Fly to Auckland, one of New Zealand’s largest and most exciting cities. Upon arrival, collect your car rental and transfer to your luxury hotel.
Spend the day learning about indigenous Maori culture as you discover Auckland and the west-coast park of Waitakere Ranges. View several ancient volcanoes and marvel at the architecture of the Auckland Museum, one of New Zealand's grandest buildings. Explore the boutique suburb of Parnell, restored in the old colonial style with many attractive mansions; and along Tamaki Drive, a famously scenic coastal road. See several stunning beaches along Auckland's shoreline including Mission Bay, arguably the city’s most well-known beach.
Stop off at beauty spots on your scenic drive to Rotorua. This journey showcases New Zealand’s renowned topography. En route, you have the opportunity to tour the fantastical Hobbiton Movie Set, home to more than 40 ‘hobbit holes’, including a number featured in the big-screen adaptation of Tolkien’s classic.
Fly to Blenheim on New Zealand’s South Island, known for its warm summers, rich history and natural beauty. The town is the most populous in the Marlborough region, which is famed for its wine production – especially sauvignon blanc. Transfer to your hotel in this hub of viticulture.
Set out on a tour of Marlborough’s wine regions, stopping for delicious eating experiences on the way. You’ll learn about the history and culture of wine here as you speak to experts in the field. You’ll also gain full insider access to some astonishing estates, from Wither Hills to Cloudy Bay.
Navigate mountain passes and sweeping plains as you head southwards on your flight to the east-coast city of Christchurch. In this region you’ll find the Banks Peninsula, a rugged, volcanic protrusion riddled with quiet bays and ancient lava flows.
Tickets please: today you travel on the TranzAlpine, one of the planet’s greatest rail journeys. Running coast to coast across the width of South Island from Christchurch to Greymouth, your train passes the soaring peaks of the Southern Alps, blanketing beech forests and the glacier-fed Waimakariri River. After your train ride, catch your breath, then continue by road to Franz Josef to explore its 12-kilometre glacier.
It’s 350 kilometres from Franz Josef to Queenstown, but you’ll barely notice the distance, distracted by the wild west coast and the myriad of lakes, white rivers, alpine passes and curious kea (alpine parrots) along the way. Nonetheless, a well-earned rest awaits at your luxury lodge, set against some of New Zealand’s most emotive scenery. Stay in a stand-alone contemporary villa, making the most of the memorable view and fantastic facilities.
Depart on your drive-cruise-fly tour of Milford Sound. Travel via luxury coach by the shores of Lake Wakatipu and along the spectacular alpine Milford Road, with photography stops en route. On reaching Milford Sound, cruise the fiord onboard a modern vessel, looking out for seals, dolphins and penguins. After lunch, the final stage of your tour entails a scenic return flight to Queenstown; experience 35 minutes of snow-capped mountains, dramatic waterfalls and expansive views over Lake Wakatipu.
Enjoy your final day in New Zealand at leisure. Unwind, explore the city, or find out why Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world by sampling its wide array of activities. This includes bungee jumping, jetboating, zip lining, skydiving, quad biking and many other high-octane pursuits – there really is no shortage of things to do.
While these two weeks may have breezed by, you leave with cherished memories of New Zealand’s most fantastical landscapes and salubrious cities, as well as a deeper understanding of Maori culture.