Exploring New Zealand

Auckland, Bay of Islands, Bay Of Islands, Matakohe, Rotorua, Taupo, Napier, Wellington, Picton, Christchurch, Mt. Cook Region, Dunedin, Manapouri, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Queenstown

From geothermal springs and ice fields to stunning fjords and Maori culture, experience New Zealand at its best. Spend two nights discovering the sun-soaked Bay of Islands. Stand in awe of the giant kauri tree. Take in the well-preserved Art Deco architecture in Napier. Admire the ice fields and glaciers surrounding Mt. Cook. Stay in Dunedin, a little slice of Scotland in the South Pacific. Cruise Milford Sound in dramatic Fiordland. Savor a captivating 3-night stay in Queenstown, the "Adventure Capital of the World." The vibrant lifestyle of the Pacific Islands welcomes you.

Our prices start from

$ 5,499 LAND ONLY

22 Days • GUIDED • 29 Meals

Operated Tour

The Details

  • 19 nights accommodation
  • On some dates additional accommodations may be used
  • Services of a tour manager
  • All on-tour transportation and related fees
  • Hotel-to-hotel baggage handling
  • Round trip home to airport sedan provided when you purchase airfare through Member Choice Vacations. One transfer per person, per reservation. (Restrictions apply)
  • 19 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 8 dinners

Itinerary

Engaging Experiences These special places and experiences are considered tour highlights. Look for them in the daily itineraries.

Day 1-2 - Depart From Home

Cross the International Dateline and begin the adventure of a lifetime by skipping a day ahead.

Day 3 - Auckland, New Zealand - Tour Begins

Rydges, Auckland

Dinner Included

Your tour opens in Auckland, the "City of Sails," consistently rated one of the world's best places to live. Auckland's Polynesian population instills into its chic atmosphere the vibrant feel of the Pacific Islands. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner. Today dinner will be included.

Day 4 - Auckland

Rydges, Auckland

Breakfast Included

Come to know the best of Auckland during a panoramic city tour featuring the America's Cup Village, the War Memorial, bustling Queen Street, and the Auckland Harbour Bridge. The afternoon is yours to explore New Zealand's largest city on your own. Perhaps you will choose to go on an optional America's Cup sailing experience. Today breakfast will be included.

Day 5 - Auckland - Bay of Islands

Copthorne Hotel And Resort Bay Of Islands

Breakfast, Dinner Included

Depart Auckland and travel north to the Bay of Islands, your home for the next 2 nights. This sun-soaked region boasts more than 144 islands and warm waters with abundant marine life. Visit the Waitangi Treaty House, the site where Maori and British leaders signed the 1840 treaty establishing New Zealand as a nation. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.

Day 6 - Bay Of Islands - Rotorua

Cruise through the Bay of Islands' famous "Hole in the Rock."

Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Waitangi, Bay of Islands

Breakfast Included

Begin the day with a cruise that features the bay's famous Hole in the Rock and a stop off at picturesque Urupukapuka Island. Relax on the beach or walk to a higher elevation to enjoy 360° views. Look out at the Cape Brett Lighthouse, standing nearly 500 feet above sea level at the edge of the Cape Brett Peninsula. The rest of the day is yours to independently explore Paihia – the quaint town known as "the jewel of the Bay of Islands." Today breakfast will be included.

Day 7 - Bay of Islands - Matakohe - Rotorua

Millennium Hotel, Rotorua

Breakfast, Dinner Included

Leave the sparkling waters of the Bay of Islands behind and head to Matakohe in the heartland of the North Island. Make a stop at the Kauri Museum and come to know the stories surrounding the giant kauri tree that can live for 2,000 years. Discover how the early settlers used this abundant tree to build a life for themselves. Later, continue on to the town of Rotorua, known for geothermal activity and Maori culture. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.

Day 8 - Rotorua

Experience an authentic Hangi dinner and learn about Maori culture.

Millennium Hotel, Rotorua

Breakfast, Dinner Included

Find yourself amid the dramatic geothermal landscape of Rotorua, known as the Maori capital of New Zealand. Visit Te Puia, New Zealand's premier Maori cultural and geothermal experience. The National Carving School and National Weaving School are located here, passing on age-old customs. See the kiwi bird and learn what is being done to help this endangered species. In the evening, experience ceremonial Maori rituals at an authentic Hangi dinner and performance. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.

Day 9 - Rotorua - Taupo - Napier

Morning tea at a working art glass studio

Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier

Breakfast Included

Travel through the North Island's rolling countryside to Taupo, a lakeside town situated in a natural caldera. Stop for morning tea at a working art glass studio. See the artists work their craft before exploring the colorful sculpture garden. Continue on to Napier, a quaint harbour town situated on the shores of Hawke's Bay. Today breakfast will be included.

Day 10 - Napier

Take in the well-preserved Art Deco architecture of Napier.

Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier

Breakfast Included

Start your morning with a guided tour of Napier. Venture along some of the world's greatest Art Deco architecture and learn why the city took on such an eclectic design style. Take advantage of an afternoon at leisure, perhaps strolling down the oceanfront promenade or relaxing at an open-air restaurant. Today breakfast will be included.

Day 11 - Napier - Wellington

Novotel, Wellington

Breakfast, Dinner Included

Continue south through rural vistas. The rugged Rimutaka Range slowly gives way to Wellington, a coastal city nestled against the mountains. Embark on a tour of New Zealand's capital city, known as the "Windy City." See the Beehive - New Zealand's Parliament; historic St. Paul's Church; and the Old Government Building, the largest wooden building in the Southern Hemisphere. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.

Day 12 - Wellington

Novotel, Wellington

Breakfast Included

Enjoy a day at leisure to relax or explore Wellington. You may want to visit the Te Papa Tongawera Museum, a fascinating center dedicated to art, history and the Maori culture, or perhaps ride the Wellington Cable Car to the suburb of Kelburn for stunning panoramic views of the city. Today breakfast will be included.

Day 13 - Wellington - Picton - Christchurch

Sail across Cook Strait

Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square, Christchurch

Breakfast Included

Board a ferry and sail across Cook Strait. Experience what is considered to be one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world. Arrive in Picton on the South Island where you will have free time for lunch. Continue along the breathtaking east coast to the largest city on the South Island, Christchurch. Today breakfast will be included.

Day 14 - Christchurch - Mt. Cook Region

Overnight in the spectacular Mt. Cook region where permanent ice fields and glaciers blanket the ragged peaks.

The Hermitage Hotel Mount Cook

Breakfast, Dinner Included

Journey through New Zealand's unspoiled wilderness and arrive in the Mt. Cook region, where permanent ice fields and glaciers blanket the ragged peaks. The Maori word for Mt. Cook is Aoraki, which means "cloud piercer." This is where famed New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary honed his skills before conquering Everest. You can take a nature walk, enjoy an optional glacier flightseeing tour (weather permitting), or simply meditate on the beauty of the Southern Alps. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.

Day 15 - Mt. Cook Region - Dunedin

Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, Dunedin

Breakfast Included

Travel to Dunedin, situated on the southeast coast of New Zealand. One of the earliest European settlements on the islands, Dunedin holds proudly to its Scottish heritage and traditions. Enjoy time to explore this cultural city on your own. Today breakfast will be included.

Day 16 - Dunedin

Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, Dunedin

Breakfast Included

Start your morning with a panoramic tour, visiting Larnach Castle and Baldwin Street – the world's steepest public road. Later, spend time at the Royal Albatross Centre, the only mainland breeding location in the world for these otherworldly birds. Albatrosses are the focus in many seafaring myths, and their epic wingspan can reach nearly 10 feet. Today breakfast will be included.

Day 17 - Dunedin - Manapouri - Te Anau

Sample local specialties of the South Island at a "Taste of Fiordland" dinner.

Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas, Te Anau

Breakfast, Dinner Included

Make your way through lush farmland and quaint villages to the lakeside town of Manapouri. Stop at a working alpaca farm and get up-close to these domesticated animals. Meet with a local artist and gain insight into what it's like to live in remote New Zealand. Continue on to the lakeside town of Te Anau, a quaint village nestled against the entrance to Fiordland National Park. Indulge in the bountiful local produce in a special "Taste of Fiordland" dinner. Today breakfast and dinner will be included.

Day 18 - Te Anau

Distinction Te Anau Hotel Villas

Breakfast Included

Take a short walk to the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre. This site is your gateway to the natural beauty of New Zealand's fjords. An expert guide will provide information about the natural and human history of the region, as well as ongoing conservation projects. With the rest of the day at leisure, perhaps you will hike through the park, visit the Te Anau Bird Conservation Center, or take an optional tour to the Te Anau Glow Worm caves. Today breakfast will be included.

Day 19 - Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown

Relish a breathtaking cruise through Milford Sound fjord.

Novotel Queenstown Lakeside, Queenstown

Breakfast, Lunch Included

During a cruise of the beautiful Milford Sound, you will see why this fjord is one of the most visited sites on the South Island. With rock faces that rise nearly 4,000 feet on either side, the scenery will take your breath away. Depart Milford Sound and enjoy the rugged grandeur of the Hollyford Valley and the Homer Tunnel as you head to Queenstown, a mountainside town set against the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Today breakfast and lunch will be included.

Day 20 - Queenstown

Novotel Queenstown Lakeside, Queenstown

Breakfast Included

Take advantage of a full day at leisure to enjoy Queenstown. The town has earned the nickname of "Adventure Capital of the World" due to its rugged terrain and the adventurous Kiwi spirit. With the Remarkable Mountains surrounding the town and adjacent lake, there is no shortage of natural beauty and outdoor excursions. Today breakfast will be included.

Day 21 - Queenstown

Enjoy a farewell dinner on the shores of stunning Lake Wakatipu.

Novotel Queenstown Lakeside, Queenstown

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Included

Cruise Lake Wakatipu and head to Mt. Nicholas High Country Farm, a family-owned merino sheep farm. En route, see the Cecil Peak, Bob's Cove and Mt. Earnslaw. In your exclusive visit, follow the behind-the-scenes process from mustering sheep to wool garments. Enjoy a fresh farmer's lunch before sailing back. Later, it's your choice! Go bird watching at the Kiwi Birdlife Park -OR- take a gondola to Bob's Peak for stunning views of the area. Gather for a farewell dinner and enjoy a local paddock-to-plate meal. Today breakfast, lunch and dinner will be included.

Day 22 - Queenstown - Tour Ends

Breakfast Included

Your adventure comes to a close today, leaving you with many pleasant memories of a wonderful trip. Today breakfast will be included.

Pricing is per person, double occupancy, land and cruise only, based on May 31, 2021 travel date. Single supplement from $2,300. International airfare is additional. Call AAA for current airfare rates and availability. Itinerary featured is for May 2021 - April 2022 tour departures. Departures prior will vary. On some dates alternate hotels may be used..

All this makes it AAA Vacations®

AAA Complimentary Inclusion: $75 per person credit toward an optional excursion

Member Benefit: $50 per person savings

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