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Kiwi Highlights

Kiwi Highlights
Natural beauty and culture are in full effect on this Kiwi adventure, a 10 night itinerary showcasing the highlights of the Kiwi way of life. Envelope yourself in culture with a "Hangi" dinner and concert and a Twilight Cultural Tour. Become one with nature as you transcend into the grand Waitomo Caves filled with phenomenal glowworms, marvel at the overwhelming beauty of the glaciers at Franz Josef and take in the sweeping vistas at Milford Sound. Get adventurous as you journey through Kiwi Highlights.

Your Itinerary Includes:
  • Roundtrip airport transfers
  • 2 nights Auckland
  • Auckland-Waitomo-Rotorua tour
  • 2 nights Rotorua
  • Eco Thermal Park Tour
  • Tamaki Maori Village, Evening Experience
  • 3 nights Queenstown
  • Milford Sound Nature Crusie
  • Dart River Wilderness Safari
  • 2 nights Franz Josef
  • TranzAlpine train (Greymouth to Christchurch)
  • 2 nights Christchurch
  • Akaroa tour with Cruise
  • Bus transfer Queenstown to Franz Josef to Greymouth
  • Meals: 3 lunches, 1 dinner
  • Adventure and Active
  • Educational and Learning
  • Family Vacations
  • Safari, Animals, and Wildlife
11 Nights Starting At
July 01, 2022 through September 30, 2022
Itinerary Map
Dates & prices
July 01, 2022
to September 30, 2022
11 Nights from $3,040.00
(USD) Per Person
October 01, 2022
to October 31, 2022
11 Nights from $3,285.00
(USD) Per Person
November 01, 2022
to March 31, 2023
11 Nights from $3,560.00
(USD) Per Person
Swain Destinations: Kiwi Highlights

Rydges Auckland,Superior, Auckland
Novotel Rotorua Lakeside,Superior, Rotorua
Hotel St. Moritz,Superior, Queenstown
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier,Superior, Franz Josef
Fable Christchurch,Superior, Christchurch

Standard (3*) to (3 1/2*) Offering limited facilities and services, these are moderate rooms with private ensuite bathrooms that offer exceptional value for money for the price conscious traveler.

Superior (4*) to (4 1/2*) These hotels are typically better equipped with more comfortable accommodation, and are often in a fairly central location to major sightseeing.

Deluxe (5*) Boasting luxurious and spacious surroundings, these accommodations offer the highest level of international quality accommodation and service. Typically with exquisite décor, exceptional service and superb award winning restaurants.

Luxury (5*) + Premier accommodations in choice settings offering exquisite surroundings, the finest guest services and indulgent amenities. These properties are often one of a kind and are ideal for discerning travelers.
Swain Destinations: Kiwi Highlights

Auckland City Sights
Visit the North Shore, Queen Street and Auckland Viaduct, then Parnell Village, where historic buildings have been transformed into a trendy shopping area. Drive the scenic waterfront to the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park, for panoramic views over Auckland city and Waitemata Harbour.

Auckland Harbor Sailing
Enjoy the unique Auckland landscape from the water on this peaceful cruise. Feel the wind fill the sails and guide you under the harbor bridge and back past Auckland's landmarks. Engage the friendly local crew, and find out more about Auckland harbor and its great sailing past. Take a rope or steer the helm and help the crew sail this harbor cruising yacht. Sit back in the open cockpit for expansive views of the bustling city from the best view in town. Enjoy the 'City of Sails' as you join the yachts on the harbor and the relaxed pace of harbor sailing.

Auckland Highlights and Cruise
Enjoy Auckland city and the waterfront. Visit the famous Mount Eden, a dormant volcano whose summit offers excellent panoramic views of the city and harbors. Drive to the trendy shopping area of Parnell Village, with its historical buildings that have been transformed into boutique, antique, craft and specialty shops. Then, join the ?Pride of Auckland? for a sailing experience on the Waitemata Harbor. Lunch is included.

Auckland to Rotorua (via Waitomo)
Depart Auckland for your ride south to Hamilton. Travel through the rich Waikato area, famous for its dairy farms, kiwi fruit orchards, thoroughbred horses and the Waitomo Caves! Enter subterranean limestone caverns to view the glow worm grotto; surely one of the wonders of the world. Continue over the bush clad Mamaku Ranges to Rotorua. Lunch is included.

Auckland Untamed Island Tour
A thirty minute flight by light plane over the sparkling waters of the Hauraki Gulf brings you to majestic Great Barrier Island. After breakfast at a local café take an easy half hour walk on graveled tracks and boardwalks past giant Nikau palms and rare native flora and fauna to the Kaitoke natural thermal springs. The adventure continues as we drive past native bush and rugged peaks to the secluded natural harbor at Port Fitzroy where we have a relaxed kiwi style picnic lunch. A short drive takes us to a sweeping, often deserted stretch of pristine white sand. There is time here for a swim or a meander along the beach to visit the graves of those drowned in one of New Zealand's worst shipwrecks. Visit the only working cattle and sheep farm on the island where relics of the past remain. At a nearby stream, monster eels come when called and can be fed - if you dare! This unforgettable day is rounded off with a climb to the top of Windy Canyon, a spectacular short walk. The path winds around rocky outcrops and past sheer cliffs coated with rata vines and takes in breathtaking views of the island and beyond.

Best of Both Worlds Tour
Your full day tour takes you on a journey of contrasts from the highlights of Auckland City to the wilderness of the west coast rainforest. Take a journey of discovery designed to explore the history and sights as well as see how Aucklanders live and play. In contrast, just 30 minutes from the city are the wild west coast black sand beaches and fascinating rainforest. Learn about the flora and fauna and the history of this area with a knowledgeable guide in a small group environment.

Coast and Rainforest Walk
Enjoy panoramic views from the sweeping decks at Arataki Visitor Centre, and admire the Maori carvings standing guard. Walk with a guide through an area of Auckland?s coastal rainforest on the rugged west coast and visit an area of untouched rainforest with 1,000 year old kauri trees. This tour includes a picnic lunch. Private tour options available.

Coromandel Coast and Rotorua 3-day tour
Depart Auckland for a three day experience to visit the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula and Rotorua. See the picturesque farmland of the Pacific Coast Highway and visit the historic gold town of Thames. Travel south to Karangahake Gorge for a delicious lunch before taking a guided walk through the rainforest. See the spectacular scenery, glow worms, famous Hot Water Beach, flora and fauna and the thermal city as we make our way to Rotorua.

Coromandel Day Tour
Experience Coromandel Peninsular with its mountainous, forest-covered backbone, sheltered bays and stunning coastlines. Take a memorable journey on a mountain railway. Cross the mountainous divide and visit Hot Water Beach with its hot springs in the sand and Cathedral Cove where the Pacific Ocean washes through a natural rock arch.

Great Tastes of Matakana
The Matakana full day tour includes a veritable feast of art, cheese, wine, honey, local cuisine and chocolates. A visit to renowned Morris & James Pottery and a tasting at the quite remarkable Brick Bay are highlights. Savor New Zealand food, wine and art at its best.

Waiheke Island Explorer
Be introduced to Waiheke Island ? a picturesque 35 minute boat trip followed by a scenic highlight tour of Waiheke?s stunning locations. An experienced guide will give you a taste of the views, culture and history that make up this diverse island. On conclusion of the tour, take advantage of the complimentary additional all day bus pass allowing you either to return to a destination on the tour or discover the island further.

Waiheke Wine Tour
Enjoy a day tour of three vineyards, which includes pick up and return from the ferry or from your Waiheke Island accommodation as well as vineyard costs. Today's excursion also includes commentated scenic tour of the Island with time to stop for photographs. Lunch can be arranged at own expense. One vineyard may be replaced with an olive oil visit and tasting.

Waitomo Caves Tour
Travel south from Auckland through the rich farmland of the Waikato where New Zealand?s longest river (Waikato River) can be seen. Enjoy a guided tour through the long galleries and lofty chambers of the world famous Glow Worm Caves. Take a boat ride through the glow worm grotto, a place illuminated by thousands of tiny lights emitted from the glow worms.

West Auckland Wine Tour
A full day of fantastic wine, food and stunning coastal scenery. Visit 4 to 5 selected wineries from historic Kumeu wine region, 20 minutes from downtown Auckland. Enjoy the rolling green farmland and native bush scenery, and see the stunning 'black sand' West Coast Muriwai beach.

Wilderness Experience
Enjoy an afternoon tour of Auckland?s largest Regional Park ? the Waitakere Ranges. Travel to the Arataki Centre perched high in the Waitakere Ranges where the sweeping decks give breath-taking panoramic views. Head further west and experience the power of the wild and rugged west coast. Feel the black sand beneath your feet as you stroll along some of the most awe-inspiring beaches the world has to offer. Your eco-tour continues in the lush rainforest where you hear native birdsong as you walk the easy bush tracks amongst New Zealand?s famous kauri trees and giant tree ferns.

Half-Day Eco Thermal Tour
Discover the areas thermal springs, collapsed craters, boiling mud pools, and moon-like formations. Learn about geothermal processes, Maori legends and the flora and fauna of the area. Visit Lady Knox Geyser and hear about geyser formation and history before heading to Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Also, walk through amazing thermal crater lakes ripped open by the mount Tarawera eruption.

Hangi Dinner & Concert
Enjoy a spiritual experience involving Marae protocol, entertainment, Maori culture and feasting. Hongi (greet ? pressing of noses) with your host; this tradition means you are a friend. See the fierce Haka (war dance), twirling of poi balls, and other entertainment. Move to the Hangi pit to see the traditional Maori method of food preparation before heading into the dining room for a hangi (feast).

Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tour
Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in a 2-hour guided tour. Witness spectacular views from the rolling green hills of the movie set, and enjoy an authentic sheep farm experience.

Mount Tarawera Volcano Tour
Travel through lush farmland and past lakes to the base of Mt Tarawera. Climb this dormant volcano by 4WD to the edge of its massive crater, for a fully guided walk along the edge of the crater to the summit of the mountain where views of surrounding lakes, mountains and the volcanic plateau can be found. Also, learn about the impact of the 1886 eruption.

Polynesian Spa
Enjoy a unique thermal spa experience on the shore of Lake Rotorua located on a historic site just a five minute walk from the city center. The Lake Spa is a deluxe hot mineral bathing and relaxation area offering pools and a lounge area.

Riverjet Volcanic Tour
Explore a world of gushing geysers, hot springs, bubbling mud pools and some of the most amazing silica terraces in the world. Then, enjoy a 30 minute Riverjet thrill ride ? high speed adventure in an area that many never get to see.

Rotorua Highlights
See the best of Rotorua?s natural and manmade attractions all in a half day tour! Visit Te Puia and the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute where you can view mighty geysers, boiling mud pools, and the traditional arts and culture of the Maori People. Next, travel to Rainbow Springs, a unique showcase of New Zealand?s flora and fauna and national icon, a Kiwi bird. Visit the Agrodome Sheep show and also enjoy panoramic views of Rotorua on board the Skyline Gondola.

Te Puia Guided Tour and Cultural Performance
Experience the power of Te Whakarewarewa geothermal valley with bubbling mud pools, steaming vents and the Pohutu Geyser. Journey into the heart of Maori culture, learning the traditions.

White Island Volcano Landing
Words cannot express the experience that is walking on the active crater floor of this unique lunar landscape. The island?s active volcanic vents, steaming Crater Lake, bubbling hot streams and desolate mining ruins combine to create a surreal experience. From the steaming crater floor of White Island fly to the high and exposed summit of Mount Tarawera ? what an experience!

Boutique Wine Tour
Savor the hidden delights of the world?s southernmost wine growing region. A mix of spectacular New Zealand scenery, fascinating regional history and a chance to visit a selection of boutique wineries are the rewards of a truly great day out! Enjoy light food before taking a scenic drive at Kawarau Gorge and see the Otago Goldfields.

Dart River Wilderness Safari
Transfer to Glenorchy and enjoy a spectacular 90 minute jet boat journey through the Dart?s ever-changing braided river system, surrounded by snow-covered peaks, hidden valleys and waterfalls. Take an easy guided 30-40 minute walk then return by 4WD coach via a scenic back-road route.

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise
Ride along the lake shores and through the rolling countryside to Pearl Harbour, Manapouri. Cruise across the picturesque lake to West Arm, then transfer by coach to the Underground Power Station for time to view the tunnel, rock formations and machine hall. Transfer by coach to Doubtful Sound and board the catamaran for a 3 hour cruise of the Sound to the Tasman Sea. Stop and view historic sites, waterfalls and wildlife.

Funyaks - Jetboat & Canoeing
A funyak is an inflatable canoe, similar to a Canadian canoe. Stable and comfortable, it allows passengers to sit in a variety of positions. The journey is soft adventure, exploring the untouched World Heritage Dart Valley, which features an ancient rainforest, snowy peaks, waterfalls, chasms and crystal blue waters. The adventure includes a thrilling jet boat ride upstream and a 2 hour funyak ride back downstream. Lunch is included.

Milford Sound Heli Tours
Fly via the famous Milford Track and Sutherland Falls to Milford Sound, then land and absorb the beauty of this area. Be whisked out to the mouth of the Sound and along the rugged West Coast for the opportunity to view seals in their natural colonies. Fly inland over glaciers and frozen lakes to a secret wilderness site for a gourmet champagne lunch.

Milford Sound Tour
Travel through some of the most beautiful countryside in New Zealand en route to Milford Sound. On arrival, board a vessel for a leisurely cruise along the Sound to the Tasman Sea. Stop at various points to view waterfalls, rainforests, mountains and seals. You may even see dolphins frolicking alongside the boat. Lunch is included during the cruise.

Milford Track 5 Day
This is a 4 night all-inclusive guided walk through the heart of Fiordland National park to Milford Sound. Walk through beech forest; descend over rocky terrain into the rainforest of the Arthur Valley, and visit Mackay Falls, Lake Ada, Giant?s Gate Falls and Sandfly Point before arriving into Milford Sound. Cruise the Sound before heading back via Homer Tunnel and Te Anau to Queenstown (operated November ? April from Queenstown).

Miners Forest Nature Walk
A guided walk through grassy meadows amidst towering peaks. Encounter old campsites and stone shacks while the history, geology and engineering feats of the region are told.

NZONE - Tandem Skydive
Skydive in Queenstown - the adrenaline capital of the world - and parachute over the stunning Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu. NZONE Skydive was New Zealand's first Tandem Skydive operation, and it has the largest skydiving plane capacity in New Zealand. Operating since 1990, and having jumped over 250,000 customers to-date, they are New Zealand's most experienced Tandem Skydive company. Your flight to altitude will take you high above the Wakatipu basin where you will have a bird's-eye view of dramatic mountains and lakes. Jumping directly above the drop zone, you will experience free fall of up to 60 seconds before your Tandem Master deploys the parachute and together you glide back to earth.

Queenstown Highlights
The tour first stops at Queenstown Hill, offering panoramic views over the town center, Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables Mountain Range. Get a behind the scenes look at how bungee jumping all started, and then travel to Gibbston Winery for an opportunity to taste a selection of wines and browse through the wine shop. Next stop is the historic gold mining settlement of Arrowtown where you can enjoy some time to wander down the quaint main street. Return to Queenstown via the Shotover Canyons with an option to ride the jet boat.

Queenstown to Christchurch (via Mount Cook)
Depart Queenstown and travel through the rugged and beautiful landscape of Otago. Cross the Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country to visit Mount Cook Village at the base of New Zealand?s highest mountain Aoraki/ Mount Cook. Experience an optional scenic helicopter flight. Then, continue the journey with a stop at the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo, before arriving into Christchurch.

Routeburn Track 3 Day
This 2 night all-inclusive guided walk is a trek through both Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Parks. The trail traverses the Southern Alps and descends to the alpine meadows and river gorge of the Routeburn Valley. Since the 1880?s the Routeburn Track has proven to be one of the most accessible and popular journey?s into New Zealand?s forests and mountains (operates November ? April from Queenstown).

Safari of the Scenes
Delve into the heart of New Zealand high country by 4WD. This area is the embodiment of the Middle Earth of JRR Tolkien?s imagination. This scenic charter is based around several of the specific sites where filming took place; these are real places, there are no film sets, merely areas of outstanding natural beauty that need no enhancement. Some of the locations visited include Lothlorien, Isengard Ithilien Camp and Amon Hen.

Skyline Gondola
Reputed to be the steepest lift in the Southern Hemisphere, the gondola carries visitors high above Queenstown to the Skyline complex located on Bob?s Peak. Situated an easy 5 minute walk from central Queenstown, the gondola is an all-weather tourist attraction in its own right. Sit back and relax as the views from the gondola unfold. Gondola with dinner and Kiwi Haka performance is also available.

Triple Challenge
For the ultimate in thrills and adventure travel to the Shotover River and experience an incredibly exciting jet boat ride through the Shotover Gorges. Then transfer to a helipad for a spectacular helicopter ride up the Skippers Canyon. At Deep Creek the rafting crew is waiting to take you on a breathtaking trip down the Shotover River back down through the magnificent Skippers Canyon.

White Water Rafting
Enjoy the thrill of white water rafting on the Kawarau or Shotover Rivers in New Zealand's adventure capital. The Shotover River is the most popular with exciting grade 3-5 rapids, while the Kawarau River provides stunning scenery and is ideal for first timers at grade 2-3.

Glacier Experience
This half day trip includes a 2-mile interpretive walk to the terminal face and the opportunity to climb on the rugged ice face of the Franz Josef Glacier. During the walk, your guide will provide the history of the glacier and geology in action, which is an experience in itself. A full day option is also available and includes an icefall climb. A reasonable level of fitness is recommended to fully enjoy this tour.

Heli Hike
Combining a helicopter flight to Franz Josef Glacier with a guided walk amongst ice caves, pinnacles and seracs of this pristine, alpine environment is a truly incredible experience. From a mantle of pure white snow, admire massive rivers of ice winding their way down glacier valleys and explore ancient glaciers, an incredible natural phenomenon. See all the unique sides of this beautiful area from multiple vantage points.

Akaroa Tour
Board a nature and harbor cruise on the Canterbury Cat and explore the volcanic harbor where sightings may be made of the world?s smallest dolphins, Fur Seals and numerous seabirds (opportunities to swim with dolphins also available). If time allows, stroll through the village, taking in the quaint French charm which is unique to Akaroa. Morning and afternoon tea, lunch and a cheese tasting at the Barry?s Bay Cheese Factory is included.

Arthur's Pass National Park and TranzAlpine
Sit back and relax on board the TranzAlpine, a train journey that crosses the Canterbury Plains, winds its way through the stunning Waimakariri Gorge, pass massive viaducts, through tussock-covered high country before heading into the Southern Alps. Take guided short walks through Arthurs Pass National Park, experience forests, rivers and mountain vistas. Visit the Waimak Gorge before arriving back into Christchurch.

Christchurch Must See Three
This morning tour commences with a transfer to the Air Force Museum at Wigram, hosting 28 fully restored aircraft with static and interactive displays. The next stop is the International Antarctic Centre, recreating the atmosphere of Antarctica and providing an interactive experience. The tour then moves on to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve which contains a large variety of animal life both native and introduced. View the kiwi in its natural habitat, with an opportunity to feed and pet the animals throughout the reserve. The tour concludes with a drop off back to your accommodation.

Hot Air Ballooning
Christchurch is the only place in the world where one can fly in a balloon from the center of the city, toward snow-capped mountains, within view of the ocean. The champagne balloon flight is a 4-5 hour experience, with the hour long flight beginning at sunrise. Perhaps assist the crew as they prepare the balloon for the flight. After landing in a farmer?s field, celebrate the successful flight with champagne.

Kaikoura Whale Watch
Travel by road or train through the rolling hill country of North Canterbury, enjoying the beauty of its rural pastoral scenes to Kaikoura. This area is renowned for its variety marine mammals, including the giant sperm whale and the acrobatic Dusky Dolphins (sightings not guaranteed). Arrive in Kaikoura and board the whale watch boat. Before heading back, visit a seal colony and make a stop at the North Canterbury vineyard to enjoy a wine tasting. Lunch is included.

About Swain Destinations
Customizing the travel experience, Swain Destinations is the leading U.S. provider of completely personalized exotic vacation experiences. Since 1987, Co-Founders Ian and Linda Swain, and their dedicated team of destination experts have offered American travelers the opportunity to design distinctive trips to intriguing international locales, including Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Asia, India, and Africa. From adventure-packed trips to leisurely getaways, Swain Destinations curates itineraries based on each individual’s travel preferences. Dynamic experiences range from a chef’s table dining extravaganza on Hayman to a safari journey across the East African Plains.

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Prices are per-person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted.