Experience New Zealand from north to south as you journey from Auckland to Queenstown, visiting winelands, fiordlands, volcanic landscapes, and the Southern Alps.

Request a Tailor-Made Itinerary Request Itinerary or Ask Us A Question or Call 855-215-8690
 Landscape of lupines and mountains on the South Island  Looking out over Queenstown. Credit: Chris Sisarich/Tourism New Zealand  The city of Auckland. Credit: Tourism New Zealand  Rotorua's Te Puia. Credit: Eric Lindberg/Tourism New Zealand  Spouting geysers, Rotorua. Credit: Chris McLennan/Tourism New Zealand  The Po Hutu Geyser in Rotorua  Marlborough Sound  The Rose Garden at the Botanical Gardens, Christchurch  Wines of New Zealand. Credit: Chris McLennan/Tourism New Zealand  Tasting cafe in Wellington. Credit: Tourism New Zealand  View of Doubtful Sound   Serene setting of Doubtful Sound  View of the dramatic Doubtful Sound

New Zealand North and South: A Tailor-Made Journey

From Auckland to the Milford Sound

17 days from $7,995

Experience New Zealand from north to south as you journey from Auckland to Queenstown, visiting winelands, fiordlands, volcanic landscapes, and the Southern Alps.

Request a Tailor-Made Itinerary

or call 855-215-8690

Tour Details

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Our trip to New Zealand and Australia was fabulous! We had fun planning it with our country specialist, Alison. She quickly figured out what we like to do and organized a trip that exceeded our expectations.

- Tina W.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Overview

Smithsonian Archivist Circle membership. Benefits include:

  • Recognition in the Friends of the Smithsonian Honor Roll displayed electronically on the National Mall in the Membership Reception Center
  • Invitation to a special welcome tour for new members at a Smithsonian venue
  • A Smithsonian Institution annual engagement calendar with full color images of exceptional art and artifacts
  • A complimentary Smithsonian museum guidebook
  • Subscription to the award-winning magazine Smithsonian
  • 20% discount at Smithsonian Museum Stores, 10% discount at selected dining facilities, at SmithsonianStore.com, and Folkways Recordings
  • Special member rate for tickets to the Smithsonian's IMAX® theaters and Einstein Planetarium
  • Admission to Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City
  • Weekday access to the Friends of the Smithsonian Reception Center

If you are already a member of the Archivist Circle or above, you will receive The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects by Richard Kurin.

Our trip to New Zealand and Australia was fabulous! We had fun planning it with our country specialist, Alison. She quickly figured out what we like to do and organized a trip that exceeded our expectations.

- Tina W.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1 - Auckland

Upon arrival in Auckland, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in the center of town. After some time to settle in, head out on a half-day private tour of the city. Built atop dozens of volcanic cones on an isthmus between two stunning harbors, Auckland is known as the “city of sails” for the boats that teem off its shores. Get acquainted with the city as you explore its lively neighborhoods. Take in the view from the Auckland Harbor Bridge, and continue along the western coast of the North Island. In the afternoon, return to your hotel to relax.

Day 2 - Auckland

Enjoy a day at leisure so that you can recover from your flight and settle into the relaxed pace of life in New Zealand. You might take a stroll along the waterfront or ascend to the top of Sky Tower for spectacular views of the city and its bay. If you’d like to take part in Auckland’s vibrant outdoors culture, consider paddling a kayak on Waitemata Harbour. Or head to the Auckland Museum to browse their expansive exhibition on Maori culture.

Day 3 - Auckland

Cross Auckland Harbour by ferry this morning on your way to Waiheke Island for a wine tour with a small group. With vineyards blanketing the hills and stunning views of the sapphire Hautaki Gulf, this is a lovely spot to spend the day. You’ll visit a number of the island's wineries to learn about the acclaimed reds produced on the island—and of course you’ll have the chance to taste them too.

Day 4 - Rotorua

Depart Auckland by coach and head to the Waitomo Caves for an exhilarating boat ride through caverns that are illuminated by thousands of glowworms. Continue to Hobbiton and explore the beautiful farm which was transformed into the Shire for the Lord of the Rings movies. Its charming cottages and dens are wonderful to walk around even for non-fans of Tolkien. Your final destination today is the geothermal area of Rotorua, a center of Maori culture. Arrive in the early evening and check in to your hotel.

Day 5 - Rotorua

Discover the wild volcanic landscapes of Rotorua on a private tour today, encountering a 100-foot geyser as well as steaming cliffs, silica terraces and boiling mud pools. Later, take a walk through the enchanting Whirinaki rain forest with a guide to spot unusual flora and fauna and learn about the forest’s role in local culture.

Days 6 - Wellington

Take a private transfer to the airport this morning for your flight to Wellington, situated on the southern tip of the North Island. Make your way to your hotel and enjoy a free afternoon to explore this lovely and creative capital city. We recommend heading across the street to Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand, which offers a wealth of information on the country's natural, Maori, and European history. For dinner tonight, head to Cuba Street, where you’ll find lots of great restaurants here to choose from.

Days 7 - Blenheim

Take a morning ferry across the Cook Strait to the South Island, cruising through the surreal Marlborough Sounds. Arrive in Picton, where your private driver will pick you up for the drive to Blenheim in the heart of New Zealand's winelands. After settling into your hotel, you’ll have your afternoon at leisure to discover some of the wineries within walking distance. Delve into the region’s archaeology and history at the Marlborough Museum, set in a heritage park in the city center. Or take a stroll among the cafés and shops of Vines Village, just across the street from your hotel.

Day 8 - Blenheim

Blenheim is the gateway to the Marlborough wine region, where rich volcanic soil yields some of the best sauvignon blancs in the world. Spend today on a private gourmet tour of the area's best wineries, learning the history and evolution of winemaking here.  Enjoy lunch and wine tastings, and stop to sample the confections at a local chocolatier. (L)

Day 9 - Kaikoura

After a leisurely morning, head to the train station for your train to Kaikoura—a spectacular journey that follows the coast. Your afternoon is unscheduled so that you can explore this charming town, nestled between beach and mountains. There are several outstanding hiking trails that begin in the town center and follow the coast. (B)

Day 10 - Kaikoura / Christchurch

This morning is at leisure to explore Kaikoura. In the afternoon, catch your train to Christchurch, once known as the “garden city” and now a fascinating experiment in urban rebuilding following the devastating 2011 earthquake. During your free time here, we recommend a punting tour on the River Avon and a visit to some of the innovative buildings erected in the wake of earthquake, including the Transitional Cathedral, locally known as the “cardboard cathedral,” and a shopping mall built entirely of shipping containers. This evening, consider having our specialist book your dinner at the Tramway restaurant, which trundles around the city as you enjoy New Zealand cuisine. (B)

Day 11 - Arthur's Pass National Park / Christchurch

Join a small group for a full day full-day excursion to Arthur's Pass National Park. This dramatic region of the Southern Alps was one of main filming locations of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Ride the train up to Arthur's Pass and take a scenic walk in the high country, keeping an eye out for the playful kea bird, New Zealand's parrot. Sit down to lunch at a high country hotel before taking a drive along Arthur's Pass Road to see stunning scenery. You’ll be dropped off at your hotel this evening. (B,L)

Day 12 - Christchurch / Queenstown

Spend a relaxing morning in Christchurch before taking a taxi to the airport for your flight to Queenstown. After settling into your hotel in the center of town, enjoy a free afternoon to explore the city and its surroundings. You may wish to take the gondola up Bob's Peak to see magnificent views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range. (B)

Day 13 - Queenstown

Head into nature on a Dart River Wilderness Safari today. You’ll splash along the Dart River on an exhilarating jet boat ride through magnificent scenery, and take a short hike with a naturalist. Then climb into a 4x4 jeep for a drive through wilderness, learning about the region’s flora and fauna as well as local Maori and colonial history. (B)

Day 14 - Doubtful Sound

Travel by private car into Fiordland National Park to the lakeside town of Manapouri, where you will meet the group for your journey to Doubtful Sound. Ride a boat across Lake Manapouri and continue by coach through rain forests and over scenic Wilmot Pass. Once you’ve reached the sound, settle into your private cabin aboard the Fiordland Navigator, a three-masted sailing scow. Watch for wildlife such as Fiordland penguins, dolphins, and fur seals as you glide among emerald slopes, exploring by the coast kayak if you wish. Then spend a magical night in one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. (B, L, D)

Day 15 - Queenstown

Awaken on the silent sound and enjoy a buffet breakfast on board. Disembark and return to Queenstown to enjoy a relaxing evening. (B)

Day 16 - Queenstown

Your final day is yours to spend as you wish. There are plenty of activities that are easy to arrange, from excursions into the mountains to a Lord of the Rings-themed tour. This evening you'll board the TSS Earnslaw, a vintage steamship, and cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Take a tour of this lovely farm and enjoy a gourmet barbecue dinner. (B, D)

Day 17 - Depart for home

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

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