12 DAY NEW ZEALAND SIGHT SEEING ITINERARY

img
Heli-tour Queenstown
Wai-o-Tapu
OVERVIEW
ITINERARY
START PLANNING

12 DAY NEW ZEALAND SIGHT SEEING ITINERARY

Discover the highlights of New Zealand's North Island and South Island. Flying saves you time, so you can experience both islands and six cities in just 10 days. Enjoy Auckland's beautiful harbour, Rotorua's geysers and hot pools, and Wellington, our creative capital city. Hop over to the South Island for Nelson, the Abel Tasman National Park beaches, the Southern Alps, and Christchurch. Finish your journey at Queenstown, the home of adventure.

Duration: 12 Days

Starts: Auckland

Finishes: Queenstown

+ Absolute Fly & Seek Inclusions:
  • Dedicated Travel Designer
  • Full In-Country Support
  • Specialist Guides on all selected experiences
  • All Airport Transfers & Scheduled Domestic Flights
Your Experiences:
  1. Waiheke Island Private Wine Tour
  2. Full Day Eco Thermal Tour
  3. Tū Te Rā – Maori Summer Harvest Feast
  4. Cruise & Walk Abel Tasman
  5. Overnight Cruise Milford Sound
Your Locations:
  1. Auckland
  2. Waiheke Island – Hauraki Gulf
  3. Rotorua
  4. Nelson
  5. Wellington
  6. Christchurch
  7. Akaroa
  8. Queenstown
  9. Milford Sound
VIEW ITINERARY

Day by day tour itinerary

Expand all
DAY 1
Land Auckland transfer to Waiheke Island

Artists and free-spirits mingle with the rich and famous on blissful Waiheke Island.

Land in Auckland where a short ferry ride transports you to one of New Zealand’s favourite getaway spots: Waiheke Island.

Artists and free-spirits mingle with the rich and famous on this blissful island: it’s a haven of beautiful beaches, gastronomical treasures and small wineries. Waiheke Island is to Auckland as the Hamptons are to New York – the former being on a much smaller scale. Home to beautiful beaches and a friendly village atmosphere, Waiheke Island produces outstanding, award-winning wines.

Waiheke Island
DAY 2
Exclusive Wine and Art Tour - Waiheke Island

Join a local wine aficionado for exclusive behind-the-scenes access to Waiheke's premier wine producers.

Join a local wine aficionado for exclusive behind-the-scenes access to Waiheke’s premier wine producers…

Since the late 1970s, Waiheke’s benign climate has seen the growth of a flourishing wine industry. A “small is beautiful” philosophy yields low quantities of extremely high-quality fruit, which is made into internationally award-winning wines. At each vineyard, you’ll taste a selection of wines and enjoy an in-depth discussion with the winemaker.

For something a little more tactile, we can arrange a visit to a bronze crafting studio, a cobbler who creates individual pairs of shoes from scratch, a ceramic artist, or a tour of the spectacular sculpture park. As part of your tour, you can opt to break up the day with a scenic walk on one of Waiheke’s secluded beaches.

Waiheke Island Wine
DAY 3
Fly to Rotorua

Bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs and fascinating Maori culture

After a quick 45-minute flight land in Rotorua. Sitting squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Rotorua’s landscape is unique: arriving here is like landing on the moon!

This is Earth’s crust at its most exciting. Giant geysers rocket into the air and colourful sulphur terraces hiss and boil. But Rotorua is about much more than boiling mud. Boasting ancient forests, pristine lakes and rugged volcanoes, it’s a haven for outdoor and adventure lovers hikers and mountain bikers.

It’s also a great place to immerse yourselves in the history and tikanga (culture) of Maori, the First People of New Zealand.

Rotorua
DAY 4
Geothermal & Maori Culture

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland & Maori Cultural Evening, Village, Hangi & Music

Today with your private driver you will visit Rotorua’s most natural and popular geothermal parks: Wai O Tapu and Waimamgu Volcanic Valley. You will see volcanoes, geysers, New Zealand’s largest boiling mud pool mud pools and hot springs. The two parks offer a variety of thermal activity: at Wai O Tapu, the colourful hot springs are the key features along with the famous Lady Knox geyser; at Waimangu Volcanic Valley, you will learn about the history and legends of the great eruption of Mt Tarawera which blew open this now spectacular, bush covered, geothermal park. To bring the story alive, you will visit The Buried Village, which is the site of a former Maori village, destroyed during the Tarawera volcanic eruption.

Maori Cultural Evening – Tū Te Rā – Maori Summer Harvest Feast

This four-hour evening is a feast of knowledge as well as divine seasonal kai (cuisine) within our forest Pā (sanctuary), its tawa trees and crackling bonfires. Within the forest-formed amphitheatre attention shifts to stories relayed through haka, song and drama, before torch light guides manuhiri (guests) to an al fresco dining space with three-course feast.

Maori Heratage
DAY 5
Fly to Wellington Wellington

Famous for a vibrant creative culture it's “the coolest little capital in the world” - by Lonely Planet.

A short flight from Rotorua brings you to New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. Situated at the southern end of the North Island, Wellington, New Zealand, was recently named “the coolest little capital in the world” by Lonely Planet.

Wellington’s inner heart beats with an amazing cultural offering all of its own. As New Zealand’s capital, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the city is all political banter and suits. However, this microcosm of creatives is actually a place where artistry, quirkiness and creative risk taking are celebrated within one of the richest arts environs in the southern hemisphere. Best of all, you can walk anywhere in the inner city in around twenty minutes, tops. On any given night, you’ll find something happening, whether it’s a poetry reading, a new art showing, book launch, gig or interpretive theatre piece.

For foodies, Wellington is a city brimming with colourful eateries, vibrant markets and tasty laneways. World-renowned for excellent coffee and award-winning restaurants, this is one city that has it all.

A Couple of musts…

  • Check out the national museum, Te Papa. It brings exhibits to life through interactivity and creativity. Then take a short walk along the waterfront to Oriental Bay, an inner-city golden-sand beach. Look for the typographical sculptures of the Writers’ Walk on the way.
  • If you’re a movie fan, book in a tour of Weta Workshop. It’s an easy, short bus-ride away in Miramar. This is the movie effects studio responsible for Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia, Avatar and more. On the tour you’ll see a couple of film creatives at work.
Wellington
DAY 6
Fly to Nelson

Nelson's is all about art, coastal landscapes and tasting trails

Nelson Tasman has long been a magnet for creative people. With one of the largest numbers of working artists and galleries in the country, you’ll find an array of craftspeople living in the region; traditional, contemporary and Māori. Visit their studios, explore the craft markets, taste the delicious locally made artisan products and find something extraordinary to take home with you.
Nelson
DAY 7
Cruise & Walk Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park is renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, and its world-famous coast track.

Today you have a choice of a full Scenic Cruise or a cruise and walk from Marahau along the stunning Abel Tasman coastline. Abel Tasman National Park is our country’s smallest national park. It protects 23,000 hectares of the most natural stretch of easily accessible coastline in New Zealand. The coastline is characterised by islands just offshore, sheltered waters, estuaries and golden, sandy beaches.

Lie on a beach, or even go for a swim if the weather is warm. The park is sheltered from ocean swells, and enjoys a mild climate. 

  • img

    Approximate Distance: 52 km to Kaiteriteri

  • img

    Total Driving Time: 1 hour

Abel Tasman National Park
DAY 8
Fly to Christchurch

Christchurch - The Garden City

Enjoy a scenic quick 50-minute flight from Nelson to Christchurch. Christchurch is New Zealand’s second-largest city and the South Island’s capital. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Christchurch is our “Garden City”, blessed with beautiful parks and gardens right in the heart of town. English heritage buildings sit side by side with innovative post-earthquake regeneration in this vibrant place.

This afternoon why not relax with a punting trip down the Avon River? Gliding gently along in a flat-bottomed boat, you will take in Christchurch’s ‘must-see’ historic attractions and botanic gardens away from the hustle and bustle of the streets.

Make the most of your evening by exploring Christchurch’s foodie scene. With everything from relaxed cafes to fine dining on offer, you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect spot.

Punting on the Avon
DAY 9
Akaroa Day trip

Visit the picturesque harbourside village and take a nature cruise

Take a private day tour to Akaroa, the only settlement attempted by the French in New Zealand, passes through the beautiful landscapes of the Banks Peninsula. Your journey will lie through the beautiful Banks Peninsula on a high summit route which gives glorious views of farmlands, Akaroa Harbour. From the main wharf in Akaroa boats depart for your Nature Cruise, you may see Hectors Dolphins, little blue penguins, NZ fur seals and local bird life. You will have an opportunity to wander around the charming 175 year old French harbour side village of Akaroa with its museum of settlers’ history, art and craft shops and studios before enjoying lunch at an award winning cafe.

DAY 10
Travel to Queenstown

Queenstown is the ultimate alpine resort

Fly from Christchurch to Queenstown 55 Minutes.  The flight itself is exceptional particularly as you descend into the steeped mountain walled approach – a highlight flight in New Zealand. The alpine resort of Queenstown is exciting, sophisticated, and fantastically scenic. It’s the place to source almost any kind of adventure including bungy jumping, jet boating, horse trekking, rafting, and river surfing. It’s also a destination for luxury experiences – gourmet food and wine, spa treatments, and leisurely games of golf.

DAY 11
Experience Milford Sound with an Overnight Cruise

For the most engaging way to experience the riches of Fiordland National Park.

For the most engaging way to experience the riches of Fiordland National Park. This option includes three modes of transport (land, sea & air) making this the ‘holy grail’ of combination tours.

Coach: Board a luxury coach for a journey into beautiful Fiordland. The Road to Milford is one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives. The first part is relatively mild farmland, and then you’ll ease into a beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park. Look for the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain and the Mirror Lakes and through the rough-hewn Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound.

Cruise: Enjoy a scenic cruise of the entire length of Milford Sound viewing the spectacular waterfalls and famous Mitre Peak. Grand, brooding, serene and wild, Milford Sound draws visitors from all over the globe to cruise its length. The purpose-built cruise boat offers excellent viewing of waterfalls, rainforest, mountains, and wildlife with large windows, spacious decks, and comfortable lounges.

Fly: Experience the “Absolutely Stunning” scenery as you fly over Sutherland Falls and over beautiful Milford Sound and lakes Te Anau and Lake Manapouri on your way back to Queenstown.

DAY 12
Fly home

Wake up in Milford Sound before returning to Queenstown airport for your onward flight

What a way to end your travels in New Zealand. Wake up to the Sounds of Silence in Milford Sound. Enjoy breakfast before taking your scenic flight back to Queenstown ready for your onward travel.

Not quite ready to end your wonderful travels? Speak to one of our Travel Designers about incorporating a stopover in the Pacific or Australia on your way home.

Farewell
Michelle Srzich - Travel Designer
Michelle Srzich, OUR ABSOLUTE NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL DESIGNER SAYS: “This is a comprehensive trip to both the South and North Island, leaving out the driving but missing nothing of the highlights. With time for day trips to Waiheke Island, the french settlers' Akaroa Peninsula, sunny Nelson, and spectacular Fiordland - all in all a great itinerary...”

Ready to find out more? Talk to one of our friendly travel designers about his tour. We guarantee you it will be the experience of a lifetime!

ENQUIRE

Make this itinerary yours

Like what you see? Contact us today to find out more about our exclusive itineraries. Each Absolute New Zealand tour is tailored to who you are and what you want to do.

    12 DAY NEW ZEALAND SIGHT SEEING ITINERARY

    img
    Absolute Chaffeur
    img
    Drive Journey
    ENQUIRE
    img
    Itinerary map
    VIEW LARGER MAP
    Share this tour
    • img
    • img
    • img
    Journey planning

    Our team has access to New Zealand's most unique accommodation, superb activities, and flight specials. Contact us for a personalised New Zealand experience.

    Other tours you may like

    Curious about travel?

    Inspiring travel itineraries and expert advice delivered to your inbox.

    START PLANNING
    img