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Discover the breathtaking scenery, charming hospitality, and exciting wildlife in New Zealand’s North and South Islands with overnights in Christchurch, Queenstown, Te Anau, Dunedin, Lake Taupo, and Cambridge. Witness natural wonders on a Milford Sound cruise and during a delightful journey by rail on the Taieri Gorge Railway. Make discoveries at the Orakei Korako Thermal Park, Fiordland National Park, and the Larnach Castle & Gardens. Learn about the famously regional kiwi bird at the Kiwi & Birdlife Park, tour the Hobbiton™ Movie Set from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films, and more! Then arrive home with lifelong memories from this special place.
Choose Your Departure Year:
Day 1 : Depart the USA
Following our included flight to California, we board our overnight flight for Auckland. Enjoy delicious meals and attentive service.
Day 2 : New Zealand Bound
When we cross the International Date Line, we lose a calendar day.
Day 3 : Christchurch, South Island
Upon arrival we clear customs in Auckland and fly to Christchurch on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Once we land, we clear customs once more and transfer to the Distinction Christchurch Hotel. The remainder of the day is free.
Day 4 : Glacial Lakes & Southern Alps
This morning we travel through picturesque patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains and enter the Geraldine foothills and expansive Mackenzie Country. We'll stop to visit the Church of the Good Shepherd overlooking Lake Tekapo's pristine waters where we view the bronze statue of a sheep dog, symbolizing the important role these animals have played in the development of high country farming. We then drive along Lake Pukaki's shimmering, turquoise glacial waters while enjoying the spectacular backdrop of Mount Cook and the Southern Alps. We'll journey over Lindis Pass and through the tussock-covered plains of Mackenzie Country to the Fruitlands of Central Otago, famous for its summer fruit production including apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums. Our memorable day ends at the Millennium Hotel Queenstown for a two-night stay in the city situated on the rippling shores of Lake Wakatipu and set against the dramatic 7,000-foot Remarkables mountains.
Day 5 : Kiwi & Birdlife Park
Enjoy a private homemade breakfast featuring local produce at the Kiwi & Birdlife Park. After breakfast we have the rare opportunity to meet New Zealand’s most iconic bird. Specially designed nocturnal houses allow us to view the kiwi during the day. Later we visit the historic and picturesque “gold rush” settlement of Arrowtown, viewing the Kawarau River suspension bridge where bungee jumpers come for thrills from all over the world. The remainder of the day is free to enjoy New Zealand’s adventure capital with jet boating, golf, picturesque walks, and abundant restaurants and shops in one of the most scenic settings in the world.
Day 6 : Milford Sound Cruise
Today we travel through an ancient ice age region by first crossing pasturelands on our way to Fiordland National Park. We journey through beech forests and the beautiful Eglinton Valley to the Homer Tunnel before descending through the spectacular Cleddau Canyon, reaching Milford Sound. Our cruise takes us past Mitre Peak, rising over 5,500 feet. We'll pass by the phenomenal Stirling Falls and Bowen Falls. Cascading at more than 500 feet, these falls flow from valleys formed by receding glaciers. Watch for sea lions and a variety of birds. Our accommodations tonight are in Te Anau at the Distinction Te Anau Hotel, the town nestled on the shores of Lake Te Anau with a spectacular backdrop of Mount Luxmore and the Murchison Mountains.
Day 7 : Larnach Castle & Dunedin
Departing Te Anau, we travel through some of New Zealand’s most populated sheep country, taking us through Lumsden and Gore to the historic Larnach Castle & Gardens nestled on picturesque Otago Peninsula. With its exciting and at times scandalous and tragic history, our guided tour of the castle and gardens offers a vision of the past and present. Marvel at magnificent carved ceilings, antiques, and breathtaking views. We arrive in Dunedin, known for its Scottish heritage and Victorian and Edwardian architecture. We'll witness some of the city's iconic attractions such as Speights Brewery, the University of Otago, the world’s steepest street, and First Church of Otago. Our comfortable accommodations for two nights are at the Distinction Dunedin Hotel.
Day 8 : Taieri Gorge Railway
Today we travel on the historic Dunedin Railway, experiencing one of the world’s great train excursions through the spectacular Taieri River Gorge. Riding in restored carriages, we view stunning scenery while crossing over graceful wrought-iron viaducts spanning deep ravines. Our pleasant ride is accompanied by onboard commentary about early pioneers and rail history. Later we visit the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum dedicated to telling the story of the Dunedin people whose character, culture, technology, art, fashion, and transportation shaped the surrounding area and New Zealand’s first great city.
Day 9 : Lake Taupo
This morning we fly to the North Island and transfer to the quaint town of Taupo located on the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake. Taupo is home to award-winning attractions, activities, and breathtaking lake and mountain vistas. Our lodging for two nights are at the Hilton Lake Taupo featuring spacious rooms overlooking the thermally heated pool. Enjoy dinner tonight at the hotel's elegant Bistro Lago.
Day 10 : Orakei Korako & Maori Concert
We begin with a visit to Orakei Korako, one of the finest thermal areas in the world. On our walk through the Hidden Valley, we’ll see silica terraces, boiling pools, geysers, and a rare geothermal cave. After lunch at leisure in Taupo’s town center, we cruise the Waikato River and witness impressive Huka Falls, New Zealand’s most visited natural wonder. Tonight we enjoy an authentic Maori hangi feast including a customary cooking method that prepares food in an underground pit oven followed by powerful song and dance from the traditional culture.
Day 11 : Hobbiton™ & The Red Barn
We travel to Alexander Sheep & Cattle Farm in Matamata, a combination working sheep farm and Hobbiton™, The Shire™ from Middle-earth™. Our visit includes a drive through the picturesque 1,250-acre farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges and a guided tour of the Hobbiton™ Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. The set has been completely rebuilt and remains as it was seen in these films. During our tour we see Hobbit Holes™, The Green Dragon Inn™, the mill, the double-arched bridge, and other structures and gardens built for this beloved imaginary world. For lunch, we enjoy a traditional pasture-to-plate meal at The Red Barn, a 500-acre working dairy farm. Originally built at the turn of the previous century as a livery stable for horses journeying across the greater Waikato, The Red Barn showcases the very best of New Zealand cuisine and country hospitality. Later we take a pleasant drive to Cambridge in the heart of rural Waikato, a picture-perfect country town characterized by quaint charm and tree-lined streets. Our lodging is at the Hidden Lake Hotel.
Day 12 : Auckland & Evening Flight
This morning we arrive in Auckland, the largest Polynesian city in the Southern Hemisphere. We visit Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium, one of Auckland’s top attractions. We’ll see the world’s largest sub-Antarctic penguin colony display, the magical Seahorse Kingdom, and take an underwater journey to discover a diverse collection of aquatic life up-close. We enjoy lunch at Skycity’s Fortuna Restaurant before ascending Auckland’s iconic Sky Tower, the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand, offering breathtaking views in every direction. We enjoy a brief sightseeing tour of the city including American’s Cup Village, lively Queen Street, and the Harbor Bridge before heading to the airport for our evening flight to Los Angeles. We cross the International Date Line and regain a day, arriving early in the afternoon. Overnight accommodations are included near the Los Angeles International Airport.
Day 13 : Homeward
This morning our adventure comes to an end, but the friendships and memories will last forever.
October 24, 2021 - November 5, 2021
Price Per Person
Final Payment Date: 08/10/2021
Choose a State:
Birmingham - Birmingham Municipal Airport
Fayetteville/Bentonville - Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport
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Dallas - Dallas/Ft Worth International
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San Antonio - San Antonio International Airport
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Norfolk - Norfolk International Airport
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Seattle - Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Spokane - Spokane International Airport
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Baldwin - Groome Transportation
Eau Claire - Groome Transportation
Green Bay - Austin Straubel International Airport
Hudson - Groome Transportation
La Crosse - Groome Transportation
Madison - Dane County Regional Airport
Menomonie - Groome Transportation
Milwaukee - Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport
Mosinee - Central Wisconsin Airport
Charleston - Yeager Airport
Following our included flight to Los Angeles International Airport, we board an Air New Zealand flight bound for Auckland. Enjoy delicious meals and attentive service.
Our adventure comes to an end, but the friendships and memories will last forever.
March 13, 2022 - March 25, 2022
Final Payment Date: 12/28/2021
March 20, 2022 - April 1, 2022
Final Payment Date: 01/04/2022
Tour days tend to be shorter in length, at a relaxed pace, and include lots of unscheduled time for leisure. Expect standing and walking for extended periods of time on flat surfaces, mostly low altitudes, and consistent temperatures.
Tour days usually move at a leisurely pace. Some days’ scheduled activities last longer than others. Expect standing and walking for long periods of time on occasionally uneven terrain. You may experience changes in altitude or temperature.
Tour days tend to be long, move at a consistent pace, and may include long travel days. Expect standing and walking for long periods of time on uneven surfaces. Some destinations may have changes in altitude and/or temperature.
Tour days tend to be long, move at a brisk pace, and may include lengthy travel days. Expect long periods of walking and standing on uneven surfaces. Scheduled activities may require physical effort or have distinct changes in altitude or temperature.
Tour days tend to be long, move at a vigorous pace, and may include lengthy travel days. Expect long periods of walking and standing on rough surfaces. Scheduled activities may require physical effort or have distinct changes in altitude or temperature.