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Embark on the journey of a lifetime to the beautiful land of New Zealand. Marvel at the luminous glowworm caves. Savor the tastes of a traditional Hangi feast followed by a mind-blowing haka. Sleep on Lake Wakatipu’s edge and hike the breathtaking mountain trails of the surrounding valley. Cruise and kayak through the stunning Milford Sound. Join us on this unforgettable expedition, exploring the North and South Islands, taking in the incomparable scenery, and becoming part of the Maori family.

Destination: New Zealand
Travel Style: Classic Expedition
Group Size: Max 12
Age Range: 18 to 65+

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Dates & Prices

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Trip Price: $4500 (based on double occupancy)

4-Day Extension to South Island: +$1800

*Extensions are not eligible for discounts or promotions.

All-inclusive package including accommodation for all nights; in-country transport; our expert guides; two meals per day; and all activities as listed on the itinerary. *International airfare and visa fees are not included.

Expedition Route

This Acanela Expedition © is the perfect fusion between comfort and adventure. Embark on this small-group exploration and have hands-on encounters with local peoples and cultures, while experiencing all the historical and culinary highlights along the way.

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Call to speak with one of our agents about this trip, or email us at: expeditions@acanela.com

Trip Highlights

  • Get to know the local Maori people and learn about their history, culture, cuisine, and traditions

  • Explore astounding glowworm caves, illuminated with color

  • Stroll through the iconic city of Auckland

  • Visit Rotorua’s famous Te Puia, full of natural and cultural wonders

  • Travel to both the North and South Islands (optional extension)

  • Discover the beauty of Queenstown, from Lake Wakatipu to the Remarkables mountain range


Day 1 | Auckland: Welcome to New Zealand! Today we’ll head to New Zealand's North Island, where the sea is teeming with sailboats and the landscape is dotted with 48 ancient volcanic hills. Auckland is the country’s largest city and home to the world’s largest Polynesian population. We’ll stroll the stunning streets of this cosmopolitan city, tasting the sizzling flavors of slow cooked stews, listening to live music in old cafes, and tour the Auckland Harbor as the city lights twinkle around us. We’ll end the night with a delicious welcome dinner, learning more about the North Island’s rich culture. Accommodation: Cordis Auckland or M Social Sofitel Hotel

Day 2 | Auckland to Waiheke: Jump on the Ferry and relax on your journey to the Crown Jewel of Hauraki, on arrival you can meet up with a small group tour and enjoy the island in comfort and luxury. You'll be met at the Waiheke Island ferry terminal by your Ananda guide who will take you on a culinary adventure around the island, including a visit to an award-winning olive oil mill and some of the local vineyards. You'll also enjoy a cheese board accompanied by locally grown oysters at a platter style lunch at one of the vineyards. Voted one of the world’s Top 20 islands by Conde Nast Traveler in 2016, this easily accessible wonderland is only 45 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Auckland.  Accommodation: Cordis Auckland or M Social Sofitel Hotel

Day 3 | Auckland to Rotorua (via Waitomo Caves): Leaving Auckland in the morning, you'll travel through the lush farmland of the Waikato and King Country regions. Enjoy a morning snack as you drive past Rangiriri, the location of a historic Maori Land Wars site. On arrival in the small town of Waitomo enjoy a guided tour through the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves with their amazing stalactites, stalagmites and other limestone formations. Finish the tour with a silent boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto - a subterranean cavern lit up by the lights of thousands of tiny glowworms. Leaving Waitomo, enjoy a delicious picnic style lunch as you make your way to Rotorua. Arrive at the Agrodome on the outskirts of Rotorua and take a tour of an organic working farm in all-terrain vehicles. Watch a sheep being shorn and view a sheep dog trial. Leaving the Agrodome, make your way to Te Puia, one of New Zealand's foremost cultural venues. At Te Puia's marae (meeting house) enjoy a Maori cultural performance where ancient and modern stories are told through song, dance, poi and stick games. At the conclusion of the Maori cultural performance you'll enjoy a guided tour of the bubbling mud pools and active geysers of the Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley including the world renowned Pohutu geyser. Accommodation: Prince’s Gate or Regent Rotorua

Day 4 | Rotorua: Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. But geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, Rotorua is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the local culture. Have the morning and afternoon free to explore Rotorua before embarking on a special evening visit to a Maori Cultural Center and Dinner. Marvel at the beautiful bush setting and see warriors in traditional dress who paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream while trout and eels swim beneath the surface. Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal and round your evening off with a spectacular cultural performance that tells the story of the Maori people, their past, carvings, and ta Moko -Tattoo art. Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat and be amazed by the spine tingling Haka finale. Truly an experience to remember. Accommodation: Prince’s Gate or Regent Rotorua

Day 5 | Rotorua to Auckland (via Matama / Hobbiton): Departing from Rotorua in the morning, embark on a magical journey through Middle-earth to the Hobbiton Movie Set from "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" films. On arrival at Shire's Rest, the Hobbiton movie set tour will begin. This location is the largest green set in the world and the only place where you get an emotional response with a movie set in a natural setting. You will see 44 hobbit holes, the Mill and double arch bridge, the party tree and visit the Green Dragon Inn (where a complimentary beer, cider or ginger ale is included). At this stunning location, you can take a photo at the door of Bilbo's house, Bag End, looking out over the whole of Hobbiton to the hills in the distance. Following the Hobbiton tour, enjoy lunch at either Shire's Rest or in the marquee beside the Green Dragon Inn. After lunch, drive north through lush Waikato dairy farms and over the Bombay Hills before arriving in Auckland in the afternoon where you will be transferred to your inner-city accommodation. Accommodation: Cordis Auckland or M Social Sofitel Hotel

Day 6 | North of Auckland: Your full day excursion takes you first to the Arataki Visitor Centre - gateway to the Waitakere Ranges and a short drive from Auckland Central. Enjoy panoramic views - extending from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean - as you absorb the area's history and admire the magnificent traditional Maori carvings. Walk the regenerating rainforest where your experienced guide will detail local flora and fauna. Take in the giant tree ferns, bubbling streams and cascading waterfalls before venturing onto a wild west coast beach. Enjoy a picnic lunch before your eco-tour ends in an area of untamed original rainforest. Here, mature 1,000 year old kauri trees have developed separately from the rest of the world for millions of years and this part of the rainforest is particularly rich in bird life due to a successful program to eradicate pests. Return to your hotel for a relaxing last evening in the city.

Day 7 | Auckland: Sadly, the time has come to leave paradise. Reflect on the unforgettable moments shared with the group and the new memories that’ll last a lifetime! After an early breakfast, we’ll head to the airport for our flights home. 

Optional 4-Day Extension to the South Island:

Day 7 | Queenstown: Welcome to New Zealand’s South Island! We’ll begin our journey in the charming city of Queenstown, cushioned between the shore of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range, where the lake’s cool breeze brings the sweet scent of fresh water wafting through city streets. Our first day on the South Island will be one of relaxation, lounging at lake's edge, sipping delicious cocktails, and exploring the gorgeous views all around us.  Accommodation: Queenstown Sofitel Hotel or Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 8 | Queenstown to Milford Sound: This morning we’ll take a short ride via private bus deep into the heart of Fiordland National Park, home to the majestic Milford Sound—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll cruise through the fjord, gazing upon jagged mountains standing tall over reflective waters, with vibrant rainforests clinging to the rock walls. Listen to the crashing waterfalls and watch playful dolphins jump alongside the boat as we sail down the pristine waterway.  Accommodation: Queenstown Sofitel Hotel or Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 9 | Queenstown: Enjoy a day of leisurely hiking among the beauty of the fjords. Choose what you’d like to do, from hiking the breathtaking nature trails to setting off on a kayaking adventure. We’ll have the rare opportunity to move along paths and waterways that are impassable to mainstream transportation. After spending the day exploring, we’ll gather at our hotel, dining on traditional dishes while overlooking the glistening waters and striking mountains.  Accommodation: Queenstown Sofitel Hotel or Millennium Hotel Queenstown

 Day 10 | Queenstown: Sadly, the time has come to leave paradise. Reflect on the unforgettable moments shared with the group and the new memories that’ll last a lifetime! After an early breakfast, we’ll head to the airport for our flights home. 

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