The best of both North and South islands. Upon arriving in New Zealand, continue south to the adventure capital of Queenstown. After taking in some of the many activities in the Queenstown area, continue north up the west coast to explore Fox Glacier and Punakaiki. Onward to Nelson and the Abel Tasman region, where you'll have countless ways to explore the ever so beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. Cross The Marlborough Sounds and arrive in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand and the gateway to the North Island. After two days in quaint Wellington, fly to the city of Auckland - New Zealand's adored harbour city.
- Roundtrip International Economy Class flights from Los Angeles or San Francisco on Air New Zealand (domestic US flights can be added at an additional cost)
- Domestic New Zealand flights (Auckland to Queenstown and Wellington to Auckland)
- 3 nights Queenstown at the 4.5* Rees Hotel - Hotel Room, Lake View
- 6 days medium size automatic transmission car rental inclusive of insurance and GPS, Queenstown - Wellington (coach transportation is available if a self-drive is not preferred)
- 1 night Fox Glacier at the 4.5* Distinction Te Weheka - Standard Room, including full breakfast
- 1 night Punakaiki at the 4* Punakaiki Resort - Eco Suite
- 3 nights Nelson at the 4* Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco Apartments - One Bedroom Cottage with Spa
- Interislander Ferry Crossing from Picton to Wellington
- 1 nights Wellington at the 4.5* Amora Wellington Hotel - Deluxe Room
- 2 nights Auckland at the 4.5* Pullman Auckland - Superior Room
- Seat in coach airport shuttle transfers
- All taxes & fuel surcharges
Day 1 - Depart
Ask about our great upgrade options with Premium Economy and Business class airfare.
Day 2 - Cross
Day 3 - Arrive New
Zealand, continue on to Queenstown
Welcome to New Zealand! Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown’s stunning scenery is inspiring and revitalizing. With such a huge range of activities in Queenstown, no two days will ever be the same. Meet your shuttle transfer and ride the short distance to The Rees Hotel.
ACCOMMODATION - Showcasing breath taking panoramic lake and alpine views, The Rees Hotel Queenstown is a sophisticated Five Star hotel situated right on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, with its own beach and private wharf. The many unique features at The Rees Hotel include a fine dining restaurant with an award winning chef who creates exquisite menus showcasing the spectacular produce available in Central Otago, an extensive award winning wine cellar, library and courtesy shuttle to/from Queenstown town centre.
Days 4 & 5 -
Explore Queenstown at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - some of our favorites (additional cost applies):
- Milford Fly Cruise Fly/Dart River Safaris
Join your MIlford Sound Scenic Flights crew at Queenstown Airport, Sir Henly Wigley Dr, Frankton, to commence a full day Milford Fly Cruise Fly/Dart River Safaris Combo tour. Fly from Queenstown to magnificent Milford to enjoy a launch cruise travelling the full length of Milford Sound. Return by scenic flight landing at Glenorchy to join Dart River Safaris to journey into the untouched wilderness of a World Heritage Area before coaching back to Queenstown. Tour concludes approximately 10 hours after commencement, at Queenstown Airport.
- Milford Sound Nature Cruise
An on board nature guide with specialist knowledge of the region's history, flora and fauna provides detailed interpretation in English with a roving microphone. There is plenty of time available to explore points of interest and view the spectacular alpine scenery including waterfalls, rainforest and the towering peaks; and keep a lookout for wildlife including seals, dolphins and penguins when in season. Coach or flight transfers available.
- Appellation Central Wine Tours
Appellation Central offers guided tours showcasing Central Otago's fine wine and cuisine. These tours venture into the heartland of Central Otago visiting vineyards in Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell. Small groups and custom fit minibuses ensure a relaxed and interactive day out from Queenstown and a great way to experience Central Otago.
- 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.
- Queenstown Rafting Triple Challenge - Shotover
Jet,Helicopter & WhiteWater Rafting
The Ultimate Adventure. Begin with the shotover jet, speed through rocky canyons and experience the Hamilton 360 spins. Climb aboard a helicopter for a spectacular flight into Skippers Canyon. Land at Deep Creek and meet your rafting guide, peaceful waters at first before hearing the roar of the"mother" section.
- Zipline Ecotour
Commence an ecotour on Queenstown's original zipline course and the perfect starter to your adventure experience. Comprised of four ziplines, starting and finishing at the top of the Skyline gondola, the tour is designed to start low and slow and gradually build your confidence as it gets progressively longer, higher and faster. All ages love the interaction this guided aerial tour has to offer.
Day 6 - Queenstown -
This morning, collect your rental vehicle, depart Queenstown and hit the open road for Fox Glacier.
ACCOMMODATION - Distinction Fox Glacier Te Weheka Hotel is your ideal luxury hotel accommodation in Fox Glacier village - a charming township in the beautiful alpine West Coast region of New Zealand's South Island. Distinction Fox Glacier's location provides a real sense of privacy and peaceful seclusion, while being only a short stroll to the main street of the Fox Glacier village.
Day 7 - Fox Glacier -
This morning explore Fox Glacier at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - some of our favorites (additional cost applies):
- Flying Fox Helihike
The fly-in, fly-out helihike combines the excitement of walking on the Fox Glacier with the thrill of helicopter flights. By flying in you are able to access and explore a part of the glacier where its forces work hardest and often create spectacular ice caves and arches. Equipped with leather boots and other equipment, you board the helicopter for your first flight over the pinnacles of the lower icefall. Here, the ice is in constant motion. Take in views of the dramatic upper icefall and Victoria Falls, which is the melt river of the hidden Victoria glacier, before landing. Your landing site on the ice is a remote and exceptionally beautiful part of the glacier. At this stage, your guide outfits you with crampons, specially designed for these ice conditions and you follow the ice steps cut by your guide as you explore the amazing formations and ice caves which are only seen here
- Fox Trail Terminal Face Walk
This is an informative and leisurely trip to the dynamic face of the glacier. It is here that the Fox River emerges from the ice and where ice collapses are often heard and seen. This trip is for people with limited time or for those who would find the walks onto the glacier too strenuous. Although you will not walk on the glacier your guide will take you to the final resting place of the ice that has travelled 12 kilometres from the base of the Southern Alps, all the way to the river valley floor.
Fox Glacier to Franz Josef 23 km (14 miles) Approximately 0.25 hour
The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are unique relics of the last ice age. Mighty rivers of solid white, tumbling down ice-hewn rock valleys, they are classically beautiful in the glacial sense. Nowhere else in the world have glaciers advanced so close to the sea at this latitude. While in the area, you can choose from a wide range of adventure activities.
Franz Josef to Hokitika 133 km (83 miles) Approximately 1.75 hours
The road from the glaciers is rural, but with a wild streak. The farmland is trying to turn back into forest, and the beauty of the rivers is raw and primeval. Hokitika was first settled in 1860, after the discovery of gold on the west coast. It still has the feel of a frontier town, and there are some lovely old buildings to admire. Greenstone (NZ jade) is the town's treasure these days, watch it being carved. You might also want to investigate the museum and do the historical walk.
ACCOMMODATION - Stay overnight at the Punakaiki Resort, just 300m south of the famous Pancakes Rocks and Blowholes, the Resort is surrounded by the Paparoa National Park and is only a stone's throw from the beach.
Day 8 - Punakaiki -
This morning, depart Punakaiki and set out for the iconic Abel Tasman Region.
ACCOMMODATION - Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco Apartments is the perfect place to escape everyday life and relax in the old world charm of a village atmosphere. With views stretching across the Waimea Inlet to the mountains of Kahurangi National Park, the resort is conveniently located just 10 minutes drive from the heart of Nelson and the city's airport. What's more, once you arrive you won't need to go far, as the resort provides all the comforts and conveniences you could wish for, from an award winning restaurant The Monaco Kitchen to the health and beauty spa, pool and gym facilities.
Days 9 & 10 -
Nelson and Abel Tasman Region
Explore Nelson and the Abel Tasman region at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - some of our favorites (additional cost applies):
- Kayak, Seals & Walk day tour - Abel Tasman National
Morning 'Split Apple Paddle' guided half day kayak trip, explore the spectacular Kaiteriteri coastline. Stop on a golden sand beach for a short break. In the afternoon swap the kayak for walking shoes, and cruise to the golden sands of Onetahuti, visiting the fascinating seal colony at Tonga Island on the way.
- Abel Tasman National Park - Beach Walk
Calling in at Kaiteriteri before departing for Anchorage, relax on the beach with a picnic or enjoy a one hour return walk to Te Pukatea Bay, a 1 1/2 hour return walk to Pitt Head to view the lighthouse and panoramic views, or from Anchorage walk to Cleopatra's Pool.
- Wine Tour - full or half day
Enjoy a truly exclusive tour of the Nelson Wine Region. Visit wineries both on the plains and the hills where you can meet the owners and winemakers. You’ll also sample wine from the ten classic grapes grown in New Zealand. Taking in pristine scenery will ensure a memorable day – this tour is both fun and informative
Day 11 - Nelson to
This morning, make your way east to Picton. Dropped off your rental vehicle and board the Interislander Ferry to journey across the Cook Strait to Wellington. As you travel through The Marlborough Sounds, enjoy the scenic time on the water and keep your eyes peeled for an endless amount of marine wildlife.
Nelson to Picton 145 km (91 miles) Approximately 1.75 hours
The drive from Nelson first takes you to the town of Havelock, which is known as the Green Shell Mussel Capital of the World. Nearby Canvastown is a place to explore old gold mining fields – thousands tried to get rich here in the 1860s. At Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve you can enjoy a bush walk or a swim, depending on the time of the year. And if you’d like a glimpse of local life in 1890, Rai Valley has a beautifully preserved cottage museum.
The passage across Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds is one of the most scenic ferry trips in the world. The fast ferry makes the trip in just over 2 hours, the cruise-style ferry takes 3 hours. Both types of vessel can transport vehicles. Highlights along the way include the Red Rocks seal colony, Tory Channel, Cook’s Lookout and the beautiful coves of the sounds.
ACCOMMODATION - Amora Hotel Wellington - a superbly located 4.5 star hotel in the heart of Wellington. With magnificent views of Wellington’s CBD and harbour and easy access to Lambton Quay, Te Papa and the Cable Car, Wellington’s best attractions are right at your doorstep.
This afternoon Wellington at your leisure or consider adding one of our half day tour options - some of our favorites (additional cost applies):
- 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.
- WETA Workshop There and Back Again Half Day
Made famous by the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, 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
- 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.
Day 12 -
Wellington to Auckland
This morning, fly from Wellington to Auckland. Enjoy two days in Auckland - explore or relax. Don't think of Auckland as a city, even though it's New Zealand's largest. Think of it as half urban, half marine - a cosmopolitan experience wrapped up in a fascinating water world and surrounded by over 50 islands.
ACCOMMODATION - A positive departure from the usual formula in hotel accommodation, Pullman Auckland's sleek interiors emit a warm and friendly vibe, creating an intimate atmosphere whether in the lobby lounge or by the 25 metre heated swimming pool. A selection of spacious hotel rooms, the exclusivity of an executive lounge, and chic residential suites with living areas and kitchen facilities framing views from city to sea uniquely redefines the lifestyle of the cosmopolitan traveller.
Day 13 -
Explore Auckland at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - some of our favorites (additional cost applies):
- Time Unlimited - Auckland Highlight Luxury Half Day
Tour - Morning or Afternoon (also available for private
See the highlights of Auckland city with its 55 volcanoes and the marine village of Devonport on Auckland's North Shore. Be amazed by spectacular views of both the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, dramatic views of several volcanoes and the marine village of Devonport.
- Bush and Beach - Coast and Rainforest
Visit Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, with panoramic views from the sweeping decks extending from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Next, your guides walk you through Auckland’s coastal rainforest to the West Coast Beach with soft black sand, enjoy a kiwi style picnic lunch before moving onto untouched original rainforest with mature 1000 year old Kauri trees, where 70 percent of the world’s native plants are found nowhere else in the world.
- Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise
Board your Explore Group vessel at Viaduct Harbour, Auckland to commence an Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise. Dine on the Waitemata Harbour, an experience not to be missed in Auckland. Enjoy great sailing and as the sun sets watch the night lights of the cityscape come alive. Sail where the wind takes 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. Cruise concludes at approximately 2.5 hours after commencement, back at Viaduct Harbour Auckland.
Day 14 - Depart for US
Note: Daily departures, this package is an independent itinerary with flexible departures (not a group tour)
Single Supplement: From $1,499
NZETA & IVL to enter New Zealand $50 per person. Before committing to your trip please ensure you hold a valid passport with at least six months’ validity from the date you plan to return to the USA.
Add on airfares (coach) available from most major airports - Add $200 from San Francisco, Add $250 from Dallas, Seattle, add $300 from New York, Denver, Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, add $400 from Boston, Miami, Add $450 from Washington DC, Atlanta - ask an Aspire consultant for a quote from your local airport.
- Upgrade to Skycouch (2 pax) from $449 each way*
- Upgrade to premium economy from $700 per person each way*
- Upgrade to business class from $2,000 per person each way* Can take the upgrade one way or round trip and combine premium/business classes on same ticket
* Starting from pricing based on Monday through Thursday departures - ask an Aspire consultant for the upgrade fee for travel Friday through Sunday
Package from pricing is based on double occupancy (2 people sharing a room) from Los Angeles or San Francisco. Ask an Aspire consultant for pricing for other travel dates. Add-on fares are available from other cities. Certain blackout 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.