15 Day Wonders of New Zealand



Land Only


Air & Land

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2017 Dates & Prices
Dates Land Only Air & Land
May 01  (Sold Out) $4399 $5519*

*Not Included:
Prices do not include optional tours and gratuities for guides/tour managers. Land only prices do not include arrival/departure transfers.

Accommodation Details:
Dec 19 departure will be accommodated at Heartland Hotel Queenstown in Queenstown & Rydges Latimer Hotel in Christchurch.

Jan 16 departure will be accommodated at Heritage Auckland Hotel in Auckland, Millennium Hotel Rotorua in Rotorua, Heartland Hotel Queenstown in Queenstown, Te Waonui Forest Retreat in Franz Josef & Rydges Latimer Hotel in Christchurch.

Jan 23 departure will be accommodated at Heritage Auckland Hotel in Auckland, Millennium Hotel Rotorua in Rotorua, Heartland Hotel Queenstown in Queenstown & Rydges Latimer Hotel in Christchurch.

Apr 17 departure will be accommodated at Sky City Hotel in Auckland & Skotel Alpine Resort in Tongariro.

Entry Requirements:
Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.

Is This Trip Right for You?

This is a moderately active trip. Our small group covers a lot of ground each day, and we spend 4-5 hours on our feet during tours. The overall pace is moderate - with 1 three-night stay, 3 two-night stays, and 3 one-night stays. Some of our tours require walking for up to 3 hours, including going up hills, stairs, or over uneven surfaces. The tour of Auckland's Sky Tower should also be considered for those affected by height. This tour is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking or who have heart conditions.

Flight Details

Accommodation Details

  • Requests are not guaranteed and are subject to each hotel's discretion and availability

Package Includes

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • International flights Los Angeles-Auckland, Christchurch-Los Angeles
    Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • Intra-flight Rotorua-Christchurch
  • 12 nights accommodations
    • 2 nights Auckland
    • 1 night Tongariro National Park
    • 2 nights Rotorua
    • 1 night Oamaru
    • 3 nights Queenstown
    • 2 nights Franz Josef
    • 1 night Christchurch
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers and sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • 24 meals: 12 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 8 dinners (including welcome & farewell dinners)
  • Bottled Water during sightseeing excursions. Beer and wine included with welcome and farewell dinners
  • Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features

Tour Highlights

  • Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
  • Visit the fabulous Auckland Museum, guided by an expert natural historian
  • Descend into the astonishing Ruakuri Caves with its swirling rivers, waterfalls and glow worms
  • Stay overnight at the unique Chateau Tongariro renowned for its style and grandeur
  • Visit Orakei Korako, one of New Zealand’s largest geyser fields
  • Discover the lifestyle of the Maori at the living thermal village of Whakarewarewa
  • Enjoy a traditionally prepared “Hangi” Dinner, cooked in the steaming ground
  • Visit the Oamaru Blue Penguin colony, home to the world’s smallest penguins
  • Explore the dazzling city of Queenstown, the country’s adventure capital
  • Cruise on spectacular Milford Sound, surrounded by breathtaking scenery
  • Experience the dynamic environment at the Franz Josef Glacier
  • Enjoy delightful Christchurch, the “most-English” city in the country

DAY 1, Monday - Depart for New Zealand
Depart for New Zealand

DAY 2, Tuesday - En Route
Cross the International Dateline en route to New Zealand and skip a day ahead

DAY 3, Wednesday - Arrive in Auckland
Welcome to New Zealand! Arrive in Auckland, the country's largest city, often called the "City of Sails" because of its lovely harbor side location, and transfer to your hotel. This evening, attend a briefing by your Tour Manager on the exciting adventure that awaits you in New Zealand followed by a Welcome Dinner and Drinks with your fellow travelers
Overnight: Auckland
Meals: Dinner

DAY 4, Thursday - Auckland
Begin the day at the Auckland Sky Tower, followed by a visit to the fabulous Auckland Museum, guided by an expert New Zealand natural historian. Here, you'll see the monumental carvings, canoes and taonga (treasures) of the Maori people along with an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits depicting the growth of the country. Learn about the significance of Maori and Polynesian history and understand how the melding of diverse cultures helped shape the unique culture that exists in New Zealand today. Stop by Bastion Point, and then return via Mission Bay for an afternoon at leisure to enjoy all of the delights of Auckland on your own. Or, join the optional Wine on Waiheke Tour. Travel by ferry to Waiheke Island, a haven of beautiful vineyards, olive groves and gorgeous beaches. Upon arrival you’ll be greeted by your knowledgeable guide, who will lead you on a wine tour of the island. Enjoy wine tastings in stunning Mudbrick vineyard, Ridgeview Estate, one of Waiheke’s newest wineries and exquisite Te Whau vineyard
Optional: Wine on Waiheke Tour (PM)
Overnight: Auckland
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5, Friday - Tongariro National Park
From Auckland travel to the fertile Waikato Plains, stopping in Ngaruawahia, home of the Maori King, and through the country's major dairy region. View the hilly farmlands that mix with indigenous bush as you continue south. A unique experience is in store for you at the astonishing Ruakuri Caves with its amazing formations and underground secrets that will surely take your breath away! The caves are home to swirling rivers, echoing waterfalls, glow worms and rocks that flow into delicate shawl-like formations. You'll also see a deep limestone shaft and an astonishing soaring subterranean cathedral. Afterwards, on to a local farm for a sumptuous barbecue lunch. Then, drive through Te Kuiti and Taumarunui on the way to Tongariro National Park. Your accommodations are at the unique Chateau Tongariro at the foot of Mount Ruapehu, renowned for its classical style and grandeur, fondly referred to as the "Grand Old Lady of the Mountain". Tonight, dinner together surrounded by history and magnificent antiques in this grand Chateau
Overnight: Tongariro National Park
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6, Saturday - Huka Falls, Wai O Tapu Thermal Park, Rotorua
Luxuriate in the chateau's historic lounge, or, take a short walk to see the magnificent landscape and endless mountain views. Then, a scenic drive takes you to Taupo on the banks of the Tongariro River, where anglers come from all over the world to fish for rainbow or brown trout. You then skirt the eastern shores of Taupo Lake, the largest in the country, to thundering Huka Falls, with its striking “foamy” rapids that fall into crystal-clear blue waters. Continue to the geothermic wonderland of the Wai O Tapu Thermal Park. Walk through New Zealand’s most colorful geothermal attraction, with its steaming geysers and bubbling hot springs. As you drive past Kaingaroa State Forest, the largest in the North Island, have your first glimpse of Rotorua, where you stay for the next two nights, home of fascinating Maori culture, hot springs and boiling mud pools
Overnight: Rotorua
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 7, Sunday - Buried Village of Te Wairoa, Whakarewarewa, "Hangi" Feast Dinner
Morning is at leisure for independent explorations in Rotorua. In the afternoon, have an informative look into Maori culture. Begin with a visit to the Buried Village of Te Wairoa, New Zealand’s mini version of Pompeii. Afterwards, take a scenic drive to the Blue and Green Lakes and the Redwood Forest to hear about their history and relevance to Maori. Arrive at Te Puia, in Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, set amidst a landscape of erupting geothermal activity and thermal springs. Discover the unique lifestyle and traditions of the Maori and witness the phenomena of Mother Nature and how the Maori people live in harmony within this unique landscape and environment. You'll meet with a member of the local Maori tribe who shares the many aspects of traditional wood carving and its importance within the Maori culture. In the village observe the weaving demonstrations and traditional ways of creating piu piu (grass skirts). You’ll visit the kiwi house to view the nocturnal Kiwi Bird before continuing to the boiling mud pools and geysers. Then, you’ll be welcomed into the Whakarewarewa Marae with a traditional haka ceremony and Maori concert. Afterward, enjoy an authentically prepared Hangi dinner, cooked in the steaming ground and hot pools, ending with the most delectable steamed dessert. Tonight will indeed be a memorable and authentic Maori experience!
Overnight: Rotorua
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8, Monday - Oamaru and the Blue Penguin Colony
Flight this morning to Christchurch on the South Island. A panoramic drive then leads you down the coast where you cross the longest bridge in New Zealand over the Rakaia River. Drive through Ashburton, center of the sheep and wheat farming area to the port city of Timaru, with one of the world's largest man-made harbors. Then, on to the pretty town of Oamaru, with its impressive display of charming Victorian architecture. This evening, visit the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, home to the world's smallest penguins who nest under the cliffs along the foreshore of the harbor. Watch from the outdoor observation area as they walk up the stony ramps in front of you, returning home to the breeding colony at the end of the day*. Dinner this evening at the hotel
Overnight: Oamaru
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 9, Tuesday - Central Otago Wine Region, Kawarau Gorge, Queenstown
Traveling south, arrive at Moeraki. Here, view the mysterious large and spherical boulders, known to be over 60 million years old, scattered along the beach, with others emerging from the sandstone cliffs. A change of scenery as you head inland to the heart of the Central Otago Wine Region, the fastest growing wine area in New Zealand, with its unique climate and rich soil that creates ideal growing conditions. After a Barbecue lunch, drive through Alexandra & Clyde to the Clutha Valley and view the rugged scenery of the Kawarau Gorge following the river to Queesntown. The drive then takes you to Queenstown, named for Queen Victoria, surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown's stunning scenery is inspiring and revitalizing. The city is acclaimed by international travelers and “kiwis” alike as New Zealand's adventure capital. Before arriving at the hotel sample some of the fine wines at one of the locally owned boutique vineyards in the Gibbston Valley. Leisure time to explore this dazzling city on your own
Overnight: Queenstown
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10, Wednesday - Te Anau, Milford Sound, Queenstown
Depart Queenstown for picturesque Te Anau, gateway to Milford Sound. Nestled on the lake's edge, it's the perfect base from which to discover the spectacular glacier-carved wilderness of Fiordland National Park. Follow the glacier-hewn Eglinton River Valley into a magnificent Beech forest before descending into the precipitous Hollyford Valley. Tussock and scrub replace the bush as the road climbs steadily up the Hollyford to the gigantic cirque where sheer rock faces dwarf the Homer Tunnel portal beneath. Beyond the tunnel you descend into the Cleddau Canyon, between towering, rugged mountains and forests, until the road comes out into the open at spectacular Milford Sound. Board your cruise on Milford Sound and be surrounded by astonishing scenery from atop the viewing decks. An informative commentary on the natural history and wildlife follows you as you stop at waterfalls and points of interest along the way. Return to Queentown for dinner
Overnight: Queenstown
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11, Thursday - Queenstown
A day for personal discovery in Queentown. There is so much to see, and so much to do! In the afternoon, perhaps join the delightful optional cruise on the vintage TSS Earnslaw, a perfect way to enjoy the spectacular alpine scenery. This 100 year-old steamship, known as the “Lady of the Lake” is the only remaining passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the Southern Hemisphere. Ride the steamship on Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm, founded in 1860 where you can savor a gourmet Barbecue Dinner, with an extensive menu, followed by a Farm Show before returning back to Queenstown
Optional: TSS Earnslaw Cruise, Farm Visit and Barbecue Dinner (PM)
Overnight: Queenstown
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 12, Friday - Lake Wanaka, Franz Josef
Today, a magnificent drive on your way to glacier country. Depart Queenstown and follow the Kawarau Gorge to Cromwell, with its lush vineyards and history dating back to the hectic gold rush days of the 1800s. A short drive along the Clutha River Valley brings you to picturesque Wanaka nestled on the crystal clear waters of Lake Wanaka. View the rugged coastal scenery as you cross the rivers and streams flowing from the upper reaches of the mighty Southern Alps. Enjoy a country-style lunch en route to the destination of Franz Josef. Upon arrival, views of the famous glacier discovered by Europeans in 1865, named after the Austrian emperor. Although the glacier has retreated considerably, its frozen past is still visible in the present landscape. Dinner at the hotel tonight
Overnight: Franz Josef
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13, Saturday - Franz Josef Glacier
After a morning at leisure, an adventurous afternoon. Your experienced and knowledgeable guide will lead you on an adventurous walk in the Franz Josef Glacier valley. Learn more about the role of the glacier in shaping this remarkable landscape as you continue through the regenerating rainforest and along the glacier valley up to the receding terminal face of the glacier. The rest of the day is at leisure in this stunning setting. Spend time in the charming and hospitable town with its cafes and international restaurants. Or, if you're looking for more adventure, opt to take a heli-hike, aerial sightseeing, or a guided ice walk atop the glacier on your own
Overnight: Franz Josef
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 14, Sunday - Christchurch
Depart Franz Josef, traveling north on the South Island's West Coast before turning inland. You gradually descend the Southern Alps and emerge in the Canterbury Plains where you enter Christchurch, the second largest city in New Zealand. Often referred to as the most-English of New Zealand's cities, it is also known as the "Garden City", because of its majestic trees and extensive parks and gardens, including expansive Hagley Park in the heart of the city. An informative stop follows at Quake City, coordinated by the Canterbury Museum. Visit this unique multi-sensory attraction aimed at informing and educating New Zealanders and travellers. Tonight, share wonderful memories together on your last night in New Zealand. Bid a fond farewell to your Tour Manager and new-found friends at a special Farewell Dinner
Overnight: Christchurch
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 15, Monday - Depart New Zealand
Bon Voyage! Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

*Note: Penguins have sensitive eyes and a bright, sudden flash or unusual light can frighten or disorientate a penguin. To ensure penguins keep coming back to this special area we ask you to not use your cameras, camcorders or camera phones at the Penguin Parade.

Discovery Tours itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently.
Book your Optional Tours before you travel. See more, save time, save money.
  • Tours purchased while travelling may cost an extra 10% or more
  • Tours often sell out. Avoid disappointment
  • Save your cash. Credit card processing may not be possible locally
  • Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure
  • Book Online or call to book these tours up to 1 week before your departure
  • The day the optionals operate varies by the day of the week
Wine on Waiheke Tour

Afternoon departure from the downtown Auckland Ferry Terminal on a pleasant cruise through the Hauraki Gulf to Waiheke Island, a haven of beautiful vineyards, olive groves and gorgeous beaches. Upon arrival at Matiatia, you’ll be greeted by your knowledgeable driver guide, who will lead you on a tour of the island. The first stop is the stunning Mudbrick vineyard where you will enjoy your first tasting experience while you marvel at the beautiful views of the gulf. The next vineyard, Ridgeview Estate is one of Waiheke's newest wineries. Here, beautiful vistas will take your breath away as your sight extends across to Auckland city and beyond to the Coromandel Peninsula. Savor tastings of their wines accompanied by delicious snacks. The last stop on the tour is the exquisite Te Whau vineyard famous for its 5 star quality wines and acclaimed restaurant. Return back to Matiatia wharf.

*Children under 16 not permitted.*

Pickup details to be advised locally. Approximate tour duration is 4.5 hours.

Day #4 01 Jul 2016 - 30 Jun 2017 $92.00
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TSS Earnslaw Cruise & Walter Peak Station Gourmet BBQ

Board the TSS Earnslaw and enjoy a cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station. Onboard, the Captain provides an interesting commentary as you take in the spectacular views of Cecil and Walter Peaks and the western shores of Lake Wakatipu. Upon arrival at Walter Peak, you’ll be warmly welcomed and escorted through the beautiful gardens to the charming Colonel’s Homestead. Enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner prepared in front of you along with background piano music. The menu includes an expansive array of local produce, succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie or grill, delicious vegetables and salads, ending with irresistible desserts, cheeses and tea and coffee. Following dinner, attend an entertaining farm show or relax in the bar before returning to Queenstown.

Pick-up and drop off at hotel is not included. Details to be advised locally. Approximate tour duration is 4 hours.

Day #11 17 Mar 2017 - 30 Jun 2017 $90.00
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The Wonders of New Zealand, March 2017
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John was a fabulous tour director. He was very well prepared with interesting information about every place we passed or visited. Very organized, thinks of everything, knows the country well, great personality. The tour itinerary was excellent, we were on the go most of the time, making good use of our time in New Zealand. Hotels and included meals were very good. Bus drivers were excellent and even provided additional commentary. Absolutely no complaints.

Dennis L. Bend, OR
The Wonders of New Zealand, January 2017
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It was memorable . We loved the small group size and lucked out with a great group of travelers. Itinerary was well planned and the guide and drivers were all informed, professional and a pleasure to spend two weeks with traversing the north and south islands. It was our first Gate 1 experience. We will join a Discovery tour again.

Carolyn L. Prt Washingtn, NY
The Wonders of New Zealand, November 2016
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The trip was great. I am glad the earthquake in early Nov. did not affect the schedule nor itinerary. Our tour guide, Malcolm, was fantastic and he helped made the trip a success. We almost missed the penguins at Oamaru due to a flight delay. But he made last minute arrangements to overcome the problem. Great tour guide.

Teresa C. Woodridge, IL
The Wonders of New Zealand, November 2016
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Our trip was excellent! Very pleased with the guide, hotels, food quality and the overall itinerary. Thanks very much to Gate 1 for another successful tour.

Kent F. Mission Viejo, CA
The Wonders of New Zealand, October 2016
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It was great! New Zealand is a beautiful and fascinating place. Our guide Malcolm was very knowledgeable and interesting. Once again, Gate 1 provided us with a memorable experience. The hotels and dining venues were all good and the optional tours were exciting and all worthwhile. Gate 1 has really done it very well for us again and we intend to continue traveling with you!

Craig S. Kailua, HI
The Wonders of New Zealand, March 2016
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Just wonderful thank you. Our tour guide, John, was fantastic. So were our drivers Greg on the north island and Stephen on the south island. The hotels were very comfortable. The food was so good that we all ate too much. The itinerary was just perfect. Varied. So pleased we booked this tour with you. This is our second tour with Gate 1. Both have exceeded expectations. It would be nice if you could pass on our praise for John, Greg and Stephen to the appropriate people. Thanks

Annette B. Lutz, FL
The Wonders of New Zealand, March 2016
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We had a wonderful, enjoyable trip! We would especially like to acknowledge and thank Malcolm for his tour guide comments and insight!

Ronald F. Holt, MI
The Wonders of New Zealand, February 2016
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Thanks for asking. It was a fantastic trip. We enjoyed the pristine, picturesque, and the primitive history of New Zealand. The cuisine and optional trips were to our liking as well. We look forward to our next trip in November, with Gate 1 Travel/Discovery. Could you please send us the survey forms, so that we can get a rebate for the next to next booking ?

Amitabh D. State College, PA