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Spectacular New Zealand

9 days

Never more than 16 guests OR Travel Privately

Overall Rating
based on 53 Reviews

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Our Distinctive A+R Style

+ Wake up to some of the most stunning scenery on Earth on our naturalist-guided overnight cruise deep into Milford Sound.
+ Step aboard a turn-of-the-century steamer and cruise across Lake Wakatipu to spend time on a working sheep-station homestead.
+ Venture by 4WD into Middle Earth, the breathtaking and awe-inspiring setting for The Lord of the Rings films.
+ Embark on a thrilling jetboat adventure through the spectacular rocky gorges of the Shotover River.
+ Savor the bounty of the South Island, from wine tasting on vineyard estates to our congenial farm-to-table dining.
+ Delight in the very English ambiance of Christchurch and sit down to a convivial dinner with a local family.
+ With 7 nights in boutique hotels + overnight Milford Sound cruise; 17 meals with wine at dinner; comprehensive sightseeing; all transfers; port charges; and all gratuities except Trip Leader.

Visit 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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Upon arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the 5-star St. Moritz Hotel. This evening, join your guide and fellow guests for a welcome drink and dinner at the hotel. Meals D
 

This morning’s excursion to Glenorchy finds you on the northern end of Lake Wakatipu in a region of towering mountain ranges and old beech forests. Setting out in comfortable and maneuverable 4WD vehicles with skilled professional drivers, you’ll have ample time to take in these magnificent landscapes, including several sites that were featured in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
 
Back in town, the Skyline Gondola will take you to the top of Bob's Peak, nearly 1,500 feet above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. This is the steepest cable car ascent in the Southern Hemisphere and offers breathtaking views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Walter and Cecil Peaks and, of course, Queenstown. After lunch on the Peak, a thrilling jetboat ride through the picturesque canyons of the Shotover River promises an unforgettable afternoon adventure.  Meals B+L
 

After breakfast, you’ll spend this day exploring Queenstown and its surrounding countryside. At the Kiwi Bird Park, you’ll have a chance to observe and learn about some of New Zealand’s indigenous wildlife including the Brown Kiwi, Tuatara Lizard, and the colorfully plumed Rainbow Lorikeet.
 
Next up is historic Arrowtown. Founded in the heady days of the Gold Rush, this charming leafy town is nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. Take some time to stroll along Buckingham Street with its heritage buildings and old miners’ cottages – many of them now home to inviting galleries, shops and cafes.  

Later this afternoon, you’ll board the TSS Earnslaw, a turn-of-the-century steamer, for a cruise across beautiful Lake Wakatipu. Step off at a working high-country homestead where you’ll see highly trained sheep dogs in action and enjoy a delightful lakeside dinner with fine New Zealand wine. Meals B+D
 

Day
4

Cruise through Milford Sound

Milford Mariner

This morning’s drive begins along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and takes you through the amazing Homer Tunnel that opened in 1953. Continue through the spectacular glacier-carved Eglington Valley into Fiordland National Park to embark your overnight cruise aboard the comfortable Milford Mariner.
 
As you journey the full length of Milford Sound, our ship’s expert naturalists are on hand to explain the history and geology of the region and to answer your questions. You’ll have plenty of time to take in the fjord’s pristine waterfalls, rainforests and soaring mountain peaks - and with sharp eyes, you might observe seals and possibly even dolphins and penguins. Anchoring in a sheltered cover, you’ll be able to join our naturalist guides to explore in the Mariner’s tender or by kayak.

Featuring two levels of open decks and comfortable public spaces with panoramic picture windows, the Mariner is designed to surround you with the beauty and sounds of nature! You’re encouraged to take advantage of these inviting public areas as staterooms are small and simply furnished; there is a rectangular porthole so you won’t miss a bit of the scenery even when you spend time in your cabin. Tonight after a delicious carvery buffet, you can relax in the company of your fellow passengers or hit the deck to observe the constellations of the Southern Sky.
Meals B+D
 

After breakfast onboard the Mariner, we’ll step off ship and travel to the Punanga Manu o Te Anau Bird Sanctuary. Set on the shores of Lake Te Anau, this is a terrific place to observe an abundant variety of indigenous birds that are otherwise difficult to see in their native wilderness habitats. In addition to colorful forest parrots, warblers,  paradise shelducks, fantails and bellbirds, the star of the sanctuary is the rare, flightless Takahe - once thought to be extinct here on the South Island. We’ll tour the Sanctuary and learn about their captive breeding and rehabilitation programs that aim to reintroduce healthy birds into the wilderness. 

After lunch in Te Anau, our afternoon sightseeing takes us into spectacular Kawarau Valley, home to the famous Bungy Bridge where two daring adventurers launched the worldwide bungee jumping craze in 1988. The day’s journey ends at Oliver’s Hotel, set on an authentic 19th-century homestead in historic Clyde.  Meals B+L
 

Day
6

With fruit orchards, waterways and rolling hills, Central Otago is one of New Zealand’s loveliest and most bountiful agricultural areas. After breakfast, you’ll begin your exploration at a lively farmers market in Cromwell, a charming and historic town founded during the Gold Rush days of the 1800’s. At one of the area’s local orchards, you’ll have a chance to sample some of the region’s bounty. Then enjoy a guided tour, wine tasting and lunch at a nearby vineyard estate.
 
In the mid 1800’s, this region also witnessed New Zealand’s first major gold rush and fortune seekers and adventurers poured into the region to dig for gold. This afternoon’s tour at the Goldfields Mining Center immerses you in this colorful chapter of the island’s history. You can follow paths along the Kawarau Gorge to the mine shafts that were excavated more than a century ago and see the land laid bare by ground sluicing. Gold nuggets can still be found in the soil and you might even try our luck as you try your hand at gold panning! Enjoy a congenial dinner and another tranquil night in Clyde.  Meals B+L+D
 

Departing Clyde this morning, our first stop of the day will be the Maori Point Vineyard. Against a lovely mountain backdrop, we’ll enjoy a guided tour of the estate as we learn about the viticulture traditions of Central Otago, one of New Zealand’s premier wine-producing areas. Paired with local products including dried fruits, nuts, pâté, artisanal cheese and freshly baked bread, we’ll sample four of their award-winning wines including Pinot Noir and a desert wine to finish.

Then we’ll continue through the Lindis Pass at an altitude of 3,800 feet and make our way through the Mackenzie Basin – a land of powder blue lakes and wide-open grasslands set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains.

Arriving in the beautiful Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park, you’ll check in to the comfortable Hermitage Hotel in time for an available Mt. cook flightseeing adventure, and the thrill of seeing New Zealand's highest peak from the air. Tonight after dinner, the absence of ambient light makes the Aoraki MacKenzie International Dark Sky Reserve one of the best places to view the Southern Constellations.  Meals B+D
 

Day
8

Canterbury Plains to the Garden City

The George - Christchurch, New Zealand

After breakfast, you'll have some free time to enjoy the delightful setting of our hotel. A pleasant stroll on the landscaped grounds or through the surrounding alpine meadows would offer a chance to take in the fresh mountain air and marvelous views of the soaring terrain. Later, you’ll depart the National Park to journey over the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.
 
With its lovely parks and handsome Gothic buildings, there's a delightful, very English ambience to Christchurch. In contrast, the Cardboard Cathedral designed by Shigeru Ban in 2011 is a marvel of 21st-century architectural design and ingenuity, constructed of paper tubes, re-purposed shipping containers and a lightweight outer skin. Upon arrival, you'll set out to see the town's architectural landmarks and the Botanic Gardens - founded in 1863 with the planting of a single English oak tree. From this humble beginning, the garden has grown to encompass mature trees, expansive lawns and 10 different gardens set within a loop of the gently flowing Avon River. This evening, you’ll be the guests of a Christchurch family in their lovely home. Congenial conversation with your hosts and perhaps a few of their friends will accompany a wonderful home-cooked meal of traditional New Zealand fare.
 
Overnight at The George, a luxury boutique hotel on the Avon River.  Meals B+D
 

Day
9

Depart Christchurch

Transfer to the airport for your homeward flight. Or continue your adventure with our 12-day Small Group Journey to Australia. Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Begin in Australia

12-day Pre-Tour Extension from $7,699

In an intimate group of never more than 16 guests, our Australia Explorer tour fits perfectly before your travels in New Zealand. With our expert Down Under guides, you’ll experience the diversity of their native land – from Ayers Rock and the Great Barrier Reef to its iconic cities, cuisine and wine.

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Day
1

Welcome to Melbourne

On arrival, you’ll be escorted to the sophisticated 5-star Sofitel on Collins. Gather this evening for a welcome cocktail reception.

Day
2

Discover Melbourne

See the city’s Victorian architecture and tour the Royal Botanic Garden. Then visit the Shrine of Remembrance to learn about Australia’s wartime history before exploring the beachfront promenade in the charming coastal enclave of St. Kilda. Back in the city, you’ll sample the fine confections of a patisserie in the elegant Royal Arcade that opened 1870. This evening, enjoy fine dining, local wine and the waterfront setting of Berth. Meals B+D

Day
3

The Mornington Peninsula

Discover the tranquil fishing hamlets, picturesque farms and award-winning wineries of the Mornington Peninsula. Tour Green Olive, a family farm and vineyard, and sit down to a congenial farm-to-table lunch with wine. From Arthur’s Seat, you’ll have spectacular views of Port Phillip Bay. Meals B+L

Day
4

Fly to Queensland

Fly to Cairns and visit the mountain village of Kuranda. With two stops, the 4.5-mile long Skyrail Cableway shows you the forest floor and the rainforest canopy deep in the Wet Tropics of Queensland . Continue to Palm Cove on the coast just north of Cairns and check in to the Peppers Beach Club & Spa. Meals B

Day
5

The Great Barrier Reef

Cruise to Michaelmas Cay on the Great Barrier Reef , situated 25 miles off the coast and close to the pristine outer reef systems. Free snorkeling equipment and our marine biologist promise thrilling exploration of the undersea realm. Meals B+L

Day
6

A free day in Paradise

Enjoy the amenities of our tropical resort and the charms of Palm Cove. Meals B

Day
7

Ayers Rock + Kata Tjuta

Fly to Ayers Rock and transfer to Sails in the Desert. Then set out with our guide to learn about the life, bush food, and reptiles of the Outback and discover the physical majesty and spiritual importance of the 36 towering red-rock domes that comprise Kata Tjuta. Enjoy a glass of wine and behold the sun set over Uluru – a magical experience. Meals B

Day
8

Sunrise at Uluru + The Outback

Enjoy a picnic breakfast and watch the sun cast its first rays upon Uluru. A morning walk reveals Aboriginal rock paintings and a chance to hear the local Creation stories. Tonight’s sunset dinner overlooking Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park will be accompanied by the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo. Meals B+D

Day
9

Onward to Sydney

Fly to Sydney and transfer to the Sir Stamford at Circular Quay Hotel. MealsB

Day
10

Out and about in Sydney

Enjoy our special Backstage Tour at the Sydney Opera House and see the city’s most famous sites, like the Harbour Bridge, St. Mary’s Cathedral and Bondi Beach. Enjoy lunch and wine on Watsons Bay. Meals B+L

Day
11

At leisure in Sydney

Enjoy Sydney at your own pace today. Then gather this evening for a Harbour cruise with dinner and fine Australian wines. Meals B+D

Day
12

Depart Sydney + Begin your New Zealand Adventure

After breakfast, we’ll take you to the Sydney airport. On arrival in Queenstown, you’ll be met and escorted to the St. Moritz Hotel for the start of your 9-day Spectacular New Zealand tour, including this evening’s Welcome Dinner. Meals D
 
Please Note:
+ The flight from Australia to New Zealand is not included and is best purchased as part of your international transpacific flight.
+ For travel through March 2020, this Australia Explorer journey is offered only as a Post-Tour extension after our 9-day Spectacular New Zealand program, and is priced from $7,599.
+ From April 2020 onwards, your Down Under adventures begin in Australia and continue to with our Spectacular New Zealand tour.

Continue to the North Island

4-day Post-Tour Extension from $2,699

Add the wonders of New Zealand’s North Island after your travels across the South Island with this perfectly-planned extension including Rotorua and Auckland.

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Day
1

Fly from Christchurch to Rotorua

At the end of your 9-day tour of the South Island, we’ll take you to the airport for your included flight to Rotorua. With our engaging resident guide, you’ll visit the Te Puia Thermal Reserve. Marvel at the geysers, steaming springs and bubbling mud pools that reveal the powerful geothermal forces at work in this remarkable valley. Then we’ll take you to the Polynesian Spa Complex where you can take a relaxing dip in the hot geothermal pool overlooking Lake Rotorua. Spend the night at the inviting Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel where you’ll have time to refresh before dinner.  Meals D

Day
2

From Rotorua to Auckland

After breakfast and check-out, your morning sightseeing is highlighted by the farm show at the Agrodome, set on 35 acres of lush agricultural land. This entertaining and highly informative 1-hour show features 19 breeds of New Zealand sheep and remarkable working dogs that have been expertly trained keep the farm’s livestock in line! Then journey to the rural town of Matamata, where a working sheep farm was transformed into Hobbiton for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Enjoy a guided stroll through the pastoral Shire and see more than 40 unique Hobbit residences including Bag End. Continue to Auckland and check in to the 5-star Hotel Grand Windsor by Sofitel. This evening is yours to relax, enjoy and dine as you wish.  Meals B

Day
3

Discover Auckland

Auckland is a most extraordinary city comprised of 50 islands, 3 lovely harbors, 2 mountain ranges and 48 volcanic cones! After a leisurely breakfast and time this morning to relax and enjoy as you wish, join your guide for a city tour that includes the highly regarded Auckland Museum. Located in one of the country’s finest heritage buildings, the museum tells the story of New Zealand, from award-winning natural history exhibits to galleries that explore New Zealand’s cultural origins. From the top of the Sky Tower, you’ll have breathtaking 360° views of the city with its vibrant harbors and spectacular coastal scenery. This evening, you’ll enjoy a farewell dinner at your stylish hotel. Meals B+D

Day
4

Depart New Zealand

After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your onward journey.  Meals B

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+ $500 Solo

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Our Special Departure March 23, 2020

Join us for a very special departure highlighted by an overnight cruise into Doubtful Sound, deep in the World Heritage Fiordland National Park. Named by Captain Cook in 1770, Doubtful is larger and less accessible than the better-known Milford Sound. Aboard the Fiordland Navigator, purpose-built to explore these remote waters, our exploration of Doubtful Sound promises rich discoveries enjoyed by few other visitors. Behold the sheer rock walls of the Sound, lush with vegetation, and set out in a kayak or on our ship’s tender craft to search for dolphins, seals and penguins. Experienced naturalists are there to enhance every moment in this untouched wilderness of mountain peaks, fiords and rainforest.

We include private en suite accommodations with dinner and breakfast onboard.

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DepartureReturnFromAvailabilityDeparture Note
13 January 202021 January 2020$6,499Guaranteed
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27 January 202004 February 2020$6,499Guaranteed
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10 February 202018 February 2020$6,799Sold Out
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24 February 202003 March 2020$6,799Sold Out
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09 March 202017 March 2020$6,799Guaranteed
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23 March 202031 March 2020$6,799GuaranteedDoubtful Sound aboard the Fjordland Navigator
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25 April 202003 May 2020$6,399Available
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13 September 202021 September 2020$5,999Available
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04 October 202012 October 2020$6,399Available
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08 November 202016 November 2020$6,499Available
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10 January 202118 January 2021$6,499Available
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24 January 202101 February 2021$6,499Available
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09 February 202117 February 2021$6,599Available
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24 February 202104 March 2021$6,599Available
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14 March 202122 March 2021$6,599Available
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27 March 202104 April 2021$6,599Available
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11 April 202119 April 2021$6,499Available
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17 April 202125 April 2021$6,499Available
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Prices are per person, double occupancy, and may vary during holidays and trade shows. Additional surcharges and blackout dates may apply.

Pay-In-Full

Save $1,000 per couple + $500 solo on all of our Small Group, Small Ship and Private Journeys when you pay-in-full at time of booking.

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
  • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
  • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
  • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
  • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!

Similar Trips

Australia Explorer

Our small group Australia tour with like-minded travelers and engaging Down Under guides will show you the amazing diversity of their native land – from the Queensland rainforest, Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock to its alluring cities, cuisine and wine!