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Overview

An awe-inspiring journey

For those who have done it, traveling the length of New Zealand’s North and South Islands remains one of the most memorable trips of their travel career because of the many wonders of this stunning, spectacular country: its snowy alpine peaks, shimmering glaciers, steaming thermal pools, unusual plants and animals, lush rain forests and cosmopolitan cities.

We’ve arranged a full array of local experiences that will show you a New Zealand few travelers see, from privately guided tours of off-the-beaten-path venues to special winery tastings and discussions with regional experts. Bypass long drives flying aboard our private SAAB 340 to maximize our time exploring.

Dates

January 9–20, 2023

Duration

12 days

Price

From $12,595 per person

Trip size

24 participants

Minimum age

18 years

Faculty leader

A different kind of classroom

With renowned Stanford faculty and scholars leading the way, every Travel/Study trip is a one-of-a-kind educational experience.

Michael McWilliams

Geological Sciences

Through his research, Professor McWilliams aims to better understand earth’s evolution, the rate of geological processes, and the history of important earth events such as volcanism, earthquakes, mass extinctions and global climate change.

Itinerary

Exploring the North and South Islands by private plane

Journey from the North Island's Auckland down to Queenstown and Milford Sound on this comprehensive tour exploring New Zealand's many natural wonders and its dynamic Māori culture.

  • Auckland, New Zealand

    Upon arrival in Auckland, transfer to our hotel for an early check-in. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before embarking on a walking tour of the central city of Auckland. Visit a variety of historic and contemporary buildings that house art spaces and learn about how public art is shaping the city. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner this evening.

    Accommodations:

    Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

    Included meals: Lunch and dinner

    Anton Parson's Passing Time

  • Auckland, New Zealand

    This morning take a privately guided tour of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the guardian of the largest and most significant collection of Māori treasures in the world. At this quiet place of reflection, we see key symbols that link the spiritual past of the indigenous Māori to the present-day culture. After lunch learn what it takes to make, shape and become a professional rugby player at the All Blacks Experience. Hear the players’ stories and feel the passion behind the famous All Blacks haka before testing your rugby skills in a hands-on interactive zone. Later we visit Weta Workshop, the award-winning creative design and practical effects company behind such films as The Lord of the Rings and Avatar. Take the Unleashed tour to experience the worlds of horror, sci-fi and fantasy in-the-making, walking through the middle of a makeshift movie scene as it’s being shot.

    Accommodations:

    Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Auckland/ Rotorua / Wellington

    This morning we board our first private charter flight, from Auckland to Rotorua. Upon arrival in Rotorua, tour Te Puia, a place of rushing waters, steaming vents, boiling mud and spectacular geysers. Our local Māori hosts lead us on a privately guided tour of Ohinemutu, an ancient Māori village where descendants of the original inhabitants still live today. In the late afternoon, we board our aircraft and fly to Wellington.

    Accommodations:

    Intercontinental Wellington

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Wellington

    Head to the “Beehive,” New Zealand’s Parliament Building, to hear about the New Zealand government and the innovative technology used to quake-proof the city’s historic buildings. Next, visit the Reserve Bank Museum for a look at New Zealand's economic and banking heritage. After lunch visit the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa for a guided tour. Enjoy the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure.

    Accommodations:

    Intercontinental Wellington

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Wellington / Blenheim

    This morning, reboard our aircraft for a flight to Blenheim. On arrival, visit a stunning Marlborough property to enjoy lunch showcasing local produce. This afternoon visit Mahi Wines for wine tasting and a behind-the-scenes look at their approach to the winemaking process during a tour of their barrel hall and cave cellar. Enjoy dinner at leisure this evening.

    Accommodations:

    Chateau Marlborough

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Blenheim / Marlborough Sounds

    This morning tour the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, which contains an impressive collection of aircraft and rare memorabilia in a mix of static displays and flyable planes. Have lunch at a local winery before driving to Picton to embark on a cruise of the Marlborough Sounds. Learn about aquaculture in the sounds as we cruise near a salmon farm and appreciate the verdant scenery while sampling some fabulous seafood and a superb Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

    Accommodations:

    Chateau Marlborough

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Blenheim / Christchurch

    Board our coach for a scenic drive to Christchurch, learning along the way about the major engineering that has been done to reopen the harbor, rails and roads after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake on the coast of Kaikoura in November 2016. Stop in Kaikoura to enjoy lunch and take a walk in the coastal town, viewing the aftermath of the earthquake, before returning to the coach to continue on to Christchurch. Stop along the way at a working farm to see sheep dogs in action and learn about New Zealand's farming systems and current conservation efforts.

    Accommodations:

    Hotel Montreal

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Christchurch

    After breakfast embark on a guided walking tour of the city. See firsthand some of the areas affected by the devastating earthquakes and learn how Christchurch is rebuilding and preserving some of its iconic buildings. End with a punt along the tranquil Avon River. After lunch take a guided walking tour of the Botanic Gardens.

    Accommodations:

    Hotel Montreal

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Christchurch / Queenstown

    Board our private aircraft this morning for our flight to Queenstown. Travel outside the town to Arrowtown, a historic gold mining town, established in 1862 during the height of the Otago Gold Rush. Then head to the Shotover River for a thrilling ride on the Shotover Jet through the deep canyon.

    Accommodations:

    Hotel St Moritz

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Queenstown / Milford Sound

    Depart for Milford Sound on a caravan of helicopters, experiencing the stunning fjord from the air (weather depending). Upon arrival board a private-charter boat for a cruise around the sheer cliffs, massive waterfalls and rainforest while you keep a look out for wildlife like seals and dolphins.

    Accommodations:

    Hotel St Moritz

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Queenstown

    This morning visit the Kiwi Birdlife Park, devoted to helping conserve New Zealand’s native fauna through advocacy, captive breeding and rehabilitation. Observe the park’s unique endangered wildlife on a guided tour led by an experienced park zoologist, during which we’ll enjoy a private kiwi feeding and a live conservation show. The afternoon is free for personal exploration. Gather this evening for a farewell reception and dinner.

    Accommodations:

    Hotel St Moritz

    Included meals: Breakfast and dinner
  • Queenstown / Home

    Transfer to the airport for flights home, crossing the international date line en route and arriving back in the U.S. on the same day.

    Included meal: Breakfast

Make the most of your trip

Want more time to explore? Get the most out of your stay in this region when you sign up for an optional trip extension.

Pre-trip Extension: Auckland

Get a jump start on our journey with two extra nights in Auckland, New Zealand's most cosmopolitan city, known as the "city of sails," and the Polynesian capital of the world. Explore Auckland’s glittering marina, where Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron defended the America’s Cup last March, and visit Waiheke Island for a guided tour of Connells Bay Sculpture Park.

Dates

January 7–9, 2023

Duration

3 days
  • Auckland, New Zealand

    Upon arrival in Auckland, transfer to our hotel for an early check-in. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before embarking on a walking tour of Auckland's historic marina.

    Accommodations:

    Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

    Included meals: Lunch and dinner
  • Auckland

    This morning depart by ferry for Waiheke Island, where we tour privately-owned Connells Bay Sculpture Park, where John and Jo Gow have created special spaces to showcase the work of New Zealand’s sculptors and that reflect their passion for art, theatre and the natural environment. Enjoy lunch at one of Waiheke's top vineyards, Stonyridge Vineyard, before returning to Auckland.

    Accommodations:

    Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Auckland

    Unite with Stanford travelers arriving in Auckland today to begin the main tour.

    Included meal: Breakfast

Trip details

Start preparing for the trip of a lifetime

From top to bottom, we’ve taken care of all the details, so you can enjoy a no-stress, worry-free travel experience.

“The whole trip was very thoughtfully put together. It was only possible to see as much of the country as we did by having a private plane.”

— Marv Pollack, MBA ’77

Pricing

Secure your spot today

The price of your trip covers a comprehensive educational program in addition to meals, accommodations, tours and excursions. Continue reading for a full list of what’s included.

Ohinemutu Village, Rotorua

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