12 Days North Island and South Island

Highlights – Auckland, Taupo, Napier, Queenstown, Fiordland, Waitaki Valley, Oamaru and Dunedin

Day 01 Arrive Auckland

“Haere Mai” – welcome to New Zealand
You will be met at the airport by your driver-guide and transferred to your hotel.

Auckland, city of sails, sprawls across a narrow isthmus facing two huge natural harbours, Waitemata Harbour to the east, which opens out into the Hauraki Gulf, and Manukau Harbour to the West. The isthmus was formed as a result of the eruption of over 50 volcanoes, the youngest, Rangitoto Island erupted from the sea a mere 755 years ago.

Depending on your arrival flight you may have the rest of the day at leisure.

We suggest Hotel Debrett – a boutique hotel set in the city centre close to the High Street’s hip fashion chic. Every room has been individually designed and complemented with an eclectic furniture collection, New Zealand art and photography. The famous housebar has been meticulously restored as Auckland’s premier meeting place. A private drawing room has been created for exclusive use by hotel guests – while a glass roofed atrium and courtyard form the central focal point for guests

Day 02 Auckland

Your driver-guide will pick you up at your hotel for a full day’s sightseeing around Auckland.

Drive to the top of Mt. Eden, one of the many extinct volcanoes dotted around the city, drive by chic Parnell, with it’s many boutiques and curio stores, and then along the spectacular Auckland waterfront. Across Auckland Harbour Bridge to the seaside village of Devonport, and back via Ponsonby, with it’s funky designer shops.

Auckland Museum, -the Auckland Museum in the Auckland Domain, commanding spectacular views of the city and harbour. The collection of Maori Taonga (treasures) and South Pacific artefacts are the most important in New Zealand.

Sky Tower Main Observation Deck At 328 metres, it is the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand and offers breathtaking views for up to 80 kilometres in every direction. Travel up in the glass-fronted lifts to one of the three spectacular viewing platforms.

Day 03 Auckland - Taupo

You will be transferred to Auckland airport.

Fly Auckland – Taupo

We have reserved a Toyota Camry or similar, 2–2.4 litres, automatic, air-conditioned, including full insurance and GPS.

Lake Taupo, in the centre of the North Island, south of Rotorua, is the largest inland lake in New Zealand and feeds the Waikato River. Famous for its trout fishing, it covers 606sq. km and lies some 359m above sea level. The township of Taupo also has its own thermal attractions.

We suggest Acacia Cliffs Lodge - Architecturally-designed to maximise the spectacular lake and mountain views, this luxury lodge offers an uninterrupted panorama of Lake Taupo, Mount Tauhara and the Kaimanawa Ranges. There is a wonderful sense of seclusion and privacy here - yet Taupo's town centre and the volcanic Central Plateau’s many world-class attractions are virtually right on your doorstep!

Day 04 Taupo

The region offers a variety of options.

You may wish to relax and take in the view from your spectacular hilltop location over lake Taupo or you may wish to venture further a field as far as the Tongariro National Park, play golf, try your hand at trout fishing or visit some of the closer thermal areas, such as Orakei Korako. If you are an adrenalin seeker you can try skydiving or white water rafting.

Day 05 Taupo – Napier - 1 hour 55 mins / 142 Km

This morning drive to Napier, Hawkes’s Bay, one of the most important wine producing regions in New Zealand, and also known as the Art Deco city.

Napier is unique in that its commercial heart was rebuilt in the early 1930s in the styles of that era – Art Deco and Mission Style. Nowhere else in New Zealand can you see such a variety of buildings in those styles. The Art Deco Trust operates a variety of guided walking tours on a daily basis. Self-guided walks or self-drive tours are additional options and the Trust provides informative maps.

Art Deco Week usually takes place in February each year. Indulge in the festivities dressed up in style – definitely an era of sophistication and elegance.

We suggest Greenhill Lodge - an intimate, tranquil and exclusive retreat located in the heart of Hawke's Bay wine country, a region with some of the highest sunshine hours in New Zealand. Greenhill provides an exclusive 'country house' experience, accepting only one party at a time, be it a couple, extended family or a group of friends. This ensures that you are able to enjoy your own personal space privately with your partner, friends or family, and the lodge and the entire estate are yours to enjoy and explore.

Day 06 Napier

Apart from known as the Art Deco city Napier is located in a premium wine growing region. Gimblett Gravels represents 34 wineries and winegrowers in this premium wine growing area of Hawkes Bay. The very special gravelled soils and unique climatic conditions are key elements in producing superb wines. The district has been building a reputation for high quality red wines from Bordeaux varieties and Syrah. Temperatures are up to three degrees Celsius warmer during the day in summer and autumn compared with most other areas in Hawkes Bay. The evenings are also warmer because of thermal conductivity in the stony soils.

Today visit creative food producers on their land where you can taste, touch and smell the myriad of tantalizing products they make from the deep soils.

Visit a rural coastal settlement and talk with a Maori who can provide a spiritual insight into her culture and can clearly demonstrate what it is that makes this indigenous people so special. She will give you a cultural welcome on to her land.

Taste beautifully crafted local wines at prestigious wineries and meet some of the personalities involved in making the wines.
Enjoy meeting fascinating artists in their studios and view their paintings, sculptures or pots. Walk in the scenic Hawke’s Bay rural countryside, either on a large sheep and cattle station beside a river, or a stunning historic country garden, or remote coastal beach or in native bush or visit an orchard.

An epicurean lunch is included at a special spot overlooking the sea.

We can customize this tour for you that will take you on a special journey to find the true essence of this beautiful country.

Day 07 Napier – Queenstown

Drop your car off at the airport and depart on your flight to Queenstown.

On arrival your car will be waiting at the airport. 

Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand, is a true alpine paradise set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu amidst the massive peaks of the Southern Alps. A smorgasbord of activities awaits from golfing to exhilarating jet boat rides on the Shotover and Dart Rivers and spectacular helicopter rides - even bungy jumping for the more adventurous! Choose from an abundance of lively cafés and excellent restaurants with great shopping in this attractive lakeside resort town.

We suggest Remarkables Lodge - magnificently set only ten minutes from the premier South Island playgrounds of Queenstown and Lake Wakitipu, the Lodge nestles in charming mature gardens where bellbirds call. Directly behind rise the famed Remarkables, so-called because these mile-high peaks seem constantly to change colour and shape as sun, shade or snow and clouds daily paint different patterns. Enjoy the Lodge’s incredible views, seclusion and anonymity in a country-estate ambiance with such superb facilities such as a pool in an unbelievable setting, a sauna and spa pool and chemical-free bathing water from a mountain waterfall – and a roaring fire in winter.

Day 08 Queenstown

Today we suggest visiting Fiordland National Park. Fly by helicopter deep into the region. Fiordland is an area of spectacular beauty. Native forest, glacial-hewn valleys, towering mountains and majestic primeval scenery have afforded this area World Heritage status. Ancient animals and plants of Gondwanaland still exist here. Your helicopter pilot will tell you about the region, history and land at idyllic spots for you to marvel at the incredible scenery. The exact fly-path depends on the conditions of the day.

Day 09 Queenstown – Omarama – Oamaru

Depart for Omarama (2 hours 12 mins / 169 Km) travelling through the Lindis Pass with wide open vistas to the Southern Alps to Omarama, the centre of gliding in New Zealand. The more adventurous may wish to take a scenic glider flight with an instructor.

The bizarre moonscape of the Clay Cliffs is the result of two million years of erosion on layers of silt and gravel that were exposed along the active Osler fault line. An unusual geological formation of spectacular 'badlands' eroded pinnacles and gulches. The Clay Cliffs are also an important backdrop to the local high country landscape - a wide braided river valley covered mainly in tussock grassland.

Hot Tubs in Omarama may offer you a refreshing soak before continuing on to Oamaru (1 hour 46 mins / 118 Km) through the Waitaki Valley.

The Waitaki District is blessed with some of the country’s best preserved Maori Rock Art. The art panels are mostly positioned on the lower ground level areas of the cliff and feature drawing of pigmented art, black or red or a combination of these two pigments. The motifs vary in size and design and represent a vast range of subjects –from abstract forms to bird life, fish, lizards, people on horseback and sailing ships.

Visit the Blue Penguin Colony. Best time to see them is in the evening when they return from a day’s fishing. Depending on the time of the year you visit this can be from sunset at 0530 pm or not until 9.00 pm.

We suggest Penn-y-Bryn Lodge -set in landscaped gardens, historic Penn-y-bryn Lodge, located just minutes from Oamaru township in a hillside location with views to the sea. This luxury boutique hotel offers exclusive accommodation furnished with elegant antiques with views to the Pacific Ocean.

Day 10 Oamaru – Dunedin - 1 hour 34 mins / 112 Km

Oamaru and the Waitaki district have a very proud history and heritage that is told in many ways throughout the area. Most of the buildings in the old precinct were built during the period 1865 – 1885 and are today New Zealand’s most complete streetscape of Victorian commercial buildings. Constructed of locally quarried limestone, a stone easily carved, lent itself perfectly to the creation of the elaborate Neo-Classical style so favoured by the clients of Oamaru’s busiest architect at the time, Thomas Forrester.

Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct including the Loan and Merc restaurant, Birdlands wine bar, the Woolstore complex, auto museum, shops, galleries, penny farthing shop and more! Renowned for their beauty, Oamaru Gardens were established in 1876 and encompass 13 hectares of magnificent trees, shrubberies and flower beds.

Continue on to Dunedin past the Moeraki Boulders and on to the Otago Peninsula overlooking Otago Harbour.

We suggest Kaimata Retreat - a timber built boutique lodge on the Otago Peninsula offering sweeping water views spanning a 350ha estuary diverse with coastal birds and wildlife. Kaimata Retreat offers a wonderful destination just 30 minutes from Dunedin on the peninsula. The retreat is architecturally designed and built in a modern vernacular using post-and-beam construction with macrocarpa timber harvested from the property.

Day 11 Dunedin

A day to enjoy exploring the peninsula, home to the world’s only mainland colony of the majestic Royal Albatross, a stronghold for the rare and private Yellow-eyed Penguin, and the gradual return of the rare Hooker’s Sea Lion to the Peninsula dune lands, the Otago Peninsula offers a special natural appeal and is a busy crossroad of biodiversity.

Day 12 Depart Dunedin

Drop your car off at Dunedin airport.
Depart on your international or domestic flight to another point to connect with your international flight.

“HAERE RA” - we hope you enjoyed your stay in New Zealand and wish you a pleasant flight home.
End of our arrangements

PLEASE NOTE: we can tailor this programme to your interests and type of accommodation.