Marvel at the colourful geothermal landscape of Rotorua
Explore Abel Tasman National Park on a private boat cruise
Cruise Lake Tasman and take a guided walk on Tasman Glacier
Enjoy a scenic flight and cruise on Milford Sound,
Soar over Queenstown on an exhilarating hot air balloon flight
Curated by Nikki
Day 1 Arrival Auckland – Rotorua
Upon arrival at the airport you’ll be met and assisted with your rental car. You’ll head straight for Rotorua and have the option of stopping at Hobbiton or the Waitomo Glowworm Caves on the way.
If you have time, it’s worth popping to the Polynesian spa to ease away your jetlag before dinner.
Day 2 Rotorua
Start your day with a visit to the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, where you’ll enjoy demonstrations and watch a cultural performance.
After lunch, head to Rainbow Springs, a wildlife and nature park where you can see New Zealand’s rare and endangered wildlife, including the kiwi.
Day 3 Rotorua
Today’s adventure begins with a trip to Mamaku where you’ll hop on the Mamaku Express self-drive RailCruiser to explore the Dansey Scenic Reserve.
In the afternoon, you’ll visit Velocity Valley for some high adrenaline adventure. Try the Shweeb Racer or head to nearby Zorb to go zorbing.
Day 4 Rotorua
After breakfast, head to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, an active volcanic area where you can experience New Zealand’s geothermal landscapes. Don’t miss the Lady Knox Geyser going off at 10.15am.
In the afternoon you’ll be driven out of town for a zipline canopy tour through ancient forest. You’ll experience swing bridges and platforms while observing flora, fauna and birdlife.
In the evening, there’s a choice of optional dining experiences.
Day 5 Rotorua – Nelson
Today you’ll drive to Rotorua Airport where you’ll drop off your rental car and board a flight to Nelson in the South Island.
Here you’ll pick up your next rental vehicle and drive to your accommodation overlooking the Waimea Estuary.
Day 6 Nelson
Enjoy a day of leisure in Nelson.
Explore Nelson’s museums and galleries or laze on the beautiful beach. Your Lightfoot Travel Designer can recommend activities to suit your interests prior to departure.
Day 7 Abel Tasman National Park
Start the day with the short drive to Stephens Bay to pick up your private charter cruise around the Abel Tasman National Park. The cruise itinerary is flexible, with the captain willing to accommodate your requests. See Split Apple Rock, watch dolphins and fur seals, and explore tiny bays.
The boat will stop at a sheltered bay so you can explore by kayak, enjoy a walk through the bush, or simply laze on the beach.
Day 8 Nelson – Lake Tekapo
Today you’ll return to Nelson Airport after breakfast to catch your flight to Christchurch.
Here, you’ll collect another rental vehicle and drive to Lake Tekapo, a scenic area renowned for its stunning landscapes and starry skies.
In the evening, drive to the Mount John Observatory for the ultimate stargazing experience.
Day 9 Lake Tekapo – Mount Cook
Today you have a full-day excursion in the Mount Cook National Park.
Drive to the park, then walk 30 minutes to the shores of Lake Tasman to board a boat for a cruise amongst icebergs to the Tasman Glacier. Depending on conditions, you may be able to walk on New Zealand’s longest glacier.
Day 10 Lake Tekapo – Queenstown
Enjoy a lazy drive to Queenstown this morning. Along the way you’ll have the choice of stopping at Cromwell for lunch and visiting Arrowtown to discover New Zealand’s gold-mining heritage. You can also join the Lord of the Rings tour at Twizel.
Day 11 Queenstown – Milford Sound
Today, you’ll visit one of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural wonders: Milford Sound. You’ll enjoy a scenic flight over glacial landscapes to the sound, where you’ll board a boat for a cruise past waterfalls to Mitre Peak while indulging in a picnic lunch.
Day 12 Queenstown
Today you’ll get to explore the scenic landscape of South Island on a full day guided hiking excursion in the Glenorchy area.
The excursion begins with a drive to Glenorchy where you’ll hop on a jet boat for a ride along the Dart River and into the wilderness.
Your guide will escort you through the forest, stopping for lunch. Along the way, you’ll discover native trees, birds and other wildlife.
The trip ends with a well-deserved drink in a country pub.
Day 13 Queenstown
Start your final day in style with a three-hour hot air balloon ride between Queenstown and Arrowtown, followed by a champagne celebration.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure – you could explore the Central Otago wine route, play a round of golf, or visit more Lord of the Rings filming locations.
Day 14 Queenstown – Auckland – Departure
Today you’ll drive back to Queenstown Airport, where you’ll drop off your rental car and catch a flight to Auckland.
Depending on your connection, you may have some time to explore Auckland before your onward flight.