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Milford Sound, South Island

New Zealand family explorer

18 days from £6,520pp

Milford Sound, South Island
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Tour highlights

  • Explore the filming site of Lord of the Rings, Hobbiton.

  • Experience a traditional Māori cultural performance and hangi dinner.

  • Venture into the scenic Abel Tasman National Park in search of seals and other wildlife.

  • Cruise down the Milford Sound taking in the cascading waterfalls and temperate rainforest.

Price includes:

  • Scheduled international flights
  • Domestic flights in destination
  • In-destination transfers
  • Fully insured vehicle hire
  • Activities and excursions as detailed
  • All accommodation
  • Price per person based on two adults and two children
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

With international flights from a choice of airports including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Auckland.

  • On-board your international outbound flight to Auckland.

  • Arriving in Auckland, known as ‘the City of Sails,’ with its twin harbours and rich maritime history, you’ll be driven to your hotel in a private vehicle. You have the rest of the day to settle in and explore the city. We suggest visiting the Sky Tower or strolling along Queen Street’s eateries and shops.

  • This morning, you’ll learn about the history and culture of the All Blacks team and the rest of the day is free for you to explore as a family. We recommend having lunch in the city before visiting the Auckland War Memorial Museum or pick up some picnic supplies and head to a local park. Alternatively, you could take the ferry across to Waiheke Island and explore the beach and wineries here.

  • Take a taxi to collect your hire car from the central depot this morning and head out of the busy city. You’ll drive toward the lush green fields of the Waikato region, where you’re likely to see more sheep than people. Stopping among the rolling hills of Matamata, you'll explore the filming site of Lord of the Rings, Hobbiton. You’ll be transported into a fantasy world as you peek into the small doors and walk through the lush pastures of the Shire — a fun way to break up the journey with the family. From here, continue onto Rotorua, and you’ll see the old volcanic fields rise on the horizon. This is the most active geothermal field in New Zealand and provides a smelly but colourful adventure into the Pacific Rim of Fire. After checking in to your accommodation, you can select one of the nearby restaurants for dinner.

  • Today, you’ll learn about New Zealand’s flightless bird, the kiwi, and its conservation story before having time to explore Rotorua further. We recommend visiting the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, the youngest geothermal valley, and walking through the native vegetation and sites such as Frying Pan Lake.

  • Venture into a forest this morning and zip-line through the trees with your guide, learning about the wildlife that inhabits the forest and conservation efforts that are preserving and enhancing the natural environment. Then this evening, immerse yourself in Māori culture as you witness a traditional performance, listen to music, and taste a three-course hangi dinner.

  • Drive to the airport and drop off the car before taking a flight to the capital city of New Zealand, Wellington. On arrival in Wellington, you’ll be driven to your accommodation in a private vehicle. The rest of the day is free to peek into the eccentric art galleries, smell the hydrangea gardens, or absorb Māori culture and history at the National Museum of Te Papa.

  • Visit the home of the production studios of Weta Workshop, where you’ll experience a unique 'behind the scenes' look at the inner workings of Weta Studios. As night descends on the city, head to the Zealandia eco-sanctuary for a chance to spot the elusive but adorable kiwi.

  • Early this morning you will be collected from your city accommodation and driven to the Wellington ferry terminal in time to take the ferry to Picton. You’ll travel across the Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds, where you can see dusky dolphins playing off the bow of the ferry. After collecting your hire car you’ll drive to Kaiteriteri, a gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park.

  • Today, you’ll cruise up the coastline, passing golden beaches and secluded bays, to Onetahuti (Tonga Bay), where you’ll have the opportunity to view the largest seal colony in this national park, along with seabirds and occasionally penguins. After this, you will walk through native bush and kayak on the water before cruising back to Kaiteriteri.

  • Spend the day enjoying Abel Tasman’s famed walking treks and appreciating the surrounding scenery, or join a small group guided tour if you’d prefer. Arrive back to Kaiteriteri in the early afternoon so you have time to freshen up before dinner on your last evening here.

  • You’ll drive to the airport today in time to take your flight to Queenstown, the self-proclaimed ‘adventure capital of the world’. On arrival you’ll be collected and driven to your accommodation in a private vehicle, with the rest of the day free to relax or explore the vibrant heart of the city.

  • Today, you’ll meet your group and be driven to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Milford Sound by your guide, who will share knowledge along the way. You’ll board a boat and begin the cruise down the Milford Sound, viewing cascading waterfalls, the breathtaking fjord, and the temperate rainforest surrounding you. If you are lucky, you'll get to see seals, dolphins or Fiordland crested penguins. After the cruise, and if weather conditions permit, you’ll soar over the mountains in a light aircraft, allowing you to witness a variety of glaciers and peaks from a different angle. Land back in Queenstown and rest this evening.

  • This morning you’ll be driven to Glenorchy in time to board the Dart River jet boat for a white-knuckle ride up the narrow, meandering waterway into real wilderness country — an adventure for all the family. You’ll disembark from the boat and experience a short walk through the forest and learn about Māori heritage before returning to Glenorchy, and back to Queenstown. You might like to experience the gondola and luge rides on your return or relax at your accommodation.

  • On your final full day in New Zealand, you can choose from a plethora of activities like mountain hikes, Victorian-era steamboats, and cycling routes, or you can relax and explore the food scene of Queenstown.

  • You’ll be collected from your accommodation today and driven to the airport in time for your onward flight.

  • Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

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The specialist who designs your trip to New Zealand will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Abel Tasman National Park

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