Arrive at any time. Please make your own way to the joining hotel. Our CEO will have a welcome meeting this evening.
Auckland is a fantastic city with so much to see and do. Should you want more time to explore on your own, we recommend booking pre-nights.
Take an orientation walk in Auckland, one of the most multicultural cities in the Southern Hemisphere. We'll then catch a ferry to beautiful Waiheke Island, a haven of world-class vineyards and idyllic beaches. Visit two wineries to learn about New Zealand's burgeoning wine industry and the history of viticulture in the country while sampling some of the local blends.
Drive to the lakeside town of Rotorua, situated over an active geothermal zone and known for its volcanic features and rich Maori heritage. Stop en route at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, and take a boat ride through this spectacular underground realm to see thousands of flickering glowworms light up in the dark. Rotorua sits over an active geothermal zone with bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools in different areas around the town. This is a fascinating region with Maori history and culture tied directly to the geothermal aspects of the land.
On a full-day excursion, head to the Maori-owned Kohutapu Lodge, our base for exploring New Zealand's indigenous culture. See ancient rock carvings and learn about their spiritual significance to the Maori people, both past and present. Watch as a hangi lunch is prepared the traditional way--buried in an underground pit??and enjoy the resulting feast with your Maori hosts. After lunch, take a walk through the 800-year-old podocarp trees in Whirinaki Rainforest, learning the history of the forest and spotting endemic birds and medicinal plants. Return to Rotorua for an optional evening meal or a well-deserved soak in the hot springs.
Enjoy time at leisure this morning before catching a flight to Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island. Take some time to explore this small city on your own. With free time in Rotorua this morning, opt to relax in one of the hot pools fed by water coming directly from the natural springs.
Board the TranzAlpine train??one of the world's most scenic rail routes??for a breathtaking journey through verdant plains, beech forests, and majestic, misty mountains. After a whistle stop at Arthur's Pass??the highest pass in the Southern Alps?? continue to the end of the line in Greymouth, gateway to the West Coast. Continue on a private vehicle to a rainforest lodge near the town of Franz Josef, our home for the next two nights.
Discover the natural wonders of the Franz Josef area on your own today. Opt to take a helicopter up to the stunning Franz Josef Glacier and hop out for an unforgettable hike on the jagged ice; embark on a walk in the area; soak up in natural hot pools surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery; and more.
Set out towards Queenstown on a drive along the South Island's magnificent west coast. Stop at tranquil Lake Matheson, where, on a clear day, you can capture a postcard-perfect image of New Zealand's highest peaks reflected in the water. Continue to Queenstown, pausing for short walks through the rainforest and visits to picturesque waterfalls. Early start to travel to the picturesque Lake Matheson. When the weather is right, you can get a great photo of the Southern Alps reflected in the lake. Follow the wild West Coast Road, through the rainforest before stopping for some short walks and waterfall visits.
Discover the glacially carved wilderness of Fiordland National Park on a cruise. Glide past shimmering waterfalls and towering cliffs, and look out for bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and little blue penguins with our naturalist guides. Travel back to shore, head to Queenstown for the night.
After breakfast spend the rest of the day at leisure in this fun-loving lakeside town, known as the adventure capital of the world. Opt to visit a vineyard for a tour, or simply wander around, cafe hopping and sightseeing.
The day is yours to explore Queenstown. Choose to cruise lake Wakatipu on a historic steamer; experience a thrilling jet boat ride; or visit a local winery to sample the region's award-winning vintages. This evening, enjoy a cable car ride to the top of Bob's Peak for panoramic vistas of Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps and then have dinner together as a group.
Depart at any time. For more time to explore Queenstown, we recommend booking post nights with your agent if you are interested in the countless adrenaline-packed activities in the town known as the "adventure capital of the world." Jet boating and mountain biking are some of the activities available.