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New Zealand is a compact country of rare seismic beauty, fascinating Maori culture, award-winning wineries and cosmopolitan cities. Incorporating both North and South Island, this self-drive itinerary invites you to experience the very best of New Zealand and savour it all at your own pace.
Take an early morning soak in the geothermal waters of Rotorua’s Lake Tarawera
Cycle with a guide between several of Blenheim’s wineries, stopping to taste of course
Swim with dusky dolphins in the wild off the coast of Kaikoura
Get the ultimate view of the famed Milford Sound from your private helicopter
While New Zealand is renowned for its outdoor pursuits, this itinerary also showcases the country’s amazing art scene. In Rotorua, join contemporary Maori artist Todd Couper for a look around his workshop. Over in Queenstown, a guided itinerary introduces you to several artists in their studios, showcasing their amazing artwork.
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The idyllic island of Waiheke kicks off your adventure in New Zealand, offering a warm welcome, beautiful beaches and enchanting vineyards. A private guided tour of the wine area allows you to choose from a range of award-winning vineyards to visit. A local lunch, premium wine and olive tasting is included, while you can also visit a nearby craft gallery and stroll along the coast.
Return to Auckland City Depot to collect your rental vehicle. Then, drive to Solitaire Lodge, Rotorua.
Geothermal Rotorua is characterised by bubbling pools and dramatic geysers. Take to Lake Tarawerea by private launch boat, soaking in the thermal waters as they reflect the morning light. Later, a guided tour begins with a stroll through the Otanewainuku Forest, where giant trees house kiwi and kokako birds, before continuing to Mount Maunganui. Visit the private studio of Maori artist Todd Couper, looking at his work and hearing about how his culture inspires his unique practice.
Drive to Rotorua Airport and return your rental vehicle for your flight to Wellington. Here, collect another rental vehicle and drive to Wharekauhau Country Estate, Palliser Bay.
Breakfast, light lunch, pre-dinner drinks and dinner daily
While in rugged Palliser Bay, you’ll stay amid 5,000 acres of scenic sheep farmland. Hop in a 4WD for a guided farm safari around the coastal ranch, learning more about the country’s farming heritage through sheep shearing demonstrations and watching sheep dogs in action. You can also spot seals from Cape Palliser’s impressive lighthouse.
Drive to Wellington Airport and return your rental vehicle for your flight to Blenheim. Here, collect another rental vehicle and drive to The Marlborough Lodge, Blenheim.
Breakfast, pre-dinner drinks and dinner daily
A town in the heart of New Zealand’s Marlborough wine region, Blenheim offers alfresco adventures amid beautiful scenery. A private guide will lead you on a relaxing, easy cycling tour around the local wineries, inviting you to taste some of the award-winning labels.
Drive to Hapuku Lodge, Kaikoura.
Renowned for its ecotourism and outdoor pursuits, Kaikoura is a picturesque seaside village on South Island’s east coast. Get up close to charming dusky dolphins on a small group cruise. Watch them as they frolic in their natural surroundings, swimming alongside these incredible animals. Other possible activities here include whale-watching and strolling the scenic Peninsula Walkway.
Drive to Christchurch Airport and return your rental vehicle for your flight to Queenstown. Here, transfer by shared helicopter to Minaret Station Alpine Lodge, Wanaka.
From your base in the mountains, a private scenic helicopter flight will showcase the spectacular natural beauty of New Zealand’s Fiordlands and Southern Alps. Soar over waterfalls, mountain lakes, glaciers and the iconic Milford Sound, before stopping for a gourmet barbecue picnic with a seriously beautiful backdrop.
Transfer by shared helicopter to Queenstown Airport for your private car transfer to Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Queenstown.
As well as the countless outdoor activities that Queenstown offers – including bungy jumping and zip lining – the city also boasts an impressive art scene. Join a private art guide as you visit a variety of off-the-beaten track studios, meeting the artists and viewing their incredible work. This full-day excursion is rounded off with lunch at a lovely local café and an afternoon spent tasting the artisan produce of a nearby winery.
Take a private car transfer to Queenstown Airport for your flight to London.
You will be met at your accommodation by your guide and private Tesla vehicle for a tailor-made sightseeing tour of Waiheke island’s vineyards, with the opportunity to craft your own personal itinerary according to your interests. Since the late 1970s Waiheke's wonderful Mediterranean climate has seen the growth of a flourishing wine industry, with focus on low quantities of extremely high-quality fruit that are made into award-winning wines. Visit art and craft galleries, stroll along beautiful beaches, and enjoy premium wine and olive tasting, as well as enjoying a light, locally sourced lunch.
Enjoy a private launch excursion to the natural hot springs of Lake Tarawera, stopping to soak in the geothermal waters – said to have healing benefits – and soaking up the stunning morning sun as it rises above the native bush.
Join a private guide for a full day exploring the delights – both natural and cultural - of Rotorua. Your day begins with a short walk between the giant trees of Otanewainuku forest, renowned for its abundant bird population. Continue to Mount Maunganui, a relaxed beach town that occupies a peninsula at the southern end of Tauranga Harbour, stopping for lunch here. Once refuelled, you will pay a visit to the private studio of Todd Couper, a contemporary Maori artist that specialises in wood carving and sculpture, whose pieces have been commissioned both locally and internationally. As you look around, Todd will share how his culture inspires his artwork.
There’s no better way to soak up the beauty of Blenheim than by bicycle. Join a private guide for a day cycling through the countryside and vineyards – at a leisurely pace and across gentle terrain - between up to five local wineries. Stop to sample the area’s world-renowned wine in each, as well as enjoying lunch at one vineyard (at an extra cost).
Join a small group for a boat cruise in the waters off Kaikoura, home to a year-round population of charming dusky dolphins. Renowned for their acrobatic leaps and interaction, spot the incredible creatures as they frolic in their natural environment.
Board your private helicopter and soar above the enchanting grandeur of the Alps, passing over rainforests, frozen lakes, and majestic Milford Sound to the heart of Fiordland. Absorb the spellbinding beauty of this immense destination, getting up close to huge waterfalls and seeing the region’s unique wildlife in its otherwise inaccessible natural habitat. After a gourmet barbecue picnic lunch with a spectacular mountain backdrop, embark on your return flight.
The beautiful Wakatipu Basin is renowned for its population of artists, one of which will join you as a guide on this full day tour. As a private tour, you are able to tailor the itinerary to suit you, visiting a range of off-the-beaten-track studios and meeting the artists that work there. Hear the stories behind their masterpieces, while admiring original sketches, painting and sculptures. Lunch is included at a local café, followed by a visit to a local winery for a tasting of artisan wines to round off your day.
New Zealand’s mildest months and longest days fall between October and April – great for enjoying the wealth of outdoor activities.
18 NIGHTS FROM £16,995 per person
Price based upon economy flights from London, transfers, UK airport lounge passes and meals and excursions as specified.
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