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What People Are Saying About Us

Very early in the tour we saw we got much more for our dollar than anything we could have put together ourselves. The value exceeded our expectations.

Tara Malmberg
Quitman, TX
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6-time honoree Travel + Leisure's World's Best Tour Operators awards

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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • New Zealand’s unspoiled natural scenery
  • Auckland sightseeing and harbour cruise
  • Geothermal Rotorua
  • Art Deco walking tour in Napier
  • Wellington’s Te Papa national museum
  • TranzAlpine train excursion
  • Two-night Franz Josef stay, with guided walk through the Glacial Valley
  • Kiwi birds at West Coast Wildlife Centre
  • Scenic Doubtful Sound excursion
  • Outdoor mecca of Queenstown
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Days 1 & 2: Depart U.S. for Auckland, New Zealand

Day 3: Arrive Auckland We arrive in New Zealand’s largest city early this morning and transfer to our hotel, where our rooms are ready for early check-in. After time to relax and freshen up, we take a casual walking tour of the area around our hotel. This evening we attend a briefing on the journey ahead, followed by a welcome dinner. D

Day 4: Auckland This morning we tour cosmopolitan Auckland, an eminently livable city. One of only a few world cities straddling two harbors on separate bodies of water, Auckland offers an abundance of natural beauty. A highlight of our tour is the visit to the Auckland Museum, with its prized collections of Maori and Pacific Islander art and artifacts (Auckland has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world). After lunch at a local restaurant, we embark on a cruise around glittering Auckland Harbour. We return to our hotel early this afternoon; the remainder of the day is free for independent exploration. Dinner tonight is on our own. B,L

Day 5: Auckland/Rotorua En route to Rotorua today, we stop at Ruakuri Caves to see the unique glowworms that illuminate the underground grottoes and caves. Late this afternoon we visit Te Puia Thermal Reserve and Maori Cultural Center for a traditional hangi dinner and performance. B,D

Day 6: Rotorua With its geysers, bubbling mud pools, and hot thermal springs, Rotorua ranks as a geothermal wonder, as well as a center of indigenous Maori culture (Maoris comprise 40% of Rotorua’s population). We encounter this intriguing town on a morning tour that includes a visit to Rainbow Springs Nature Park, a popular showcase of native New Zealand flora, fauna, and birds set amidst an expanse of forest studded with aviaries, pathways, an underwater viewing pool, and other educational exhibits. Our guided tour here includes a visit to the National Kiwi Trust, dedicated to rehabilitating injured kiwis, housed on the park’s grounds. B

Day 7: Rotorua/Napier Today we set out for one of New Zealand’s celebrated wine regions: Hawke’s Bay and the seaside city of Napier. We sample the local terroir at a wine tasting and lunch at Church Road Winery, one of the country’s oldest and most acclaimed. Reaching Napier after lunch, we embark on a guided walking tour of the city’s 1930s Art Deco architecture. After an earthquake leveled the city in 1931, it was rebuilt in “Deco” style; today, Napier ranks as one of the most authentically Art Deco cities in the world. Dinner tonight is on our own. B,L

Day 8: Napier/Wellington We travel today to New Zealand’s capital of Wellington, stopping along the way at a private farm where we learn about the country’s vital sheep farming industry. We see the sheep dogs at work and watch a sheep-shearing demonstration then enjoy a barbecue lunch. Reaching Wellington late afternoon, we have time to refresh before tonight’s dinner at a local restaurant. B,L,D

Day 9: Wellington We encounter this genial waterfront city on the southern end of the North Island on this morning’s tour featuring a ride on the historic Wellington Cable Car for panoramic views of the city and harbor. We also visit acclaimed Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum with interactive exhibits spanning art, history, native cultures, and the natural environment. Then the remainder of the day is free to explore as we wish, perhaps to stroll along Bohemian Cuba Street; visit the Wellington Zoo; or wander the lively waterfront area. Lunch and dinner are on our own in this city with a vibrant restaurant scene. B

Day 10: Wellington/Christchurch Today we fly south to Christchurch, New Zealand’s “Garden City.” Highlights of our city tour include the Botanic Gardens, the “green heart” of Christchurch dating to 1863; and Cathedral Square, for 150 years, the beating heart of Christchurch and site of Christchurch Cathedral. This afternoon is at leisure; we dine tonight at our hotel. B,D

Day 11: Christchurch/Franz Josef Early today we embark on one of the world’s great rail journeys aboard the TranzAlpine train: along the open farmland of the Canterbury Plain, through the foothills of the Southern Alps then into the snowcapped peaks themselves. We travel across steel girder bridges above deep gorges and through tunnels on our journey to Arthur’s Pass, where we board a motorcoach for the scenic drive to the village of Franz Josef, reaching our hotel this afternoon and dining there tonight. B,D

Day 12: Franz Josef In Westland National Park this morning, we encounter one of New Zealand’s most spectacular sights: Franz Josef Glacier, the mass of ice that descends from the frigid upper reaches of the Southern Alps to a rainforest at sea level. With a local guide we take a walk through the glacial valley, where we have spectacular views of this natural wonder. Then we visit the West Coast Wildlife Centre with its rare kiwi birds, an animal linked so closely to New Zealand that its residents are known colloquially as “Kiwis.” This afternoon is free to enjoy the splendid surroundings as we wish. B,D

Day 13: Franz Josef/Queenstown Traveling to Queenstown today, we stop first in the lakeside resort of Wanaka for lunch on our own then in the Central Otago region at a local winery for a private tasting and tour of the wine cave. Late this afternoon we reach Queenstown and our hotel, where we dine tonight. B,D

Day 14: Queenstown/Doubtful Sound More scenic overload is in store on our full-day excursion to Fiordland National Park and Doubtful Sound, one of New Zealand’s top attractions. We travel by boat across Lake Manapouri then by coach over Wilmot Pass to reach the “Sound of Silence,” as Doubtful is called for the remarkable serenity that prevails here and in the surrounding mountain peaks, rainforest, and waterfalls. This enchanting woodland may seem familiar to moviegoers: director Peter Jackson filmed The Lord of the Rings’ Fangorn Forest here. Among the wildlife we may see on our three-hour catamaran cruise: dolphins, fur seals, Fiordland crested penguins, and even whales. Surrounding us: rugged mountain peaks, rainforest, waterfalls. After this exhilarating excursion we return to Queenstown early this evening; dinner is on our own. B,L

Day 15: Queenstown Today is at leisure to enjoy this outdoor mecca with a spectacular setting on Lake Wakatipu as we wish. Options abound, from jet boating and fly fishing to art gallery hopping or riding the Skyline gondola for outstanding views of this unusually scenic city. Tonight we celebrate our New Zealand adventure over a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 16: Depart for U.S. We depart this morning for the airport and our return flights home. B

Please note: This trip involves full days of sightseeing and significant amounts of walking on stairs and uneven surfaces. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; all flights within itinerary
  • 13 nights’ accommodations in Superior First Class and First Class hotels
  • 25 meals: 13 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 8 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2019 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

May 2*
May 9*
Sep 12Apr 4*
Nov 14
Nov 28
Oct 3
Oct 24
Los Angeles$6,574$6,674$6,974$7,274
Dallas, Houston,
Phoe, Port (OR),
San Fran, Seattle
$6,874$6,974$7,274$7,574
Atlanta, Boston,
Chicago, Cleve,
Denver, Detroit,
Miami, Minn,
Orlando, Tampa
$6,974$7,074$7,374$7,674
Balt, Charlotte,
Cinc, New York,
Phil, Wash, DC
$7,074$7,174$7,474$7,774

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $279, which are subject to change until final payment has been made.

Single travelers please add $1,395 Apr-May; $1,495 Sep-Nov. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days before departure. All 2019 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

Accommodations: *Stamford Plaza (Auckland)

Airline upgrades (subject to availability) on round-trip Trans-Pacific flight: Business Class – $6,995 per person; Premium Economy – $2,895 per person

A visa is not required for this tour.

Accommodations
    Grand Millennium Auckland, Auckland / Days 3-4 / Superior First Class

    Additional information to come.

    Millennium Hotel Rotorua, Rotorua / Days 5-6 / Superior First Class

    Located just steps from Lake Rotorua and a short walk from the city center, the Millennium Hotel Rotorua offers an ideal home base from which to explore this vibrant small city. Amenities of this 227-room hotel include a restaurant, bar, pool, fitness center, laundry and dry cleaning service, and Wi-Fi internet access (for a fee).  Air-conditioned guest rooms feature private bath with hair dryer, minibar, and TV. 

    Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier / Day 7 / First Class

    Scenic Hotel Te Pania enjoys an ideal location on the edge of stunning Hawke’s Bay, and a short walk from Napier’s Art Deco city center.  The hotel’s amenities include a restaurant and bar, fitness center, self-serve laundry, valet laundry service (available five days/week), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Each of the 109 air-conditioned guest rooms faces out towards Hawke’s Bay and includes private bath with hairdryer, minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.

    Bolton Hotel, Wellington / Days 8-9 / Superior First Class

    Conveniently located in the heart of Wellington, the Bolton Hotel sits within walking distance of the cable car, Museum of New Zealand, Wellington Botanic Garden, and the picturesque waterfront, with great restaurants and shopping close at hand.  Amenities include a restaurant, fitness center, heated lap pool, spa, sauna, laundry and dry cleaning services, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Each of the 134 air-conditioned guest rooms has private bath with hair dryer, minibar, TV, and an in-room iPad Mini for room service.

    Rydges Latimer Square, Christchurch / Day 10 / Superior First Class

    Completely rebuilt after several earthquakes, the Rydges Latimer Square reopened in 2013.  The 138-room hotel’s amenities include a restaurant and a bar/lounge, fitness center, and sauna.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hairdryer, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, in-room safe, coffee- and tea-making facilities, minibar, ironing facilities, TV, and phone.

    Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier / Days 11-12 / First Class

    Situated on the edge of Westland Tai Poutini National Park, Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier is located just a few minutes from the glacier from which it takes its name. Hotel amenities include two restaurants, a bar, self-serve laundry, full spa with massage services (located a two-minute walk from the hotel), hot tub, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hairdryer, tea- and coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.

    Millennium Hotel Queenstown, Queenstown / Days 13-15 / Superior First Class

    The Millennium Hotel Queenstown sits on a hill in Queenstown, just minutes away from the town’s central shopping district.  Amenities include a restaurant, bar, fitness center, sauna, spa, and Wi-Fi internet access (for a fee).  Each of the 220 air-conditioned guest rooms has private bath with hair dryer, minibar, safe, tea- and coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Tour Directors for this Journey
Tessa Clarke

“Tessa was knowledgeable on all topics within her country. She made the trip a real educational and enjoyable holiday for us.”
Kathy Casey
Williamsburg, VA

Roxanne Garner

“Roxanne was upbeat, cheery, fun-loving, knowledgeable, and accommodating.”
Don & Sandy Lewis
Winters, CA

Sharron Hickman

“Sharron was exceptional in her knowledge, organization and humor.  Her leadership made us come together as a group, which was very special.”
Wendy & Don Hyman
Fairfield, CT

David Hill

“David was erudite, extremely articulate, and amazingly knowledgeable about all aspects of New Zealand … [He] ensured an optimal travel experience.”
Pamela G. Schaffer
Annapolis, MD

Chas Morris

“This is my 4th Odysseys trip and despite always having a good guide, Chas outshone the rest. He was an excellent blend of joining in with the group yet being professional on logistics and guidance. And he knew so much about everything!!”
Susan Snapp
Williamsburg, VA

Ian Murray

“Ian was competent, took good care of the group and [was] very knowledgeable, and helpful.  Wonderful guide!!”
Gail Stout
Oxnard, CA

Jennifer Sloots

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

 

Rosie Stewart

“… her enthusiasm was so infectious!! As a native-born ‘kiwi,’ she has an immense knowledge of the land and seems to know everyone on both the North and South islands!”
Christina & Michael Davis
Houston, TX

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

Christina Thompson
Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All
In this endearing, offbeat memoir, Christina Thompson effortlessly alternates tales of mostly disastrous early encounters with the Maori (she’s an anthropologist) and the story of the love of her life, Seven, the Maori she married. Her title is taken from what “Darwin said that Cook said the Maoris said at that interesting moment when Europeans first appeared.” What probably actually transpired on that fateful day in 1769 at the Bay of Isles was more complex.

Peter Oettli
Culture Smart! New Zealand
A concise, well-illustrated and practical guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.

Eyewitness Guides
Eyewitness Guide New Zealand
This superb illustrated guide to New Zealand from the Eyewitness series features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country’s attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.

National Geographic Maps
New Zealand Adventure Map
A detailed map at a scale of 1:1,000,000, printed on handy tear- and water-resistant paper.

Louis Leland
A Personal Kiwi-Yankee Dictionary
Take this book with you on your trip to help you untangle the sometimes perplexing and colorful local idioms.

K. T. Harawira, T. R. Buxton (Introduction)
Beginner’s Maori
A guide to the Maori language, written for the traveler looking for an introductory foundation to the language, culture and traditions of the Maori people.

John Chambers
A Traveller’s History of New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands
A brisk portrait of New Zealand and its culture, economy and society, this concise history also covers the settlement of the
Pacific Islands.

David Hackett Fischer
Fairness and Freedom
Pulitzer Prize-winner Fischer compares the politics of America and New Zealand, posing the question: is it possible to be both fair and free? Despite its focus on politics and fairness, the book is thoroughly enjoyable and, in its own way, a travelogue.

H.G. Robley
Maori Tattooing
A new unabridged edition of the classic illustrated sourcebook on Maori tattooing (moko), first published in 1896. The author pays scrupulous attention to the intricate patterns, design and cultural meaning of traditional Maori tattoos.

Annie Potts
New Zealand Book of Beasts, Animals in Our Culture, History and Everyday Life
This engaging scholarly work explores New Zealanders’ relationship with native fauna: how New Zealanders have nurtured, glorified, cherished, demonized and devoured the nation’s animals.

Paul Theroux
The Happy Isles of Oceania
The peripatetic author flies off to Australia and New Zealand with a kayak and ends up exploring much of Melanesia and Polynesia, including Tonga, Fiji and the Marquesas, in this wickedly funny, wide-ranging tale.

Frank McLynn
Captain Cook, Master of the Seas
McLynn re-creates the remarkable voyages that took the famous navigator from his native England to the remote Pacific, showing him to be a brave and brilliant seaman, who transcended his humble beginnings as a deckhand and triumphed through courage, talent and good fortune.

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Slipping Into Paradise, Why I Live in New Zealand
In this far-ranging travelogue, Masson (who wrote a series of books on the emotional lives of animals) combines his travels and tales with history, riffs on the Kiwis, nature and society.

Samuel Butler, Peter Mudford (Introduction)
Erewhon
Butler’s classic Victorian novel inspired by his experiences in 1860s New Zealand. A satirical account of a journey to an upside-down country at the end of the world, where sick people are thrown in jail and murderers are taken to the hospital.

Lloyd Jones
Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance
Originally published in 2002, this sensuous novel is set in rural New Zealand and spans the end of World War I to the present day. Brought together by their obsession with the tango, two couples experience the trials of true love and the power of storytelling.

Katherine Mansfield
Stories
The three marvelous, long stories in this collection constitute the beginnings of a novel based on Mansfield’s childhood in Wellington.

Keri Hulme
The Bone People
Set on the South Island, this powerful novel brings together three troubled individuals who represent Maori and European traditions in contemporary New Zealand.

Eleanor Catton
The Luminaries
Murder and mystery in 19th-century New Zealand. This epic and intricately constructed tale — spinning out over 800 pages — is set during the wild days of the 1866 gold rush on the west coast on South Island. It’s just over Arthur’s Pass from where Catton was raised in Christchurch.

Herbert Guthrie-Smith, William Cronon (Introduction)
Tutira, The Story of a New Zealand Sheep Station
First published in 1921, this loving account of the ecology of New Zealand focuses on Guthrie-Smith’s 40,000-sheep shearing station on the shores of Lake Tutira in the Hawke’s Bay region of the North Island.

Julian Fitter
A Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand
A comprehensive and compact guide by longtime resident Julian Fitter featuring 600 color photographs, range maps and species descriptions.

Mark Carwardine
Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises
In the trademark graphic Eyewitness style, this sturdy guidebook colorfully describes the world’s cetaceans with numerous illustrations, range maps, fluke drawings and a few paragraphs on each species.

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2018 All Rights Reserved

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