New Zealand’s best kept secret is out! Winter is truly a spectacular time to visit New Zealand! More and more people are visiting New Zealand in winter time to experience its breath taking alpine scenery, snow-capped mountains and pristine lakes. Experience a Kiwi winter wonderland with this 14 day New Zealand tour from favourite destinations such as Rotorua, Tongariro, Abel Tasman, Mount Cook National Park and Milford Sound to a few new favourites in winter such as renowned Thermal Hot Pool and Spas of Hanmer Springs and the world class alpine village of Queenstown!

13 Night / 14 Day New Zealand Winter Tour

Auckland
Rotorua
Tongariro National Park
Wellington
Nelson
Abel Tasman National Park
Mount Cook
Queenstown
Milford Sound
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Tour Price

MoaTrek Winter Kiwi Icon
$7890 pp twin
$9990 pp single
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Tour Map

Day 1: Arrive in Auckland

Auckland skyline by water in winter

Your tour starts from Auckland, New Zealand’s "City of Sails" and one of the friendly MoaTrek team will meet you at the airport today (or whenever you arrive) and will drop you off at your hotel. Your home for the night is just a short stroll away from the cafes and restaurants of Viaduct Harbour, Wynyard Quarter, Princes Wharf and the downtown shopping district. Can’t wait to get out into that New Zealand fresh air?  Ferries to Devonport or the Hauraki Gulf islands are right there too!

There’s no better way to get your bearings than to take the stunning view from the Sky Tower, or a short ride to the Auckland Museum, watching over the city from the Auckland Domain.

What you'll love today
  • One of the friendly MoaTrek team will meet you team at the airport for a short city orientation and drop you off at your waterfront accommodation
  • Everything is right at your doorstep, easy walking distance to the viaduct, restaurants, ferries, shopping, theatres, museums, information and services
Your accommodation tonight

Day 2: Auckland - Rotorua

Sailing on Lake Rotoiti in winter

From Auckland our tour continues to Rotorua, via the lush pastures of the Waikato and fruit basket of the Bay of Plenty. Our first stop is the dramatic Karangahake Gorge for a stroll alongside the Ohinemuri River through native bush to the relics and ruins of this region's gold-mining past.

We pass through Te Puke, the Kiwifruit capital of the world, where we'll visit a working Kiwifruit orchard before continuing on to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. Along the way, at Okawa Bay, we board "Tiua", a 53ft catamaran for a relaxing sail on serene Lake Rotoiti to secluded coves and finish the day with a warm relaxing soak in natural hot pools reached only by boat - a memorable end to an awesome day. 

What you'll love today
  • The rich gold mining history of the stunning Karangahake Gorge
  • Sailing across Lake Rotoiti for a soak in secluded hot pools
Your accommodation tonight

Day 3: Rotorua tours and activities

Ohinemutu village meeting house in winter

We’ve got two nights in Rotorua, so take it easy this morning! Perhaps stroll down to the lakeside, just minutes from your hotel, or enjoy one of Rotorua's many guided tours and attractions. Don’t miss nearby Ohinemutu marae, one of only two living Maori villages left in New Zealand.  We'll head to the famous 'Buried Village of Te Wairoa' for a hosted lunch with our friends David and Karen, you’ll love them and their stories from their Maori and European histories.

After lunch we take a walk around the village itself and then the afternoon is yours to take in the sights and sounds of Rotorua.   Relax and wind-down in the many hot pool options, such as the iconic Polynesian Spas, voted by Conde Nast as one of the Top 10 spas in the world, or slip into one of the only mud baths in New Zealand at Hell's Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Spa, to experience the curative and invigorating properties of the renowned geothermal mud, likened to 'playing in silk'.

What you'll love today
  • Enjoy a hosted lunch at New Zealand’s only buried village
  • Relax in one of Rotoruas renowned hot pools & mud spas
Your accommodation tonight

Day 4: Rotorua - Tongariro National Park

Couple overlooking Huka Falls in winter

No Kiwi holiday would be complete without a visit to the surreal, geothermal reserve of Wai-O-Tapu. The bubbling mud pools and incredibly colourful silica terraces are unforgettable.

From Rotorua we continue on our adventure to ‘Great Lake’ Taupo, for a stop at the famous Huka Falls. We’ll take our time and make plenty of stops around the lake to enjoy the magnificent views of our three volcanoes - Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. These lunar landscape of the volcanic plateau are our next stop on tour, Tongariro National Park.  You’ll love the grandeur of our home for the night ‘Chateau Tongariro’ at the foot of Mt Ruapehu, the perfect spot to stretch your legs on a short walk before dinner.

What you'll love today
  • Boiling mud and unbelievable colour at Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Area
  • The story behind New Zealand’s oldest National Park and World Heritage Area
Your accommodation tonight

Day 5: Tongariro National Park - Wellington

Chateau Tongariro nestled amongst blue skies and alpine hills in winter

Our day starts in style, with breakfast at the historic Chateau Tongariro nestled at the base of the mountains. You can chose from a variety of activities such as taking a chairlift to New Zealand's highest cafe 2020m above sea level with spectacular views over the upper slopes of Whakapapa or a choice of beautiful New Zealand walks through the Silica rapids or Taranaki Falls.

From there, we are on to Wellington, New Zealand's capital where the afternoon is yours to explore at your leisure.

What you'll love today
  • A winter wonderland at the Chateau Tongariro
  • Wellington's vibrant creative culture of food, wine and craft beer
Your accommodation tonight

Day 6: Explore Wellington

Group of people at the Mt Victoria lookout in winter

Explore ’the coolest little capital in the world', Wellington. Check out the city's sights and head up Mt Victoria for the stunning views over the harbour, or explore the heart of Wellington's vibrant hub of museums, theatres, galleries, boutiques and cafes.  Looking for some local flavour? Ask for one of Wellington’s trendy craft beers with your dinner (Our pick – Tuatara).

What you'll love today
  • Mt Victoria with stunning views of Wellington harbour
  • The bustling cultural hub of cafes, bars, art galleries and museums
Your accommodation tonight

Day 7: Wellington - Cook Strait Crossing - Picton - Blenheim - Nelson

Forrest wines in Marlborough on a beautiful winters day

Loading up the car and heading across to ‘the mainland’ is what we all used to do on holiday as kids, it’s a Kiwi rite of passage!  We cruise on the Interislander ferry for three hours across Cook Strait and into beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton to plant our feet firmly on “Te Waka a Maui”, the South Island. Our first port of call is Forrest Wines for tasting and lunch, right in the heart of the world famous Marlborough sauvignon blanc region.

From wine country we head to through the heart of Marlborough toward Nelson, the sunshine capital of New Zealand and gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. Along the way we cross the Pelorus River bridge, scene of the Barrel Run scene from the Hobbit movies. In Nelson relax and unpack, this is home for 2 nights.

What you'll love today
  • Cruising on the Interislander (get your guide to sing the song!)
  • Marlborough sauvignon blanc with lunch, delicious
Your accommodation tonight

Day 8: Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park

Enjoying the beautiful Abel Tasman beach in winter

Today is a highlight of the tour for many people – everyone has seen stunning photos of Abel Tasman National Park and now you’re here! Take your pick from a full scenic cruise or a cruise / walk combo to hike a section of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. Autumn and winter are one of the best times to visit with little wind. Days are crisp and clear, perfect to take in the picturesque scenery and beautiful beaches, and there are less people on the tracks at this time of year!

 

What you'll love today
  • Cruising the crystal clear blue waters of Abel Tasman National Park
  • Walk a section of the beautiful coastal track
Your accommodation tonight

Day 9: Nelson - Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Springs amongst spectacular alpine scenery in winter

We depart Nelson for the famous Pelorus River (scene of the Barrel Run from the Hobbit) before leaving the orchards and artisans behind for the foothills of the Southern Alps and Canterbury. The road travels through the picturesque countryside of the upper South Island before traversing the Southern Alps at the Lewis Pass and continuing on to the picturesque alpine village of Hanmer Springs!

In the evening relax and wind down in the world renowned Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spas set amongst breath taking alpine scenery!  

What you'll love today
  • First views of the Southern Alps, playground for the rest of our journey.
  • Relaxing in the world renowned thermal pools amongst breath taking alpine scenery
Your accommodation tonight

Day 10: Hanmer Springs - Akaunui Homestead - Aoraki / Mt Cook

Friends standing in front of Lake Pukaki on the winter tour

We travel from the alpine village of Hanmer Springs to visit Akaunui Homestead, a working farm and Canterbury heritage building surrounded by huge gardens.  They'll show us round their farm and home, as we enjoy great Kiwi company and fresh produce straight from the garden of our friends, Di and Ian Mackenzie.

After lunch, we continue on our journey through Burke's Pass to New Zealand’s spectacular Mackenzie Country, for sweeping vistas of tussock lands and the backbone of the South Island, the Southern Alps. We’ll make plenty for stops en route, we can’t miss the Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo and the unreal turquoise blue of Lake Pukaki. 

In the evening, enjoy spectacular star gazing at Mt Cook at one of the darkest sky reserves in the world! It’s even better at winter time as the skies get darker earlier giving you more time to enjoy this incredible experience!

What you'll love today
  • A hosted country lunch with friends at Akaunui homestead
  • Star gazing in one of the worlds recognised dark sky reserves at Mt Cook
Your accommodation tonight

Day 11: Aoraki/Mt Cook - Queenstown

Group travellers on Tasman glacier cruise in winter

Always a memorable time on tour, your day in Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain and ‘home ground’ of the most famous Kiwi of all, Sir Edmund Hillary. Take your pick from exploring the dramatic landscape on one of the many easy walking tracks around the village, or make it an experience you’ll never forget with a boat cruise on the glacial lake, a scenic flight or a heli hike high up on the Tasman Glacier!

After lunch we’ll head south, over the Lindis Pass and through the rugged scenery of the Kawarau Gorge onto the renowned world class alpine village of Queenstown. In winter, Queenstown transforms into a winter wonderland, attracting snow sports enthusiasts, with its finest ski and snowboard terrain and vibrant après ski scene. Queenstown buzzes with its annual Winter Festival full of street parades, fireworks, entertainment, live music and so much more.

What you'll love today
  • Surround yourself in New Zealand’s most stunning alpine scenery - there’s nowhere like ‘Aoraki Mt Cook and the Tasman Glacier
  • Settle in for three nights in Queenstown and take in the buzz of winter festivals and the après ski scene.
Your accommodation tonight

Day 12: Queenstown - Milford Sound

Scenic flights of Milford Sound in winter

Today is all about the one and only Milford Sound, from Queenstown we follow the shores of the great southern lakes before heading into the heart of Fiordland National Park on the spectacular Milford Road.  Everything you’ve heard is true, this is unreal countryside.

On arrival into Milford head out onto the water on our cruise out onto the sound, dominated by iconic Mitre Peak and home to birdlife, seal colonies and pods of dolphins. A magical flight over the Southern Alps returns us to Queenstown at the end of a fantastic day of touring by land, sea and air. The very best of Milford!

What you'll love today
  • Milford Sound cruise and scenic flight, no better way to experience Fiordland
  • New Zealand’s most stunning road, through the heart of Fiordland National Park
Your accommodation tonight

Day 13: Queenstown Activities and Day Tours

MoaTrek Dart River Safari Winter Tour

Today is yours to make the most of the infinite choice of day tours and activities Queenstown has to offer, and your Kiwi Guide will be right there to help.

What do we love in Queenstown?  A jet boat ride on the remote and beautiful Dart River in The Lord of the Rings scenery, walking along the lakeshore and the Botanic Gardens or take a thrilling raft ride on the Kawarau River. Other favourites are wine tasting in the celebrated boutique vineyards of Central Otago, golf on one of New Zealand’s best courses, a day walk on the famous Routeburn Track or cruising Lake Wakatipu on the 1912 Steamship, the Earnslaw

What you'll love today
  • Take your pick from literally hundreds of activities and tours on offer in Queenstown
  • Celebrate your Red Letter Day with dinner at one of the many award winning restaurants on the waterfront
Your accommodation tonight

Day 14: Depart Queenstown

Aerial shot of Queenstown in winter

This morning relax over a leisurely breakfast before being picked up from your hotel for transfer to the airport for your flight home after your memorable tour. Thank you for choosing to travel with MoaTrek New Zealand Small Group Tours. Ka kite ano - "See you again".

What you'll love today
  • Free time to take in those amazing views one more time
  • Looking back on your wonderful adventures over the last 2 weeks

The friendly team at MoaTrek would love to chat

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