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Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake), Rotorua

Highlights of New Zealand

13 days from $6,555pp

Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake), Rotorua
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Tour highlights

  • Travel by rail through the Southern Alps on the famous TranzAlpine train.

  • See unique New Zealand wildlife like kiwis as you trek through the Redwood forests of the North Island.

  • Taste Pinot Noir wines in the Marlborough Sounds.

  • Witness the cascading waterfalls of Milford Sound.

Price includes:

  • Domestic flights in destination
  • Fully insured vehicle rental
  • All accommodations
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Ask us if you would also like us to arrange your international flights at our preferred rates.

  • Arrive into Auckland, known as ‘the City of Sails,’ with its twin harbors and rich maritime history. Spend the day strolling the waterfront and taking in the views of Manukau Harbour while you watch the ferries busily journey to and from the surrounding islands.

  • Depart the busy city and head south into the lush green fields of the countryside, where you will find thousands of sheep dotted on the rich green grass. Make a stop in the rolling hills of Matamata to explore the filming site of Lord of the Rings. You will be transported into a fantasy world as you peek into the small doors of Hobbiton and walk through the lush pastures of the Shire. As you continue onto Rotorua, you will begin to see the old volcanic fields rise on the horizon. This area is the most active geothermal field in New Zealand and provides a smelly but colorful adventure into the Pacific Rim of Fire.

  • Explore Rotorua, home to geothermal treasures like boiling pools and mud baths. Visit Te Puia, home to the largest active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere and where you can join a Māori guided walk around geysers, mud pools and native vegetation. You will learn about the Marae, a focal point of Māori culture and start to understand the region's stories and the history of the local wood carvings found throughout the property.

  • Depart the geothermal wonderland and fly to the capital city of Wellington, where you can spend time peeking into the eccentric art galleries, smelling the hydrangea gardens, or absorbing Māori culture and history at the National Museum of Te Papa. As night descends on the city, head to the Zealandia eco-sanctuary to venture around to spot the elusive but adorable kiwi, New Zealand’s iconic national flightless bird.

  • Spend the morning traveling between the North and South Island of New Zealand on a local ferry that travels through the Marlborough Sounds, where you can see dusky dolphins playing off the bow of the ferry, and into the small sailing town of Picton. Here, you will hear the water lapping the side of the boats, buoys clanging, and foghorns blasting as you walk around the quaint town before driving into the fertile wine region of Marlborough. Here, you will find foggy but warm climate winelands that produce an intense, strong, acidic expression.

  • Spend the day cycling through the sunny town of Blenheim, the main region of New Zealand, to explore local food and wine culture. As you cycle through the vineyards, you will find many cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops just off the road and easy to access.

  • This morning, wake up early to enjoy the sunrise over the vineyards before traveling south along the Pacific coastline to the town of Kaikoura, where the mountains almost reach the ocean. We recommend frequent stops to take pictures of the beautiful drive and try to spot seals or even dolphins off the coast. Once you have arrived in Kaikoura, you will board a catamaran and head out to sea to spot mammals feeding in the Hikurangi Trench. This area of the ocean is where you will find sperm whales and bottlenose dolphins feeding in the nutrient-rich waters.

  • Depart Kaikoura this morning and drive three hours through the Greta Valley to Christchurch. If you want to take a detour, you can stop at a winery for lunch near the Waipara wine region. Arrive at the ‘Garden City’ in the afternoon and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Christchurch or relaxing at your accommodation.

  • Spend the day at leisure in Christchurch, a city that offers art, culture, and architecture. Here you can step into a fashionable, artistic city that has developed many independent establishments. The gardens of Hagley Park, the Avon River, and the city’s museums will all compete for your time and others may want to look further afield to the city’s gondola or Brighton Beach. In the evening, enjoy a three-course dinner on a vintage dining tram while the tram navigates you through the hub of the city.

  • Today spend the morning on the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth as it heads through Arthur’s Pass and the Southern Alps. Braided rivers, hanging valleys and striking mountain peaks will all come into focus as you make your way across the South Island. As you arrive in Greymouth, you will collect your vehicle and head south to the Franz Josef Glacier, a World Heritage area, where you will stay for the evening.

  • Before departing Franz Josef, we recommend taking a short hike to see the terminal face of the glacier and the temperate rainforest that sits at the base of it. Depart Franz Josef and hug the west coast of the South Island. Along this drive, you can make stops at several places, including Lake Matheson, known for its famous mountainscape reflection, before driving through the gates of Haast and the Roaring Billy waterfalls. As you descend into the valley, you will come to Lake Wanaka before driving over the mighty Crown Ranges and into Queenstown, where you will stay for your last three nights in New Zealand.

  • Today’s main event is flying to the world-famous Milford Sound on a light aircraft, where you will soar over the mountains to see a variety of glaciers before descending into Fiordland National Park. Once you have landed, you will board a cruise which will take you the length of the Milford Sound, where you will see towering mountain peaks, ink-black water and dramatic forest-covered cliffs before flying back to Queenstown in a light aircraft.

  • Spend your final day in New Zealand at leisure. You can choose from a plethora of activities like jetboat rides, mountain hikes, Victorian-era steamboats, four-wheel drive adventures and some wine tasting in Otago’s finest vineyards, or you can relax and explore the food and drink scene of Queenstown.

Accommodation options

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

Audley specialist Haley
Contact a New Zealand specialist

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 (°F) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers

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