Experience the best New Zealand has to offer! After flying non-stop to Auckland, connect by short flight and start your adventure in Queenstown. After taking in the awe-inspiring fiords, lakes, and thrill-inducing jetboats, travel by small group tour to Mount Cook – New Zealand’s highest Mountain and base for glacier experiences and breathtaking walking trails. Next, continue through the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, the capital of the South Island, before venturing to the Central North Island, experiencing bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers, natural hot springs, and the fascinating Maori culture in Rotorua. Finally, travel north to Hobbiton & the Waitomo Caves before concluding your trip with two nights in the beautiful harbour city of Auckland.
- Roundtrip International Economy Class flights from Los Angeles, New York JFK, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco with Air New Zealand (add on flights available)
- Internal New Zealand flights
- 4 nights Queenstown in 4* accommodation
- Small group Wilderness Jetboat tour
- Small group Milford Sound tour & cruise
- Small group tour from Queenstown – Mt Cook - Christchurch
- 2-nights Christchurch in 4* accommodation
- 2 nights Rotorua in 4* accommodation
- Evening tour & Maori culture dinner experience
- Small group tour of Rotorua Geothermal parks & valleys
- Polynesian thermal Spa experience
- Small group tour from Rotorua to Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves to Auckland
- 2 nights Auckland in 4* accommodation
- Small group full day tour of Auckland city & stunning West Coast
- Airport shuttle transfers
- All taxes & fuel surcharges
Day 1 - Depart New York JFK, Chicago, Houston,
San Francisco, or Los Angeles with Air New Zealand non-stop to
Ask about our options with Skycouch, Premium Economy and Business Class airfares.
Day 2 - Cross International
Day 3 -
Arrive Auckland & continue to Queenstown
Welcome to New Zealand! On arrival in Auckland, connect with your short flight to Queenstown to commence your journey of New Zealand in the South Island.
On arrival into Queenstown, you will be transferred to your accommodation. Queenstown, surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal-clear Lake Whakatipu, offers diverse, world-class experiences, a warm welcome and a cosmopolitan vibe. Queenstown has fueled imaginations and inspired many to explore. Whether you are chasing the snow, exploring the trails, indulging in food and wine, discovering stunning fairways or seeking adrenaline thrills, Queenstown sets the stage for adventure.
ACCOMMODATION - Enjoy 4 nights at 4.5* The Rees Hotel Queenstown. Showcasing breath taking panoramic lake and mountain views, this sophisticated property is conveniently located just a gentle lakeside walk from Queenstown’s town center. Boasting luxurious accommodation options including hotel rooms, apartments and 5 Lake Front Residences, all offer full service, complimentary Wi-Fi, free movies, a fine dining onsite restaurant, an extensive wine cellar, purpose-built gymnasium, complimentary ski lockers, spa treatment services, library and private jetty.
Day 4 -
Today enjoy a half Day Wilderness Jetboat Safari. Discover and explore every aspect of this magnificent area through a combination of exciting wilderness jet boating, an informative guided walk and picturesque back-country drive. Surrounded by breathtaking snow-covered peaks, hidden valleys, waterfalls and glacial valleys frozen in time, you’ll be thrilled by an exciting jet boat journey navigating the ever-changing shallow channels of the Dart Rivers braided river system. Your jet boat driver will stop along the way to highlight points of interest and discuss the natural and cultural significance of this exceptional area. Walk amongst the ancient beech tree forests – an atmosphere you may recognize from The Lord of the Rings films.
Day 5 -
An early morning starts today to experience a full day small group tour to Milford Sound (approx. 12 hours duration).
Set off from Queenstown and travel along Lake Wakatipu towards Te Anau – enjoying many scenic stops enroute. Continue to Milford Sound, with several stops for short walks and photo opportunities. At Milford Sound, board a Boutique Small Boat cruise. Enjoy your packed lunch box and complimentary coffee on board while cruising past sheer cliff faces and cascading waterfalls. The smaller size of the vessel enables you to get you up close and personal with the local wildlife, like New Zealand fur seals, dolphins, and the rare Fiordland crested penguin. A “Glacial Facial” under the Stirling Falls is an experience not to be missed. After the cruise returns, travel back to Queenstown after an amazing day in Fiordland. Optional upgrade to scenic flights back to Queenstown available for an additional cost (weather permitting)
Day 6 -
Explore Queenstown at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - Some of our favorites (additional cost applies):
- 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 schoolhouse - gain a real insight into the local heritage through photos and histories of life in this tough environment.
- Skyline Gondola & 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 7 -
Queenstown – Mount Cook –
Depart Queenstown on your small group tour to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, home to New Zealand's highest mountain. Leaving Queenstown, your journey will take you north through the historic gold mining region of the rugged Kawarau River Gorge and past Cromwell, famed for its fruit-growing. Skirting the shores of Lake Dunstan, cross the Lindis Pass to Omarama for morning tea (own expense). Continue through the rugged high-country landscape of the Mackenzie Basin to arrive at Mount Cook Village, where you can gaze up at the 3,724m/12,218ft high mountain Aoraki/Mount Cook, an important landmark in Maori mythology. While in the national park you have four hours free time to enjoy free walks/hikes or one of the extra optional activities (pre-booking recommended). Options include The Hooker Valley hike – thought to be one of New Zealand’s most beautiful hikes, a Heli hike on the Tasman Glacier, or a scenic flight including a landing on the Tasman Glacier. Farewelling Aoraki/Mount Cook Village, continue your journey to Lake Tekapo, famous for its pristine beauty and turquoise blue water, before descending to the Canterbury Plains and into the city of Christchurch. On arrival into Christchurch, check into your hotel for your two-night stay.
ACCOMMODATION - Enjoy 2 nights at 4.5* Distinction Hotel Christchurch. Centrally located in Cathedral Square in the heart of the city, the hotel is a short stroll from the Avon River, Botanical Gardens, Christchurch Casino, and City Mall. Offering 179 elegant, air-conditioned rooms, all are fitted out with the latest technology and free unlimited Wi-Fi. The hotel bar and restaurant are the perfect place to enjoy drinks and delicious cuisine. A Gym, sauna and valet car parking are also available.
Day 8 -
Otautahi Christchurch is New Zealand’s second largest city, its newest and perhaps its most exciting. This urban hub at the heart of the immensely visitable South Island is stacked with street art and long-standing visitor attractions, world-class hospitality and diverse accommodation, and state of the art architecture alongside the country’s best heritage gems. Wander the walkable central city to discover riverside markets and global cuisine, laneway shopping and rooftop bars. Within easy reach are numerous beaches bordering the Pacific Ocean, the majestic Southern Alps, and an ancient volcanic peninsula.
Spend the day exploring Christchurch on foot or take an optional tour to Arthurs Pass National Park via the Tranz Alpine Express (additional cost applies)
Travel across the Canterbury Plains by small group tour into high country and spectacular Arthur’s Pass National Park with its rugged mountain ranges. You will be transferred to Arthur’s Pass by TranzAlpine train. Your journey will take you west across the rich agricultural belt of the Canterbury Plains to Springfield where you will have the opportunity to take photos of the mountains rising above you. The train journey through the gorge is spectacular before you make your way to the high mountains of the Southern Alps and Arthur’s Pass. View the Waimakariri River and enter Arthur’s Pass National Park where short walks can be taken to experience forests, rivers, and mountain vistas. Enjoy lunch at an historic high-country hotel. Follow the old stagecoach route and view the spectacular Otira Gorge, testament to the road builders of the 1860’s and the route taken by the Maori in their quest for greenstone. Visit Cave Stream where it burrows underground in an area of limestone cliffs, gorges and craggy outcrops (this area was used for the filming of CS Lewis’s “The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe”) or visit the incredible Castle Hill rocks, unique weatherworn outcrops of limestone and regarded sacred by the Maori. Return to Christchurch via sub-alpine Porter’s Pass and the Canterbury Plains.
Day 9 -
Fly Christchurch to Rotorua
This morning depart on your nonstop flight to Rotorua. On arrival in Rotorua, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Located in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, Rotorua is the place to enjoy some of the country’s most iconic natural attractions and geothermal landscapes, incredible experiences from adventure to enrichment and relaxation, and welcoming people who are proud of sharing their rich Maori culture with you.
ACCOMMODATION - Enjoy 2 nights at 4* Regent of Rotorua. Born from a 1950's Motel built on the site, this boutique hotel has been transformed and renovated into a chic, central city hotel. All the guest accommodations combine their signature modern styling, unexpected touches with a hint of glamour, while still providing all the mod-conveniences. Step out of your gorgeous room or suite and stroll to the vibrant restaurant zone or lakefront area.
Late afternoon you will be picked up from your hotel for a tour and evening experience at Te Puia -Be guided through the greenstone, wood carving and flax weaving schools at the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute, Rotowhio Pa, Kiwi Conservation Centre and Te Whakarewarewa geothermal valley including Pohutu geyser. Te Puia's world-famous hangi buffet dinner is served in Pataka Kai Restaurant, Bar & Café. Beverages are at own cost. The cultural performance will take place a beautifully carved meeting house, Te Aronui a Rua. It will include a pohiri (traditional welcome), waiata (song), moteatea (traditional chant) poi and haka. The evening culminates with hot chocolate and steamed pudding surrounded by steam and the geyser terrace bathed in colored light.
This morning join your small group half day tour to visits Rotorua's most natural and popular geothermal parks, Wai O Tapu and Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Your local naturalist guide will explain the volcanic processes of Rotorua and New Zealand. See volcanoes, geysers, New Zealand's largest boiling mud pool and hot springs on a scenic drive around volcanic landscapes, native and exotic forests. The two heritage parks offer a variety of thermal activity; at Wai-o-tapu the amazingly colorful hot springs and moon like landscapes are the key features along with the famous Lady Knox geyser. At Waimangu Volcanic valley, learn about the Mt Tarawera eruption, native flora and fauna and the geothermal features which were blown open in 1886.
This afternoon relax and unwind on the tranquil shores of Lake Rotorua at Polynesian Spa. Channeling geothermal marvels in its backyard, the 27 mineral pools at Polynesian Spa are fed from two natural springs for a combination that both nourishes the skin and relieves tired muscles, aches, and pains. The two types of mineral waters that feed the pools are called alkaline pool Whangapipiro and acidic pool Te Pupunitanga and have been used by Maori for generations. Deluxe Private Pools offer panoramic views over Lake Rotorua. The pools are filled with soothing alkaline mineral water leaving your skin soft and supple. Enjoy 30 minutes of private bathing
– Rotorua – Hobbiton – Waitomo Caves –
This morning you are collected from your Rotorua accommodation by shuttle and are transferred to Hobbiton Movie Set. On arrival at Shire’s Rest, you embark on your Hobbiton movie set tour. This location is the largest “green set” in the world and the only part of the set remaining in New Zealand. You see 44 hobbit holes, the Mill, and the Party Tree. At this stunning location you can take a photo at the gate to Bilbo’s house, “Bag End”, looking out over the whole set to the hills in the distance. The tour ends with a visit to the Green Dragon Inn for a drink. Following your drink, you will be treated to a sumptuous buffet lunch in the marquee. There is time for shopping before your tour continues to Waitomo. On arrival in Waitomo, join a 45-minute guided tour of the incredible Waitomo Glow Worm caves. Discover an ancient world 30 million years in the making. Enjoy the delicate cave formations and be wowed in the Cathedral, before taking the iconic boat ride through the glow worm grotto. Marvel in silence at thousands of magical glow worms, which are unique to New Zealand before exiting the cave. After your tour at Waitomo travel north to Auckland and dropped off at your hotel.
ACCOMMODATION - Enjoy 2 nights at 4.5* Voco Auckland. Located within one of Auckland’s tallest buildings in the heart of the city, this hotel embraces sustainability initiatives and all of the element’s characteristic of the Voco lifestyle. Guest rooms are designed around the brand’s Me Time concept incorporating premium beds, superior showers, user-friendly technology, and innovative lighting. These are joined by an all-day restaurant and bar, as well as a guest fitness center.
Day 12 -
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.
Experience Auckland City highlights on a small group tour with its stunning harbour and many volcanoes as well as Auckland’s famous West Coast. Combine the very best Auckland has to offer including the sights of the Auckland City Half Day Tour and a West Coast Half Day Tour into one full day luxury experience which includes lunch. Be amazed by spectacular views of both the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea plus dramatic views of several volcanoes, city & regional parks. Explore untamed coastline, black as well as golden sand beaches, subtropical rainforest with the famous Kauri trees, plus unique indigenous flora, and fauna.
– Auckland at leisure followed by an evening flight back with
Air NZ to New York JFK, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco or Los
Angeles (addon flights available to your local
Enjoy your last morning in New Zealand at leisure or if time permits, consider taking the 35 minute ferry to Waiheke Island, “the Island of wine” and sample wines, olive oil tastings, visit quirky shops and enjoy taking in the Island’s numerous idyllic beaches.
Early evening you will be transferred to Auckland International airport for your flight back to the US or your next destination.
Note: Daily departures, this package is an independent itinerary with flexible departures (not a group tour)
Single Supplement: From $1,149
Before committing to a trip, please ensure you have a valid passport. New Zealand welcomes US travelers with an approved Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA).
Add on airfares are available from most major airports – please ask an Aspire consultant for a quote.
- Upgrade to premium economy from $1,050 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.
Package from pricing is based on double occupancy (2 people sharing a room) for low season stays for travel Monday through Thursdays in both directions. $50 air supplement applies each way for international travel from Thursday to Saturday. Add-on fares are available from other cities. Specific blackout dates apply to the accommodation and tour value add offers. 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 terms and conditions for credit card payments. Cancellation penalties and other restrictions apply.
To guarantee the package price & purchase the airline tickets, full payment is due at the time of booking. The purchase of travel Insurance is highly recommended for travel to New Zealand. Aspire Down Under partners with CSA Travel Protection. Travelers to New Zealand must be fully vaccinated and complete a traveler declaration before departure. Travel insurance covers cancellation penalties under the cancellation benefit should you test positive for COVID-19 immediately before traveling to New Zealand. In the unlikely event your scheduled travel date is impacted by New Zealand government entry restrictions, Aspire Down Under will permit a change of travel dates within 12 months from your original booking date without any fees or penalties (the applicable price of the new trip itinerary will apply).