Experience mountain hikes, wine tours, helicopter flights, luxury lodges, and more on our thrilling New Zealand trip.
Rolling green hills backed by snow-capped mountains, rich and diverse Māori culture, and a thriving food and wine scene – Aotearoa or New Zealand is a travel destination that’s well worth the journey to its distant corner of the world. While a tourism boom has given its major cities a more cosmopolitan energy, the island nation still feels wild and untouched with a breathtaking natural backdrop that’ll have you snapping away at its picturesque beauty.
Westpac Concierge’s Travel team has put together the ultimate two-week travel itinerary that’ll take you from the Te Ika-a-Māui or North Island over the Cook Strait to Te Waipounamu or the South Island. Along the way, you’ll cover our top picks for foodies, photographers, outdoor enthusiasts, and Middle-earth fanatics alike – all while staying in some of the country’s plushest hotels and lodges.
Your New Zealand trip travel itinerary: Hawke’s Bay via Hobbiton
You’ll start with two nights in Auckland, immersing yourself in the city’s sailing culture along the Viaduct Harbour, learning about Māori history at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and hiking up Maungawhau (Mount Eden) for panoramic views. No trip to New Zealand’s largest and most diverse city is complete without a day trip on a seaplane to the ‘Island of Wine’, aka Waiheke Island, to explore its distinct varietals, which have been specially cultivated by award-winning winegrowers.
Next, you’ll detour to the Hobbiton movie set to stroll through the fantastical pastures of the Shire, immersing yourself in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings.
In Taupō, you’ll spend two nights at the fishermen’s camp turned luxury riverside hotel, Huka Lodge. Enjoy a cruise around Lake Taupō’s aquamarine waters and a guided hike through ancient forests and swamps, where you’ll encounter geothermal pools and volcanic craters with New Zealand’s colourful birdlife.
For some well-deserved rest, three nights at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers will offer total rejuvenation. Despite the unusual name – given by Captain Cook after an attempted abduction of one of his crew – you’ll find luxury suites to nod off in, before playing the 18-hole golf course atop dramatic cliffs with uninterrupted views of Hawke’s Bay.
Your New Zealand trip travel itinerary: South Island experiences
Just outside of Christchurch, you’ll discover the Banks Peninsula, with its cratered visage created by two volcanic eruptions around 10 million years ago. A private tour will answer all your questions about one of New Zealand’s most distinctive landscapes, followed by a cruise through Akaroa Bay where you’ll see the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin, the endangered Hector’s dolphin.
While exploring the Banks Peninsula, you’ll stay at Otahuna Lodge – a Victorian mansion turned hotel that Downton Abbey fans will appreciate. Here, you’ll have an opportunity to experience a cooking class with Executive Chef Jimmy McIntyre, whose culinary creations have appeared in Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveller, and The Financial Times.
A final three nights will be spent in southern Queenstown, renowned for its epic scenery on the edge of Lake Wakatipu and framed by the Southern Alps. Central Art Gallery, featuring eclectic collections of sophisticated designs, and taking in the Queenstown Gondola’s remarkable views of the city skyline, will be the highlights of your visit.
And what better way to end your trip than with a private helicopter flight through the Milford Sound? The dramatic fjord is home to jaw-dropping waterfalls that cascade from lush rainforests into an ocean teeming with fur seals, penguins, dolphins, and other rare aquatic life.
The Westpac Concierge service is made up of a team of travel experts who can help plan every aspect of your New Zealand itinerary, including all the above. We’ll also make sure you enjoy some extra-special treatment during your stay such as room upgrades, credit to use at the spa and more. What’s more, if you’re a Westpac cardholder, you might already have access to this service.