A haven for many outdoor activities, this package offers four diverse day walks across the breadth of New Zealand as well as other highlights for those who want to get out and explore the country. The four walks - Tongariro Alpine Crossing, mountainous and volcanic; Abel Tasman National Park, coastal and wildlife,; Franz Josef, glacier hiking; Te Anau, sample part of the famous Milford Track.
- Round-trip International Economy airfare from Los Angeles
- Add-on airfares available from other cities
- Internal New Zealand flights
- 12 Days medium size automatic transmission car rental
- 13 nights accommodation in 4 star accommodation
- Tongaririo Alpine Crossing day walk
- Abel Tasman National Park - Kayak, Seals & Day Walk
- Fox it Up: Heli Ice Climbing Adventure
- Milford Track Day Walk (note: seasonal)
- ** Sightseeing options and packages are available **
Day 1 - Depart US
Ask about our options with Premium Economy and Business class airfare.
Day 2 - Cross International Date Line
Day 3 - Arrive Auckland
Explore Auckland at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - Some of our favorites:
Explore Auckland at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - Some of our favorites (additional cost applies):
- Auckland City Revealed (Half Day)
NZ's largest and busiest city is set on 48 dormant volcanic cones and lies between two harbours: the sparkling Waitemata and the brooding Manukau. The tour begins with a drive up Queen Street, past Auckland University and through Auckland Domain to Ponsonby. Head over the harbour bridge to the North Shore and enjoy a stroll on Narrow Neck Beach in historic Devonport. Re-board the coach for a trip up to the summit of Mt Victoria for stunning panoramic views over Auckland City, then travel back over the harbour bridge to Westhaven Marina. Finish with a visit to Auckland Fish Market before continuing on to the Viaduct Harbour.
- Bush and Beach - Coast and Rainforest Tour
Visit Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, with panoramic views from the sweeping decks extending from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Next, your guides walk you through Auckland’s coastal rainforest to the West Coast Beach with soft black sand, enjoy a kiwi style picnic lunch before moving onto untouched original rainforest with mature 1000 year old Kauri trees, where 70 percent of the world’s native plants are found nowhere else in the world.
- Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise
Board your Explore Group vessel at Viaduct Harbour, Auckland to commence an Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise. Dine on the Waitemata Harbour, an experience not to be missed in Auckland. Enjoy great sailing and as the sun sets watch the night lights of the cityscape come alive. Sail where the wind takes while enjoying Auckland's city highlights; including sailing under the Harbour Bridge and other well-known landmarks along the harbours edge. The crew's local knowledge will give you the best harbour sailing experience Auckland has to offer. Cruise concludes at approximately 2.5 hours after commencement, back at Viaduct Harbour Auckland.
- Waiheke Island - Wine Tour<
All day tour of three vineyards with pickup from and return to Auckland ferry or Waiheke Island accommodation . This tour includes commentated scenic tour of the Island with time to stop for photographs. One vineyard may be replaced with an olive oil visit and tasting
Day 4 - Auckland - Rotorua
Auckland to Hamilton
As you cruise down the southern motorway, suburban scenery gradually gives way to the farmland of South Auckland, an area favoured by bloodstock breeders. The Waikato River will accompany you for much of your journey through the green countryside. The city of Hamilton is carved in two by the mighty Waikato River. Excellent restaurants and cafes can be found at the southern end of the city’s main street.
Hamilton to Rotorua
Your journey to Rotorua will take you through a mixture of farmland, lakeland and forest. You’ll know you’ve arrived in the city of Rotorua when you see (and smell!) the geothermal steam plumes of Whakarewarewa. Rotorua sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so there’s evidence of volcanic activity everywhere you look. Explore the geothermal areas and discover the unique culture of New Zealand’s Maori people
Day 5 - Rotorua
- Discover Rotorua
Experience Te Puia, a place of Maori culture and a thermal wonderland of impressive geysers and boiling mud pools. Explore Rainbow Springs Nature Park, which showcases native flora and fauna as well as the New Zealand Kiwi. Then see NZ's agricultural industry in action with a sheep shearing display and sheep dog trials at the Agrodome.
- Te Puia Steambox Lunch
Visitors can choose what they want to have cooked for their lunch before heading out on a special guided tour. As they participate in an interactive session, learning how to weave a flower, and tour the carving and weaving schools, their food is placed in a Nga Wha (steam vent) Puapua, which is located in the geothermal area that is the backdrop to the famous Pohutu Geyser. Heading down into the geothermal valley to the mud pools and hot springs, the tour concludes when, after watching their lunch being lifted from the Nga Wha, guests sit and enjoy a steam box picnic lunch on the geyser terrace.
Zorbit - you are safely harnessed inside the Zorb before being sent rolling head over heels down the straight track. Like an astronaut in training you will have a sense of weightlessness and G-force as you make your way down hill. In the Zydro (Hydro) ride we add water (warm in winter, cool in summer) into the Zorb so you can slip, slide, or spin (no tumbling) inside as the Zorb hurtles down the hill.
Your guide will escort you through the ten acre site of where the Lord of the Rings movie set used to be. Your guide will explain all about what was needed to create the Hobbiton set and tell stories about what went on during filming. Check out the Hobbit holes from the film set. After viewing the Bag End, you can pet and feed the hand reared sheep and hand bottle feed lambs.
Day 6 - Rotorua to Turangi
Rotorua to Taupo
The road to Taupo will keep you entertained with its unusual, volcanic geography. You’ll also drive through large tracts of plantation pine forest. The resort town of Taupo sits on the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake, which is well stocked with sizeable trout. You’ll find everything a traveller could wish for, including an excellent choice of restaurants.
Taupo to Turangi
You’ll follow the eastern edge of Lake Taupo to reach Turangi. The drive is very scenic and there are many picnic opportunities along the way. Where streams run into the lake, you’ll often see trout fisherman trying their luck. The walks and skifields of the Tongariro National Park are also close by.
Day 7 - Tongaririo Alpine Crossing Day Walk
This 19km trek is arguably New Zealand’s best day one day walk. The track leads up to the saddle between Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro and then diverts over Mt Tongariro. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing starts at the Mangatepopo Valley (1100 m). Total walking time is 7-8 hours with approximately 1 hour of scheduled stops and photo opportunities.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing track has a gentle gradient to Soda Springs and then a steep climb to the saddle between Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe to South Crater. Access through South Crater leads up to the active and steaming vent of Red Crater (1886m). From here the track descends through North Crater past the Emerald Lakes and Blue Lake and down to the Ketetahi Hut. The track then flows downwards through native bush to the track end.
Day 8 - Fly Taupo-Nelson
Upon arrival collect rental vehicle
|Nelson to Motueka
86 km (62 miles) Approximately 1.75 hour
The road to Motueka hugs the coast, which makes it easy to browse beaches as you go. In the horticultural town of Motueka you can indulge your love of fresh fruit and vegetables, and feed your imagination with local arts and crafts. Because it’s so close to the Abel Tasman National Park and the Kahurangi National Park, Motueka is an ideal place to plan and prepare for hiking adventures.
Day 9 - Abel Tasman National Park - Kayak, Seals & Walk
The smallest of the New Zealand's national parks, Abel Tasman is a compact treasure house of nature with glittering beaches, turquoise water and spectacular ocean views. A range of wildlife inhabits the area, including penguins and a seal colony in the Tonga Island Marine Reserve.
Meet your guide and explore this morning with the 'Split Apple Paddle' guided half day kayak trip along the spectacular Kaiteriteri coastline. Stop on a golden sand beach for a short break and return to Kaiteriteri by 12noon, time for lunch on the beach or a nearby cafe. Swapping kayak for walking shoes, join the 1.00pm Vista Cruise to the golden sands of Onetahuti, visiting the fascinating seal colony at Tonga Island on the way. Arrive Tonga Quarry 2.30pm, disembark and walk the coastal track 2 1/4 hours (7 kms) to Medlands Beach (unguided). Rejoin the Vista Cruise at 4.45pm to cruise back to Kaiteriteri, arriving at 5.45pm.
Day 10 - Motueka to Punakaiki
Motueka to Westport
On the way to Westport you’ll travel up the Motueka River Valley on a pretty, winding road that takes you past magical scenery and tiny settlements. Turn right when you connect with the main highway and head for Murchison, where you can learn about 1929’s massive earthquake. Westport is known as a coal mining town and a base for outdoor adventures.
Day 11 - Punakaiki to Franz Josef
Greymouth to Hokitika
The road between Hokitika and Greymouth provides great views of the wild west coast. Detour to the beach and breathe the salt spray air. Driftwood is the ornamentation of choice for west coast beaches – every shape, size and colour. Hokitika was first settled in 1860, after the discovery of gold on the west coast. It still has the feel of a ‘frontier town’, and there are some lovely old buildings to admire. Greenstone (NZ jade) is the town’s treasure these days – you can see it being polished and sculpted. You might also want to pan for gold, investigate the museum and do the historical walk.
Hokitika to Franz Josef
The road to Franz Josef is rural, but with a wild streak. The farmland is trying to turn back into forest, and the beauty of the rivers is raw and primeval. First explored in 1865, the Franz Josef Glacier has been moving forward at a rate of about 1 metre a day since 1985.
Day 12 - Franz Josef Ice Explorer
This is a fantastic introduction to an enthralling world of ice. A short heli hop from the township takes you into the remarkable Pinnacles area of the glacier. Here your guide will navigate you through a maze of ice and explain the dramatic environmental changes over the last few years. You will explore the awe-inspiring landscape in this incredible experience through Franz Josef Glacier. Sometimes even the best plans don't work out - sometimes helicopters don't fly. If your tour is cancelled due to weather, Franz Josef Glacier Guides will automatically transfer you onto our Glacier Valley Walk the same day. There is no obligation to participate and you can cancel at any time. We just want to make sure you don't miss out on a great glacier experience.
Day 13 - Franz Josef to Te Anau
Franz Josef to Fox Glacier
After a short drive south, you’ll arrive at Fox Glacier. The glacier’s terminal face is just 5 kilometers from the township, and the road to the walking track crosses ancient moraine from earlier advances and retreats. Fed by four alpine glaciers, Fox Glacier was named after an early New Zealand Prime Minister, William Fox.
Fox Glacier to Haast
Not far from Fox Glacier is the western end of the Copland track. Lake Moeraki is another peaceful forest lake with good fishing – a 40 minute walk takes you to the penguin colony at Monro Beach. The long one-lane bridge over the Haast River leads you into the settlement of Haast, once a construction camp for the Ministry of Works (the government department responsible for road and bridge building). It’s a town with a touch of the wild west.
Haast to Wanaka
Enjoy waterfalls and river scenery as you leave the coast and climb up the Haast river valley to Haast Pass. The road snakes through the Aspiring National Park, and the vegetation becomes more sparse as you travel inland.
Wanaka to Queenstown
The shortest route to Queenstown is over the Crown Range Road. It’s a challenging drive, but the views are amazing and you’ll probably encounter friendly keas (mountain parrots). More conservative drivers can take the route that runs beside the Clutha River, Lake Dunstan and the Shotover River. The vineyards of the Gibbston area and bungy jumpers at the Kawarau River Bridge are interesting distractions along the way.
Day 14 - Milford Track Day Walk
A short journey along the shores of Lake Te Anau to the Te Anau Downs boat harbour. You will then cruise for an hour to the spectacular northern end of the lake. Enjoy a hot drink on board with your guide.
After disembarking at the start of the track we walk 1.6km (1 mile) to historic Glade House, one of the original Milford Track Lodges, dating back to the 1890's. Enjoy hot soup from the kitchen with your lunch, all included in your walk. From here the track follows the Clinton River as it meanders through rich Beech Forest for a further 3.2km (2 miles). Your guide will point out the birdlife and unique aspects of the valley, then take you off the track to show you a few places you might otherwise miss. For those who want a little more of a challenge there will be the option of returning via the Glade Burn track, giving you one final vista of Lake Te Anau before boarding the return launch.
This walk is very flat and well formed, making it accessible to walkers of all ages and abilities. The optional Glade Burn Track is a steady 20-30 minute climb up a dry river bed, then a descent down a forest track. During this part of the walk you will need to be able to step over tree roots and branches. Walking distance 10 kilometres (6 miles). NOTE: This walk is seasonal from early November to mid April - outside of these months an alternative day walk can be proposed.
Day 15 - Te Anau to Queenstown
Drive back to Queenstown at your leisure.
Day 16 - Depart for US (via Auckland)
* Peak Season 1Dec17-28Feb18 pricing - Availability very restricted, package pricing may be higher Dec-Feb period, depending on availability
Daily departures, this package is an independent itinerary with flexible departures (not a group tour).
Additional departure gateways & pricing
- Add on airfare is available from most major airports - ask an Aspire consultant for a quote from your local airport.
- Houston - $220 additional
- Seattle - $300 additional
- Denver - $300 additional
- Portland, OR - $300 additionall
- Dallas - $350 additional
- Chicago - $400 additional
- New York - $450 additional
- Boston - $450 additional
- Washington, DC - $450 additional
Optional Activities, Extensions or Add-Ons & pricing:
- Upgrade to premium economy from $750 per person each way
- Upgrade to business class from $1,950 per person each way
- Can take the upgrade one way or round trip and combine premium/business classes on same ticket
All upgrades are subject to availability, upgrade cost may be higher depending on availability
Package from pricing is based on double occupancy (2 people sharing a room) from Los Angeles or San Francisco for purchase by 31 December, 2017. Ask an Aspire consultant for pricing for other travel dates. Add-on fares are available from other cities. Certain blackout dates apply on the accommodation and tour value add offers - check with your Aspire consultant. Seats are limited and may not be available on every flight. Hotels are subject to availability. All prices reflect a discount for purchases made by cash/wire transfer/check, please see terms and conditions for credit card payments. There are no discounts for payment made by credit cards. Cancellation penalties and other restrictions apply. Free Fiji offer only applies when package is for 2 people, not valid for single travelers.