Taupo - Wanaka

Fly total time: 9 days
This 9 day itinerary from Auckland to Wanaka offers the ultimate New Zealand hospitality experience for those short on time but still wanting to experience the best of New Zealand.

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  • 9 Nights / 10 Days 
  • Exclusive Kiwi Experience
  • Geothermal Helicopter Highlights Tour
  • Wine Tasting at World-Famous Vineyards
  • Up close Wildlife encounters
  • Exclusive Luxury Lodges in stunning locations
  • Day 1 - Auckland to Taupo

    Drive Fly 3 Hours and 21 minutes/1 hour 30 minute flight 275 KMS 170 MI
    Upon arrival connect on a 1 hour 30 minute flight from Auckland to Taupo where you will be transferred to your accommodation at Huka Lodge, one of the top retreats in the world and set in a rich landscape of lakes, forests, waterfalls and mountains. 

    Top tip

    Huka Lodge have an experienced fly fishing instructor and you can fish right from the lawn whenever you feel like it, just like the Queen of England.  

    The central plateau region of Great Lake Taupo boasts the largest freshwater lake in the southern hemisphere and a myriad of fantastic hiking and mountain biking tracks, international quality golf courses and world-class trout fishing.

    Alternative Lodges nearby: Solitaire Lodge, Treetops, Lake Taupo Lodge, Poronui, River Birches & Kinloch Club

    Recommended activities:

    • Book a custom helicopter trip with Volcanic Air and fly over Wai-o-Tapu, a colourful thermal wonderland, followed by a landing and tour of the steaming crater of White Island Volcano in Bay of Plenty and finishing with a landing atop the Summit of Mt Tarawera in Rotorua.   
    • Enjoy a relaxing lake cruise to see amazing Maori rock carvings and relax in secluded hot pools.  
  • Day 2 - Taupo - Hawkes Bay

    Drive Fly 1 hour 45 minutes 136 KMS 84 MI
    Leave Taupo by private vehicle and head to The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawkes Bay, a spectacular lodge with 180 degree views of the Pacific Ocean. 

    Top tip:

    The Shepherding Experience is a great option for younger guests. Watch how the highly-trained farm dogs muster the sheep and enjoy the shearing display.  

    Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s leading food and wine destinations, renowned for its award-winning red wines, and home to world-class Art Deco architecture, a vibrant arts scene, rich Maori culture, and fresh local produce and artisan food.  

    Recommended activities:

    • Spend a leisurely afternoon with your own Vintage vehicle and driver to get off the beaten track and sample some of the regions food and wine delights.  
    • Start your day on a walking tour with the farm’s experienced guides through the Cape Kidnappers sanctuary as they weigh and measure New Zealand’s treasured native bird – the kiwi – in its natural habitat.
  • Day 3- 4 - Hawkes Bay - Marlborough

    Drive Fly 2 hours 15 minutes (flight) 446 KMS 277 MI
    Fly from Napier to Blenheim with a quick transit through Wellington.  

    Hawkes Bay is famous for its Red wines but the Marlborough region is famous for its Sauvignon Blanc. 

    Relax in the evening at Marlborough lodge, a former Victorian convent, which combines the historic character of the original building with a warm and inviting modern twist.  


    Top tip: Chef garden tour and cooking demonstration

    The chef at Marlborough Lodge takes prides in using local fresh NZ ingredients as much as possible. Discover the produce grown onsite and enjoy an interactive cooking demonstration.  You’ll be tasting as he works his way through the dish and then walk away with a unique New Zealand recipe to replicate at home.

    The lodge is perfectly located to make the most of the regions food & wine offerings with a fantastic scenic backdrop, 

    Alternative Lodges nearby: Bay of Many Coves, Stonefly & Edenhouse

    Recommended activities:

    • Experience the whole of Marlborough in one day with a half-day wine tour, waterfront lunch and half-day Marlborough Sounds seafood cruise.
    • Explore Abel Tasman National Park in the neighbouring Nelson region where you can enjoy scenic cruises, hiking and kayaking.
    • Enjoy a leisurely private cellar door tour of the region’s best vineyards
  • Day 6 - 7 - Marlborough - Kaikoura

    Drive Fly 1 hour 46 minutes 128 KMS 79 MI
    A scenic helicopter flight with Wings over Whales from Blenheim to Kaikoura will transfer you between accommodations. Along the way, land near stunning alpine lakes and fly directly overhead the majestic whales that Kaikoura is famous for.  

    Top tip: Maori Cultural excursion

    Immerse yourself in Maori cultural experiences giving insight to the local Maori history and connection to the land and sea.  Through 800-year-old links to this region, share in the oral tradition of storytelling to understand the history of the area.

    Hapuku Lodge and Treehouses is a 5 star Eco-Retreat amongst a native Kanuka Grove.  Nestled in the treetops, the rooms resemble a luxurious version of a child’s tree house. The surrounding wild deer, olive groves and vineyard set against the picturesque backdrop of the Kaikoura ranges make for a truly idyllic setting. 

    Recommended activities:

    • For an up-close wildlife experience, Dolphin Encounter tours will get you swimming with the Dolphins.
    • Experience the "Kowhai Gorge" on horseback and learn about the wilderness and history of the area.
    • Visit Oahu Waterfall, one of the best places in New Zealand to view Fur Seal pups.
    • Whale Watch Kaikoura is one of the best experiences in Kaikoura and will get you close to these majestic creatures
    • Head out on a sea kayak to get closer to Fur Seals, Blue Pengiuns and Dusky Dolphins along the Kaikoura coastline.
  • Days 8-9 - Kaikoura - Wanaka

    Drive Fly 7 hours 30 minutes 601 KMS 373 MI
    Departing Kaikoura, head through the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch and take a one-hour domestic flight to Queenstown. 

    Either spend a couple of nights in the captivating city of Queenstown at Matakauri Lodge on the shores of Lake Wakatipu or, for a more remote experience, travel to Minaret Station on the edge of UNESCO World Heritage listed Mt Aspiring National Park at the head of a stunning glacial valley.

    Top tip: Heli Hiking

    Helicopters allow exclusive access to otherwise inaccessible locations – get  up close to rushing waterfalls and craggy mountain ridges or enjoy strolling through beautiful valley floors, soaking up the natural wildlife.  

    Minaret Station is only accessible by helicopter, combine the transfer with a scenic flight to the famous Milford Sound in Fiordland.  The lodge offers hiking, mountain biking, fishing, hunting, skiing and more relaxing picnics or the classic jet boating experiences.  The Southern Lakes region really is an adventurer’s playground.

    Alternative Lodges nearby: Mahu Whenua, Matakauri, Blanket Bay & Fiordland Lodge

    Recommended activities:

    • Travel by helicopter to Fiordland and spend the day exploring Milford and Doubtful Sounds. Relax and ejoy the scenery or try kayaking, diving and fishing.
    • Take a ski plane or helicopter up to the Tasman Glacier.  Feel the crunch of ice underfoot as you explore New Zealand’s longest glacier, currently 23 kilometres (14.2 miles) long and up to 2 kilometres wide, containing 1/3 of all the glacier ice in New Zealand.
    • A glacier lake cruise will get you up close to icebergs and offer amazing views of the stunning blue lake.
  • Day 10 - Depart New Zealand

    Drive Fly 10 minute (flight)
    A short 10 minute flight back to Queenstown will connect you to your return flights, if flying domestically first your bags can be through checked with Air New Zealand and Star Alliance carriers.