This wonderful 12-day vacation throughout New Zealand visits a variety of regions and landscapes; from rolling green hills in the North Island to the stunning mountain ranges of the South Island!
This is the ultimate romantic tour of New Zealand, perfect for anyone seeking luxury, great food and local wine, and an ideal balance of private touring and time at leisure.Plan Your Tour
Private, exclusive tour - 12 nights in luxury 5* hotels/lodges (Domestic flights, local transfers or private driver-guide)
Day 1: Auckland arrival (Auckland airport concierge, Private airport transfer)
Day 2: Auckland (Day to explore the city and for your own leisure)
Day 3: Auckland – Waitomo Caves - Lake Taupo (Private Glow-worm caves tour)
Day 4: Lake Taupo (Private charter boat /lunch cruise on Lake)
Day 5: Taupo – domestic flight to Wellington – Palliser Bay (Private city tour, visit Martinborough, Kiwi walk)
Day 6: Palliser Bay (Private 4WD sheep station tour, afternoon for relaxing)
Day 7: Wellington – Departing flight to Picton/SOUTH ISLAND (Water-taxi to a remote lodge in Marlborough Sound)
Day 8: Marlborough (Private wine tour/tasting Marlborough)
Day 9: Picton – domestic flight to Christchurch (Private city tour)
Day 10: Christchurch - domestic flight to Queenstown - Wanaka (Private area and wineries tour, Kawarau Gorge, Arrowtown)
Day 11: Wanaka (Helicopter flight and cruise at Milford Sound, afternoon to your own leisure)
Day 12: Wanaka (4WD scenic and heritage tour on a private high country station, afternoon for relaxing)
Day 13: Wanaka departure. (Private airport transfer)
Prices: We recommend the following guidelines for customized tour packages, excluding international flights:
◦5* and 5*Plus from NZ$ $750 - $1650+ 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 hotel in the city centre.
Accommodation: Auckland city Hilton hotel, Sofitel, Langham hotel (Luxury)
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 the 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. Optional - Whale and Dolphin Safari: Travel aboard Dolphin Explorer into the expansive Hauraki Gulf Marine Park on Auckland's Whale and Dolphin Safari from Viaduct Harbour. New Zealand Whale Watching encounters 75% on our trips. See dolphins on 90% of the trips. The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is a biologically and geographically diverse maritime national park. Over 25 of the 37 southern hemisphere marine mammals have been identified in this marine park, making up almost a third of the world’s population of species. Or - Americas Cup sailing: By early afternoon join others for an unforgettable two hours of sailing. Here you have a unique opportunity to participate as crew on an actual America’s Cup yacht. Take the helm, exert energy on the grinders or simply sit back and enjoy the ride as we sail the beautiful Waitemata Harbour. The America’s Cup is the world’s oldest and most prestigious sporting trophy and ultimate yachting regatta. Usually the domain of billionaires and elite professional yachties. NZL 40 and NZL 41 offer the unique opportunity for everyone to participate in sailing on these Grand Prix racing machines.
Accommodation: Auckland city - Hilton hotel, Langham hotel (Luxury)
Driving distance 4.5h
In the morning, we travel south through the lush green rural farm land of the Waikato region. The rich and fertile pastoral land of the Waikato is one of New Zealand’s major dairy producing and horse breeding areas, and host to incalculable stands of exotic timber. One of the major attractions of the Waikato region is the famous Waitomo Caves (translation: "where the water disappears into a hole in the ground"). Enjoy a short shuttle ride to the cave while your experienced guide reveals the rich history of Waitomo. Then, take a short walk through breath taking New Zealand native bush to the cave entrance. There, your guide lights the candles setting the scene for an intimate cave experience, where you will see glow-worms and cave formations up close and appreciate the beauty of Footwhistle Cave (also known to local Maori as Te Anaroa Cave). The solar-powered lights are kept low so you can appreciate the magnificent glow worm displays at their best, only inches away. Around a corner lie the bones of one of New Zealand's lost treasures, the ancient Moa. The soothing sound of Footwhistle cave stream flows in the darkness below. Formation lights are especially turned on to cast a warm glow over stunning cave formations. The guide tells the stories of the insect life that live here - titiwai, the glow-worm, and tuna, the eel. After enjoying a relaxed stroll through the cave, you'll be seated in Footwhistle's Cathedral to see it lit up by a dazzling magnesium torch. Although the display only lasts a few seconds, your memories of the Footwhistle Cave will last a lifetime. In the afternoon we take you to Lake Taupo, the largest Lake in this country and 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. Optional/instead of Waitomo Caves - Helicopter into Volcano: We can arrange a helicopter flight and landing on an active volcano “White Island (optional and extra charge). 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.
Accommodation: Taupo - Huka Lodge, or The Point Villas (Deluxe), Hilton Hotel, Acacia Cliffs Lodge (Luxury) Or stay in Rotorua (Different activities available)
Late morning take a private charter trip on the nearby Lake in Taupo. A luxury vessel can take you to the many isolated coves and bays fringing the edges of the great lakes. Here you can fish for Rainbow trout, swim and picnic near the beautiful crystal-clear water. The area is home to some of the finest Rainbow and Brown trout in the world. The challenge of catching one can be met with the assistance of your own fishing guide. For lunch, you can enjoy your fresh catch while resting on this comfortable vessel. 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. There are many other activities to participate in from walking treks to adventure activities like Skydiving. Recommended (Optional) Kayaking: Take a kayaking trip around New Zealand’s largest freshwater lake. Your Wilderness Escapes experience takes you across the crystal clear water of Lake Taupo. Under the shadow of an active Volcano, and metres away from Maori rock carvings.
Accommodation: Taupo - Huka Lodge (Deluxe) or The Point Villas, Hilton Hotel, Acacia Cliffs Lodge (Luxury)
Driving distance 2h
You will be picked up from your accommodation to be taken to the domestic Airport in Taupo to take a flight to Wellington. Arrive in Wellington, the political and cultural centre of New Zealand and one of its most attractive and interesting cities. 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. 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, Botanic Gardens, Carter Observatory, Planetarium and Cable Car Museum are located. 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’. From Wellington, you drive to Martinborough and the winery region of Wairarapa. In the late afternoon, you are being transferred to Palliser Bay. There, spend your next few days at a sprawling seaside estate located on a secluded 5,000-acre sheep station. Or: Take an exclusive experience to view our treasured native bird – The Kiwi. Because the Kiwi is a semi-nocturnal secretive bird, few New Zealanders have seen their national bird in the wild Tours are arranged with an experienced guide from Environmental Services who carry out essential monitoring of the Kiwis. Guests are transferred from the Lodge and taken to a particular site. They then walk for up to 30 minutes to locate the Kiwi’s habitat. Guests can observe the guide checking the Kiwi’s transmitter and watch it being weighed and measured. Guests can touch the Kiwi and take photographs.
Accommodation: Palliser Bay - Wharekauhau Lodge (Deluxe) Or stay at Wellington City (Different activities optional)
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 is James Cameron (Titanic and Avatar) who is making his new home there. No visit to Wharekauhau is complete without a tour of this classic Romney sheep station. With 5,500 acres of private land, including ancient forests, peaceful lakes, and a wild and beautiful coastline, there is little shortage of choice when it comes to choosing a route for walking or mountain biking. By Car: Travel along the rugged coastline to the picturesque, historic fishing village of Ngawi, looking back over Palliser Bay to Wharekauhau. Continue on to one of New Zealand’s largest Brown Fur Seal colonies where seals bask in this unspoilt natural environment. Whilst there, climb to the top of the lighthouse for magnificent views. On return, stop at the historical Lake Ferry Hotel for famous fish and chips and some local beverages from the southernmost tip of the North Island. By 4WD: Bordered by the Rimutaka Ranges and the Pacific Ocean, this classic Kiwi Romney sheep station features all the activities that have created New Zealand’s legendary farming heritage, including sheep shearing demonstrations, sheep dogs in action and daily farm events. Or - Horseback Riding: Ride horseback over one of the most spectacular farms on earth. Enjoy a picnic, carefully prepared by the Lodge kitchen, and stop along the way to eat lunch by a babbling brook, or overlooking the rugged and dramatic coastline of Palliser Bay Or - ATV Quad Bike: Ideal for the adventurous, these bikes are loads of fun. We’ll give you 20 minutes of tuition and you can enjoy a great way to travel along the black sand beaches, over scenic riverbanks and along open fields in the company of an experienced guide Or just relax and get pampered with an indoor massage or swim in the indoor pool.
Accommodation: Palliser Bay - Wharekauhau Lodge (Deluxe)
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 the Queen Charlotte Sound. The Queen Charlotte Track runs almost the entire length of the Sound. From here you travel by water taxi to a small unique remote beach in the Marlborough Sounds. Take a relaxing walk through this area, or enjoy a kayak through the many bays and picnic on one of the remote sand-beaches. Enjoy an evening meal and a local wine at your accommodation.
Accommodation: Marlborough: Sounds - Bay of Many Cove or The Sounds retreat (Luxury)
A water taxi will take you back to Picton. We have arranged a personalised tour of Marlborough’s leading vineyards and wineries. Replenish your cellar, taste, explore and enjoy. Taste the three Icons of Marlborough - Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, the Marlborough Sounds and Marlborough Greenshell Mussels. Just half an hour south of Picton lies Blenheim which is today one of New Zealand’s most important wine-producing areas. Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest wine growing region. It has an enviable international reputation for producing the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world. It also makes very good Chardonnay and Riesling and is fast developing a reputation for high-quality Pinot Noir. Of the region's ten thousand hectares of grapes (almost half the national crop), one third are planted in Sauvignon Blanc. Lots of sun, cool nights, low autumn rains and free draining alluvial soils combine to make Marlborough one of the world’s great wine producing regions. Sample the world-famous Sauvignon Blanc and enjoy a gourmet lunch at one of the many renowned restaurants. After your tour, you board the water taxi in Picton and return to your accommodation.
Accommodation: Marlborough: Sounds - Bay of Many Cove or The Sounds retreat (Luxury)
You take the water taxi back to Picton and then make a short drive to Blenheim airport where you take a flight to Christchurch. Bordered by hills and the Pacific Ocean, Christchurch is situated on the edge of the Canterbury Plains that stretch to the Southern Alps. Described by the Lonely Planet as a "vibrant city in transition, coping resiliently and creatively,” Christchurch is showing off its vibrancy with new developments popping up all over the place. Whilst part of the central city of Christchurch is still cordoned off due to the impact of a series of earthquakes, there’s plenty to do in and around this rapidly changing city, like visiting the Re:Start shopping area and Pop Up City bars. For those who arrive early, you may wish to take a tour of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Canterbury Museum. Optional - Akaroa Peninsula:
Accommodation: City - The George Hotel (Luxury) or near Akaroa Otahuna Lodge (Deluxe)
Driving distance 1.5h
You depart Queenstown airport and make your way to Arrowtown a historic colonial village that takes you back into the Gold Mining days of the Otago region. As you depart Arrowtown you 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). 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 relaxing lunch at one of the wineries. Wanaka is a new and modern Alpine resort and mostly visited by 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. Recommended (optional) Jet boat trip: In the afternoon we can organise an exhilarating jet boat experience. The Matukituki River is one of New Zealand's great jet boating rivers. Powerful and braided, the Matukituki flows from the glaciers and mountains of the Mount Aspiring National Park, part of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area. Travel past the ‘Lord of The Rings’ film locations beneath stunning views of Mount Aspiring and Glaciers on this half day, glacier focused Jet boat journey. During several photo stops on the river, learn from your guide how this amazing landscape was carved by ice and of Maori heritage special to this area. Deep in the mountains, disembark for a 50-minute wilderness walk into native beech forest. This is a great opportunity to explore a remote part of the valley shared only with your small group before returning downriver by jet boat to where your journey began.
Accommodation: Wanaka - Whare Kea Lodge (superior) Silverpine lodge, Limetree Lodge or Tin Tub Lodge (luxury) Or you can stay in Queenstown for the last 3 nights – Azur Villas, Matakauri Lodge, Eichhadt's (superior) The Spire Hotel, Sofitel (Luxury)
Milford Sound is probably the most sought-after destination in NZ and is sometimes acclaimed as 'The 8th wonder of the World'. Milford and Fiordland's mountains rise vertically up out of the sea to a height more than anywhere else in the world. Fly over the pristine clear blue waters of Lake Wanaka, up wide braided rivers that drain the Southern Alps snow melt, to mighty Mt. Aspiring. After crossing numerous glaciers valleys, alpine lakes and mountain ranges we fly along the rugged West Coast beaches, seeing seal colonies and bird life in their natural habitat before entering the mouth of Milford Sound from the Tasman Sea. We fly the whole length of the Sound to land at Milford Aerodrome. After a short look around and a bush walk and depending on your choice of flight, we either proceed back to Wanaka if on the Milford Magic flight, or if on the Grand Circle flight, we fly on deeper into Fiordland to see the impressive World’s 5th highest waterfall, the Sutherland Falls. From here we proceed back to Wanaka through more of remote Fiordland via Lake Wakatipu, and over the gold-rich Shotover River. Or- Scenic flight/cruise/flight - Take a scenic small plane flight to Milford Sound and discover Fiordland by cruise. Or - Helicopter flight to Doubtful Sounds: Doubtful Sound is a massive wilderness area of rugged peaks, rainforest and twisting, hidden inlets - all deep in the heart of Fiordland National Park. Known for its pristine beauty and wildlife, Doubtful Sound is the second largest of the 14 fiords in Fiordland National Park and is three times longer and 10 times larger than Milford Sound.
Accommodation: Wanaka - Whare Kea Lodge (superior) Silverpine Lodge, Limetree Lodge or Tin Tub Lodge (luxury)
In the morning experience the rugged beauty and solitude of the spectacular high country, with this exclusive 4WD journey exploring a historic New Zealand sheep, cattle and deer farm. Maori and European historic sites, pure mountain air and breathtaking scenery. As braided river valleys, native beech forests and lush alpine meadows give way to the dramatic glaciated Southern Alps, the pure beauty of the scenery pushes daily pressures a million miles away. Part of Te Wahipounamu - Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area, Mt Aspiring National Park is an area of unrivalled natural beauty and host to hundreds of hiking tracks, rock climbing routes and trout fishing rivers, all within easy reach of Lake Wanaka, New Zealand. At its heart is Mt Aspiring, the park’s highest mountain at 3,027m and known to early Maori as ‘Tititea’ or ‘glistening peak’. This journey offers a unique insight into Wanaka’s rich history, heritage and modern-day farming life. Wanaka 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. Or/and - Jet Boat: Take an exhilarating jet boat experience. The Matukituki River is one of New Zealand's great jet boating rivers. Powerful and braided, the Matukituki flows from the glaciers and mountains of the Mount Aspiring National Park, part of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area. Travel past the ‘Lord of the Rings’ film locations beneath stunning views of Mount Aspiring and Glaciers on this half day, glacier focused Jet boat journey. During several photo stops on the river, learn from your guide how this amazing landscape was carved by ice and of Maori heritage special to this area. Deep in the mountains, disembark for a 50-minute wilderness walk into native beech forest. This is a great opportunity to explore a remote part of the valley shared only with your small group before returning downriver by jet boat to where your journey began.
Accommodation: Wanaka - Whare Kea Lodge (superior) Siverpine Lodge, Riverrun Lodge or Tin Tub Lodge (luxury)
A taxi will take you back to the airport in Queenstown where you can get direct flights to Australia or take a domestic flight to Christchurch or Auckland for further direct flights.