New Zealand offers a wide range of diverse activities and attractions to suit individual tastes. Family attractions, outdoor adventures, hiking, fishing, golf, wine tours and Lord of the Rings movie locations, there is something here for everyone. Popular eco-tourism activities include whale watching, swimming with dolphins, bird watching and wildlife cruises. Our custom itineraries provide you with the flexibility to book as much or as little as you want while giving you the freedom to choose your own hotels and excursions to match your unique interests, preferences, and budget.
Welcome to New Zealand! You will be picked up at the airport in Auckland and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day will be free at your leisure.
Auckland, also known as the city of sails, is situated between two enormous harbors and dotted with 48 extinct volcanic cones. New Zealand’s largest city with a population of over 1.3 million people – is home to one third of New Zealanders. The city’s mix of urban sophistication and coastal setting has inspired a lifestyle that regularly ranks in the world’s top 10. Asian communities meld here with a distinctly different Polynesian heritage, and the result is a culture unavailable anywhere else in the world.
Auckland is home to the Sky Tower which at 328m is the tallest structure in the southern hemisphere. The Sky Tower's three observation levels offer 360-degree views of Auckland. The iconic harbor bridge, opened in 1959, provides other adventures. Visitors can climb over, under and jump from the spectacular bridge that dominates Auckland’s inner harbor.
This morning start your journey and discover the history, sights, and life in Auckland. Auckland is set on over 50 dormant volcanos and between two harbors. Known as the City of Sails, it’s New Zealand’s largest and busiest city.
In the afternoon, you will head to an eco-tour in the Waitakere Ranges. In just 30 minutes you will leave behind the bustle of the city and step into the tranquillity of the rainforest. You will then go to the Arataki Centre, an information center built high on the ridge of the Waitakere Ranges. Take in all the breathtaking panoramic views from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean.
Continue on to the lush rainforest where you walk the easy tracks among giant tree ferns and view New Zealand’s famous kauri trees and silver ferns.
Move on to experience the power of the wild and rugged west coast. Feel the black sand of Piha beach beneath your feet as you stroll along one of the most awe-inspiring beaches the world has to offer before heading back to your hotel.
After breakfast, you will pick up your rental car at a station near your hotel.
Your self-drive experience starts with a scenic drive through the green rolling hills of The Waikato, a region rich in farming and agriculture where you arrive after a 2.5hrs drive in the small town of Matamata which has gained fame for being the home of ‘The Shire’ and the Hobbiton Movie Set. Welcome to Middle Earth!
You will then meet up with your guide for a tour through the picturesque 1’250 acres’ sheep farm with spectacular views across the Kaimai Ranges. Explore the ‘Bag End’, where Frodo and Bilbo’s Adventures began. Get lost among the hobbit holes and visit the Green Dragon Inn, the Mill, and the Party Tree. The tour concludes with an extensive buffet at the “Marquee”.
After lunch, continue your drive through the rolling hills of The Waikato until you reach the region of ‘Bay of Plenty’ and its main center in Rotorua. Rotorua, which sits directly on the Pacific Ring of Fire volcanic activity, and this is a part of the city both in the past and the present. Explore the geothermal areas and discover the unique culture of the Maoris, the indigenous people of New Zealand. Rotorua is always worth a trip in any weather. Check into your hotel and get ready for a day of adventure!
Total drive time: 3hours
This evening, experience a traditional Maori experience at Mitai Village for an authentic introduction to Maori culture. Mitai Maori Village is nestled in a natural bush setting just outside of Rotorua. Witness the arrival of a ‘waka’, the ancient warrior canoe on the Wai-o-whiro stream. Your Maori guide will explain to you all the secrets to cook a traditional ‘Hangi’ and the traditions of ‘ta moko’, Maori tattoo art. A cultural performance displaying weaponry and combat, coupled with the beauty of the poi dance, and the spine-tingling Haka. A traditional Hangi dinner rounds off an unforgettable evening with the Mitai family. Meet exclusively face to face with the village chief during the evening.
New Zealand is one of the world's best reminders, alongside perhaps Iceland, of the scope of our planet's mighty power. And Rotorua's sulphur-laced air, exploding vents of mud and steam, and natural hot springs are the embodiment of that power. Its towering geysers make Rotorua one of New Zealand's most visited locales. The local Maori have held Rotorua in reverence for hundreds of years, and still make their culture known here today. Native cultural performances are as big a reason to travel here as the churning landscape.
Start your day by taking a scenic from Rotorua through the lush farmland of the Waikato and King Country regions, towards Waitomo.
Upon arrival in Piopio, just 15min outside of Waitomo, you will join a guided small group tour on privately owned farmland which has been used as a filming location in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”. Get a chance to see amazing rock formations, beautiful New Zealand native forest and a working farm in the picturesque Mangaotaki Valley! Your guide will share the most interesting and fun facts about the place!
After lunch (not included), join a guided tour through the famous Waitomo Caves complex. Waitomo is a Maori name and means ‘where the water disappears into a hole in the ground’. There is a number of different caves open to the public, each with its own distinct features. You will visit the most famous of these caves – the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves. Though technically not ‘worms’ but a species of fungus gnat endemic to New Zealand. They are luminescent both during the larval stage and imago. Your Maori guide will explain the history of these sacred grounds, the biology of the ‘glow worms’ and will lead you onto a spectacular, unforgettable boat ride through the majestic ‘Cathedral’ with millions of luminescent larvae, a magical experience for any visitor!
For the last leg of the trip, drive through one of New Zealand’s greenest places and richest agricultural regions. Pass by beautiful land with lush grass for raising cattle, thoroughbred horses and vast stands of exotic timber. This part of New Zealand’s North Island is only sparsely populated and this 2hr drive is one of the most beautiful and remote in this part of the country. You will arrive in Taupo in the late afternoon.
Total drive time: 4 hours
Today, you will embark on a self-drive from Taupo to Tongariro for about 1.15 hours. Visit the World Heritage Tongariro National Park to the east and the Whanganui National Park to the West, in the middle of a true wilderness wonderland. The village is located near the base of Mt Ruapehu, at the intersection of SH4 & SH47 on the volcanic plateau, half way between Auckland and Wellington. It boasts great views of all three mountains, Mt. Tongariro, Mt. Ngauruhoe and Mt. Ruapehu - a unique dual world heritage area, 300,000 years in the making.
En route to Tongariro, you will make a stop at the Huka Falls and the Aratiatia Rapids. the Waikato River falls 28 meters in the space of one kilometer. The surging rapids have been harnessed to produce environmentally sustainable hydroelectric power. The rapids were used in the filming of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’
In the afternoon, proceed to Tongariro National Park and enjoy the day free at your leisure.
Total drive time: 1 hour
New Zealand’s first national park, Tongariro was gifted to the New Zealand people in 1887 by the Ngati Tuwaretoa tribe and is now a World Heritage area. The Tongariro Crossing is regarded as one of the best one-day walks in the world. The 80,000ha Park is enjoyed and explored year-round by hikers, skiers, botanists, geologists and nature lovers alike.
After a hearty breakfast, gather all your energy and join your local hiking guide! Together you will take a 4-hour guided walk through Tongariro Park while your guide shows you around and talks about the many details. You will learn about the recent and past eruptions, geology, flora and fauna, and Lord of the Rings filming sites. This walk involves an average level of fitness. You will then be transferred back to your hotel for an afternoon free at your leisure.
Leave Tongariro behind this morning and journey through the North Island towards Wellington. En route to Wellington, you will visit the Jaitoke Regional Park, another Lord of the Rings site. While nothing remains from the original filming site, you will still feel the magic of ‘Rivendell’, surrounded by the native bush. There is even a replica elvish archway to jog your imagination! After you’ve admired the archway, enjoy a beautiful bush walk or a swim the river. This is a self- guided walk, well signposted from the park entrance before continuing to Wellington.
Upon arrival in Wellington, head straight up to Mount Vitoria and enjoy the views over Wellington with its scenic location, surrounded by hills and mountains. While the top of Mount Victoria was not a Lord of the Rings location, the forest around the hill was (“Outer Shire”). You can even re-enact the scene where Frodo sits in the tree smoking a pipe!
The rest of the evening is free at your leisure.
Total drive time: 4.5hours
New Zealand's charming city by the sea, Wellington is often looked to as the country's cultural epicenter. It is also where New Zealand's government calls home, making this cool little capital a place many Kiwis think about often, even if they don't live here. Many of them do, however, and this city with a small town-feel actually is the second most populous in the country behind Auckland. The city is beautiful; it wraps itself carefully around a curved shore, and up onto rolling hills. Those spending a night or two here will find a culture revolving around good food, beer, music and great times.
After checking out of your hotel, you will take a short drive to the Wellington Airport where you will turn in your rental car. Afterward, you will take a flight from Wellington over the Cook Strait to Christchurch. (This service is on a private basis.)
Welcome to Christchurch! You will pick up your new rental car from the airport terminal and drive to Christchurch. This afternoon, check into your hotel and take the rest of the day free at your leisure.
While most of New Zealand is characterized by Asian, Polynesian, Maori or other blends of culture, Christchurch remains distinctly English in attitude. Quaintness defines its gardens, parks and streets. Christchurch is also a city in recovery. Since the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, new business and development has slowly been coming back to town. For the outside observer, it's interesting to see some 21st century ideas for artful development rise alongside established 20th century buildings.
Today you will have one of the most scenic drives! Drive on the Scenic Inland Highway 72 towards Geraldine and stop at the impressive Rakaia River Gorge. Travel through the rich pastures of the crop, dairy, and sheep farming land – the patchwork quilt of the Canterbury Plains. In Mount Somers, take a detour onto Ashburton Gorge Road and further to Hakatere Potts Road which leads to Ashburton’s High Country where Mount Sunday sits, a sheer-sided hill that was the set for “Edoras”, the main city of the “Rohan” people. Nothing remains of this set, which took 9 months to build, however, the location still has powerful magic. You can park your car on Hakatere Road and walk to the site. Nearby Mount Potts Station has a restaurant where you can eat and rest.
Return via Hakatere Road back to State Highway 72 to Mount Somers and continue towards Lake Tekapo with its stunning turquoise waters and the famous ‘Church of the Good Shepherd’ before you traverse the Mackenzie High Country towards Twizel. Sir Peter Jackson chose this part of the Southern Alps as the setting for ‘Lake Town’ in ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ as well as the backdrop for major location scenes in all Lord of the Rings- and Hobbit movies.
Spend the rest of the evening in Twizel discovering it's magic or relaxing in the city at your own pace.
Total drive time: 3 hours
Witness Gondor in all its beauty! Before heading towards Queenstown, you will join a small guided tour through many of the famous Lord of the Rings locations. Places such as where the “Battle of Pelennor Fields” and “Gondor” where many scenes from the “Return of the King” and “The Hobbit” were filmed. This includes the largest ever day filming in the LOTR trilogy with over 1500 actors and crew involved. These LOTR location sites are on private land are otherwise not accessible to the public.
Continue in the early afternoon towards Queenstown.
You will make a stop at Kawarau Gorge, just before you arrive in Queenstown. You will recognize the Scenery known as “Anduin River” that the Fellowship of the Ring paddled down to be greeted by two giant statues on either side of the river. Unfortunately, the statues were added in post-production, but Kawarau Gorge is still spectacular and worth a stop. Different marked walks along Kawarau Gorge can be started from Kawarau Bungy jump bridge.
Proceed to Queenstown in the late afternoon. The alpine resort of Queenstown is exciting, sophisticated and fantastically scenic. Queenstown sits on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu (one of the clearest, and coldest, lakes in the world!), captivated by the majestic beauty of the surrounding mountains and rivers. It is rumored that gold prospectors gave this cosmopolitan town its name.
Spend the evening in Queenstown at your own leisure.
Total drive time: 3 hours
You've heard about all the adventure opportunities in New Zealand from your friends (the crazy ones at least) and you'd like to catch the adrenaline wave yourself. You want to go to Queenstown. Apart from the bungee jumping, paragliding, biking, rafting and all the other things you never thought you'd do, Queenstown is also where the adrenaline industry lives. It doesn't take long after learning this to realize that Queenstown is also a party town. Whether you're adventuring in the day, or burning the midnight oil, you will never be bored in Queenstown, and this small city between lake shores and mountain peaks will likely be the highlight of your time in New Zealand.
Go on an adventure safari packed with breathtaking scenery, thrilling 4WD action, and lots of LOTR filming locations! On this 4-hour tour this morning, you will discover and tour around Wakatipu Basin! Visit the filming locations of Minas Tirith, Misty Mountains, the Pillars of the Kings (“Argonath”), Gladden Fields, the Ford of Bruinen and many more. Travel on a historic gold mining road, following the Arrow River and stop for an opportunity to try your hand at gold panning. The scenery here is among the most spectacular in New Zealand.
A highly scenic tour awaits you today! Enjoy breathtaking mountain and forest views along the shore of Lake Wakatipu towards Glenorchy and the Paradise Valley. You will visit the filming locations for Isengard, the Ithilien Camp, Lothlorien & Fanghorn forest, and the Seat of Seeing/Battle of Amon Hen. Another highlight will be Paradise Forest ‘The Forest of Middle Earth’ and many more! You can even bring the films to life with movie props provided – dress up and take photos in replica clothes.
After the magical tour, you will return to your hotel for a relaxing night.
Rise and shine! Today you might want to get an early start for the scenic drive along Lake Wakatipu and via the small settlements of Kingston and Mossburn to Te Anau. This place has some of the most beautiful and peaceful shores.
Around 15km outside of Te Anau, via State Highway 95, is another LOTR filming location. The Waiau River which was used for “River Anduin” as the Fellowship paddled south from Lothlorien. The surrounding high peaks were used to depict the rough country south of Rivendell. You can also discover Fangorn Forest on Takaro Road, 20km north-west of Te Anau. Both sides of the road were filmed as Fangorn Forest; remote cameras were strung from high wires to film Aragorn moving through the trees. These are unguided self-walks, allow plenty of time to move between locations and back to Te Anau.
Enjoy the evening at your own leisure in Te Anau.
Total drive time: 4 hours
The picturesque township of Te Anau is the main visitor base for the glacier-carved wilderness that is Fiordland National Park. Home to a wide range of accommodation including lodges, hotels and campgrounds, Te Anau is the perfect place to stay when visiting Milford Sound.
Enjoy amazing New Zealand highlights today before going back to Queenstown. Drive on the highly scenic Milford Road towards Milford Sound. There are plenty of sights to see along the way to make sure you have plenty of time! You might want to stop at Eglinton Valley, a huge stunning valley formed by a glacier and the famous “Mirror Lakes”. On a calm day, almost perfect reflections can be seen in these appropriately named Mirror Lakes. There is a well-signposted boardwalk to get to the best photo spots.
Continue towards Milford Sound via Knobs Flat and Homer Tunnel. The scenery here is stunning! The lakeside vistas are framed by the rugged face of a magnificent mountain range appropriately named The Remarkables. Easy rolling countryside soon leads you to the shores of Lake Te Anau, the biggest of the South Island’s many lakes.
Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. Milford Sound is breathtaking in any weather. The fjord’s cliffs rise vertically from
the dark waters, and mountain peaks scrape the sky! The amazing waterfalls cascade downwards, some as high as 1000 meters. Board the ‘Milford Adventurer’ a premium vessel featuring Luxury Lounge Suites, for a panoramic 1.45hr boat tour of Milford Sound. During your boat tour, enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in stunning views.
Return to Queenstown via Te Anau in the early evening, please allow around 5 hours for your drive back.
Although your adventure must come to an end today, you will be leaving with new friends, amazing experiences and memories to cherish for the rest of your life. Once you have checked out of your hotel in Queenstown, you will drive to the airport and return your rental car. You will then head to the gates in good time to board your international departure flight.
We wish you safe and happy travels home! (This service is on a private basis.)
Simple, sophisticated, and designed for comfort. Copthorne Hotel Auckland City is centrally located, making it the perfect base to explore the city or attend conferences. Nearby you’ll find Queen Street shopping, the Central Business District, and the University of Auckland. Our hotel is just a 10-minute walk away from the Viaduct Basin and Spark Arena. The hotel has 106 guest rooms and 4 luxury suites. All our accommodation is uniquely equipped with soundproof ‘hush windows’—designed to ensure the utmost privacy and comfort. Best of all, enjoy the beautiful seascape or city view from the in-room balconies. For hunger pangs and nightcaps visit Jimmy Cook's Kiwi Kitchen, a casual spot serving up some of the most delicious local fares with an extensive wine, beer, and cocktail menu.
Distinction Rotorua Hotel offers 4-star hotel rooms for every budget. From a simple superior room to an elegant suite, there are a range of refurbished accommodation options to suit your needs. Families can choose one of our purpose-built family hotel rooms with 2 bedrooms, or the option of interconnecting superior rooms. For the business traveller, we have corporate deluxe rooms to relax in after your day of work. The more spacious 'smart' suite accommodation, featuring high definition, internet compatible smart televisions in both the bedroom and living areas. Distinction Rotorua Hotel are pleased to offer guests FREE unlimited high speed WiFi during your stay.
Situated at a picture perfect lake edge location, the welcoming Taupo Hotel and Resort presents you with uninterrupted views of the magnificent lake and mountains from guest rooms, restaurants and bar areas. The hotel is luxuriously furnished with an ambiance and art collection to delight all visitors. The Millennium Hotel and Resort Manuels Taupo is only minutes from the many Taupo attractions and activities, including Huka Falls, hot thermal pools and four wonderful golf courses, two of which are of international standard. Also on property are restaurants offering superb award-winning cuisine. So, come and relax, unwind or exhilarate - it is all on your doorstep.
Since opening in 2006, The Park Hotel Ruapehu has transformed itself into a lodge designed with travelers, adventurers and families in mind. It is the newest accommodation provider in National Park and offers the biggest variety of accommodation there. From spacious hotel style rooms, to self catered family rooms and premium dorm style bunk rooms, there is an accommodation style to suit every travelers needs and budget. Onsite facilities include a fantastic Spiral Railway themed bar, restaurant, self catering kitchen, guest TV lounge, dining area, large open fireplaces, spa pools, wireless internet and much more! It is also the ideal base for exploring New Zealand's most popular one day walk - The Tongariro Crossing.
Modern studios & apartments in the heart of Wellington's CBD with FREE unlimited WiFi. The ideal base for business or leisure, the 4.5 star Wellington hotel offers 89 stylish and contemporary apartments, from studio rooms to 2 bedroom apartments, and stunning penthouse suites. Located in the heart of Wellington city, on the doorstep of key Wellington attractions, Distinction Wellington Hotel is only a few minutes walk to the shopping and restaurants of Courtney Place and Cuba Street, and only ten minutes' walk to Te Papa Museum and the waterfront. Whether you're here on business or busy sightseeing on holiday you'll love our central Wellington location. Each room boasts stylish contemporary design, superior space, and all the modern conveniences including kitchen and laundry facilities (with the exception of the Studio Rooms); as well as comforts such as leather lounge suites, LCD TV's, balconies and FREE unlimited WiFi for guests during their stay. Undercover car parking is available at a cost of $20 per day, reserve your parking prior to arrival to avoid disappointment.
The distinctive Tudor-style architecture of Christchurch's Heartland Hotel Cotswold reflects Christchurch's image as the most English of cities outside England. This classic charm is carried throughout the hotel with understated style. Christchurch hotel is warm and welcoming, and the perfect place to relax during your visit to Christchurch. The spacious grounds feature award-winning gardens and there is always a seat waiting for you in the Earl of Essex Bar. Our 3-star plus hotel is located on the edge of Christchurch's CBD, making it an easy stroll to boutique shopping at Merivale Mall, Christchurch Casino, and the beautiful Hagley Park. Just 20 minutes drive from Christchurch airport, Heartland Hotel Cotswold is well positioned for travelers here for business or leisure. Rooms are light and spacious, and all come with a dining area and comfortable couches and chairs. Free parking is available on the property. Larger suites are perfect for families and small groups. Up to 2 children (aged 12 and under) stay free when using existing bedding. Cots are available free of charge at the hotel for infants (subject to availability). Additional facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, gym, and sauna. Business and Conference facilities are also available.
Located in the heart of the Mackenzie region, a unique area of New Zealand's South Island. Featuring natural stonework, the architecture beautifully reflects and compliments the mountains and riverbeds of the surrounding landscape. There are 108 comfortably furnished guest rooms, all with shower over bath ensuites and private balconies/patios from which to admire the glorious mountain views. The hotel also features its own restaurant, bar, and modern conference facilities. The MacKenzie Country Hotel is the ideal location for your family holiday, ski trip, honeymoon escape, getaway, wedding, or business conference.
Copthorne Hotel and Resort Lakefront is a year round resort on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and within walking distance of Queenstown’s central shopping and entertainment area. This beautiful and modern property offers 240 guest rooms and a bar and restaurant for guest enjoyment. The resort creates the ideal blend of superior facilities and comfort, with friendly, personalized service. Admire the panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountain peaks throughout your stay, for an experience you won't ever forget!
Set amongst manicured gardens on the tranquil shores of Lake Te Anau, Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau is the ideal base for exploring the scenic wonders of the region. From our hotel, you can explore the cliffs and waterfalls, cruise deep within the Fiordland into Milford Sound, traverse across the mysterious Manapouri Lake, or get lost in the magical Glowworm Caves. Featuring 94 modern guest rooms, with double beds and adjoining rooms for families, a stay in our hotel lets you discover the pristine beauty of this region and so much more.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.
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