New Zealand is a relatively small country, with a population of little more than 4,5 million people. Consequently, our cities and towns are mostly quite small with large amounts of forestry and farmland surrounding them.
Visit the main cities, stroll through one of the purest Art Deco cities in the world, learn about our heritage at leading cultural centres and explore the ground-breaking interactive Museum Te Papa in the capital, Wellington.Plan Your Tour
Private guided tour itinerary - 7 nights
Day 1: Auckland (Relaxing day, discover the city of sails)
Day 2: Auckland – Day trip to Waiheke Island (galleries, boutique wineries and local food)
Day 3: Auckland – Rotorua (Whakarewarewa Maori village)
Day 4: Rotorua (Agrodome sheep show, Wai-o-Tapu geothermal area, museum and Blue Pools)
Day 5: Rotorua - Taupo - Napier (Huka Falls, great lake, Art Deco town)
Day 6: Hawke's Bay – Area tour (food and wine tasting, 4x4 guided tour to Gannet colony)
Day 7: Hawke’s Bay – Wairarapa - Wellington (afternoon for relaxing, discover the capital city)
Day 8: Wellington (Te Papa Museum, The Capital precinct)
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.
You will be met on arrival at Auckland International Airport by your Aroha NZ Tours Representative, and transferred to your accommodation in our luxurious vehicle. Here you can spend the day in the Inner City and near the America’s Cup Village and visit the nearby Viaduct Basin and its many lively bars and restaurants. Walk onto Queen Street and explore the new Britomart, a vibrant shopping, entertainment and business precinct in the heart of downtown Auckland. Surrounded by beautiful heritage buildings, it’s a neighbourhood of buzzing restaurants and bars, world-class fashion boutiques and interesting art spaces. Worth a visit is also the new Auckland Art Gallery with a collection numbering 15,000 works. The Gallery's collection includes major holdings of New Zealand historic, modern and contemporary art, and outstanding works by Maori and Pacific Island artists, as well as international painting, sculpture and print collections ranging in date from 1376 to today. Visit the nearby unique harbour, its location makes the Auckland Fish Market an easily accessible and captivating destination for locals and tourists alike. The Fish Market building hosts a variety of fresh seafood retailers, a boutique food market, restaurants, licensed cafes, an extraordinary wine encounter and the ever popular Auckland Seafood School. At lunchtime, the open-air courtyard and cafes bustle with a steady stream of diners. By night it's the aromas of Asia that permeate the air as the standalone Hong Kong style and Korean eateries, come into their own. Relax in the inner city.
Accommodation: Auckland City
Home to numerous vineyards and lodges and cottages, Waiheke which is just a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland is embracing its bohemian side. The 35 square mile island is now dotted with new shops and galleries that sell sculptures and paintings from the dozens of local artists. We have organised a private wine-tour to the Island's most respected vineyards. A “small is beautiful” philosophy yields low quantities of extremely high-quality fruit, which is made into internationally award-winning wines. With tastings at our best boutique wineries, the secrets of Waiheke's stunning worldwide success in fine red wines will be revealed to the interested visitor. A natural complement to the fine wines you can taste on your tour is the range of hand-made speciality foods and locally grown produce. As well as the many international award-winning olive oils, you can sample island delights such as succulent oysters straight from Te Matuku Bay, freshly roasted island coffee, wild honey and the famous local green herb spread.
Accommodation: Auckland City
Driving distance 3h
Start off your private guided tour: As you depart Auckland 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 fruit crops and vineyards. Your tour arrives in the geothermal capital of Rotorua. Set among a seemingly hostile geothermal landscape the people of Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao have made their home among the geysers, bubbling hot pools, thermal springs and steaming fumaroles of the Whakarewarewa Valley. See this living Maori Village cleverly utilizing and co-existing harmoniously with the unique geothermal environment as they have done for centuries past. A visit to Whakarewarewa Thermal Village in Rotorua is a totally unique experience rich in Maori Culture, history and legends. Explore the fascinating geothermal features of the village and learn about a unique culture and lifestyle, as you are welcomed to the home and heart of the Tuhourangi Ngati Wahio people. Whakarewarewa highlights include viewing of the fully carved ancestral meeting house, Te Pakira traditional song and dance performance (twice daily), stories, history and Maori legends linked to early migration, geothermal activity and the infamous Tarawera Eruption, see the various geothermal attractions on display while exploring the walking tracks including the Pohutu and Prince of Wales Feathers geysers which can be seen from dedicated viewing platforms. Recommended: (Optional) Hobbiton 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 Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. The set has been completely rebuilt and will remain as it was seen in the films. 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. As the set is located on a real farm, the ½ hour Sheep Farm Experience is also included in the tour.
In the morning get ready for a fun-packed hour of entertainment and education for the whole family… the legendary Agrodome Farm Show! You’ll hear amazing facts and have a few laughs as you’re introduced to 19 breeds of sheep. Then, witness a live sheep shearing demonstration and a fun sheep auction with bidding from the floor and audience participation. Next, we take you to the fascinating “Champagne Pool” and experience the panorama of vividly colourful hot and cold pools, steaming fumaroles and hot boiling mud pools. Sculptured out of volcanic activity and thousands of years in the making, Wai-O-Tapu is considered to be New Zealand’s most colourful and diverse geothermal sightseeing attraction. You are introduced to a uniquely different natural landscape – the key to what you see lies below the surface – one of the most extensive geothermal systems in New Zealand. Rotorua Museum was finally completed as a heritage building (origins in the 20th century) in 2011. Learn the history of the Te Arawa people, the original inhabitants of Rotorua. Other galleries host a rich programme of local, national and international art exhibitions and shows. Have a relaxing swim at the Blue Baths pool, which is also a museum - the changing rooms showcase the building's colourful past. You may also want to have high tea upstairs in the elegant 1930’s tearooms with views over the beautifully manicured Government Gardens. Optional: Experience New Zealand's only mud baths at Hells Gate and have yourself pampered with a traditional Maori Miri Miri massage and mud therapies at Wai Ora Day Spa. Highly Recommended: (Optional) Here we can arrange a helicopter flight and landing on an active volcano “White Island”. Situated 50 kilometres offshore, this active island volcano constantly emits a cloud of steam and periodically erupts to a greater extent expelling volcanic ash several thousand metres into the atmosphere. (This is the most active volcano in New Zealand) The main vent is below sea level and protected by crater walls. You can walk right inside its main crater just above sea level with a minimum of physical effort and without undue risk. This allows you to experience at first-hand nature's immense power as gas and steam burst up from far below the Earth's crust. An adventure tour you will not forget for a long time.
Driving distance 3h
We continue through the Waikato, one of New Zealand's greenest places, and richest agricultural regions. You will pass land with lush grass for raising cattle, thoroughbred horses and vast stands of exotic timber. Today we visit Lake Taupo, the largest Lake in this country. On the way we stop at Huka Falls - these spectacular falls roar through a 15m wide chasm before plunging a further 11m. Lake Taupo is also the world’s largest volcanic crater, created in one giant explosion. The ash cloud floated all over the world - ice samples from as far apart as Antarctica and Alaska have determined the explosion to have occurred in 186AD. The effects of the ash were even recorded in China and Rome. You can gather your own free volcanic souvenir from the shoreline in the form of very light pumice stones (great for cleaning off rough skin) which were spewed out in that eruption. Just about everywhere you look in the Lake Taupo region, you'll see a volcano. We take you from there on a scenic drive to the East Coast of the North Island and an area known as Hawke’s Bay. Beautifully preserved 1930’s architecture is Napier's special point of difference. A natural disaster resulted in Napier becoming one of the purest Art Deco cities in the world. On the morning of February 3rd, 1931 a massive earthquake - 7.9 on the Richter scale - rocked Hawke's Bay for more than three minutes. Nearly 260 lives were lost and the vast majority of buildings in the commercial centre of Napier were destroyed, either by the quake itself or the fires that followed. Rebuilding began almost immediately, and much of it was completed in two years. New buildings reflected the architectural styles of the times - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco. Napier's city centre has the feeling of a time capsule - the seamless line of 1930’s architecture is quite extraordinary.
Accommodation: Hawke’s Bay
Hawke’s Bay’s warm, maritime climate and varying landscapes also produce some of New Zealand’s richest and most complex Chardonnays. Visit some of the region’s oldest wineries, Mission Estate (est. 1851), Te Mata Estate, Vidal Estate, Church Road and Esk Valley Wineries. Today Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s second largest wine producing region with over 100 vineyards and more than 80 wineries producing both innovative and classic wine styles. Most of Hawke’s Bay’s wineries produce less than 200,000 litres per annum and are family owned, providing a true boutique experience to complement award-winning wines. Or try with us the local fresh produce and organic foods, sample local honey, cheese or chocolate. Cape Kidnappers is an extraordinary sandstone headland to the east of Hastings. It was named by Captain Cook after an attempt by local Maori to abduct one of his crew. The cape is home to the largest and most accessible Gannet colony in the world. The 13-hectare reserve includes the Saddle and Black Reef Gannet colonies. Take a guided tour and travel in comfort in an air-conditioned 4 x 4 vehicle, through Cape Kidnappers Station - traversing riverbeds, broad rolling pastures, through stands of native bush, steep gullies and breathtaking inclines. There is a stop on the way at a spectacular cliff top with panoramic views of Hawke’s Bay right across to the Mahia Peninsula. The amazing geology of the area can also be taken in. The 36km, three-hour trip includes a commentary by your tour guide/driver on the farming operation on Cape Kidnappers Station and an introduction to the gannets. Highly recommended: (Optional) Golf at Cape Kidnappers This is extreme golf in a setting which has to be seen to be believed. The Pacific Ocean and the breath-taking cliffs are as much a part of the Cape Kidnappers experience as the wonderful golf course.
Accommodation: Hawke’s Bay
Driving distance 4.5h
Departing Hawke’s Bay, your tour takes you through the Norwegian and Danish settlements of Norsewood and Dannevirke into the rural regions of the Manawatu. Drive to Martinborough and the winery region of Wairarapa. Wairarapa is a region of big skies, wide valleys and small towns, full of character. Home of Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) and also making headlines at the moment as James Cameron (Titanic and Avatar) is making his new home there. Visit Greytown, a Victorian country village with metropolitan panache plus great food and coffee, before encroaching on New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. New Zealand’s capital city is nestled between rolling hills and a stunning harbour and has a vibrant and compact downtown area that's best explored on foot. Get your city bearings and some of Wellington’s best views at the Mount Victoria Lookout, with panoramic sights of the city, watch the Cook Strait ferries sail into the harbour and the planes go in and out of the airport. 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, cafe's 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 cafe's, 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. Last day with a private guide.
Accommodation: Wellington City
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 the 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’. You can even visit working areas of the complex on free tours and get to see history as it happens. Just opposite is Old Government Buildings, built in 1850 to house the entire New Zealand public service. Things have grown a little since then! The building has a classical façade but is actually made of kauri wood. Feel the grace and elegance of the 1800’s at Government Buildings, the largest wooden building in the southern hemisphere.
Stay another night or take a domestic flight back to Auckland