This tour is fully escorted by an expert English-speaking guide who will accompany you throughout the tour.
This tour is conducted at a medium-fast pace. Some long travel days may be required to complete this itinerary and you will typically spend two nights at each destination, with some one night stays required. This trip includes a mix of sightseeing and free time to explore at your own pace. You will be required to move about unassisted, including getting on and off vehicles, walking up and down stairs and some activities will be conducted on uneven or steep terrain. You will be required to handle your own luggage.
These tours are our proudest creations. They have been crafted for Inspiring Vacations travellers exclusively, with personal and unique experiences in mind. Please see the Important Information on your selected tour for exact group size. Enjoy features such as hand-picked accommodation, a sampling of the region’s best culinary delights, and a range of optional activities to choose from to best suit your travel style.
Take advantage of our 7 day cooling-off period.
✓ Return International Airfares Included
✓ Small group tour, with no more than 16 travellers
✓ Incredible sightseeing including a sunset boat cruise in the surf town of Raglan, get up close and personal with endangered kiwi birds, enjoy a scenic e-bike experience in Wanaka, carve your own jade pendant in Franz Josef, watch a Māori cultural performance and check out bubbling mud pools in Rotorua, hike through the forested gorge of Ruakuri, Look down from the Redwoods Tree walk, crossing 23 raised suspension bridges.
✓ 19 nights in central 3-4 star accommodation
✓ 11 Breakfasts and 4 dinners, including a traditional Māori hāngī cooked in an underground oven
✓ Taste some of the world’s best sauvignon blanc at a Marlborough wine tasting
✓ Take in the stunning Southern Alps and the vast Canterbury Plains aboard the TranzAlpine, New Zealand’s finest inland rail journey
✓ Ride one of the most scenic ferry journeys in the world, over the Cook Strait.
✓ Fully escorted by a professional English-speaking tour guide
✓ Comfortable, dedicated transportation throughout
✓ In-depth sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary
Travel with the experts for a carefully curated, value-packed discovery of the world's most iconic destinations. Our tours are bursting with must-see sights, rich experiences and quality inclusions, all at an unbeatable price. Bucket list dreams are ticked off on these all-encompassing journeys.
Kia ora (hello!) and welcome to Aotearoa (New Zealand).
On arrival, please make your way to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is at leisure to get acquainted with this vibrant city.
Please contact us to make the necessary accommodation and sightseeing arrangements.
Settle into your accommodation and be ready for a 6pm pre-tour meeting. Here you will get to know your Tour Manager and be introduced to your travel companions.
Check in & arrival information.
Auckland airport is connected to the city by the Auckland City Express SkyBus and offers a great cost-effective means of getting directly into Auckland City. For $17 each one way (or $32 return), they will take you directly from the airport into the city. The service operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, taking between 40 and 50 minutes. As you’d expect, you’ll need to allow additional time if travelling in peak hours.
After breakfast, board your comfortable air-conditioned vehicle and leave Auckland behind. Heading north into the Coromandel Peninsula, a paradise of beautiful beaches and rainforests. It's a spectacular drive – the road twists and turns dramatically, following the coastline. The ocean gets brighter and more pristine the further out of the city you go. The first stop is the famous Hot Water Beach, a quirk of nature where thousands visit each year to dig their own personal hot tub.
Arrive in Whitianga with plenty of time for a short walking tour of town. Maybe, sample the sandy beaches, take a surf lesson, or simply relax and enjoy the vibes, the choice is yours.
Today continue to the arty surf mecca of Raglan, giving you a first glimpse of the North Island’s rolling tree-lined hills and valleys. En route visit the 55-metre high Bridal Veil Falls. There’s plenty to enjoy in the laid-back township of Raglan with a great blend of cafes, bars, surf shops and galleries, the streets ooze character, charm and creativity.
Relax on the beach or enjoy some stunning bush and coastal scenery on one of Raglan’s walking trails. There are plenty of optional activities for you to choose from. Tonight, tuck into New Zealand’s unofficial dish – fish and chips on a sunset boat cruise of Raglan Harbour.
The first stop of the day is at Waitomo Caves, famous for its glow worms. Enjoy an (optional) informative walking tour of the caves to learn more about the history, geology and Māori mythology of this unique area of New Zealand. For those who prefer to stay above ground, maybe explore the tree-studded gorges and limestone arches of the nearby Ruakuri Forest Walk. This afternoon we continue to Rotorua, famous for its geothermal activity and Māori culture.
Begin your time in Rotorua with The Redwoods Treewalk, allowing you to experience the majestic Redwood Forest from a series of suspension bridges and living decks (platforms), elevated up to 12-metres above the forest below.
Natural beauty, unique geothermal landscapes, and iconic Lord of the Rings destinations, Rotorua has it all. Enjoy a full free day to make the most of it. This area is world-renowned for its geothermal activity, with neon blue and red lakes, steaming rivers, violent geysers, and bubbling mud pools galore. An optional visit to the picturesque Hobbiton movie set is a must-do activity. Be charmed by the gorgeous hobbit village set amongst the lush green hills of Matamata.
This evening you’ll be welcomed to a Māori village for an unmissable cultural experience featuring combat demonstrations and the breathtaking haka.This experience extends beyond the performance – you’ll have the chance to see magnificent geothermal activity and spot kiwi birds.
Enjoy an Inspiring Taste for dinner this evening - a hāngī cooked in an underground oven.
Experience unrivaled panoramic views on this 4.5 hour guided walk of Mt Tarawera with Kaitiaki Adventures. Infamous for its eruption on 10 June 1886 this volcano created the world’s youngest geothermal valley (Waimangu) and destroyed the legendary Pink and White Terraces. This fully guided hike explores the unique geothermal landscape and history of the area. Suitable for all abilities and ages, includes an optional run into the volcano crater! Please bring: Sturdy walking shoes, warm jacket, and a bottle of water.
This morning is all about optional activities. Rotorua is a spectacular whitewater rafting destination, and with expert guidance can be experienced by first timers and pro-paddlers alike. Spend the morning exploring Rotorua’s many attractions such as the relaxing Polynesian Spa, or perhaps the naturally-impressive Kuirau Park full; of steaming, hissing and boiling geothermal pools.
Why not grab a sweet treat from one of the many fantastic cafes and bakeries – a ginger slice is a sure fire winner. From Rotorua it’s a quick drive to Taupō; the beautiful lakeside town with stunning mountains framing the horizon. Finish the day in Tongariro National Park, where we’ll spend the next 2 nights.
Today is a free day. Considered one of the world’s top 10 best one-day walks, the optional 19.4km Tongariro crossing is a mountain trek boasting emerald green lakes, venting steam, lava flows, craters and rich green bush. It’s a challenging day but the views are spectacular and for those fit enough it’s definitely a highlight. If that's a little too far for you, there are plenty of shorter walks and hikes to enjoy.
Wellington is the coolest little capital city in the world. Perched on the edge of a spectacular harbour, encircled by green, towering hills, Wellington is a scenic and compact city. Vibrant, exciting and cultured, the nation’s capital combines the stimulation and sophistication of the big city with a quirkiness and personality of a much smaller town. After a quick afternoon orientation from your guide, head up Mount Victoria for some of the best views in town.
This evening, the city lights are yours to enjoy. Discover why Wellington is celebrated for its foodie culture – you are truly spoilt for dining choices tonight.
Today your guide will introduce you to the city all the good things with an orientation tour – including a drive around the bays through central Wellington to the Botanic Gardens and Parliament Buildings. Weta Studios is most famous for its creative contribution to Lord of the Rings and we'll takea quick stop past. Enjoy an optional tour to see prop-makers in action and learn about the immersive world of filmmaking.
Wellington has many cultural attractions and its crowning glory is Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand. Located on Wellington’s magnificent waterfront, this internationally acclaimed museum combines leading edge technology with traditional exhibits to tell the stories of New Zealand’s land and people. Otherwise head off to Kapiti Island for an optional nature tour. Here you can see endangered birds up close and learn more about New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna.
This morning say goodbye to the North Island and take one of the world’s most scenic ferry journeys across the Cook Strait. The South Island of New Zealand has a stunning welcome in store. One of the best ways to explore Marlborough, the region at the top of the South Island, is with your tastebuds. Jump straight on a wine tasting tour to sample some of the best vineyards in the country.
After lunch, our next destination is Kaikōura which literally means “to eat crayfish”. The nutrient-rich waters of this area attract a wide variety of marine wildlife including whales and dolphins.
The chance to swim with dolphins in the wild is a big New Zealand highlight for many travellers. Kaikōura is one of the best places to find them, with pods of up to 300 of these playful creatures hanging out here at any one time. Otherwise, if you want to get up close to the giants of the ocean, an optional whale watching tour is the way to do it. Humpbacks, sperm whales and orca all stop by at various times of year.
After visiting the local seals on our way out of town, our trip continues to our accommodation for the night – the “Garden City” of Christchurch, known for its parklands and rivers.
This morning we’ll explore downtown Christchurch. Discover the creative ways the city is being rebuilt after the 2011 earthquake. Mid-morning head for Lake Tekapo. The lake’s breathtaking turquoise colour and mountain backdrop is a photographer’s dream. The tiny Church of the Good Shepherd stands right at the water’s edge, proving that small is bold and definitely beautiful.
From the golden vistas of Mackenzie country – where epic battles of Return of the King were filmed – to the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, it’s like you’re driving into a postcard. Make several stops en route for some incredible photos, including a stop at the spectacular Kawarau Gorge - home of the bungee.
Queenstown has something for everyone, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, an avid hiker, wine taster or scenery lover.
Today enjoy a full day of optional activities in stunning Queenstown. There are plenty of options to choose from: extreme jet boat rides, river kayaking, horseback riding through Lord of the Rings scenery, and the skyline gondola are just a few favourites. For scenery lovers, Milford Sound is a must-see.
Whether you fly or drive, the scenery en route is as awesome as the destination. Once on the Sound, as you sail beneath thundering waterfalls and towering cliff faces, you’ll understand why kiwi’s call it the “8th Wonder of the World”.
Travel from Queenstown via a luxury coach before enjoying a 2 hour boat cruise of this world-famous natural phenomenon. As you cruise the length of the fiord, learn about the history of the region and benefit from the knowledge of your specialist nature guide. Experience the spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces or watch out for dolphins, seals and in season, the rare Fiordland crested penguins.
What to bring:
Enjoy another free morning in Queenstown, with more chances to tick off your bucket list today. This afternoon we jump back onto the road and head off to Wanaka. It's a quick one hour drive, and what a drive it is. En route, stop in charming Arrowtown, a historic gold rush village with plenty of old-world character. This afternoon is your chance to relax in stunning Wanaka, known as Queenstown’s slightly quieter little sister. Blessed with towering peaks and a glacial blue lake, you’ll soon see why Wanaka’s considered to be one of New Zealand’s most beautiful mountain towns.
We mix things up tonight by heading to the stunning Oasis Yurts for an Inspiring stay. A night of glamping. Relax, unwind and reconnect at this fantastic location – with comfortable beds, hot tub and the great outdoors right on your doorstep.
Today, explore one of the most beautiful towns in the southern lakes region on a guided scenic e-bike tour.
One optional activity today – a visit to Mou Waho Island. Accessible only by boat from Wanaka and famous for being home to an (unnamed) island, in a lake (Arethusa Pool), on an island (Mou Waho), in a lake (Lake Wanaka), on an island (the South Island)
In Wanaka there are many walks, hikes and biking trails to choose from – check out the famous “Wanaka Tree” while making your way around the lake! Or, if you feel like relaxing, ask your guide to recommend their favourite secret spots to enjoy the surrounding scenery.
One of the best ways to admire Wanaka is from the air. Treat yourself to a skydive or a scenic flight in a vintage plane – you can even take a flying lesson. As always, it’s your trip and your choice: you do you! Enjoy a shared meal tonight, prepared by your tour guide.
Enjoy a luxury boat cruise on Lake Wanaka to the remote Mou Waho Island nature reserve, home of the lake, on an island, in a lake! Mou Waho Island is a predator-free reserve with a natural glacial-formed lake at its summit. On Mou Waho you can see the rare flightless Buff Weka (extinct on New Zealand’s mainland since 1920) and the Mountain Stone Weta.
A one hour guided bush walk is included taking you up to the lake right on top of the island and panoramic views of majestic mountain and lake scenery. This is rated as one of the top activities in Wanaka and not to be missed.
Includes morning or afternoon tea.
After a relaxing morning in Wanaka, the journey to Franz is another stunning drive. Stop at one of our most popular lakeside lookout points at Lake Hawea or Lake Wanaka. Your guide will have some epic surprise photo stops and short walks along the way. Between September and December it’s whitebait season (a small fish that’s a delicacy in New Zealand). Fried up with eggs and served on toast, it’s a local treat and shouldn’t be missed. We’ll stop at one of the local spots for a taste during the season.
Franz Josef , a UNESCO World Heritage area, is famous for its spectacular glacier, just 5 km from town.
With Aoraki/Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) twinkling behind the glaciers, Franz Josef is about as beautiful a setting as you can find in New Zealand.
Te Wahi Pounamu ( ‘the place of greenstone’ in Māori) is the name given to this part of the West Coast because of the abundance of pounamu (greenstone/jade) to be found here. Included in your tour today is a special opportunity to carve your very own pounamu pendant at a local gallery. There are heaps of ways to enjoy Franz Josef Glacier; weather permitting, to get up onto the bluest ice you can take an optional scenic helicopter flight and hike onto the glaciers. Maybe you’d prefer to kayak on a glacial lake; or just relax in the steamy hot springs down below. As well as the awesome glacier activities, you could also try out quad biking or horseback riding.
After breakfast, drive further along the beautiful west coast on another spectacular drive. Enjoy scenery of a rugged, primeval landscape of luxuriant rainforest juxtaposed against breathtaking beach and ocean waves. Stop at Hokitika to visit a greenstone factory, a great place to stock up on souvenirs. Time permitting, we may also visit the National Kiwi Centre, where there is guaranteed viewing of rare kiwi birds in their nocturnal house.
On the way back to Christchurch, traverse the South Island on the stunning TranzAlpine train crossing. Travelling across the Southern Alps through Arthur’s Pass, this is considered as one of the world’s most scenic train journeys. Along the way you’ll see epic vistas, travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River and see kilometres of native beech forest. Arrive in Christchurch around 6.30pm before transferring to your accommodation.
Today is the final day of your tour. At the appropriate time today make your way to the airport or continue your onward journey.
Alternatively, contact us if you wish to extend your stay in Christchurch as we can help you make arrangements for additional accommodation.
Check out & departure information.
A taxi or Uber from your hotel to Christchurch airport costs approximately NZD 45-50 per car. Hotel check out is at 11am. You are welcome to leave your luggage in storage and explore the surrounding area if departing later.
To enhance your journey, we're offering guests 1 bonus sightseeing experiences out of a choice of the below options (options listed under 'Optional Tours').
Secure your trip with a $99.00 deposit per person.
Once we receive your deposit, we will send you an invoice with your remaining balance and payment options.
While the tour itinerary should give you some guidance and overview to the expected requirements, to determine if this tour is right for you we categorise each of our tours in terms of their intensity. These guidelines are to ensure that each tour group is conducted as expected and to ensure the overall satisfaction of all Inspiring Vacations customers.
As a general rule, porterage is not included, therefore at all times you are expected to handle your own luggage where help may not be available.
This particular tour is categorised as a”3”
Moderate Tour: A good level of fitness and mobility is required, as this tour includes a moderate level of physical activity and is considered a medium-fast paced tour. You should be able to walk up and down stairs, get on and off the coach and able to walk reasonable distances of approximately 2 kilometres per day or more with ease. Any physical ailments you may have must be disclosed at the time of booking to determine your suitability. If you have any form of walking aids, other than a walking stick or hiking poles, then this tour is not suitable.
A friendly reminder that tipping is not included in your package. While tipping is not customary, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many destinations.
You may also consider tipping your tour leader and driver for outstanding service throughout your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
The accommodation listed is subject to change. Any changes will be of an equal or higher standard. Bedding configurations (double or twin) are requests only. All efforts will be made to meet your preferences, however, any changes are beyond our control.
Single supplement is $2,088.00 per person, in addition to the twin-share price.
The total length of the tour in days includes time spent in flight and is subject to change depending on the flight schedule, please refer to the day by day itinerary for the time spent on land.
Travel insurance is recommended to protect yourself against the unexpected. In addition to the support that a policy may provide, you may be asked to present a copy of your travel insurance documentation while traveling.
We have partnered with nib to offer our customers competitive rates for their travel insurance. You can book Comprehensive or Essentials cover for your domestic, international or multi-trip journeys simply by clicking HERE.
Note that Inspiring Vacations cannot provide advice with regards to any insurance product.
Visa & Passport information
It is the traveller's responsibility to ensure they have a valid passport. The passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the intended date of return.
Visas may be required.
Please note that these details are subject to change without notice. We recommend visiting https://smartraveller.gov.au for up to date information in terms of entry requirements.
Children must be 5 years old or above and share a room with parents at all times. Children are charged the same price as adults.
To meet the needs of various types of travelers, we choose to operate various types of tours, and depending on your selected package will mean different services are provided throughout your trip. The following descriptions of each tour style we hope will ensure that each traveller has appropriate expectations before they start their travels:
This package includes international airfares or has the option of adding international airfares to your booking when selecting your departure city.
If international airfares are included this will be stated in the ‘Inclusions’ section
Alternatively, if international airfares can be added to your booking you will be able to select your departure city after clicking ‘Book Now’ and a cost will be stated next to your selected departure city. This cost will then be added to your booking and flights will be added to your booking.
Conditions of flights for this package bookable by Inspiring Vacations:
Included baggage differs based on your country of origin. Included baggage will be as per the following:
Country of Origin
United States of America
Baggage allowances provided by the airline might differ to the values stated above. However limitations are required due to transport storage restrictions on your selected tour or package.
Flight requests, amendments or preferences
We understand customers may wish to request changes to their included airfares. If you wish to fly with a certain airline, land at a certain time or change your flight in other ways we will gladly provide you with a personalised quote tailored to your specific requirements.
To make a flight request, please click ‘Book Now’ and select Would you like us to contact you around our flight service? By selecting this option you will be sent a request form after completing your purchase to make your request.
We would be more than happy to provide you with a quote for the following requests:
We are currently unable to provide a quote for the following requests:
If we can’t fulfill your request and you still wish to proceed with the booking, please select Land Only (excluding UK customers). This will allow you to travel on the land portion of the package without the included airfares. You will then be able to arrange your own flights separately.
For more frequently asked questions please view our FAQs section.
Some airlines may not permit online check-in where flights have been booked by a travel company. Where unavailable to do so online, you will be required to check-in at the airport. Inspiring Vacations cannot check-in online on behalf of our customers.
To enhance your journey, we are offering guests a choice of the following optional activities (prices are per person):
Optional tours can be selected once you have finalised your tour purchase and paid your deposit. When completing your Passenger Booking Form, you will be asked if you would like to add Optional Tours, where any applicable cost will be added to your final balance. If you choose not to select them at this time, you can choose to add them later by logging in to your Account online.
Please note that you must select your Optional Tours no later than 70 days before departure, after which you will be required to purchase them on tour. Please keep in mind that anything purchased on-tour is subject to availability and prices may vary as you will be paying in local currency. We appreciate your understanding.