New Zealand Family Adventure
Crowned by the snow-covered Southern Alps and laced with stunning fjords and alpine lakes, New Zealand’s South Island is a natural paradise that offers endless opportunities for adventure. Set out with your family to encounter an array of treasures, from lush rain forests to glowworm-lit grottoes. Get to know the Maori people and their ancestral traditions on a visit to a local village. Discover Christchurch and Queenstown by boat, bicycle and gondola; and explore the glacier-formed lakes of Tekapo, Wanaka and Te Anau. Go horseback riding at the foot of the Southern Alps, experience a thrilling jet-boat ride, and cruise below cascading waterfalls in Fiordland National Park.
Go punting in a handcrafted boat along Christchurch’s winding river, soar above Queenstown on a gondola, and see how wool is sheared at a lakeside farm.
Have dinner at a Maori village nestled in the forest, and take part in an exuberant haka dance.
Discover the awe-inspiring landscape of Fiordland National Park while searching for dolphins, fur seals and penguins in Doubtful Sound.
Meet an astronomer at Mt. John University Observatory, one of the best stargazing spots on the planet, and peer through powerful telescopes at the southern night sky.
Itinerary - 12 Days
Days 1, 2, & 3 — U.S./Christchurch, New Zealand
Cross the International date line and arrive in Christchurch on Day 3. Enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the Avon River, propelled by a “punter” in Edwardian attire. Rydges Latimer Christchurch (D)
Day 4 — Christchurch
Ride bikes through downtown Christchurch, and learn about the city’s revitalization following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. This evening, visit a traditional Maori village and wildlife reserve nestled in a forest glade. Participate in the powhiri (welcome ceremony) followed by a performance of New Zealand's famous haka dance. Encounter one of New Zealand’s most iconic species — the flightless kiwi — and sit down to a hangi feast. Rydges Latimer Christchurch (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Christchurch/Lake Tekapo
Go horseback riding or hiking along the beautiful Rangitata River. Then journey to Lake Tekapo, part of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. At the renowned Mt. John University Observatory, explore the southern night skies with an astronomer.
Peppers Bluewater Resort (B,L)
Days 6 & 7 — Wanaka/Lake Te Anau
On our way to the Southern Lakes region, visit a local amusement park and have lunch in the charming town of Wanaka. Continue to Lake Te Anau, our base for exploring Fiordland National Park. Cruise aboard a catamaran, and venture into subterranean caves illuminated by thousands of glowworms. Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas (B,L,D Daily)
Day 8 — Doubtful Sound
Set sail aboard the Fiordland Navigator on legendary Doubtful Sound. Explore serene waterways, keeping an eye out for dolphins, fur seals and penguins. Tour New Zealand’s largest hydroelectric power station. Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas (B,L,D)
Days 9 & 10 — Arrowtown/Queenstown
Visit the former gold mining town of Arrowtown en route to Queenstown. Ride a cable car to the top of Bob’s Peak, and zoom back down on a luge cart. Experience an exhilarating jet boat ride on the Dart River, and paddle a canoe to an ancient forest for a picnic lunch.
Hotel Novotel Queenstown Lakeside (B; B, L)
Days 11 & 12 — Queenstown/U.S.
Meet our pen pals at Queenstown Gardens, and embark on a scavenger hunt in search of plants, wildlife and clues hidden in the park. Gather for afternoon tea beside Lake Wakatipu. Later, explore the lake aboard a historic steamship, and watch a shearing demonstration at a local sheep farm. The next morning, transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B,D; B)
Pricing starts at $8,000 per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,100. On the December departures, there is an additional holiday surcharge of $300 per person. International airfare to/from New Zealand is not included in the expedition cost.
About this Expedition
We tap into National Geographic’s vast network to design unique travel experiences for the whole family, filled with hands-on activities and memorable moments. A special aspect of this expedition is the Kid-to-Kid Connection, which links every young traveler with a pen pal of similar age in New Zealand. Join local kids in Queenstown for a scavenger hunt in Queenstown Gardens, identifying native plants, wildlife and clues hidden in the park. Try your hand at working with flax and learn about its importance in Maori culture. As we enjoy traditional afternoon tea beside Lake Wakatipu, find out from our new friends what it’s like to grow up in Queenstown, the so-called “adventure capital of the world.”
Accommodations (hotels, tents and cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. If you prefer single accommodations, and if such are available, you can pay a single supplement fee. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we can assign a roommate of the same gender. If there is no one with whom you can share, a single supplement fee will apply.
See special terms and conditions that apply to this adventure.