Natural Wonders of New Zealand | Sisterhood Womens Travel

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Natural Wonders of New Zealand

18 Days  |  Departing Sunday 9th October 2022 and returning Wednesday 26th October 2022

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$2600 deposit payable $3250 deposit payable $ deposit payable $ deposit payable

Progress Payment: $ 3650 4550 by 9 Jun 2022
Final Payment: $ 4149 5199 by 8 Jul 2022
Pay by direct deposit, credit card or cheque.

Highlights

Auckland Harbour Bridge
Visit to Parry Kauri Park, Auckland
Visit Kauri Museum
Guided Tour of Waitangi Treaty House, Paihia
Visit Historic Kerikeri 
Tour of Russell 
Luxury Catamaran Cruise in the Bay of Islands
Highlights Tour of Auckland
Tour the Famous Glowworms Waitomo Caves
Relax at the Deluxe Hot Mineral Bathing at Polynesian Spa in the Lake Spa
Experience a Traditional Hangi Feast and Mauri Concert 
Guided Tour of Pohutu Geyser Rotorua
Visit Wairakei Geothermal Steam Field
See the Mighty Huka Falls, Lake Taupo 
Wine Tasting and Lunch at Mission Estate Winery, Napier
Guided Art Deco Tour of Napier 
Visit the Pretty Town of Greytown 
Visit Schoc Chocolates 
Wellington Sightseeing Afternoon Tour
Cruise Across the Wellington Harbour on the Interislander
View Sculptured Boulders in the Pelorous River
Tour of Nelson
Drive through Abel Tasman National Park 
A Scenic Cruise from Kaiteriteri into Tonga Island Marine Reserve
View the 'Pancake Rocks' and Blowholes at Punkakiki's Rugged Coastline
Visit Greenstone and Glass Blowing Factories in Hokitika
Visit Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers at Westland National Park
Visit Historic Arrowtown 
Lunch Dining Experience at The Stoaker Room Bistro and Bar at Wild Earth Winery, Cromwell 
Nature Cruise on Milford Sound
Visit the Beautiful City of Queenstown
Experience an Outdoor Stargazing Site and the Digital Dome Planetarium at Mount Cook 
Shopping at The Tannery in Christchurch 

Inclusions

Fully Escorted by a Sisterhood Tour Hostess who is on hand to assist with making your Holiday a memorable one.
Return Economy Airfares and Taxes from Melbourne to New Zealand (Other Classes of Travel available on request)
All 4 Star Accommodation with private facilities
Specialist Guides at Each Destination
All Transportation as Detailed in our Itinerary
All Sightseeing and Activities as Detailed in our Itinerary
All Meals as Detailed in our Itinerary
Willing to Share Option
Meet and Greet Documentation Distribution Day (Subject to Min Numbers Attending)
Friends for Company!

Notice

COVID-19 NOTICE

The itinerary is subject to change due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Should social distancing measures remain in place, Sisterhood Womens Travel will adapt our itinerary accordingly. 

Itinerary

Day 1 - Sunday 9 October 2022

Melbourne - Auckland (D)

Welcome to Sisterhood Womens Travel. Meet your hostess and fellow travellers at Melbourne Airport for your flight to  Auckland, New Zealand. Sit back, relax and enjoy the inflight entertainment as we head towards our destination. 

Once we land in Auckland we will be met on arrival and transferred to our hotel. 

Dinner will be enjoyed tonight at our hotel. 

Overnight: Airdale Boutique Suites Auckland (or similar) 

Day 2 - Monday 10 October 2022

Auckland - Bay of Islands (B)

After breakfast, we depart Auckland and travel north over the Auckland Harbour Bridge to visit the Parry Kauri Park. Here we will view some fine examples of Giant Kauri Trees.

Continuing our journey, we reach Paihia in the beautiful Bay of Islands, where we’ll take a guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty House where New Zealand’s history began.

The Bay of Islands is a New Zealand enclave encompassing more than 140 subtropical islands next to the country's North Island. It’s known for its undeveloped beaches, big-game fishing and Maori cultural artefacts. It's also home to the 19th-century whaling port of Russell, whose waterfront promenade is lined with remnants from its days as the country’s first colonial capital. It's only a three-hour drive north of Auckland, and the Bay of Islands also includes the boutique towns of Opua, Paihia and Kerikeri.

In the afternoon take a tour of the Waitangi Treaty House and Grounds with a local guide for a unique insight into this special and spiritual place.  Learn about the treaty agreement between Maori and British representatives in 1840 which created the nation of New Zealand.  Explore the Treaty House, see the traditional wharenui (meeting house) with its intricate Maori carvings and marvel at the scale of Ngatokimatawhaorua, one of the world’s largest carved war canoes (waka taua).  

Overnight:: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Islands Waitangi (or similar) 

Day 3 - Tuesday 11 October 2022

Bay of Islands (B)

This morning we board a catamaran to cruise the Bay of Islands to Cape Brett before making a passage through the Hole in the Rock (conditions permitting).   There is no better way to experience the Bay of Islands than from the water.   As you cruise learn about the region’s rich culture and history with full commentary from the local skipper.  Stop at Otehei Bay at Urupukapuka Island – here you may choose to swim or take a walk or perhaps visit the café.  

At the conclusion of the cruise, disembark at Russell where we have time for lunch (own cost) before taking in the sights of Russell with a one-hour tour combining historical knowledge and local insight. Learn about significant sites like Pompallier House and Christ Church and stand atop Flagstaff Hill for stunning Bay of Islands views.  

At the completion of the tour, we are at leisure for the remainder of the day with an open ticket to return to Paihia on the ferry when we are ready.  

Overnight:: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Islands Waitangi (or similar)

Day 4 - Wednesday 12 October 2022

Bay of Islands - Auckland (B)

This morning we visit Kerikeri – a place of rich history complimented by lots of character and renowned for its fresh local produce.  Our morning starts with a visit to a local chocolate shop to sample some of the delicious confectionary produced here.   Experience some of New Zealand's earliest European history with a guided tour at historic Kemp House and the Stone Store.

Following our time in Kerikeri, travel south following the Twin Coast Discovery Highway to arrive in Auckland, where on arrival experience a highlights tour of Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’, exploring the lively waterfront area. Enjoy the relaxing views along Tamaki Drive, which runs east past peaceful sheltered bays to Auckland's most expensive real estate.

Overnight: Airdale Boutique Suites  Auckland (or similar) 

Day 5 - Thursday 13 October 2022

Auckland - Waitomo - Rotorua (B)

This morning we depart Auckland to travel south crossing the Bombay Hills through the dairy rich Waikato countryside where we arrive at the famous Waitomo Caves.

Enter Ruakuri Cave through the spectacular spiral entrance designed to respect the sacred nature of the caves. Tread narrow corridors, stand in vast caverns and hear the distant thunder of subterranean waterfalls. Our guide will captivate with crystal tapestries, up close glowworms and majestic cave formations. Learn ancient myths and legends and the history of local Maori as we travel through the longest underground tour in New Zealand. Ruakuri Cave is an experience that will leave you open-mouthed, awe-struck and humbled by the sheer majesty of nature.

From Waitomo, we travel to the thermal wonderland of Rotorua, the Sulphur City. Rotorua has the most energetic thermal activity in the country with bubbling mud pools, gushing geysers, beautiful coloured hot springs and terrace formations created by mineral water. Rotorua also has a large Maori population whose cultural activities are interesting and accessible.

After checking in to our accommodation and having some free time for dinner (own expense), we'll indulge, relax and unwind at Polynesian Spa in the Lake Spa, the deluxe hot mineral bathing and relaxation area.  Enjoy tranquil bathing and lake views in the four alkaline rock pools, each with different temperatures (36˚C to 42˚C).  Here we'll be surrounded by revitalizing native New Zealand flora, natural rocks, and the energizing sight and sound of two waterfalls and a grotto that reflects the glistening water.  A large relaxation lounge overlooks Lake Rotorua, where refreshments are available. Other amenities include well-appointed changing facilities with towels, lockers, soap, shampoo and hairdryers that are also provided for our convenience.

Overnight: Millennium Hotel Rotorua  (or similar)

Day 6 - Friday 14 October 2022

Rotorua (B,D)

This morning visit Te Puia, home to The New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley featuring the famous Pohutu Geyser.  Enjoy a guided tour where you will come face to face with Pōhutu Geyser, jumping mudpools, and live kiwi birds.  Hear guides share stories passed down from their ancestors. At Te Puia, national schools of carving, weaving and other traditional arts train talented students from around New Zealand under the guidance of master craftspersons.

Afterwards enjoy a Redwood Treewalk Day Walk located a Redwood Grove and consists of 21 suspension bridges traversing between 22 Californian coastal redwoods that are 115-years old.  The elevated walkways gives walkers a unique view of the native undergrowth below from up to 12-metres above the ground.  At 553-metres long the walkway allows plenty of time to appreciate the beauty of the forest that is quite different from what you experience on the ground.  This is a great opportunity for both young and old who can walk un-aided to feel a sense of freedom at height.   Walk is approximately 30-minutes/maximum weight permitted 120-kgs.  

This evening you will be treated to a traditional Hangi (feast) and Maori Concert. You are transferred from your hotel to visit Tamaki Maori Village for a Cultural Experience and Hangi Dinner. Experience the warmth of the Maori people during an evening of ceremonial rituals, powerful cultural performance, storytelling & hangi feasting. Enter the pre-European Maori village, witness the earth being scraped carefully away from the hangi pit and enter their ancestral Meeting House to relax as their family entertain you with a powerful cultural performance before dining on the traditional hangi buffet dinner (Maori feast) cooked the traditional Maori way in an earth oven.

Overnight: Millennium Hotel Rotorua  (or similar)

Day 7 - Saturday 15 October 2022

Rotorua - Napier (B,D)

Depart Rotorua this morning travelling via New Zealand’s largest pine tree forests to Taupo making a visit to the Wairakei Geothermal Steam Field en-route.  This was a world-first, generating electricity by tapping a natural steam field then channelling the steam to a nearby power generation plant.   Stop and see the mighty Huka Falls – Huka in Maori translates to “snow” as the water here has the appearance of snow falling as it is forced along from Lake Taupo through the falls on its journey along the Waikato River.

From Taupo, travel across the hills to the seaside city of Napier in the Hawkes Bay.  For food and wine lovers, the sunny Hawkes Bay region is a favourite destination.  Known for its award-winning wines, artisan food producers and local farmers’ markets, the area has a rural charm, with a mix of steep hills and plains planted with grape vines.  The city of Napier is famous worldwide for its art deco architecture, with many buildings preserved in the styles of the early 1930s when it was rebuilt following a devastating earthquake. 

This afternoon join a local guide for a guided Art Deco Walking Tour.  Take an entertaining look at the unique 1930s architecture as you wander through the streets with your local guide.  En-route learn about the 1931 earthquake that destroyed the city, hear about the people that led the rebuild, and discover the unique Art Deco style of this unique city. 

There will be time to enjoy a touch of shopping in the Art Deco Centre Shop which includes a superb collection of items inspired by the daring of a new era . . . the Art Deco movement!  Sourced locally and internationally, they stock a fabulous range of Art Deco items including women's and men’s accessories, novelty gifts such as lamps, figurines, china, glassware and stationery. 

This evening we dine at the Mission Estate Winery.  Established in 1851 by the French Marist religious order, Mission Estate is New Zealand’s oldest wine-maker.  Housed in an elegantly restored historic seminary building with sweeping views of Napier, the award-winning Mission Estate Restaurant serves exquisite cuisine influenced by seasonal produce. 

 

Overnight: Scenic Te Pania Hotel, Napier (or similar) 

Day 8 - Sunday 16 October 2022

Napier - Wellington (B,D)

Departing Napier and travelling south towards Wellington, we stop at the very pretty town of Greytown which is known for its great food and sophisticated shopping, cute colonial cottages, historic trees and extra-ordinary chocolate!

Then we indulge with a stop and a visit to Schoc Chocolates, with over 80 flavours of chocolate, they create beautiful, hand-crafted tablets.  Fairly sourced beans from all over the world come together to create the most delicious, rich and smooth chocolate in a flavour for everyone.  Schoc Chocolates comes complete with chocologist, Murray Langham. Murray is passionate about chocolate and psychology and has combined the two to create a beautiful blend of understanding that comes about by simply picking your favourite chocolate!  Passion that melts in your mouth and stays in your mind. Taste the difference, challenge your senses, explore your personality though chocology. 

Enjoy some free time to explore this pretty town and its boutique style of shopping.

Later this afternoon we continue south to Wellington where on arrival we'll enjoy an informative sightseeing tour.

Overnight: James Cook Grand Chancellor Wellington (or similar)

Day 9 - Monday 17 October 2022

Wellington - Nelson (B,D)

Today begins with a cruise across the Wellington Harbour out onto the Cook Strait on the Interislander and through New Zealand’s only true sounds, and the picturesque Queen Charlotte Sound into Picton. The bustling port of Picton is the terminal for inter-island ferries, and the gateway to the ‘Mainland’, the South Island’s self-proclaimed nickname. Reboarding our coach we continue to tour through to Pelorous Bridge. Here we can walk through the Beech and Podocarp Forest as well as view the many sculptured boulders in the Pelorous River.

From here travel over the hills to the city of Nelson which is renowned for high sunshine hours and its plethora of artists in the region.    Dinner at the hotel.

Overnight: Rutherford Hotel, Nelson (or similar) 

Day 10 - Tuesday 18 October 2022

Abel Tasman National Park (B,L)

Today we are collected for a drive out through Richmond and Motueka to Kaiteriteri, the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. 

Enjoy a 3-hour cruise along the granite coastline of the Abel Tasman National Park.  From Kaiteriteri cruise through the Astrolabe Roadstead to Torrent Bay and Bark Bay, calling into picturesque beaches and coves where walkers and kayakers are transferred to golden-sand beaches.  Pause to view the antics at Tonga Island Seal Colony in the Marine Reserve, then continue past isolated northern beaches to the long sweep of burnished sands at Totaranui, the northern point of the park.  From Totaranui, retrace your journey back to Kaiteriteri.    Lunch onboard included today.  

As we return to Nelson this afternoon stop at Mapua Wharf, situated by the Waimea Estuary.  Time here to explore some of the galleries and studios to see the excellent art being produced by local artists.  Alternatively visit one of the cafés or perhaps just buy an ice-cream and gaze out at the estuary.  

Visit the Hőglund Art Glass Centre.  Ola and Marie Hőglund create stunning hand-blown art glass in striking colours and designs, which has earned them worldwide recognition and praise.  Their designs reflect the beauty of the New Zealand environment based upon the simplicity of Scandinavian design but with a strong Pacific feel. 

Overnight: Rutherford Hotel, Nelson (or similar) 

Day 11 - Wednesday 19 October 2022

Nelson - Punakaiki (B,D)

Today we travel south through the lovely Waimea Valley once well known for the growing of tobacco, then through rugged and remote bush covered mountains.  The road follows the Buller River towards the coast where we can enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Buller Gorge before reaching the West Coast.

Near the entrance of the Buller River is the small town of Westport, the gateway to the Northern West Coast. Named after a town in Ireland, it is the service centre for the Northern West Coast and Buller region which has a population of around 10,000; of whom approximately 4,000 reside in the town itself.  It has a spectacular location on the mighty Buller River with the steep Paparoa Ranges behind it and around it a beautiful estuary area called the Orowaiti Lagoon.

Travelling out to the Cape Foulwind headland, we'll enjoy the sea air, explore the coastline and visit the rookery of kekeno – the New Zealand fur seal.  The headland is an important site for the seal colony as well as the sooty shearwater (a large sea-going petrel) and also blue penguins. Māori knew the Cape as Tauranga which refers to the sheltered anchorage, the bay provided for voyaging canoes (waka). It was also used as a resting place as they travelled the coastal areas by foot and by sea. Abel Tasman sighted the Cape on 14 December 1642 and named it Rocky point. In 1770 it was named a “place of foul winds” by Captain Cook when his ship was beset by gales and wind. Major European settlement began in the 1860’s when the settlers established flax/harakeke and timber mills.

From there we continue on down the coast to the small settlement of Punakaiki on the edge of the Paparoa National Park.  Punakaiki is renowned for its wild, rugged coastline and the famous ‘Pancake Rocks’ and blowholes.  These stratified limestone stacks are an extraordinary monument of nature.  

Overnight: Punkakiki Resort, Punakiki (or similar) 

Day 12 - Thursday 20 October 2022

Punakaiki - Franz Josef Glacier (B,D)

This morning is time to view the blowholes and the famous ‘Pancake Rocks’ before we depart south down the West Coast with the Tasman Sea to our right and the Southern Alps rising steeply on our left. We'll make a stop in Hokitika where we visit the Greenstone and Glass Blowing factories. Further south we tour the Westland National Park, the home of Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. On arrival, time is available for an optional scenic flight (extra cost), before continuing onto our accommodation for the night.

Overnight: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (or similar)

Day 13 - Friday 21 October 2022

Franz Josef Glacier - Queenstown (B)

Driving towards the southern end of the South Island’s West Coast Road, there is a strong sense of entering a primeval land, and a feeling of total isolation. Arriving at Haast, we'll be surrounded by a landscape of rainforest, wetlands, sand dunes and surf-pounded shingle beaches. This wilderness forms part of the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area, so designated because South Westland and Fiordland have some of the most dramatic forest and mountain scenery and natural resources in the world. From the Westland National Park we travel through the Haast River valleys and over the Haast Pass to Makaroa and onto the upper reaches of Lake Wanaka. Travelling past Lake Hawea we reach the popular Lake Wanaka, the starting point of the mighty Clutha River. This afternoon we travel via Cromwell following the Kawarau Gorge Road into Queenstown.

Queenstown, sits on the shores of the South Island’s Lake Wakatipu, set against the dramatic Southern Alps. Renowned for adventure sports, it’s also a base for exploring the region’s vineyards and historic mining towns. There's bungee jumping off Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge and jet-boating on the Shotover and Dart rivers. In winter, there's skiing on the slopes of The Remarkables and Coronet Peak.

Tonight is free to explore the many local restaurants, cafes and bars.

Overnight: Copthorne Lakefront Hotel, Queenstown (or similar) 

Day 14 - Saturday 22 October 2022

Queenstown (B,L)

This morning we travel out of Queenstown to the nearby Arrowtown, a township with a colourful history. We have time to walk around this historic town where we will see many of the original sycamore trees planted by the goldminers that cover the town's cottages and stone buildings with a canopy of gold. In its heyday Arrowtown was a rough and ready frontier town. There are many beautiful and interesting walks around this historical area. Arrowtown's Museum houses a fascinating collection of tools and artefacts used by the miners of the goldrush era, and one of the best presentations of pioneer relics in the country. Within the vault of what was an 1860's bank are stored thousands of priceless exhibits: gold pans, shovels, maps, clothing, weaponry and even a gold nugget or two – a living, breathing peep into the past.

Next journey to Cromwell's The Stoaker Room Bistro and Bar at Wild Earth Winery, where we'll experience a truly unique dining experience, showcasing fresh New Zealand cuisine coupled with some of Central Otago’s fames wines. Utilising retired French Oak Pinot Noir wine barrels, The Stoaker Room steams, bakes and smokes their delicious array of regional foods on the spot. Here enjoy their signature dish “The Stoaker Banquet” – chef’s selection of five tasting dishes matched with five Wild Earth Wines.  We return to Queenstown with time at leisure for the remainder of the afternoon and evening.

Overnight: Copthorne Lakefront Hotel, Queenstown (or similar) 

Day 15 - Sunday 23 October 2022

Milford Sound Day Trip (B,L,D)

We depart early this morning and travel around Lake Wakatipu and through Te Anau and the Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound.  Fiordland National Park, part of the UNESCO Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area is one of the great wilderness areas of the Southern Hemisphere.  The scenery is spectacular with lofty mountains and deep valleys carved out by Ice Age glaciers.  There are clear rushing streams and leaping waterfalls set in magnificent native rainforest.

On arrival at Milford Sound, we'll board a comfortable vessel for a Nature Cruise down Milford Sound past towering Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea.  Enjoy the stunning scenery of cascading waterfalls, dense rainforest, steep cliff faces and marine life that inhabits these waters.  Today a picnic boxed lunch is included and our nature guide will provide commentary on the interesting features of the area. 

On our return to the Milford Wharf, we'll board the coach and retrace our journey back to Queenstown travelling via the Cleddeau Gorge, Homer Tunnel and the lovely Eglinton Valley.

Overnight: Copthorne Lakefront Hotel, Queenstown (or similar) 

Day 16 - Monday 24 October 2022

Queenstown - Mount Cook (B,D)

After breakfast and check out, we'll depart Queestown and travel north through the rugged Kawarau Gorge, past pretty Lake Dunstan and across the distinctive Central Otago countryside to the Lindis Pass.  Passing the small towns of Omarama and Twizel then seeing the canals that feed the huge Waitaki hydro electricity generation scheme. We drive along the shores of Lake Pukaki into Mt Cook National Park.

At the heart of New Zealand’s most spectacular alpine region, Mt Cook at 3754 metres is the highest peak in Australasia.  The Mt Cook National Park comprises 70,013 hectares of ice, snow, rock, sub-alpine scrub, tussock and riverbeds.  The Tasman Glacier flows 27 kms past the flanks of Mt Cook to terminate amongst vast fields of rock debris at the beautiful Blue Lakes, where the Tasman River takes the glacier water to the blue waters of Lake Pukaki.

Mount Cook is far from the city lights and therefore has some of the darkest skies in New Zealand – perfect for viewing the night sky!  In June 2012 the Aoraki Mackenzie region, encompassing Mount Cook Village, was approved as one of only a few International Dark Sky Reserves (IDSR) worldwide, meaning the darkness of their night skies is almost unbeatable!

This evening we will get to enjoy this wonderful must-do experience; beginning with an introduction and orientation in the Digital Dome Planetarium highlighting the unique features of the southern night sky.  Their informative astronomy guides will then take us on a short drive to an outdoor stargazing site where we will use telescopes, astronomy binoculars and the naked eye to put our newly acquired knowledge into practise, identifying and exploring different elements of the spectacular southern sky.

Overnight: The Hermitage Hotel, Mt Cook (or similar)

Day 17 - Tuesday 25 October 2022

Mount Cook - Christchurch (B,D)

Time this morning for a walk in the National Park or scenic flight over the Southern Alps (extra cost).  We depart travelling past Lake Pukaki then on to Tekapo where we'll witness the magnificent blue waters of Lake Tekapo. Here we visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and the statue of the Collie dog, before travelling the vast Mackenzie Basin, over Burke’s Pass through Fairlie, Geraldine, Ashburton and across the Canterbury Plains into Christchurch.

This evening is our farewell dinner at one of the many wonderful local restaurants. 

Overnight: Rydges Latimer Christchurch (or similar) 

Day 18 - Wednesday 26 October 2022

Christchurch - Melbourne (B, Inflight)

Today we farewell New Zealand. Time allowing, we'll make a stop at The Tannery for last minute shopping; at a boutique shopping emporium on the banks of the Heathcote River in Woolston.  The old industrial precinct from the 19th century is now home to a retail complex boasting stunning architecture and art, and is home to a concentration of boutique shops; a hub of creativity and hospitality, retail, craft and entertainment.

Then we begin our journey home from Christchurch airport, arriving into Melbourne late afternoon. 

Sit back and reminisce about the amazing experience you have shared with new friends and enjoy the inflight entertainement. 

Welcome Back Home! Thank you for joining us on your latest adventure and we look forward to welcoming you back! 

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