New Zealand Fantasy
Nov.19-26 (or 30th), 2018
April 14th-21st (or 25th), 2019
8-day route through New Zealand's stunning North & South Islands, with optional add-on for 12-day trip
Starting from Auckland, our trip will take you to the base of the highest peaks and the deepest fjiords as you soak up the natural wonders at the end of the earth with our own brand of personalised care and comfort.
starting at $3245 per person
$250 off Early Bird Special through 6/15
$250 off Early Bird Special through 6/15
- All accommodations in clean & comfortable 3-4 star hotels (7 nights or 11 nights)
- Daily breakfast and multiple group dinners (3 total dinners on 8-day trip, 4 total dinners on 12-day trip)
- Transportation from Auckland airport on arrival and to Queenstown airport on departure
- Ground transport between each destination in comfortable, privately rented vehicles
- Welcome drinks in Auckland on arrival day
- AWADS Whale & Dolphin Safari with our Community Partner -- Project Jonah
- Landscape photography workshops, tips and advice given by our co-guide Maxy
- Ferry from Auckland to Coromandel
- Domestic flight from Rotorua to Christchurch
- Tickets on Driving Creek Railway Eyeful Tower Rail Tour
- Entry to TeWaiaroa Buried village, Hells Gate Geothermal Park, Okains Bay Museum, & Tekapo Hot Springs
- Scenic drives with freedom to stop for photos and bask in the stunning views
- Traverse representative 24/7 as well as a dedicated New Zealand-native guide
- Small group experience, max 12 people
Day 1 - Monday: Auckland
Arrive to Auckland by 12p (or the previous day) in order to experience everything on offer today. You will be met at the International Airport in Auckland, and escorted to your accommodation for the night. Located in downtown Auckland City, you will have access to central transportation services. 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, you'll enjoy dinner at your discretion and may want to explore the colorful nightlife, or catch up on a good night’s sleep, before our exciting adventures continue.
day 2 - Tuesday: Cruising the Coromandel
After a delicious breakfast at your hotel, we will depart Auckland city via ferry to the stunning white sands of the Coromandel Peninsula. We will 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. Dinner will be in wonderful Whitianga before we head to Hot Water Beach. A New Zealand must-see, this unique beach features natural hot springs and, as such, attracts a huge daytime crowd. As we aim to get you away from the tourist throngs, we are very excited to be able to offer a one-of-a-kind midnight bathe under the stars, for the adventurous amongst us. Our accommodation for the night will be at a range of well-appointed villas within a short stroll from the hot spot itself.
day 3 - Wednesday: 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.
That evening, you will 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 even 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 accommodation in Rotorua where you’ll find your luggage delivered to your room, ready for a restful night’s sleep.
day 4 - Thursday: 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 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 falls and fossils, or exploring the ‘Kiwiana’ town of Otorohanga with aviaries and a dedicated Kiwi House, to rafting underground caverns lit with the ethereal glow of native cave-worms, you'll find plenty to choose from. If you’d like, we’ll have you ziplining through dark chasms and exciting black-water rafting with professional guides, in one of the most unique adventure activities available in the world.
We’ll have dinner on the return journey, stopping at Okere Falls Store (where a well-formed bush walk explores scenic lookouts, waterfalls, and an old power station) en route to Hell’s Gate. Named for it’s active geothermal energy, Hell’s Gate is 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 our luxury option 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, with a fresh mineral water Twilight Spa to finish. We’ll return to our accommodation in Rotorua and settle in for a second night there.
day 5 - Friday: French Frontiers in Akaroa.
An early morning to catch our flight from Rotorua to Christchurch. We will take a short driven tour of the central city and view landmarks that past visitors to New Zealand may remember. For those new to the country, the reality of the devastation that occurred here in 2011 will be just as vivid. 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. You’ll have options to see penguins, go sailing, or even swim with the world’s rarest dolphin in the Harbour. We’ll stay in Akaroa to ensure you get to make the most of this quaint little corner of the world.
day 6 - Saturday: 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. Alternatively, choose between a variety of marine tours this morning -- kayaking, sailing, swimming with dolphins -- you name it!
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. In addition, the local canals are host to world-class salmon hatcheries, with fresh fish on offer for those who are keen to sample straight from the source. What’s more, 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 - Sunday: 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 spend 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!
day 8 - Monday: Departure / Misty Mountains of Milford
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:
Those of you staying on will get to breathe in a bit more of Milford Sound's magic. Carved by ancient glaciers, these impressive fiords 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. You’ll have all day to immerse in the majestic landscape which is guaranteed to impress. With a range of cruise options available, you’ll make it right out to the Tasman Sea and hopefully spot dolphins, seals, or penguins. We’ll even have a chance to hike part of one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, the famous Milford Track.
day 9 - Tuesday: Te Anau to Base
There’s plenty to keep you occupied along the journey back to Queenstown, and the road is quite the adventure in itself. 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 before we return to Queenstown. There'll be plenty of time for you to choose from any of the delectable offerings available for dinner in this thriving hotspot, and you’ll be well-versed on the best, fun, free activity options as well as having us on hand for recommendations too. There really is so much to explore in Queenstown, your imagination is truly the limit! Experience G-forces as you ride in The Shark, visit the Ice Bar (woolly jackets and gloves provided!), or absorb the vibrant vibes of the colorful characters in the nightlife. Talented buskers will take your breath away, and whether it’s a party you’re after, a secluded cocktail, or a hidden whisky bar: we've got the remedy for you to dive in or escape the hustle and bustle because we know how to find the places only locals hide out.
day 10 - Wednesday: Fly through Paradise
We know you’re on vacation, and there’s plenty of boutique beers, wines and spirits brewing and flowing in the Central Lakes District. So we’ll start out day ten with a range of options available, including gentle walks, gold panning and exploring in historic Arrowtown, or jet-boating in the glorious Skippers’ Canyon. For the brave-hearted, there’s the quintessential kiwi thrill, the bungy jump! Choose your level of adventure, we cater to you. Coming together in the central city after lunch we’ll head out to Glenorchy, stopping along the lush lupin-lined lake for plenty of photo opportunities. We’re pleased to be able to offer and recommend the Paradise Zipline Experience, rated as suitable for all participants over ten years old. This 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 with around three hours in what’s locally known as a bird-lovers’ dream and a photographer’s, well... The name says it all. Paradise.
We’ll head back to Queenstown after all this bliss and return to our previous nights’ accommodation, so you feel at home and can revisit your favorite spots or try some new ones.
day 11 - Thursday: Relax and Reflect
As your departure draws near, we know you’ll need to relax and replenish before a long flight home. Our flexible options will allow you to make the most of the rest of the Central Lakes area, with a morning trip to neighboring Lake Wanaka to stretch the legs and a lunch stop at the historic and iconic Cardrona Hotel as we travel the Crown Range back to Queenstown. Take a guided horse-trek on a reliable steed, or if there’s something else you’ve discovered that you’re keen on, we’ll try our best to incorporate that into the day, arranging any transfers or transport necessary.
After a final, delicious group dinner together, you’ll be ready and rested to depart the next day from Queenstown’s International Airport 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.
day 12 - Friday: Departure
Depart at any time from Queenstown Airport on your final day
8-day Trip cost
$3245 per person, based on shared room
+$750 'My own room' add-on option: your own room with private bath
12-day Trip cost
$4995 per person, based on shared room
+$1250 'My own room' for 12-day trip: your own room with private bath
Trip Does Not Include:
- International airfare
- Additional meals and activities
- Required travel insurance
Ready to book? Download our registration form and get started! For any other questions please contact us.
Your NZ-Native Guide:
Maxy knows and loves New Zealand like few do. He is a man of his land. And of the sea. If he’s not swimming and surfing, he’s hunting and fishing. He’s a farm boy at heart, with a passion for the great outdoors.
In his career as a sought after photographer and film director, he is naturally drawn to projects that get him out in the wild, with the people of the land. Maxy is fascinated by how the environment you live in shapes you as a person and thus believes strongly in exploring one's home country, which has brought him all over New Zealand. Maxy is very keen to share the unique aspects of what shapes New Zealand's character, and his love for Aotearoa.
Your traverse rep:
As a dedicated international adventurer for 15 years, Laura has traveled in almost 40 countries on 5 continents, living abroad in 7 different countries including New Zealand.
Her love affair with New Zealand began in 2007, spending a full year exploring as much of the beauty there as possible.
Throughout the trip, as well as in the planning stages leading up to your departure, take comfort in knowing that your #1 job is simply to show up and enjoy yourself. Laura will help to take care of all your arrangements, and help you navigate each destination to make the most out of every day.
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.
2019 Trip Payment Terms
$250 deposit due on booking refundable through 10/1/2018, less a $50 admin fee. 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.