Waterways & Wineries
Activity and Adventure
It’s time to see New Zealand in style! Once you arrive in Queenstown you’ll be met by a guide and driven to your hotel. Take some time for yourself to recover from the long journey, getting used to your new time zone and preparing for the following fortnight’s adventures. You’ll stay overnight at the Rees Luxury Apartments – situated right on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, you’ll have fabulous views from your private balcony.
The next day you will start to explore the best this beautiful region has to offer. You might like to check out the local hot pools and spas, go boating or biking or perhaps something more adventurous such as rafting. For a more relaxed approach to enjoying the great outdoors, head to a local vineyard for a glass of something excellent – one of our favorites is Mount Difficulty. Or to uncover the region’s history, venture further out to gold rush era Arrowtown or to the remote Glenorchy township for natural splendor.
The next day you will enjoy the famous Milford Sound from another perspective on a thrilling 90-minute helicopter ride. From high peaks to coastal fjords, you’ll see New Zealand scenery as you’ve never seen it before. There is even an opportunity to touch the ice of a glacier!
After dropping off your hire car, it’s time to board a flight to Wellington. Once you’ve been transferred to your hotel, you’ll have time to yourself to explore the ‘Coolest little capital in the world’. Renowned for its excellent array of culinary options, tuck into food trucks or visit an upmarket restaurant for a spot of New Zealand fine dining. You might also want to visit Zealandia wildlife sanctuary for a night tour, where you will have a chance of spotting the rare kiwi as the day fades to dusk. Your home for the night is the well-appointed Bolton Hotel, located next to The Beehive Parliament Building.
Bid farewell to Wellington and head north to the stunning Hawke's Bay. As you make your way there, the distinctive North Island landscape will make itself clear in the verdant rolling countryside and sheep farms. After settling in at the colonial-style Greenhill Lodge, enjoy a tasty dinner made with fresh produce and local artisan producers, and perhaps a glass of wine beside a roaring fire. The next day enjoys a full-day small-group wine tour of the region. Journey through lush countryside and into the most famous wine-growing region, where you will have time to visit four or five internationally recognized wineries. Enjoy a series of comprehensive wine tastings, before tucking into a delicious lunch. Afterward, you’ll visit Te Mata Peak, a lookout summit boasting panoramic views of the region.
The road trip continues north and inland, towards Lake Taupo. Along the way, you’ll drive by rugged hills, sweeping valleys, and gentle plains. Stop off to stretch your legs at Tarawera and head to the hot springs to relax achy muscles. Alternatively, visit the majestic twin waterfalls at Waialua Falls lookout. Your home in Taupo is the modernist and luxurious Acacia Cliffs Lodge. The next day get up early to explore the stunning shores of the lake or take a stroll around the pretty town center. In the evening enjoy a sunset catamaran cruise across Lake Taupo and its many picturesque bays, as well as towards the famous Maori Rock carvings. In the distance, you’ll spot snow-capped mountain peaks of the World Heritage Tongariro National Park and as you glide along your guide will tell you all about the volcanic history and Maori mythology surrounding Lake Taupo.
Today it’s time to head north towards the coast. While the drive takes three hours, factor in time for plenty of stops along the way. It’s a seriously scenic route with plenty of awesome stops including the quaint beach town of Mount Maunganui. Home to some of the North Island’s best white sand beaches, the Coromandel Peninsula juts out northward into the Pacific Ocean and features two striking but very different coastlines. The east coast is tranquil and protected, whereas the other side has a much wilder and more rugged field. Spend your time here as you please and make sure you check out Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove. You’ll stay overnight at 970 Lonely Bay Lodge, a boutique lodge nestled in native bush and just a couple of minutes’ walk to Cooks Beach.
For the last leg of your journey making your way around the coast, towards Auckland. This two-and-a-half-hour ride will take you through the flat plains of the northern Waikato region. Fancy something more scenic? Take a five-hour ocean route, which hugs the rugged coast along the Firth of Thames. Once you arrive in Auckland drop your car off, check-in and take in your new surroundings. You’re staying at the stylish and centrally located So Sofitel, which boasts a rooftop swimming pool and views of the city. Stroll down to Viaduct Harbour for a waterfront drink and watch the boats come and go.
Spend your last full day in New Zealand exploring the best of Auckland. Take a trip up the Sky Tower for a panoramic view of the city, harbors and surrounding volcanic landscape. In the afternoon schlep over to Waiheke Island and explore the many attracting vineyards, olive groves, and beaches. On day 15, it's time to head to the airport for your flight home.