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Matching stunning surrounds, fantastic outdoor pursuits, comfort and hospitality, with cuisine based on the freshest local produce and finest regional wines the "Inspiring New Zealand - a route less traveled" itinerary will take you to areas in New Zealand not normally included on self-drive itineraries. From the untouched Great Barrier Island, the Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawkes Bay to the capital city of Wellington, stunning scenery of Abel Tasman National Park and on to the adventure capital of New Zealand - Queenstown - your itinerary will provide incredible diversity across the North & South Islands. Enjoy unique lodging experiences all offering ultimate comfort & genuine Kiwi hospitality.

Inclusions:

  • Economy air round trip from Los Angeles - Auckland - Los Angeles
  • Add-on airfares available from other cities
  • Internal New Zealand flights
  • 7 days car rental
  • 11 nights accommodation: Great Barrier Island x2, Hawkes Bay x2, Martinborough x1, Wellington x1, Motueka x2 and Queenstown x 3
  • Inter-islander ferry Wellington - Picton
  • Breakfast x9, Dinner x6
  • Private airport transfers Queenstown
  • All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
  • All hotel, local and VAT (Goods & services taxes)
  • Additional sightseeing options available

Itinerary

Customize this itinerary - Contact Us

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 connect to Great Barrier Island
Arrive in Auckland where you will be met and transferred to the domestic terminal to connect with your 30 minute light aircraft flight to Great Barrier Island– one of the North Island’s best kept wilderness secrets.

Spend the next 2 nights at Earthsong Lodge. (Breakfast & Dinner Included.)

ACCOMMODATION - romantic and tranquil lodge where you will be soothed by the rustle of trees and the music of birdsong.The luxury Lodge is a unique building of straw-bale construction and has been created in harmony with the earth's scarce resources. The thickness and subtle curves of the adobe-finished walls have a timeless character and beauty creating an overall feeling of comfort. Ocean View Suites at Earthsong Lodge all feature private sunny courtyards. Separated from the main lodge and connected by a cobblestone path, each graciously appointed guest suite has an entry lobby, an adjoining en-suite, and large bedroom with king-size bed or twin. French doors open onto a private veranda, providing you a quiet haven with panoramic views of the Hauraki Gulf, pristine Tryphena beaches and the Earthsong olive grove.

Day 4 - Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island's rugged landscape, breathtaking views and unspoiled white sandy beaches offer a world that can soothe the spirit and challenge the adventurous. Much of Great Barrier Island, located in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, is a treasured sanctuary for many native plants and wildlife species. The unique location of Earthsong Lodge enables guests interested in ecology to easily explore the habitat of some of New Zealand's rarest and endangered wildlife.

Day 5 - Bay of Islands/Napier - Cape Kidnappers
On arrival into Napier collect a rental car and self drive to the farm at Cape Kidnappers.

ACCOMMODATION - The Farm at Cape Kidnappers - one of the world’s extraordinary top luxury destinations, set on a 6,000 acre sheep and cattle farm with breathtaking views over the Pacific Ocean in the Hawke’s Bay wine region. With twenty two ultra-comfortable and spacious cottage suites and a four bedroom Owner’s Cottage, and a spectacular Tom Doak designed golf course, all with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Includes full breakfast, lunch, daily pre dinner drinks and hors d’oeuvres, gourmet dinner, complimentary mini-bar (excluding liquor and wines) and use of lodge facilities.

Day 6 - Cape Kidnappers
Perhaps a round of golf. Kidnappers features 18 holes of golf designed by world-renowned architect Tom Doak. The course has stunning sea views, playing high above the Pacific atop dramatic cliffs. This layout has been hailed as one of golf’s modern marvels. The course has received numerous accolades and awards, including a ranking among the Top 50 in the World

The Cape Kidnappers Spa is located on the hillside above the lodge. During your spa treatment, experience magnificent views across the valley, towards the sea or over the pine forest to snow-covered Mount Ruapehu. The spa offers 3 treatment rooms (including a couple’s spa suite, perfect for honeymoons). Other features include changing rooms, showers and lockers for your convenience. A menu of massage styles, facials, pedicures, manicures and hair care is available. All spa treatments are 50-80 minutes in length, and packages can be customised to suit your individual needs.

Day 7 - Martinborough & Wairarapa

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Napier to Hastings
20 km (13 miles) Approximately .75 hour
 
Hastings was devastated by a huge earthquake in 1931. As a result, the city has a great deal of remarkable Art Deco and Spanish Mission-style architecture. Fabulous parks and delicious ice cream are two other reasons to visit Hastings. In the apple and pear season, there’s no better place to be – Hastings is New Zealand’s leading pipfruit region.

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Hastings to Masterton
216 km (135 miles) Approximately 2.75 hours
 
On your way south you'll drive through Waipukurau and Waipawa—both have historic buildings to view. In Dannevirke, a town originally settled by Scandinavians, you can inspect locally made knitwear. Woodville is a place for antique browsing. Before you reach Masterton, you'll encounter the legendary town of Eketahuna (in kiwi slang Eketahuna is the archetypal hick town). The wildlife sanctuary at Mt Bruce is an essential stop. Every year in March, Masterton hosts the international Golden Shears competition. Sheep shearing in the Wairarapa is both a sport and an art form.

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Masterton to Martinborough
45 km (28 miles) Approximately .75 hour

Enjoy the clean, green scenery as you drive north through the friendly townships of the Wairarapa. In Featherston you’ll find an interesting locomotive museum. Greytown has many beautiful examples of Victorian architecture and a quaint museum – take yourself on a self-guided walk. Carterton is a good place to shop for paua shell souvenirs – it’s also a place to enjoy daffodils in the spring. In recent years, Martinborough has become the gourmet capital of the lower North Island. It is home to over 25 boutique vineyards, several fabulous restaurants and a number of upmarket bed and breakfast establishments. From the charming town square, you can walk to most of the local attractions.

ACCOMMODATION - At The Martinborough Hotel choose a room to suit your mood. Indulge in the elegant surroundings of one of our nine Verandah Rooms, at the top of the grand flight of stairs in the original 1882 building. Or take a wander through the pretty courtyard just beyond the lobby and enjoy the tranquillity of seven spacious Garden Rooms finished in a restful simple country style. Our Garden Suite is spacious, up a private flight of stairs and overlooks our garden on a private verandah. The Suite inter-connects with a Garden room, perfect for families or friends.

Day 8 - Wairarapa - Wellington
Continue south to Wellington taking the spectacular coastal drive via Cape Palliser(Cape Palliser Seal Colony - the largest breeding ground for fur seals in the North Island) . The contemporary Museum Hotel provides your accommodation for this evening.  

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Martinborough to Wellington
79 km (49 miles) Approximately 1.25 hour

The drive to Wellington wind throughs the picturesque Hutt Valley before climbing over the Rimutaka Range and descending into the tranquility of the Wairarapa region. If you don’t want to drive, a scenic train trip runs from Wellington to Featherston. Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafes, restaurants, museums and all kinds of shops. Dance, theatre and musical performances are a Wellington specialty. As New Zealand’s capital, this city is rich in political history.

ACCOMMODATION - The Museum hotel incorporates classically elegant rooms, spacious studios and s uites, award winning restaurant and bars, beautifully appointed and versatile function spaces and a superb collection of contemporary New Zealand art displayed in lobby and foyer areas. Situated opposite Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand, and Wellington's waterfront and a short walk from the cafs/restaurants, theatres, galleries and shopping of the vibrant Courtenay Quarter

Day 9 - Wellington - Picton
This morning explore Wellington or add a half day tour

  • City Highlights "Inspiration" Half Day Tour
    This is an unforgettable journey around the city's dramatic highlights, during which clients will travel around the earthquake-scarred South Coast to see the site of the Wahine ferry disaster and the distant ranges of the South Island, overlooked by coastal houses perched on the steep, rocky hills. Enjoy views of the harbour from the top of Mount Victoria and ride the steep cable car up to an incredible, far-reaching panorama. Visit the magnificent Parliament buildings and the famous Beehive and see the gorgeous, timber-built Old St Paul's Cathedral before visiting the national museum of Te Papa to experience the extraordinary mix of Maori and European history, amid the nation's natural and cultural treasures.
  • WETA Workshop There and Back Again Half Day Tour
    Made famous by the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Weta Workshop is world renowned for creating incredible movie props and practical effects. Begin with a behind the scenes film showcasing the company's history before a workshop technician takes you on a tour filled with real films props and working artists. See and learn about the creative process from start to finish and relive the magic of countless movies. Tour concludes approximately 2.5 hours after commencement
  • Te Papa Museum - Maori Highlights Tour
    Take an in-depth journey to discover Te Papa's taonga (Maori cultural treasures) and hear their stories for insights into Maori cultures. From historic, artistic and contemporary perspectives, this tour will enrich your understanding of what makes New Zealand's Maori culture unique. Tour concludes approximately 1 hour after commencement.
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Wellington to Picton
8 km (61 miles) Approximately 3 hours

The passage across Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds is one of the most scenic ferry trips in the world. The fast ferry makes the trip in just over 2 hours, the cruise-style ferry takes 3 hours. Both types of vessel can transport vehicles. Highlights along the way include the Red Rocks seal colony, Tory Channel, Cook’s Lookout and the beautiful coves of the sounds.

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Picton to Nelson
145 km (91 miles) Approximately 1.75 hours

The drive to Nelson first takes you to the town of Havelock, which is known as the Green Shell Mussel Capital of the World. Nearby Canvastown is a place to explore old gold mining fields – thousands tried to get rich here in the 1860s. At Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve you can enjoy a bush walk or a swim, depending on the time of the year. And if you’d like a glimpse of local life in 1890, Rai Valley has a beautifully preserved cottage museum. The city of Nelson is home to a fascinating community of beach, bush and art lovers. 

Nelson_to_Motueka.gif Nelson to Motueka
49 km (31 miles) Approximately 0.75 hour

The road to Motueka hugs the coast, which makes it easy to browse beaches as you go. The Waimea Inlet and the villages of Mapua and Ruby Bay are particularly irresistible. Art and pottery studios, vineyards and excellent cafes are other local distractions. 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.

ACCOMMODATION - The Resurgence, which is located on the doorstep of Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks, this Nelson accommodation is nestled in 50 acres of bush close to the source of the Riwaka river.

Let the birds come to you as you have a leisurely breakfast on the verandah then explore the bush tracks in our 50 acres of grounds and amble down to the magical source of the Riwaka River with a picnic. In the afternoon, take a dip in the pool, pamper yourself with a massage or relax in a hammock and enjoy a cold beer. Your hosts, Clare and Peter, are well travelled and passionate about the New Zealand outdoors. They offer friendly advice and will help you plan and book tomorrow's activities - from kayaking, walks and horse treks to art and wine trails. To round off a perfect day, soak in the spa under the stars. Ideal for couple. 

The Deluxe and Superior Lodge Rooms are for those clients wanting the full hosted Boutique Lodge experience. These ensuite rooms are upstairs in the main Lodge building and include full cooked breakfasts, aperitifs at sunset and 4-course table d'hote dinner.

Day 10 - The Resurgence OR Abel Tasman National Park
Tour Relax at the Resurgance OR (additional cost) add a tour in the national park:

  • Kayak, Seals & Walk day tour - Abel Tasman National Park
    Morning 'Split Apple Paddle' guided half day kayak trip, explore the spectacular Kaiteriteri coastline. Stop on a golden sand beach for a short break. In the afternoon swap the kayak for walking shoes, and cruise to the golden sands of Onetahuti, visiting the fascinating seal colony at Tonga Island on the way.
  • Abel Tasman National Park - Beach Walk
    Calling in at Kaiteriteri before departing for Anchorage, relax on the beach with a picnic or enjoy a one hour return walk to Te Pukatea Bay, a 1 1/2 hour return walk to Pitt Head to view the lighthouse and panoramic views, or from Anchorage walk to Cleopatra's Pool.
  • Wine Tour - full or half day
    Enjoy a truly exclusive tour of the Nelson Wine Region. Visit wineries both on the plains and the hills where you can meet the owners and winemakers. You’ll also sample wine from the ten classic grapes grown in New Zealand. Taking in pristine scenery will ensure a memorable day – this tour is both fun and informative
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Day 11 - Motueka to Nelson, Fly to Queenstown

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Motueka to Nelson
145 km (92 miles) Approximately 1.75 hours

The drive to Nelson first takes you to the town of Havelock, which is known as the Green Shell Mussel Capital of the World. Nearby Canvastown is a place to explore old gold mining fields – thousands tried to get rich here in the 1860s. At Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve you can enjoy a bush walk or a swim, depending on the time of the year. And if you’d like a glimpse of local life in 1890, Rai Valley has a beautifully preserved cottage museum.

Return rental vehicle at Nelson airport. Fly to Queenstown and on arrival you will be transferred to your accommodation, Queenstown House Boutique B&B

ACCOMMODATION - Queenstown House Boutique B&B provides views overlooking Queenstown Bay, and is conveniently located just a short walk from Queenstown's main center. Comprising of 15 rooms which include suites and guest rooms all with lake or alpine views and individually decorated with ensuite bathrooms. A deluxe breakfast menu is included in the lake view dining room or privacy of your room if preferred.

Day 12 & 13 - Queenstown
Explore Queenstown at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - Some of our favorites:

  • Milford Fly Cruise Fly/Dart River Safaris Combo
    Join your Milford Sound Scenic Flights crew at Queenstown Airport, Sir Henly Wigley Dr, Frankton, to commence a full day Milford Fly Cruise Fly/Dart River Safaris Combo tour. Fly from Queenstown to magnificent Milford to enjoy a launch cruise travelling the full length of Milford Sound. Return by scenic flight landing at Glenorchy to join Dart River Safaris to journey into the untouched wilderness of a World Heritage Area before coaching back to Queenstown. Tour concludes approximately 10 hours after commencement, at Queenstown Airport.
  • Milford Sound Nature Cruise
    An on board nature guide with specialist knowledge of the region's history, flora and fauna provides detailed interpretation in English with a roving microphone. There is plenty of time available to explore points of interest and view the spectacular alpine scenery including waterfalls, rainforest and the towering peaks; and keep a lookout for wildlife including seals, dolphins and penguins when in season. Coach or flight transfers available.
  • Appellation Central Wine Tours
    Appellation Central offers guided tours showcasing Central Otago's fine wine and cuisine. These tours venture into the heartland of Central Otago visiting vineyards in Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell. Small groups and custom fit minibuses ensure a relaxed and interactive day out from Queenstown and a great way to experience Central Otago.
  • Nomad Safari - Skippers Canyon
    A half-day heritage tour that follows the rugged and once treacherous Skippers Road. Hacked by hand into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley. Navigate this awe-inspiring canyon and visit many historic sites such as the Skippers Suspension Bridge, township of Skippers, and the restored school house - gain a real insight into the local heritage through photos and histories of life in this tough environment.
  • Queenstown Rafting Triple Challenge - Shotover Jet,Helicopter & WhiteWater Rafting
    The Ultimate Adventure. Begin with the shotover jet, speed through rocky canyons and experience the Hamilton 360 spins. Climb aboard a helicopter for a spectacular flight into Skippers Canyon. Land at Deep Creek and meet your rafting guide, peaceful waters at first before hearing the roar of the"mother" section.
  • Zipline Ecotour
    Commence an ecotour on Queenstown's original zipline course and the perfect starter to your adventure experience. Comprised of four ziplines, starting and finishing at the top of the Skyline gondola, the tour is designed to start low and slow and gradually build your confidence as it gets progressively longer, higher and faster. All ages love the interaction this guided aerial tour has to offer.
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Day 14 - Depart for US
You will be transferred to Queenstown airport - board your flight to Auckland where you will connect with your international flight to the Los Angeles.

 

Request a Quote

 

* 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), the above costs apply for travel within each date band when you depart & return within these dates, ask an Aspire Down Under consultant for a quote when your travel dates cross over the date bands.

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

 

Conditions

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.