Auckland to Queenstown

11 days from 2,979pp

Spend 11 days exploring the North and South Islands of this small country packed with wonders. Travelling by train, gondola, boat, and plane, connect with locals in artsy beach towns, walk through an ancient rain forest, and learn about local legends and cuisine from the Maori. Take a deep breath to fill your lungs with the impossibly clean air here – and fill your soul with the legendary Kiwi spirit.
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11 days Auckland to Queenstown

From 2,979 per person

Is this tour for me?

Travel Style: National Geographic Journeys

Greater exploration, insider access, and the freedom to roam – all without sacrificing comfort.

Service Level: Upgraded

Quality accommodations and more inclusions than on other G Adventures tours, like meals, private transport, and activities.

Physical Rating: 2 – Light

Light walking and hiking suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.

Trip Type: Small Group

Small group experience; Max 16, avg 12

Age requirement: 12+

All travellers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Day 1: Auckland

Arrive at any time.

Please make your own way to the joining hotel. Our CEO will have a welcome meeting this evening.

Auckland is a fantastic city with so much to see and do. Should you want more time to explore on your own, we recommend booking pre-nights.

Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting:

The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.

Optional Activities – Day 1

Auckland Sailing: America’s Cup Experience (Pre Tour)

160NZD per person

As part of the boat crew, you’ll work together with your teammates to sail around Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour in this competitive yacht. Either take the helm and participate or sit back and enjoy the spectacle – the choice is yours.


Copthorne Hotel Auckland City (or similar)

Day 2: Auckland

Catch a ferry to Waiheke Island and visit two local wineries. Here, learn more about New Zealand’s burgeoning wine industry and the history of wine production in the country with samples of local blends along the way. Later, enjoy a short orientation walk and some free time to explore the city.

National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Waiheke Island Wineries

Catch the ferry to picturesque Waiheke Island to learn about New Zealand’s highly celebrated wine industry in its founding region. Tour a boutique vineyard and learn from our host about the process of making the syrahs, merlots, and chardonnays that the region is so well-known for. Enjoy a taste of the vineyard’s estate-grown olive and avocado oils. After, continue to one of Waiheke’s original wineries for a tour and tasting – while learning about the evolution of wine production in New Zealand. Return to Auckland this evening via a scenic ferry ride.

Orientation Walk

Enjoy a brief walk with your CEO. He/she will give you some tips on finding things like supermarkets, main squares, and ATMs. For more specific or in-depth information, an official guided tour is recommended.

Free Time

Enjoy the city or choose from the many day excursions available.

Optional Activities – Day 2

Maritime Museum Visit

20NZD per person

Tour the museum’s seven galleries to learn more about New Zealand’s relationship with the sea. Be inspired by the country’s most celebrated mariner, Sir Peter Blake, and his many accomplishments, and see maritime art that speaks to the sentiment of a nautical nation.



Copthorne Hotel Auckland City (or similar)

Meals included:


Day 3: Auckland/Raglan

Drive a scenic route, visiting an eel farm which focuses on developing sustainable aquaculture. Enjoy lunch, featuring food which has been sustainably produced on the farm. Continue to the artsy town of Raglan, stopping at Bridal Veil Falls en route, and enjoy a cruise on the stunning harbour.

Eel Farm Visit

Visit a local sustainable eel farm which focuses on developing sustainable aquaculture and biological solutions for dairy farms in an effort to restore lowland wetland eco-systems. Enjoy lunch, featuring food which has been sustainably produced on the farm. Be inspired by their green initiatives – they practice the art of giving more back to the environment than they take out.

Private Vehicle
Auckland – Raglan3h160km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Bridal Veil Falls Walk
Bridal Veil Falls30m

Enjoy a scenic trek to Bridal Veil Falls, a plunge waterfall located along the Pakoka River in the Waikato area of New Zealand. Relax on arrival and enjoy the waterfall’s breathtaking natural beauty. The waterfall is 55m (180 ft) high, and, over time, has caused the formation of a large pool at its base.

Free Time
Raglan Afternoon

With lots of things to do in Raglan, get out and explore!

Raglan Harbour Boat Cruise

Enjoy a cruise on the Raglan Harbour with stunning views of ancient limestone rock formations and local wildlife. Keep an eye out for dolphins and (fingers crossed!) whales.


Raglan Sunset Motel (or similar)


Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch

Day 4: Raglan/Rotorua

Drive to Rotorua, stopping for an excursion at Waitomo Caves where you’ll take a boat ride through the cave and see thousands of flickering glowworms lighting up the walls.

This evening visit Tamaki Maori Village and enjoy a private welcome and talk from a “Kaumātua” (an elder in Māori society). After, enjoy an extravagant performance about local myths and legends while dining on traditional Hangi cuisine.

Rotorua sits over an active volcano with bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools in different areas around the town. This is a fascinating region with Maori history and culture tied directly to the geothermal aspects of the land.

Private Vehicle
Raglan – Waitomo Caves1h30m-2h100km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Waitomo Cave Excursion
Waitomo Caves3h30m

Enjoy a peaceful boat ride through caverns covered with magical glowworms that are unique to New Zealand. Hundreds of thousands of these tiny creatures radiate luminescent light in underground caves carved by rivers and time. Take in more than 120 years of cultural and natural history on this unique excursion.

Private Vehicle
Waitomo Caves – Rotorua2h-2h30m140km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Meet a Maori Elder

Enjoy a “mihi” (private welcome) in Tamaki Village from a “Kaumātua” (an elder in Māori society). Sit down to an exclusive talk with the elder and learn about the community’s traditions, myths, and legends, including the Sky Father and Earth Mother. You’ll also learn about the history of the Maori people and their deep connection to Rotorua landscape and its geothermal aspects.

Tamaki Maori Village

Visit the Tamaki Maori Village. Receive the traditional Powhiri welcome ceremony followed by a captivating stage performance explaining Maori history, myths and culture. For dinner, enjoy a traditional Hangi meal, similar to the Hawaiian Luau, with dishes cooked in the ground. Savour the taste of chicken, sweet potatoes, port and pudding wrapped in cabbage or banana leaves and steamed underground with the heat from lava rocks and wood. Yum!


Millennium Rotorua (or similar)


Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 5: Rotorua/Christchurch

Enjoy free time this morning in Rotorua before catching a flight to Christchurch. Take an orientation walk with your CEO to get a feel for the city.

With free time in Rotorua this morning, opt to relax in one of the hot pools fed by water coming directly from the natural springs.

Private Vehicle
Rotorua Morning

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Rotorua – Christchurch1h-1h30m

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… yup, it is a plane, actually.

Orientation Walk

Enjoy a brief walk with your CEO. He/she will give you some tips on finding things like supermarkets, main squares, and ATMs. For more specific or in-depth information, an official guided tour is recommended.

Optional Activities – Day 5

Hells Gate Geothermal Park

35-90NZD per person

Hot Springs

30-50NZD per person

Soak tired muscles in the area’s natural hot springs and let the mineral water work its magic. Rotorua is home to a number of amazing geothermal parks – be sure you don’t miss the healing and relaxing benefits of the city’s naturally heated waters.


Chateau on the Park Hotel (or similar)

Meals included:


Day 6: Christchurch/Franz Josef

Enjoy one of the world’s great scenic train trips on the TranzAlpine train, crossing the scenic Southern Alps to New Zealand’s glacier region. Disembark and finish the journey over the highest pass in the Southern Alps in a private vehicle before transferring to a beautiful rainforest lodge, our home for two nights.

Christchurch – Arthur’s Pass2h30m

Climb aboard, take a seat, and enjoy the ride.

Private Vehicle
Arthur’s Pass – Franz Josef3h-3h30m240km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.



Rainforest Retreat (or similar)

Meals included:


Day 7: Franz Josef

Options are plentiful. Choose from a helicopter hike, ice walking on the glacier, or soaking in the hot pools amongst the stunning scenery.

Free Time
Franz Josef

Opt for various hiking adventures in the area, the most popular being trekking to view Franz Josef glacier. If relaxing is more your style, there are shorter day hikes and bush walks or local hot pools to take a dip.

Optional Activities – Day 7

Franz Josef Quad Bike
Franz Josef

65-160NZD per person

Hop aboard the two-seater ATV quad and drive along ancient glacial pathways carved into the landscape by ice and water. Be amazed at what lies around every twist and turn as you are guided through rainforests, riverbeds, grasslands, sand and mud. Feel the thrill of fresh air in your face and the excitement of riding in the wild.

Helicopter Hike
Franz Josef3h-4h

459-539NZD per person

Take a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter ride high up on Franz Josef Glacier. Hop out and trek on the white and blue ice. Cool!

Franz Josef Kayaking
Franz Josef3h-4h

99-129NZD per person

Explore the stunning Lake Mapourika by kayak. This lake was created as the Franz Josef glacier retreated 14,000 years ago, and the still water has created a natural mirror allowing you to soak in the incredible panoramic views.

Ice Explorer Guided Hike (Heli Transfer)
Franz Josef

379-409NZD per person

The sheer size and power of Franz Josef is something you need to see to believe. Board a chopper for a leisurely flight over the glacier before landing directly on the ice. From there, get up close and personal on a three-hour guided hike past towering peaks and stunning blue ice. The constantly shifting ice flows and crevices ensure your visit will be one-of-a-kind!

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
Franz Josef

79NZD per person

Enjoy spectacular views on a guided interpretive walk that follows a riverbed along the Franz Josef Glacier’s retreat. At the end, you’ll be rewarded with a great view of the glacier off in the distance.

Franz Josef30m-8h 3-17km


Take your pick of many scenic and memorable treks in Franz Josef – a true hiker’s haven. Get prepared before heading out, and be mindful of signs along the track. See majestic mountains, glaciers, rivers, and amazing views that you’ll definitely want your camera on hand for.

Horseback Riding
Franz Josef

65-150NZD per person

Hop in the saddle and explore Franz Josef’s amazing glacier landscape on horseback. Ride amid rainforests and mountain scenery, and enjoy fresh open air and natural beauty on this unforgettable trip.



Rainforest Retreat (or similar)


Meals included:


Day 8: Franz Josef/Queenstown

Travel through the rugged rainforest along the west coast to Queenstown. Enjoy an evening gondola ride with spectacular views of the city.

Early start to travel to the picturesque Lake Matheson. When the weather is right, you can get a great photo of the Southern Alps reflected in the lake. Follow the wild West Coast Road, through the rainforest before stopping for some short walks and waterfall visits.

Private Vehicle
Franz Josef – Queenstown8h-9h365km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Gondola Ride

Take a ride up to the top of the mountain by cable car gondola. Get a spectacular 220º view of Coronet Peak, the Remarkables mountain range, and Lake Wakatipu below.



Copthorne Lakefront Queenstown (or similar)

Meals included:


Day 9: Queenstown/Fiordland National Park

Embark on an amazing wilderness cruise through Fiordland National Park. Led by onboard naturalist guides, we have the chance to see dolphins, fur seals, birds, and penguins along with an option to kayak. Spend the night onboard in comfortable cabins with time to relax on deck, stargaze, and enjoy some New Zealand wine.

In the evening, enjoy a delicious three course buffet dinner prepared by our onboard chef and served in the dining saloon. Mingle with fellow travellers, savour some of the fine wines at our licensed bar (additional price) and if the skies are clear in the evening, spend some time on the upper deck gazing at the stars.

Private Vehicle
Queenstown – Fiordland National Park3h250km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Fiordland National Park Overnight Wilderness Cruise
Fiordland National Park24h

Cruise through stunning Fiordland National Park, one of the most untouched, remote places in the world. Depending on the departure, the cruise will be in either Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound – two of the most stunning regions within the park. Marvel at the steep cliff walls and cascading waterfalls, and keep an eye out for area wildlife: dolphins, penguins, seals, and a variety of birds. Want to get closer to the water? Feel free to use one of the boats’ sea kayaks to explore the area more in-depth.

After the day, moor at a secluded bay for the night, and sit back and relax on the spacious viewing decks.


Doubtful Sound Cruise (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 10: Fiordland National Park/Queenstown

Enjoy morning wildlife viewing along the fiord as we cruise back to port, then return to Queenstown for the final night. Opt for a farewell dinner with your group.

Private Vehicle
Fiordland National Park – Queenstown3h250km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.


Copthorne Lakefront Queenstown (or similar)


Meals included:


Day 11: Queenstown

Depart at any time.

For more time to explore Queenstown, we recommend booking post nights with your agent if you are interested in the countless adrenaline-packed activities in the town known as the “adventure capital of the world.” Jet boating, bungee jumping, mountain biking, and sky diving are some of the activities available.

Departure Day

Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.

Optional Activities – Day 11

Bungee Jumping

175-510NZD per person

Adrenaline junkies will be happy with a stop at the world’s original commercial bungee site (bungy in New Zealand!). Opt to take the plunge or simply observe where it all started from the comfort of solid ground. Shoot some amazing photos of those brave enough to dive into the abyss.

Shotover Jet Boating

149NZD per person

Jet boating is a typical New Zealand activity— go as fast you can in a boat over water. Hang on tight as you fly across the surface of the water. Shoot through narrow rocky gorges and dare to watch as the driver takes hairpin turns frighteningly close to the cliffs.

Earnslaw Steamship Cruise

55-95NZD per person

Discover the breathtaking Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw, a 103 year old traditional steamship. This 90 minute cruise highlights that stunning alpine scenery that surrounds Queenstown, and lets you check out the views while relaxing on deck.

Vineyard Tour

185-230NZD per person

Visit vineyards in New Zealand’s fastest growing wine region. Taste some of Queenstown’s finest Pinot Noir, as well as Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Sample local cheeses and learn more about the grape varietals that flourish here. Pick up a few bottles to savour back home.

Meals included:


What’s Included

  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Waiheke Island Wineries, Waiheke Island
  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Meet a Maori Elder, Rotorua
  • Bridal Veil Falls visit
  • Farm visit with local lunch
  • Raglan harbour cruise
  • Waitomo Caves tour
  • Traditional Maori hangi feast and entertainment
  • Orientation walk in Christchurch
  • Scenic TranzAlpine train
  • Ride the Queenstown gondola
  • Wilderness day cruise (winter) or overnight cruise (summer) on Fiordland National Park
  • Internal flight
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities


Hotels (9 nts), cruise boat (1 nt, seasonal).


10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
Allow USD325-425 for meals not included.


Private vehicle, plane, train, boat, walking.

Staff & experts

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.

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