Experience New Zealand Tour
- Price from:
- 3000 USD /person
- +64 3 540 3221
- +64 3 540 3221
- Payment Types:
- Credit Card
- Travellers cheque
- Wire Transfer
Last updated: 05/16/2007
Our small, flexible personalized Experience New Zealand tour is the perfect combination of activities, wildlife encounters, quality accommodations and fine dining throughout the whole of New Zealand.
We meet in Auckland and depart for Northland, the country's remote, northern-most region. A scenic drive through rolling farmland and coastal villages brings us to our lodge overlooking the breathtaking Bay of Islands . The afternoon allows you to freshen up and unwind from your overseas journey. This evening, we catch a ferry to historic Russell for a stroll and dinner by the bay.
An afternoon hike, offering stunning views of
the glittering bay, allows you to rejuvenate after
your overseas journey. This evening, we enjoy a relaxed dinner overlooking the bay.
Northland was a major port for the logging and shipping of ancient kauri trees at the turn of the last century. Those inclined can join us for a day walking amongst those giants that remain and exploring tracks that highlight the grandeur of the magnificent coastline. Alternatively, enjoy the comfort of the lodge and the beauty of its setting.
This morning, we board a sailing vessel to cruise around the multitude of picturesque islands. Set the sails, take the helm, or sit back and enjoy the sea breeze and views. We anchor for lunch and a swim or island walk, then return to Russell for our final dinner here.
We bid the lodge farewell and return to Auckland, stopping at scenic points along the way. Just north of the city, on the ruggedly beautiful west coast, is one of New Zealand's largest gannet colonies. We stop for a close-up view of these wonderful birds as they court, breed, and nest. In Auckland, our hotel is located in the heart of downtown. Dinner this evening is on your own, so you are free to explore the city and its excellent dining options.
Departing Auckland, we head for the lush and peaceful Coromandel Peninsula. This afternoon, we join a member of an award-winning team of naturalists for a half-day excursion through the Coromandel's subtropical rainforest. Our lodge for the next two nights lies in a tiny seaside village, and is just a short stroll from one of the prettiest beaches in New Zealand.
A casual day is spent enjoying the region. A hike along the coast leads to a secluded cove featuring beautiful sandstone formations : a perfect place to contemplate nature's wonders. During our stay, we take a trip to nearby Hot Water Beach. With thermal waters brewing just below the surface of the sand, we dig our own natural hot pools and soak as we listen to the waves crash against the shore : a truly unique and memorable experience.
We head south to Rotorua, a cultural center for Maoridom and an active volcanic region. Here, we visit the Rotorua Museum, housed in the historic Bath House where visitors came over a century ago to "take the cures" in the mineral waters. After a fascinating private tour of the museum, those who wish to test the healing theories of the water can head to Rotorua's modern spa facility for a soak in its thermal pools. This evening, we are welcomed as guests at a Maori meeting house, or marae, for a fascinating introduction to Maori culture. Dinner at the marae is an opportunity to sample both traditional and modern Maori fare.
There are two options for experiencing the region's volcanic features today, depending on conditions. The first is to travel by land then by boat to White Island, an active volcano 30 miles off the eastern coast. We explore the volcano on foot, hosted by professional guides.
If conditions preclude a trip to white island, the alternative option is to take a scenic flight over the giant crater resulting from the 1886 eruption of Mt. Tarawera, then view some of the active geothermal features of the area by land : boiling lakes, turquoise pools, and hot streams which continue to change and develop. We take a hike in the nearby forest and explore other interesting features of this thermal wonderland.
This morning, you depart Rotorua and fly to Wellington, New Zealand's picturesque capital city. As well as Parliament, Wellington is home to Te Papa, the country's spectacular national museum. For those who wish to take in this cultural and architectural feat, along with the other wonderful features of the city, your day is free to explore on your own. Our hotel is located in the heart of the city, and we reconvene this evening to dine at a favorite Wellington restaurant.
Wellington is the final destination for the 9-day Experience North Island excursion. We bid you farewell at dinner tonight and wish you well for your onward travel. You will be transferred to the airport the following day to meet your flights.
We take the ferry across the Cook Strait to the South Island, gliding past the spectacular coastline of the Marlborough Sounds. Landing in Picton, we travel to the Marlborough wine region, renowned for its world-class Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays. After tastings and a winery lunch, we continue on to the sun-drenched Nelson and Tasman Bay region, pausing for a short hike through native beech forest along the way. Our lodge, at the head of the Abel Tasman National Park, is where we'll settle for the next two nights.
The Abel Tasman, with its temperate forest, aquamarine waters, and golden sand beaches, is arguably one of the most beautiful parks in the country. Hike through the park at your own pace this day, or join us for a special sea kayaking experience along its coast, ducking in and out of secluded bays, stopping to stroll along its beaches, and drawing in the tranquil beauty of the sea.
We depart the Nelson region and journey east to the dramatic Pacific coast and the seaside hamlet of Kaikoura, New Zealand's marine-life center. After settling into our waterfront accommodation, we take a spectacular hike around the Kaikoura peninsula, a dominant feature in the region's landscape. The hike offers magnificent views of the surrounding sea and mountains as it winds past intriguing limestone formations and fur seals lounging on the rocks. Kaikoura means "to eat crayfish (lobster)" in Maori, and tonight is a chance to sample the local specialty.
Today, we'll have the chance to behold some of Kaikoura's tremendous creatures in their natural habitat. Of these, perhaps the most famous are the resident sperm whales. A morning whale flight offers the unique opportunity of viewing these gentle leviathans from above. From this perspective, one can appreciate the whale's size, as well as the vastness of its feeding ground. Later, those feeling adventurous can don wetsuits and snorkel gear for an up-close encounter with Kaikoura's playful fur seals. Alternatively, a fascinating boat trip to the feeding grounds of Kaikoura's sea birds offers a unique opportunity to view albatross, shearwaters, and other pelagic wildlife on the wing and in the waters around us.
Departing Kaikoura, we journey south to the Canterbury region and the city of Christchurch, described by some as the most English of New Zealand's cities. Lunch is on your own so you can explore--hire a punt on the Avon, stroll through the botanical gardens, or visit the lively open-air market. From Christchurch, it's a short trip through scenic countryside to the home of a New Zealand farming family for your overnight farmstay. Generally, no more than four guests stay at one home, allowing you the chance for an intimate visit.
After warm farewells to our Kiwi families, we board the famous TranzAlpine train for a trip over the glorious Southern Alps. Crossing alpine rivers and winding beneath snow-capped peaks, we descend to the wild and woolly West Coast region. Upon reaching The Coast, it's a short drive along stunning shoreline to our accommodation for the next two nights, on the edge of the Paparoa National Park. The afternoon allows you time to explore the area's features, including the intriguing Pancake Rocks, and to take in the bounty of talented craftspeople here.
This part of the South Island is known for its limestone landscape and is honeycombed with intricate cave systems. The morning gives us the opportunity to explore one of these systems in a choice of two ways. Scenic Caving is available for those wishing to explore a natural cave virtually unspoiled by humans. We examine chambers filled with delicate formations and the eerie blue constellations of glow worms as we learn about the cave's creation. Those wanting a taste of the surreal can instead go on one of New Zealand's most unusual experiences, Cave Rafting. Outfitted with wetsuits and inner tubes and led by an experienced guide, we hike through the cave to a meandering underground river where we board our tubes and drift through a magnificent glow-worm grotto. Plenty of laughs are had on this memorable adventure. For those wishing to remain aboveground on this day, other enjoyable alternatives can be arranged.
This morning, it's a spectacular drive down to New Zealand's glacier region. Upon our arrival in the picturesque village of Franz Josef, we take a scenic flight over the glaciers, passing near Mt. Cook, New Zealand's highest peak. Upon our return, we hike along the glacial riverbed for a view of the imposing glacier face. From Franz Josef, we travel to its sister village of Fox where we settle into our comfortable alpine hotel. Nearby is perhaps one of the prettiest little walking trails in New Zealand where you can stroll beneath a thick canopy of old-growth rainforest before dinner.
This morning, we walk around nearby Lake Matheson where, on a clear day, the Southern Alps are beautifully reflected in the mirror-like waters. From here, it's a stunning drive through the Haast Pass on our way to Queenstown. Dense rainforests give way to the stark mountains of the Mt. Aspiring National Park as we enter the Otago region, New Zealand's Outback and home to its high country sheep stations. After pausing in the serene, lake-side town of Wanaka, we cross the spectacular Crown Range and descend into Queenstown. Resting on the shores of lovely Lake Wakatipu and flanked by The Remarkables, this is a stunning setting in which to base ourselves for the next four days.
Queenstown is New Zealand's adrenalin center. In keeping with this, we take an exhilarating jet boat ride through the Shotover Canyon this morning. Before the gold rush of adventure tourism, this was a true gold rush region 140 years ago, reminiscent of America's Wild West. Following our boat ride, a horse trek takes us back to this simpler time and allows us to immerse ourselves in the region's natural beauty. Because there are so many things to do in Queenstown to cater to your diverse interests, we have left the remainder of the day free for you to pick and choose whatever optional activities you desire, be they whitewater rafting and bungy jumping, or more leisurely pursuits such as walking and wine trails. For that reason, lunch and dinner are on your own this day.
This morning, we pack an overnight bag for our excursion to spectacular Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. The road through the park to Milford is one of the most scenic in the world, and we stop and explore some of nature's wonders along the way. At Milford, we board our vessel for the unique experience of an overnight stay on the fiord. Very few see Milford Sound in this way and it allows us time to absorb its overwhelming beauty.
We return to Queenstown, stopping along the way for a morning walk through moss-laden beech forest to a pristine alpine lake. We resettle at our accommodation for a relaxing afternoon. Our farewell dinner is tonight, where we reflect upon the highlights of our trip and celebrate the friendships we've made.
On our final morning, depending on your flight schedule, you'll have time to relax, make final purchases, and even reconsider that bungy jump before traveling home or to your next destination. We're confident you'll leave New Zealand with memories and friendships that will enrich your life for years to come.
- Inclusions -
- Transport and guiding
- Extras -
- We specialise in small group travel. Our tours are limited to 12 guests traveling in two vehicles for the very best in flexible, personalised travel. Our guides are professional, and trained to be informative and fun while not being overbearing.This is the ultimate way to experience the best of New Zealand without all of the hassles of organising it yourself.
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