Fjords, Whales & Wineries
Highlights: Queenstown | Milford Sound Heli Cruise | Swimming with Dolphins or Whale Watching Cruise | Marlborough Private Wine Tour and Cruise | Waiheke Island
Nature lovers will fall for the undeniable beauty of New Zealand on this 10-day tour through land, water and wineries. Exploring Queenstown, the Milford Sound, the Marlborough wine region and Waiheke Island, you’ll have the chance to swim with dolphins or watch sperm whales in action, sample award-winning wines and stay in some of the country’s best accommodation. From scenic helicopter flights and cruises to more stunning landscapes than your camera can handle, this itinerary holds an adventure you won't soon forget.
Itinerary at a Glance
The below itinerary is only a suggestion, we offer tailor-made personal service and solutions to help you plan your perfect vacation. This itinerary is also available in the reverse direction.
Day 1 Arrive Queenstown Welcome to New Zealand! Upon arrival into Queenstown, enjoy a private transfer to Eichardt’s Private Hotel, which will serve as your luxurious accommodation for the next 3 nights. With a fantastic location in the heart of Queenstown, Eichardt’s has Lake Wakatipu on its doorstep.
Day 2 Milford Sound Heli Cruise Today is devoted to spectacular scenery. Enjoy a 4 hour excursion by helicopter through the dramatic alpine landscapes of Fiordland National Park and arrive to the spectacular Milford Sound in style. Upon arrival, board a nature cruise for a leisurely itinerary that allows you to soak up the views in an unrushed fashion. Capture spectacular waterfalls, rainforests, and towering peaks on your camera, and keep an eye out for fur seals, dolphins, and penguins along the way. After the cruise, fly back over the fjords and land on an age-old glacier. We’ll shut down the helicopter here to enjoy peaceful serenity swept well away from frenzied crowds.
Day 3 Queenstown at Leisure With today entirely free to explore Queenstown at your leisure, you can visit historic Arrowtown and learn the mining history of the region or perhaps take a wine tasting tour through Otago to sample excellent pinot noirs. If you’re looking for more of an adrenaline rush, Queenstown is the perfect base for bungee jumping, sky diving, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, zip-lining, canyon swinging, luging, and more!
Day 4 Queenstown to Christchurch (Flight) drive to Kaikoura (181km / 112mi) After a short flight to Christchurch, take a drive to the beautiful coastal town of Kaikoura, where the mountains meet the sea. Your accommodation is at Hapuku Lodge + Treehouses, a luxurious treehouse 10 meters above the ground with breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains and the pacific coast. Each room has a luxurious spa bath, wood-burning fireplace, and custom-designed furnishings, and you can enjoy delicious gourmet meals at Hapuku’s restaurant, take a swim in the heated lap pool, indulge in spa treatments or get out and about with complimentary use of mountain bikes.
Day 5 Swimming with Dolphins or a Whale Watching Cruise
Today you have a choice of one of two sightseeing options, both sure to leave you with lifelong memories:
Option 1: Swim with the dolphins A chance to swim with adorable dusky dolphins! These playful dolphins reside in Kaikoura’s coastal waters year-round, and pods of 100 dolphins or more are common. Get into the water and watch with delight as the dolphins swim, leap and play around you.
Option 2: Whale Watch Cruise Embark on a whale watching cruise to see giant sperm whales in action. While these year-round residents are always the star of the show, a typical tour can also include New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of dusky dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. Depending on the season, you may also see migrating humpback whales, pilot whales, blue whales and southern right whales.
After your tour, the afternoon is free to do as little or as much as you like.
Day 6 Kaikoura to Blenheim (128km / 80mi) Departing from the marine playground of Kaikoura, take a jaw-dropping coastal drive north to wine country. Grab lunch at one of the roadside stalls selling incredibly fresh and fantastic lobster, then continue on to Blenheim, the capital of New Zealand wine country.
Day 7 Private Tour of Marlborough’s Wine Region Forget the driving today as we take you on a private tour of the Marlborough wine region. Enjoy a range of gourmet treats and wine tastings like the famous Cloudy Bay before embarking on a cruise through the Marlborough Sounds. Take in the natural beauty of the landscapes that lay before you, then visit a greenshell mussel farm and taste them—freshly steamed—alongside a well-matched Marlborough sauvignon blanc.
Day 8 Blenheim to Auckland / Waiheke Island (Flight) By day eight it’s time to say goodbye to the South Island. Drop off your rental car at the airport and take a short flight to Auckland – New Zealand’s most populous city – then enjoy a private transfer to the ferry terminal and take a ferry to Waiheke Island. As Auckland’s chic and stylish neighboring island, you’ll find an eclectic mix of vineyards, sophisticated restaurants, holiday homes, artist studios and galleries, and golden sand beaches. Your home for the next 2 nights is The Boatshed, a glorious boutique hotel right on the seaside, with fabulous views over Oneroa Beach.
Day 9 Waiheke Island After breakfast at the hotel, enjoy a private tour around Waiheke to experience award-winning wines, homemade goods, art and beautiful scenery. The inhabitants of the island are a diverse bunch of creative, passionate and original people, drawn together by a communal love of the island and its unique lifestyle. A “small is beautiful” philosophy yields low quantities of extremely high-quality produce, which in turn makes for some of New Zealand’s most delicious wines. By evening, you’ll return to The Boatshed for your second night.
Day 10 Waiheke Island to Auckland Today, your fabulous New Zealand vacation comes to an end. After taking the ferry back to Auckland, a private transfer will be waiting to bring you to the airport or your hotel.
- 3 nights of accommodation at Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Queenstown – Mountain View Suite
(Includes: Pre-dinner cocktails and breakfast daily.)
- 2 nights of accommodation at Hapuku Lodge + Treehouses, Kaikoura – Lodge Suite
(Includes: Dinner and breakfast)
- 2 nights of accommodation at The Marlborough Lodge, Blenheim – Lodge Room
(Includes: Pre-dinner drinks, dinner and breakfast)
- 2 nights of accommodation at The Boatshed, Waiheke Island – Boatshed Room
(Includes: Breakfast & on island transfers)
- Private airport transfers in Queenstown
- Over the Top Milford Sound wilderness cruise with helicopter transfers
- Domestic flight from Queenstown to Christchurch
- 4 Day Rental Car Christchurch to Blenheim (Mid Size SUV) including insurance & GPS
- In Kaikoura, a choice of either swimming with dolphins or a whale watching cruise
- Private tour of the Marlborough Wine Region by Land and Sea
- Domestic flight from Blenheim to Auckland
- Private Gourmet Food & Wine Tour on Waiheke Island with lunch
- Return ferry transfers between Auckland and Waiheke
- Private transfers from Auckland airport to the ferry terminal
- Private transfer from Auckland ferry terminal to the hotel or airport
- International or domestic airfares (unless specified above).
- Meals other than specified above.
- Travel insurance.