Caves & Craters
Highlights: | Auckland | Waitomo Caves | Hobbiton Movie Set | Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Valley | Queenstown
Beginning in Auckland and ending in Queenstown, this family-friendly package is great for the young and young at heart.
Spend time exploring Auckland at your leisure, then drive along country roads to the world famous Waitomo Caves.
Pass through the Hobbiton movie set to learn a few film industry secrets, then continue to Rotorua to witness the powerful Lady Knox Geyser.
Including your choice of one of five excursions and two extra days to enjoy Queenstown, this trip strikes the perfect balance between adventure and leisure..
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 Auckland Welcome to New Zealand! Upon arrival into Auckland, enjoy a private transfer to your hotel in the in the heart of the city, between the vibrant Viaduct Harbour and the new Wynyard Quarter. A guaranteed early check-in time has been organized for this morning. Spend the afternoon enjoying the fashionable viaduct and vibrant marina areas, then take the rest of the day to explore the city at your leisure. If time permits, catch the complimentary shuttle to Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium and discover more than 30 exhibits featuring over 80 different species. In this topsy-turvy attraction, sharks and stingrays will swim over and around you as you walk through transparent tunnels.
Day 2 Auckland to Rotorua (361km / 224mi) This morning, collect your rental car and drive through idyllic countryside to the Waitomo. It’s hard to believe that a hidden labyrinth of glowworm caves lies just beneath you, and once inside you’ll find formations and creatures that are simply out of this world. Afterwards, head onwards to the movie set of Hobbiton and The Shire. Duck into the hobbit holes and grab a drink at the Green Dragon Inn while learning the fascinating process of constructing the set. After your tour, continue on to Rotorua.
Day 3 Exploring Rotorua Today we’ve included admission to Wai-O-Tapu: a geothermal wonderland loved by both the young and young at heart. Wai-O-Tapu means 'Sacred Water' in Maori, and you’ll see exactly why as you peruse hot pools ranging in colour from turquoise blue and rich green to gold and an almost olive tone. This dazzling kaleidoscope of natural colours is caused by the many mineral salts in the water, including arsenic, gold and silver. Wai-O-Tapu is also the home to steaming vents, huge volcanic craters, the world famous Champagne Pool and New Zealand’s largest bubbling mud pool – but the real highlight has to be the Lady Knox Geyser. Erupting with spectacular flair every day at about 10:15am, it will delight your kids and make for some great photo ops. The rest of the day is free to explore the many attractions of Rotorua.
Day 4 Rotorua to Queenstown (Flight) This morning you’ll drop your vehicle off at the airport and catch your flight (not included) into Queenstown. Waiting to greet you are the majestic Remarkables Ranges and Lake Wakatipu, so keep an eye out as you get closer to see them glistening from below. Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, and it’s the place where bungy jumping began and where sledging and jet boating found their fame. So from white water rafting and horseback riding to mountain biking and hiking, let’s just put it this way: if it can be done in New Zealand, you can probably find it in Queenstown.
Day 5 Queenstown – Today you have the choice of one of five Excursions
Today you can personalize your Queenstown experience by choosing one of these five tours, all sure to leave you with lifelong memories:
1. Full Day Milford Sound Coach/Nature Cruise/Coach
Travel by coach from Queenstown to Milford Sound through sheer mountains, towering cliffs, rugged valleys and native rain forest. Once at Milford Sound board a catamaran for a leisurely cruise along the fiord, learning from the onboard Nature Guide, visiting the skipper in the wheelhouse or viewing wildlife like dolphins, seals and penguins. Lunch options are available for purchase (must be preordered) and complimentary tea and coffee is provided. After the cruise, return to Queenstown by coach.
Milford Sound Return Flight Upgrade (Approx $395 PP)
Upgrade your itinerary to include a return scenic flight to Queenstown. See magnificent views of the alps, glaciers, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park from the air – it’s a quick and convenient way to return to Queenstown.
The flight shaves approximately 4 hours off a return by coach, however it is very weather dependent so it’s possible you will need to return by coach and have the upgraded price refunded to you. 2. Half Day Boutique Wine Tour Spend an afternoon among the boutique vineyards and spectacular scenery of Central Otago. Enjoy tastings at four wineries in the Gibbston Valley, Cromwell and Bannockburn regions plus a delightful platter-style lunch at Carrick Winery Restaurant. Visit historic Old Cromwell Town (time and weather permitting) and take a stunning drive through the Kawarau Gorge to learn about the early pioneering history of the region and see the historic Kawarau Bridge and the original AJ Hackett Bungy jump. 3. Sheep Station to Sheep Station Cycle Tour & Walter Peak BBQ Lunch Experience Queenstown’s surrounds with a cycle tour. Boarding a Spirit of Queenstown cruise to Mt Nicholas High Country Farm, disembark on the other side of Lake Wakatipu to begin your cycling journey. Ride at your own pace along a quiet country road, taking in views of the Southern Alps, Glenorchy and The Remarkables on the way. After cycling 14 kilometers (1.5 hours) to Walter Peak you’ll enjoy a barbecue lunch, then board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw to return to Queenstown. 4. Walter Peak High Country Farm Excursion / Shotover Jetboat Ride Step aboard the TSS Earnslaw and enjoy a 40-minute cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station. On arrival, wander through gardens or enjoy tea/coffee in the Colonel’s Homestead, then take a tour of the grounds to view sheep, red deer and Scottish Highland cattle. Highlights of the experience are watching the farm demonstrator shear a sheep, sheep dogs working stock and a wool spinning demonstration. Take the TSS Earnslaw back to Queenstown, then transfer by coach to the Shotover River for the jet boat ride of your life. 5. Half Day Wilderness Safari - Jetboat & Forest Walk Combine wilderness jet boating with a guided walk and back-country drive. Surrounded by breathtaking snow-covered peaks, hidden valleys, waterfalls and glacial valleys, you’ll take a thrilling jet boat through the ever-changing shallow channels of the Dart River’s braided system. Enjoy a guided walk through ancient native Beech forest where you’ll be fascinated by the unique flora and fauna, then journey by bus along a back-country route. Your driver will stop to view some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery and will share stories of the land on the way.
Day 6 - 7 Queenstown at Leisure We’ve left these days free so you can explore Queenstown at your leisure. Walk along the tranquil shores of Lake Wakatipu or take a scenic bike ride on the beautiful trails.
Day 8 Depart Queenstown It’s now the end of your magical New Zealand adventure, and we’ve capped it off with a private transfer to Queenstown Airport.
- 1 night of accommodation at Sebel Quay West Suites, Auckland – Two bedroom Apartment
- 2 nights of accommodation at Regent of Rotorua, Rotorua - Two Bedroom Suite
- 4 nights of accommodation at The Rees Apartment Hotel in Queenstown Two bedroom Executive Lake View Suite
- Private Auckland Airport meet & greet and transfer to hotel with guaranteed early check-in
- 3 Day rental car from Auckland to Rotorua (full size SUV) including insurance & GPS
- Admission to Footwhistle Glow Worm Caves
- Admission to Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
- Admission to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Valley
- Return Queenstown airport transfers to hotel
In Queenstown, the freedom to choose 1 of 5 Excursions
- Full Day Milford Sound Coach/Nature Cruise/Coach
(Includes: Hotel pick-up/drop-off, Milford Sound Nature Cruise)
- Half Day Boutique Wine Tour
(Includes: Hotel pick-up/drop-off, wine tasting at 4 wineries and platter style lunch)
- Sheep Station to Sheep Station Cycle Tour & Walter Peak BBQ Lunch (Includes: One-way Spirit of Queenstown cruise and one-way TSS Earnslaw cruise, Walter Peak BBQ lunch, bicycle and bicycle helmet and cycle map)
- Shotover Jetboat Ride & Walter Peak High Country Farm Excursion
(Includes: Coach transfer to shotover Jet, Earnslaw cruise, high country life farm tour & tea/coffee and home baking)
- Half Day Wilderness Safari - Jetboat & Forest Walk
(Includes: Hotel pick-up/drop-off)
- Full Day Milford Sound Coach/Nature Cruise/Coach
- National Park fees
- International or domestic airfares (unless specified above).
- Meals other than specified above.
- Travel insurance.