New Zealand·March 12 - 20 2025

Magical New Zealand

Discover the magic of New Zealand, where ancient culture meets modern adventures.

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Overview

Embark on an unforgettable journey through New Zealand's breathtaking landscapes and experience its vibrant culture! We will discover the wonders of New Zealand's North and South Islands, where every step reveals a new chapter in this enchanting tale. From the lively streets of Auckland to the tranquil allure of Rotorua's geothermal marvels and the South Island's natural beauty, dive into a whirlwind of experiences that will take your breath away. Our voyage commences amidst the vibrant energy of Auckland, a city alive with culture and cuisine, welcoming us with open arms. As we traverse southward, passing through the pastoral landscapes of Waikato, we'll uncover the hidden gems of Cambridge, a town steeped in charm and history. Venturing further, immerse yourself in the fantastic world of Middle Earth at Hobbiton before delving into the rich Maori heritage in Rotorua. Witness the raw power of nature at Hells Gate Geothermal Reserve and wander beneath towering Redwoods, illuminated by the soft glow of the Nightlights. History whispers through the cobbled streets of Christchurch as we board vintage trams and glide along serene punts, soaking in the city's timeless beauty. Then, set sail on the tranquil waters of Akaroa Harbor, where encounters with Hector's dolphins await, followed by a tantalizing wine-tasting experience in Waipara Valley. Finally, we'll relax and rejuvenate in the therapeutic waters of Hanmer Springs before bidding farewell to the land of the long white cloud. Our journey through New Zealand will inspire and invigorate you, leaving memories that last a lifetime and a longing to return soon.

Highlights

Discover Auckland – New Zealand’s Bustling City

Discover Auckland – New Zealand’s Bustling City

Enjoy a Maori cultural show & a Hangi meal

Enjoy a Maori cultural show & a Hangi meal

Learn about the innovative new developments in Christchurch

Learn about the innovative new developments in Christchurch

Explore Rotorua, a geothermal wonderland steeped in Maori tradition

Explore Rotorua, a geothermal wonderland steeped in Maori tradition

Relax at Hanmer Springs thermal pools

Relax at Hanmer Springs thermal pools

Embark on an Akaroa Harbour cruise in search of the world's smallest dolphins

Embark on an Akaroa Harbour cruise in search of the world's smallest dolphins

Witness the enchantment of Redwoods Nightlights as lanterns illuminate Rotorua's forest canopy

Witness the enchantment of Redwoods Nightlights as lanterns illuminate Rotorua's forest canopy

Explore the Hamilton Gardens

Explore the Hamilton Gardens

Visit Otorohanga Kiwi House

Visit Otorohanga Kiwi House

Explore the world-famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Explore the world-famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves

 Savor the essence of New Zealand wine

Savor the essence of New Zealand wine

Relax and unwind at He Puna Taimoana hot salted pools

Relax and unwind at He Puna Taimoana hot salted pools

Itinerary

Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip:

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Auckland

Day 1: Thursday, March 6th, 2025

Upon arrival at Auckland Airport, you will be greeted and taken to The Fable Hotel in the heart of the City of Sails. Once you have checked in, you will have free time to shop or relax.

Are you ready to be seduced by a city where sleek urban vibes seamlessly blend with breathtaking nature? It's time to enjoy Auckland, New Zealand’s most populous city, a multi-cultural hub of food, music, arts, and culture!  World-class shopping and dining experiences are never too far from beautiful scenery, which includes harbors and islands, volcanic cones, native bush, and black-sand beaches.

Tonight, we’ll enjoy a welcome cocktail at our hotel, after which we will take a short walk to Kingi Restaurant, where you will dine under shimmering chandeliers on sustainably caught local fish and other sumptuous fare. 

Included

Dinner

Airport transfer

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Auckland - Cambridge

Day 2: Friday, March 7th, 2025

After an early breakfast, we begin our journey south to the Waikato. We'll enjoy a cooking demonstration with a Kiwi twist at a local chef and interior designer's home, followed by lunch in a unique country setting.

We'll reach Cambridge in the early afternoon. This charming town is known for its trees and champions. It was recently voted NZ’s Most Beautiful Town. Prepare to stroll past the village green and down the majestic tree-lined main street on a short orientation tour. We'll find lovely boutique shops, great restaurants, and bars here.

Dinner is at Alpino Tonight, the best Italian restaurant in town!

Included

All meals

Cooking demonstration

Walking tour of Cambridge

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Waikato

Day 3: Saturday, March 8th, 2025

We'll start the day with breakfast at the hotel. Then, we’ll visit the local Farmers Market in Cambridge before heading into Hamilton for an enjoyable hour roaming through the popular Hamilton Gardens    

In the quintessential little town of Otorohanga, we'll walk through New Zealand’s largest free-flight dome aviary, listen to a keeper talk about the brown Kiwi, and see this unique flightless bird up close. The Kiwi is indigenous to New Zealand. We'll also see the tuatara, a native reptile that predates dinosaurs, and take a short drive to the world-renowned Waitomo Glowworm Caves.  

As our guide takes us deep into the cave, we'll see thousands of glowworms. Arachnocampa luminosa is endemic to New Zealand. These tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light. Did you know that the female glowworm has a unique ability? Despite the name, the glowworm is not a worm but a beetle. While males resemble typical beetles, the females are easily recognizable by the glowing light they emit. This glow is used to attract a mate in the darkness of their grassland habitats. We will have the chance to learn about the historical and geological significance of the caves through an informative commentary. After that, we will enjoy a magical boat ride under the beautiful glowing lights.

Dinner is at Alpha Street Kitchen nearby. 

Included

All meals

Hamilton Gardens guided tour

Waitomo Glowworm Caves tour

Guide Tour and Discussion at Otorohanga Kiwi House

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Middle Earth

Day 4: Sunday, March 9th, 2025

This morning, we traveled to Middle Earth. Even if you’re not a ‘Lord of the Rings’ fan, a visit to Hobbiton Movie Set is a truly amazing experience. We'll stroll through the lush pastures of The Shire on a guided movie-set tour, past Hobbit Holes, the Mill, and on to the world-famous Green Dragon Inn for a complimentary beverage. 

We'll stop for lunch and enjoy some free time to shop in the quirky village of Tirau, where we can come face-to-face with corrugated characters. We'll also visit the magnificent St Faith’s Anglican church.

We have a special visit to Ōhinemutu Village this afternoon, where we'll see steaming vents, boiling pools of mud and water, and the natural beauty that Rotorua is renowned for. Walk through the village with a Māori guide and learn about the area’s cultural and historical significance and how the people continue using geothermal resources for daily cooking, bathing, and heating. 

The village is also home to two magnificent traditional Māori meeting houses, and we'll be invited into one of these. First, we will be briefed about the traditional Māori Whakatau process, a welcome ceremony that happens before the traditional call, known as Karanga, and followed by a speech they call whaikorero and chant acknowledging the deceased, the living and lifting of the tapu, spiritual sacredness of the occasion. 

Enjoy a hangi meal cooked in the natural steam. During this time, our hosts will share experiences about their lives in the area. This is an amazing opportunity to connect with them and gain insight into the local way of life in Rotorua and Aotearoa. 

After our meal, we'll meet Kapa Haka, Māori performing arts exponents, for an intimate cultural experience. We'll also have the opportunity to learn how to use the poi in a mesmerizing rhythmical and geometric pattern when performed by the experts. 

Included

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

B-D (Dinner is an alcohol free meal)

Maori Cultural & Geothermal Experience

Not Included

Lunch

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Rotorua

Day 5: Monday, March 10th, 2025

Arriving at Tikitere, we'll walk through clouds of geothermic steam and discover New Zealand’s most active geothermal reserve and mud spa, more commonly known as Hells Gate. Māori warriors used the nutrient-rich waters and mud to heal their battle-scarred bodies. For the past century, this has been a popular spot for visitors to ease inflammation and rejuvenate skin.

Spend the morning soaking in the healing sulfur pool, exfoliate in the mud, stroll through the geothermal bushland, and feel completely refreshed! 

The afternoon is yours to enjoy an optional activity! Rotorua has an array of thrilling activities for you to choose from ziplining to walking, cycling in the forest, riding on a WWII amphibious craft, museum visits, 3D Trick Art Gallery, and more.  

After dinner at Atticus Finch, we visit the Redwoods Forest for a night walk on treetops on eco-suspended bridges and platforms. The massive trees are illuminated with beautiful lanterns designed by David Trubridge, creating a truly magical experience.

Included

Breakfast

Hells Gate Experience

Redwood Nightlights

Dinner

Not Included

Lunch

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Rotorua- Chirstchurch

Day 6: Tuesday, March 11th, 2025

After breakfast, we'll fly to the South Island Te Waipounamu. 

In Christchurch, we'll transfer to The Observatory Hotel in the historic Arts Centre in the center of Garden City. 

We'll have free time at Riverside Market for lunch before sightseeing using two iconic modes of transport. You'll see Christchurch from different angles while learning about the history of this resilient city and how it was rebuilt.  

We'll tour Christchurch on a vintage tram. Our driver knows the local landmarks and can provide interesting commentary. We'll learn about the city's heritage and how it is changing.

At the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral, a short, guided tour will provide insight into the meaning and history of this unique house of prayer built with cardboard after the Canterbury earthquakes. If you're an art lover, you simply can't miss the city's stunning architecture and the exceptional street art pieces by Wongi Wilson. It's a feast for the eyes!

Afterward, we'll relax on board a punt and view the city from the serene Avon River while your punter poles you along. Dinner tonight is at Inati Restaurant.

Included

B & D

Flight

Tram and Punt Ride

Guided tour of Christchurch Transitional Cathedral

Not Included

Lunch

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Banks Peninsula

Day 7: Wednesday, March 12th, 2025

After breakfast, we'll journey across the Banks Peninsula, winding our way up the hill and across the top of the Peninsula before dropping down into O’Kains Bay. This beautiful part of New Zealand is home to several quaint historic buildings, and the best little museum is brimming with nationally significant collections showcased in a range of heritage and replica buildings. 

We'll enjoy an early picnic lunch on a quiet beach bookended by steep hills. In the afternoon, we'll travel over the hill, stopping at the top to admire the scenery below. In Akaroa, we visit the Giant’s House. Here, we’ll find a unique collection of sculptures and mosaics that pop with color. Enjoy the Garden of National Significance

Later this afternoon, we’ll board a comfortable sea vessel for a 2-hour harbor cruise. The aim is to meet the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins. The Hector are a cute and playful bunch found only in New Zealand waters. Of course, we can't guarantee you'll see them, but we have a 98% chance!   

Sit back and relax with complimentary refreshments and home-baked treats while cruising this particularly scenic harbor with its much-photographed dramatic ruggedness. We'll return to Christchurch, stopping en route for a casual bistro dinner in a pub with fabulous views. 

Included

O'Kains Bay Museum Entry ticket

Akaroa Harbour Cruise

Giant's House Guided Tour

All meals

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Hanmer Spring & Waipara Wines

Day 8: Thursday, March 13th, 2025

We'll set off early this morning for a day out in North Canterbury.

After breakfast, we'll drive through small towns, across braided rivers and acres of vines, through the Weka Pass with its unusual rock formations, and into the foothills to reach Hanmer Springs by mid-morning. You'll have free time in this pretty little spa village – take a soak in the hot mineral waters, browse the shops, have lunch in one of the cafes, or take a walk through the forest at the edge of the village.

We’ll make a couple of stops on the way back to Christchurch – firstly to the historic Hurunui Hotel for a refreshment and then to Terrace Edge Vineyard & Olive Grove for a tasting of thoughtfully prepared canapes matched with wines produced by this award-winning organic winery that overlooks the Waipara River.  

The venue for our final night together is just steps away from our hotel at The Cellar Door for dinner and your choice of a wine-tasting flight.

Included

Wine tasting

Entry into Hot Springs

B & D

Not Included

Lunch

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Aotearoa

Day 9: Friday, March 14th, 2025

After breakfast, you can opt in for a trip to see the sunrise at New Brighton Beach and swim in the hot salted pools at He Puna Taimoana

After that, it will be time to bid farewell to Aotearoa and catch your flight back home. As you leave, take the memories of the breathtaking landscapes, the warm hospitality of the locals, and the unique experiences you had during your stay. It's time to say Haere ra to Aotearoa!

You should book your flight back home from Christchurch or ask our concierge to assist with a flight back to Auckland. 

Included

Breakfast

Not Included

Flight to Auckland

Hot salted pools

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Queenstown

Day 1: Trip Extension, Friday, March 14th, 2025

After breakfast, we'll transfer to the airport to take our flight to Queenstown, where our adventure beckons. We'll begin with a tour of Queenstown, then enjoy some free time before retreating to our hotel, the Kamana Lakehouse, to relax and gear up for the evening's journey.

Later in the afternoon, we'll board a vintage steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, for a cruise across picturesque Lake Wakatipu. Behold the sight of coal being shoveled into the furnace of this exquisitely refurbished vessel that dates back to 1912. 

Our destination is Walter Peak, and we'll disembark for a stroll around the beautiful gardens and watch an entertaining demonstration of a shepherd and his working dogs expertly rounding up sheep to be shorn. Walter Peak is a high-country station that farms thousands of merino sheep and cattle. It is an iconic piece of New Zealand history. 

We'll savor dinner at The Colonel's Homestead Restaurant, the perfect place to enjoy a delicious BBQ featuring a variety of local produce. Experience succulent meats cooked to perfection on a rotisserie or grill. Accompanied by a selection of delectable vegetables and salads, followed by irresistible desserts, New Zealand cheeses, and freshly brewed tea and coffee. 

Then, it’s time to board the steamship and return to Queenstown; there is a bar onboard and a pianist to entertain us!

Included

Dinner

Not Included

Lunch

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Arrowtown

Day 2: Trip Extension, Saturday, March 15th, 2025

After breakfast, we'll explore nearby Arrowtown. Located beside the Arrow River and surrounded by stunning natural beauty, this charming town boasts a rich heritage. Take a leisurely stroll down the main street, which is dotted with quaint miners' cottages and boutique shops. You can also enjoy a riverside walk and explore the old Chinese miners' village. We'll have some free time to shop and explore the local area. 

Then, we'll enjoy a scenic drive across the Crown Range, New Zealand’s highest main road, and a truly stunning drive to an altitude of 1121 meters. 

We'll have lunch at an iconic Kiwi watering hole The Cardrona Hotel. This is possibly one of the most photographed historic facades in the country. Don't forget to take some time to wander around the hotel and read up on the history before relaxing in the gardens with your lunch. This afternoon, we'll also partake in a gin and whisky tasting at Cardrona Distillery

On our way back to Queenstown, we will make a stop at the Kawerau River, which is the World Home of Bungy Jumping. AJ Hackett, a New Zealand entrepreneur, popularized the extreme sport of bungy jumping. In 1987, he made a bungy jump from the Eiffel Tower, and in 1988, he founded the first commercial bungy site at the Kawerau Bridge. We can watch people jumping off the bridge with a hurtling 43m towards the river. If you're feeling brave, you can opt in to partake in this heart-pounding and exhilarating experience! 

We'll end the day with an exhilarating jetboat ride on the Shotover River. It was a smart New Zealander who invented the jet boat, making it easy for us to explore remote areas. Our exhilarating ride through the canyon this afternoon will leave us breathless!

Tucked away amongst a maze of backstreets and historic buildings is a Rātā, where we will dine on genuine New Zealand cuisine with an inventive twist this evening.

Included

All meals

Cardrona gin & whisky tasting

Shotover jetboat ride

Not Included

Bungy Jumping

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Gibbston Valley

Day 3: Trip Extension, Sunday, March 16th, 2025

After breakfast today, we’ll head to the Gibbston Valley, famed for its rugged schist mountains, swirling blue river, and award-winning Pinot Noir wines. 

At Kinross Winery, you’ll be introduced to a variety of wines from around the region during an extensive tasting of the vineyards of Coal Pit, Hawkshead, Valli, Wild Irishman, and their own Kinross offerings. It's time to unwind with a glass of wine and enjoy live music and an amazing lunch experience!

Our final dinner is at Nest, Queenstown’s highest alfresco restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide excellent views of Lake Whakatipu.  

Included

All meals

Wine tasting

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Day 4: Trip Extension, Monday, March 17th, 2025

After enjoying our last breakfast in New Zealand, we can take a moment to reflect on the journey, the landscapes that have taken our breath away, and the friendships that have blossomed along the way. With hearts full of memories and cameras full of snapshots, it's time to say goodbye to this land of stunning natural beauty and the companions who have shared these unforgettable moments.

After our farewells, we'll go to the airport. As you prepare to depart, take a moment to look back at the vistas of New Zealand one last time, carrying with you not just memories but stories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Included

Airport transfer

Breakfast

You'll Be Staying Here

The Fable Hotel

The Fable Hotel

The Fable Auckland is a small, charming hotel located in the Windsor House building. It features a blend of Art Deco and whimsical design elements reminiscent of the Roaring Twenties. The hotel is near Auckland's bustling harbor and iconic landmarks like the Sky Tower.

Hidden Lake Hotel

Hidden Lake Hotel

The Hidden Lake Hotel is not just a hotel; it's a rustic sanctuary nestled in the verdant embrace of New Zealand's Waikato region. The hotel is also a gateway to adventure. Its location in the heart of the North Island makes it an ideal base for exploring the region's many natural wonders.

Hotel Pullman Rotorua

Hotel Pullman Rotorua

Situated in the heart of the city and moments away from the lake front, Pullman Rotorua is the perfect base. Discover shooting geysers, bubbling mud, natural hot springs and magical forests.

The Observatory Hotel

The Observatory Hotel

The Observatory Hotel Christchurch is a stylish haven housed within a grand 19th-century building. And when it's time to explore, Christchurch's vibrant pulse awaits just beyond the doorstep, with the Canterbury Museum and other cultural gems within easy walking distance.

Hosts

Marie Coles

Marie Coles

Marie grew up in a small farming community in the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. Being a free-spirited, adventurous type, it wasn’t long before she spread her wings and started roaming around her country, exploring “nooks & crannies,” meeting amazing people, and forming life-long friendships. She has traveled to far-flung places around the world. Still, an enduring love of her homeland now sees her residing in Aotearoa, NZ, with her family, one spoilt cat, and ten chickens. After many years working in the travel and tourism industry, Marie founded her own company, Roam Travel Adventures, specializing in women-only tours. She has carefully crafted this unique itinerary, especially for GG2TW – a bespoke tour you will not find anywhere else on the market. 

Price

Private Room

Private Room

Everyone gets their own fabulous room!

FROM$9,975

Shared room

Shared room

Share a room with a friend or family member

FROM$9,275

Optional Trip Extensions

Queenstown Trip Extension-Private Room

Queenstown Trip Extension-Private Room

Join us on a four day, three-night trip extension to Queenstown

FROM$3,965.00/pp

Queenstown Trip Extension-Shared Room

Queenstown Trip Extension-Shared Room

Join us on a four day, three-night trip extension to Queenstown

FROM$3,265.00/pp

The most beautiful country you've never been to

New Zealand

New Zealand is a welcoming nation with a diverse history of immigration from Māori, European, Pacific Island, and Asian communities. Its unique flora and fauna and geologically fascinating landscapes make it an exceptional country for exploration. From the North Island's geothermal wonders and sandy beaches to the South Island's rugged mountains and glaciers, both islands offer an endless array of breathtaking sights and experiences.

New Zealand

What's Included

What's Included

Everything stated in itinerary above including specified meals

Maori cultural show

Wine tasting experience (5 wines)

Local guide

Hobbiton Movie Set tour

Akaroa Harbour Cruise

Hells Gate experience

Tram & Punt ride

Redwood Nightlights

Airport Transfer upon arrival & departure

Cooking Demonstration

All entry tickets and guided tours as indicated in the itinerary.

Entry into Hanmer Hot Springs

In Country transportation and Flight to South Island

Activities not included above, and those activities specified as “optional”

Meals not included above

Additional wine, beer or spirits beyond what is stated

Travel and Medical Insurance (required)

International airfare

Flight to Auckland (if desired) on final day

Any personal souvenirs or purchases

FAQs

The tour begins in Auckland and ends in Christchurch. If you prefer to fly round trip to/from Auckland our concierge can help arrange a regional flight (not included) back to Auckland. 

The trip officially starts on the afternoon of March 6th, but if you are traveling across an ocean to get to New Zealand, consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and adjust to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early, please let us know, and we will take care of booking your room. We'll ensure you are kept in the same room as when the trip starts.

We will have a Zoom call about 6 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list. Here is a great website we love that will help you with packing and travel trips. 

March in New Zealand offers cooler temperatures and scenic landscapes as the country moves into autumn. Mild temperatures prevail, ranging from 54 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit in the North Island and 46 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the South Island.

US citizens traveling to New Zealand for tourism need a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) which costs NZD $17 and takes up to 72 hours to process. Please apply in advance here. Once you receive the eVisa letter, carry it with you on your trip.

Inquire about this trip

Magical New Zealand

New Zealand· March 12 - 20 2025· 8 nights

FROM$9,975/pp