Journey beneath southern skies and discover a land reminiscent of JRR Tolkien's fantasy world of lush lowlands barren wastelands, deep hidden valleys and remote mystical mountains. Experiencing New Zealand's wide variety of landscapes from the green, rolling farmlands, enchanting woods and rivers, dramatic gorges and soaring mountains is a delight, as they are all within such easy reach of one another.
- Round-trip International Economy airfare from Los Angeles
- Add-on airfares available from other cities
- Domestic New Zealand flights
- 2 nights Sofitel Auckland Viaduct
- Entrance to Sky Tower
- Intermediate Automatic Rental Car for 9 days
- Hobbiton Movie & farm Tour
- 2 nights at Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel including breakfast
- Visit Te Puia to learn about Maori arts and crafts on a guided tour
- Middle Earth and Weta Workshop tour
- 2 Nights Museum Hotel, Wellington
- 2 nights Orari Bed & Breakfast, Christchurch
- Lord of the Rings Edoras tour
- 3 Nights Sofitel Queenstown
- Wakatipu Basin tour
- Private transfers between airports and hotels
- ** 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
Welcome to Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’. Auckland offers all of the things associated with a sophisticated cosmopolitan city, from beautiful scenery to adrenaline pumping adventure - and first-class food and wine. You’ll stay 2 nights at the Sofitel Auckland Harbour Auckland. New Zealand’s newest five star waterfront hotel overlooking Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour.
ACCOMMODATION - The stylish Sofitel Auckland luxury hotel places guests in the heart of Auckland Central between the upscale Viaduct Harbour lifestyle development and the attractions of the new Wynyard Quarter. Its understated elegance overlooks the shimmering Waitemata Harbour. Each luxuriously spacious room and suite features a private Juliet balcony, floor-to-ceiling windows and 5-star indulgences from the unparalleled comfort of the Sofitel MyBed to marble bathrooms, each with a rain shower and deep soaking tub.
Day 4 - Explore Auckland
Auckland’s blend of Harbour, islands, Polynesian culture and modern city environment has created a lifestyle ranked among the best in the world. Explore Auckland at your leisure or consider adding one of our boutique tour options, see our e-brochure or speak with an Aspire expert.
- 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 5 - Auckland - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour - Rotorua (165 miles, 3.5hrs)
This morning collect your rental vehicle and drive south through picturesque working sheep farm with views across the Kaimai Ranges towards the Hobbiton Movie Set at Matamata. 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.
Continue your journey to Rotorua. Rotorua's striking gardens, cobbled streets and fascinating mix of Maori and English Tudor architecture give the city a significant point of difference. You’ll stay here 2 nights at the Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel - a beautifully appointed 5 star hotel
ACCOMMODATION - Stay two nights at The Black Swan Boutique Lakeside Boutique Hotel. This lodge is beautifully appointed and offers luxury accommodation. Punctuated with old and new varieties of roses, the mature gardens include a swimming pool with sun-lit terraces where guests can choose to unwind and relax. Alternatively, the private jetty enables professional fishing guides to collect guests interested in fishing for rainbow and brown trout, or traditional Maori concerts can be arranged in the gardens. Here, one can catch a trophy sized trout, relax in a natural hot thermal pool, enjoying a glass of fine New Zealand wine, whilst your catch is roasting in the thermal sands of this untouched native wonderland.
Day 6 - Maori Culture & Hangi Feast
Visit The New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute where masters and students share their art and their stories about our carving and weaving schools. Step into our ancient valley where geysers, mud pools and boiling waters still play after 40,000 years at Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley.
This evening gain an authentic introduction to Maori culture that will leave you amazed and in awe. Be enthralled by the natural bush setting, see warriors in traditional dress paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream. Enjoy your traditionally cooked hangi meal being lifted from the ground.
Day 7 - Rotorua to Wellington (280 miles, 5.5hrs)
Self drive to the capital. Wellington’s compact village-like size makes the city an easy place to walk around, yet its cosmopolitan flavor it the sophistication of a big city. Take a ride up the cable car to the Wellington Botanic Garden and the Carter Observatory; this vantage point commands an excellent view of the city and harbor, or stroll the city streets for a delicious lunch at one of the many inner-city cafs and soak up some of Wellington’s famous caf culture. You will spend 2 nights at the Museum Hotel
ACCOMMODATION - the Museum hotel's luxury rooms are just a few minutes walk from the cafs/restaurants, theatres, galleries and shopping of the vibrant Courtenay Quarter. The popular beach at Oriental Bay is just around the corner. The hotel incorporates 165 classically elegant rooms, spacious studios and suites, 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. Stay, meet and play in luxury surroundings that offer a unique experience in Wellington, the vibrant cultural heart of New Zealand.
Day 8 - Middle Earth and Weta Workshop Tour
This entertaining journey of discovery through the Wellington region takes in all the sites of Middle Earth Half-day Tour at a more relaxed pace. This full-day tour also includes lunch and even more exotic film locations. Visit the Wellington film locations used for the Shire, the Gardens of Isengard, the River Anduin, Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith, and where the hobbits raced to the ferry and hid from the Nazgul. Be spellbound at the site of Lothlorien - the majestic Fernside Lodge. In 2000 Fernside's lake was transformed into part of Lothlorien, and then to the Gladden fields. Fernside's white bridge remains as a reminder of the bridge of Lothlorien. Explore Rivendell and the riverside spot where Aragorn was washed ashore. Visit Miramar, home to the production studios and to many of the stars while they were filming and the new Weta Cave with souvenirs and a virtual tour of Weta Workshop.
Day 9 - Wellington to Christchurch
Return rental vehicle and fly to Christchurch. Welcome to Christchurch, the ‘Garden City’. The Southern Alps provide a fantastic backdrop to this awesome city. Perched on the coast, Christchurch is the doorway to the Canterbury Plains which spread westwards towards the mountains. You will stay for 2 nights at the Orari Bed & Breakfast.
ACCOMMODATION - Orari luxury boutique B & B accommodation ideally located opposite the Art Gallery and only 5 mins walk to the central city. Featuring 10 beautifully appointed suites, this lovely old heritage house has recently been totally restored and refurbished to its former elegance retaining its original kauri framework, and is now complete with all the modern comforts of home. The rooms are luxurious and spacious and guests have the use of the elegant private lounge and dining room as well as their own private entrance.
Day 10 - Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour
Journey to the remote and beautiful Mt Potts high country station, home of Mt Sunday; and see how this peaceful mountain was transformed into Edoras, the capital city of the Rohan people in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Immerse yourself in the natural, unspoiled beauty of this breathtaking area with its sparkling clear lakes, glistening blue rivers and fresh, crisp mountain air. This amazing day includes 4WD access onto Mt Sunday/Edoras itself, a delicious champagne picnic lunch, full running commentary from our friendly and knowledgeable kiwi tour guides and spectacular scenery you will never forget.
Day 11 - Christchurch to Queenstown
This morning fly to Queenstown, the Southern Hemisphere's premiere four season alpine and lake resort. Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and overlooked by the majestic Remarkables Range, Queenstown is the perfect destination all year round. The Sofitel Queenstown is where you’ll stay for the next 3 nights.
ACCOMMODATION - Sofitel Queenstown offers opulent and stylish rooms with exquisite attention to detail. The quintessential Sofitel "art de vivre" and lavish amenities complement the classic, yet distinctive design, in the heart of Queenstown.
Day 12 - Safari of the Scenes - Glenorchy
For Lord of the Rings fans, this is the tour really does take you there and back again. This scenic sightseeing tour includes recognizable film locations and stunning natural scenery. You’ll travel from Queenstown to Glenorchy stopping at breath-taking viewpoints along the way. Beyond Glenorchy follow the Dart River to the spectacular filming location for Isengard. This location offers stunning views of Mt Earnslaw. Heading to Paradise to discover the location for the Forest of Lothlorien. Leaving Glenorchy and returning towards Queenstown you will stop at 12 Mile Delta to explore the location of the Ithilien Camp. This tour also includes locations from Xmen Origins: Wolverine, and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. All tours are subject to weather, road & river conditions.
Day 13 - Queenstown
Explore Queenstown at your leisure or consider adding one of our boutique tour options, see our e-brochure or speak with an Aspire expert
- 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.
- 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.
Day 14 - Depart for US
*From pricing is valid for departures until 31 March 2017 for purchase by 31 March 2017. Prices are per person based on double occupancy departures from Los Angeles. Add-on fares are available from other cities. Certain black out 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.