A NEW ZEALAND FANTASY
December 1-10, 2019
10-day route through New Zealand's stunning North & South Islands
All accommodations in clean & comfortable 3-4 star hotels
Transfer from arrival and departure airports
Ground transport between each destination in comfortable, private vehicles
Ferry from Auckland to Coromandel
Scenic drives with freedom to stop for photos and bask in the stunning views
AWADS Whale & Dolphin Safari with our Community Partner Project Jonah + donation to their organization
Tickets on Driving Creek Railway / Eyeful Tower Rail Tour
Entry to TeWaiaroa Buried village, Hells Gate Geothermal Park, Okains Bay Museum, & Tekapo Hot Springs
Welcome drinks on arrival day
Multiple group dinners
Dedicated New Zealand-native guide and Traverse guide
Traverse representative assisting you from booking to departure
Small group experience, max 12 people
check back soon for updated details on newly launched 10-day route
Day 1 - Auckland
Arrive to Auckland by 12p (or the previous day) in order to experience everything on offer today. You will be met at Auckland airpot, and escorted to your centrally-located hotel. Midday we will gather together and head for the pier where we'll set off on our first adventure together! Enjoy an afternoon boat tour with Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari, experiencing the diverse marine wildlife and stunning scenery of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. While you spot wild marine mammals and rare birds living in their natural habitat, our community Partner -- Project Jonah -- will be aboard with us to provide in-depth insight to New Zealand's marine habitats and coastline, as well as the integral work that Project Jonah does to protect it all. After disembarking from the boat, we’ll enjoy an evening Welcome Drink on the waterfront. Afterwards, you may dine and explore Auckland’s nightlife at your discretion or catch up on a good night’s sleep, before our exciting adventures continue.
MEALS: Welcome drink
day 2 - Tuesday: Cruising the Coromandel
After a delicious breakfast at your hotel, we’ll depart Auckland city via ferry to the stunning white sands of the Coromandel Peninsula. We’ll explore the best of the peninsula including the world-famous Cathedral Cove, with options to snorkel at Gemstone Bay, or a glass-bottom boat ride for those who prefer not to get wet. We’ll gather together for a group dinner in wonderful Whitianga before we head to our accommodations adjacent to Hot Water Beach. A New Zealand must-see, this unique beach features natural hot springs and, as such, attracts a huge daytime crowd. To avoid the crowds, we are very excited to be able to offer a one-of-a-kind midnight bathe under the stars, for the adventurous amongst us.
MEALS: B, D
day 3 - Traditional Welcome in Rotorua
A relaxed morning on the beach will enable the day-dwellers to experience this magical place and it’s temperate delights with a late morning tide revealing the magic sand once again before we leave. Once suitably de-salted for departure, we’ll hit the road for the Tarawera Buried Village, stopping for lunch along the way. The Buried Village of Te Wairoa in Tarawera is New Zealand’s most-visited archeological site, with a turbulent history of violent volcanic eruptions and the destruction of the widely-recognized eighth-wonder of the (natural) World, the famous Pink and White Terraces. Step back in time with a wander around the site and the township itself.
This evening, you’ll be welcomed properly onto the whenua (land) with a traditional Maori welcome ceremony, complete with Haka, Waka, Hangi dinner, traditional dances and other cultural education at the Mitai Maori Village. You can choose to take a guided tour through the Kiwi enclosure to see our native bird in it’s nocturnal habitat, or observe Tuatara and other native species before heading back to your hotel in Rotorua for a restful night’s sleep.
MEALS: B, D
day 4 - Waitomo’s Watery Wonders
A day for those of all thrill levels, the Waitomo area showcases a range of natural arches and limestone formations rarely accessible within such close range. After an early breakfast at our hotel we’ll head out to this unique location where you can choose your own level of adventure. From relaxed guided walks to waterfalls and fossils, to rafting underground caverns lit with the ethereal glow of native cave-worms, you'll find plenty to choose from.
On the return journey we’ll stop to explore Hell’s Gate — the only Maori-owned geothermal park in the area, famous for it’s bubbling mud pools, geysers and historic cooking pools. The rejuvenating minerals in the optional spa will have you rethinking all you thought you knew about ‘Hell’ as you relax in a truly unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience. The mineral mix of traditional healing muds in this specific location are sought-after globally for their medicinal properties and here you can indulge in total immersion. We’ll return to our accommodation in Rotorua with evening free time.
day 5 - French Frontiers in Akaroa.
An early morning to catch our flight from Rotorua to Christchurch! We’ll take a short driven tour of the central city and view landmarks that past visitors to New Zealand may remember. Take advantage of a brief window in time in which you can bear witness to the rebuild of a major Western city from red-zone demolitions and experience the true nature of the spirit of the Canterbury people as we visit the Port town of Lyttelton, which has become a mecca for creative types and community cooperation since the earthquake. We’ll enjoy a leisurely lunch before we head outwards on gorgeous Banks’ Peninsular towards New Zealand’s only French settlement, Akaroa. You’ll see a side to Aotearoa you never knew existed, as we will visit a secluded but utterly spectacular local museum. Opt for an evening penguin tour if you like as we'll stay in Akaroa to ensure you get to make the most of this quaint little corner of the world.
day 6 - Star-Gazing from Tekapo Hot Springs
We continue our splash into ultimate relaxation with this day designed for the dreamers and aspiring astrologers amongst us. A leisurely morning in Akaroa with plenty of time for shopping or viewing local arts flows into a day drive through the Rakaia Gorge and Peel Forest, including a short walk to some of New Zealands’ oldest trees. In the AM you’ll have options to go sailing, or join an eco-friendly experience swimming with the world’s rarest dolphin in the Harbour.
After having basked in the rainforest we’ll witness a total change of scenery as we head out towards stunning lake Tekapo. With a topaz blue hue that's truly indescribable this glacier-fed lake is truly a sight to behold. After we settle into our accommodation, you’ll have access to the Tekapo Hot Springs until closing time, and beyond, with guided star-gazing from these hot pools on offer. A truly unforgettable way of absorbing astrological tales and navigation stories from a knowledgeable guide. After all, you'll be currently located in the clear, unpolluted skies of the world-class, Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve!
day 7 - Aoraki Adventures
Departing Tekapo early we head out to Aoraki/Mt Cook Village, the base of NZ’s highest mountain. From the Village, those keen on outdoor pursuits will pull on their hiking boots and take a packed lunch on their journey to explore the face of the Hooker Glacier, with a range of easy walks ranging from 1-3 hours. The options for the less-energetic include exploring the history of early New Zealand mountaineers at the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre or a four-wheel-drive trip up the Tasman Valley. We can arrange Heli-Hiking on the Glacier, or even just a fly-over, for those wanting to get up close and personal without any exertion.
After spending the morning in the village and surrounds and lunching at the Hermitage, we'll depart for Queenstown. Once checked int your Queenstown hotel, you’ll get an opportunity to explore the gorgeous adventure capital and all it offers before we meet for the final group dinner of our 8-day itinerary at a truly magical spot, overlooking the cityscape as the sun sets over the mountains. Window seats guaranteed!
MEALS: B, D
day 8 - Departure
For those of the group who are leaving us at some time during this day, you may opt to end your tour on the highest of notes with a scenic scope-out over the mind-blowing myriad peaks of Milford Sound. Additional activities in Queenstown will be available upon your return dependent on your outbound flight times, and a guide will stay with you for the day to farewell you personally at the airport. You may book departing flights anytime after 12pm from Queenstown (later if you would like to add on the Milford Sound flight).
EXTENSION BEGINS HERE: Queenstown
For those of you staying, you can spend the day exploring and soaking up more of Queenstown’s magic and the surrounding plethora of activity options. Known as the adventure capital of the world, there’s something for everyone here! River rafting, canyon swings, horseback riding, boat cruises, and gorgeous hikes are just a few of the outdoor adventures available to you. Or feel free to spend the day wandering Queenstown’s streets, cafes, shops and lakeside paths with perhaps a soothing twilight spa to cap it off. You can fully absorb the vibrant vibes of the colorful characters & talented buskers of this quaint town, and whether it’s the lively nightlife you’re after, a secluded cocktail, or a hidden whisky bar: we've got the remedy for you! We’ll spend a 2nd night in our hotel here, giving you the chance to indulge & relax, or dive in to the lively nightlife!
day 9 - Fly through Paradise
Coming together in morning, we’ll head out to Glenorchy stopping along the lush lupin-lined lake for plenty of photo opportunities. Upon arriving in Glenorchy you may opt to partake in the Paradise Zipline Experience, a brand-new venture truly is the ultimate way to experience this stunning area as you glide like a bird through the native beech forests in a safe and fun setting, with a guided commentary. Paradise itself is at the start of another one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, the Routeburn Track, and those amongst us opting for the relaxing road will be able to wander as far as we choose in what’s locally known as a bird-lovers’ dream and a photographer’s, well... Paradise! In the mid-afternoon we’ll head out again, but with plenty to keep us occupied as we journey back along the scenic route. After our arrival and check-in at our hotel in the peaceful town of Te Anua, you’ll have the evening to dine and relax as you please.
day 10 - Misty mountains of milford
A day to breathe in Milford Sound's magic. Carved by ancient glaciers, these impressive fjords plunge into the deep ocean offering a habitat for all sorts of unique wildlife. Fresh, tannin filled water sits atop the salty seawater carving a niche for all sorts of dark-dwelling creatures to stray into the light of the underwater observatory. Hop aboard a scenic nature cruise and you’ll make it right out to the Tasman Sea, hopefully spotting dolphins, seals, or penguins along the way. You’ll also have the chance to hike part of one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, the famous Milford Track.
As the day continues, you’ll have options available. An overnight cruise on Milford Sound or the even more remote and under-visited Doubtful Sound can be arranged — either one is an incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Alternatively, you may opt for a scenic drive with plenty of stops en route back to Queenstown. We’ll take our time, with visits to gaping chasms, and tarns, through hand-hewn tunnels with a scenic drive to the top of the Remarkables Range, offering amazing sweeping views of Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown itself. Enjoy the evening at your leisure upon arrival at your hotel.
day 11 - Relax and Reflect
Those who opted for the overnight cruises will be brought to Queenstown this morning. Our flexible options will allow you to make the most of your last day to explore more of the Central Lakes area, with an optional trip to neighboring Lake Wanaka to stretch the legs and a lunch stop as we travel the Crown Range back to Queenstown, or opt for more adventurous activities around Queenstown… or relax in the surrounding natural beauty… or indulge in the world-class spas. The choice is yours!
After a final, delicious group dinner together, you’ll be ready to depart the next day on your journey home, filled with memories and stories to share for years to come. Drift off to sleep knowing you've experienced something truly magical.. a once-in-a-lifetime journey, world-class hospitality, and an in-depth understanding of the true culture of Aotearoa and it’s people.
MEALS: B, D
day 12 - Departure
Depart at any time from Queenstown Airport on your final day. If you purchased your international airfare as a roundtrip ticket to/from Auckland (recommended), be sure that your Queenstown-Auckland flight allows for plenty of time to connect when you arrive in Auckland.
10-day Trip cost
Check back soon for updated details
Trip Does Not Include:
Additional meals and activities
Required travel insurance
About your hosts:
Terms & Conditions
Please refer to registration for complete terms.
A $250 non-refundable deposit is required for each traveler to secure the booking.
Payments can be made either by 1) full payment on booking 2) $250 deposit on booking + payment schedule in registration. Payments will be invoiced via e-mail for credit card or Paypal payment online. To pay by check, please indicate on registration and make check payable to Traverse Journeys and send to PO Box 40516, Austin, TX 78704.
Trip Payment Terms
$250 deposit due on booking. 50% remainder due 6 months prior to trip start. Balance due 30 days prior to trip start
Cancellations, less the trip deposit ($250), are refundable until 90 days from departure. Please refer to the full Payment Plan for details. We do allow for last minute transfers of the same gender for a $150 admin fee. Please notify us immediately in the case of a transfer.
Travel insurance is required for all trips with Traverse, and must cover injury, medical, evacuation, and repatriation as well as trip cancellation and trip interruption. Most insurance companies require purchase to be made within 2-3 weeks of booking for full benefits (in particular, trip cancellation). Once insurance is obtained, a copy must be sent to Traverse. Failure to provide proof of insurance within 30 days of booking will result in trip booking suspension until proof of insurance has been provided. We suggest using Wanderwell, a B-Corp Certified provider, or you can choose from any carrier that meets our requirements.
Documents, Personal Identification, Vaccinations
Traveler is responsible for all required travel documents including passport, visas, entry or exit fees, and vaccinations. Traverse does not cover the cost or assist in obtaining any of the above, and reserves the right to collect information on all.