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Auckland. Waiheke Island . Rotorua. Christchurch . Franz Josef . Queenstown . Fjordland National Park

Spend 12 days exploring the North and South Islands of this small country packed with wonders. Explore destinations on walking tours, and travel by train, gondola, boat, and plane. Connect with locals in artsy beach towns, hike through an ancient rain forest, and learn about local legends and cuisine from the Maori. Enjoy Polynesian spa treatments. Take a deep breath to fill your lungs with the impossibly clean air, enjoy fine New Zealand wines and food, and the fun company of like minded people.



from $3699
per person sharing




National Geographic Journeys Exclusive: Waiheke Island Wineries, Waiheke Island

National Geographic Journeys Exclusive: Meet a Maori Elder, Rotorua

Waitomo Caves tour

Traditional Maori hangi feast and entertainment

Orientation walk in Christchurch

Scenic TranzAlpine train

Queenstown gondola

Wilderness day cruise (winter) or overnight cruise (summer) on Fiordland National Park

Internal flight

All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

10/11 breakfasts, 2 dinners


International airfare; tipping; meals unless noted otherwise, personal expenses


Giveback: Planeterra



DEPARTURES: July through April



Day 1: Auckland

Arrive at any time.

The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your guide will review the details of your tour. 

Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel Auckland City

Day 2: Auckland & Waiheke Island

Catch the ferry to picturesque Waiheke Island to learn about New Zealand’s highly celebrated wine industry in its founding region. Tour a boutique vineyard and learn from our host about the process of making the syrahs, merlots, and chardonnays that the region is so well-known for. Enjoy a taste of the vineyard’s estate-grown olive and avocado oils. After, continue to another of Waiheke’s original wineries for a tour and tasting – while learning about the evolution of wine production in New Zealand. Return to Auckland this evening via a scenic ferry ride.  Take an evening walk around Auckland city.   (B)

Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel Auckland City

Day 3: Auckland - Rotorua

Drive to Rotorua, stopping for an excursion at Waitomo Caves where you'll take a boat ride through the cave and see thousands of flickering glowworms lighting up the walls. Rotorua sits over an active geothermal zone with bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools in different areas around the town. This is a fascinating region with Maori history and culture tied directly to the geothermal aspects of the land.


Accommodation: Millenium Rotorua

Day 4: Rotorua

Enjoy a free day in Rotorua which sits over an active geothermal zone with bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools. Opt to visit one of the geothermal sites, take a local hike or visit the Polynesian Spa. 

This evening visit Tamaki Maori Village and enjoy a private welcome and talk from a “Kaumātua” (an elder in Māori society). After, enjoy an extravagant performance about local myths, and legends while dining on traditional Hangi cuisine. (B, D)

Accommodation: Millenium Rotorua

Day 5: Rotorua - Christchurch

With free time in Rotorua this morning, opt to relax in one of the hot pools fed by water coming directly from the natural springs or head to the Polynesian Spa for a treatment.

Transfer to the airport for your included flight to Christchurch. On arrival enjoy a brief walking tour of the city. Those who wish to explore further on foot will be provided with a self guided walking tour map.  (B)

Accommodation: Chateau On The Park Hotel

Day 6: Christchurch - Franz Josef

Enjoy one of the world’s great scenic train trips on the TranzAlpine train, crossing the scenic Southern Alps to New Zealand's glacier region. Disembark and finish the journey over the highest pass in the Southern Alps in a private vehicle before transferring to a beautiful rainforest lodge, our home for two nights.   (B)

Accommodation: Rainforest Retreat

Day 7: Franz Josef

Today is full of options, ranging from self guided hikes to helicopter flights over the glacier. Your guide will help you decide on how best to use your time.  (B)

Accommodation: Rainforest Retreat

Day 8: Franz Josef - Queenstown

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 short walks and waterfall visits. Continue along the west coast to Queenstown. Enjoy an evening gondola ride with spectacular views of the city.   (B)

Accommodation: Peppers Beacon Hill

Day 9: Queenstown - Fiordland National Park

Embark on an amazing wilderness cruise through Fiordland National Park. Led by onboard naturalist guides we have the chance to see dolphins, fur seals, birds and penguins and an option to kayak. Spend the night onboard in comfortable cabins with time to relax on deck, stargaze and enjoy some New Zealand wine.

In the evening, enjoy a delicious three course buffet dinner prepared by our onboard chef and served in the dining saloon. Mingle with fellow travelers, savor some of the fine wines (own expense) and if the skies are clear in the evening, spend some time on the upper deck gazing at the stars. (B,D)

Accommodation: Expedition style cruise vessel

Day 10: Fiordland National Park - Queenstown

Enjoy morning wildlife viewing along the fiord as we cruise back to port, then return to Queenstown.  (B)

Accommodation: Peppers Beacon Hill

Day 11: Queenstown

Enjoy a free day to explore on your own, visit a winery, or cruise on a historic steamship. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Opt to go bungee jumping, jet boating, skydiving, paragliding, hiking or mountain biking. This evening, enjoy a gondola ride with spectacular views of the city and surrounding landscape.  (B)

Accommodation: Peppers Beacon Hill

Day 12: Depart

Depart at any time, or for more hiking, add the iconic 3 day Routeburn Walk to your trip..  (B)

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