10 - 15 Day Tour Itinerary: Auckland to Queenstown
from USD $15k
Auckland to Queenstown Tour
Day 1: Arrive in Auckland Airport for Private Transfer to Accommodation
Begin in Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, home of the Americas Cup and built around 48 volcanic hills overlooking two scenic harbours. Stay in the city’s luxury Sofatel Hotel (what was the Dennis Connor America’s Cup base). Its right in the heart of the Viaduct basin and within walking distance to the soul of Auckland with plenty of top dining establishments such as Simon Gault’s Geraffe Restaurant.
Day 2: Auckland – Rotorua – Taupo
We head south through the lush green countryside of the Waikato to Rotorua with the option to stop at the Waitomo Caves and/or Sir Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Movie set.
Reaching Rotorua (Roto = Lake & Rua = two) we experience Maori culture in an active geothermal landscape where native New Zealand people have lived for well over 100 years among the hot water pools – it’s where the local iwi families have traditionally cooked and bathed. You’ll relish the live active Maori village where British royalty have been visiting since 1901.
Highlights include Rotorua Museum and the government garden, the natural steam vents skating the grounds of Soupher Point, colorful hot pools and mineral-encrusted terraces at the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.
Other sightseeing options include a private Hobbiton tour, traditional Maori Hangi lunch, kayaking or sailing on local lakes, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, hiking in Tongariro National Park and an exclusive helicopter excursion to White Island (an active marine volcano) as well as Zealong Tea – a premium tea grower in the southern hemisphere.
We end the day in a luxury lodge for the night.
Day 3: Taupo – Half-day private cruise on Lake Taupo with an option for fishing
We head to Taupo, first to the roaring Huka Falls and then on to Poronui Lodge, an acclaimed lodge in a valley park-like setting bordering the mighty Mohaka River surrounded by native forests and its abundance of deer and Rainbow & Brown trout. You can enjoy a private guided hunt or fly fishing on the estate, or just take in the relaxing views.
Heli tours are on the doorstep, Clay bird shooting, Archery, Guided walks, Horse Trekking, Mountain Biking, Maori culture, finest wine to an international standard are on-hand as well as great dining options.
Day 4: Taupo – Hawke’s Bay
The following day we head to Hawke’s Bay in our private transport, a beautiful region full of vineyards, orchards, rolling farmlands hills and blue stone and white sand beaches. Hawke’s Bay wines are best known for Merlot, Syrah, and equally impressive Chardonnay.
We stay 2 nights at either Craigy Range Winery or Cape Kidnappers, luxury exclusive lodges next to the sea with one of the best golf courses in the world.
Day 5: Full day exploring in Hawke’s Bay
During private touring with your expert local guide, visit top local wineries and artisanal food shops, learn about Maori culture, visit to a marae (Maori village), tour Napier and experience the Art Deco architecture, Gannet colony and seabirds, farm tours of Cape Kidnappers sheep and cattle station, kiwi habitat (New Zealand’s famous flightless bird).
Upon request, Artisans of Leisure can arrange additional activities such as playing golf, biking through the vineyards and fly fishing on local streams.
Day 6: To Martinborough and Wellington – Half-day tour of ranch or gannet seabird colony
Next, we head south to Martinborough in the Wairarapa known as one of the New World Wine areas of the world.
From here we head to Wellington enjoying a half-day tour of a ranch or an eye-opening tour of the scientifically acclaimed gannet seabird colony – a must if you love nature or have animal-loving children.
Visit Sir Peter Jacksons Weta workshops and see where the props and scenes for ‘The Lord of the Rings’ were created.
Mt Victoria Coast line – the rugged and beautiful coastline where we can find amazing wildlife.
Kiwi Bird Park – New Zealand’s iconic bird and national emblem.
Day 7: Wellington – Picton – Kaikoura – Christchurch
Taking the ferry to Picton we head on to Kaikoura to meet the kings of the sea in their own world as we whale watch. Kaikoura was recently hit with a major earthquake and their story of survival and reinvention is a compelling one.
Then it is on to Christchurch for the night.
Day 8: Christchurch to Greymouth
From there we take the train to explore one of the country’s most famous and beautiful railroad rides – the Christchurch Trans-Alpine train through Hokitika to Greymouth. We ride amongst the hilltops of the ‘Remarkables’ – the mountain range that forms the spine of the South Island.
We spend the night in historical Greymouth.
Day 9: Franz Joseph Glacier
Spend the day at the location of some of the most awe-inspiring glacier scenery Aotearoa (New Zealand) has to offer. Your Glacier Valley Walk will take you alongside the mighty Waiho River bed following the glacier’s path of retreat in this remarkable landscape. View what is left of this majestic ice age giant as you learn about the glacier’s history and learn the legend of Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere.
Day 10 & 11: The Jewel of the Southern Alps
Next up is the jewel of the southern alps – Queenstown, arguably our most famous and visited lakeside resort town that is the gateway to some of the most exciting and dramatic attractions in New Zealand.
Enjoy private tours of the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown and or Skippers Canon, as well as the region’s highly regarded wine country. Take in panoramas of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range en route to Matakauri Lodge, one of the best luxury lodges in the area with outstanding views of the lake and the majestic Southern Alps.
We take a private helicopter flight to Milford Sound, stopping on a mountains glacier.
Go on Dart River jet boat adventure into Middle Earth where they filmed Lord of The Rings and many other movies.
Option For horse riding, bungy jumping, visiting filming locations used in Water Horse, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, hiking in the High country, visiting a sheep station as well as hunting and fly fishing on local streams.
Day 12: Otago wine and food adventure
Day 13: Full-day private food, wine and culture tour of region
Day 14: Relaxation
Enjoy a well earned day of relaxation and let the day spa at the lodge pamper you from head to foot. It is a day of bliss and pleasure as their team of experts provide a heavenly day of facials, massages and so much more.
Day 15: Farewell…until the next time
Enjoy your final breakfast at your luxury lodge before we take you by private transport to the airport, ready to wing your way home.