Two Weeks Fully Escorted New Zealand Small Group Tour from $6,999 Including International Flights

This comprehensive small group tour is jam-packed with a vast range of stunning experiences and journeys through Aotearoa New Zealand. You will get close-ups of fascinating historic events, amazing geothermal activities, and authentic Maori culture and hospitality. Your journey will include a cruise on the breath-taking Milford Sound and a train ride on the famous Tranz Alpine across the Southern Alps.

Inclusions

  • Round trip coach class air travel from Los Angeles to New Zealand
  • Small Group Tour Coach with a maximum of sixteen travelers
  • Professional Coach Captain
  • Meet & Greet on arrival
  • Return airport transfers in New Zealand
  • 11 nights of 4-star hotel accommodation
  • Most sightseeing
  • 13 meals Included - 11 breakfasts, 1 Lunch & 1 Dinner
  • All airport & hotel taxes

Featured Experiences

  • Visit the Auckland Museum
  • Delve into Maori life and enjoy a powerful cultural performance and feast
  • A private guide and tour around a geothermal valley with geysers, mud pools and hot springs
  • Visit a volcanic valley and explore the site of a buried village devastated by an 1886 eruption
  • Relax as you’re guided along Christchurch’s Avon River on an authentic Edwardian punt
  • Journey onboard a beautifully restored heritage tram through Christchurch’s city centre
  • Journey on the famous TranzAlpine Train Journey from Christchurch to Greymouth
  • Join a local eco-guided tour – or – an authentic 4WD adventure
  • Explore the historic gold rush village of Arrowtown
  • Cruise, with a picnic lunch, on the breath-taking Milford Sound
  • Enjoy true kiwi hospitality with morning tea at a local home on the shores of Lake Tekapo

Itinerary

Day 1 - Depart US
Air New Zealand is the number one way to travel to New Zealand, and your vacation begins the second you step onboard your overnight flight. Air New Zealand offers direct service from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, and New York JFK, addon fares with United Airlines available from other cities.

The Air New Zealand onboard experience has a travel option for every passenger from Business Premier, Premium Economy, and Economy cabins, with the option to add the innovative Skycouch

Day 2 - Cross International Date Line

DAY 3 - ARRIVE AUCKLAND
Haere mai – welcome! Arrive in Auckland where you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. Spend the afternoon and evening at your leisure exploring the ‘City of Sails’.

Accommodation: M Social, Auckland

DAY 4 - AUCKLAND - ROTORUA
This morning, enjoy an Auckland City tour including panoramic views from Bastion Point, the informative Maori and Pacific Islands displays at the Auckland Museum, quaint Parnell Village, and some of the most popular waterfront areas. Departing Auckland we travel to Rotorua – the heart of New Zealand’s famous thermal and cultural region. On arrival, we will enjoy a city tour, before checking into our central accommodation. This afternoon we have some time out to relax before travelling to a local Marae (Maori Village).

This evening visit Tamaki Maori Village for Te Pa Ta. The evening experience and feast is aligned to and changes with the maramataka (Maori lunar calendar). Feast on Maori song, tradition, and divine seasonal kai (cuisine) within the forest Pa (village) amidst towering Tawa trees, blazing bonfires, and forest-formed amphitheatre. Hakari (feasting) begins with forest horotai (canapes) and culminates in a lavish 4-course fusion feast. Hanga is featured in varied seasonal menus designed by Maori chefs served to table, al fresco when warm, or in the wharekai (dining room) if cooler.

During summer months, Ta Te Ra celebrates harvest and concepts concerning ancient Maori warfare and peace. Over winter months, Ta Te Ihi celebrates the Matariki star cluster with mystical ritual, energy, and passion. Return hotel transfers included – other travellers will be on board.

Accommodation: The Millennium Hotel or the Regal Palms Resort, Rotorua

Includes: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 5 - ROTOURA - CHRISTCHURCH
Rotorua is the epicentre not only of New Zealand’s geothermal activity but of Maori heritage. No visit to Rotorua would be complete without including Te Puia, an active geothermal site and the nation’s centre for indigenous arts and crafts and a Kiwi conservation project. At Te Puia, it’s part of their culture to welcome, guide, entertain, and treat you like part of the family. You are treated to a private guide throughout your time here.

Next travel out to the Redwood Forest and enjoy a Redwood Treewalk Day Walk consisting of 28 suspension bridges traversing between 22 Californian coastal redwoods that are 120-years old. The elevated walkways gives walkers a unique view of the native undergrowth below from up to 12-metres above the ground. At 700-metres long the walkway allows plenty of time to appreciate the beauty of the forest that is quite different from what you experience on the ground.

This afternoon fly to Christchurch. This afternoon we join punting boatmen, resplendent with straw boaters and traditional Edwardian dress for a relaxing cruise in flat-bottomed punts along the River Avon through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Enjoy a journey in style onboard a beautifully restored heritage tram through the changing face of Christchurch’s city centre.

Accommodation: Distinction Hotel, Christchurch

Includes: Breakfast

DAY 6 - CHRISTCHURCH - FOX GLACIER
From Christchurch traverse the Southern Alps aboard the famous Tranz-Alpine rail journey to Greymouth. From your carriage, you’ll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the Southern Alps. Once you have crossed into the Southern Alps you descend into the lush rainforests of Westland to conclude the rail journey at the town of Greymouth. On arrival, you’ll be met by a private driver/guide.

Pass through historic towns reaching Hokitika and its galleries specialising in pounamu (greenstone) jewellery and artworks. Stretch your legs at the dramatic Hokitika Gorge where the blue/green waters pass through the rugged rocks. Continue south through forests and farmland, with views of the Alps to the east and the Tasman Sea to the west, to Franz Josef then on to the small remote village of Fox. The huge rivers of snow and ice of the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers flow from vast snowfields high in the Southern Alps, down almost to sea level.

Accommodation: Distinction Hotel Fox Glacier

Includes: Breakfast

DAY 7 - FOX GLACIER - WANAKA
Have your camera ready for your visit to nearby Lake Matheson for a morning stroll – when conditions are right the lake perfectly mirrors beautiful Mt. Cook in its still waters. Head over the Haast Pass along the river road beside the icy river and deep into Mt. Aspiring National Park. The atmosphere lightens as we reach lovely Lake Wanaka, reflecting the mountain peaks that in winter offer superb skiing, and the pretty resort town of Wanaka.

Accommodation: Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

Includes: Breakfast

DAY 8 - WANAKA
This morning you have the choice of two excursions:

a) Today join a passionate local eco-guide – depart Wanaka by boat and quickly leave civilization behind as you cruise across the lake to a predator-free island. The walking track leads from the landing and climbs steadily through native vegetation – filled with very vocal birdlife – to the top to the “island’s secret”; a lake on top of the island with small islands in it! Music will fill your ears as the echo of birdsong here is astounding.

Carrying on a little further you come to the very top of the island and have a sweeping 360-degree view of Lake Wanaka, its surrounding mountains and valleys, and the Arethusa Pool below. This is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the panorama. The flightless Buff Weka often join visitors on the island; this rare flightless bird has been extinct on Mainland NZ since 1920.

b) Experience New Zealand’s most authentic 4WD adventure – the perfect mix of incredible scenery, history, heritage and farming life. Explore remote and seldom travelled back roads of an authentic New Zealand High Country farm overlooking sparkling Lake Wanaka. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, glaciers and wild river valleys, you’ll see farm animals including Red Deer, cattle and sheep up close and in their natural environment.

Visit historical sites and experience what life was like for Wanaka’s first farmers. With two optional walks, through pristine alpine meadows and ancient lakeside forests, this journey offers a unique insight into Wanaka’s rich history, heritage, modern-day farming life and breath-taking scenery. This afternoon is at your leisure to relax or enjoy your own choice of activities.

Accommodation: Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

Includes: Breakfast

DAY 9 - WANAKA - TE ANAU
Depart Wanaka with our first stop at the much-photographed Cardrona Pub before traversing the Crown Range road to visit historic Arrowtown – a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. Continue your journey via the road pinned between the base of the Remarkables mountain range and spectacular Lake Wakatipu.

Journey through a glacial formed valley that is now farmland, to reach Lake Te Anau, the largest (by volume) freshwater lake in the South Island and gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Accommodation: Distinction Hotel Luxmore, Te Anau

Includes: Breakfast

DAY 10 - TE ANAU - MILFORD SOUND - QIEENSTOWN
he journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound is one of the most scenic experiences you can have on four wheels. Fiordland National Park, part of the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area, is one of the great wilderness areas of the Southern Hemisphere. The scenery is spectacular with lofty mountains and deep valleys carved out by Ice Age glaciers. Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Milford Sound is breath-taking in any weather.

Board a comfortable vessel for a cruise past towering Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea. Keep an eye peeled for seals and dolphins which are often seen in the waters of the fiord. Following the cruise, retrace your journey back to Te Anau travelling via the Cleddeau Gorge, Homer Tunnel and the lovely Eglinton Valley then across the Southland farmlands and around spectacular Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown.

Accommodation: Scenic Suites Queenstown

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11 - QUEENSTOWN
Surrounded by majestic mountains and set on the shores of crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu, the natural beauty and the unique energy of Queenstown create the perfect backdrop for a visit full of adventure, exploration or relaxation. Today is free for you to do your own thing: thrill-seekers may choose to zip-line at Bob’s Peak, get drenched on a Shotover jet-boat ride or go white-water rafting.

Other enjoyable but less hair-raising activities include the gondola ride up to Bob’s Peak, or a 4WD safari to Skippers Canyon. Boutique wineries and local gardens welcome visitors and the classic steamship TSS Earnslaw is an elegant way to discover Lake Wakatipu during a cruise to Walter Peak High Country Farm

Accommodation: Scenic Suites Queenstown

Includes: Breakfast

DAY 12 - QUEENSTOWN - MT COOK - TWIZEL
Continue north through the rugged Kawarau Gorge, past pretty Lake Dunstan and across the distinctive Central Otago countryside to the Lindis Pass. Descend into the unique Mackenzie Basin where the Southern Alps dominate the horizon. Take a beautiful drive along Lake Pukaki to Mt. Cook Village, home to New Zealand’s tallest peak, Aoraki/Mt. Cook. We stay overnight in the rural town of Twizel.

Accommodation: Mackenzie Country Hotel, Twizel

Includes: Breakfast

DAY 13 - TWIZEL - CHRISTCHURCH
Visit a local home set on the shores of Lake Tekapo and learn the secrets of making a Pavlova – a truly Kiwi dessert! For morning tea, enjoy the taste of your pavlova as you drink in the views of this beautiful lake. View the Church of the Good Shepherd, one of New Zealand’s most-photographed spots; a tiny church set against a majestic backdrop of the Southern Alps.

Pass across the high country’s tussock plains, through the small rural towns of Fairlie and Geraldine and onto Ashburton. From here travel across the fertile Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. This most English of New Zealand cities suffered a succession of terrible earthquakes in 2010/11. Post-earthquake the city combines urban regeneration and innovation with heritage, culture and creativity.rt.

Accommodation: Distinction Hotel, Christchurch

Includes: Breakfast

DAY 14 - DEPART CHRISTCHURCH
Farewell from New Zealand. After breakfast you are transferred to the Christchurch Airport for your return home, taking with you your fond memories of your time in New Zealand

 

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Costing Per Person

Starting from $6,999

 

New Zealand Entry Requirements

Before committing to a trip, please ensure you have a valid passport. New Zealand welcomes US travelers with an approved Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA).

Read More about NZETA & IVL

Additional departure gateways & pricing

Add on airfares are available from most major airports – please ask an Aspire consultant for a quote

Upgrade Options

  • Upgrade to premium economy from $1,250 per person each way
  • Upgrade to business class from $3,500 per person each way*

Can take the upgrade one way or round trip and combine premium/business classes on same ticket

* Upgrade from pricing based on Monday through Thursday departures from Los Angeles - ask an Aspire consultant for the upgrade fee from other departure points and travel Thursday through Saturday.

 

Conditions

Package from pricing is based on double occupancy (2 people sharing a room) from Los Angeles or San Francisco for travel in September 2024 and May 2025 - ask an Aspire consultant for pricing for other departure months. Add-on fares are available from other cities. 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 check/wire; please see the terms and conditions for credit card payments. Cancellation penalties and other restrictions apply. Travel insurance is highly recommended for travel to New Zealand. Aspire Down Under partners with CSA Travel Protection.

 

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