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Winter Escape in New Zealand
“New Zealand, with its mountain tops, lakes that go on for miles and spectacular glaciers, is beautiful year round. Driving through the North Island is a beautiful sight as you watch the landscape unfold, and during winter, the North Island remains slightly warmer than the South Island with less crowds.”
Upon arrival at Auckland international airport, you’ll be met by one of our representatives and assisted in picking up your hire car.
You’ll drive to your accommodation in Auckland’s vibrant Viaduct Harbour, and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Matamata – Rotorua
After breakfast, head on the scenic drive to Matamata, home of Hobbiton. Discover Middle Earth on a two-hour guided tour of the movie set used in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.
Continue to Rotorua and check into your hotel, which is a short stroll from Lake Rotorua.
Start your day with a visit to the Agrodome, which offers farming fun for all the family. Meet and feed lambs and calves, and watch a farming demonstration.
Next, head to the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and Te Puia Thermal Valley to experience Rotorua’s unique geothermal landscape (and sulphuric whiff!).
Rotorua – Napier
Set off on the three-hour drive to Napier in the famous Hawke’s Bay wine region.
Check into your hotel and enjoy some leisure time to wander around the Art Deco buildings, and visit the museum or aquarium.
Today you have the day at leisure to explore Hawke’s Bay. Enjoy a self-guided bike tour of Napier, a tour of Hawke’s Bay wineries, a trip up Te Mata Peak for stunning views, or an excursion to Cape Kidnappers to play golf or see the gannet colony.
Your Lightfoot Travel Designer can recommend activities to suit your interests prior to departure.
Napier – Mount Bruce – Wellington
Time to jump back in the rental car for the four-hour drive to Wellington. En route, stop off at the Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre to meet some of New Zealand’s rare and endangered birds and learn about conservation efforts.
Upon arrival check into your Wellington hotel, next to the world-renowned Te Papa Museum (the hotel restaurant, Hippopotamus, is a Wellington food institution).
Today you have a gourmet travel treat. The day begins with a visit to the home of a New Zealand culinary personality, and a trip to a boutique coffee roaster and café. You’ll enjoy specialist tastings and a three-course meal with wine pairings at a top Wellington restaurant.
In the afternoon, take a two-hour guided tour of Te Papa Museum, including a behind-the-scenes experience with a curator or collection manager.
Wellington – Queenstown
Drive to Wellington airport, where you’ll drop off your hire car and catch a flight to Queenstown on the South Island, known as the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’.
Pick up your 4WD and drive to your hotel, which has its own golf course and spa.
Queenstown – Milford Sound
Today you have a guided scenic flight to Milford Sound, where you can admire the stunning glacial landscape.
Upon arrival, you’ll join a cruise down the fjord where you can admire the waterfalls, rock walls and Mitre Peak while indulging in a picnic lunch.
Queenstown – Departure
Today you have time for a final exploration of Queenstown, before departing for the airport. Explore the Central Otago wineries, take a gondola ride to Bob’s Peak, enjoy a jet boat excursion on the Dart River, go bungy jumping or rock climbing, or visit Lord of the Rings filming sites.
HOTELS IN Auckland & Waiheke Island
HOTELS IN Lake Taupo & Rotorua
HOTELS IN Napier & Hawkes Bay
our destination expert
Have fun in Middle Earth with a trip to Hobbiton
Explore the unique geothermal landscape of Rotorua
Discover the tastes of New Zealand on a culinary adventure in Wellington
Go behind the scenes with a curator at the renowned Te Papa Museum
Witness the glacial landscape of Milford Sound on a scenic flight and cruise
- When to go:
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Get in touch with our Lightfoot Travel experts and they will create a bespoke itinerary designed to your exact needs and budget.
We won't take you to the usual tourist traps, instead we'll introduce you to people that show you the true side of a country. With our contacts in each destination, we can arrange for you to meet locals away from the crowds and ensure an authentic experience.
You can rely on our extensive first-hand knowledge and years of experience in the country you’re visiting. We use only the best expert guides, and provide insider tips on the local customs, and everything from vibrant festivals to hidden Himalayan monasteries
Your holiday will be as unique as you are. By getting to know you and what makes you tick, we fuse our wealth of expertise and a deep understanding of our destinations to create unique day by day itineraries that are built around you.