Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Meet a Maori elder in Rotorua and enjoy a performance of Maori folklore, followed by a traditional hangi feast.
  • Embark on a train ride through the jaw-dropping landscapes of South Island, and explore the area surrounding Franz Josef Glacier.
  • Sample award-winning local wines in multicultural Auckland and spend a full day discovering the delights of Queenstown.
  • Cruise through dramatic Fiordland National Park with naturalist guides, spotting dolphins, seals, and penguins.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Immerse yourself in New Zealand’s stunning landscapes and multicultural heritage, travelling by plane, train, van, boat, and cable car through the North and South Islands. Discover magnificent fjords, ethereal glowworm caves, and snowcapped peaks; visit picturesque vineyards and explore vibrant cities; and imbibe the wisdom and knowledge of the country’s indigenous Maori culture.

This trip is offered in partnership with
G Adventures.

Day 1: Auckland
Arrive at any time.
Accommodations:CityLife Auckland (or similar)
Day 2: Auckland
Take an orientation walk in Auckland, one of the most multicultural cities in the Southern Hemisphere. We’ll then catch a ferry to beautiful Waiheke Island, a haven of world-class vineyards and idyllic beaches. Visit two wineries to learn about New Zealand's burgeoning wine industry and the history of viticulture in the country while sampling some of the local blends.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:CityLife Auckland (or similar)
Day 3: Auckland/Rotorua
Drive to the lakeside town of Rotorua, situated over an active geothermal zone and known for its volcanic features and rich Maori heritage. Stop en route at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, and take a boat ride through this spectacular underground realm to see thousands of flickering glowworms light up in the dark.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Millennium Rotorua (or similar)
Day 4: Rotorua
Spend a free day in fascinating Rotorua. Opt to explore a geothermal park, walking past bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools, or go on a white-water rafting excursion. This evening, visit Tamaki Maori Village and enjoy a private welcome ceremony; then sit down for an exclusive talk with a Maori elder, learning about the community’s traditions, myths, and legends. Later, we’ll witness a captivating performance of Maori folklore while dining on an array of traditional foods prepared in a hangi, or underground oven.
Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:Millennium Rotorua (or similar)
Day 5: Rotorua/Christchurch
Enjoy time at leisure this morning before catching a flight to Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island. In the afternoon, meet with a local expert for a walking tour designed specially for National Geographic travellers, exploring the city’s lesser-known paths and learning about Rekindle, a social enterprise that offers workshops on resourcefulness.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Chateau on the Park Hotel (or similar)
Day 6: Christchurch/Franz Josef
Board the TranzAlpine train—one of the world’s most scenic rail routes—for a breathtaking journey through verdant plains, beech forests, and majestic, misty mountains. Disembark at Arthur’s Pass—the highest pass in the Southern Alps—and continue on a private vehicle to a rainforest lodge near the town of Franz Josef, our home for the next two nights.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Rainforest Retreat - Comfort (or similar)
Day 7: Franz Josef
Discover the natural wonders of the Franz Josef area on your own today. Opt to take a helicopter up to the stunning Franz Josef Glacier and hop out for an unforgettable hike on the jagged ice; embark on a guided interpretive walk that follows a riverbed along the glacier’s retreat; soak up in natural hot pools surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery; and more.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Rainforest Retreat - Comfort (or similar)
Day 8: Franz Josef/Queenstown
Set out towards Queenstown on a drive along the South Island’s magnificent west coast. Stop at tranquil Lake Matheson, where, on a clear day, you can capture a postcard-perfect image of New Zealand’s highest peaks reflected in the water. Continue to Queenstown, pausing for short walks through the rainforest and visits to picturesque waterfalls.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Peppers Beacon Hotel (or similar)
Day 9: Queenstown/Fiordland National Park
Discover the glacially carved wilderness of Fiordland National Park on a cruise. Glide past shimmering waterfalls and towering cliffs, and look out for bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and little blue penguins with our naturalist guides. Depending on the season, we’ll spend the night onboard in comfortable cabins, enjoying time to relax on deck and watch the stars.
Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:Doubtful Sound Cruise (or similar)
Day 10: Fiordland National Park/Queenstown
Rise early for a wildlife viewing cruise along the pristine fjord. Then navigate back to Queenstown and spend the rest of the day at leisure in this fun-loving lakeside town, known as the adventure capital of the world.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Peppers Beacon Hotel (or similar)
Day 11: Queenstown
The day is yours to explore Queenstown. Choose to go bungee jumping at the world’s first commercial bungee jumping site; get a bird’s-eye view of the mountain-framed city on a paragliding excursion; or visit a local winery to sample the region’s award-winning vintages. This evening, enjoy a cable car ride to the top of Bob’s Peak for panoramic vistas of Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Peppers Beacon Hotel (or similar)
Day 12: Queenstown
Depart at any time.
Meals Included:Breakfast