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New Zealand Private Expedition
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11 days

from $10,252 AUD trip_detail hint icon

($6,995 USD)

Prices are per person, based on twin share occupancy. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange. The expedition price will be finalised at time of booking.

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, and easy hikes.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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  • Cruise the dramatic fjords of the South Island, including stunning Milford Sound; and float through the Te Anau caves, lit by thousands of tiny glowworms.
  • Explore the bucolic sheep farm transformed into the Shire for The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.
  • Go behind the scenes at a kiwi hatchery and learn how conservationists prepare these endangered birds for reintroduction to the wild.
  • On a private food and wine tour of Waiheke Island, taste award-winning olive oil, pluck oysters straight from the sea, and sip wines at coastal vineyards.

From geysers to glowworm caves, snowcapped peaks to serene fjords, New Zealand’s otherworldly landscapes delight with their incredible natural diversity. Get an intimate look at the country’s many treasures as you enjoy close encounters with rare wildlife; taste world-famous food and wine straight from the source; and plunge below the Earth’s surface to discover geothermal pools and the fascinating underwater world of Milford Sound.

Day 1: Arrive Auckland, New Zealand

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Land in Auckland and transfer to your waterfront hotel. Spend the afternoon exploring the city at leisure. For an additional cost, you can opt to sail the harbor in an America’s Cup racing yacht. Learn about the world’s oldest sporting trophy, try your hand at trimming the sails, and take a turn at the helm.

Day 2: Waiheke Island

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Board a ferry to the picturesque isle of Waiheke, where you’ll join a private guide for a food and wine tour. Taste olive oil at an award-winning mill; enjoy fresh oysters straight from Matuku Cove; and sample green herb spread, an island specialty. Sip wine at some of the island’s more intimate vineyards, and enjoy lunch amid the vines before returning to Auckland for an evening at leisure.

Day 3: Matamata/Lake Taupo

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Drive across the Waikato Plains to Matamata, made famous as a filming site in The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Go behind the scenes at Hobbiton—a sheep farm that served as the setting for the Shire—and learn about the design and creation of the movie set. Continue to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland to explore its gushing geysers, steaming hot springs, and silica terraces on a guided walk. View the area’s vibrantly colored geothermal pools, including the bubbling, orange-rimmed Champagne Pool and the eerie green Devil’s Bathtub. Transfer to your hotel overlooking scenic Lake Taupo.

Day 4: Lake Taupo/Tongariro National Park

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Visit the small town of Turangi—known as the “Trout Fishing Capital of the World”—and tour the National Trout Centre, where you can feed wild trout. Travel to Tongariro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and visit the historic Chateau Tongariro Hotel. Back in Taupo, join a high-speed jet boat excursion to Huka Falls, taking in views of sheer cliffs and natural hot springs as you whiz along the Waikato River.

Day 5: Rotorua/Dunedin

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Travel to the city of Rotorua, a geothermal hot spot. Go behind the scenes at Rainbow Springs, a nature park that has nurtured more than a thousand kiwi chicks since 1995. On a guided tour of the kiwi hatchery, learn how park conservationists prepare these endangered birds for reintroduction into the wild. Next visit the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village, which brings ancient Maori culture to life with traditional songs, stories, and legends. Experience a geothermal hangi lunch, cooked in naturally hot steam vents. Transfer to the airport in Rotorua for your flight to Dunedin on the South Island.

Day 6: Otago Peninsula

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Set out on a scenic drive along the Otago Peninsula. Enjoy a private tour of the Larnach Castle—New Zealand’s only castle, built in 1872 for a local businessman. Continue to the Royal Albatross Centre and encounter wild colonies of royal albatrosses and little blue penguins, the world’s smallest species of penguin. Stop for lunch at the Maori settlement of Otakou Marae, one of the places where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, establishing British sovereignty over New Zealand. Visit a local craft shop before returning to your hotel in Dunedin.

Day 7: Te Anau

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Soak in the passing scenery of Milton, Balclutha, and Gore on a private driving tour of southern New Zealand. Take a private tour of a working farm that raises sheep, deer, and cattle; and spend time with the owners. Transfer to Te Anau, the gateway to rugged Fiordland National Park and stunning Milford Sound. This evening, join a cruise along the limestone channels of the Te Anau caves—a twisting labyrinth of roaring whirlpools and rushing waterfalls lit by a glittering display of tiny glowworms. Settle into your hotel on the shores of serene Lake Te Anau.

Day 8: Milford Sound

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Spend the day exploring the world-famous Milford Sound. During the scenic drive to this stunning fjord, learn about the region’s flora and fauna. Join a boat cruise through the fjords, and enjoy a picnic lunch on the tranquil waters. Then visit the floating Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory and descend underwater in a viewing chamber that offers 360-degree views of the marine life, including colorful sea creatures and rare black coral.

Day 9: Queenstown

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Visit a vineyard in the Central Otago region, known for wines made from grapes grown in the area's glacial soils. Sit down to a lunch of local specialties, complete with wine pairings. Transfer to Queenstown and settle into your hotel overlooking Lake Wakatipu.

Day 10: Queenstown

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Join a guide for a nature walk to discover the area’s native birds and distinctive flora, and learn about the array of edible and medicinal plants used by the area’s early settlers. This afternoon, set out on your own in Queenstown, known as the “adventure capital of the world.” Go on a hike, try water sports, or simply relax amid the dramatic scenery of the Southern Alps.

Day 11: Queenstown/Depart

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of light; travelers should be physically fit and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods and navigating uneven or slippery terrain. Excursions include city walking tours, visits to parks and wildlife reserves, boat rides, and easy hikes.

Throughout the expedition, you’ll stay in accommodations selected for their exceptional quality, location, and character.

Expedition Team
Top private guides will accompany you throughout the trip, and local experts will meet with you along the way as described in the itinerary.


  • date Oct 1-Dec 31, 2019
  • 2 People $13,916 AUD ($9,495 USD)
  • 4 People $11,425 AUD ($7,795 USD)
  • 6 People $10,252 AUD ($6,995 USD)

Prices are per person based on double occupancy and do not include international airfare to/from your destination or internal flights during the expedition. Single traveler prices are available upon request. Internal flights $465 per person. Surcharges may apply to certain travel dates based upon international or local holidays, as well as local events and festivals. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary

What's Not Included

  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities