Offering the best flexible New Zealand escorted tours with no date or itinerary restrictions. Experience the best of New Zealand on this top rated private tour. Your private guide will meet your group at the airport and take you on an insider’s tour of New Zealand, visiting iconic landmarks and local secrets alike.
Your fantastic guided holiday begins in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. Home to one third of New Zealand’s population and bordered by two stunning harbours, Auckland is thriving, diverse city surrounded by natural wonders.
Stay 2 nights in Auckland.
Explore Auckland with your guide, visiting top attractions such as the Sky Tower, Mt Eden’s volcanic crater, Waiheke Island, Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium, and Piha Beach.
You may also like to do a touch of shopping, as Auckland is a shopaholic’s paradise, with everything from top-end designers to open air street markets. Discover the diverse range of cafes and restaurants offering cuisine from around the globe and check out the buzzing nightlife of the central city. Favourite spots include Wynyard Quarter, the Viaduct Harbour, the Britomart precinct and City Works Depot.
Travel time Auckland to Bay of Islands – 4 hours
Leave the city behind as your tour continues north to the Bay of Islands, a stunning stretch of coastline with secluded beaches, forested hills, and fantastic marine wildlife.
Stay 2 nights in Paihia.
Board your premium cruise ‘Discover the Bay’ and see for yourself the best of what the Bay of Islands has to offer. Journey to the Hole in the Rock and if weather permits, sail through it. See marine wildlife including Dolphins and stop off at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island to have a swim, go for a walk, have a bite to eat and relax. Your Discover the Bay Cruise includes a delicious picnic lunch.
Explore the beachside town of Paihia in the afternoon.
Travel time Bay of Islands to Coromandel Peninsula – 6 hours
Embark on a scenic tour of the Coromandel Peninsula, taking in views of the lush rainforest and idyllic beaches. If the tide is right, visit Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own hot pools, on your way to Whitianga.
Stay 2 nights in Whitianga, Coromandel.
Today, join the Glass Bottom Boat for a unique boat cruise. Depart from the Whitianga Wharf to explore the breathtaking volcanic coastline, including the famous Cathedral Cove. See the stunning Champagne Bay, plus a range of blow holes and sea caves, including Orua’s Sea Cave, the second largest sea cave in New Zealand! See what lies above and below the surface in the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve and be amazed by all the marine life to be seen. You can choose your own level of fun. Either sit back and enjoy the amazing marine life through the glass boat, or take the plunge and snorkel amongst the fish. All equipment supplied and no experience necessary. Blue penguins are a common sight year-round.
In the afternoon, your guide will show you some of the best hidden secrets of the Coromandel, including lush forest walks and secluded golden-sand beaches.
Travel time Coromandel to Hobbiton – 2.5 hours
Experience the real Middle-earth™ at the Hobbiton™ Movie Set, where, in the heart of the Waikato region, you can step into the lush pastures of the Shire™, as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Your guide will then escort you around the set, showing the intricate detailing, pointing out the most famous locations and explaining how the movie magic was made. You will be fully guided around the 12 acre set; past Hobbit Holes™, the Mill and into the world-famous Green Dragon™ Inn, where you will be presented with a complimentary, exclusive Hobbit™ Southfarthing™ beverage to conclude your own Middle-earth™ adventure.
Travel time Hobbiton to Rotorua – 1 hour
Continue to Rotorua, the geothermal capital of New Zealand. Tour the exciting geothermal attractions with your guide, visiting sulphur springs, mud pools, geysers, and sinter terraces.
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua.
Stroll through Hell’s Gate Geothermal Reserve in the morning, where you will have the opportunity to experience the rich Maori culture and soak in a relaxing sulphur spa.
In the evening, enjoy a sumptuous dinner at Rotorua’s most spectacular location – the top of the Skyline Gondola! Sit back and relax as the views from the gondola unfold on your journey to the Skyline complex. The Skyline Restaurant will then serve you a mouthwatering taste of New Zealand, feast on mouthwatering fresh soups, salads, seafood, beef, lamb, add to that a range of sumptuous desserts, and you’ve got yourself a unique dining experience not to be missed.
Travel time Rotorua to Taupo – 1 hour
Your geothermal experience will continue as you enjoy the short drive to Taupo, a small town set beside New Zealand’s largest lake. With the volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park looming in the distance, and the lake itself formed from an ancient volcanic crater, you will get a close-up look at the immense forces that shaped New Zealand. Visit Huka Falls with your guide and relax on the lakefront.
Stay 1 night in Taupo.
Travel time Taupo to Wellington – 4.5 hours
Continue your scenic tour as your guide takes you south to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.
Stay 2 nights in Wellington.
Become acquainted with this charming city today – you could visit the Te Papa Museum, ride the Wellington Cable Car, visit Weta Workshop, or take in the views from the top of Mt Victoria.
Sailing time Wellington to Picton – 3 hours
Travel time Picton to Kaikoura – 2 hours
Begin your day with a cruise across the windswept Cook Strait.
Upon reaching the South Island, your guide will take you on a scenic drive through the Marlborough wine region, with the option to stop at a winery (or two!) along the way for samples of the award-winning wines.
Spend the evening in Kaikoura, a stunning coastal town with a backdrop of majestic mountains. Be sure to sample the superb local seafood at dinner!
Stay 1 night in Kaikoura.
Travel time Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs – 1.5 hours
When you reach the quiet mountain town of Hanmer Springs, relax and unwind in the hot springs or go for a short guided forest walk with your escort.
Stay 1 night in Hanmer Springs.
Travel time Hanmer Springs to Christchurch – 2 hours
Christchurch is a vibrant, energetic city where urban regeneration, creativity, and innovation thrive. Picture amazing street art, innovative projects, a booming hospitality scene and state-of-the-art architecture that is changing the way the city looks, feels and functions – all the while staying true to its heritage and traditional English feel.
Discover the vibrant and picturesque garden city, renowned for its natural beauty, lively entertainment scene, and strong cultural heritage. With its stunning botanical gardens and tree-lined avenues, Christchurch is both a sophisticated city and beautiful place to relax.
Stay 2 nights in Christchurch.
Relax and explore Christchurch today, with the option to visit the Canterbury Museum, explore the botanical gardens, or make a stop at the new Cardboard Christchurch Cathedral.
Other recommended activities include the Christchurch Gondola, Tramway or Punting on the Avon River.
Travel time Christchurch to Lake Tekapo – 3 hours
Your scenic journey through the Mackenzie Basin begins today as you cross over Burkes Pass. As the Southern Alps loom before you, there will be photo opportunities around every corner.
In the afternoon, take an unforgettable flight-seeing tour over the glaciers and mountains and rivers of the Mackenzie Basin.
Stay 1 night at Lake Tekapo.
Travel time Lake Tekapo to Mt Cook Village – 1 hour
Continue past Lake Pukaki on your way to Mt Cook Village, nestled at the foot of New Zealand’s highest mountain.
In the evening, visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre to view the displays and watch a wide offering of films and planetarium shows on New Zealand.
Stay 1 night in Mt Cook Village.
Travel time Mt Cook Village to Dunedin – 4 hours
Today your scenic drive will follow a series of braided turquoise rivers as you leave the mountains behind. Your guide will stop along the way at the Moeraki Boulders, where you will find a jumble of large, unusually spherical boulders lying along the windswept Otago coast.
Explore the city of Dunedin. You have the chance to visit attractions of interest such as Olveston Historic Home and the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum or go for a walk around the shops. You could also venture to one of the hiking and cycling trails which crisscross the dramatic landscape of the adjoining Otago Peninsula, home to colonies of albatross, sea lions, and rare yellow-eyed penguins.
Stay 2 nights in Dunedin.
Today, join the Taieri Gorge Railway for one of the world’s great train trips, an experience not to be missed. Departing from Dunedin’s beautiful railway station, the Taieri Gorge Railway begins its scenic journey into some of New Zealand’s most rugged, ever-changing scenery. The train travels into the Taieri Gorge, a narrow and deep canyon carved out over aeons by the ancient Taieri River. The train negotiates the gorge with ease as it travels through ten tunnels and over countless bridges and viaducts. The train will stop or slow down at various scenic points along the way, and you will get the chance to take photos or disembark to look around. Stand on the open-air platforms while the train moves, or enjoy a quiet drink and food from the onboard cafe while the train manager tells the story of the nature and history of the area.
Travel time Dunedin to Invercargill via the Catlins – 4 hours
Along the way to Invercargill, your guide will take you on a tour of the remote Catlins coast, where you will find pounding waterfalls, an iconic lighthouse, lush native bush, a petrified forest, and maybe even penguins and dolphins! Stop for a number of nature walks and photo opportunities along the way, and soak in the wild natural beauty.
In the evening, relax in Invercargill or visit the beautifully landscaped town gardens.
Stay 1 night in Invercargill.
Travel time Invercargill to Te Anau – 2 hours
Venture into the heart of New Zealand today on the drive to Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.
In the afternoon, take the magical Te Anau Glowworm Caves Tour. Explore a mysterious underground world of rushing water before drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of thousands of glowworms. Your Te Anau Glowworm Cave adventure begins with a cruise across beautiful Lake Te Anau on board the catamaran Luminosa to the western side of the lake. In this mysterious underground world, discover fossils and rock formations, and view rushing waterfalls and whirlpools. Learn how the caves are still being carved out by the incredible and relentless power of nature before gliding through silent darkness to the glowworm grotto. The delicate incandescence of thousands of tiny glowworms is a magical sight!
Stay 2 nights in Te Anau.
Travel time Te Anau to Milford Sound – 2.5 hours
Embark on a fantastic journey along the Milford Highway today to New Zealand’s most iconic fiord – Milford Sound. Travel with a tour group on this extended day trip to Milford Sound, stopping along the way for countless scenic photo opportunities and short walks.
At Milford Sound, enjoy a scenic nature cruise that takes you up close to the majesty of the fiord – you might even spot keas, seals, dolphins, or the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin! Throughout the cruise, nature guides share stories of the fiord’s history and are happy to answer your questions.
Travel time Te Anau to Queenstown – 2.5 hours
Your adventure continues past the jagged peaks and clear waters of Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown.
Start your stay in the adventure capital of New Zealand with a bang as you ride the thrilling Shotover Jet through the spectacular canyons of the turquoise Shotover River! It’s a thrilling ride – skimming past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet ‘Big Red,’ you’ll twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breathtaking speeds. And a major highlight – hold tight for the world-famous full 360º spins!
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
Travel into the past today on the Skippers Canyon 4WD safari. As you travel along the fantastically rugged backcountry road, you will have the opportunity to visit a number of historic icons – and even pan for gold.
Relax and soak in the atmosphere in Queenstown, or ask your guide to take you on a scenic drive to one of the nearby towns such as Arrowtown. You’ll be enchanted by historic Arrowtown, a New Zealand treasure located 20 minutes from Queenstown. Visit shops, galleries, bars, and restaurants – many classy, most individual, and not one from an international chain.
Explore the Lord of the Rings filming locations around Queenstown with your guide today on an excursion to the stunning Glenorchy region. Stop along the way for majestic views up Lake Wakatipu, and visit the stunning Paradise Valley and Dart Valley at the head of the lake. Along the way, you will get the chance to see the filming locations for Isengard, Lothlorien, and Ithilien Camp.
Stop in Glenorchy for a coffee or relaxing lunch, and soak in the incredible views of snow-capped peaks and turquoise rivers.
Travel time Queenstown to Wanaka – 1 hour
Enjoy the scenic drive over the Crown Range to Wanaka, an alpine town boasting panoramic views and a relaxing atmosphere.
Explore the town with your guide, with the option to visit Puzzling World, Cinema Paradiso, Warbirds and Wheels, Rippon Winery, or if golf is of interest, Wanaka is host to a stunning golf course with lake views from many holes. One of the many New Zealand golf courses on offer.
Stay 2 nights in Wanaka.
Relax in Wanaka today – browse the boutique shops, stroll along the lakefront, or enjoy a coffee in one of the local cafes.
Wanaka has a reputation for great food and wine, with a wide variety of lakefront bars, cafés and restaurants serving exceptional local cuisine, plus a wealth of artisans producing award-winning wine, beer, spirits, bread, and ice cream. Be sure to visit the local farmers market to try some of the region’s best produce.
Travel time Wanaka to Franz Josef – 4 hours
After the Milford Highway, the Haast Pass Highway is one of the most scenic alpine routes in New Zealand. Explore the pass with your guide, stopping to view cascading waterfalls, broad alpine meadows, craggy snowcapped mountains, and the turquoise depths of the Blue Pools.
Continuing along the West Coast, your guide will take you to Lake Matheson, where you can take a 20 minute walk (one-way) to the jetty, to admire the reflected views of the Southern Alps on the surface of the lake.
In the afternoon, you have the option to add on a scenic helicopter flight with a glacier landing or a Franz Josef Heli Hike.
Stay 1 night in Franz Josef.
Travel time Franz Josef to Hokitika – 2 hours
Once you reach Hokitika, you have the option to visit Hokitika Gorge or Lake Kaniere with your guide. Your guide will show you around the town, stopping at the Jade Factory, where you can view artisans carving masterpieces from the precious greenstone, and Sunset Point, where you might be lucky enough to catch a famous West Coast sunset.
Stay 1 night in Hokitika.
Travel time Hokitika to Christchurch – 3.5 hours
Leave the rugged West Coast behind today as you begin a fantastic journey through Arthurs Pass. Travel past the soaring peaks and braided rivers of the Southern Alps, through the gorges of the Waimakariri River, and past the rolling Canterbury Plains.
Along the way, your guide will stop at numerous scenic viewpoints, including the “Deaths Corner” lookout over the viaduct, where you can see cheeky Keas; the town of Arthurs Pass, where you can enjoy lunch at one of the local cafes; the Cave Stream Reserve, where you have the option to walk thirty minutes through a limestone cave carved in the hillside; and Castle Hill, where you can climb a series of towering rock formations.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Your guide will deliver you to Christchurch Airport for your departing flight.
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