Anniversary Adventure: New Zealand and Cook Islands

Discover the best of both worlds in the South Pacific. Start with an action-packed New Zealand adventure, complete with glacier hiking, glowworm cave tubing, and more. Then, rejuvenate in the stunning Cook Islands, home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and lagoons.

We designed this Anniversary Adventure: New Zealand and the Cook Islands package for a couple in their 30s from Austin, Texas. They couldn’t decide if they wanted a tropical getaway or an adventurous New Zealand vacation for their Anniversary, so we gave them both! They spent a week and a half exploring New Zealand and then a relaxing four nights at a luxurious resort in the Cook Islands.

They started their Anniversary Adventure on New Zealand’s North Island. They visited life-size Hobbit holes at the Hobbiton Movie Set (a must for any Lord of the Rings fans!), experienced a Maori cultural visit with a feast and a traditional haka, and went tubing through an underground river in the Waitomo Caves.

Then, they continued to the South Island. They took the TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth and enjoyed incredible views of the New Zealand countryside. Traveling from one coast to the other, this is one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world! Then, they had a West Coast road trip. They took a heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier, enjoyed a cruise through the pristine Milford Sound, and enjoyed wine tasting and adventures in Queenstown.

Their Anniversary Adventure continued to the Cook Islands, the hidden gem of the South Pacific. They spent five incredible nights at Nautilus Resort Rarotonga, a luxurious retreat where they could immerse themselves in the tropical beauty and Polynesian feel of this stunning island. They loved their beachfront are’, with its private plunge pool looking out over the ocean. In the Cook Islands, they also enjoyed a fabulous tour of Aitutaki Island and a cruise through the turquoise lagoon, stopping at several exclusive beaches for swimming and snorkeling.

With unforgettable adventures in New Zealand and a romantic getaway in the Cook Islands, they agreed it was truly the perfect Anniversary—the best of both worlds!

This package does not include international airfare. For complete booking terms and conditions, please click here.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1
Welcome to New Zealand! Upon arrival in Auckland, enjoy a private transfer to Hotel de Brett. This quirky hotel in the Central Business District is the perfect place to unwind before setting off on an adventure tomorrow!
Hotel de Brett

Day 2
This morning, pick up your rental car and drive through the gorgeous New Zealand countryside en route to the Hobbiton Movie Set. Your guide will escort you through the 10-acre site, recounting fascinating details of how the Hobbiton Movie Set was created. Visit hobbit holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill, and other structures, and see how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle Earth. After this fabulous Lord of the Rings experience, drive to Rotorua and settle into your hotel. This evening, you’ll be treated to a cultural visit and performance at the Maori village of Te Puia, complete with a traditional haka and a Maori feast.
Regent of Rotorua

Day 3
Today, drive to the Waitomo Caves for a spectacular journey. This is the original Waitomo subterranean adventure that will have you climbing, black water tubing, leaping, and floating through Ruakuri Cave. Over 3 hours, you’ll take leaps of faith over cascading waterfalls and float serenely down an underground river as you enjoy the glowworm show on the vaulted limestone galleries above. Your journey concludes when you emerge into the sunlight of the Waitomo forest.
Regent of Rotorua

Day 4
Drop off your rental car at the airport today and fly to the South Island, arriving in Christchurch. Enjoy a private transfer to the fabulous Hotel Montreal. Take in this beautiful city from your private balcony, and head out into the city to see interesting architecture and dine at one of many wonderful restaurants.
Hotel Montreal

Day 5
Today, you’ll embark on one of the most scenic rail trips in the world: the Tranz Alpine Train. Enjoy a private transfer to the boarding station. Traveling from one coast to the other, you’ll pass through the fields and farmland of Canterbury, the dramatic Southern Alps, the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River, and lush beech rainforest. Arrive in Greymouth, where you’ll pick up your rental car and drive along the breathtaking west coast to Franz Josef. Stay in a modern, airy retreat surrounded by native rainforest.
Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Day 6
It’s time for another unforgettable adventure: a helicopter ride and hike on Franz Josef Glacier! Enjoy a scenic helicopter flight up to the glacier, flying over stunning ice pinnacles and deep crevasses. Then, the experienced guides at The Helicopter Line will guide you through a 2-hour glacier hike through territory usually reserved for experienced mountaineers. Enjoy some free time this afternoon to explore the town of Franz Josef, with its frontier town charm.
Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Day 7
Today, it’s a full day of driving along the beautiful west coast, this time to Queenstown. On this stunning alpine route, you’ll be treated to picturesque views around every corner. Stop along the way for short hikes and perhaps some whitebait fish patties (a truly off-the-beaten-path treat!). Make your way to Queenstown, where you’ll be rewarded with another picture-perfect view: crystal clear Lake Wakatipu encircled by the Remarkables mountain range. Overnight here before tomorrow’s adventure.
Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel

Day 8
Today, you will explore the famous Milford Sound. Board a luxury glass-roofed coach and enjoy a trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau. There is plenty of time for photo stops and short walks along the way. On reaching Milford Sound, board the Milford Mariner for a relaxing cruise of Milford Sound as your nature guide provides an informative commentary throughout. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rainforests, mountains, and wildlife. Fly back to Queenstown by fixed-wing aircraft (weather permitting) and take in the panoramic views of the spectacular alpine scenery and rainforest.
Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel

Day 9
This afternoon, take a small-group boutique winery tour of the Otago wine region, especially well known for its earthy pinot noirs, with Appellation Central Wine Tours. Through the Gibbston Valley and the rolling vine-clad foothills of Bannockburn and beyond, you’ll visit the best wineries for the day’s passengers. Four winery tastings are included, as well as a winery lunch and commentary on the early pioneering history of this rugged region.
Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel

Day 10
The adventures continue! Travel by jet boat to the upper part of the Dart River, and then at your own pace, paddle downstream on a Funyak safari. Delight in a lovely wilderness lunch among the beech trees, explore hidden side streams and rock pools and then embark on a fun and adventurous 4WD tour to take in magnificent Glenorchy scenery.
Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel

Day 11
It’s time to say goodbye to New Zealand and hello to the idyllic Cook Islands! Fly to the island of Rarotonga, where you’ll receive a meet and greet with flower lei at the airport, and settle into Nautilus Resort. This eco-friendly resort epitomizes the ideal tropical island escape location. Leave the real world behind and immerse yourself in a tropical island oasis surrounded by the unspoiled beauty of Rarotonga. Enjoy a complimentary fruit platter on arrival and a gourmet breakfast of tropical fruits daily. Your spacious beachfront are’ includes a private plunge pool with a gorgeous ocean view.
Nautilus Resort Rarotonga

Day 12 – 15
Enjoy the next few days at leisure at Nautilus Resort, soaking up your beautiful tropical surroundings while you relax in the pool with a drink in hand. Perhaps visit the Polynesian Spa for some rejuvenating treatments. Want to get out and explore? Make like a local and rent a scooter to explore Rarotonga. Additionally, you can opt for a day cruise to the neighboring island of Aitutaki and its iconic lagoon filled with tiny islets.
Nautilus Resort Rarotonga

Day 16
Today, your fabulous vacation comes to an end. Enjoy a transfer to the airport, where you can begin your journey home filled with unforgettable memories!

About this vacation
Cost Per Person

Does not include the cost of airfare

Based on
16 day stay
2 travelers

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