Enjoy world-class food and wine, adventure and culture surrounded by landscapes that promise to take your breath away. Along the way, friendly locals and easy transport options make this a holiday you'll remember for life.
Auckland is an energetic and colourful city surrounded by two harbours, plenty of beaches, and dotted with 48 volcanic cones. The inner city is easy to discover on foot. Stroll the Viaduct Harbour, enjoy a café lunch in the hip Britomart precinct or choose to take an organised tour.
If adventure is what you're looking for try jet boating on the harbour or venture up Auckland's iconic Skytower for a SkyWalk.
Further afield, a short 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland takes you to Waiheke Island, a relaxing haven of wineries, white sand beaches and art galleries. Explore the island with one of the many tours available, from sightseeing or wine tasting to Maori culture.
Known for its bubbling mud pools and shooting geysers, Rotorua offers a multitude of experiences set amongst beautiful lakes, native forests and pristine rivers. Start with a trip to one of the region's geothermal areas, and enjoy a Maori cultural experience with delicious food (hāngi), singing, dancing and haka.
The following day, head out to Whakarewarewa Forest, where a network of mountain bike trails winds through towering Californian Redwoods. A canopy tree-walk allows you to explore the forest above. For more thrills, visit one of Rotorua's theme parks such as Velocity Valley or Skyline Rotorua for a whole slew of bizarre adventure activities.
A short flight from Rotorua, you'll find New Zealand's cool little capital Wellington, a funky, compact city packed with cultural activities and stellar eating-places. Spend the morning visiting the array of museums and galleries that have made Wellington New Zealand's cultural centre. Film fans will love the Weta Workshop Tour, where you can discover special effects and props that bring imaginary worlds to life.
Wellington is also a great place for gardens and wildlife. The iconic red cable car will take you to the botanical gardens and Zealandia wildlife sanctuary, where you can meet some of New Zealand's most unique creatures. Visit the seal colony at Red Rock Reserve via a lovely coastal walk.
The journey across the Cook Strait takes you through beautiful Marlborough Sounds – a network of sunken, emerald-green river valleys. Dolphin, whale and fur seal sightings along the way are common.
Take some time to explore Picton before travelling on to Blenheim – a town known for delicious wine, food and high sunshine hours. The Marlborough region is the home of Sauvignon Blanc, and the perfect way to experience it is with a wine tour. Nature lovers can explore the region's tranquil bays and inlets by foot, bike, kayak, boat cruise or scenic flight.
Aviation enthusiasts will love Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, which houses a fascinating collection of Great War aircraft and artefacts.
The South Island’s largest city, Christchurch is packed with charming heritage, innovation and outdoor activities. Punting on the Avon River, heritage tram rides, street art trails and botanical gardens are just some of the things to do here.
Day 2 offers the opportunity to travel further afield. The TranzAlpine is a world-famous train journey that showcases Arthur’s Pass and the Southern Alps. The return journey makes for an unforgettable experience.
Akaroa was New Zealand's only French settlement, the remnants of which are visible in the town's lovely heritage buildings and delicious French food. This is also a great place for wildlife encounters with penguins, dolphins and fur seals.
Take a flight to Queenstown today, the alpine town with something for everyone. Those after an adrenalin rush will enjoy the copious adventure activities on offer – bungy jumping, rafting, jet boating and skydiving remain firm favourites. If you’re looking for something mellower, consider a day walk, wine tour or a round of golf at one of Queenstown's marquee courses.
End the day with a gondola ride to Bob’s Peak for panoramic views, followed by a meal at one of Queenstown's many restaurants.
Decorated with waterfalls and alive with unique wildlife.Read more
Once described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth natural wonder of the world’, Milford Sound is a relaxing contrast to Queenstown. It takes a fair amount of time to get there but it's worth it once you're out on the water of the Sounds. Take a boat cruise or hire a kayak and soak in the magical blue skies, green mountains, crystal-clear water and tumbling waterfalls.
Caution: If you choose to self-drive, be sure to give yourself plenty of time as conditions varying greatly on this route, particularly in winter.
Spend your last morning in Queenstown, checking out the shops and sampling some of the town's charming cafes, before catching your flight home.