Travel the length of New Zealand’s two islands, experiencing a spectacular range of landscapes and natural wonders, sampling wines and encountering wildlife, and discovering the many facets of Kiwi culture—from the traditions of the Maori to the flourishing creativity of its urban centers.

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
 Fence with traditional Maori design
 Traditional Maori meeting house
 Maori woman with traditional tattoos. Credit: James Heremaia/Tourism New Zealand
 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

Travel the length of New Zealand’s two islands, experiencing a spectacular range of landscapes and natural wonders, sampling wines and encountering wildlife, and discovering the many facets of Kiwi culture—from the traditions of the Maori to the flourishing creativity of its urban centers.

or Call 855-330-1542

SPECIAL VALUE

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.

Overview

From bubbling volcanic landscapes to glaciers and from rainforests to magnificent fjords, set out on an unforgettable adventure through New Zealand’s North and South Islands. Get to know the many facets of local culture, meeting sheep farmers and winemakers and experiencing the traditions of the indigenous Maori people. Explore exciting cities from Auckland to Christchurch and encounter spectacular feats of nature as you make your way from the geothermal landscapes of the North Island to the Doubtful Sound.

Highlights Include

  • Auckland and Rotorua: Cruise Auckland’s glittering harbor and browse a stunning collection of Maori and Polynesian artifacts at the Auckland Museum. The travel to Rotorua to get acquainted with Maori culture during a traditional hangi feast and performance at Te Puai.  Experience glowworm caves and geothermal wonders, and visit a kiwi rescue center at Rainbow Springs Nature Park.
  • Napier and Wellington: In seaside Napier, take a guided tour of one of the world’s most authentic Art Deco city centers. Then visit the acclaimed Te Papa National Museum and the Parliament House in Wellington and enjoy a free afternoon to discover this enchanting city on your own.
  • Christchurch and Queenstown: On the South Island, explore the “Garden City” of Christchurch, known for its innovative rebuilding after the devastating earthquake of 2011.
  • Natural Treasures of the South Island: Experience one of the world’s great rail journeys, riding the TranzAlpine train through the Southern Alps to Arthur’s Pass. In Westland National Park, encounter the spectacular Franz Josef Glacier, take a walk through the Glacial Valley, and see rare kiwis at a wildlife center. Then set out on a full-day excursion to World Heritage-listed Fiordland National Park and take an exhilarating, three-hour catamaran cruise on Doubtful Sound.
  • Wineries and Rural Life: Stop for a wine tasting and lunch at a renowned winery in the North Island’s Hawke’s Bay wine region.  Meet local farmers at their sheep farm near Wellington for a sheepdog demonstration and a barbecue. In the Central Otago wine region near Queensland, visit the award-winning Gibbston Valley Vineyard for a private tour and tasting.

Itinerary

Days 1-3— Depart for Auckland, New Zealand

Travel across the international date line to New Zealand, arriving in Auckland on the North Island early on the morning of Day 3. After time to relax and freshen up at your hotel, take a casual walking tour of the neighborhood. This evening, gather for a briefing on the journey ahead, followed by a welcome dinner. (D)

Day 4 — Auckland

This morning, tour Auckland, a stunning city flanked by two harbors and built atop more than 50 volcanic cones. With the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world, Auckland is as culturally fascinating as it is beautiful. A highlight of your tour is the visit to the Auckland Museum, home to a prized collection of Maori and Pacific Islander art and artifacts. Take in views of the city and the surrounding islands on a lunch cruise around glittering Auckland Harbour. Return to your hotel early this afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day to explore Auckland on your own. (B,L)

Day 5 — Auckland and Rotorua

Travel to Rotorua today, stopping en route to explore the Ruakuri Caves, where otherworldly glowworms illuminate underground grottoes and passageways. Arrive in Rotorua, a center of the indigenous Maori culture and a geothermal landscape that steams, erupts, and bubbles with activity.  Late this afternoon, get acquainted with the area’s geology and its rich culture at Te Puia. Watch geysers explode and see traditionally carved Maori houses and handicrafts, then sit down to a typical hangi dinner and a cultural performance. (B,D)

Day 6 — Rotorua

Venture along the leafy paths of Rainbow Springs Nature Park for a closer look at native flora, fauna, and birdlife. Tour the onsite National Kiwi Trust and learn firsthand how injured kiwis—New Zealand’s flightless national bird—are rescued and rehabilitated here. (B)

Day 7 — Hawke's Bay and Napier

Today head south through spectacular scenery to one of New Zealand’s celebrated wine regions: Hawke’s Bay. Enjoy a wine tasting and lunch at Church Road Winery, one of the country’s oldest and most acclaimed. Continue to the seaside city of Napier and set out on a walking tour to discover a remarkable density of authentic Art Deco architecture, built in the 1930s after an earthquake leveled the city center. (B,L)

Day 8 — Wellington

On your way to New Zealand’s capital of Wellington, visit a private farm to learn about the country’s vital sheep farming industry. Witness sheepdogs at work and watch a sheep-shearing demonstration before a barbecue lunch. Arrive in Wellington in the late afternoon and enjoy time at leisure before dinner tonight on your own. (B,L)

Day 9 — Wellington

A captivating waterfront city located on the southern end of the North Island, Wellington hums with creative energy. During your morning tour, hop aboard the historic Wellington Cable Car to take in panoramic views of the city and harbor. Visit the acclaimed Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum, which features interactive exhibitions on New Zealand’s art, history, native cultures, and natural environment. Tour the city’s Parliament House with its landmark Beehive. Take the remainder of the day to discover more of the city on your own. You may wish to take a walk on the bohemian Cuba Street; see the kangaroos and wallabies at the Wellington Zoo; or stroll the lively waterfront area. Try out Wellington’s vibrant restaurant scene during lunch on your own. Enjoy dinner together tonight at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 10 — Christchurch

Today, fly south to Christchurch, known as the “Garden City.” Visit 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. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure before dinner at the hotel. (B,D)

Day 11 — Christchurch and Franz Josef

Early today, embark the TranzAlpine train for one of the world’s great rail journeys. Wind through the open farmland of the Canterbury Plain into the foothills of the Southern Alps, then ascend to the snowcapped peaks, traversing tunnels and bridges above deep gorges. Disembark in Arthur’s Pass, and 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 Tai Poutini National Park, encounter one of New Zealand’s most astonishing sights: Franz Josef Glacier, a mass of ice that descends from the peaks of the Southern Alps to a rainforest at sea level. With a local guide, take a walk through the Glacial Valley where you’ll have spectacular views of this natural wonder. Then visit the West Coast Wildlife Center to observe rare and endemic kiwis, a bird linked so closely to New Zealand’s identity that its residents are known colloquially as “Kiwis.” This afternoon, enjoy the splendid surroundings as you wish. (B,D)

Day 13 — Queenstown

Travel to Queenstown this morning, pausing 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

Prepare for jaw-dropping scenery on today’s exhilarating full-day excursion to Fiordland National Park and Doubtful Sound, both part of a World Heritage site. Travel by boat across Lake Manapouri then by coach over Wilmot Pass to reach the Doubtful Sound the deepest and longest of the region’s many fjords. Edged with mountains, rainforests, and waterfalls, Doubtful Sound is known as the “Sound of Silence” for its remarkable serenity. On a three-hour catamaran cruise, see enchanting woodlands featured in The Lord of the Rings films, and spot wildlife including dolphins, fur seals, Fiordland crested pen­guins, and perhaps whales. Return to Queenstown early this evening and have dinner on your own. (B,L)

Day 15 — Queenstown

This morning, gather for a cruise on spectacular Lake Wakapitu aboard the vintage steamer TSS Earnslaw. The rest of the day is yours to tailor to your own interests. Choose from the many activities offered in this outdoor mecca—from jet boating and adventure sports, to fly fishing and art gallery-hopping. You may opt to ride the Skyline gondola for outstanding views of the city and the surrounding Southern Alps. Tonight, celebrate your New Zealand adventure at a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 16 — Depart for the U.S.

Transfer to the airport in time for your flight home. (B)

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

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