New Zealand is emerging as a world leader in film tourism as arguably the best place in the world for visitors to experience a living film set. Visitors can experience stunning landscapes, not just as screen backdrops but real places where they can immerse themselves in film locations. Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, shot in New Zealand, showcases many beautiful New Zealand landscapes throughout the film. Shot over both of New Zealand’s main islands, this package highlights the country’s diverse landscapes used in the film. Visit the beautiful Rotorua Redwood Forest, the home of Elliot the Dragon. Fly a short one hour flight south to New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington and you’ll visit Weta Workshop, the special effects company that played an important role in bringing Elliot to life. Lastly, continue further south to the South Island of New Zealand and take in the beautiful lakes and snowy alps of Queenstown, picture-perfect for a scenic flight on the back of a dragon!
- Roundtrip Air New Zealand Economy Class airfare from Los Angeles to Auckland, Rotorua to Wellington, Wellington to Queenstown, Queenstown to Los Angeles
- Add-on airfares available from other cities
- 2 nights Auckland in 4* accommodation
- Auckland half day Wilderness Experience
- 3 nights Rotorua in 4* accommodation
- Auckland to Rotorua full day tour including the iconic Waitomo Caves
- Zipline, Redwood Forest, Rotorua
- 3 nights Wellington in 4* accommodation
- WETA Workshop half day tour, Wellington
- 3 nights Queenstown in 4* accommodation
- Station 2 Station half day cycle trail, Queenstown
- ** Sightseeing options and packages are available **
Day 1 - Depart
Ask about our options with Premium Economy and Business class airfare.
Day 2 - Cross International Date Line
Day 3 - Arrive New
Auckland - Afternoon Wilderness Experience
Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, is situated between two enormous harbours and dotted with 48 extinct volcanic cones. It’s a place to enjoy marine adventures, wine trails, forest walks and urban sophistication.
This afternoon travel from the central city out to the Arataki Visitors Centre, doorway to the Waitakere Ranges. From its sweeping decks take in the breathtaking panoramic views extending from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean and absorb the area's history while admiring the magnificent traditional Maori carvings that stand guard. Continue further west with the knowledgeable and highly experienced guides to the wild and rugged West Coast and experience the power of nature; feel the black sand beneath the feet while strolling along one of the most awe-inspiring beaches the world has to offer, then unwind by a beautiful cascading waterfall. A short journey brings clients to lush rainforest where they walk the easy bush tracks amongst New Zealand's giant tree ferns. Hear native birds before visiting a magnificent specimen of NZ's famous Kauri trees.
Day 4 -
Explore Auckland at your leisure or add a tour, some of our favorite (Additional cost):
- Coast and Rainforest Walk Day Tour
Spend the day walking and relaxing in the real New Zealand. Enjoy panoramic views and magnificent traditional Maori carvings at the Arataki Visitor Centre. Walk through Auckland's coastal rainforest with giant tree ferns growing alongside picturesque streams. Marvel at cliff-top coastal views. Experience the uniqueness of a rugged west coast black sand beach. Then visit an area of untouched original rainforest with mature 1000-year-old kauri trees. A moderate level of walking ability is required for walks of up to 1 hour duration.
- Auckland Harbour Sailing Cruise
Enjoy the City of Sails from the water on of the yachts. This cruise offers a uniquely local experience experiencing the harbour under sail with a small vessel with an intimate and engaging atmosphere. View the stunning city sights while sailing on the inner Waitemata Harbour. Sail where the wind takes you while enjoying Auckland's city highlights including sailing under the Harbour Bridge and other well-known landmarks along the harbours edge. The crew's local knowledge will give you the best harbour sailing experience Auckland has to offer.
- Waiheke Island Half Day Tour
Board your vessel to commence a half day Waiheke Island Explorer Tour. A 40 minute cruise takes you across the Hauraki Gulf to Matiatia Wharf on Waiheke Island where you will be met by a guide who will escort you on a 1.5 hour scenic highlights tour of Waiheke Island. Afterwards, take advantage of the complimentary All Day Bus Pass and either return to a location visited on the tour or discover the island further on scheduled public bus services.
Day 5 - Auckland
to Rotorua via Waitomo Caves
Depart Auckland and travel through lush Waikato farmland. On arrival in the small town of Waitomo, partake in a guided tour through the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves with amazing stalactites, stalagmites and other limestone formations. Finish with a silent boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto - a subterranean cavern lit up by the lights of thousands of tiny glowworms. Lunch is provided during the journey from Waitomo to Rotorua. On the outskirts of Rotorua sits the Agrodome, where you will take a tour of an organic working farm, watch sheep being shorn and view a live sheep dog trial. Next stop is Te Puia, where you will enjoy a Maori cultural performance with song, dance, poi and stick games, followed by a guided tour of the bubbling mudpools and active geysers of Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley and a visit to Te Puia's woodcarving and weaving schools
Day 6 - Rotorua -
Redwood Forest - Zipline
Today explore where the forest scenes for Disney's Pete’s Dragon were shot, the Redwoods Forest in Rotorua; home to soaring Californian Redwoods, which made it the perfect double for America.
Redwoods Forest is a popular destination for hikers. The track winds through the lush native forest and has spectacular views over the lakes and thermal wonders of Rotorua, making this a uniquely ‘Kiwi’ experience.
For a dragons-eye-view of the forest floor below, the new Redwoods Treewalk takes you high above ground to stroll amongst giants. The walk is the first of its kind in New Zealand, and consists of a series of 23 suspension bridges traversing the gaps between 22 majestic 110-year-old redwood trees, 12 metres (40ft) high above the ground.
You will experience the thrill of flying high above untraversed native forest valleys in this three hour zipline adventure. Take in the whole picture of ecology from great heights with classic Kiwi guides who help visitors handfeed wild native birds, while sharing knowledge of the bird song, flora and fauna. With a portion of each ticket invested into conservation, everyone is part of the forest restoration story.
Day 7 -
Today at your leisure or consider adding a tour, some of our favorites (additional cost)
- Te Puia Steambox Lunch
Visitors can choose what they want to have cooked for their lunch before heading out on a special guided tour. As they participate in an interactive session, learning how to weave a flower, and tour the carving and weaving schools, their food is placed in a Nga Wha (steam vent) Puapua, which is located in the geothermal area that is the backdrop to the famous Pohutu Geyser. Heading down into the geothermal valley to the mud pools and hot springs, the tour concludes when, after watching their lunch being lifted from the Nga Wha, guests sit and enjoy a steam box picnic lunch on the geyser terrace.
- White Island
Fly to and land on New Zealand’s only permanently active volcano White Island. Leaving the Rotorua city lakefront fly north past the northern lakes district before crossing the coast on track to White Island. Arriving overhead the volcano enjoy aerial views of the active crater before landing on this lunar like surface. Here embark upon a leisurely guided tour of the island's crater floor to view active steam vents 'fumaroles', hot streams, vibrant sulphur formations and the steaming crater. This landscape is constantly changing as the activity forms new features and removes old ones. The Crater Lake changes in depth and temperature so that from one day to the next the landscape is different. Part of the tour includes a walk through crumbling mining ruins to view the weathered remains of what was a working factory built in 1923 and abandoned in 1933. Tours on this privately owned volcano are conducted by your pilot / guide whose wealth of knowledge about the island's history and geology enhances the experience.
Your guide will escort you through the ten acre site of where the Lord of the Rings movie set used to be. Your guide will explain all about what was needed to create the Hobbiton set and tell stories about what went on during filming. Check out the Hobbit holes from the film set. After viewing the Bag End, you can pet and feed the hand reared sheep and hand bottle feed lambs.
Day 8 - Rotorua to
This morning fly Rotorua to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand
Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafes, restaurants, museums, theatre and all kinds of shops.
Day 9 - Wellington
- WETA Workshop
This afternoon WETA Workshop There and Back Again Half Day Tour. Weta Workshop is world renowned for creating incredible movie props and practical effects. Begin with a behind the scenes film showcasing the company's history before a workshop technician takes you on a tour filled with real films props and working artists. See and learn about the creative process from start to finish and relive the magic of countless movies. Tour concludes approximately 2.5 hours after commencement
Day 10 -
Today at your leisure or consider adding a tour, some of our favorites (additional cost)
- City Highlights "Inspiration" Half Day
This is an unforgettable journey around the city's dramatic highlights, during which clients will travel around the earthquake-scarred South Coast to see the site of the Wahine ferry disaster and the distant ranges of the South Island, overlooked by coastal houses perched on the steep, rocky hills. Enjoy views of the harbour from the top of Mount Victoria and ride the steep cable car up to an incredible, far-reaching panorama. Visit the magnificent Parliament buildings and the famous Beehive and see the gorgeous, timber-built Old St Paul's Cathedral before visiting the national museum of Te Papa to experience the extraordinary mix of Maori and European history, amid the nation's natural and cultural treasures.
- Te Papa Museum - Maori Highlights Tour
Take an in-depth journey to discover Te Papa's taonga (Maori cultural treasures) and hear their stories for insights into Maori cultures. From historic, artistic and contemporary perspectives, this tour will enrich your understanding of what makes New Zealand's Maori culture unique. Tour concludes approximately 1 hour after commencement.
- Capital Tastes Tour
Personal sightseeing with food. Discover fresh tastes in New Zealand's café capital, as we introduce you to the city, its local tastes, products and people on this popular tour. Stroll behind the scenes at some of our favourite Wellington food places with a personal guide, to taste hidden culinary treasures and meet some of the people behind some of the city's best food.
Day 11 -
Wellington to Queenstown
This morning fly Wellington to Queenstown. The alpine resort of Queenstown is exciting, sophisticated and fantastically scenic. It’s the place to source almost any kind of adventure, including bungy, jet boating, horse trekking, rafting and river surfing. It’s also a destination for luxury experiences – gourmet food and wine, spa treatments and leisurely games of golf.
Days 12 - Queenstown -
Half Day Cycle Trail
This morning the perfect half day, independent cycling trip experiencing the best that Queenstown has to offer. Enjoy a Spirit of Queenstown cruise to Mt Nicholas High Country Farm, stopping at Bob’s Cove to view flora and fauna up close and spectacular views towards Glenorchy, Mt Earnslaw, the Southern Alps and The Remarkables mountain range. Disembark the vessel and journey between Mt Nicholas and Walter Peak (high country farms) located on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu as you cycle along a quiet country road through open farm land. Breathe in the fresh mountain air, watch the landscape unfold and take in the panoramic alpine views while cycling 12 kilometres (about one hour) along a remote but public, shingle road to Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak. Boarding the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw for the return cruise to Queenstown (add a BBQ lunch at Walter Peak - additional cost)
Explore Queenstown at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - Some of our favorites:
- Milford Sound - Heli in, Cruise, Heli
Board your helicopter to commence a Heli/Cruise/Heli tour with Glacier Southern Lakes. Explore Milford Sound's stunning fiord from the air and on the water by boarding a helicopter for a 40 minute scenic flight to Milford Sound flying over the spectacular Southern Alps. Upon landing, passengers are transferred to the Southern Discoveries Visitor Centre to board a Milford Sound Scenic Cruise. Cruise the full length of the fiord in comfort on modern, spacious catamarans with comfortable indoor seating and large, tall windows for panoramic viewing. Enjoy a large and wide open outdoor, upper level deck for excellent wildlife viewing including seals, dolphins and penguins when in season. An informative commentary is provided and the wheelhouse is open to join and speak with the skipper. Lunch options are available for purchase (must be pre-ordered) and complimentary tea and coffee is provided on the cruise. The return flight back to Queenstown travels up the Harrison Valley for a glacier landing in the heart of Fiordland before arriving at Queenstown Airport and return transfer to accommodation.
- Milford Sound - Fly/Discover More
At 8:45am board your aircraft to commence a Fly/Discover More Cruise/Fly tour with Glenorchy Air. Explore Milford Sound's stunning fiord from the air and on the water by boarding a plane for a 35 minute scenic flight to Milford Sound flying over the spectacular Southern Alps. Upon landing, passengers are transferred to the Southern Discoveries Visitor Centre to board a Milford Sound cruise. Cruise the full length of the fiord to the Tasman Sea for excellent wildlife viewing including seals, dolphins and penguins when in season. An informative commentary is provided and the wheelhouse is open to join and speak with the skipper. Complimentary tea and coffee is provided on the cruise. The return flight back to Queenstown takes a different path so that passengers experience further dramatic scenery before arriving at Queenstown Airport and return transfer to accommodation
- Nomad Safari - Skippers Canyon
A half-day heritage tour that follows the rugged and once treacherous Skippers Road. Hacked by hand into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley. Navigate this awe-inspiring canyon and visit many historic sites such as the Skippers Suspension Bridge, township of Skippers, and the restored school house - gain a real insight into the local heritage through photos and histories of life in this tough environment.
- Wilderness Jet Safari
A scenic drive takes you along the edge of Lake Wakatipu to Glenorchy where you will board a Dart River jet boat for a 1 and a 1/2 hour journey through the Dart River's ever-changing braided river system. You will be thrilled by the jet boat's capabilities (including jet spins) and awed by your surroundings of breathtaking snow-capped mountains, ancient native forest, waterfalls, and glacier valleys frozen in time. The jet boat ride is followed by an easy 30-40 minute guided walk through ancient native Beech forest. The tour finishes with a journey by 4WD safari vehicle along a back-road route while hearing stories about the surrounding countryside and stopping to view scenery that has formed the epic backdrop for many international films, including 'The Lord of the Rings'. Tour concludes approximately 6 hours after commencement
- Shotover JetBoat Ride
Join your jet boat crew to commence the world's most exciting Jet Boat ride! Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons. It's a thrilling ride - skimming past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet 'Big Red', as you twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breathtaking speeds. And a major highlight - hold tight for the world famous Shotover Jet full 360 degree spins! Tour concludes approximately 1 hour 30 minutes after commencement
- Nevis Canyon Swing
Located 32 kilometres from Queenstown, this swing is by far the highest in New Zealand, towering 134 metres above the rugged Nevis River. The experience kicks off with a 35 minute 4x4 drive over a high country sheep station before you put a on harness and board a cable car which is suspended from 380 metre long high-tension cables spanning the whole valley. The Nevis Swing is the biggest swing in the whole world! After being lifted out above the launch deck, suspended 160 metres above the canyon floor, clients are suddenly released and find themselves rushing towards the other side of the valley at 120kph, eyes wide open in disbelief or shut tight in fear. Clients can choose if they want to go upside-down, backwards, alone or with a friend. The Nevis Swing offers many choices.
- Nevis Bungy
Located 32 kilometres from Queenstown, this bungy jump is by far the highest in New Zealand, towering 134 metres above the rugged Nevis River. The experience kicks off with a 35 minute 4x4 drive over a high country sheep station before you put a on harness and board a cable car which is suspended from 380 metre long high-tension cables spanning the whole valley. The jumpers, spectators and crew are then ferried to the jump pod. The pod has wall and floor panels of glass, so you have a view of the gorge and the jumpers going before you; the dramatic view down through the floor is only heightened by the narrowing of the canyon walls near the water. And with 8.5 seconds of falling, Nevis Bungy provides a breathtaking ground rush like no other. Tour concludes approximately 4 hours after commencement.
Day 14 - Depart for US (via Auckland)
On Board Air New
Providing easy connections from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston. The airline’s award-winning service and state-of-the-art fleet make the journey an enjoyable part of the New Zealand and Australian travel experience. Air New Zealand is a member of the Star Alliance, which allows for easy connections from the United States via Auckland to great destinations.
State-of-the-art Economy seats have been designed to provide a really comfortable seat for everybody. The armrest disappears right into the back of the seat so you can be more comfortable during our longhaul trips.
As well as the delicious and fresh meals from the kitchen, you can order tasty snacks throughout the flight, at the touch of your screen. No waiting for hours between meals - eat when you want to. And, of course, there's always a superb selection of New Zealand wines from the onboard cellar.
The vast selection of activities on our inflight entertainment will keep even the most fidgety of flyers engaged for the whole flight. Enjoy over 1,700 hours of content - including latest movies, TV box sets, video games, and a dedicated kids section - all on a 10.6” personal touch screen in widescreen format. If you need more, there are always the USB and iPod connections to plug in to.
For upgrade costs to Skycouch, Premium Economy or Business Class, please ask as Aspire Expert. (note: the products below are 777-300 experiences. Air New Zealand may operate a different aircraft version on certain flights)
*From pricing is valid for departures until 31 March 2017 for purchase by 31 March 2017. Prices are per person based on double occupancy departures from Los Angeles. Add-on fares are available from other cities. Certain black out dates apply on the accommodation and tour value add offers - check with your Aspire consultant. Seats are limited and may not be available on every flight. Hotels are subject to availability. All prices reflect a discount for purchases made by cash/wire transfer/check, please see terms and conditions for credit card payments. There are no discounts for payment made by credit cards. Cancellation penalties and other restrictions apply.