Day 1: Auckland
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.
Day 2: Auckland
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.
Day 3: Auckland/Rotorua
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.
Day 4: Rotorua
Spend a free day in fascinating Rotorua. Opt to explore a geothermal park, walking past bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools, or go on a white-water rafting excursion. This evening, visit Tamaki Maori Village and enjoy a private welcome ceremony; then sit down for an exclusive talk with a Maori elder, learning about the community’s traditions, myths, and legends. Later, we’ll witness a captivating performance of Maori folklore while dining on an array of traditional foods prepared in a hangi, or underground oven.
Includes: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5: Rotorua/Christchurch
Enjoy time at leisure this morning before catching a flight to Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island. In the afternoon, meet with a local expert for a walking tour designed specially for National Geographic travellers, exploring the city’s lesser-known paths and learning about Rekindle, a social enterprise that offers workshops on resourcefulness.
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.
Day 6: Christchurch/Franz Josef
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. Disembark at Arthur’s Pass—the highest pass in the Southern Alps—and continue on a private vehicle to a rainforest lodge near the town of Franz Josef, our home for the next two nights.
Day 7: Franz Josef
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 guided interpretive walk that follows a riverbed along the glacier’s retreat; soak up in natural hot pools surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery; and more.
Day 8: Franz Josef/Queenstown
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.
Day 9: Queenstown/Fiordland National Park
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. Depending on the season, we’ll spend the night onboard in comfortable cabins, enjoying time to relax on deck and watch the stars.
In the evening, enjoy a delicious three course buffet dinner prepared by our onboard chef and served in the dining saloon. Mingle with fellow travellers, savour some of the fine wines at our licensed bar (additional price) and if the skies are clear in the evening, spend some time on the upper deck gazing at the stars.
Please note: your accommodations onboard this vessel are private cabins with en-suite bathrooms. Amenities onboard include viewing decks, a dining saloon, a licensed bar and an observation lounge.
Includes: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10: Fiordland National Park/Queenstown
Rise early for a wildlife viewing cruise along the pristine fjord. Then navigate back to Queenstown and spend the rest of the day at leisure in this fun-loving lakeside town, known as the adventure capital of the world.
Day 11: Queenstown
The day is yours to explore Queenstown. Choose to go bungee jumping at the world’s first commercial bungee jumping site; get a bird’s-eye view of the mountain-framed city on a paragliding excursion; 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.
Day 12: Queenstown
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, bungee jumping, mountain biking, and sky diving are some of the activities available.