This 13-night Luxury Small Group Journey takes you to New Zealand’s highlights and beyond, from the adventure capital Queenstown, to historical Rotorua, scenic Milford Sounds and the vineyards of Central Otago.
Prepare to be blown away by the sheer scale and beauty of the landscapes, and experience insider access moments such as private wine tastings with the winemakers and a cruise accompanied by a wildlife specialist. This journey enables you to really get under the skin of the country, and experience what makes New Zealand just so special.
Day 1: Arrival
Upon arrival into Auckland International Airport you will be met by a Lightfoot Travel representative and transferred to the Auckland Ferry, which will take you to the island of Waiheke. Boasting magnificent white, sandy beaches and estuaries rich in native birdlife, Waiheke is a an idyllic island paradise and the perfect introduction to New Zealand.
Stay: Delamore Lodge
Day 2: Connells Bay & Vineyards Tour
Start your day with a guided tour of O’Connell’s Bay, which showcases art work by New Zealand sculptors.
Afterwards, have lunch at the fabulous Poderi Crisci restaurant followed by afternoon wine tastings, where you will taste award-winning reserve grade Waiheke wine and meet the winemakers. You will also have the opportunity to visit a private gallery.
Wine aside, this area produces honey, organic olive oil and aged Balsamic vinegar, all of which will be available to try.
Stay: Delamore Lodge
Day 3: Auckland to Rotorua
This morning you will head back to Auckland and then south to Rotorua. En-route, stop at Longlands, a family-run farm for lunch and a tour of the farm.
For the next three nights you will be staying at Solitaire Lodge. With just ten suites, your group will have the place to yourselves and will be able to take advantage of all of the activities on offer. From finding secluded hot water beaches and natural thermal hot springs, to rainbow trout fishing and hikes to Tarawera Falls. The lodge is also the perfect place to simply relax and rejuvenate, with a massage in your room for example.
Stay: Solitaire Lodge
Day 4: Private helicopter ride to Mount Tarawera and White Island
This morning jump aboard your private helicopters to Mount Tarawera and White Island. The contrast between these two volcanoes is amazing, with the steaming crater lake of White Island offering a different experience to the heights of Mount Tarawera‘s summit.
When Mount Tarawera, a dormant volcano, erupted in 1886 it left mighty domes and craters in its wake, a dormant volcano, enjoy expansive views of mighty domes and craters formed during the 1886 eruption. The views from above are sensational. Leaving Mount Tarawera you fly past Mount Edgecombe before crossing the coast for White Island. Upon landing enjoy a guided tour (conditions permitting) taking you past steaming fumaroles and bubbling activity, to the edge of the crater lake to view the roaring volcanic vent known as ‘PJ’.
During your flight you will have views of Waiotapu Thermal Reserve, New Zealand’s most colourful volcanic area; Waimangu Thermal Valley, notable for The Frying Pan Lake; and Inferno Crater, a beautiful emerald lake.
Stay: Solitaire Lodge
Day 5: Full day sightseeing tour of Rotorua
Today enjoy a guided tour of Rotorua, starting at the Museum of Art & History for an insight into this fascinating thermal area.
Continue to the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute where you will see Maori people weaving traditional flax objects, before continuing to the thermal area where exploding from the ground up to 30 metres high is the world famous Pohutu Geyser. Here you will see silica terraces, bubbling mud pools and unique geothermal vegetation – each of the geothermal wonders is woven into a legend surrounded by memories and mystery.
While here gain a true insight into Maori culture with a spine-tingling Kapa Haka cultural show that features traditional ancestral storytelling, song and dance. You will even have the opportunity to join in the graceful poi dance or ferocious haka, if you wish!
For those who are feeling adventurous, go on a jet boat ride.
Stay: Solitaire Lodge
Day 6: Rotorua to Christchurch
This morning you will fly to Christchurch, where on arrival you will be met by your private vehicle and driver and taken on an introductory sightseeing tour of Christchurch.
For the next two nights you will be staying at Otahuna Lodge, which is in a stunning location by an ancient volcano. New Zealand’s largest private historic residence, staying at Otahuna Lodge is an experience in itself.
The food at Otahuna Lodge is sensational. Enjoy a private cookery class with the lodge’s head chef, a fantastic experience where you can pick your ingredients from the vegetable garden.
Stay: Otahuna Lodge
Day 7: Banks Peninsula and cruise of Akaroa Harbour
Today explore Banks Peninsula, home to the quaint French settled village of Akaroa – the French settlers influence can be seen all over the town, from the French street names to the historic buildings. Setting out with your private driver and guide, enjoy wonderful views out over Akaroa Harbour before driving down from the crater of this extinct volcano and around the shores to Akaroa township. The drive itself is stunning.
You will then set off on a two hour private cruise of Akaroa Harbour, accompanied by a wildlife specialist. Renowned for its sparkling waters which are home to a variety of sea life, look out for the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins, New Zealand fur seals, blue penguins and a plethora of bird life.
Returning to shore, you will have the opportunity to explore the village.
Stay: Otahuna Lodge
Day 8: Christchurch to Queenstown via Mount Cook
Today set out for Queenstown, otherwise known as the adventure capital of the world. The drive will take around six hours, passing by some of South Island’s most scenic spots en route. Stop for lunch at The Hermitage Hotel in Mount Cook.
Your home for the next four nights is Eichardt’s Hotel on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. This elegant downtown retreat retains many of its original features which are juxtaposed with modern colours and designer furniture. We love the wing-backed chairs by the fire in the parlour which are just perfect for settling down in with a pre-dinner cocktail.
The Parlour at Eichardt’s is the perfect place for a wine tasting, and we have arranged for you to have a private tasting with one of their wine ambassadors.
Day 9: Milford Sound Helicopter Ride
One of the biggest draws of New Zealand is its scenery, and today you will experience it from the best possible vantage point – in a helicopter.
Fly over rainforests, frozen lakes and majestic Milford to touchdown on an age old glacier. The glaciers are stunning, with their many crevasses and blue and green ice falls. The return flight to Queenstown offers fantastic views of New Zealand’s southern lakes. En route land at Mt Nicholas High Country Farm where you will meet the farmer and be taken on a behind-the scenes visit of this authentic, family-run merino sheep farm. Follow the journey of merino wool with a visit to the sheep yards to watch sheep being moved by the farm guide and dog.
Day 10: Sightseeing in Queenstown
Today you will learn why Queenstown is called the adventure capital of the world.
Begin your adrenaline-fuelled day with a jetboat ride on the Shotover River – a 25 minute ride speeding through the towering, rocky canyons of the South Island’s river of gold. Hold onto your seats for the famous “Shotover Jet turn”, where your boat spins a full 360 degrees.
Reward yourself with lunch at Amisfield Winery. Following their wine-making philosophy, ‘Grown Not Made’, the country style bistro has a daily changing menu depending on what is available locally and in season. Wash the delicious food down with wines from the estate, which the Chef will pair with your choice of food. Following lunch visit the world renowned vineyards of Central Otago and the Gibbston Valley region. You will be accompanied by an expert on the region who will provide an informative and entertaining commentary about not only the wine, but the gold mining history and pioneers of the wine industry.
Day 11: At leisure in Queenstown
You will have today at leisure to explore Queenstown. Either relax at your hotel and enjoy the facilities, or you may wish to explore further and try one of the following activities.
- Take to the icy waters of Lake Wakatipu aboard the 100 year old TSS Earnslaw.
- Ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for incredible views over the town and Lake Wakatipu.
- Hike through the rainforest, high country, alpine and farmlands, all surrounding the town.
- Play a round of golf on one of Queenstown’s world class golf courses, such as Jacks Point or The Hills.
- Do a bungy jump at the 134 metre Nevis River, the 43 metre Kawarau Bridge or the 47 metre Ledge.
- Visit the fascinating and surreal film sets used in the Lord of the Rings.
Day 12: Departure from Queenstown
Today you will be met at Eichardt’s and transferred to Queenstown Airport for your onward flight.
|Day 1:||Arrival||Delamore Lodge|
|Day 2:||Connells Bay & Vineyards Tour||Delamore Lodge|
|Day 3:||Auckland to Rotorua||Solitaire Lodge|
|Day 4:||Private helicopter ride to Mount Tarawera and White Island||Solitaire Lodge|
|Day 5:||Full day sightseeing tour of Rotorua||Solitaire Lodge|
|Day 6:||Rotorua to Christchurch||Otahuna Lodge|
|Day 7:||Banks Peninsula and cruise of Akaroa Harbour||Otahuna Lodge|
|Day 8:||Christchurch to Queenstown via Mount Cook||Eichardt's|
|Day 9:||Milford Sound Helicopter Ride||Eichardt's|
|Day 10:||Sightseeing in Queenstown|
|Day 11:||At leisure in Queenstown||Eichardt's|
|Day 12:||Departure from Queenstown|
- All transfers and transport as per itinerary
- Accommodation and meals as specified
- 2 nights stay at Delamore Lodge in Suites and Luxury Apartment on a Half Board basis
- 3 nights stay at Solitaire Lodge in 5 Executive Suite Rooms on a Half Board basis
- 2 nights stay at Otahuna Lodge in a Suite Room on a basis
- 4 nights stay at Eichardt’s in a Lake View Suite on a Bed & Breakfast basis.
- Ferry from to Waiheke Island
- All entrance fees on tour
- Full day Waiheke Island Tour
- Private Helicopter to Mount Tarawera and White Island
- Full day Rotorua Tour
- Full day Akaroa Tour Milford Sound and cruise
- Full day Queenstown and surrounds tour
- International and domestic flights
- Visas where necessary
- Travel Insurance (Compulsory)
- Tips and Gratuities
- Drinks/water at included lunches and dinners
- Accommodation early check in / Late check out
- Overweight luggage
- Personal expenses
- All other items and travel components not mentioned in inclusions
- Private helicopter ride to Mount Tarawera and White Island
- Behind the scenes tour of a family run merino sheep farm
- Jetboat ride on the Shotover River
- Private wine tastings and cookery lessons
- Akaroa Harbour Cruise accompanied by a wildlife specialist
From USD 17,566 Per Person