We have deep expertise in New Zealand, from our own travels, and from the three decades of sending individuals and groups to experience New Zealand's outstanding natural landscapes and places of cultural interest. Visit primeval rainforests, spectacular waterfalls, bubbling volcanic thermal valleys, majestic fiords and magnificent mountain ranges. Experience the warm hospitality of the New Zealand culture, meet and share stories with local experts and the Maori, "people of the land".
Customized trips of 3 - 15 days are available based on personal interests
2020 - 2021 Departure Dates & Cost
DAILY DEPARTURES are available, and each trip can be customized to individual interests. Ask for details.
Day 1 Arrive Auckland
After clearing immigration and picking up your luggage. Heritage Hotel or similar 3 nights.
Suggestions after a rest at the hotel – perhaps a visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum with the Maori cultural exhibits and performance and walk through the natural history exhibits. Perhaps dine at the Orbit Restaurant on the Sky Tower in the evening for spectacular views of the city and surrounds.
Day 2 Auckland
Morning at leisure. Afternoon West Coast Wilderness Tour. Just 30 kilometres from Auckland is the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park with an outstanding assortment of native rainforest and wildlife. Immerse yourself in the lush native rainforest and listen out for birdsong as you walk the easy bush tracks amongst New Zealand's famous kauri trees and giant tree ferns. Visit includes the Arataki Centre, perched high in the Waitakere Ranges, where sweeping decks offer breathtaking panoramic views from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Hear about the stories and secrets of the Waitakere Ranges and admire the traditional Māori carvings that stand guard over the centre. Continue to the black sand beaches renowned for their rugged and awe-inspiring beauty. This is a join in group tour that is accompanied by knowledgeable and experienced guide.
Day 3 Tiritiri Matangi Island tour
It is just a short 600 meter / 8 minutes walk to Pier 4 from the hotel for the ferry to Tiritiri Matangi Island. This island Sanctuary is home to some of New Zealand’s rarest birds such as the North Island saddleback, the little spotted kiwi and the flightless takahe. Some 78 species can be found here. On arrival on Tiritri Matangi, the guide will review the rules of the island (eg staying on the tracks etc..). In addition to your guided walk, there are other walking tracks. Afternoon return by ferry to Auckland.
Day 4 Auckland to Rotorua
This full day sightseeing tour includes the famous limestone formations at Waitomo Caves, as well as the rich cultural heritage and geothermal bounty of Rotorua. The Waitomo Caves offer an amazing array of stalactites, stalagmites, towering caverns and other rock formations formed from limestone over 30 million years ago. Your tour finishes with a short boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto – an underground cavern illuminated by the twinkling lights of thousands of tiny glowworms. Make our way to Rotorua. Get an insight into , New Zealand's primary industry, as you experience sheep-shearing and view a live sheep dog trial at the agridome. The at Te Puia's marae (meeting house) you will receive a traditional welcome and be invited to experience a Māori cultural performance, in which ancient and modern stories are told through song, dance, poi and stick games. Next, venture into a landscape unlike any other with a guided tour of the bubbling mudpools and active of the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. 2 nights Prince’s Gate Hotel.
Day 5 Rotorua
Day 6 Rotorua to Hobbiton to Auckland
This small group tour features the Hobbiton movie set as seen in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy. The day includes a fully guided tour of the set and we also include a sumptuous lunchtime feast in the Party Marquee. Our experienced guides look after you all day from pick up to drop off at your Auckland City Accommodation. They include a full commentary on the way with insights into the areas you are travelling through and background to the movie set you are visiting. Learn how this working farm (1,250 acre farm near Matamata) was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Your guide will show you locations like Hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn and the Mill – and maybe even let you in on some secrets from filming! At Hobbiton we will take you down to the set itself and have one of the specialist Hobbiton guides take you on a walking tour around the 44 Hobbit holes. You will get the chance to have a photo in the doorway of a Hobbit house, see the Party Tree and stand by the gate to Bilbo’s house ‘Bag End’ overlooking the whole set to the hills in the distance. Before your feast in the Party Marquee (which is included in the price) you cross the bridge by the mill to go into the Green Dragon Inn for some local cheer.
Day 1: Arrive Christchurch
Arrive Christchurch, "The Garden City" and gateway to our South Island tour. We lunch and tour the Antarctic Centre, stroll the Botanical Gardens and Christchurch Museum exhibitions of early Maori settlements, with time to visit Christchurch's Art Gallery and Arts Centre.
Day 2: Mt. Cook
Travel to Mt. Cook though the expansive Canterbury Plains. Enroute enjoy the views of the Southern Alps and the great glacial lakes; Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. Dinner at our lodging.
Day 3: Mt. Cook
Take the opportunity for an optional sunrise climb to Red Tarns for reflections of Mt Cook if weather fine -- for fit members of group, before breakfast. Visit the Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park Visitor Centre and walk up Hooker valley & enjoy the alpine flora and spectacular mountain scenery, including Mt Cook. Picnic lunch. Optional Tasman Glacier flight for less fit members. Evening walk to view Tasman Glacier with Les Molloy Buffet at The Hermitage.
Side trips to Stewart Island, or the Otago Peninsula are excellent locations for nature lovers
Day 4: Te Anau
Long drive to Te Anau in Fiordland National Park via Lindis Pass and Lake Wakatipu. En route, check the "Kingston Flyer" for steam train buffs. Dinner at our Te Anau Hotel. Evening cruise on Lake Te Anau to Te Ana-au Glow Worm Caves.
Day 5: Milford Sound
Depart for day trip to Milford Sound. Cruise Milford Sound. Walk to Bowen Falls. Dinner at our Te Anau Hotel.
Day 6: Doubtful Sound
Walk to Fiordland National Park visitor centre and museum on Te Anau lakefront. Depart for Lake Manapouri and Doubtful Sound. Join others (with Navigator overnight tour) at Pearl Harbour, Lake Manapouri and cross the lake by launch to West Arm, Lake Manapouri. Traverse by bus across Wilmot Pass and meet our vessel Fiordland Navigator for the spectacular overnight cruise experience. Afternoon walk on shore of Doubtful Sound and option to kayak.
Day 7: Doubtful Sound - Wanaka
Further journeys into the remote fiords of Doubtful Sound then return to Wilmot Pass. Picnic lunch. We depart for Queenstown where we enjoy a few hours of free time for shopping or short walks for photos on the lake edge.
Day 8: Wanaka - Franz Josef Glacier
Drive from Wanaka through Mt Aspiring NP via Lakes Hawea & Wanaka, across Haast Pass to Haast and great forest and rivers of South Westland. Continue through rainforests and scenic coastline to Fox Glacier. We take time for a short walk at tranquil, forest-fringed Lake Matheson. Visit Fox Glacier terminal if weather is fine. Continue to Franz Josef for dinner at hotel.
Day 9: Franz Josef Glacier
Breakfast and time to rest or explore on your own. Walk to the impressive Franz Josef Glacier terminal where the glacier descends into the rainforest only a few hundred metres above sea level.
Day 10: Arthurs Pass
We depart through Westland National Park for Arthurs Pass. Drive to Hokitika. Hokitika is the best preserved of West Coast gold towns. We visit Hokitika Museum for gold prospecting history and explore the mouth of Hokitika River. We continue to Arthurs Pass National Park via Otira Gorge, stopping for a short walk. In the evening, celebrate the tour with a Farewell Dinner, alpine views and local cuisine.
Day 11: Drive to Christchurch
Departures from the airport for international connections. Accommodation and day tour options can be arranged in Auckland before tour departure and in Christchurch following the tour.
Extend your stay to include the South Pacific islands