Active volcanoes, island sanctuaries, and history top the list when visiting New Zealand's North Island. New Zealand's South Island hosts the purest natural landscapes you'll ever experience.
A fascinating and diverse trip around New Zealand- The North Island is rich in Māori culture, beautiful sandy beaches, verdant vineyards, thermal reserves and the country’s largest cosmopolitan city- Auckland.
In the South Island, you will find yourself lost in the dramatic scenery that has been the backdrop for so many films, most notably, the Lord of The Rings. The home of striking lakes, epic alpine ranges, glaciers and remarkable marine and birdlife.
Plan Your Tour
Category: Culture, Active
Location: North & South Islands
Departing/Finishing: Auckland to Christchurch (Itinerary can be reversed)
Accommodation: 4* or 5* quality Hotels, boutique B&Bs, Luxury Serviced Apartments, Premium Lodges
Next Departure: Departs Daily
Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture, and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping, and you’re beginning to get the picture of Auckland, our largest and most diverse city. Discover the diverse range of cafes and restaurants offering cuisine from around the globe. Visit the Seafood market in the bustling Wynyard Quarter and wander around the boutique market and deli. Finally, soak up diverse shopping experiences and a delicious café culture on the ultimate shopping day in the city – Auckland style.
With over a million hectares of sparkling blue waters dotted with emerald islands, the Hauraki Gulf offers countless water activities and island adventures. So relax on a harbour cruise, leap off the Auckland Harbour Bridge in New Zealand’s only ocean-touch bungy or even help race an America’s Cup yacht.
Or: In the afternoon, you can take a short ferry ride and visit the jewel of the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island, a haven of beautiful vineyards, olive groves, farmland and golden beaches. You can take a winery and food tour if you desire.
Accommodation: Auckland City
Two hours south of Auckland lies the lush farmland of the Hamilton - Waikato region. Famous for dairying and fine thoroughbred horses, it's easy to see why these green pastures and rolling hills were chosen to portray Hobbiton and The Shire.
Rotorua is known for bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs, and showcasing our fascinating Māori culture. Sitting within the Pacific Rim of Fire, Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland. Get close to spectacular geysers and colourful crater lakes, relax in a mud bath or enjoy a simple soak in a natural hot stream. The region has one of the world's most active geothermal fields. The unforgettable smell of sulphur, clouds of steam and volcanic activity are a natural part of life in Rotorua.
Or: If you want to see New Zealand like never before and experience an ancient forest up close and personal, this Canopy tour is for you! There are over 200m of thrilling zip lines, swing bridges and treetop platforms, all within an expansive forest network of towering ancient trees.
Or: Fly to the site of the largest eruption in New Zealand's living memory. Landing on Mount Tarawera offers a privileged view of spectacular craters and domes formed by the 1886 eruption.
Later, immerse yourself in Māori culture with a traditional introduction and performance, learning about the past, carving and dancing. Next, you will taste an exquisite Māori feast prepared in the classic Hangi style and watch the Māori cultural performance featuring traditional storytelling and entertainment.
Accommodation: Rotorua or Taupo
Under the green hills of Waitomo lies a labyrinth of caves, sinkholes and underground rivers. The area's name comes from the Maori words wai (water) and tomo (hole). The caves were carved by underground streams pushing through soft limestone over thousands of years. Many have impressive stalactites growing down from the ceiling and stalagmites growing up from the cave floor, pointy cones of layered rock formed over centuries by dripping water. The cave walls are also decorated with galaxies of native glow worms.
Or: If you're into adventure, try the unique experience of blackwater rafting - you'll crawl, swim and float through the caves on a rubber tube.
Your accommodation for the evening will be at a local farm stay. Waikato farm stays may farm cows, sheep, horses, pigs, goats, alpacas, chickens, ducks and other farm animals. The farm stays may include fun activities like feeding the animals, farm tours and even horse rides. So come and relax in your accommodation, enjoying the slow pace of the countryside while watching frolicking and playful lambs, singing birds and observing bellowing cattle as they contentedly graze the lush green pastures.
Accommodation: Waikato - Farmstay
Queenstown is one of New Zealand's top visitor destinations; if you come to the region, you'll understand why. The town sits on the shore of crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu amidst dramatic mountain ranges; this stunning location will blow you away. Activities like paragliding, Zip lining, 4WD Driving, and kayaking are the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. If adventure isn't your thing and you need time to kick back and relax, treat yourself to some boutique shopping and be sure to experience the excellent local food and wine.
Take a unique breathtaking ride through dramatic and narrow canyons, and hold on tight for Queenstown's only exhilarating complete 360° spins and beyond. 'Can you handle the canyons?' with award-winning Shotover Jet.
Arrowtown is a historic living settlement with many stories to tell. Wander the tree-lined streets of restored cottages and explore gold mining sites. A particular highlight is a Chinese settlement at the edge of the river. April and May, Arrowtown ignite with colour as deciduous trees prepare for winter.
Sit back and relax and take in the stunning views as you ride the Skyline Queenstown Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the must-do activities in Queenstown! You'll be carried 450 metres above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob's Peak, where you'll enjoy the best views in the region unfolding before your eyes.
Scenic flights are the best way to reach this isolated gem. Situated on the West Coast of the South Island, it is a world-renowned area of extraordinary beauty. Although Milford Sound is actually misnamed, it truly is a proper cove, which measures 12 km long and is up to 320 metres deep. When it rains in Milford Sound, and it often does, those waterfalls multiply with magnificent effect. Boat cruises – during the day or overnight – are an excellent way to experience the Sound. Adventurous types might also like to head out sea kayaking, diving or flightseeing.
One of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand, the power of Fiordland's scenery never fails to enthral travellers. This unique natural environment features stunning fiords, spectacular waterfalls and snow-capped peaks. Ancient rainforest clings impossibly to the mountains; waterfalls tumble hundreds of meters into massive fiords; shimmering lakes and granite peaks look the same today as they did a thousand years ago.
Or: Take a helicopter flight to remote and spectacular Doubtful Sound, it is less visited than its more famous counterpart Milford Sound, but we think that makes it even more special.
Accommodation: Queenstown or Wanaka
Affectionately called 'Central' by those that know it well, Central Otago is New Zealand's most inland region. It's breathtakingly different, with vast undulating landscapes, rugged snow-capped mountains, clear blue rivers, deep gorges and tussock-clad hills.
We travel deep into the heart of the Southern Alps and to the southern slopes of Mt Cook National Park and experience awe-inspiring views of Mt Cook and Tasman, breath-taking views of the glaciers and neves.
Take a scenic helicopter or plane flight over this stunning scenery and see the ancient waters of the Tasman Glacier lake before flying the length of the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand's longest glacier. If you opt for the helicopter flight, you can experience what it feels like to stand in the snow amongst the mountains as you take a spectacular view of New Zealand's highest peak, Aoraki/Mount Cook.
Picturesque by day and dazzling by night, Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo are part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing. The township faces north across the tremendous turquoise-coloured lake to the mountainous drama of the Southern Alps.
Accommodation: Mt Cook or Lake Tekapo
Speckled with small agricultural outposts, the Canterbury Plains are an area of serene, rural beauty. Your trip will take you through some of the most evocative hill counties in New Zealand.
Christchurch city promises an eclectic mix of historic elegance and contemporary culture. Traditionally known as the Garden City, Christchurch's award-winning Botanic Gardens are over 150 years old and boast an enviable collection of exotic and native plants. Contemporary culture and vibrant, modern spaces define Christchurch City's shopping culture. From modern hubs of creativity and charming boutiques and open-air markets, the shopping experience in Christchurch is social, unique and fun. Restaurants, bars and breweries mean that there are plenty of options to recharge after a few hours on your feet exploring the shops.
The Avon River flows gently through the city centre, making Edwardian punt rides an iconic way to sightsee. Alternatively, catch a ride aboard the Historic Tram or take a bicycle tour to learn about Christchurch's history.
Or: Located on the southeast side of the deep, sheltered Akaroa Harbour, the charming township of Akaroa has a unique point of difference - it was the only French settlement in New Zealand. The best way to explore Akaroa is on foot. Visit local restaurants focusing on French cuisine and head to Barrys Bay Cheese, where they've persevered with original methods for over a century. If you have time, take a harbour cruise to view dolphins, penguins and fur seals.
Accommodation: Christchurch or Akaroa
Your private chauffeur will take you to your departing flight at Christchurch airport.