Islands of the South Pacific: Tahiti, New Zealand, Samoa Itinerary

A 12 day trip to New Zealand, Samoa & Tahiti 
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Turn iconic dreams into tangible realities with your unforgettable Tahiti, New Zealand, and Samoa itinerary. Luxuriate in the comfort of overwater bungalows. Drift with the ocean current over vivacious coral gardens. Cruise between the staggering mountains framing Milford Sound to find barking seals and thundering waterfalls. Sip celebrated wines with views of sprawling vineyards and enjoy an adventure through the jungle terrain for a private panorama looking over glowing beaches. From cave pools to elegant pearls, juicy tropical fruits to the Southern Alps, you will touch the splendors of the islands of the South Pacific. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Tahiti, Raiatea, Vaitape, Queenstown, Dart Valley, Arrowtown, Gibbston Valley, Apia, Upolu, Sua Trench, Vavau Beach 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Bora Bora – Stepping into the Painting  

The island of Bora Bora resembles a landscape painting with bursts of emerald green, indigo and sapphire blues, and sand shimmering with opulent white hues. The ridges of Mount Otemanu soar above the heart of the landscape like a castle, cutting a dramatic image and creating a safe, welcoming ambiance. Fish shimmer with the same vibrant hues as the coral gardens and manta rays glide along the soft seafloor. Your flight descends into Motu Mute Airport, and you see the iconic thatched-roof huts protruding from the jungle trees and spreading across the edges of the white sand beaches. Your private transfer greets you at baggage claim and escorts you along the water to reach your luxurious accommodation nestled between the South Pacific Sea and the crystal clear waters of the lagoon.

Palm trees rustle in the gentle sea breeze, and you find the scent of hibiscus emanating from the blossoming flora. The remainder of the day is yours to indulge in island life and the comforts of your accommodation at your leisure. You can hear the water lapping against the posts of your overwater bungalow. The windows open to private panoramas of the horizon, stretching to the protruding silver peak of Mount Otemanu. For a fabulous, relaxing beginning to your time in French Polynesia, you take a standup paddleboard onto the water for a gentle thrill and spectacular view.

What’s Included: dinner, airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Bora Bora – Mountaintops and Village Life

In the morning, you wake to the sounds of the water brushing against the wooden posts of your bungalow. The soothing sound acts as a lullaby against the silent evening and helps you wake with ease. At breakfast, you find sliced fruit as vibrant and colorful as the island, with juicy red strawberries and mangos the color of blossoming exotic yellow flowers. You venture out for an early hike to relish the natural majesty of the island’s landscape, making your way to reach the summit of Mount Otemanu. The extinct volcano reaches a height of 2,400 feet above the waters of the lagoon.

You step into a 4x4 vehicle with your guide and traverse the gravel roads along the protected forest. The wind in the open-air jeep brushes against your skin and carries the scent of hibiscus. The lush jungle passes by as you hear rushing rivers winding along the forest floor. You arrive on the shoulders of the mountain supporting the vertical towers for a rewarding view of the turquoise water, thatched-roof huts, and jade jungle canopy. After descending the mountain, you make your way to Marae Fare-Opu, the ruins of a former temple. Turtle petroglyphs mark two stone slabs set against the backdrop of the bright blue waters.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Vahine – Harmony on the Water

The morning light washes over the island and returns the gentle shimmer to the water, canopy, and mountaintop. Schools of rays glide around the coral gardens, and blacktip reef sharks circle the reef mounds. At breakfast, you indulge in a frothy cappuccino while watching the water ripple through the window. Your private transfer escorts you to the airport for your brief flight to Raiatea. You continue by boat to reach the private island of Vahine. Coconut palms shade the verdant grass, filling the air with an enticing sweetness.

Wood bungalows are decorated with hand-carved furnishings, reminding you that you can bask in the splendors of the French Polynesian islands. For an inviting introduction to the island, you partake in a Tahitian dance lesson. Your instructor teaches you the basic movements of the hands and hips. The dance helps tell a story, utilizing the intricacy of the costume to the detailed way the body sways. The chant evokes the spirits around the islands, imitating the rustling in the trees and sounds of rolling waves.

The costumes symbolize the natural beauty and abundance of the dancers’ surroundings. You absorb the intricacies of the small details incorporated into the rhythms of the dance before you start to move. The drums take on a dramatic beat, embodying the thunder of a storm. A ukulele adds a soft layer to the symphony. You move your hips and find the grass skirt swaying and swishing, creating an extra sound of the island and helping to convey the meaning of the story you tell through your movement.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 4: Vahine – The Water Life of Vahine

In the morning, you find the aroma of coconut drifting through the palms on the shore. The sweet scent blends effortlessly with the soft fragrance of the ocean. After a light breakfast, you set out into the water on a half-day snorkeling excursion to view the stunning coral gardens fringing the private island and beyond. The water wraps around you with comforting warmth. The salt helps keep you buoyant, floating above the glowing reef. The current helps guide you over the reef near the bungalows to find soft coral yellow tree coral swaying in the water.

Table and brain coral create different textures along the reef mounds. The sunlight pierces the clear water, offering visibility up to 20 feet ahead. The coral glistens in the water with the iridescence of a kaleidoscope. Clown fish hide in the fluttering anemones and parrotfish show bright, tropical blues and greens on their scales. The coral twists and turns like knots as it reaches closer to the surface, nearly grazing your legs. Farther away from the shores of Vahine, you can find schools of manta rays floating around the edges of the reef. Their wingspans can grow to a width of nearly 25 feet.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Queenstown – Island Paradise to Thrilling South Island

In the morning, you indulge in the view over the water and sip a refreshing cappuccino. The aroma of passion fruit and guava fill your suite, blending with the semi-sweet fragrance of the ocean. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to the airport at Raiatea for your flight bound for Queenstown, New Zealand. The city is located on the South Island and captures the natural wonder of the landscape. As the flight descends, you find the incredible peaks of the Remarkables Mountains rolling over the southeastern sky. The waters of Lake Wakatipu shimmer with cobalt hues beneath the open sky.

Your private transfer greets you at baggage claim upon your arrival and escorts you to a luxurious hotel overlooking the lakeshores. The cabin ambiance offers an alpine charm. You have a private view of the iridescent water, emerald foothills, and rolling mountain summits. The city offers an oasis in the alpines nestled between the snow-capped peaks, beech forests, and tranquil waters, beckoning to those looking for a relaxing getaway or an exhilarating adventure. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore Queenstown at your preferred pace. Walk along the lakeside promenade or take the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak. The cable car travels up more than 1,450 feet above sea level to lookout platforms featuring views of Queenstown and the countryside.  

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 6: Queenstown – Darting through the Valley

The aroma of fresh coffee overtakes the subtle herbaceous scent of hops emanating from a beer café located at the Steamer Wharf. The large windows and wooden deck offer spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu amongst the enchanting scent of simmering bacon. After breakfast, your private transfer greets you at the hotel and escorts you into the wilds of the landscape outside of Queenstown. You board the boat made for cruising at high speeds along shallow waterways. The wind rushes past you, whistling as it travels over the boat. The water sprays from the hull, occasionally splashing flecks of the cold, glacial waters off onto your skin.

You travel along the protect Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area, passing stunning beech forests and gravel shores. The scent of pine permeates the rush of the wind. The Dart Glacier, for which the river is named, feeds into the waterway, creating the start of the 37-mile long river. The thick snowfield melts and flows downhill until collected by the winding waters. The snowcapped peaks of the mountains are breathtaking. The boat anchors along the riverbanks, so you can stretch your legs along the forest floor. The canopy shades the trail. Your guide explains the ancient roots of the forest, dating back more than 80 million years.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Queenstown – Ultimate South Island

In the morning, the aroma of spearmint and pine filters through the quiet streets of the city. The pine-knotted facades along the main roads embody the alpine ambiance encircled by the mountains. After breakfast, your guide escorts you away from Queenstown for the day, leading you along the winding roads south towards Milford Sound. The fjord represents the South Island in its pristine majesty, reaching nearly 10 miles from its head to the open sea. You reach the marina and board the boat, instantly finding dramatic, bordering precipices dropping into the glassy waters. The fjord has a resounding silence interrupted only by the sporadic sounds of nature.

You hear a seal bark in the distance, noticing a colony sunbathing on the rocks alongside the water. The largest fur seal reaches a weight of nearly 450 pounds. The seals have made a dramatic recovery after being hunted nearly to extinction in the 19th century. Penguins waddle beside the small ferns and smooth boulders shape the shoreline. The rare mainland penguin grows two feet tall with bright white plumage along their bellies. You continue to drift over the reflective waters to find the second-highest waterfall in the fjord, Stirling Falls. The water tumbles over the cliffs at a height of nearly 500 feet, creating a veil of mist along the framing rocks below.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 8: Queenstown – Happiness from the Vine

The Central Otago Valley has crafted celebrated wines along the world’s most southern commercial wine growing region, utilizing the fluctuating temperatures to make fabulous pinot noirs and an array of white wines. French and German immigrants began cultivating the region for wine in the mid-19th century. The valley reaches an elevation of 980 feet above sea level with vines protected from the ocean climate by the staggering mountains. You enjoy the warmth of the sunlight washing over your skin and the endless rows of vines. You reach a tightly enclosed edge of the valley flanked by the walls of the Kawarau Gorge. Your guide leads you along the vines to touch your fingers to the waxy grapes.

The fluctuating conditions make the grapes fortify their flavor for a stronger, richer taste in each wine. You continue into a cave in which the owners of the vineyards have created a cellar. You immediately notice the cooler air and touch your fingers to the stone to feel the smooth, cold earth. Barrels and bottles are stored in the cave to protect the wine from the heat or cold of the valley, offering a controlled temperature throughout the year. Your guide offers you a tasting of the wines produced on the property while inside the cellar, pouring you a sample of the Pinot Noir. The aroma of bright red fruit emanates from the ruby red color. You sip the wine to find a smooth light texture with earthy notes.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 9: Samoa – Return to the Exotic Landscape

In the morning, the sunlight pours over the Queenstown Gardens. A tranquil creek runs beneath the arch of the stone footbridge. The walkways lead through the Victorian park connecting sequoia and monkey-puzzle trees to the rose garden. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to the Queenstown Airport for your flight to Apia on the Samoan island of Upolu. The serene landscape offers an intense natural beauty featured in the radiant seas, emerald canopy, and waterfalls that shimmer like crystals.

A traditional ambiance continues to overtake the shores and forest embodied in the open-air architecture of customary huts and the quiet charm of the seaside. Your private transfer greets you upon your arrival and escorts you to your luxury accommodation on the southern reaches of the island. Fruit stalls showcasing ripe melons, bright lychees, and sweet guavas pop up along the roadside. Church spires rise over the swaying coconut palms. Settle into the marvels of your overwater bungalow offering a view of the shimmering coral groves embodying the peaceful pace of Samoan life by moving with the gentle current.

Dip your toes into the refreshing waters of the infinity pool or find the divine view of the lagoon and nearby mountains along your private sun deck. After a day of travel, you choose to bask in the leisure of a spa treatment on the property. You find comfort in the aroma of coconut and the sound of trickling water. The private room offers minerals from ingredients taken from the land and sea, such as the citrus-infused water, which helps refresh your body and mind. Your masseuse brings a gentle, soothing touch to help you relax into the wonders of Samoa.    

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 10: Samoa – Ripening Samoa

In the morning, the aroma of ripened fruits fills the air and mixes with the semi-sweet fragrance of the South Pacific. The sunlight washes over the white sands along the shoreline spread beneath rustling leaves of the coconut palms. The market in Apia brims with the colors of guava and papaya. After breakfast, you set out with your guide on your first adventure in Samoa, which leads you to the To Sua Trench. You venture through the serene emerald rainforest along the roads bordered by volcanic rocks.

You reach the iconic swimming spot that resembles a glistening sinkhole. Exotic flowers and jade underbrush dangle along the cliffs leading down to the clear, iridescent turquoise located more than 65 feet below ground. A wooden ladder leads to a platform on which you can relax and enjoy the cool, refreshing water amidst the jungle heat. You can hear the waves splashing against the cliffs in the distance. A subterranean tube feeds the swimming hole with water from the ocean. Continue your day exploration at Togitogiga Waterfall.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 11: Samoa – Finding Turtles in Samoa

After breakfast, you venture to Apia to dive into the waters of the Palolo Deep Marine Reserve. The radiant turquoise water wraps around you with inviting warmth. The wake helps guide you to the large fish lingering around the grand coral more than 300 feet away from the shore. Coral carpets the seafloor, leading to a dramatic drop-off. Blue tang and clown fish protrude from the reef, swimming near the anemones and hiding from the passing school of angelfish. A larger fish swims towards you before you realize it is a magnificent gray reef shark.

They grow to more than six feet long and often form groups of up to 20 individuals swimming near the drop-off. You are close enough to see the ridge running between the dorsal fins. You return to the water around the shoreline of Namu’a Island, off the southeastern coast of Upolu. The warm, coral-adorned habitat draws green turtles from around French Polynesia. The turtles feed in the early morning and early evening, making it a good time of day to dive back into the sea in search of the majestic shelled creature. The turtles can weigh nearly 700 pounds and grow up to almost 4 feet long. They use their fins to glide through the water as if gliding through the air.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 12: Samoa – At the End of the South Pacific

The morning sheds light over the secret caves and swimming holes around the island. Locals and visitors head to Upolu to make their way to the Piula Cave Pools to enjoy the refreshing blue and green waters teeming with fish within the grottoes. Waves roll over the white beaches. A 10-foot long underwater passage connects the two pools. Laughter and jovial cries echo beneath the canopy at the Papaseea Sliding Rocks. The natural slides allow visitors to glide down the smooth, gradual grade into the natural pool below. The longest slide takes riders more than 15 feet before stopping. At breakfast, you bask in the vibrant colors and sweet flavors of the island’s exotic fruits. Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Faleolo International Airport in Apia for your flight home. 

What’s Included: breakfast, airport transfer 


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.