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14 Day Wonders of New Zealand 2019-2020 (Wednesday Departure)

14 days with Gate 1 Travel   Rating: First Class

Click for Dates and Prices

DAY 1, Wednesday - Depart for New Zealand
Depart for New Zealand.

DAY 2, Thursday - En Route
Cross the International date line en route to New Zealand and skip a day ahead.

DAY 3, Friday - Arrive in Auckland
Welcome to New Zealand! Arrive in Auckland, the country's largest city, often called the "City of Sails" because of its lovely harborside location, and transfer to your hotel. This evening, attend an orientation meeting at approximately 6 pm with your Tour Manager on the exciting adventure that awaits you in New Zealand, followed by a Welcome Dinner and drinks with your fellow travelers. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 4 pm on Day 3 of the itinerary, if possible. (Dinner)

DAY 4, Saturday - Waitomo Caves, Rotorua, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park
From Auckland, travel south through the fertile Waikato Plains to Waitomo. A unique experience is in store for you at the astonishing Waitomo Caves, home to swirling rivers, glow worms and rocks that flow into delicate shawl-like formations. After lunch, drive to Rotorua, home of fascinating Maori culture, hot springs and boiling mud pools. Upon arrival, check into your hotel. Later, visit the geothermal wonderland of the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park. Walk through New Zealand's most colorful geothermal attraction, with its steaming geysers and bubbling hot springs. Tonight, savor a home-hosted dinner with a local family and experience a unique opportunity to learn about their values and traditions. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 5, Sunday - Te Puia Thermal Reserve, "Hangi" Feast Dinner 
Morning is at leisure for independent explorations in Rotorua, or join the optional Hobbiton tour. Travel through the spectacular North Island scenery to Matamata, home to the Hobbiton movie set. Take a guided tour around the set and view Hobbit holes, the Party Tree, the Mill, and the Green Dragon Inn. In the afternoon, journey to Te Puia, in Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, set amidst a landscape of erupting geothermal activity and thermal springs. Discover the unique lifestyle and traditions of the Maori and witness the phenomena of Mother Nature and how the Maori people live in harmony within this unique landscape and environment. You'll meet with a member of the local Maori tribe who shares the many aspects of traditional wood carving and its importance within the Maori culture. In the village observe the weaving demonstrations and traditional ways of creating piupiu (grass skirts). You’ll visit the kiwi house to view the nocturnal kiwi bird before continuing to the boiling mud pools and geysers. Then, enjoy a traditional Haka ceremony and Maori concert. Afterward, enjoy an authentically prepared Hangi dinner, cooked in the steaming ground and hot pools, ending with the most delectable steamed dessert. Tonight will indeed be a memorable and authentic Maori experience! (Breakfast, Dinner)

Optional: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour (AM) 

DAY 6, Monday - Napier, Wine Tasting
From Rotorua, journey through breathtaking scenery to the coastal city of Napier. Begin the drive heading south through rolling sheep-dotted hills and farmland. Marvel at picture-perfect views of Lake Taupo before continuing southeast along the Thermal Explorer Highway. The road leads into dramatic tree-covered mountains, rugged hills and at times alongside rushing rivers. On the descent through farmland and orchards, get your first glimpse of beautiful Hawkes Bay before arriving at Napier. This lovely city is famous for its wines and Art Deco architecture. The area is known as the fruit bowl of New Zealand with perfect conditions for world-class wine and produce. Tonight, taste some of the finest wines of the area and savor a delectable dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 7, Tuesday - Dannevirke, Pukaha Mt Bruce National Reserve, Wellington
After breakfast this morning, depart Napier and drive through Wairarapa district to Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, located at the southern end of the North Island. Along the way, stop for tea at Dannevirke, a town well-known for its Scandinavian heritage. Continue to Pukaha Mount Bruce National Reserve, housing rare birds in an area of protected forest. Take a guided walk in the forest and learn about New Zealand's unique flora and fauna. Learn about the reserve's work to restore the forest and bring endangered birds back into the countryside. After your visit, drive to Wellington. Arrive and check into your hotel. Later, take a ride on the historic Wellington Cable Car, that begins on Lambton Quay in the city center, and ends in the charming suburb of Kelburn. The cable car has been operating since 1902, providing panoramic views over Wellington. Share highlights of today's experiences during dinner tonight. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 8, Wednesday - Morning at Leisure, Culinary Walking Tour
Morning is at leisure for independent explorations in Wellington. In the afternoon, embark on a culinary adventure around Wellington City and sample a range of delicious local food and drinks. During this walking tour, you’ll gain insights into the city’s history, its unique culinary scene, chat with local artisans and hear their stories. At the conclusion of the tour, return to the hotel. Tonight, discover Wellington's vibrant nightlife. (Breakfast)

DAY 9, Thursday - Flight to Christchurch and Walking Tour
Transfer to the airport this morning, for your flight to Christchurch, in the South Island. The city, is the second largest in New Zealand. Often referred to as the most English of New Zealand's cities, it is also known as the "Garden City", because of its majestic trees and extensive parks and gardens, including expansive Hagley Park in the heart of the city. Arrive in Christchurch and transfer to the hotel. Afterward, take an orientation walking tour of the city. Balance of the day is at leisure for independent explorations. (Breakfast)

DAY 10, Friday - TranzAlpine Scenic Train to Greymouth, Franz Josef
This morning, board the most scenic train ride in New Zealand, and one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. Traveling west crossing the farmland of the Canterbury Plains, ascend through spectacular gorges and river valleys towards the Southern Alps. Arrive at the village of Arthurs Pass for a short break before descending through the Otira Tunnel and lush beech rainforests to Greymouth in the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. Drive to Franz Josef and check into your hotel. Admire views of the famous glacier discovered by Europeans in 1865, named after the Austrian emperor. Although the glacier has retreated considerably, its frozen past is still visible in the present landscape. Dinner is at the hotel tonight. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 11, Saturday - Franz Josef Glacier Walk, Queenstown, Kiwi Birdlife Park
Embark on a thrilling adventure. Your experienced and knowledgeable guide will lead you on an adventurous walk in the Franz Josef Glacier valley. Learn more about the role of the glacier in shaping this remarkable landscape as you continue through the regenerating rainforest and along the glacier valley up to the receding terminal face of the glacier. Later, drive to Queenstown, named for Queen Victoria, surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown's stunning scenery is inspiring and revitalizing. The city is acclaimed by international travelers and "kiwis" alike as New Zealand's adventure capital. Visit the Kiwi Birdlife Park, a wildlife sanctuary located in the heart of Queenstown. Observe more than 20 endemic species, including New Zealand’s namesake, the kiwi. Attend a Kiwi Birdlife lecture and learn more about this flightless bird. For kiwi bird viewing, visit the specially designed nocturnal enclosures. Tonight, dinner is at a local restaurant. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 12, Sunday - Mt Nicholas Farm Experience
Enjoy a cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Mt Nicholas High Country Farm on board Spirit of Queenstown for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes visit to an authentic, family-run merino sheep farm. Tour the farm, that is home to 30,000 merino sheep, view the working animals and learn about raising sheep and producing merino wool. Afterward, savor a freshly prepared Farmers Platter for lunch. Soak in the surrounding panoramic views in one of New Zealand’s most rugged and remote high country farms before returning on a catamaran cruise to Queenstown. The balance of the day is at leisure to discover picturesque Queenstown on your own. Tonight, join the optional Stargazing Experience with dinner. After a meal of iconic New Zealand dishes, experience the clear skies of Queenstown as the setting for your stargazing encounter. Using state of the art telescopes, take a guided tour of our galaxy and learn about the southern skies and how to navigate using the Southern Cross constellation as your guide. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Optional: Stargazing Experience with dinner (PM)

DAY 13, Monday - Milford Sound, Te Anau
Depart Queenstown for picturesque Te Anau, gateway to Milford Sound. Nestled on the lake's edge, it's the perfect base from which to discover the spectacular glacier-carved wilderness of Fiordland National Park. Follow the glacier-hewn Eglinton River Valley into a magnificent beech forest before descending into the precipitous Hollyford Valley. Tussock and scrub replace the bush as the road climbs steadily up the Hollyford to the gigantic cirque where sheer rock faces dwarf the Homer Tunnel portal beneath. Beyond the tunnel, you descend into the Cleddau Canyon, between towering, rugged mountains and forests, until the road comes out into the open at spectacular Milford Sound. After lunch, board your cruise on Milford Sound and be surrounded by astonishing scenery from atop the viewing decks. An informative commentary on the natural history and wildlife follows you as you stop at waterfalls and points of interest along the way. Afterward, check into your hotel in Te Anau. Tonight, share wonderful memories together on your last night in New Zealand. Bid goodbye to your Tour Manager and newfound friends at a Farewell Dinner in the hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 14, Tuesday - Depart New Zealand
Your vacation ends today after breakfast. (Breakfast)

All This Included
  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • Intra-flight: Wellington-Christchurch
  • 11 nights accommodations
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • 22 meals: 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 8 dinners (including welcome, home-hosted & farewell dinners)
  • Beer and wine included with all dinners
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features


  • Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
  • Descend into the astonishing Waitomo Caves with its swirling rivers and glow worms
  • Visit Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Park and admire its steaming geysers
  • Home hosted dinner in a traditional New Zealand home
  • Enjoy a traditionally prepared "Hangi" dinner, cooked in the steaming ground
  • Enjoy delightful Christchurch, the "most-English" city in the country
  • Take in the stunning landscape of the South Island aboard the TranzAlpine train
  • Experience the dynamic environment at the Franz Josef Glacier
  • Explore the dazzling city of Queenstown, the country's adventure capital
  • Tour a family-run working merino sheep farm
  • Cruise on spectacular Milford Sound, surrounded by breathtaking scenery

†Transfers are available for purchase for land only or on alternative flight dates

Auckland: Rydges Auckland
Rotorua: Millennium Hotel Rotorua
Napier: Scenic Hotel Te Pania
Wellington: Grand Mercure Wellington
Christchurch: Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square
Franz Josef: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Queenstown: Scenic Suites Queenstown Hotel
Te Anau: Distinction Luxmore Hotel Lake Te Anau or Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas
  • Land only price does not include arrival transfer, but does include departure transfer and flight Wellington-Christchurch. Passengers should select flights on Day 14 from Queenstown that depart no earlier than 1 PM due to scheduled coach transfer time. Passengers departing before this time will be required to purchase a private transfer or take a taxi locally.
  • Triple rooms are not available for this package.
  • This is a moderately active trip. Our small group covers a lot of ground each day, and we spend four to five hours on our feet during tours. The overall pace is moderate. Some of our tours require walking for up to three hours, including going up hills, stairs, and uneven surfaces. This tour is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking. Some hotels in Franz Josef, Queenstown, and Te Anau are built in the traditional local style and have no air-conditioning. During heat waves, these hotels can become uncomfortable. This is a Small Group program.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.