ARRIVE AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Upon arrival in Auckland, you are met and transferred to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
AUCKLAND | CITY OF SAILS
This morning, embark on a private, full-day tour of Auckland as you stroll the city’s lush gardens and vibrant waterfront. Next, board an America’s Cup sailing yacht to cruise the Hauraki Gulf. In the hands of your experienced crew, trim the sails and pilot the yacht, or simply sit back and absorb the serene beauty of Waitemata Harbour. After lunch at a local restaurant, take in the historic exhibits of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, including an 80-foot Maori war canoe dating from 1836. Enjoy a Maori Cultural performance during your visit. Later, return to your accommodations to enjoy the evening at your leisure.
MATAMATA | JOURNEY TO MIDDLE-EARTH
Today, travel south through the lush pasturelands of Waikato to rural Matamata. Here, enjoy a private tour of Hobbiton, the iconic “Middle-Earth” filming location featured in the hit adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Your guide shares fascinating details of the film’s production, revealing the Hobbit Holes, Green Dragon Inn, Mill and other authentic sets. Continue on to the town of Rotorua, New Zealand’s cultural heartland. Marvel as the earth’s crust bubbles and steams from the abundance of geothermal activity roiling just below the surface. Adjourn to your lodge, gathering in the evening to enjoy a private dinner.
ROTORUA | MAORI CULTURE, HOT SPRINGS & KIWI ENCOUNTER
Begin your day with a visit to Te Puia, home to the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute; Pōhutu geyser; and Whakarewarewa, the Living Maori Village. Immerse yourself in the traditions of the indigenous Maori people and witness nature’s geothermal might as geysers spout and mud pools boil. Next, visit Rainbow Springs Nature Park’s Kiwi Encounter Facility, an Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy-sponsored organization committed to preserving this iconic native species. Enjoy insider access to the facility’s hatchery, feeding room, nursery and outdoor enclosures, gaining expert insights into the plight and preservation of this embattled species.
QUEENSTOWN | GATEWAY TO ADVENTURE
Fly to Queenstown and transfer to your accommodations, taking in a city sightseeing tour along the way. After checking in, enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.
QUEENSTOWN | MILFORD SOUND
Take off on a private, two-hour helicopter flight spanning secluded alpine lakes, lush rainforest and rugged mountain peaks. Sweep the full length of Milford Sound, a coastal inlet flanked by sheer mountains. Alight on a remote beach to encounter a local fur seal colony. Your flight continues over the breathtaking seascape, touching down atop the ancient ice flows of the Fiordland Glaciers. Enjoy a Champagne lunch before returning to the lodge for an evening at leisure.
QUEENSTOWN | THE GIBBSTON VALLEY
Embark on a tour of Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand’s premier wine regions. Enjoy a wine cave tour, tasting and lunch at a pioneering local wine estate. Later, ascend the Skyline Gondola to Bob’s Peak for spectacular panoramas overlooking Queenstown and beyond.
This morning after breakfast, you are transferred to the airport for your international departure.
Enhance Your Journey
Elevate your experience with a host of options available for an additional cost.
Greet the Sunrise with a Maori Ceremony
Share in the sacred Ra Karakia, a Maori sunrise ceremony celebrating our spiritual connection to the environment. As the sun rises, a horn calls out over the harbor, breaking the silent contemplation of the dawn. After a blessing, your Kaitiaki (guide) leads you down to a nursery of the whenua (tribal lands) for a ceremonial tree-planting honoring Papatuanuku (Mother Earth). Conclude the ceremony by sharing breakfast with your Kaitiaki in the marae (tribal meeting house).
Sample the Best of Kumeu Wine Country
Venture northwest of Auckland to take in the coastal vistas and world-renowned vintages of Kumeu Wine Country. Learn how families of Croatian origin brought winemaking to the region in 1930s while sampling the vintages that put Kumeu Wine Country on the map.
Delve Into the Waitomo Caves
Journey to the verdant Waikato countryside and delve into the Waitomo Caves, a vast labyrinth of limestone chambers concealing a deep shaft and subterranean river. Reveal the cave’s most awe-inspiring secret, a hidden grotto illuminated by thousands of iridescent glowworms.