities to keep you busy. Akaroa is rich in Arts and Crafts which starts with a must-see visit to the 'Little River Art Gallery' as you drive through Little River. You will love the shopping in Akaroa where you can walk from one end to the other in 15 minutes, with some exquisite local boutiques. In the evening take a 4WD scenic tour to see native penguins, Pohatu is the largest Australasian Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. Francis and Shireen Helps have worked over the last two decades protecting White-flippered Penguins, Canterbury's own variant of Australasian Little Penguin, from introduced predators. Because of the sensitive wildlife habitat only guided groups are taken into the breeding colony. On these tours, you may also see one of the Yellow-Eyed Penguins who frequent the bay.
Driving distance 4h
Today's trip will take you through some of the most evocative hill country in New Zealand and you travel deep into the heart of the Southern Alps and to the southern slopes of Mt Cook National Park. The region is renowned for its incredibly clear starry nights, brilliant sunny days, and remarkable turquoise blue lakes, valleys of emerald green and snow-capped mountains. Shaped by the giant forces of nature, massive glaciers have scoured the land leaving a trail of lakes and rivers across the landscape. Here take a flight of a lifetime, the "Grand Traverse" is a spectacular scenic flight that explores Mount Cook and the Westland National Parks. The Grand Traverse is recognised as the premier Aoraki Mount Cook flight-seeing experience; this magnificent flight encompasses two World Heritage National Parks and 200 km of New Zealand’s most memorable and breathtaking scenery.
Driving distance 3h
Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain at 3,754 metres above sea level, towers over the expansive countryside. In the morning you can take a small boat trip to the bottom of Tasman Glacier. The only tour of its kind in New Zealand, and one of three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of these are accessible to the average person. As you leave Mt Cook you will see awesome mountain ranges - the snow-capped Southern Alps stretching across the western horizon. We take you through the Lindis Pass to Lake Wanaka which is a new and modern Alpine resort and mostly visited by us New Zealanders. A year-round destination set against the pristine alpine backdrop of Mount Aspiring National Park, you can still discover that totally relaxed Kiwi way of life at Lake Wanaka. Optional - Helicopter flight and landing on ice: Experience awe-inspiring views of Mt Cook and Tasman, breath-taking views of the glaciers and neves. The rugged West Coast is hemmed between the Tasman Sea and the imposing Southern Alps, making for spectacular contrasts in the surrounding scenery. Two glaciers are located only 25 km from each other and are unique in the world as they seem to nearly reach the ocean. Discover the gigantic expanse of the Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier snowfields with a landing at high altitude. Step out of your helicopter and experience how it feels to stand in snow. The flight includes fantastic views of the Tasman Glacier and Mount Cook.
Driving distance 3h
Central Otago is New Zealand’s fastest growing wine region and also it’s most scenic. Take the time to explore these incredible vineyards set in small microclimates in a landscape dominated by high snow-capped mountains, and tussock clad slopes. Travel to Cromwell and Bannockburn, the heart of Pinot Noir country, and depending on your personal tastes, we will guide you to a selection of boutique wineries. At some stage of the wine tour, we suggest a stop for a relaxing lunch at one of the wineries. Drive through the famous Kawarau Valley and Gorge. Stop at, what is widely regarded as a safe spectator attraction the famous Kawarau Gorge Bungy Jumping exhibition (this is free for spectators, however, if you desire to make a jump the charge is additional to your tour package). You will visit Arrowtown, a historic colonial village that takes you back into the Gold Mining days of the Otago region. In the afternoon the journey takes you past the Eastern shores of Lake Wakatipu to Lake Te Anau. Here you will be visiting one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand. The extraordinary scenic beauty has earned this region a reputation as a significant sightseeing and walking destination, and a 'must see' for anyone travelling to New Zealand. The township of Te Anau was originally established as a service community to the rural pasturelands on the eastern side of the lake.
Accommodation: Te Anau
Driving distance 4h return
We are heading for the spectacular Milford Sound, described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world” which was carved out during successive ice ages and, at its deepest point off Mitre Peak, plunges to a depth of 265 meters. The awesome splendour of this region is unsurpassed anywhere else in the World, a daring claim in a country which offers extraordinary beauty around every corner. Getting there is half of the experience; we take you through the Fiordland National Park, pass staggeringly beautiful valleys, lakes and creeks. If the time allows we will stop at the” Mirror Lakes”, before entering the narrow and dark 1km long Homer Tunnel. Along the route, you may encounter Kea’s, New Zealand’s cheeky alpine parrots and we stop and explore some of nature’s wonders on the way. At Milford, you board a vessel and cruise on the Fiord through sheer cliffs covered with vegetation that plunges into the sea. View the Bowen Falls, hurtling 165 meters into the sea, and the Stirling Falls further down the sound, set amidst the towering cliffs and dwarfed by Mitre Peak. On the drive back we take a boardwalk into the “Chasm” to see surreal, water-hewn rock sculptures.
Accommodation: Te Anau
Driving distance 2h
Queenstown, New Zealand, is the Southern Hemisphere’s premier four season lake and alpine resort. Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown’s stunning scenery is inspiring and revitalising. The region is renowned for incredible adventure activities and spectacular outdoor terrain. You could try skiing, snowboarding, bungy jumping, paragliding, jet boating, skydiving and more! Or, if you want something a little more relaxed, you can choose from numerous family activities, nature experiences, tours and beauty spas. Queenstown has transformed into a sophisticated cosmopolitan town there’s a permanent buzz in downtown Queenstown, where you’ll find a fantastic choice of restaurants, a lively bar scene and excellent shopping. Last day with your guide! Optional - Dart River Jetboat Safari: This is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand and used for a favourite location in several Hollywood film productions and commercials around the world. Glenorchy is one of the gateways to Mt Aspiring National Park covering a large World Heritage area. You travel further into the Park along a most picturesque river and multiple river arms to a forest glade. The high peak of Mt Earnslaw and its Glacier is powering over this area. Here you can take a Jet boat ride on the Dart River. The 'Wilderness Safari' is a diverse adventure exploring spectacular 'World Heritage' wilderness within Mt Aspiring National Park through a combination of exhilarating jet boating, informative guided ancient forest walks and back-country 4WD safari vehicle. Surrounded by awe-inspiring peaks and mysterious hidden valleys shrouded in native beech forest, your specialist guides will bring to life the variety of landscapes, vegetation and wildlife within this unique area.