North to South
February 3rd – February 16th, 2014
February 24th – March 9th, 2014
February 2nd – February 15th, 2015
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- Find out what makes the West Coast wild.
- Explore rugged beaches, lush rain forests
- Walk out on a glacier.
- Explore a geothermal area and thermal hot springs .
- Mount Ruapehu, including a towering waterfall.
- Explore NZ’s capital city and the award-winning Te Papa Museum.
- Wine tasting / vineyard tour in Blenheim and Queenstown.
- Tour the arts and culture of Nelson.
- Experience the Southern Alps and New Zealand’s highest mountains
- Wrap up the trip by finishing in the “Garden City” of Christchurch.
Auckland — Rotorua
Welcome to New Zealand! After arriving into Auckland early MONDAY morning, you’ll meet your True New Zealand family and guide. Today is relaxed, allowing you to unwind after your flight. We’ll travel south from Auckland City to Rotorua. This region of New Zealand is known for its geothermal and volcanic landscapes. We explore the Waimangu Volcanic Valley geothermal area and take a stunning walk through a native forest valley with hot water lakes, beautiful sinter terraces and hot springs. We’ll wrap up our first evening soaking in thermal hot pools after a delicious dinner.
Rotorua — Ohakune
We spend the morning visiting Te Puia, Maori Arts and Craft Institute. The Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Learn about Maori culture, visit a carving and weaving school and the Rotowhio Marae (sacred Maori gathering place). You’ll catch a rare glimpse of the New Zealand namesake Kiwi bird and Pohutu, a 60 ft geyser, may just erupt in front of us.We bid farewell to Rotorua and make our way South, towards Ohakune, a small mountain village nestled at the base of Mt. Ruapehu. We’ll stop along the way, taking short walks to view the power of Huka Falls and explore the volcanic landscape and picturesque views around the village of Whakapapa. Three massive volcanoes fill this landscape, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu, forming the world’s forth oldest national park.
Ohakune — Kapiti Coast
Take a bit of time this morning to sleep in or explore the town of Ohakune. We’ll head up Mt. Ruapehu via the Ohakune Mountain Road into the Tongariro National Park. We stop to walk though beautiful native forest and tussock tarns to Waitonga Falls. Take in the views while you enjoy a picnic lunch at 5249 ft. After lunch, we make our way south to the Kapiti Coast.
Kapiti Coast —Marlborough Sounds
Take the morning to discover the waterfront of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. Relax in the cafes, visit unique shops or explore Te Papa (the Museum of New Zealand) before we catch an afternoon ferry out of Wellington to the South Island. This three-hour, 58 mile ferry trip into Cook Strait and Marlborough Sounds is truly stunning. After arriving into the South Island town of Picton, we travel to our nearby accommodation in Marlborough Sounds for the evening.
Marlborough Sounds — Nelson
Wake up to the beauty of Marlborough Sounds. We make our way into the Wairau Valley, the largest wine producing area in New Zealand. Local varieties of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have earned this area world recognition. We’ll check out a couple wineries and enjoy a vineyard picnic lunch. After lunch, we’ll make our way across the top of the South Island to the sunny town of Nelson, known for its great climate, golden sandy beaches and arts scene.
Nelson — Punakaiki
Walk along one of Nelson’s beautiful golden beaches and then head over to the Nelson Market, an amazing collection of local arts, crafts and foods. The drive west brings us over a couple of small mountain ranges and alongside the mighty Buller River, the largest free-flowing river in New Zealand. We’ll spend the night in the small West Coast town of Punakaiki.
Punakaiki — Fox Glacier
Puniakaiki is surrounded by intense native forests, limestone formations, beautiful rivers and pounding surf. We’ll check out the natural limestone rock formations of Pancake Rocks and the powerful vertical blowholes. Once the only path to traverse this beautiful but rigid coastline, we’ll explore the Poroari River Track inland through a native forest canopied limestone canyon. Well spend the night further along the West Coast in the town of Fox Glacier.
Fox Glacier — Queenstown
Fox Glacier is a small coastal town with a population of about 400 people. Named for the 7 ½ mile long glacier that stretches from the mountains of the Southern Alps to the lush rainforests, Fox Glacier sits only 980 feet above sea level.
You have three options for exploring this amazing natural wonder:
1. Glacier hike – Walk up the valley to the terminal face of the glacier where you’ll gain some height before walking on the glacier for about one hour. Explore ice crevasses and ridges. Moderate fitness required.
2. Heli-hike – After taking a helicopter fl ight up to a remote part of the glacier you spend 2 ½ hours exploring amazing ice formations and ice caves. Add $150 USD + tax.
3. Scenic helicopter flight – Explore the Fox Glacier and Southern alps by helicopter. The fl ight can be customized between 10 min to 40min in length, with the option of a glacier landing. Add $50 – $150 USD + tax, package depending.
Following the morning’s adventures, we travel down the West Coast, checking out spectacular sights before traveling inland over Haast Pass and into Queenstown via the Crown Range.
Spend a free day in Queenstown, the “Adventure Capital of the World.” Relax and check out the cafés and shops or partake in some of the local adrenaline activities famous to Queenstown: jet boating, bungee jumping, sky diving, river surfing … it’s your choice. You’re free to arrange your own meals for lunch and dinner at one of the many restaurants or cafes. Your guide will be on hand with recommendations.
Queenstown — Te anau
The morning is again free for you to explore Queenstown or sleep in before we leave early afternoon for the shores of Lake Te Anau. Following dinner, we’ll board a boat to travel across the lake to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves. Explore this magical underground cavernous world by walking path and small boat, surrounded by thousands of glowworms, waterfalls and delicate rock formations.
Te Anau — Milford Sound
We leave Te Anau and spend the day driving into Milford Sound. While only a 75 mile drive, we’ll travel over (and through) two mountain passes, beneath massive granite rock faces, past several lakes and lush temperate rain forests full of ferns and moss-covered trees. We explore this dynamic landscape at our own pace before descending into the “8thWonder of the World.” You’ll board an overnight cruise boat to spend the night out on the fiord. Take in the majestic scenery of Milford Sound … where mountains stretch a vertical mile out of the water.
Milford Sound — Bannockburn
Wake up to the quiet and stillness of the Sound. With some luck, you’ll see dolphins or the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin as we make our way back into port. We’ll bid Milford Sound farewell and wind our way out of Fiordland to spend the night in the small town of Bannockburn. Our longest day on the road, we break up the trip with plenty of photo stops and some short walks. Dinner in Bannockburn will feature some of the area’s fi ne wines and local cuisine.
Bannockburn — Lake Tekapo
Today is a day of spectacular open country. We travel intothe tussock and grass-covered Mackenzie Basin, framed by the towering snow and glacier-capped Southern Alps. We’ll walk into Kea Point in the heart of Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park, where you’ll be surrounded by 9,000 foot glacier peaks as you look up from the valley floor. Afterwards, we travel north through the Mackenzie Basin to the small town of Lake Tekapo, where we’ll celebrate our trip with a farewell meal.
Lake Tekapo — Christchurch
After an early breakfast, we head to Christchurch. We’ll be at the International Airport by 1 p.m. – if you’re arranging a flight, please do not schedule domestic fl ights prior to 2.30p.m. and international flights prior to 3.30 p.m. Most direct flights to North America leave in the late afternoon / evening and, depending on your flight itinerary, you may need to take a short flight back to Auckland.