Arrive in Auckland at any time. There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and explore the city. Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group welcome meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. If you arrive early enough, you'll have time to head into the city to visit the Maritime Museum or the Botanical Gardens.
Travel through the world's most productive dairy farming country then head towards to the rugged West Coast of New Zealand. Stop at the scenic Bridal Veil Falls for a walk before heading to the arts and surf town of Raglan for the night. Enjoy a cruise, including lunch, of the harbour to take in the remote scenery and learn about early settlement history. Options for the afternoon include bone carving with local Maori, surf lessons, stand-up paddle lessons, sea kayaking, bush walking or simply walking around the villiage taking in the numerous arts and crafts shops. Overnight in a holiday home overlooking one of the world's most famous surf breaks. Estimated travel time: 3 hours Travel distance: 180 km
Visit and have breakfast at a local sustainable farm and learn about their balanced approach to farming while conserving the environment. They practice the art of putting more back into the environment than they take out. There is an option of going to the Waitomo Caves for a caving adventure to see the glow worms. Continue to Tongariro National Park, made up of a group of snow covered active volcanoes. Choose to take small walks to appreciate the stunning environment. Visit the information centre to learn about the volcanic activity in the region. Stay in a stunning historic hotel built by the government to promote tourism within the National Park. Estimated travel time: 3 hours Travel distance: 200 km
Travel to Lake Taupo for a walk and then visit a geothermal area with boiling mud pools. Continue to Rotorua and visit a traditional Maori meeting place for a Hangi (traditional Maori meal) and to learn about the traditional Haka. At night, relax in one of the hot pools at the hotel that has water coming directly from the natural springs. Estimated travel time: 2 hours Travel distance: 180 km
Travel to a Historic Maori Village for a guided tour by a local Maori around the active geothermal area. Learn about the local tourism history in the geothermal areas and the history of the Maori people that populate the region. Fly to Christchurch and, upon arrival, enjoy an orientation tour around the city. Estimated travel time: 1 hour flight
Board the TranzAlpine train, considered to be one of the world's great train journeys. It crosses the stunningly scenic Southern Alps, traversing the entire country. Disembark the train and transfer to a beautiful rainforest lodge for the night. On Day 7 opt for various hiking adventures in the area, the most popular being a glacier trek. A once-in-a-lifetime helicopter hike where you fly to the top of the glacier to trek around is also available. If relaxing is more your style, there are shorter day hikes and bush walks or local hot pools to take a dip. Estimated travel time: 4 hour train journey, 2 hour drive Travel distance:
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 small walks and waterfall visits. Our hotel is in the middle of Queenstown, an easy walk to most things. At night enjoy and included activity of riding a gondola to a hill top restaurant for dinner. On the morning of Day 9 try one of the numerous adventure activities that the area is famous for, or simply go for a walk to take in the stunning scenery around the lake. Depart on the TSS Earslaw, a 100 year old historic steamer. Cruise across Lake Wakatipu to ‘Walterpeak’ cattle station where we will enjoy a barbeque lunch. Please note between 27 May – 1 July we will travel on the Fjordlander vessel over to ‘Walterpeak’. Estimated travel time: 5 hours Travel distance: 365 km
Drive the scenic route around the lake to the town of Manapouri. Travel by boat and bus to arrive at an eco cruise boat which will be our home for the next 24 hours. Designed along the lines of a traditional scow, the Fiordland Navigator blends old world charm with modern comforts that include spacious viewing decks, a dining saloon/fully licensed bar, an observation lounge and nature guides. Cruise through the stunning Doubtful Sound, one of the most untouched, remote places in the world. Marvel at the steep cliff walls and cascading waterfalls. The boat offers excellent chances for wildlife viewing in the area. Dolphins, penguins, seals and a variety of birds are some examples of what you can hope to see. Moor at a secluded bay for the night, feel free to use one of the boats' sea kayaks to explore the area more in-depth. *Please note that the itinerary for this day varies in the winter: Winter Schedule 18 May – 20 Sept Doubtful Sound/Te Anau Drive the scenic route around the lake to the town of Manapouri. Travel by boat and bus to arrive at an eco cruise boat. We spend the afternoon cruising the stunning Doubtful Sound, one of the most untouched, remote places in the world. Marvel at the steep cliff walls and cascading waterfalls. The boat offers excellent chances for wildlife viewing in the area. Dolphins, penguins, seals and a variety of birds are some examples of what you can hope to see. In the evening we head to Te Anau for the night. We take in a screening of the award winning ‘Ata Whenua’ – ‘Fjordland Film’ documentary at the local cinema before having a group meal. Estimated travel time: 3 hours Travel distance: 250 km
Arrive back in Queenstown around 1pm.