This tour is a great way to see our country with a chance to relax and escape from the daily stresses at home. Experience the splendour that awaits you at a selection of our best boutique New Zealand accommodation.
Learn about our settler’s history at the Bay of Islands and explore the trails, explosive geysers, and bubbling mud pools in a geothermal wonderland on foot. Relax at our golden sand beaches in Abel Tasman National Park and admire the spectacular views of our magical mountains in Queenstown.
Category: Culture, Relaxing, Active
Location: North and South Island
Departing/Finishing: Auckland – Wanaka (Itinerary can be reversed)
Accommodation: 4* or 5* quality hotels, Boutique B&B’s and Lodges
Next Departure: Departs Daily
The Bay of Islands is a subtropical micro-region known for its stunning beauty & history. For those that love beaches and water activities, it's paradise. A 35-minute flight north of Auckland, the Bay of Islands encompasses 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula and includes the boutique towns of Opua, Paihia, Russell and Kerikeri. Just north of Russell - you'll enter a maritime adventure playground with abundant wildlife, including penguins, dolphins, marlins, whales, gannets and more. Many of the islands here have walking tracks. Relax in one of the luxury boutique lodges set within beautiful grounds, offering spectacular views of the Bay of Islands.
Accommodation: Bay of Islands
The Northland town of Kerikeri has a long, colourful history. The area was home to the fearsome Maori chief Hongi Hika, who terrorised many tribes throughout the North Island in the early 1800s. Yet he was kind to missionaries, allowing Samuel Marsden to establish New Zealand's second mission station here. The town itself is full of galleries, cafés and gourmet food shops.
For nature lovers, the 10-minute walk to Rainbow Falls offers the chance for a picnic amid native bush and birdsong.
Nau Mai Haere Mai - Welcome to New Zealand's Most Important Historic Site. Step back in time and discover the birthplace of our nation. An absolute 'must-do' for visitors and locals alike, the award-winning Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Museum of Waitangi are unquestionably one of New Zealand's premier attractions. As you journey through the expansive grounds, with spectacular views over the Bay of Islands, you'll walk in the footsteps of the people who changed history. Then, discover the momentous events that shaped our nation at the state-of-the-art Museum of Waitangi.
The historic township of Russell, in the Bay of Islands, was the first capital of New Zealand. You can wipe away the hours fossicking along the beachfront, wandering through little streets of some of New Zealand's oldest buildings, enjoy a drink at the waterfront Duke of Marlborough Hotel or dine at The Gables Restaurant, which was built in 1847.
Accommodation: Bay of Islands
Ahipara is at the southern end of 90 Mile Beach. It’s home to incredible sunsets and has one of the best left-hand surf breaks in New Zealand. This unspoiled sandy beach is also famous for surfcasting, land yachting and shellfish gathering. You can learn to do the ‘Tuatua Twist’, which involves standing in the water at low tide and twisting your feet in the sand until you feel the telltale hard edges of tuatua. These shellfish are deliciously made into cakes or steamed open.
Or: Depart Paihia on the Sea Shuttle boat for a relaxing cruise taking you on an informative tour of the Islands, stopping at Roberton Island along the way. Disembark on an island beach to enjoy your leisure island activities such as walking tracks, swimming, snorkelling or just relaxing. After 2-3 hours on the island, you get picked up again on the Sea Shuttle for the transfer to a custom-built Helicopter Barge in the heart of the Islands. Depart on a stunning 15-minute scenic helicopter flight to the Hole in the Rock and back over the islands before landing in Paihia.
Or: Cruise through the sheltered waters of the Bay of Islands. Please keep looking for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales and other marine life as we get you close to the action. Enjoy the views as you cruise past the Cape Brett Lighthouse before arriving at the majestic Hole in the Rock – hold your breath as the skipper navigates through the narrow space and admires the rock walls soar above you. Then, take in the Grand Cathedral Cave before heading back into the sheltered waters of the Bay of Islands.
Accommodation: Bay of Islands
The town of Taupo sits at the edge of Australasia's largest lake. Local attractions include trout fishing, skiing, and geothermal parks. Beautiful Lake Taupo is actually a huge volcano with a fiery history. Its most recent eruption, in 181 AD, was large enough to change the sky as far away as Europe and China. According to Maori legend, the lake is the pulsating heart of Maui's fish (New Zealand's North Island). The lakeside town of Taupo provides a base for visitors who love to fish for trout, ski Mount Ruapehu and explore the local geothermal phenomena. Popular Taupo experiences include Huka Falls, geothermal walks, a prawn farm and lake cruises. Lake Taupo is a fantastic region for year-round mountain biking, with the recent completion of the Great Lake Trail. Along with cycling, there are excellent hiking and golf opportunities.
The Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river, moves gracefully north from Lake Taupo between banks 100 metres apart. Just before the Huka Falls, it enters a shallow ravine of hard volcanic rock. A footbridge right at the top of the falls puts you in a prime position to get up close and witness the frightening display of more than 220,000 litres of water blasting by every second.
Or: The waters and clays of Wairakei were highly valued by Maori for their healing powers and therapeutic benefits. At the turn of the last century, travellers worldwide came by train, by horse or stagecoach to ‘take the waters’, testifying to its ‘remarkable curative properties’. Visitors can now bathe in a series of hot thermal pools rich in minerals, uniquely situated below magnificent silica terraces that provide a ‘feel back in time’ sensation, leaving you warm long after you have left the water.
The Great Lake Taupo region is the biggest riding hub of New Zealand's North Island. There is a huge range of rides suitable for all levels. Taupo and Turangi are the ideal places to base yourself for your next mountain biking adventures. A number of trails start right from the heart of Taupo and Turangi, just jump on your bike and go. Trails located further out can be easily accessed with track shuttles and water taxi.
On the banks of the Waikato River (Lake Ohakuri) lies The Hidden Valley of Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park. Off the beaten tourist track, it is at once breath-taking in its beauty, and yet spine-chilling in the might of its unbridled subterranean power. Explore a volcanic world of gushing geysers, hot springs, bubbling mud pools and some of the largest and most amazing silica terraces in the world.
Or: Visit the intricate Maori Rock carvings at Mine Bay - they're only accessible by water. What Taupo is really known for is fishing, catch a rainbow or brown trout on Lake Taupo or going fly-fishing with a local guide on the Tongariro River.
Accommodation: Taupo - Acacia Cliffs Lodge, Taupo Lodge (Luxury) or Huka Lodge (Deluxe)
Nelson is a lifestyle; that's the best way to describe it. Situated at the top north-west of the South Island, it is the sunniest region in New Zealand. Nelson's diverse geography captures everything from the long golden beaches to untouched forests and rugged mountains. 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 the area, traditional, contemporary and Maori. Visit their studios and find a unique piece to take home with you.
Sunny days and cool nights caress river plains that run to the sea. Discover wine, fruit and seafood that is as unforgettable as the landscapes. At the top of the South Island, there's an unmistakable freshness to the land and the ocean. Here a friendly artisan culture creates confident and uncluttered cuisine, matched with wines that leap from the glass.
Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand's smallest national park- but it's perfectly formed for relaxation and adventure. A coastal paradise that you can walk through or explore by cruise boat, sailing catamaran, water taxi or sea kayak, visitors love the way the Abel Tasman National Park mixes physical exertion with beach life. Bursts of hiking or paddling are punctuated by sunbathing, swimming and sedate snorkelling. Here, inviting sandy beaches fill the spaces between trees and tide line. Crystal clear streams tumble down mossy valleys to join the ocean. Granite and marble formations fringe the headlands, which are cloaked in regenerating native forest. Native wildlife is an essential part of the scenery. Tui and bellbird song fills the forest; shags (cormorants), gannets and little blue penguins dive for their dinner; fur seals lounge on the rocks around the edge of Tonga Island.
Join an Eco-tour, showcasing the wonders of the Abel Tasman National Park coastline. Spend a full day cruising on a private charter boat, visiting numerous beaches, inlets, islands and forests. Your skipper is an expert in his field and will safely guide you through this fascinating place!
Or: There is a range of guided kayaking tours in the Abel Tasman. Guided kayak tours will take you along a stunning stretch of coastline for a fantastic sea kayaking experience. Enjoy panoramic views of Abel Tasman National Park, check out nesting cormorants, sea caves, islands and the world famous Split Apple Rock.
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.
Central Otago is New Zealand’s fastest growing wine region and also it's most scenic. The Gibbston Valley is the coolest and highest of the Central Otago regions with the majority of land gently sloping to the north. This northerly aspect greatly assists vineyards to grow grapes because of increased sunlight and with a reduced possibility of frost, although this still poses a significant threat. Today you will visit a number of vineyards and wineries in the area.
The towering cliffs and rugged hillsides of the Kawarau Gorge take you through the heart of one of New Zealand’s most historic gold mining regions.
With stunning alpine surrounds, the Wanaka region and Wanaka town have the same adventurous vibe as Queenstown yet are a little more relaxed. 45 kilometres long and covering 193 square kilometres, the crystal-clear waters of Lake Wanaka are perfect for jet boaters, sailors and kayakers to explore. Nestled below towering mountains, Wanaka is the most tranquilly set of the South Island lakes.
Accommodation: Lake Wanaka
Take a flight/cruise excursion into 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. Fly from Wanaka to magnificent Milford Sound and enjoy spectacular views of the mountains, lakes and fiords of the Fiordland National Park. At Milford Sound, your launch cruise travels the full length of Milford Sound. Return to Wanaka via the famous Sutherland Falls and glaciers of the Fiordland National Park.
Or: Heli Picnic at Middle Earth Waterfalls. Fly through the Moonlight saddle and over the Richardson Mountains to Mt Earnslaw, past the blue ice of the hanging glacier before descending to land on the valley floor, over 1000-metres below. Enjoy an unforgettable picnic under the numerous waterfalls and dramatic hanging glacier. You’ll have time to take lots of photos and explore a bit – walk behind the waterfalls to dip your toes into the icy water if you dare! Then jump back in the chopper to continue back across Lake Wakatipu, landing back in Queenstown.
Accommodation: Lake Wanaka
Stretch your legs and feed your soul in this beautiful wilderness of native forests, towering mountains and long river valleys. Named for Mt Aspiring, one of New Zealand's highest peaks, this park is a dreamland of mountains, glaciers, river valleys and alpine lakes. A hiker's paradise, Mount Aspiring National Park offers a large number of short walks that are mostly concentrated at the end of the park's access roads.
Come experience New Zealand's most authentic 4WD adventure. The perfect mix of incredible scenery, history, heritage and farming life. This will be a genuine highlight of your New Zealand holiday. Explore remote and seldom travelled back roads of an authentic New Zealand High Country farm overlooking sparkling Lake Wanaka. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, glaciers and wild river valleys you'll see farm animals including Red Deer, cattle and sheep up close and in their natural environment. Visit historical sites and experience what life was like for Wanaka's first farmers. This journey offers a unique insight into Wanaka’s rich history, heritage, modern-day farming life and breath-taking scenery.
Or: Come with us on a scenic and exciting jet boating adventure full of action and spins in New Zealand's most spectacular ice-carved landscape. Jet Boat the Matukituki River past Rocky Mountain and Treble Cone, an area of stunningly unique mountain formations where scenes from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were filmed. This is shallow, braided river jet boating, the most exciting of all jet boating experiences and pure New Zealand adventure at its best.
Accommodation: Lake Wanaka
Your private chauffeur will take you to your departing flight at Queenstown airport.