15 Days in New Zealand

A Family-Friendly Adventure

Peaceful and hospitable, New Zealand seems blessedly detached from the planet’s woes, and its two narrow islands contain coastal and mountain scenery that is nothing short of breathtaking.

This 15-day itinerary encompasses many of New Zealand’s most memorable highlights. Start in the spectacular Bay of Islands archipelago, which you explore by private yacht (and by helicopter or horseback if you like). Move south to Taupo for a scenic private flight around an active volcano, fly-fishing in an unspoiled backcountry stream and perhaps some whitewater rafting. Tour the world-class wineries near Hawke’s Bay by private car or bike, kayak in sheltered Pigeon Bay and, in Queenstown, land on a glacier in your helicopter before flying to a scenic (and ordinarily inaccessible) spot for a wilderness picnic.

If you’ve never been to New Zealand, this introduction is hard to top. And if you’re lucky enough to have visited before, these 15 days include numerous activity choices, ensuring that you won't have to repeat anything from a previous trip. Unless, of course, you want to.

Itinerary Highlights

Our itineraries are for your inspiration. Please contact a travel advisor to customize this itinerary to fit your needs.

  • Take a luxury boat cruise through the Bay of Islands
  • Explore White Island and Mount Tarawera with a volcanic helicopter safari
  • Enjoy a fly-fishing excursion in Taupo
  • Discover one of New Zealand’s most endangered and rare birds, the kiwi
  • Take a private guided cycling wine tour
  • Kayak through the remote Pigeon Bay inlet
  • Lift off to enjoy a Milford Sound helicopter excursion with a glacier landing

Trip Overview

Day 1 - 2 : Sail the Bay of Islands
Enjoy sailing, beach combing and lunch served in a sheltered cove
Day 3 : Leisure day
Choose an excursion in the Bay of Islands
Day 4 : Explore Huka Falls
Enjoy the facilities at Huka Lodge or stroll to Huka Falls
Day 5 : Helicopter safari in Taupo
Fly over Mount Tarawera volcano
Day 6 : Fly-fishing in Taupo
Cast to rainbow and brown trout in crystal-clear pools
Day 7 : Kiwi discovery in Hawke's Bay
Get up close with one of New Zealand’s most endangered birds
Day 8 : Wine tasting in Hawke's Bay
Tour a 6,000-acre working sheep and cattle farm
Day 9 : Kayaking in Pigeon Bay
Kayak through the remote Pigeon Bay inlet and take in the coastal scenery
Day 10 : Hector's dolphin cruise
Scenic cruise around the peninsula, including a visit to a Hector's dolphin pod
Day 11 - 12 : Explore Queenstown & Milford Sound
Explore the center of Queenstown, with its diversity of shops and activities
Day 13 : Discover Arrowtown
Visit the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown
Day 14 - 15 : Leisure day in Queenstown
Choose your adventure
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Day 1 - 2 : Sail the Bay of Islands

On arrival in the Bay of Islands you will be met and transferred to Eagles Nest, a luxury property comprised of seven villas on a 75-acre estate with spectacular views. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to relax and settle in.

The next day, enjoy a luxury boat cruise through the Bay of Islands. Your private sailboat is fast and nimble enough to explore the bay with ease, yet has the comfort, safety and ambience for an exceptional day enjoying the breeze and the view from the covered deck. Enjoy beach combing and lunch served in a sheltered cove, then return to Eagles Nest.

Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Bay of Islands, New Zealand

ACCOMMODATIONS

Eagles Nest

Room Type: Rahimoana 4-bedroom Villa 

Inclusions: Breakfast and one personal-chef-prepared meal of choice daily (up to three courses) 

Day 3 : Leisure day

Today is at your leisure in the Bay of Islands. Optional activities include: 

  • Private helicopter excursion over Northland & ATVs at Ninety Mile Beach
  • Private guided hike in Puketi Forest 
  • Kerikeri sights and winery excursion 
  • Visit the historic village of Russell 
  • Kawiti glow worm caves
  • Horseback riding

Puketi Forest in New Zealand
Puketi Forest in New Zealand

Day 4 : Explore Huka Falls

Transfer by private vehicle to Kerikeri Airport for your flight to Taupo. At Taupo Airport you will be met by a lodge representative and transferred to Huka Lodge.

The remainder of the day is at your leisure. Options at the lodge include tennis and pétanque, a heated outdoor swimming pool and a spa pool. Also, it's only a short stroll to Huka Falls, where 58,000 gallons of water tumble over the cliff face every second.

Huka Falls, New Zealand
Huka Falls, New Zealand
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Huka Lodge

This European-style country house hotel set along the willow-draped banks of the Waikato River near dramatic Huka Falls and Lake Taupo is just one hour south of Rotorua.

Day 5 : Helicopter safari in Taupo

Today starts with a helicopter safari to the volcanoes Mount Tarawera and White Island. The trip will include spectacular aerial views of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Reserve, an area with a plethora of hot springs noted for their colorful appearance, and the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, filled with beautiful thermal lakes.

Fly over the summit of Mount Tarawera, learning about its history and getting spectacular views of the craters and domes formed by its 1886 eruption. Then head for White Island to land on and walk around its active crater floor, an incredible experience and a highlight of this excursion.

This afternoon is at your leisure in Taupo. Optional activities include: 

  • Whitewater rafting 
  • Rotorua mountain bike adventure

Crater floor at White Island volcano
Crater floor at White Island volcano

Day 6 : Fly-fishing in Taupo

Meet a local guide from Seasonz Travel for a half-day fly-fishing excursion at a remote backcountry stream where you will cast to rainbow and brown trout in crystal-clear pools.

This afternoon is at your leisure in Taupo. Optional activities include:

  • Spa treatments at Huka Lodge
  • Guided hike

Taupo, New Zealand
Taupo, New Zealand -

Day 7 : Kiwi discovery in Hawke's Bay

Transfer by private vehicle to The Farm at Cape Kidnappers at Hawke’s Bay.

Take a walk in search of the elusive New Zealand kiwi with an expert guide and locate the unique, nocturnal birds. The outing offers the chance to see and learn more about one of New Zealand’s most endangered and rare birds.

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
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The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

A sister property to the renowned Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, this resort is set on a 6,000-acre ranch and is located for those who want to play the Tom Doak-designed Cape Kidnappers golf course, as well as to explore the area’s numerous wineries.

Day 8 : Wine tasting in Hawke's Bay

Tour the hotel's 6,000-acre working sheep and cattle farm with a guide. You'll get views south toward Ocean Beach and Bare Island, visit the old creek bed and travel to historic Rangaika Beach. 

For lunch, travel to Terrôir Restaurant at Craggy Range Winery. It has a French country theme and specializes in rotisserie and wood-fired oven cooking, and affords views of Te Mata Peak and vineyards. 

After lunch take a guided private winery tour by bicycle, riding about 10 miles along a flat, easy, scenic trail toward the Cape Coast, visiting Black Barn Vineyards, Elephant Hill and Clearview Estate Winery.

After the ride you will be transferred back to The Farm.

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Day 9 : Kayaking in Pigeon Bay

Transfer by private vehicle to Napier Airport for a flight to Christchurch, where you'll be met at the airport and transferred by private vehicle to Annandale, a coastal farm and four luxury villas.

This afternoon you'll go sea kayaking with a guide through the remote and sheltered Pigeon Bay inlet, which affords stunning coastal scenery. The activity is tailored to all skill levels and is a great activity for the whole family!

ACCOMMODATIONS

Annandale

Room Type: Scrubby Bay 4-bedroom Villa 

Inclusions: Breakfast and one personal-chef-prepared meal of choice daily (up to three courses)

Day 10 : Hector's dolphin cruise

A local Seasonz Travel guide will accompany you on a day trip to Akaroa that will include a scenic harbor cruise. The town, once a French whaling station, is rich with French, Maori and English culture. Explore the village's colonial architecture, galleries and craft stores, and have lunch at a local restaurant.

Board a boat for a two-hour cruise around the peninsula, viewing sea caves, high cliffs and volcanic rock formations. Akaroa's harbor is host to amazing birdlife and sea mammals, including the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins, the Hector's dolphin.

Akaroa Bay, New Zealand
Akaroa Bay, New Zealand

Day 11 - 12 : Explore Queenstown & Milford Sound

Return to Christchurch Airport for a flight to Queenstown, then transfer by private vehicle to Eichardt’s Private Hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.

We recommend you explore the center of Queenstown, with its diversity of shops and activities. Take a gondola to Bob’s Peak for an amazing view. Other options include:

  • The Skyline gondola
  • The Skyline luge
  • Tandem paragliding

The next morning, return to Queenstown Airport for a Milford Sound helicopter excursion through the Southern Alps. This breathtaking flight will pass secluded alpine lakes, lush rain forest, brush-fringed valleys and rugged mountain peaks. Land and stroll on a deserted beach to absorb the natural beauty of Fiordland. Fly along the fjord until you reach the rugged west coast, which offers the opportunity to view seal colonies. Experience a glacier landing and touch down at a secret wilderness site for a picnic lunch.

Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand
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Eichardt's Private Hotel

Overlooking a public beach in the heart of Queenstown’s lively waterfront shopping district, this lakeside hotel occupies a restored historical residence.

Day 13 : Discover Arrowtown

Meet up with your local Seasonz Travel guide for a full day of sightseeing in the Queenstown region. Activities will include traversing narrow canyons in a jet boat from Shotover Jet and a visit to the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown

Lunch will be at Amisfield Bistro, in an iconic stone building with stunning views of snow-covered mountains and Lake Hayes.

Next you can watch — or participate in — a bungee jump at the bridge where the thrill-seeking activity went commercial. It's 141 feet into the canyon below. After that, explore more of the Southern Lakes region, with your guide assisting with recommendations.

Arrowtown, New Zealand
Arrowtown, New Zealand -

Day 14 - 15 : Leisure day in Queenstown

Today is at your leisure in Queenstown. Options include: 

  • Canyon swing
  • Off-road buggy expedition
  • ATV adventure
  • Cycling and sightseeing in the area
  • Golf at The Hills Golf Club
  • Guided hike on the Routeburn Track
  • Lake Hayes hike

On your last day, transfer by private vehicle to Queenstown Airport for your flight home.

Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand
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Book This Itinerary

Contact a travel advisor to book your custom itinerary. Fill out the form or call (630) 734-4610.