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New Zealand Splendor

15 Days from $4,950 per person

Style: First Class | Pace: Active

Your adventure through New Zealand's soul-stirring natural landscapes will take you past spectacular glaciers and alpine peaks, culminating in a vintage encounter with TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu.

Travel to New Zealand from the USA requires crossing the International Date Line. Please arrange for flights to arrive on or before Day 1. Ensure your flights are booked two days prior to the start date of the tour itinerary.

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Overview

Your adventure through New Zealand's soul-stirring natural landscapes will take you past spectacular glaciers and alpine peaks, culminating in a vintage encounter with TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu.

Travel to New Zealand from the USA requires crossing the International Date Line. Please arrange for flights to arrive on or before Day 1. Ensure your flights are booked two days prior to the start date of the tour itinerary.

  1. Auckland extends a warm welcome as you transfer to your hotel (flights to arrive prior to 4pm) and spend the day discovering why this North Island hotspot has justifiably earned its reputation as the City of Sails. Later, join your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and Regional Meal at your hotel.

    meal(s):Welcome Reception, Regional Meal
    hotel:The Cordis
  2. See the iconic and unexpected highlights of Auckland during a sightseeing tour, then head south to the Glow Worm Grotto of Waitomo. Admire the luminescent walls that guide your boat tour through its glimmering depths in the company of a Local Specialist and embark on a walk through the limestone caves to see its exquisite natural formations. Continue to the heritage hub of Rotorua, where you'll take an orientation tour against the backdrop of Lake Rotorua.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
    hotel:Millennium
  3. Today your choice of sightseeing: unwind at the Polynesian Spa; visit Te Puia and tour through the Whakawerawera Thermal Reserve; take a fascinating tour to discover the wizardry behind the Hobbiton movie set or explore Rotorua and its three lakes in an amphibious WWII-era Duck. Tonight, Māori culture and traditions take center stage on a visit to the Tamaki Māori Village. Dive into culture as you wander through the ancient forest village and learn about the Māori way of life, followed by a concert featuring local performers. You'll also have an opportunity to savor the flavors of an authentic Hangi Regional Meal, steamed underground in the traditional way.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Regional Meal
  4. Cross forest-clad landscapes and lush farmland to the raging waters of Huka Falls, which feeds New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo. Continue your journey south, over the central plateau and along the rolling Kapiti Coast to New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. This evening, you'll dive into culture during an exclusive guided tour of Te Papa Museum of New Zealand followed by a Regional Meal savoring local flavors.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Regional Meal
    hotel:James Cook Grand Chancellor
  5. Explore the Capital of Cool on your terms this morning with some free time to see such highlights as the Parliament buildings or savor the aromas of Welly's coffee culture. This afternoon, take to the tranquil waters of Queen Charlotte Sound after crossing Cook Strait. You'll visit seaside Picton and stop in Blenheim where this evening your Regional Meal is prepared from local produce, paired with the delicate Sauvignon Blanc flavors that have made the Marlborough wine region famous.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Regional Meal
    hotel:Chateau Marlborough
  6. Delve into the whaling heritage of Kaikoura, where sperm whales can often be seen not far from shore. Journey along the Pacific Ocean coast and across the colorful Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, a city revealing an effortless fusion of modern verve and the elegance of yesteryear.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
    hotel:Distinction
  7. Visit Morelea to connect with locals over a Be My Guest barbecue lunch, meeting your hosts Angie and Stan Taylor who will share insights into a lifetime spent farming in New Zealand. The flavors of Angie's famous pavlova will linger as you continue to the soul-stirring landscapes of Lake Tekapo to view the little stone-hewn Church of the Good Shepherd. Consider taking to the skies on an Optional Experience scenic flight over Mt. Cook, the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Mountain country beckons and your final stop today is in the heart of Mackenzie Country.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:MacKenzie Country Inn
  8. Journey along the Waitaki River, taking a brief stop at the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam. Continue to the township of Oamaru with its famous white limestone buildings and then on to soaring spires of Dunedin. This afternoon, your choice of sightseeing: tour Larnach Castle, New Zealand's only castle; ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway; take the Monarch Wildlife Cruise or embark on an interactive tour of the Speight's Brewery.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Scenic Southern Cross
  9. Delve into the Scottish heritage of Dunedin, exploring its youthful student atmosphere before journeying across lush pastoral lands to the village of Te Anau, the gateway to the natural splendor of Milford Sound. Tonight, consider an Optional Experience to the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves, where you'll cruise through ancient limestone caves and admire their luminous show.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Distinction
  10. Keep your camera at hand as you journey through the natural wonderland of rainforest, ancient glacier and mountain ranges. Continue through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel, and past Mirror Lake, Pop's Lookout, Cleddau Valley and the Chasm. Cruise the startlingly beautiful Milford Sound, slicing through its tranquil waters past such highlights as Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak. Later, travel over the Devil's Staircase and along the shores of Lake Wakatipu en route to the adventure capital of Queenstown.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
    hotel:Millennium
  11. Prepare for a thrill a minute on your choice of sightseeing: ride the Shotover Jet boat; take a gondola to Bob's Peak for thrilling luge rides; visit Kiwi Birdlife Park or take a 4WD minibus excursion through Skippers Canyon. This evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand's oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue Regional Meal at the Colonel's Homestead. Enjoy an entertaining after-dinner farm show providing a glimpse into high-country farm life, then return to Queenstown to sample the festive nightlife.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Regional Meal
  12. Delve into the rich gold mining heritage of Arrowtown before savoring the juicy flavors of apricots, peaches and plums in Cromwell, New Zealand's stone fruit capital. Your journey to the icy depths of Franz Josef Glacier will see you pass a trio of lakes—Dunstan, Hawea and Wanaka—as well as Haast Pass and Thunder Creek Falls in Mt. Aspiring National Park.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Scenic Franz Josef Glacier (Douglas Wing)
  13. Your first stop is Hokitika, New Zealand's greenstone (jade) center, where you'll admire the delicate stone-craft, during a visit to a local factory and jewelry demonstration by a master carver. Travel to Punakaiki next, to see the limestone Pancake Rocks and Blowholes channeling the force of the Tasman Sea. This evening, you'll stay at an eco-friendly resort on the waterfront.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Punakaiki Resort
  14. Board the TranzAlpine train at Arthur's Pass for one of the world's most scenic journeys across the Southern Alps bound for Christchurch. Your journey across New Zealand's North and South Islands almost at its end, you'll indulge in a Farewell Dinner with newfound friends.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
    hotel:Distinction
  15. Your vacation concludes this morning after breakfast. You will be transferred to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
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    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

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  • Important Note: This departure is subject to price, itinerary and hotel modification.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $1,535.

Air: Please note that airfares are not included in the prices above. GET guarantees to quote you the lowest possible airfare available to us on the day that you book.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

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  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options

Meal Summary

14 hot buffet breakfasts, 1 lunch, 11 dinners.

Included Highlights

Connect with Locals

  • Join your hosts Angie and Stan Taylor at a barbecue lunch in their home and gain an insight into a lifetime spent farming in New Zealand.

Dive into Culture

  • Visit Te Papa Museum of New Zealand, and learn about the traditions of the Maori.

Stays with Stories

  • Stay on the South Island's wild west coast at eco-friendly Punakaiki Resort. Designed in harmony with the environment, your stay gives you a unique insight into local ecology and nature.

Local Specialist

  • with an expert guide in the Waitomo Glow Worm Grotto, a jade (greenstone) carver in Hokitika.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch
  • Cruise on Cook Strait, Lake Wakatipu, Milford Sound
  • View fur seals up-close at Ohau Point, the Southern Alps from the TranzAlpine train
  • Visit the Tamaki Māori Village in Rotorua, historic Arrowtown, Franz Josef Glacier
Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

Print Itinerary

Reviews

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Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

Print Itinerary
  • U.S. citizens traveling to Australia and New Zealand must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. Australia also requires an electronic visa which is obtained at the time of your airline ticket purchase.

  • You will be using the Australian dollar and New Zealand dollar on your trip. You can use your debit or credit card for purchases. The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in Australia and New Zealand. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • Food in Australia and New Zealand is innovative and diverse. As island nations with strong agricultural traditions, culinary traditions here are guided by local ingredients and seasonal variations, as well as international influences. You’ll find a variety of seafood including fresh oysters and crab, grilled steaks and lamb chops, meat pies, and fish and chips.

  • We suggest bringing a variety of comfortable, lightweight clothing that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Sturdy walking shoes are important. Insect repellent and sunscreen may come in handy, as well as a light jacket and reusable water bottle. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • It is not customary to tip at restaurants in Australia and New Zealand. If you would like to reward good service when dining out it’s appropriate to leave 10 percent gratuity for your waiter.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity.  We recommend the equivalent of $4 per person/per day for your driver and $6 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is the equivalent of 1-2 dollars per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 24 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.

Wellington

Rainbow Springs Wildlife Park

Set in 22 acres of beautiful native trees and streams, Rainbow Springs is home to a huge variety of New Zealand’s most precious inhabitants. Experience the adrenalin rush of The Big Splash, explore the many free flight aviaries, come face to face with pre-history in the eyes of the tuatara, and experience the wonder of the bird show featuring some of the funniest feathered performers you will ever see.
Adult Price: $50.00

Rotorua Tarawera and Lakes Tour

Discover Rotorua’s spectacular lakes area from the comfort of a fully restored World War II amphibious vehicle, able to travel on land and water. A 90 minute fun-filled and scenic journey that ventures onto the three Rotorua lakes, and is accompanied by an entertaining and informative commentary.
Adult Price: $89.00

Te Puia

Take a wander through Te Puia, New Zealand’s Maori Culture Centre, where you will have the opportunity to view the awesome power of the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley… and much more!
Adult Price: $56.00

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Discover the real Middle-earth on the most picturesque private farmland near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand, where you can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in a fascinating two-hour guided tour.
Adult Price: $119.00

Blenheim

Weta Wellington There And Back Again Tour

This movie-based experience provides a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse of Weta Workshop, the home of the special effects wizards whose work features in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies. The tour invites you to view the creative processes of a Weta technician and to touch, feel, and hold real props, weapons and models from the films the creative Weta team have worked on. Return transfers from the Wellington i-Site are included.
Adult Price: $65.00

Dunedin

Grand Traverse Scenic Flight

Explore the alpine wonderland of the Southern Alps’ highest peaks and glacial lakes on this 45-minute scenic flight, including Murchison Glacier, Tasman Glacier, Main Divide, Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, westland coastal rainforests and Mount Cook.
Adult Price: $395.00

Te Anau

Monarch Wildlife Cruise

Cruise the length of the beautiful Otago Harbour, passing by the historic fishing village of Careys Bay and the working port of Port Chalmers. Then continue your tour out to the tip of the Otago Peninsula, enjoying unrivaled wildlife viewing. See what cannot be seen from land – Albatross, New Zealand Fur Seals and up to 20 species of bird and marine life in their undisturbed and otherwise inaccessible environment.
Adult Price: $150.00

Taieri Gorge Railway

Taieri Gorge Railway is one of the world’s great train trips, taking passengers from the hustle and bustle of Dunedin’s city center to the rugged mountain interior of Central Otago, and back. Travel in comfort, cross magnificent stone and wrought iron viaducts, travel through a series of tunnels with rock walls only inches from the side of the train.
Adult Price: $105.00

Larnarch Castle Tour

Let your local driver take you on an exciting Otago Peninsula drive to New Zealand’s only castle. Your guided tour of the Larnach family home will give you insight into not only the architecture and style of the stately building but also into William Larnach’s family life and the restoration done by the current owners during the past three decades. Enjoy views from the tower and marvel at the immaculate gardens before your return to Dunedin.
Adult Price: $76.00

Queenstown

Te Anau Glow Worm Caves

2.5-hour tour incorporating a cruise across Lake Te Anau to Cavern House. Enjoy a guided tour (in small groups) through the limestone caverns, waterfalls, and the glow worm grotto. Complimentary tea & coffee is available at Cavern House
Adult Price: $98.00

Punakaiki

Kiwi Birdlife Park

The Kiwi Birdlife Park is a wildlife sanctuary found in the heart of Queenstown. They hold and display over 20 species of native NZ wildlife in our 5 acre Park, all of which are part of nationally managed programmes. Your entry fee supports their conservation work. They offer guaranteed kiwi viewing in our specially constructed nocturnal houses, audio tours (available in English and Japanese; allow 45min), Conservation Shows (11 am, 3 pm; allow 30min) and Kiwi Feedings (10 am, 12 pm, 1.30 pm, 4.30 pm; allow 15 min). They offer an all-day pass and the park can be enjoyed in all weather. Experience conservation in action!
Adult Price: $48.00

Shotover Jet

Enjoy a 30-minute jet boat ride down the mighty Shotover River and through Shotover Canyon with the only company permitted to operate in this area. A major highlight is experiencing the famous “Shotover Jet Turn” where your boat spins through a full 360 degrees turn. Includes return transfers from Queenstown. (Duration: 1.5 hours in total)

Boutique Wine Tour

An afternoon amongst the boutique vineyards and splendid alpine scenery of Central Otago. Taste wines at 4 premium vineyards over two contrasting wine regions, learn about the wine and pioneering history and visit the Historic Precinct of Old Cromwell. Includes a delightful platter lunch and a glass of wine with lunch.
Adult Price: $199.00

Skippers Canyon Scenic Tour and Jet Boat Ride

Skippers Canyon Jet is the only company to offer a complete 4WD tour of Skippers Canyon and access to the unique mining relics available in the Sainsbury gold claim museum. Following the winding, yet majestic Skippers road, which carves its way down from the Coronet Peak ski road, over the saddle and down “Long gully” through to Skippers Canyon; your guide will detail the history of the road, hardships of the miners and how many miners were killed building the road over a century ago.
Adult Price: $195.00

Christchurch

Mountain Scenic Spectacular Flight

Discover the gigantic expanse of the Franz Josef and Fox snowfields on this 40-minute scenic flight. Cross the main divide for breathtaking views of Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. Highlights include a snow landing, Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and Mt Cook.
Adult Price: $460.00

Haast River Safari

Travel on a purpose built fully enclosed river jet boat with front-loading access. Great visibility is ensured, yet you remain warm, dry and comfortable, making this a unique and safe experience suitable for anyone of any age to participate in and enjoy.
Adult Price: $109.00

Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.