New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most picturesque places on earth featuring vast mountain ranges, steaming volcanoes and sweeping coastlines. This land of beauty and nature also harbors a rich and fascinating history, reflecting a unique mix of Māori and European culture. What is packed onto two sparsely populated islands floating in the great Pacific Ocean is really quite remarkable!

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What to Expect

New Zealand caters to all traveling styles and interests. While the rural countryside is full of gorgeous vineyards and farms, the urban centers of Wellington and Auckland are packed with historic sites.

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Known for fine wines and the world’s best sauvignon blanc, there’s nothing like collecting fresh Green-lipped oysters to pair with a bottle of Cloudy Bay. Like other Pacific islands, the culture of the proud Māori permeates the everyday. There will be opportunities for authentic connections along your journey and visitors are warmly welcomed. Home to fabulous walking trails with lots of interpretive signs that are easy to follow, you will find a unique range of flora and fauna along your path.

Don't Miss Out

The Essence of New Zealand — There are few places on earth where you can take a helicopter to land on a glacier for a hike.

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Franz Josef Glacier on the South Island is one such rare place where you can hop off your helicopter, raise a glass of champagne and celebrate the amazingly gorgeous place where you stand. For those adventurous souls you can hike through the glacier or scale it by ice climbing!

For the movie buffs—Love your Hollywood blockbusters? Ever since the 2001 release of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, New Zealand has featured as the fictional ‘Middle Earth’ of Tolkien fame. Step into the lush pastures of ‘The Shire’ or amble through any of the 150 locations featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. There are many available options to explore the stunning landscapes that graced the big screen.

Nature’s playground – New Zealand packs every possible adventure sport into its borders. Get the adrenaline pumping in Queenstown, the birthplace of bungee jumping. Skydiving, jet boating, skiing or white-water rafting will also make your heart race. Check out the Bay of Islands for all things watersport or kayak to Split Apple Rock in Abel Tasman National Park. Stride it out on the Routeburn Track, Milford Track, Grand Traverse or other secret ‘Great Walks’ throughout the country.

Hidden Gem – How does a traditional Māori meal known as ‘hangi’, sound? Wrapped in leaves and cooked in the ground on hot stones, the result is tender, off-the-bone meat and delicious vegetables, all infused with a smoky, earthy fragrance. In Rotarua and the geothermal areas on the North Island, the hangi is submerged in thermal pools and steam. Many of the top chefs in New Zealand are bringing back this traditional dish and adding a modern twist to it.

Need to know

Flights are easily arranged into the gateway city of Auckland on the North Island. Direct flights are available from the West Coast of the U.S. and Canada.

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  • We recommend at least 10–14 days exploring both the North and South Islands. While sometimes combined with Australia, New Zealand is worthy of an independent trip.
  • New Zealand appeals to active travelers and intrepid souls, wine aficionados and nature lovers. Couples and honeymooners will find plenty of romance and families will enjoy the laid-back culture.
  • Visas are required for most visitors.
  • Short domestic flights are easily arranged to most tourist destinations. If you can stay left, traffic is virtually non-existent in New Zealand and is ideal for self-drives along well-maintained roads.
  • This island nation is quite multi-cultural, and the majority of New Zealanders speak English as their first language.
  • Guiding is of high quality throughout the nation with local guides in each region on a typical itinerary.
  • Culinarily speaking, New Zealand is known for fantastic seafood options and lots of fresh ingredients. Expect very casual eateries throughout the nation.

When to go

Typically, there are four seasons. The climate varies between the North and South Island and is quite complex.

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The general climate is mild however areas in the far north experience warm subtropical temperatures while the South is cooler. Best that visitors are prepared for all types of weather as the temperature can change quite quickly throughout the day.

December – February:  Temperatures are warmest in January and February, and summer has the advantage of the best weather for overall travel in New Zealand. Ideal weather brings the peak travel season for tourists and local alike. If you are wanting to travel in summer, you must book early to avoid availability issues.

March – May: Autumn in New Zealand is gorgeous. The crowds have dispersed, and the weather is cool and lovely in most areas.

June – August: Regions in the South Island such as Queenstown are winter wonderlands and boast some of the best ski fields in the world. Temperatures inland can be as chilly as 14°F (-10°C).

September – November: Picture perfect time of the year to explore both islands, but quite cool temperatures.

Accommodation

The one thing to know about accommodation we choose in New Zealand is that it fits naturally into the environment.

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Whether it be a lakeside apartment hotel in the city, a country estate in the winelands, or a cliffside golf resort, the nature and scenic surroundings take center stage. Our favorites are of the highest caliber and deliver wonderful service to our guests. Every property booked on a Rothschild Safari is vetted by staff and offer the highest standards in each category.

What our travelers say

Amy Lundberg

Wow, wow, wow!! We are back in LA now, recovering from jet lag and still in shock and awe regarding our experience. From the moment we landed in South Africa to the moment we touched down in LA, our experience was seamless and amazing. 

Betsy Robertson

We were thrilled with the trip. It was as good as or better than described at every turn. The prep, attention to detail, willingness to make changes and ensure we were ready and prepared was outstanding. Our Travel Designer was awesome! 

Dawn Jacobs

Choosing a safari expert is never easy given the choice and lists upon lists of "top suppliers"....but we made the BEST choice for us....why....because above all, Rothschild listened ....really listened to what we wanted to experience.

George Kowalski

It was a well organized trip. It was easy to get around since we were guided through all of our itinerary. Everyone was pleasant and very helpful. This is an excellent way to travel. Rothschild Safari did very well and brought a fantastic African experience to us.

Jackie Smith

My trip was beyond AMAZING! I truly enjoyed every moment. The itinerary allowed me to experience a variety of different activities all of which I enjoyed! When I originally thought of going to Africa I was just thinking of safaris. This trip opened my eyes (and my family/friend's) to so much more Africa has to offer.

Jamie Scarlett

Trip was PERFECT!! Every single detail was planned out and the accommodations and people were wonderful. This trip exceeded all of our wildest expectations. Every place we stayed was just lovely and each each camp had a different vibe, which was really neat. Everyone we worked with was outstanding. 

Joe Moravec

On behalf of the Moravec’s and the Stone’s……thank you for arranging a trip of a lifetime. Every detail was accounted for and all the recommendations were perfect. It honestly could not have gone any better.

Kim Mather

Meggan Woody and Kim Killick were extraordinary at crafting THE PERFECT safari for our family of 8. They both listened (actually 'read' my email) to EXACTLY what we wanted, within the budget that we needed, and miraculously pulled off miracles in obtaining the properties that we wanted! 

Lisa Anderson

Every aspect of my trip went according to plan and the plan Rothschild's help me to orchestrate was magnificent! I loved every lodge that I was blessed to be in! They were all very different yet all high end and very accommodating.

Mary & Rob Johannigman (and family)

It was the most exciting, scenic, inspiring trip we've ever taken. To say it was a trip of a lifetime doesn't begin to capture our experience. Pam Langhoff and the Rothschild team did an outstanding job of helping us plan this trip.