A New Zealand vacation offers outstanding experiences- including hiking and helicopter adventures, golfing, hot air ballooning, gourmet cuisine and wine trails.
Renowned for its clean green environment and remarkable scenic beauty, New Zealand is set in the azure seas of the South Pacific Ocean. Spend ten days exploring the rugged mountains, ancient glaciers, the beaches, the bays and the bush! Cairn Travels is thrilled to send you on this bucket list vacation!
Day 1: Welcome to Auckland! Upon arrival, you will be transferred by private vehicle to the Auckland Ferry Terminal. Forty minutes by ferry from downtown Auckland, the idyllic island of Waiheke provides a welcome haven with its magnificent beaches and warm, inviting island lifestyle. Rich in natural beauty, Waiheke’s coastline unfolds to reveal stunning white and golden sand beaches, rocky foreshores and estuaries rich in native birdlife. Stands of lush sub-tropical forest are bounded by farmland and vineyards.
Accommodations for the next two evenings is a spacious bungalow at a boutique hotel, sitting just above the sun-drenched bay and white sandy beaches of Oneroa. You will love the casual and elegant atmosphere which works in perfect harmony with this seaside location.
Day 2: After breakfast, a private driver will escort you to a food and wine tour of the island. An expert guide, intimately familiar with Waiheke’s history, will introduce you to the culture, people and produce as well as a great wine enthusiast. Enjoy succulent fresh oysters, award-winning olive oil and other locally-produced specialty foods, accompanied by wines from some of the Island’s top boutique vineyards.
Continue to a winery and enjoy a vineyard platter lunch. Following lunch (if time allows), visit the local village and browse the boutique shops, art galleries or take a stroll along the beach.
Day 3: After breakfast, a driver will transport you to the ferry terminal headed back to Auckland. There, collect your mid size 4WD automatic rental vehicle including daily insurance, unlimited miles, accident excess reduction and GPS. Enjoy a scenic 2.5 hour drive south to Hobbiton. Be a part of a fascinating shared guided tour of Hobbiton Movie Set. Step into the lush pastures of ‘The Shire’, discovering the real ‘Middle Earth’ from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.
The next two evenings include a stay at Rotorua’s most stylish hotel. This boutique hotel has been designed with the modern traveler in mind. Take time to relax with a cocktail by the heated pool or soaking in the restorative mineral pool.
Day 4: Today visit the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and Te Puia Thermal Valley. Exploding from the ground up to 100 feet high is the world famous Pohutu Geyser – an awesome display of mother nature’s power. See silica terraces, bubbling mud pools and unique geothermal vegetation – each of the geothermal wonders is woven into a legend surrounded by memories and sometimes mystery.
Be witness to an enlightening Maori cultural experience, beginning with a ceremonial welcoming performance and a stunning Kapa Haka cultural show featuring traditional ancestral storytelling, song and dance.
This afternoon enjoy a guided small group eco-adventure excursion through the evergreen native forests of the Mamaku Plateau only minutes from Rotorua. Experience one of the North Island’s last remaining remnants of untouched forest in the most exciting and unique of ways.
This afternoon, kiwi guides will lead your small group on a personal and unforgettable adventure. Not for the faint of heart, this experience is a step up in zipline adventure level and incorporates some incredible new features that will blow you away. Take on the sights, smells and sounds of the forest on a tour where you will see tree and bird species not seen on any other country on earth, centuries old giant trees, monster tree ferns and perching plants dominate the landscape that has never been modified by human beings. The journey traverses a network of ziplines, walking trails, suspended bridges, treetop platforms and a clifftop walkway 150 feet above the surroundings.
Day 5: This morning drive to a short 15 minutes to Rotorua Airport and return the rental vehicle prior to your onward flight. On arrival at Christchurch Airport collect a mid size 4WD automatic rental vehicle will be ready for you to drive the four hour scenic route south towards Mount Cook and to your accommodations for the next two evenings.
The hotel is in a national park surrounded by towering peaks, and glaciers. Watch the sunset while enjoying sumptuous culinary delights. This evening, gaze at the beautiful southern night sky using the naked eye, state of the art astronomy telescopes and binoculars at the outdoor viewing platform.
Day 6: Today, combine the excitement of walking, hiking or snowshoeing on New Zealand’s biggest glacier with the thrill of breathtaking scenic helicopter flybys of New Zealand’s largest mountain, Aoraki Mount Cook. You will fly in to your drop off point on a remote part of the glacier.
Once your crampons are fitted, explore the amazing ice formations, following your guide as they cut steps in the glacier, using skills handed down from New Zealand’s mountain pioneers. As the glacier is changing all the time these experienced guides are always finding something new and interesting to show you.
Day 7: After breakfast, drive south on a scenic 3.5 hour drive south to the adventure capital Queenstown and onto your accommodations. For the next three evenings, relax at a Victorian villa dating back to 1888. Included along with breakfast are refreshments throughout the day, pre dinner drinks and canapés at this well appointed hotel.
Day 8: After breakfast, you are in for a treat! You will be met at your accommodation and transferred to Queenstown Airport to enjoy your shared excursion to majestic Milford Sound by fixed wing aircraft. Become awe struck on a scenic flight to Milford Sound viewing hanging valleys, alpine lakes, and cloud-piercing summits.
After landing, join a 1 hour 45 minute shared guided nature cruise & lunch on which you will view plant and wildlife. You may have the opportunity to see seals, birds, rare dolphins, and penguins. Be amazed by the size and grandeur of the fiord’s cliff faces rising hundreds of feet out of the water.
Day 9: Today is the last day in New Zealand and there is a plethora of activities! Ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for the best views over the town, hike the variety of landscapes available, play on Queenstown’s world class golf courses, brave the iconic Kiwi adrenaline activity-bungy jumping, skydiving, canyoning, white water rafting, quad biking and so much more.
Day 10: Today drive to Queenstown Airport and return the rental vehicle prior to your onward flight.