Journey through New Zealand on an extraordinary 11-day private expedition with National Geographic. From geysers to glow-worm caves, snow-capped peaks to serene fjords, New Zealand’s otherworldly landscapes delight with their incredible natural diversity. Enjoy close encounters with rare wildlife, join a private guide as you explore the region and taste world-famous food and wine, straight from the source. Experience the magnificent natural wonder that is Milford Sound during a boat cruise through the fjords.
Cruise the dramatic fjords of the South Island, including stunning Milford Sound; and float through the Te Anau caves, lit by thousands of tiny glow worms.
Go behind the scenes at a kiwi hatchery and learn how conservationists prepare these endangered birds for reintroduction to the wild.
Taste award-winning olive oil, pluck oysters straight from the sea and sip wines at coastal vineyards on Waiheke Island.
Itinerary - 11 Days Days
1-2 Auckland, New Zealand/ Waiheke Island
Land in Auckland and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. The next day, board a ferry to Waiheke Island, where you’ll join a private guide for a food and wine tour, including lunch at a vineyard.
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour (Day 2: B/L)
3-4 Matamata/Taupo Tongariro National Park
Drive to Matamata for a behind-the-scenes tour of the bucolic “Shire” film set used in The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Continue to the Orakei Korako Geothermal Park and Cave for an interpretive geology walk. The next morning, tour the National Trout Centre in Turangi, where you can feed wild trout. In Taupo, join a high-speed jet boat excursion along the Waikato River to Huka Falls.
Hilton Lake Taupo (Day 3: B/L; Day 4: B)
5-6 Rotorua/Dunedin/Otago Peninsula
Travel to Rotorua and meet conservationists during an insider's tour of the kiwi hatchery at Rainbow Springs nature park. Continue to the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village, which brings ancient Maori culture to life with traditional songs, stories, and legends. Fly to Dunedin on the South Island, and enjoy a scenic drive along the Otago Peninsula that includes stops at Larnach Castle, the Royal Albatross Centre, and the Maori settlement of Otakou Marae.
Hotel St. Clair (Day 5: B/L; Day 6: B)
7-8 Te Anau/Milford Sound
Take a private tour of a working sheep farm, and spend time with the owners. Then transfer to Te Anau, and join a cruise through the glittering Te Anau glowworm caves. Spend the next day exploring the world-famous Milford Sound. Enjoy a boat cruise through the fjords, then visit the floating Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory.
Distinction Te Anau Hotel (L Daily)
Enjoy lunch with wine pairings at a vineyard on Lake Hayes, at the base of the snow-capped Southern Alps. Settle into your hotel in Queenstown, and spend the next morning on a guided interpretive nature walk, discovering the area’s native birds and distinctive flora. Fly home from Queenstown.
Hotel St. Moritz (Day 9: B, L; Days 10 and 11: B Daily)
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