New Zealand Journey

National Geographic Journeys, Auckland to Queenstown
Image by G Adventures

Information from G Adventures

Tour description

Spend 11 days exploring the North and South Islands of this small country packed with wonders. Travelling by train, gondola, boat, and plane, connect with locals in artsy beach towns, walk through an ancient rain forest, 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 Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Resourceful Ōtautahi Walking Tour with Local Expert, Christchurch Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group
  • Bridal Veil Falls visit
  • Farm visit with local lunch
  • Raglan harbour cruise
  • 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) on 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 Arrive at any time.

Day 2: Auckland 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.

Day 3: Auckland/Raglan Drive a scenic route, visiting an eel farm which focuses on developing sustainable aquaculture. Enjoy lunch, featuring food which has been sustainably produced on the farm. Continue to the artsy town of Raglan, stopping at Bridal Veil Falls en route, and enjoy a cruise on the stunning harbour.

Day 4: Raglan/Rotorua Drive to Rotorua, stopping for an excursion at Waitomo Caves where you'll take a boat ride through the cave and see thousands of flickering glowworms lighting up the walls. This evening visit Tamaki Maori Village and enjoy a private welcome and talk from a “Kaumātua” (an elder in Māori society). After, enjoy an extravagant performance about local myths and legends while dining on traditional Hangi cuisine.

Day 5: Rotorua/Christchurch Enjoy free time this morning in Rotorua before catching a flight to Christchurch. This afternoon, meet with a local guide and take a unique walking tour of the city.

Day 6: Christchurch/Franz Josef Enjoy one of the world’s great scenic train trips on the TranzAlpine train, crossing the scenic Southern Alps to New Zealand's glacier region. Disembark and finish the journey over the highest pass in the Southern Alps in a private vehicle before transferring to a beautiful rainforest lodge, our home for two nights.

Day 7: Franz Josef Options are plentiful. Choose from a helicopter hike, ice walking on the glacier, or soaking in the hot pools amongst the stunning scenery.

Day 8: Franz Josef/Queenstown Travel through the rugged rainforest along the west coast to Queenstown. Enjoy an evening gondola ride with spectacular views of the city.

Day 9: Queenstown/Fiordland National Park Embark on an amazing wilderness cruise through Fiordland National Park. Led by onboard naturalist guides, we have the chance to see dolphins, fur seals, birds, and penguins along with an option to kayak. Spend the night onboard in comfortable cabins with time to relax on deck, stargaze, and enjoy some New Zealand wine.

Day 10: Fiordland National Park/Queenstown Enjoy morning wildlife viewing along the fiord as we cruise back to port, then return to Queenstown for the final night. Opt for a farewell dinner with your group.

Day 11: Queenstown Depart at any time.