Explore the natural and cultural highlights of New Zealand's North and South Islands, including magnificent landscapes and geological features, meetings with the "Kiwi" people, and visits to museums and wineries.

Starting at: $7,874 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Landscape of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu  Typical New Zealand landscape with sheep farm  Wines of New Zealand. Credit: Chris McLennan/Tourism New Zealand  The city of Auckland. Credit: Tourism New Zealand  Maori artist working on traditional carving. Credit: Eric Lindberg/Tourism New Zealand  Maori woman with traditional tattoos. Credit: James Heremaia/Tourism New Zealand  Traditional Maori meeting house  Fence with traditional Maori design  Rotorua's Te Puia. Credit: Eric Lindberg/Tourism New Zealand  Spouting geysers, Rotorua. Credit: Chris McLennan/Tourism New Zealand  Geothermal area, Rotorua. Credit: Tourism New Zealand  The New Zealand Kiwi  Tasting cafe in Wellington. Credit: Tourism New Zealand  The Rose Garden at the Botanical Gardens, Christchurch  Looking out over Queenstown. Credit: Chris Sisarich/Tourism New Zealand  View of the dramatic Doubtful Sound  View of Doubtful Sound   Waterfalls in Fiordland National Park  Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the Remarkables  The excitement of the Shotover Jet, near Queenstown. Credit: Tourism New Zealand

Journey Through New Zealand

From Auckland to Queenstown

16 days from $7,874 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Explore the natural and cultural highlights of New Zealand's North and South Islands, including magnificent landscapes and geological features, meetings with the "Kiwi" people, and visits to museums and wineries.

or Call 855-330-1542


This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.


Join us for an unforgettable adventure through New Zealand’s North and South Islands. Meet the “Kiwi” people—from the indigenous Maori to sheep farmers and winery staff—and stand in awe at landscapes of magnificent fjords and fascinating geological activity. This tour offers a perfect balance of outdoor wonders and cultural delights. 

Highlights Include

  • Auckland and Rotorua: Explore New Zealand’s multifaceted cultural traditions on the North Island. In cosmopolitan Auckland, take a cruise of the glittering harbor and tour the Auckland Museum with its prized collections of Maori and Pacific Islander art and artifacts. In Rotorua, where 40 percent of the population are the indigenous Maori, meet local people at the Maori Cultural Center, learn about their traditions, and enjoy a hangi dinner and performance. You’ll also visit the new Rotorua Museum. Explore other New Zealand cultural traditions during a wine tasting at celebrated Hawke’s Bay, learn about the vital sheep farming industry during demonstrations at a private farm, and visit the acclaimed Te Papa National Museum in the capital of Wellington. 
  • North Island's Geology: Discover geothermal wonders, including geysers, bubbling mud pools, and hot thermal springs at the Te Puia Thermal Reserve. 
  • South Island’s Breathtaking Landscapes: A full-day excursion to renowned Fiordland National Park features a catamaran cruise of Doubtful Sound, noted for its remarkable serenity, mountain peaks, rain forest, waterfalls, and marine wildlife. You’ll also take one of the world’s great rail journeys, aboard the TranzAlpine train, to the Southern Alps and Arthur’s Pass. In Westland National Park, encounter the spectacular Franz Josef Glacier, take a walk through the Glacial Valley, and see rare kiwi birds at a wildlife center.
  • Christchurch and Queenstown: In the “Garden City” of Christchurch, tour the Botanic Gardens, Cathedral Square, and the civic area that rose from the rubble of the 2011 earthquake. Stop at the award-winning Gibbston Valley Vineyard for a private tour and tasting. Plus, enjoy a day at leisure in Queenstown, with its spectacular setting on Lake Wakatipu.


Days 1-3— Depart U.S. for Auckland, New Zealand

Arrive in New Zealand’s largest city early this morning and transfer to your hotel. After time to relax and freshen up, take a casual walking tour of the area around the hotel. This evening attend a briefing on the journey ahead, followed by a welcome dinner. (D)

Day 4 — Auckland

This morning tour cosmopolitan Auckland, an eminently livable city. One of only a few world cities straddling two harbors on separate bodies of water, Auckland offers an abundance of natural beauty. A highlight of your tour is the visit to the Auckland Museum, with its prized collections of Maori and Pacific Islander art and artifacts (Auckland has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world). Then embark on a lunch cruise around glittering Auckland Harbour. Return to your hotel early this afternoon; the remainder of the day is free for independent exploration. Dinner tonight is on your own to explore the city’s wide variety of world cuisines. (B,L)

Day 5 — Auckland and Rotorua

En route to Rotorua today, stop at Ruakuri Caves to see the unique glowworms that illuminate the underground grottoes and caves. Late this afternoon visit Te Puia Thermal Reserve and Maori Cultural Center for a traditional hangi dinner and performance. (B,D)

Day 6 — Rotorua

With its geysers, bubbling mud pools, and hot thermal springs, Rotorua ranks as a geothermal wonder. It is also a center of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori culture since Maoris comprise 40% of Rotorua’s population. Encounter this intriguing town on a morning tour that includes a guided visit to the Rainbow Springs Nature Park. Your guided tour here includes a visit to the National Kiwi Trust, dedicated to rehabilitating injured kiwis, housed on the park’s grounds. (B)

Day 7 — Rotorua and Napier

Today set out for one of New Zealand’s celebrated wine regions: Hawke’s Bay and the seaside city of Napier. Sample the local wine during a tasting and lunch at Church Road Winery, one of the country’s oldest and most acclaimed. Reaching Napier after lunch, embark on a guided walking tour of the city’s 1930s Art Deco architecture. After an earthquake leveled the city in 1931, it was rebuilt in “Deco” style; today, Napier, along with Miami Beach, rank as the most authentically Art Deco cities in the world. Dinner tonight is on your own. (B,L)

Day 8 — Napier and Wellington

Travel to New Zealand’s capital of Wellington, stopping en route at a private farm to learn about the country’s vital sheep farming industry. See the sheepdogs at work and watch a sheep-shearing demonstration then enjoy a barbecue lunch. Reaching Wellington late afternoon, you have time to refresh before tonight’s dinner at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Wellington

Explore this genial waterfront city located on the southern end of the North Island. A morning tour features a ride on the historic Wellington Cable Car with panoramic views of the city and harbor. Also visit acclaimed Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum with interactive exhibits spanning art, history, native cultures, and the natural environment. The remainder of the day is free to explore as you wish, perhaps to stroll along Bohemian Cuba Street; see the kangaroos and wallabies at Wellington Zoo; or visit the lively waterfront area. Lunch and dinner are on your own in this city with a vibrant restaurant scene. (B)

Day 10 — Wellington and Christchurch

Today fly south to Christchurch, New Zealand’s “Garden City.” Highlights of our city tour include the Botanic Gardens, the “green heart” of Christchurch dating to 1863, Cathedral Square, and “Re:START Mall,” the vibrant civic area that rose from the rubble of the 2011 earthquake. This afternoon is at leisure and dinner tonight is at the hotel. (B,D)

Day 11 — Christchurch and Franz Josef

Early today embark on one of the world’s great rail journeys aboard the TranzAlpine train. Travel along the open farmland of the Canterbury Plain, through the foothills of the Southern Alps, then into the snowcapped peaks themselves. Cross steel girder bridges above deep gorges and through tunnels on your journey to Arthur’s Pass, where you board a motorcoach for the scenic drive to the village of Franz Josef, reaching the hotel this afternoon and dining there tonight. (B,D)

Day 12 — Franz Josef

In Westland National Park this morning, encounter one of New Zealand’s most spectacular sights: Franz Josef Glacier. The mass of ice descends the frigid upper reaches of the Southern Alps to a rainforest at sea level. With a local guide take a walk through the Glacial Valley, and enjoy spectacular views of this natural wonder. Then visit the West Coast Wildlife Center with its rare Kiwi birds, an animal linked so closely to New Zealand that its residents are known colloquially as “Kiwis.” This afternoon is free to enjoy the splendid surroundings as you wish. (B,D)

Day 13 — Franz Josef and Queenstown

Traveling to Queenstown today, stop in the lakeside resort of Wanaka for lunch on your own. Continue to the Central Otago region and visit the award-winning Gibbston Valley Vineyard for a private tasting and tour. Late this afternoon reach Queenstown and your hotel, where you dine tonight. (B,D)

Day 14 — Queenstown and Doubtful Sound

More scenic overload is in store on your full-day excursion to Fiordland National Park and Doubtful Sound, one of New Zealand’s top attractions. Travel by boat across Lake Manapouri then by coach over Wilmot Pass to reach the “Sound of Silence,” as Doubtful is called for the remarkable serenity that prevails here and in the surrounding mountain peaks, rainforest, and waterfalls. This enchanting woodland may seem familiar to moviegoers: director Peter Jackson filmed The Lord of the Rings’ Fangorn Forest here. Among the wildlife you may see on your three-hour catamaran cruise are dolphins, fur seals, Fiordland crested pen­guins, and even whales. After this exhilarating excursion return to Queenstown early this evening; dinner is on your own. (B,L)

Day 15 — Queenstown

Enjoy a day at leisure and choose from the many activities of this outdoor mecca with its spectacular setting on Lake Wakapitu. Options abound—from jet boating and fly fishing to art-gallery hopping or riding the Skyline gondola for outstanding views of this unusually scenic city. Tonight celebrate your New Zealand adventure over a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 16 — Depart for the U.S.

Depart this morning for the airport and your flight to Los Angeles where you connect with the return flights home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)