Find a Trip



Find the Right Trip for You

Select your travel style--whether it's our signature expeditions, our active outdoors adventures, or our lower-priced journeys. Or choose how you want to travel: by train or small ship, on an expedition geared for photographers or for families, and more.

Small Ship Trips

Small Ship Voyages

Take to the sea aboard one of the six ships of the National Geographic–Lindblad fleet and explore the Galápagos, Alaska, and more with a team of experts.
See All »

Land Trips

Land Trips

Our land trips are designed to immerse you in fascinating cultures and draw out the uniqueness of each destination through enriching and authentic experiences.
See All »

Private Jet Trips

Private Jet Trips

Experience fascinating places as far-flung as Easter Island and Marrakech on one epic journey, traveling with a team of experts in the comfort of a VIP-configured jet.
See All »


Active Adventures

Explore by foot, by camel or kayak, or even by dogsled on an active adventure that combines spectacular places, physical challenge, and cultural interaction.
See All »



Our newest small-group trips, provided in partnership with G Adventures, blend fun, hands-on exploration with meaningful cultural encounters, as well as more free time and choices, all for an unbeatable value.
See All »



Improve your photography skills with the guidance of a National Geographic photographer— whether you’re traveling through Japan or heading out on shoots during an intensive weekend workshop in New York City.
See All »

Private Expeditions

Private Expeditions

Explore independently—with all the benefits of traveling with National Geographic—on a private trip with the travel companions and dates of your choosing.
See All »

Train Trips

Train Trips

Wind through dramatic mountain scenery or observe scenes of everyday life, experiencing the world through the nostalgic lens of train travel.
See All »

Family Trips

Family Trips

Introduce your family to the magic of travel on trips designed for travelers of all ages that combine learning, discovery, and fun.
See All »

Student Trips

Student Expeditions

Send your high school or middle school student on assignment with National Geographic to explore inspiring destinations in depth alongside our experts and trip leaders.
See All »

New Zealand from North to South

  • Trip Type: Land
  • 11 Days | Auckland to Queenstown
  • Group Size: Max 20

Expedition Details


New Zealand's North and South Islands brim with geological drama and natural beauty. Volcanic forces simmer on the North Island, leaving craters, caves, and geysers considered sacred by the indigenous Maori people. The Southern Alps shelter sparkling lakes and unfurl into majestic fiords. Encounter unusual wildlife in astonishing landscapes and get acquainted with New Zealand's vibrant cultures on your way from Auckland to Queenstown.

Trip Highlights

  • Encounter endangered species and meet the conservationists dedicated to protecting them.
  • Spend time in a Maori community, getting to know their traditions and everyday life.
  • Go behind the scenes at the famous Weta Workshop, the special effects firm behind The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.
  • Cruise Doubtful Sound, and surround yourself with the eerie light of bioluminescent glowworms in the Waitomo Caves.

Itinerary - 11 Days

Day 1 — Auckland, New Zealand

Arrive in Auckland and settle into our historic hotel. Join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner this evening.
Heritage Hotel (D)

Day 2 — Tiritiri Matangi Island/Auckland

Board a ferry to Tiritiri Matangi Island, home to one of New Zealand's most important wildlife sanctuaries. Learn about conservation efforts here while seeking out endangered bird and reptile species, including the flightless takahe and the tuatara. Back on the mainland, explore the coastal cliffs and beaches of Shakespear Regional Park with a ranger before meeting with members of the local conservation community. This evening, enjoy free time to discover Auckland, known as the "city of sails" for the many sailboats that teem in its harbor.
Heritage Hotel (B,L)

Day 3 — Waitomo Caves/Rotorua

Travel to Waitomo and cruise through an otherworldly cave system illuminated by the turquoise light of thousands of tiny glowworms. Continue to Rotorua, a city built on geothermal landscapes, and visit a traditional Maori meeting house in Whakarewarewa village to take part in a Maori mihi whakatau welcome ritual.
Novotel Rotorua Lakeside (B,L)

Day 4 — Lake Tarawera

Delve deeper into Maori traditions, exploring the Lake Tarawera region in the company of a guide from the Tuhourangi tribe. Join the villagers for afternoon tea, attend weaving and carving demonstrations, and listen to the melodies of Maori music. By special permission, our group will have the opportunity to mingle with members of the tribe over a private dinner incorporating traditional dishes.
Novotel Rotorua Lakeside (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Rotorua/Wellington

During a private tour of the Rotorua Museum, learn about the region's rich cultural history and remarkably volatile landscape. Fly to Wellington, New Zealand's charming capital city. Visit the famous Weta Workshop, the special effects group behind several blockbuster movies, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of their design studio and participate in a hands-on demonstration of the creative process used to develop their props. This evening, search for kiwis during a guided after-dark walk at Zealandia, an important mainland wildlife sanctuary whose innovative predator-proof fence was the first of its kind.
Copthorne Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Wellington/Blenheim

Join a local expert at the impressive Te Papa Tongarewa national museum for an insider's tour, followed by a special viewing of cultural artifacts in the private galleries. This afternoon, take in spectacular vistas as we ferry across the Cook Strait to the South Island. Check in to our hotel in Blenheim, in the heart of Marlborough wine country.
Chateau Marlborough Hotel (B,D)

Day 7 — Blenheim/Christchurch

Set out to a nearby sheep farm to watch herding dogs at work before sitting down to a home-cooked lunch with the farm's owners. Travel to Christchurch and spend the afternoon with a local police officer who was on call during the earthquake that all but leveled the city in 2011. Get a personal perspective on the city's resurgent cultural scene and its efforts to rebuild, visit the intriguing Quake City exhibit at the Canterbury Museum, and gather for afternoon tea at our guide's home.
The George Christchurch or Hotel Montreal (B,L)

Day 8 — Christchurch/Queenstown

Enjoy a morning at leisure to further explore Christchurch, then fly to Queenstown. Have dinner at a winery in the world’s southernmost wine-growing region and settle into our hotel on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.
Doubletree by Hilton Queenstown (B,D)

Day 9 — Doubtful Sound/Queenstown

Journey into Fiordland National Park for a wilderness cruise through magnificent Doubtful Sound. As we navigate these pristine waters, take in the majesty of the fiords and their surrounding cliffs, blanketed in lush forest and sprinkled with waterfalls. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and fur seals!
Doubletree by Hilton Queenstown (B,L)

Day 10 — Lakes District/Queenstown

Venture into the undulating landscapes of the Lakes District and experience the tranquility of Lake Wakatipu. Wander the quaint streets of Arrowtown, a historic gold-mining town, then return to Queenstown for our farewell dinner.
Doubletree by Hilton Queenstown (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Queenstown

Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

Related Trips

National Geographic Expert

David Silverberg

David   SilverbergGeographer David Scott Silverberg (Ph.D. MIT, postdoc Harvard) has worked throughout New Zealand since 1982 researching with NSF support the blueschists and geologic development of its Alpine Mountains, and conducting fieldwork with the New Zealand Department of Conservation on its South Island Kiwi restoration project. A scholar of the Temperate Rainforest Biome, he has cofounded temperate rainforest research and education centers around the globe. His digital photo and video talks on Kiwi natural and cultural history have been popular on New Zealand expedition-ship itineraries for many years. He has served as executive director for Research at EarthWatch Institute and helped launch AmeriCorps's environmental programs. David is a fellow of the Explorers Club, the Royal Africa Society, the Royal Geographical Society, the Australian Royal Geographic and the Royal Asia Society. He is passionately committed to community-based protected area projects on six continents. As this expedition moves from the north to south islands, David will illuminate the relationship of New Zealand's fascinating cultures to its diverse geography, geology and biodiversity.

David will join the following departures:

Nov 07 - 17, 2017
Jan 16 - 26, 2018



  • Nov 07 - 17, 2017
  • Dec 05 - 15, 2017
  • Jan 16 - 26, 2018
  • Feb 27 - Mar 09, 2018

Expedition Cost

Fall 2017 - Spring 2018


Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,765 through March, 2017 and $1,950 from Nov, 2017 to March, 2018 .

International airfare to Auckland and return from Queenstown and airfare within New Zealand are not included in the expedition cost. The group flights within New Zealand are $170 through March 2017 and $370 from Nov, 2017 to March, 2018 (subject to change).