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New Zealand: Untamed Landscapes

15 days Nature & Wildlife Tours
This island nation is known for its stunningly varied range of natural landscapes; you’ll understand why when you cruise through the fjords of Milford Sound or ascend the peaks of the Southern Alps. Amid these spectacular untamed settings, you’ll get a taste of the welcoming Kiwi culture.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 12 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine, 1 wine tasting

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight2 nights

Day 1: Travel day

Cross the International Date Line in flight and “lose” a day.

Day 2: Travel day

Your flight continues to New Zealand.

Queenstown3 nights Hotel info

Day 3: Arrival in Queenstown

Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Queenstown! Transfer to your hotel, then meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 4: Milford Sound

Included meals: Breakfast

Head out to explore the breathtaking Milford Sound in New Zealand’s Fiordland, home to some of the most memorable scenery in the world.

• Travel through the Five Rivers farming region and past Lake Te’Anau

• Pass through beautiful beech forests and by glittering mirror lakes

• Cruise around Milford Sound, in view of Mitre Peak

Day 5: Free day in Queenstown

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a day at your leisure in Queenstown, or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Walter Peak: Lake Cruise & Lunch $85*pp Details

Board the steam-powered TSS Earnslaw in Queenstown for a cruise across Lake Wakatipu. Your destination is Walter Peak, one of New Zealand’s most famous sheep and cattle stations. There, you'll enjoy a barbecue lunch and watch a sheep-shearing demonstration and sheep dog show before heading back to Queenstown. Please note: This excursion is seasonal from May through September. In June and July, the TSS Earnslaw undergoes routine maintenance and is replaced by a launch boat for the cruise. A weatherproof jacket and comfortable shoes are recommended.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $95)

Optional Excursion - Walter Peak: Lake Cruise & Dinner $99*pp Details

Board the steam-powered TSS Earnslaw in Queenstown for a cruise across Lake Wakatipu. Your destination is Walter Peak, one of New Zealand’s most famous sheep and cattle stations. There, you'll enjoy a barbecue dinner and watch a sheep-shearing demonstration and sheep dog show before heading back to Queenstown. Please note: This excursion is seasonal from October through April. A weatherproof jacket and comfortable shoes are recommended.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Fox Glacier1 night Hotel info

Day 6: Transfer to Fox Glacier

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a scenic drive through the island’s Southern Alps to Fox Glacier, stopping at Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka, Knight’s Point and Thunder Creek Falls along the way.

Hokitika1 night Hotel info

Day 7: Transfer to Hokitika

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a free morning at Fox Glacier or add an excursion.

Then, transfer to Hokitika for the night.

Optional Excursion - Fox Glacier Helicopter Ride $209*pp Details

Get close to the ice falls of Fox Glacier and experience the solitude of a snow landing in this natural alpine wonderland.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $219)

Nelson2 nights Hotel info

Day 8: Transfer to Nelson via Punakaiki

Included meals: Breakfast

Leave Hokitika behind as you set out for Nelson, stopping at Punakaiki en route.

• Visit the distinctive “pancake” rocks and tidal blowholes of Punakaiki

• Pass through the dramatic Buller Gorge before arriving in Nelson

Day 9: Abel Tasman National Park & Cruise

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Head out to explore Abel Tasman National Park and Kaiteriteri Beach, where you’ll embark on a scenic cruise. 

• Journey by boat through South Island’s pristine coves and turquoise waters

• Visit breathtaking Kaiteriteri Beach

Tonight, dine with a Kiwi family at a traditional home-hosted dinner.

Wellington2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Transfer to Wellington

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Wine tasting

On your way to Wellington, make stops in New Zealand’s wine country and the charming coastal town of Picton.

• Stop for a wine tasting in Marlborough, a region renowned for its sauvignon blanc

• Enjoy free time in the picturesque seaside town of Picton

• Board a ferry for a scenic cruise across the Cook Strait to the city of Wellington on the North Island

Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Wellington

Included meals: Breakfast

Get to know Wellington, the southernmost capital city of any sovereign state, on a guided tour led by your Tour Director.

• Explore the interactive exhibitions at Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum

• Take in views of the city from soaring Mount Victoria

• Wander along the Wellington waterfront

Rotorua2 nights Hotel info

Day 12: Transfer to Rotorua

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Head to Rotorua, in the heart of the North Island’s Maori country. 

• Stop at Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site

• Sample “Pavlova” a traditional dessert at tonight’s traditional hangi feast

Day 13: Sightseeing tour of Rotorua & Kiwi Wildlife Park

Included meals: Breakfast

See the sights in Rotorua on a guided tour with your Tour Director, then pay a visit to a Kiwi Wildlife Park.

• Visit the Government Gardens, a public park and site of great historical importance to the local Maori people

• Learn about Operation Nest Egg at Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park, New Zealand’s largest kiwi hatchery

Enjoy a free afternoon in Rotorua or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Maori Cultural Tour $99*pp Details

Discover the indigenous roots of New Zealand culture with a half-day visit to the Maori village of Whakarewarewa, in the heart of the Rotorua Region. Originally the site of a Maori fortress, the geothermal landscape has long been utilized by the Maori people for cooking and heating. A local guide will introduce you to the unique traditions of the Maori people, who continue to live in harmony with nature. After a walk around the village, the tour continues with a scenic drive around the lakes district that surrounds the spectacular volcanic Mount Tarawera.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Auckland1 night Hotel info

Day 14: Transfer to Auckland via Waitomo

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

En route to Auckland, stop at Waitomo Caves to try your hand at spelunking. Then, take a guided tour of the city.

• Explore the Waitomo Caves, then take a subterranean cruise to view the remarkable Glowworm Grotto on a guided tour

• Enjoy Domain Park, Parnell shopping area, the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial and Auckland Bridge on a driving tour of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city

Tonight, raise a toast to your trip at a farewell dinner with your group.

Day 15: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to explore Fiji.

Add Fiji $749 pp

Conjure up your fantasy of paradise on earth: you’re probably imagining Fiji. Gorgeous palm-fringed beaches, crystal-clear lagoons, colorful coral reefs, lush tropical rainforests and majestic mountains—that’s what makes this island nation in the South Pacific one of the most enticing places on Earth. Paradise, aside, perhaps the true allure of Fiji lies with the warmth of the people and the fascinating blend of cultures that has endured for centuries.

Fiji3 nights Hotel info

Day 15: Arrival in Fiji

Included meals: Breakfast

Fly to Nadi, Fiji, where you’ll be escorted to your seaside hotel.

Day 16: Free day in Fiji

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Fiji to spend at your leisure.

Day 17: Free day in Fiji

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy another free day in Fiji or add an excursion.

Later, gather with your group for a delicious seafood dinner.

Optional Excursion - Fiji Village Visit $75*pp Details

Set off to Viseisei Village, one of the oldest settlements in Fiji. On the way, stop at Nadi market for a guided walk through its fruit and vegetable stalls. Then proceed to your destination where you’ll be greeted with a traditional welcome ritual, including a taste of kava, a ceremonial beverage. After a walking tour of the village, learn to collect, husk and extract milk from coconuts during a hands-on demonstration. Finish your day with a farewell drink before you return to your hotel.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $85)

Day 18: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

A Go Ahead representative escorts you to the airport for your return flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Fox Glacier, New Zealand
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport & Visa Requirements

In order to enter New Zealand (as well as the Republic of Fiji, on the tour extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. When entering Fiji, U.S. and Canadian citizens are automatically issued a visa upon arrival. If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, please contact the relevant embassies for your entry requirements.

Airport & Departure Taxes

All airport and departure taxes for your tour are included in the total trip cost printed on your invoice, except for those noted here. All visitors departing New Zealand must pay an airport departure tax directly to the airport. At press time, this tax was $25 New Zealand dollars and is subject to change without notice. In addition, those taking the extension to Fiji must pay an airport departure tax. At press time, this tax was 30 Fijian dollars (approximately $16 USD/CAD), and is subject to change without notice.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you’ll have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.

Clothing & Packing Tips

In the tropics, lightweight clothing is suitable year-round. During the southern winter (June– August), warm clothing is advised, as is rainwear for the South Island of New Zealand. Sneakers are advised for exploring reefs and beaches, as are sun hats and sunscreen. There will rarely be an occasion for formal attire.

Health

There are no health risks associated with traveling to New Zealand. Travelers should take particular care of sun exposure and drink plenty of liquids. If you choose to go swimming, be careful of powerful surf. Make sure to obey signs and lifeguard orders and always swim between the well-marked flags. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider for the latest health updates and overseas travel requirements.

Cuisine

In New Zealand, there are many good local varieties of fish and seafood, excellent venison and superb fruits, including kiwi and passion fruits. For lunch, tea rooms serve savory meat pies, quiche and desserts.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in Queenstown and leave from Auckland (or Nadi on the extension). All other transfers are serviced by private motor coach and ferry. In your free time, you may wish to explore the locations via public transport. While in Auckland, transportation by ferry, rail and bus is now connected by the Britomart interchange.

Electricity

New Zealand operates on 240 volts.

Time Zones

New Zealand is 17 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Currency

The unit of currency you’ll be using on your tour is the New Zealand dollar (and the Fijian dollar on extension). Better rates of exchange are found in those countries. We recommend taking a combination of ATM/bank cards and credit cards. All are widely accepted. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 11/6/2014

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Anazing New Zealand

The beauty of New Zealand takes your breath away. Snow capped mountains, crystal clear lakes, rivers, water falls, glaciers, meadows dotted with sheep and dairy cows and the most beautiful forests. There are birch, redwood, beech, and oak trees but also fern trees and palms And there is the ocean and its beaches. If you are lucky you will see dolphins and wales. One of the prettiest city is Queenstown with its hills, picturesque houses, shops, restaurants and its water front. Our guide, Melissa, is from New Zealand; a Kiwi, as the people of New Zealand are known. She was excellent in explaining the history, culture, topography and the economy of New Zealand. She always tried to take us to places that best represented the country and its culture, which included a hari with the Maori people, the original settlers of new Zealand. A most wonderful experience we participated in, was visiting the Glow worm caves. The inside of those caves feel like Christmas as thousands of little lights coming from the glow worms, pupae of a moth lighten up the space. The Go Ahead tour to New Zealand is worthwhile taking and I recommend it highly..

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/26/2013

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: KY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Changing Landscapes - New Zealand

The New Zealand tour has such a variety of landscapes that it is hard to condense the experience. From beaches to caves with glow worms to thermal fields and small geysers to winefields to rainforests to glaciers to fjords ... and so much more, the landscapes changed daily, or even more often. We covered many miles, mostly by bus but also by boat, and the beauty throughout the north and south islands amazed us. We also came to appreciate Maori culture, including performances and a feast of traditional foods, as well as museums with cultural history and the opportunity to hear stories from individual Maori people. Our tour guide was enthusiastic and very helpful, always working on our behalf. Our two bus drivers, one for the north island and one for the south island, provided the local history and cultural lore. We definitely thought it was worth the long plane ride over and back.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/26/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: CT

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

post cards

As per the tour guide, Anya, we were assured that any post cards given to the hotel staff at the check-in desk would be promptly mailed. Well, it has been 3 weeks, and not one had arrived. Did they bother? Did they just throw them away? This may sound petty to some people. but it is a big deal for me. So that is only thing that basically soured this wonderful experience for me. Otherwise, fantastic trip.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 10/26/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

A Nation of Wonderful Sights and People

Do not misunderstand that this tour is very fast paced. It was wonderful, don't get me wrong, and we saw an excellent cross-section of New Zealand, but there was little "Down" time. This was a fantastic way, however, to see some of the countryside and really experience what all of New Zealand looks like, not just the most photographed spots as you fly from point to point.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 3/9/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MT

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Great Tour -- Once we got there

This tour is fantastic. Erika is extremely knowledgeable and makes it fun to learn about the Maori culture. Doug, our bus driver on the North island, was also a great source of information and fun to be around. Chris, our driver on the South island, tackled those winding roads with ease. A group of us left from Montana. We understand weather delays, but were disappointed with the on call agent when our originating flight to Denver was cancelled. One of our group had to go up to the airport to get us booked the next day for flights. She got very little assistance from the on call person. After we were rebooked, she gave us incorrect information. We spent the travel time thinking that we not only missed the sightseeing in Aukland and the welcome dinner but that we were also going to miss the Glow worm caves. That was something we were really looking forward to. We were pleasantly surprised when Erika met our bus and told us our group was waiting for us! There are a couple tweaks that as a group we thought would make the experience better for subsequent groups, but as we were the first tour with this agenda, that is to be expected. All in all, it was a great group of people on a great adventure!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/27/2012

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Amazing Trip!

What an amazing trip! This was my first time to the South Pacific and I am so glad that I chose to dedicate one whole trip to just New Zealand. There is so much that this country has to offer, from snow capped volcanoes and icy glaciers, to sheep-spotted meadows and placid lakes. Each day offered a new array of breathtaking scenery and is worthy of at least a two-week experience. Not only is the nature on this tour unmatched, but the culture is so rich and interesting. You'll learn so much in two weeks about the Maori culture and the modern Kiwis! The highlight on this tour for me was dining at the Kiwi family's house. It gave us insight into a true New Zealander's life and allowed us the opportunity to ask questions in a relaxed setting. I coulnd't have asked for a better experience. The fact that I can tell my family and friends that I walked on a glacier, zip-lined over a gorge, and pet a baby lamb all in one trip is incomparable. I can't wait to take my next trip with Go Ahead!