This is an 11-night overview of both the North and South Islands that showcases some of the best places, people and activities in the country.
This special itinerary takes you to some of our favourite places, complete with some of the country’s custom signature activities that will help you get an in-depth appreciation of what really makes New Zealand special.
Start off on the North Island with a scenic helicopter ride over Auckland taking you right to your lodge. Spend the following days cruising on the Haruaki Gulf on your luxury yacht. Hop on your helicopter again for exclusive access to the middle of the active volcanic crater at White Island, before exploring Rotorua’s popular geothermal areas. Unwind on Palliser Bay, one of the southernmost tips of the North Island at luxury lodge Wharekauhau, where Kate and Prince William graced with their presence. Fly straight down to Wanaka, and finish off your adventure on a high note in the remote Southern Alps, at Minaret Station, accessed only by helicopter.
Price includes VIP meet & greet upon arrival, accommodation, private heli or land transfers as specified, private excursions as detailed. Excludes international flights, optional activities and items not mentioned in Inclusions.
Day 1 Arrive into Auckland, North Island – Waiheke Island
Arrive into Auckland where you will be met with a VIP escort through Clearance, luggage collection and immigration. You will then be transferred to board your private helicopter for a beautiful 15-minute flight over Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf, landing directly at your lodge.
Located just thirty-five minutes by ferry from downtown Auckland, Waiheke is an enchanting blend of beautiful beaches, lush native bush, farms, arts and craft stores and vineyards creating an inviting and warm island lifestyle.
Stay: Delamore Lodge
Day 2 Waiheke Island
Waiheke is an enchanting blend of beautiful beaches, lush native bush, farms, arts and craft stores and vineyards creating an inviting and warm island lifestyle. We include a private guide and driver today, and you will have the day at leisure – perfectly tailored to suit your needs. Speak to us about suggestions for your day on the island.
Since the late 1970’s Waiheke’s benign Mediterranean climate has seen the growth of a flourishing wine industry. A “small is beautiful” philosophy yields low quantities of extremely high quality fruit, which is made into international award-winning wines. The big Bordeaux-style reds of Stony Ridge, Goldwater Estate and Peninsula Estate are now appreciated by wine lovers all over the world, and more than 30 vineyards have followed in the footsteps of the original three.
For wine connoisseurs, we include time with the owners or viticulturists of award winning and picturesque coastal vineyards such as Mudbrick or Stony Ridge. You can visit these and several others including Kennedy Point Vineyard, Te Whau Vineyard (where you can sample some of the owner’s 500+ classic and local vintages) and Mudbrick Vineyard. Lunch will be enjoyed at one of the vineyards (cost not included).
We can also suitably customize an art tour to visit Connells Bay Sculpture Park, The Artist Goldsmith studio in Church Bay for handmade jewellery and to visit other established artists that now find inspiration from their peaceful abode on the island.
Stay: Delamore Lodge
Day 3 Waiheke Island – Taupo
Your helicopter will pick you up from the front lawn after breakfast and take you down the spectacular Coromandel Coast, before heading out to sea and landing in the middle of the active volcanic crater at White Island.
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’.
Re-board your helicopter for a scenic flight over Rotorua’s geothermal areas, before landing by Lake Rotoiti for an afternoon out on a luxury stylish 53 foot catamaran. Unlike the bigger Lake Rotorua and Lake Tarawera, Lake Rotoiti is the most stunning and undiscovered lake of Rotorua, a pristine natural environment rich in cultural history and wildlife. A local Maori elder will sail you with and impart his local stories and legends of the lake – explore hidden hot pools and ancient Maori carvings only accessible by water. Picnic on hidden beaches, curl up with a book, or make use of the equipment on the vessel such as water skis, ski doughnuts or go knee boarding.
At the end of glorious afternoon on the water, you will be picked up again by helicopter to be transferred to Huka Lodge, where you will stay for 3 nights. You will arrive to find your luggage already checked into your room for you, simply freshen up in time for pre-dinner canapés and a sumptuous dinner.
Stay: Huka Lodge
Day 4: Taupo
The Maori welcome is an integral part of New Zealand culture, the heart of which is in the central North Island.
Enjoy a half day unique insight into the tribal heritage of, and opportunity to meet, the extended family of your guide Te Ori Paki. As a direct descendant of the high chief of the local Ngati Tuwharetoa tribe, Herea Tukino Te Heuheu, Te Ori is well placed to share the spiritual significance and legends surrounding the Taupo area from his Maori perspective. Te Ori can take guests to see how the Maori language and culture are being nurtured and taught at Te Ahorangi School* and how the needs of modern Maori for their ancestral identity are being met by these local initiatives.
Stay: Huka Lodge
Day 5 Taupo
You have the day of rest at Huka Lodge or, if you prefer, you can select from one of the many activities available: wilderness fly fishing, rafting, hiking, golfing or horse riding.
Stay: Huka Lodge
Day 6 Taupo – Wairarapa
This morning you will be met at your accommodation by your private car and driver and transferred to the Hawke’s Bay region (approximately 2 hours’ journey) where you will visit to wineries and enjoy lunch (cost to be settled directly).
Following the wine tours you will then continue south to your accommodation at Palliser Bay (approximately 4 hours’ journey).
Day 7 Day trip to Wellington from Wairarapa
After breakfast this morning, you will be picked up from the lawn for a 15 min heli transfer to Wellington for a day tour of the capital city.
Wellington, touted by Lonely Planet as the ‘coolest little capital’, has developed into a haven of established restaurants and hidden gourmet gems. On your small-group walking food tour this morning, enjoy tastings at Wellington’s best specialist food stores – meet owners, baristas, coffee roasters and chefs. Savour a delicious three course tasting lunch with matched New Zealand wines at one of the city’s top restaurants.
After lunch, you will be transferred to the Te Papa Musuem, for a 2.5hour front of house and behind the scenes Maori tour of Te Papa. This complements your first interaction with the tribe in Taupo; learn about how their forms of hunting, gathering, dress, celebrations have evolved over the years.
Te Papa is New Zealand’s National Museum, where you can explore the great stories of this fascinating land and the people who live here, and is recognised as a world leader in the new wave of innovative and interactive museum experiences, having achieved an international reputation for excellence.
At the end of the day you will be transferred via helicopter back in time for dinner.
Day 8 Wairarapa
You have the day of rest at Wharekauhau or, if you prefer, you can select from one of the many activities available: surfcasting, horse riding, ATV Quad Biking, mountain biking, a visit of New Zealand’s largest Brown Fur Seal colonies, or a 4WD farm tour of the estate.
Day 9 Wellington – Queenstown – Southern Alps Wilderness
You will be transferred to Wellington Airport via helicopter with your luggage, in time for your domestic Air New Zealand flight to Queenstown. Upon arrival in Queenstown, you will be met by a representative, who will transfer you to Minaret Station – set in a stunningly picturesque glacial valley in the heart of the Southern Alps, classic Lord of the Rings territory and accessible only by helicopter.
The surrounds and lodge at the station treats those fortunate enough to experience this wilderness landscape to a level of comfort and style never before available in the New Zealand mountains. Settle in and explore the surrounding area on foot, before coming back to a fresh dinner.
Stay: Minaret Station
Day 10 - Day 11 Exploring Southern Alps’ Wilderness
Over the next two days, your time will be tailored to suit your needs and interests. Your hosts will be able to cater to wealth of activities, including but not limited to: heli-hiking with alpine picnics, fly-fishing, jetboating, heli mountain biking, guided hunting, photography lessons, or cattle mustering.
Stay: Minaret Station
Day 12 Southern Alps Wilderness – Queenstown International Airport
Today you will be transferred via helicopter back to Queenstown International Airport for your flight home.
* This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel designer.
Looking for something different? Visit our main New Zealand page for further inspiration.
|Day 1||Arrive into Auckland, North Island – Waiheke Island||Delamore Lodge|
|Day 2||Waiheke Island||Delamore Lodge|
|Day 3||Waiheke Island – Taupo||Huka Lodge|
|Day 4:||Taupo||Huka Lodge|
|Day 5||Taupo||Huka Lodge|
|Day 6||Taupo – Wairarapa||Wharekauhau Country Estate|
|Day 7||Day trip to Wellington from Wairarapa||Wharekauhau Country Estate|
|Day 8||Wairarapa||Wharekauhau Country Estate|
|Day 9||Wellington – Queenstown – Southern Alps Wilderness||Minaret Station|
|Day 10 - Day 11||Exploring Southern Alps’ Wilderness||Minaret Station|
|Day 12||Southern Alps Wilderness – Queenstown International Airport|
- Accommodation with daily breakfast
- Transfers or car hire
- Activities with guides
- 24 hour emergency contact
- International flights
- Visa if necessary
- Personal expenses
- Hotel early check in / Late check out
- Tips and gratuities
- Travel insurance (please note that this is required for all Lightfoot Travel holidays)
From US$ 26,328 per person, based on two pax travelling
Notes on our prices
- This price guide provides you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your holiday.
- Prices are generally based on two people travelling together (unless stated otherwise) on a shared room basis.
- Prices can fluctuate depending on season, standard of accommodation, excursions selected (private versus shared) etc.
- This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant
- Capital: Wellington
- Main Language: English
- Population: 4.4m (2011)
- Time Zone: GMT +12
- Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
- Best time to go: November through April
- Private Maori welcome
- Stand inside an active volcanic crater
- Helicopter ride over the Fiordlands including Milford Sound
- Learn, taste and experience wine with Grant Taylor
From US$ 26,328 per person