Welcome to Auckland, one of the world's most liveable cities. On arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel (flights to arrive prior to 4pm), then spend your day at leisure before joining your Travel Director for an evening Welcome Reception.
We journey north through lush farmland to the Bay of Islands, where we'll cruise the game waters once plied by Māori fishermen. Delve into the legend of the 'Hole in the Rock' (weather permitting), visit historic Cape Brett and sail past the deserted beaches and secluded coves that dot the bay as you return via Paihia to the mainland.
Today, your choice of sightseeing: explore the Waitangi Treaty Reserve grounds; enjoy a day of sailing aboard a historic tall ship; embark on a relaxing tour of Kerikeri with wine and chocolate tasting or venture to Russell for a Mini Tour to learn more about the settling of the Bay of Islands.
Indulge in some me-time this morning before returning to Auckland. Your journey takes you to Whangarei, New Zealand's northernmost city, before continuing to Parry Kauri Park, where you'll have an opportunity to walk amongst the Kauri giants that have towered over the forest floor for millennia. This evening, join your Travel Director for a Regional Meal at your hotel.
Gain a deeper understanding of why Auckland justifiably earns its reputation as the City of Sails, then head to Waitomo for an encounter with the iridescent occupants of Glow Worm Grotto. Navigate its dark depths with a 'Local Specialist' and walk through the limestone caves with their dramatic formations. Continue to Rotorua.
Embark on your choice of sightseeing: unwind at the Polynesian Spa; visit Te Puia and tour through the Whakawerawera Thermal Reserve; tour the wizardry of the Hobbiton movie set or explore Rotorua and its three lakes in an amphibious WWII-era Duck. 'Dive into Culture' this evening when Māori culture takes centre stage this evening as you visit the Tamaki Māori Village for a traditional Hangi Feast Regional Meal.
Travel through pine forests and farmland to the raging Huka Falls, which feeds Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake. Continue south over the central plateau and along the Kapiti Coast to Wellington. 'Dive into Culture' and gain insights into New Zealand's nature, heritage and art during an exclusive guided tour of Te Papa Museum, then conclude your day with a Regional Meal which reveals Wellington's reputation as the country's culinary capital.
Embrace your inner hipster this morning and immerse yourself in your cool surrounds during some free time to explore the Capital of Cool on your terms. This afternoon, prime your sea legs for a cruise through the Cook Strait into the quiet waters of Queen Charlotte Sound. Journey to seaside Picton, then Blenheim, where tonight you'll enjoy a Regional Meal prepared from local produce and paired with the local Sauvignon Blanc for which the Marlborough region is famous.
Travel to Kaikoura and delve into its whaling heritage, keeping a keen eye for Sperm Whales that can often be seen not far from shore (an Optional Experience whale-watching scenic flight is available). Continue along the Pacific Ocean coast and across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, the Garden City of New Zealand.
Join us for a taste of country life at Morelea, where we'll 'Connect with Locals' over a Be My Guest barbecue lunch and enjoy home-grown hospitality in the home of Angie and Stan Taylor. Journey past Lake Pukaki and visit the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo. Your encounter with the arresting beauty of New Zealand's South Island continues in Mount Cook National Park, our last stop today before arriving in Twizel.
Journey along the Waitaki River, stopping briefly at the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam. Travel through to the township of Oamaru with its famous white limestone buildings and then on to Dunedin. This afternoon your choice of sightseeing: tour Larnach Castle, New Zealand's only castle; ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway; take the Monarch Wildlife Cruise or embark on an interactive tour of Speight's Brewery.
Connect with the Scottish heritage of Dunedin with some free time to explore the city this morning. Later, journey through pastural landscapes dotted with sheep before arriving in Te Anau on the shore of Lake Te Anau, the gateway to Milford Sound's tranquil waters. Enjoy time at leisure this evening for a Trafalgar highlight - an Optional Experience cruise across the lake to the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves.
Immerse yourself in the startling natural splendour of the UNESCO-listed Fiordland National Park. Take a nature cruise, slicing through the mystical Milford Sound, past such highlights as Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak. Journey over the Devil's Staircase later, and along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, bound for Queenstown.
Dive right into the adventure capital today with your choice of sightseeing: ride the Shotover Jet boat; take a gondola to Bob's Peak for thrilling luge rides; visit Kiwi Birdlife Park or take a 4WD minibus excursion through Skippers Canyon. This evening, cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand's oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Here you'll indulge in a gourmet barbecue Regional Meal at the Colonel's Homestead. Then enjoy an entertaining after-dinner farm show providing insights into high-country farm life.
Visit the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown before continuing your journey to Cromwell to savour the flavours of delicious stone fruit. See a trio of lakes, Dunstan, Hawea and Wanaka, then travel over Haast Pass and on to the luminescent white wilderness of Franz Josef Glacier.
Spend some free time this morning exploring the icy depths of the glacier. Later, travel to Hokitika, renowned for its exquisite greenstone craft, where you'll visit a factory and admire a jewellery demonstration by a 'Local Specialist' master carver. Continue to the limestone Pancake Rocks and Blowholes of Punakaiki, before spending the night at one of Trafalgar's 'Stays with Stories' - an eco-friendly resort on the waterfront.
Board the TranzAlpine train for one of the world's most scenic journeys through the Southern Alps and Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, a city rebuilding itself from the ruins of a tragic earthquake. Celebrate an epic journey at a Farewell Dinner with newfound friends.
Your holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. You will be transferred to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).