New Zealand Highlights & Cook Islands [ST-966] - About New Zealand
 
 
14 Days: New Zealand Highlights & Cook Islands [ST-966]
Starting at
$3,458
Per Person
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Highlights & Inclusions
  • Accommodation - Queenstown (3 Nights), Auckland (3), Rarotonga (4)
  • US Domestic Flights not included per your request
  • International Flights - Los Angeles to Auckland, Auckland to Rarotonga, Rarotonga to Los Angeles
  • New Zealand Domestic Flights- Auckland to Queenstown (Return)
  • Shuttle Transfers - Queenstown Airport to Accommodation (Return), Auckland Airport to Accommodation (Return), Rarotonga Airport to Accommodation (Return)
  • Day Tours Included - Queenstown: Gondola Ride with Spectacular Views, Scenic Milford Sound Experience; Auckland: Rotorua Geothermal & Waitomo Glow Worm Caves; Rarotonga: Dayroom, Late Check-out from Accommodation
  • All other Day Tours listed are Optional (Not Included)
  • Visa Issuance for entry into Australia (additional US$15.00 per person)
  • F.I.T. (Free & Independent Travel, i.e. this is not an Organized Group Tour)
  • All Taxes and Fuel Levies (Except where noted)
  • Itinerary is flexible and can be tailored to suit your needs.
Itinerary Details
(Day 1) - International Flight, Los Angeles to Auckland

Shortly after departing Los Angeles you will be served dinner and you will be given breakfast before landing in Auckland.

Relax, watch some movies, and try to get some sleep!

Please confirm with the airlines at Check-in that they have all your Frequent Flyer information on record.

(Day 2) - New Zealand Domestic Flight, Auckland to Queenstown

Travel by New Zealand domestic air from Auckland to Queenstown (South Island).

(Day 2 cont) - Shuttle Transfer, Queenstown Airport to Accommodation

Travel by shuttle from the Airport to your vacation accommodation in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Please note: For airport transfers – 2 suitcases per person, extra pieces may be charged at $5.00 per piece. Surfboards, Bicycles etc – $5.00 each.

(Days 2 to 5) - 3 Nights Accommodation in Queenstown

Travel to your accommodation in Queenstown, New Zealand, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 3 nights.

It’s all about location! Your 4 star accommodations sits in a tranquil lakefront setting only a minute’s walk from the heart of Queenstown with shopping, restaurants, nightlife and activities all within easy reach. This fresh, modern hotel features rooms and facilities furnished with the finest comforts and conveniences. A place where you can relax with superb uninterrupted views of the lake, mountains and adjoining gardens. Comfortable and serene you will surely enjoy your stay here!

Upgrades Available: Garden View Room, Lakeview Room

(Day 2) - Day Tour, Gondola Ride with Spectacular Views

One of the first sights to captivate visitors to Queenstown is the distinctive outline of the Skyline complex high above town.

Located an easy 5 minute walk from central Queenstown and exclusively accessed by scenic gondola, Skyline Gondola, Restaurant & Luge is a must-see attraction during your visit to Queenstown, New Zealand. The best views in the region are found here spread out in a spectacular 220 degree panorama, with breathtaking views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkable mountain range and across Lake Wakatipu to Cecil and Walter Peaks. It’s truly magnificent and awe-inspiring!

Of course there’s more to do than just admire the view! For an additional cost you can:

  • Enjoy a dinner or relax in the bar in the Skyline Restaurant. Casual dining is also available during the day in the Cafe.
  • Thrill seekers can hurtle down the winding downhill Skyline Luge. Purpose built Luge carts put you in complete control as you take on a half-mile of banked corners, tunnels and dippers. Once you’ve conquered the course, hop on the chairlift and do it all again, and again, and again. Gentle and leisurely or steep and adventurous, you’ll be hooked.
  • Explore the southern night sky of Queenstown with a guided tour of the galaxy and learn about the stars, nebulae and planets that make up our solar system and beyond.

Ask your Destination Specialist about available combo packages to make your day at Skyline more enjoyable.

Various walking tracks can also be accessed from Skyline, from an easy 30 minute walk to a full day hike.

(Day 3) - Free Day to Explore Queenstown

Spend a day to relax or explore dynamic Queenstown.

This region is renowned for its incedible adventure activities and spectacular outdoor terrain. You could try skiing, snowboarding, bungy jumping, paragliding, jetboating, sky diving and more! Or, if you want something a little more relaxed, you can choose from numerous family activities, nature experiences, tours and beauty spas. One hundred and forty years after our establishment as a gold mining camp, central Queenstown has transformed into a sophisticated cosmopolitan town, tucked into a picturesque bay on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, beneath majestic mountains. There’s a permanent buzz in downtown Queenstown, where you’ll find a fantastic choice of restaurants, a lively bar scene and excellent shopping.

Photo Credit: Tourism New Zealand

Optional Day Tour (Not Included)- Shotover Jet

Welcome to Shotover Jet Country, Queenstown New Zealand.

Get ready for the World’s most exciting Jet Boat ride! Acknowledged as the World’s most famous Jet Boat operation, many imitate Shotover Jet but for sheer excitement, no one comes close.

It’s a thrilling ride – skimming past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet ‘Big Red’, as you twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breath taking speeds. And a major highlight – hold tight for the world famous Shotover Jet full 360º spins!


No visit to Queenstown is complete without “Catching the Canyons” with award winning Shotover Jet, “the World’s most exciting Jet Boat ride” and the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons.
Shotover Jet operates every day of the year (weather and river conditions permitting) except Christmas day.

Optional Day Tour (Not Included)- Dart River Safari - ½ Day

This jet boat adventure offers your senses a feast of spectacular natural beauty on a journey into the wilderness of a World Heritage area.

Your day begins with 1.5 hour journey on a jet boat through the Dart’s river system. You’ll be surrounded by beautiful snow-covered peaks, hidden valleys & waterfalls. Your day includes a guided walk (30-40 minutes) along the ‘Heritage Trail’ at Paradise. Your guide will provide you with informative & entertaining commentary about the ancient native beech forest. The forests of this region sit within a World Heritage Area, one of the only natural sites of its kind that is accessible to the public.


Your guide details the fascinating history of this area from the days of Gondwanaland, to quests by Maori for prized pounamu, to the present day efforts of New Zealand’s department of conservation for the preservation of the area. The day ends with a 4WD coach drive along a scenic back road. You will be entertained with stories of the countryside. On the ride home you will stop to view the scenery made famous by Peter Jackson in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogies.

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Lord of the Rings Tour

Take in the breathtaking sights of the land around Queenstown with time spent at ‘Lord of the Rings’ filming locations.

On this half day tour you will take in gorgeous mountain and forest views along the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Your Lord of the Rings set locations include Isengard, Ithilien Camp, beech forests used for Lothlorien and the Seat of Seeing/Battle of Amon Hen.

*This tour is available both morning or afternoon

*Wakatipu Tour may be added to create a full day tour

(Day 4) - Day Tour, Scenic Milford Sound Experience - Full Day

Visit one of New Zealand’s unmissable destinations with a day trip to Milford Sound, and a magical cruise on the fiord.

You will depart Queenstown and pass through some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world – gaze out at panoramic views of the mountains, valleys and waterfalls of Fiordland National Park as you travel in our glass-roof coach and hear entertaining commentary from your local driver guide. Keep your camera at the ready as your guide will stop along the way at some truly stunning photo opportunities.

There are so many things you will see during your Milford Sound cruise – landmarks of Milford Sound include Mitre Peak, waterfalls that hurtle through native bush into the fiord, and sheer cliffs created by ancient glaciers. Wildlife in Milford Sound can include seals, penguins and even dolphins, so keep an eye out during your cruise.

After your cruise, step back on board your coach for the return journey to Queenstown.

Departs: 7:20 am
Returns: 7:45 pm

(Day 5) - Shuttle Transfer, Queenstown Accommodation to Airport

Travel by shuttle from your vacation accommodation in Queenstown, New Zealand, to the Airport.

Please note: For airport transfers – 2 suitcases per person, extra pieces may be charged at $5.00 per piece. Surfboards, Bicycles etc – $5.00 each.

(Day 5 cont) - New Zealand Domestic Flight, Queenstown to Auckland

Travel within New Zealand by domestic air from Queenstown to Auckland (North Island).

(Day 5 cont) - Shuttle Transfer, Auckland Airport to Accommodation

Travel by shuttle from the Airport to your vacation accommodation in Auckland, New Zealand.

Please note: For airport transfers – 2 suitcases per person, extra pieces may be charged at $5.00 per piece. Surfboards, Bicycles etc – $5.00 each.

(Days 5 to 8) - 3 Nights Accommodation in Auckland

Travel to your accommodation in Auckland, New Zealand, where you will be staying whilst on vacation for 3 nights.

Auckland is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, regularly voted one of the best lifestyle cities in the world– renowned as that ‘City Of Sails.’ Dramatic landscapes and seascapes provide a diverse playground in which a compelling range of attractions are available. Visitors come to enjoy an array of exciting entertainment, leisure, culture and dining possibilities in New Zealand’s largest city.

(Day 6) - Full Day Tour, Rotorua Geothermal & Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

On your vacation travel by deluxe luxury coach to the Waitomo Glow-Worm Caves and the spectacular geothermal regions of Rotorua, New Zealand.

Depart Auckland: Travel the main Southern Highway through small rural townships steeped in early pioneer history. Your host serves morning tea during this sector.

Waikato: Travel through New Zealand’s largest dairy and sheep farming province. Travel the outskirts of Hamilton City via the small farming settlements towards the King Country, birthplace of the Maori Monarchy.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves: Join a guided tour through this world-famous cave formation, climaxed by drifting silently in a boat through a glow worm cavern lit up with thousands of tiny glow worm lights.

Light Lunch: Served on-board as we make our way to Rotorua through magnificent rural farmland with its vast numbers of grazing animals.

Rotorua: New Zealand’s highest city, 305 meters (1000 feet) above sea level, located inside the rim of a volcanic crater. An area of great geothermal activity. We visit the following attractions:

Agrodome Farm Tour: An introduction to New Zealand farming, with a 45-minute tour of an authentic working farm in all-weather, all-terrain vehicles. Watch a sheep being shorn and hand-feed the animals.

Lake Rotorua: Drive through the foreshore park past the hundreds of ducks and swans. Then through the beautiful historic Government Gardens.

Te Puia Insitute (Maori Arts & Crafts & Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve): One of Rotorua’s most famous attractions. See woodcarving, weaving displays, Maori village and the thermal valley with the famous Pohutu Geyser, fumaroles, colourful silica deposits and boiling mud pools.

Return to Auckland: Your attraction-packed day concludes as the coach travels through the beautiful horse breeding district of Matamata and the pastureland of the Hauraki plains. A light snack is served on this sector.

(Day 7) - Free Day to Explore Auckland

Visit one of Auckland’s many attractions.

Fly a kite or throw a Frisbee in the beautifully landscaped Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park. Critique a giant selection of both traditional and contemporary art at Auckland Art Gallery. Take a walking, swim or hike through any of Auckland’s 25 Regional Parks. Have a laugh at The Classic Comedy and Bar in Queen Street, New Zealand’s home of live comedy. Take the bus over to Eden Park, New Zealand’s largest stadium. In the evening you can join the dancing on K’Road and party on till the wee hours at one of the many nightclubs. Or maybe you would rather visit the trendy suburb of Ponsonby and enjoy delicious cuisine, superb lattes or cocktails if more to your taste. And if it is cafes, bars and restaurants you’re after, the Viaduct Harbour has a great selection.

Photo Credit: Tourism New Zealand – Julian Apse

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Piha Canyon

Piha Canyon Abseiling Adventure, North Island, New Zealand (Day Tour)

The Piha Canyon – Abseiling (repelling) down showering waterfalls surrounded by moss and fern covered volcanic rock walls, swimming through pools of blues and greens, jumps, caves, and slides as you explore the canyon! You will also see the remains of the original pioneers wood constructed logging dam and learn about the local history and Maori culture. Includes transport, bakery lunch / refreshments, full equipment, a visit to black sand Piha Surf Beach and a beautiful rainforest walk. All obstacles are optional, no experience needed.

Minimum age 12 years. Any booking of less than 4 pax will be confirmed as tentative.

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Waiheke Island Explorer - Half Day

This stunning island just off the Auckland coast boasts 92 square kms of beautiful beaches, vineyards, olive groves, native bush and laid back seaside villages. It’s a great day out from Auckland as well as a superb holiday destination or a weekend getaway.

Be introduced to Waiheke on the Waiheke Explorer Tour, a picturesque 40-minute boat trip followed by a 1.5 hour scenic highlights tour of Waiheke’s stunning locations. Cruise to Waiheke through the glorious Hauraki Gulf and on arrival you’ll be met by an experienced guide who will give you a taste of the views, culture and history that make up the diverse island of Waiheke.

On conclusion of the tour, take advantage of the complimentary All Day Bus Pass allowing you to either return to a destination visited on the tour, or discover the island further on scheduled public bus services.

Photo Credit: Tourism New Zealand

Insider's Tip: Auckland City Explorer Bus

Join us for a unique, fun and informative tour of Auckland – New Zealand’s largest city!

Nestled between two harbours, this beautiful vibrant city, has a diverse mix of culture and landscapes. With world-class attractions and activities, shopping and eateries – you can explore it all with Soaring Kiwi Tours!

Hop-On and Hop-Off as you explore the city at your leisure. Choose from an open or closed top double decker buses which are both classic and new, with incredible views from the top deck! There are two tour routes you can choose from to visit all the must-see attractions! Enjoy the ‘Live’ entertaining commentary from your friendly driver.

Multi-lingual commentaries also available.

(Day 8) - Shuttle Transfer, Auckland Accommodation to Airport

Travel by shuttle from your vacation accommodation in Auckland, New Zealand, to the Airport.

Please note: For airport transfers – 2 suitcases per person, extra pieces may be charged at $5.00 per piece. Surfboards, Bicycles etc – $5.00 each.

(Day 8) - International Flight, Auckland to Rarotonga

Fly internationally from Auckland, New Zealand to Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

(Day 7) - Shuttle Transfer, from Cook Islands Airport to Accommodation

Experience a Meet & Greet upon arrival and relax as you are transferred from the airport to your Cook Islands accommodation.

(Days 7 to 11) - 4 Nights Accommodation on Rarotonga, Cook Island

Spend 4 nights on the beautiful island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

Your beautiful vacation accommodation’s unequalled resort location puts guests right at the heart of one of Rarotonga’s most outstanding natural features – Muri Lagoon. The lagoon is the island’s aquatic playground for superb and safe snorkelling and swimming. With other water sports like kayaking, wind surfing, kite surfing, sailing and glass-bottomed boat rides, there’s always an opportunity to get out on the water and away from it all. If rest and relaxation is what you’re craving, look no further. Breathe in the fresh air while basking in the sun on the white sand beaches while looking out over the blue water lagoon.

(Days 9 to 10) - Free Days to Explore Rarotonga

Enjoy the many attractions Rarotonga has to offer.

Dominated by a once almighty volcanic pyramid, now worn down by time and streams to sawtooth peaks and razorback ridges, the lush green carpeted Rarotonga, is the capital, and the hub of the Cook Islands.

This island paradise is also the youngest island of the group, so unlike its equally enchanting sisters which have been eroded and submerged by age, Rarotonga stands brilliantly upright against the sun. Its vistas are strewn and spiked with jutting pinnacles that fall to terraces and flats planted with bananas, coconuts, paw paw and pineapples that shift into a swampy plateau marked by the inimitable taro patch.

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Jungle Quad Adventure

Offering thrills and challenges driving your very own 4-wheel quad.

Get lost deep in our beautiful lush and preserved jungle driving your very own 350cc Yamaha Grizzly Quad! This 90% off road adventure will see you venturing through 2 – 3 hidden valleys in Turangi and get a close view of the great Te Atukura Mountain.

The Quads are fully automatic and orientation is given at the beginning of the tour. We recommend comfortable clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty! Bring mosquito repellant and wear your swimsuit for a quick dip at the waterfall at the end of your tour

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Rarotonga Safari Tour

Experience Raro the local way!

See breathtaking panoramic views, travel the ancient road (Ara Metua) built by the Cook Islands ancestors, see ancient Marae’s (sacred sites) and find out about local traditions, culture & customs. Prepare a traditional underground oven (Umu) then while it’s cooking, head off for your safari tour and return to enjoy the Umu feast for lunch!

Photo Credit: Cook Islands Tourism

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Rarotonga Lagoon Cruise

Lagoon cruises are one of the best ways to spend an unforgettable time in the lagoon waters of Rarotonga.

Discover the lagoon and inner reef area of Rarotonga where marine life is abundant aboard a Glass Bottom Lagoon Cruiser. Swim and snorkel amongst schools of colourful Butterfly, Wrasse and Trigger fish, see giant clams in their natural habitat and top off the experience with a BBQ lunch on a remote uninhabited offshore island with Pacific Island singing and a performance.

Optional Day Tour (Not Included) - Sunset Sail

Welcome aboard the S.V. Southern Cross a 58ft Sailing Vessel based in Rarotonga.

This special 2-hour Sunset cruise departs around 5pm (dependent on daylight savings) providing scenic sunsets and stunning views of Rarotonga. Refreshments and snacks provided. We recommend bringing a bottle of something special for this magical cruise.

Insider's Tip: Visit the Local Brewery

Visit the local microbrewery in Rarotonga for a taste of genuine, Rarotongan lager.

The Cooks Lager brewery is one of only two in Rarotonga, and they go the extra mile to deliver the most refreshing lager, whether it is from the bottle or beer on tap. Made without preservatives and additives on-site using imported hops and grains lovingly combined with fresh island water, it is a genuine, Rarotongan lager.

The brewery is open Monday to Saturday from 9:00am to 4:30pm and tours are offered at 1:00pm daily. Come in and enjoy a sample tasting. Come see the brewing process firsthand and enjoy a sample testing of the brews: Premium Lager, Original Blonde, and Cheeky Darkie.

Consider taking the city bus to the brewery, or hire a scooter to drive there yourself! Either way, you are sure to enjoy the microbrewery.

Inside's Tip: Hop On and Off the Bus

Hop on and off the bus that routes around the entire island to see main attractions or to explore.

To really see the island of Rarotonga, consider taking the bus. It operates a clockwise and counterclockwise route around the entire island on the main coast road. It only takes about 50 minutes to circumnavigate the whole island. It is a great way of spotting some main landmarks.

All buses leave from the bus stop outside Cook’s Corner in Avarua. Daytime buses going clockwise around the island depart every hour on the hour from 7am to 4pm on weekdays, 1pm to 4pm on Saturday, and from 8am to midday and 2pm to 4pm on Sunday.

Buses going counterclockwise depart at 25 minutes past every hour, 8.25am to 4.30pm on weekdays only.

If you plan on going out at night, you may still use the bus! A night-time bus service runs clockwise only from Monday to Thursday and on Saturday from 6pm to 10pm, with extra hourly buses on Friday night from midnight to 2am.

The bus fare is NZ$3 for one ride and NZ$5 for a return trip (two rides). We recommend a day pass valid for one day’s unlimited travel (NZ$10).

Photo Credit: Cook Islands Tourism

(Day 11) - Dayroom, Late Check-out from Accommodation

Enjoy the day use of your accommodation in Rarotonga before you depart in the evening.

Insider's Tip: Visit the Local Farmer's Market on Saturday

Visit the Local Market on Saturday morning for freshly made food, ripe fruits, and more.

The Farmers Market is buzzing on Saturday mornings. To enjoy the Punanga Nui Markets like a local, drag yourself out of bed early (7-8am). You’ll get to see a plethora of local seasonal produce.

The favourites – passionfruit, mangoes, etc sell out quickly. Ask the friendly locals for advice on the ripest fruit and best eating, as they are sure to give you the best advice. If you haven’t tried “nu” (the juice of a young coconut) you can pick up a drinking coconut for around a dollar!

The “Truly Cook Islands” dish called Ika Mata is marinated raw fish in lime and coconut juice. You can’t visit Rarotonga without trying this delectable dish! Race down to the Lazy Diner, better known as the Red Hut, for this treat, freshly made each day.

You mught also try Poke (pronounced ‘po’ as in ‘pork’ and ‘ke’ as in ‘keg’), made with local fruit and cassava/tapioca. You should also consider the Chicken and Taro Root dish, which incorporates coconut milk, taro, shallots, and ginger. There is an abundance of freshly made pastries, tropical fruit smoothies, and fresh waffles in addition to these local favorites.

Sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to see local and visiting cultural groups doing a fundraising performance at the market – this is another chance to enjoy Cook Islands drumming, singing and dancing and of course, it’s also great for photos.

Everything shuts down around midday, so arrive early and enjoy all the excitement the locals have to offer!

Photo Credit: Cook Islands Tourism

(Day 11 cont) - Shuttle Transfer, from Cook Islands Accommodation to Airport

Travel from your Cook Islands accommodation to the airport.

(Day 11 cont) - International Flight, Rarotonga, Cook Islands to Los Angeles

Fly internationally from Rarotonga, Cook Islands to Los Angeles, USA.

 
Detailed Pricing
Approximate Pricing Double Occupancy Sole Occupancy Permitted USA Departure Dates & Fare Rules
Land Content Only $3,458 $5,173 International return flights from the USA are not included. Please see detailed itinerary (above) for more information on inclusions. Itinerary can commence any day (subject to availability).
Special (Economy Class) $4,223 $5,937 Feb 15 2019 - Dec 10 2019
USA Departures: 15 FEB - 21 JUN, 24 JUL - 17 SEP & 01 NOV - 10 DEC. Expires 17 APR 2019
International Return Flights from the USA (Los Angeles) are included. Non-Refundable, Non-Changeable. Other Dates may also apply. For details phone Toll-Free: (888)359 2877
Basic (Economy Class) $5,549 $7,263 Basic: 24JUL-21SEP 2018 and 1MAY-8JUN 2019. International Return Flights from the USA (Los Angeles) are included. Non-Refundable. Changeable (Fees Apply). Subject to Availability
Shoulder (Economy Class) $5,756 $7,470 Shoulder: 9JUN-23JUL 2018, 22SEP-8DEC 2018 and 1FEB-30APR 2019. International Return Flights from the USA (Los Angeles) are included. Non-Refundable. Changeable (Fees Apply). Subject to Availability
Peak (Economy Class) $6,273 $7,988 Peak: 9DEC 2018 - 31JAN 2019. International Return Flights from the USA (Los Angeles) are included. Non-Refundable. Changeable (Fees Apply) Subject to Availability
Premium (Economy Class) $8,526 $10,240 Premium Economy Class International Return Flights from the USA (Los Angeles) are included. Change and Cancellation Fees Apply. Subject to Availability.
Business Class $8,135 $9,850 Business Class International Return Flights from the USA (Los Angeles) are included. Subject to Availability.
First Class $18,982 $20,697 First Class International Return Flights from the USA (Los Angeles) are included. Subject to Availability.
  • a) All prices are USD$/person (including all Taxes). Subject to availability. Other Conditions Apply (see Terms and Conditions).
  • b) Land Content Only represents the pricing for the full itinerary as detailed, except the International Flights from the USA (and return) are NOT included.
  • c) An Infant (Lapchild) must be less than 2 years old on the date of departure. Infant must travel with at least one adult. An infant with a seat pays the price of a Child.
  • d) A Child must be aged between 2-11 years on the date of departure. Child must travel with at least one adult.