New Zealand Journey

National Geographic Journeys, Auckland to Queenstown

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Spend 12 days exploring the North and South Islands of this small country packed with wonders. Travelling by train, gondola, boat, and plane, sample local wine, walk through an ancient rainforest, and learn about local legends and cuisine from the Maori. Take a deep breath to fill your lungs with the impossibly clean air here — and fill your soul with the legendary Kiwi spirit.

What’s included

  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Waiheke Island Wineries, Waiheke Island Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Meet a Maori Elder, Rotorua
  • Waitomo Caves tour
  • Traditional Maori hangi feast and entertainment
  • Orientation walk in Christchurch
  • Scenic TranzAlpine train
  • Ride the Queenstown gondola
  • Wilderness day cruise (winter) or overnight cruise (summer) in Fiordland National Park
  • Internal flight
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Sample wine with local experts on waiheke island
  • Learn about maori myths and traditions
  • Experience the geothermal mysteries of rotorua
  • Glide along the tranzalpine railway
  • Relax at a rainforest lodge
  • Cruise through fiordland national park searching for wildlife and waterfalls

Itinerary

Day 1 Auckland Please make your own way to the joining hotel. Our CEO will have a welcome meeting this evening. Auckland is a fantastic city with so much to see and do. Should you want more time to explore on your own, we recommend booking pre-nights. Additional Notes: Jump right into your adventure by adding the 'Auckland Sailing: America's Cup Experience' extra to your tour. Work with a crew to sail around Auckland's Waitemata Harbour on a competitive yacht, and take in the stunning views. PLEASE NOTE: If booking this extra, a pre-night in Auckland is highly recommended as this activity may start early in the morning on Day 1. This tour departs Auckland early on Day 2. If you are interested in exploring the city and its nearby attractions, like the Hobbiton Movie Set or local wineries, it is recommended you book additional pre-trip accommodation nights. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Auckland (1B) Enjoy a morning orientation walk before catching a ferry to Waiheke Island. Visit two local wineries to learn more about New Zealand's burgeoning wine industry and the history of wine production in the country while sampling some of the local blends, of course. Included Activities: Waiheke Island Wineries Orientation Walk
Day 3 Auckland/Rotorua (1B) Rotorua sits over an active geothermal zone with bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools in different areas around the town. This is a fascinating region with Maori history and culture tied directly to the geothermal aspects of the land. Included Activities: Waitomo Cave Excursion Transport: Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours, 300km)
Day 4 Rotorua (1B, 1D) Enjoy a free day in Rotorua which sits over an active geothermal zone with bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools. Opt to visit one of the geothermal sites, or go whitewater rafting. This evening visit Tamaki Maori Village and enjoy a private welcome and talk from a “Kaumātua” (an elder in Māori society). After, watch an extravagant performance about local myths and legends while dining on traditional Hangi cuisine. Included Activities: Meet a Maori Elder Tamaki Maori Village
Day 5 Rotorua/Christchurch (1B) With free time in Rotorua this morning, opt to relax in one of the hot pools fed by water coming directly from the natural springs. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Private Vehicle Plane (1.00-1.50 hours)
Day 6 Christchurch/Franz Josef (1B) Transport: Train (2.50 hour(s)) Private Vehicle (3.00-3.50 hours, 240km)
Day 7 Franz Josef (1B) Options are plentiful. Choose from a helicopter hike, ice walking on the glacier, or soaking in hot pools among stunning scenery.
Day 8 Franz Josef/Queenstown (1B) Early start to travel to the picturesque Lake Matheson. When the weather is right, you can get a great photo of the Southern Alps reflected in the lake. Follow the wild West Coast Road, through the rainforest before stopping for some short walks and waterfall visits. Transport: Private Vehicle (8.00-9.00 hours, 365km)
Day 9 Queenstown/Fiordland National Park (1B, 1D) In the evening, enjoy a delicious three course buffet dinner prepared by our onboard chef and served in the dining saloon. Mingle with fellow travellers, savour some of the fine wines at our licensed bar (additional price) and if the skies are clear in the evening, spend some time on the upper deck gazing at the stars. Additional Notes: *Please note that the itinerary for this day varies in the winter: Winter Schedule 18 May – 20 Sept Fiordland National Park/Te Anau Drive the scenic route around Lake Wakatipu to the town of Manapouri. Travel by boat and bus to arrive at an eco cruise boat. Spend the afternoon cruising through Milford or Doubtful Sound, two of the most untouched, remote places in the world. Marvel at the steep cliff walls and cascading waterfalls. The boat offers excellent chances for wildlife viewing in the area. Dolphins, penguins, seals and a variety of birds are some examples of what you can hope to see. In the evening, head to Te Anau for the night. We take in a screening of the award winning ‘Ata Whenua – Shadowland‘ Fjordland on Film documentary at the local cinema before having a group meal. Included Activities: Fiordland National Park Overnight Wilderness Cruise Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 250km)
Day 10 Fiordland National Park/Queenstown (1B) Enjoy early morning wildlife viewing along the fiord as we cruise back to port, then return to Queenstown. Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 250km)
Day 11 Queenstown (1B) Enjoy a free day to explore on your own, visit a winery, or cruise on a historic steamship. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Opt to go bungee jumping, jet boating, skydiving, paragliding, or mountain biking. This evening enjoy a gondola ride with spectacular views of the city and surrounding landscape. Included Activities: Gondola Ride
Day 12 Queenstown (1B) For more time to explore Queenstown, we recommend booking post nights with your agent if you are interested in the countless adrenaline-packed activities in the town known as the "adventure capital of the world." Jet boating, bungee jumping, mountain biking, and sky diving are some of the activities available. Included Activities: Departure Day
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