Winter Escape in New Zealand

New Zealand, with its mountain tops, lakes that go on for miles and spectacular glaciers is mouth-droppingly beautiful year-round. Driving through the North Island is a beautiful sight as you watch the landscape unfold before you. During winter, the North Island remains slightly warmer than the South Island, with decidedly less crowds, enabling you to truly enjoy the country’s gems. An added bonus to travelling in winter? Avoiding long queues and peak pricing!

Kids will enjoy discovering these beautiful landscapes as well as the fun activities that are offered throughout the trip.

Day 1: Arrival

Upon arrival into Auckland, you will be met by a Lightfoot representative who will assist with orientation and collecting your rental vehicle before driving to your first accommodation, the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour.

The rest of the day is at leisure for you to rest and relax or make the most of Auckland’s laidback atmosphere.


Stay: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Day 2: Auckland to Rotorua

This morning enjoy a scenic drive to Matamata (approximately 2 hours’ 30 minutes’ drive).

Enjoy a visit to Hobbiton, located in Matamata, and discover the real ‘Middle Earth’. Set on the most picturesque private farmland, you can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies in a fascinating two hour guided tour.

Following your visit, you will head to your next accommodation, Regent of Rotorua, a short stroll from Lake Rotorua.


Stay: Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel & Spa

Day 3: Rotorua

In the morning, drive over to the Agrodome (entrance fee included) for a day of fun with New Zealand wildlife. You will view a show comprising 19 breeds of sheep, followed by an exciting sheep auction and sheep shearing. For some up close and personal action, you will have the opportunity to hand milk a coy or feed baby lambs.

Next, visit the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and Te Puia Thermal Valley (entrance fee included), where you can see Maori people weaving traditional objects. In the thermal area, you will admire the world famous Pohutu Geyser as well as silica terraces, bubbling mud pools and unique geothermal vegetation.

The rest of the day is at leisure.


Stay: Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel & Spa

Day 4: Rotorua to Napier

Leave your hotel in the morning and make your way to Napier (approximately 3 hours’ drive), one of New Zealand’s famed wine regions. Your accommodation in Napier is the Dome Apartments.

The remainder of the day is at leisure. Wander around and soak in Napier’s art-deco architecture, visit the musuem or the Aquarium of time permits.


Stay: The Dome Apartments

Day 5: Napier

Today, you have the entire day to yourself to explore the region’s treasures. We recommend visiting the towns on a self-guided bicycle tour in Napier, as well as Hawke’s Bay’s award-winning vineyards such as Elephant Hill and Clearview Estate. (We’d be more than happy to include this optional activity for you, at an additional cost)

Another highlight in the region is driving up Te Mata Peak for stunning views, visiting Cape Kidnappers (golf is a pure delight there!), strolling on the beaches of Waimarama and Ocean Beach or fly fishing in the Tuki Tuki and Ngaruroro Rivers.


Stay: The Dome Apartments

Day 6: Napier to Wellington

Depart from Napier and drive towards Wellington (4 hours).

En route, stop by the Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, a captive-breeding sanctuary for some the country’s most threatened birds. Located in a pocket of ancient forest, Mount Bruce is a highly educational experience, but it’s also great fun, as professional conservation staff who are passionate about what they do are on hand to answer any question you or your children may have at the feeding stations and other interactive exhibits.

Whilst in Wellington, your accommodation is the Museum Art Hotel, located opposite the Te Papa Museum and right on the waterfront. Owned by eclectic art collector, every visit to the hotel will  unearth new art finds in every other corner. The hotel is also home to one of Wellington’s foodie institution “Hippopotamus”.


Stay: Museum Art Hotel

Day 7: Wellington

A unique gourmet travel experience has been included today. Discerning travellers rarely have the chance to be welcomed into a local home for fellowship and home-made food treats. Visit the home of a local culinary personality for home hospitality in addition to visiting a boutique coffee roaster and café, enjoy tastings at the city’s best specialist food stores and 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 best restaurants.

This afternoon enjoy a visit to Te Papa – Museum of New Zealand, incorporating a privately guided tour of the Museum, followed by a ‘behind the scenes’ experience with a Curator/Collection Manager (approximately 2 hours 30 minutes).


Stay: Museum Art Hotel

Day 8: Wellington to Queenstown

In the morning, drive to Wellington Airport and drop off your card for your onward flight to Queenstown, the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’.Set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, amidst the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, the scenery provides a perfect backdrop for endless activities and an idyllic haven in which to relax.

Upon arrival in Queenstown, pick up your 4WD and make your way to your final accommodation, Millbrook Resort. Nestled in an impressive alpine amphitheatre of snow-capped mountains, Millbrook Resort is our preferred accommodation for families as it provides spacious and comfortable apartment styled Hotel Villas and self contained Cottages. Facilities include an 18-hole championship golf course, three award-winning restaurants, bar, premier spa facility and the complimentary Health and Fitness centre with Jacuzzis, tennis courts, indoor heated swimming pool, and complimentary fitness classes.


Stay: Millbrook Resort

Day 9: Visit Milford Sound

Today, embark on the highlight of your visit to New Zealand – marvelling at the beauty of Milford Sound as you take a scenic flight over the fiords and admire hanging valleys, alpine lakes and cloud-piercing summits.

Following your visit by air, you will continue on with a cruise on the fiord to the Tasman Sea. Sheer rock walls, waterfalls and the mile high monolith of Mitre Peak are the backdrop as you enjoy a picnic lunch which has been included today.

In the late afternoon, you will return to Queenstown, soaring over the glaciers of the Olivine Ice Plateau.


Stay: Millbrook Resort

Day 10: Fun in Queenstown

Your last full day in New Zealand is at leisure. We recommend making the most of what the area has to offer: jet boat excursion on the Dart River, visiting wineries, gondola ride to Bob’s peak, bungy jumping, rock climbing, visiting the sites of ‘Lord of the Rings’, or a simple relaxing day visiting the wineries of Central Otago. The list is endless, but we’d be more than happy to suggest something catered to suit your fitness level and interests.

Looking for something different? Visit our main New Zealand page for further inspiration.


Duration Description Overnight
Day 1: Arrival Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Day 2: Auckland to Rotorua Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel & Spa
Day 3: Rotorua Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel & Spa
Day 4: Rotorua to Napier The Dome Apartments
Day 5: Napier The Dome Apartments
Day 6: Napier to Wellington Museum Art Hotel
Day 7: Wellington Museum Art Hotel
Day 8: Wellington to Queenstown Millbrook Resort
Day 9: Visit Milford Sound Millbrook Resort
Day 10: Fun in Queenstown



  • Accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Excursions
  • Transfers or car hire
  • Activities with guides
  • 24 hour emergency contact

Not Included

  • 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)


Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour Regent of Rotorua Dome Apartments, Napier Museum Art Hotel, Wellington Milbrook Resort, Queenstown

From USD 10982 for 2 adults and 2 children (under 12)

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