Skip to main content


New Zealand

November 8 – November 21, 2021

Join Sarah for a grand adventure Down Under. Sarah is partnering with friend and colleague Colin Mairs for a tour of New Zealand. This tour in 14 Days covers a comfortable mix of cultural experiences, natural beauty, adventure activities for those who want them or “adventure-light” for those who are not such adrenaline junkies. A once-in-a-lifetime trip, it’s likely to be the only time I will ever offer a New Zealand tour, so don’t miss out.

Our adventure starts in Auckland, New Zealand largest city, and frequently amongst the top 3 of the World’s most livable cities. On the North Island we explore Auckland, Waitomo, Hobbiton and Rotorua. Glowworms, Lord of the Rings, Maori culture and geothermal activity will get our tour off to a hot start. We fly from North Island to South Island and continue our trails by road. The Victorian town of Oamaru is off the well-beaten tourist path and we’ll have a close encounter with the town’s most famous residents – the world’s smallest penguins, a breed called “Little Blues”. Visit a family-owned winery in the world’s most furthest south wine region Central Otago. Our day trip from Queenstown to Milford is one of the most stunning daytrips on the planet. A full day free in Queenstown to enjoy adventure activities or take it easy and recharge your body and soul. Travelling up the wild West Coast of the South Island we visit a few more gems that other tour companies haven’t yet discovered, such as the award-winning Cardrona Distillery. A hike in a Glacier Valley and one of the world’s top ten scenic train rides slow the pace towards the end of our tour. We finish in the city of Christchurch which is in an exciting phase of rebirth after two massive earthquakes all but destroyed the city in 2010 and 2011. New Zealand is a young country, a very open society and a delightful place to become a temporary local.

If you have the time, continue the adventure with us in Australia, Nov 22 – 27.

This tour will be led by Colin Mairs, with Sarah Murdoch as assistant guide. Space is available, with a maximum group size of 23 tour members + 2 guides. Book now at

For information on anything not answered below email


Day 1 – Welcome!

Overnight: Auckland, North Island

Welcome to New Zealand! / Nau mai ki Aotearoa!

Welcome drinks and meeting at Heritage Suites Auckland. Short orientation walking tour and ferry to our first group dinner in Devonport.


Day 2 – Auckland

Overnight: Auckland, North Island

Exploring Auckland

Walking tour of Auckland, local bus to Auckland museum and guided tour of museum for an introduction to NZ history, flora and fauna, and Maori cultue. At conclusion of our museum tour just before lunchtime the rest of the day is yours to explore the city and see what else piques your interest. With a Day Pass for public transport Auckland is your oyster! Free for dinner.


Day 3 – Rotorua

Overnight: Rotorua, North Island

Glowworms and Bubbly Rotorua

Today we drive south and begin with a visit to Glowworm Caves in Waitomo. These limestone caves are home to thousands of luminescent larvae. We’ll learn all about their life cycles and eating habits and gaze in amazement at the creations of nature. Group lunch at nearby Roselands Farm. We end the day in Rotorua, our home for the next 3 nights.


Day 4 – Rotorua

Overnight: Rotorua, North Island

Maori immersion day

New Zealand first people the Maori, have a strong presence in the geothermal town of Rotorua. We have special connections for more intimate experiences that most tours don’t have access to. Visit Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland, Te Whakarewarewa village and an exclusive family homestead. Some free time in the afternoon. Concluding our Maori immersion day with a Maori cultural performance and traditional hangi meal. Lunch and dinner included.


Day 5 – Hobbiton

Overnight: Rotorua, North Island

Hobbiton, Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings fans prepare to yell “I’m going on an adventure!”… Today we visit Hobbiton; film set for Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy movies The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. We’ll return to Rotorua for lunch and the rest of the afternoon is free – some may wish to do some afternoon hiking, or to soak in Rotorua’s thermal spa waters (spa admissions not included).


Day 6 – Oamaru

Overnight: Oamaru, South Island

Rotorua to South Island

A morning flight takes us from Rotorua to Christchurch on the South Island. From Christchurch we drive south across the Canterbury Plains, the Southern Alps to the west provide a natural barrier for this area. After a lunch stop en route, we continue to the Victorian heritage town of Oamaru. Dinner together at the hotel, then out to see the world’s smallest penguins in their natural environment returning from their day’s fishing. Learn about the life cycles of the Little Blues and conservation efforts from the colony guides. We watch from an outdoor seated area.


Day 7 – NZ Wines

Overnight: Queenstown, South Island

Central Otago – wine and kiwi hospitality

Our first stop is at Moeraki where mysterious large boulders up to 60 million years old line the beach. Then inland to the heart of Central Otago Wine Region. Enjoy great kiwi hospitality and a gourmet lunch at Ophir. Otago is the world’s most southerly wine region, we’ll discover what makes this the ideal place for Pinot Noir at a local winery. Tasting included. Arrive into Queenstown in the early evening.


Day 8 – Fiordland

Overnight: Queenstown, South Island

Fiordland and Milford Sound

A long but stunning daytrip today, destination: Milford Sound. We’ll take various stops for short hikes along the way in the Fiordland National Park. At Milford Sound we enjoy a 2 hour nature cruise with commentary from the local guide. We cruise the full length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea, admiring waterfalls, rainforest, towering peaks and wildlife. Lunch is included on board the cruise. Return to Queenstown in time for dinner and perhaps a beautiful sunset. Option to take a scenic flight or helicopter ride back from Milford Sound to Queenstown at extra cost.


Day 9 – Queenstown

Overnight: Queenstown, South Island

Free day in Queenstown

Today is a vacation from our vacation! You have the full day at leisure in Queenstown. There are plenty of options available from cruising on an old steamboat on Lake Wakatipu, to mountain biking, luge riding, jet boating, spa/massage (optional activities not included).


Day 10 – Franz Josef

Overnight: Franz Josef, South Island

Queenstown to Franz Josef

Leaving Queenstown, we make a short drive to the Cardrona Distillery. One of New Zealand’s newest and most exciting distilleries has only been operational since late 2015 but is already winning awards for its spirits. Tour and tasting at the distillery. Lunch stop en route. We then skirt the western side of Lake Hawea and climb gradually to cross Haast Pass. Stops for short walks along the way, and arrive into Franz Josef township in the early evening, where we’ll dine together.


Day 11 – Glacier Walk

Overnight: Franz Josef, South Island

Franz Josef Glacier Valley

This morning is at leisure, bucket-listers may want to take a heli ride with glacier landing (extra cost), keen hikers and landscape photographers may wish to join a morning excursion to Lake Matheson (no extra cost). This afternoon our main activity is the Franz Josef Glacier Valley walk. We visit the valley with local guides who allow us to gain access beyond the public barriers. We’ll learn how glaciers have shaped this remarkable landscape and more about New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna.


Day 12 – Train Ride

Overnight: Christchurch, South Island

Greenstone carving and Tranzalpine Scenic Train Ride

Travelling up the west coast this morning we’ll arrive to the town of Hokitika, famous centre for greenstone (jade) carving. We meet master carvers who will have pre-shaped our stones that we get to polish and take home as our taonga (treasure) from the whenua(land) of Aotearoa(New Zealand). Learn about the importance of greenstone to Maori and its cultural significance today. Free for lunch on Hokitika – local whitebait sandwich recommended. At Greymouth we board the TranzAlpine Train to Christchurch. One of the world’s great train rides, we travel in comfort through chiseled alpine mountains, crossing deep gorges and alongside ice-fed rivers. Arrive into Christchurch in the evening.


Day 13- Christchurch

Overnight: Christchurch, South Island


This morning we start with a walking tour of Christchurch, which concludes at “Quake City”. This multi-sensory attraction informs, engages and educates visitors about the region’s earthquakes. Your afternoon is free in Christchurch, known as the ‘Garden City’. Options to hire a bike, go punting, rowing or kayaking on the Avon River, visit Canterbury Museum, Hagley Park and/or the Botanic Gardens. Tonight we’ll share memories of New Zealand and toast new friends at our final dinner together.


Day 14 – Tour Over

No overnight accommodation

Tour over after breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. Christchurch Airport is easily reachable by public transport, taxi or uber from our hotel. There are various car rental companies located close to our B&B and near the airport if you are going to extend your South Island road trip. For those flying home, some international flights depart from Christchurch but the majority are out of Auckland airport; a short hop flight will take you there. The main airlines for this are Air New Zealand and Jet Star. Your guide will be on hand to offer any other onward travel advice.

Tour Dates: February 22nd-March 7th, 2021

Tour Price:US$5,799 per person.

Early Pay Discount Price:US$5,499 per person (if you pay the full balance before January 31st 2020). 

Prices include all tips for drivers, guides, and wait staff at group meals. Air not included. 

Single Supplement is US$1,360. We welcome singles and can try to pair you with another single to room with, but the single supplement will be required if we can’t. 

Tour price includes 13 nights’ accommodation, all breakfasts, 9 other meals (lunches or dinners), entrance fees to all sights listed in itinerary, transportation within the tour, tips and taxes. You can reserve with a 30 days refundable deposit of US$400.

Tour begins at 4pm at our Auckland hotel, 45 mins – 1 hour bus or taxi ride from Auckland airport depending on time of day.

Tour ends in Christchurch city, Christchurch Airport is 30 mins by taxi/shuttle. Taxis/shuttles can be arranged at the end of the tour, payable direct.

Book now at

For information on anything not answered below email