2 nights Wellington
2 nights Bay of Many Coves, Marlborough Sounds
2 nights Kaikoura
2 nights Christchurch
1 night Aoraki/Mt Cook
3 nights Queenstown
Wellington City Highlights tour
Te Papa private tour
Marlborough Wine tasting
Kaikoura whale watching scenic flight
Dolphin encounter and opportunity to swim with the dolphins.
Lord of the Rings Tour into Middle Earth (Edoras)
Mt Cook Big Sky Stargazing
Tasman Glacier hike and scenic flight
Milford Sound scenic flight and fiord nature cruise
Wilderness Jet Safari into Mount Aspiring National Park
All transfers throughout
Destinations: Wellington, Marlborough Sounds, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Aoraki/Mt Cook, Queenstown
Experiences: Culture, Scenery, Wildlife, Food & Wine, Adventure, Relaxation
No. of days: 11 days/12 nights
This is a great itinerary with a bit of everything! Start your New Zealand adventure by exploring Wellington. Check out capital cities highlights before a private tour and a visit to the interactive national Te Papa museum. Moving from the city to the Marlborough Sounds you can relax and enjoy the serenity and beauty of this magical area. There’s even time for a Marlborough wine tour on route to Kaikoura where you’ll enjoy whale watching and swimming with dolphins before heading off to Christchurch. Here you’ll explore the city and immerse yourself in Lord of the Rings scenery. Enjoy stargazing and a glacier hike in Aoraki/Mt Cook followed by a scenic flight into stunning Milford Sound for a nature cruise of the fiord. Finish your trip with a wilderness jet safari into Mount Aspiring National Park. That’s a lot of scenery and wildlife in one trip but there’s time to relax and enjoy the best of New Zealand.
DAY BY DAY:
Day 1: Arrival early into Auckland then transfer to your short flight to Wellington. Enjoy the afternoon visiting Wellington’s cafes, shops and restaurants. (2 nights Wellington)
Day 2: This morning you’re off to discover Wellington and the best way to do that is on a city highlights tour. This is an unforgettable journey around the city's dramatic highlights, during which clients will travel around the earthquake-scarred South Coast to see the site of the Wahine ferry disaster and the distant ranges of the South Island, overlooked by coastal houses perched on the steep, rocky hills. Enjoy views of the harbor from the top of Mount Victoria and ride the steep cable car up to an incredible, far-reaching panorama. Visit significant sites before visiting the national museum of Te Papa to experience the extraordinary mix of Maori and European history, amid the nation's natural and cultural treasures. After lunch you have a private guided tour of Te Papa Museum, New Zealand’s innovative and interactive national museum. Explore selected highlights of Te Papa's exhibitions on this informative and engaging tour. This tour will introduce you to natural environment, history, and Māori culture collections. Explore Te Papa more on your own after your tour has finished.
Day 3: Leaving Wellington today you’re off to the beautiful and serene Marlborough Sounds. A transfer to the Wellington Ferry Terminal and from there you take the Interisland Ferry to Picton. From Picton a water taxi will take you to Bay of Many Coves, a five-star secluded luxury resort in the Marlborough Sounds. (2 nights Bay of Many Coves)
Day 4: Day at Leisure at Bay of Many Coves. Enjoy resort activities including a sounds cruise, fishing charter, kayaking and SUP, swimming with dolphins, bird watching, sailing and hiking.
Day 5: Today you leave Marlborough Sounds and head to Kaikoura. You’ll go via Blenheim where you will enjoy a Marlborough wine tour. During the tour you will visit 4 cellar doors and taste wines along the way with an opportunity to wander through the vines. After your wine tour you’ll continue your journey to Kaikoura. (2 nights Kaikoura)
Day 6: Kaikoura is famous for whale watching and this morning you get to take a scenic flight over Kaikoura's rocky peninsula, lush farmlands and Seaward Ranges. Kaikoura's distinctive coastline and picturesque township, with its mountainous backdrop is the perfect landscape for those wanting to experience a different perspective. See sperm whales and up to 500 dusky dolphins on this 30 minute flight. You’ve seen dolphins from the air, now swim and watch the dusky dolphins in their natural habitat this afternoon.
Day 7: Leaving Kaikoura this morning you get to enjoy a scenic transfer to Christchurch. Spend the afternoon at leisure wandering through the Botanic Gardens or ride the Gondola for spectacular city views. Ride the Tram and see the most central attractions, get on and off as you please.
Day 8: Lord of the Rings fans and anyone interested in spectacular scenery will enjoy today’s tour into middle-earth and visit the beautiful Mt Potts High Country Station, home of Mt Sunday. They transformed this peaceful mountain into Edoras, the capital city of the Rohan people in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Immerse yourself in the natural, unspoilt beauty of this breath-taking area with its sparkling clear lakes, glistening blue rivers and fresh mountain air.
Day 9: Today you’re off to Aoraki/Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. Spend the afternoon walking the beautiful trails and this evening you get to experience a Big Sky Stargazing tour. Trained guides show you the beautiful southern night sky using the naked eye, state of the art astronomy telescopes and binoculars at the outdoor viewing platform or if the weather is not favorable then 'live' under their high definition digital dome planetarium. Unleash your imagination as you discover the neighborhood in the universe including the Southern Cross, seasonal ecliptic objects, planets, star clusters, moons, distant galaxies and even their very own galaxy, the spectacular Milky Way. (1 night Aoraki/Mt Cook)
Day 10: It’s all about glaciers today on a Tasman Glacier hike. Combine the excitement of walking on New Zealand's biggest glacier with the thrill of breath-taking scenic helicopter fly-bys of New Zealand's largest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. You fly in to your drop off point on a remote part of the glacier. Then you'll go exploring the amazing ice formations, following your guide as they cut steps in the glacier, using skills handed down from New Zealand's mountain pioneers. Your trip finishes with another spectacular scenic flight back to our Aoraki/Mt Cook base. This afternoon you leave Aoraki/Mt Cook and head to Queenstown. (3 nights Queenstown).
Day 11: Today you get to experience a half day tour to famous Milford Sound. During the 35 minute flight, enjoy panoramic views of spectacular alpine scenery including glaciers, rivers, lakes and rainforest. Land at Milford Sound Airport and transfer to the Visitor Terminal for a leisurely nature cruise the full length of the fiord to the Tasman Sea. View spectacular alpine scenery including waterfalls, rainforest and towering peaks and keep a look out for wildlife including seals, dolphins and penguins. Afterwards you will be transferred back to Milford Airport for a scenic return flight to Queenstown.
Day 12: You’re going deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mount Aspiring National Park today on a half day wilderness jet adventure. You’ll experience a unique combination of breath-taking scenery and an exhilarating ride as you follow the braided, glacier-fed rivers by jet boat. Your guides talk about the area’s rich history, the Greenstone trail and countless Maori legends. You also get to walk amongst the ancient beech tree forests – an atmosphere you may recognize from The Lord of the Rings films. It’s a complete Queenstown to Glenorchy experience in an untouched natural wonderland.
Day 13: Begin your journey home with a transfer to Queenstown Airport and a flight to Auckland for your outbound flight. Return home with many photos and memories to share.
All aspects of this itinerary can be changed to suit your requirements.
The itineraries provided are great introductions to your chosen destination. You can create a travel plan using the itinerary provided or make modifications to destinations, activities and accommodation and create the dream trip you want.
Not every traveler is the same, we get that and so that’s why we recommend making changes to suit your needs. In fact, we insist - we want you to have the best trip.
If you would like any recommendations for dinner or shopping areas please let us know we are happy to help and make bookings for you where necessary.
To travel to Australia you will need a US passport valid for at least 6 months and we can process an ETA Visa for free for US Citizens. We will need a copy of your Photo Page of your Passport. Nationalities of any other countries please enquire with your agent to see if you are eligible for a free ETA Visa or if you need to apply for a Visitor Visa.
To travel to New Zealand you will need a US passport valid for at least 6 months and an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority. More information on the NZeTA application requirements and process can be found on our FAQ page here.
We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment. We will provide a travel insurance quote at the time of booking, and you are free to use our recommended insurance with Travelguard, find your own, or book without insurance.
A product that we can offer is a Cancel For Any Reason policy that will provide you with 80% back in refunds. If the cancellation is for medical reasons there is a 100% refund..
Downunder Journeys services travel requests from the United States and Canada for travel to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Cook Islands and Tahiti. All pricing on this website is in US Dollars.
All of the sample itineraries on this website do not include airfares as the airfare price changes daily and to ensure you get the best possible price we will work with the best airfares at the time. If you happen to buy your airfare first and then need a package to fit it, we can certainly help with that as well, just let us know.
As an idea for a 2-week vacation to Australia or New Zealand we recommend a budget of around $8,000-10,000 (including economy airfare), this would be for a 4 star and above itinerary, a little cheaper if we did more moderate accommodations.