Day 1: Los Angeles. Board your evening flight to Auckland, New Zealand.
Day 2: In Flight. Cross the international dateline and ‘lose’ a day.
Day 3: Auckland to Rotorua. On arrival at Auckland airport, you'll pick up your rental car and head to Rotorua via the Waitomo Caves for a guided tour of the glow worm grotto (own expense). Glide silently by boat through these world renowned limestone caves which were carved by an underground river over the millennia and are lit by thousands of tiny glow worms. Then continue to the Rotorua thermal region, an area rich in Maori heritage. The area was settled by Maori of the Te Arawa iwi. The lake shore was a prominent site of skirmishes during the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s. A 'special town district' was created in the 1880s, to promote Rotorua's potential as a spa center. Tonight immerse yourself in Maori hospitality as special guests at a traditional Hangi and cultural performance (own expense).
Day 4: At leisure in Rotorua. Today you may decide to tour Te Puia Thermal Reserve, viewing its geothermal heated boiling mud pools, hot springs and steaming geysers, or to see an agricultural show and sheep shearing display before viewing the flightless Kiwi bird, the national animal of New Zealand (own expense).
Day 5: Rotorua - Wellington. Head south to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. We recommend a visit to TePapa one of the finest museums in the world.
Day 6: Wellington - Christchurch. Take the ferry to the South Island and drive to Christchurch, a charming city founded in 1850 as a model Church of England settlement, Christchurch is renowned for its elegant gardens, grand architecture and charming English heritage.
Day 7: Christchurch - Mount Cook. Spend the morning in Christchurch then drive to the Mount Cook National Park region. Enjoy the splendid alpine scenery, and explore the Park either this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Mt Cook, or Aoraki, means 'Cloud Piercer' in the Maori language. Here the huge Tasman Glacier, 17 miles long and two miles wide, flows down its eastern slopes towards the Mackenzie Basin. Weather permitting, take a ski plane flight over this spectacular region, including landing on the glacier to get a view from the roof of New Zealand (own expense).
Day 8: Mount Cook - Queenstown. Queenstown is considered one of the prettiest towns in New Zealand with a plethora of possible activities. Anything from wine tasting to jet boating to bungee-jumping is possible.
Day 9: Queenstown, Milford Sound Cruise. No trip to New Zealand would be complete without a trip to Milford Sound (own expense). Enjoy the beauty of Fiordland National Park as you cruise Milford Sound, named by a whaler in the 1820s for its resemblance to Milford Haven in Wales. Cruise beneath waterfalls, mountains and Mitre Peak, one of the most photographed peaks in the country. The optional return flight to Queenstown provides a memorable aerial perspective of this region (own expense).
Day 10: Depart for US. The morning is free before traveling to Auckland and on to the US.
Also see tour packages in:
Australia and Oceania New Zealand Local Culture Self Drive Ecotourism