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New Zealand is in the South Pacific, between latitudes 34'S and 47'S. The country runs roughly north-south with mountain ranges down much of its length. Its two main islands cover 103,735 sq. miles, about the size of Japan or California and
slightly larger than Great Britain.
The North of New Zealand is sub-tropical and the South temperate.
The warmest months are December, January and February (average maximum temperatures range between 20° - 25°C (68° - 77°F)), and the coldest are June, July and August ((10 -1 5°C) (50 - 60°F)). New Zealand is famous for its clean air and
pleasant year round climate.
New Zealand is an independent nation and a member of the (British) Commonwealth, with a population of 3.6 million, mostly of British descent.
The largest minority (around14 percent) are Maori of Polynesian origin, who came to New Zealand in a series of migrations starting about 1000 years ago.
In keeping with New Zealand's relaxed lifestyle dress is informal on most occasions. In summer it is usually warm enough to go out in the evenings without a jacket, but a light jacket or jersey should be packed for cooler weather and visits to the high country. You can expect some rain so include a light waterproof jacket or coat. Pack warm winter clothing if visiting between May and September.
New Zealand is one of the first places in theworld to see the new day. New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). In summer New Zealand has Daylight Saving when clocks are put forward one hour. Day Light Saving begins on the first Sunday in October and ends on the last Sunday of the following March.
Most public call phones take cards purchased from bookstalls, with a minimum value of $5. Some publiccall-phones also accept credit cards, but very few still accept coins.
Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz, although most hotels and motels provide 110 volt ac. sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only.
Our Best 14 Day New Zealand Tour!
From beaches to glaciers! This trips covers New Zealand's most famous sights plus adds a few of the lesser known treasures of the country. This is a trip is created for some dear friends who wanted to see as much of New Zealand as possible within two weeks but did not want to be rushed off their feet. They were thrilled with the trip and now will be passed it on to you!
Estimated driving time: via shuttle 30 minutes
Arrival Auckland. Depending on your time arrival you may or may not have the opportunity to explore the city. Either way, you will take a shuttle to Parnell in Auckland. We have chosen Parnell as the area to stay due to it's close proximity to all attractions, the quietness of the area and the great shops and restaurants that are all within walking distance.
Auckland City of Sails
Auckland is the country's largest metropolis
and main point of entry for overseas visitors,
principal portmand airline terminal has developed into a cosmopolitan, commercial and industrial area which sprawls gracefully over an undulating area of 502sq km. Auckland incorporates nine cities and houses over 900,000 people...a third of all New Zealanders. It has a character, a setting and an out-door lifestyle chiefly it's own, based on a background of extinct volcanoes, the sea and a near sub-tropical climate. Auckland boasts a vast variety of entertainment the millions of visitors that for she entertains every year, from the assortment of water related activities offered on her seashores to the museums, parks. art galleries,the zoo and the many places of interest to visit, you can be sure of a good time in Auckland.
The nightlife is the best you will find in New Zealand and you can be fairly sure of finding something that will take your fancy...Census Population of Auckland: 1,073,220
Auckland is the largest urban city in New Zealand with population of over 1 million, living in an area of 580 sq kms making it one of the largest geographical citys in the world!
Before the European people arrived in the nineteenth century, Auckland and most of New Zealand was populated by the Maori, whom are indigenous. Like much of the wheeling and dealing that went on during this time, Auckland was purchased from the Maori for six pounds and became the capital city for a period of five years.
You have the day to do one, none or some of the following
Auckland Domain, Auckland
Auckland Museum is one of New Zealand’s best known historic buildings and a war memorial with galleries - Scars on the Heart and Holocaust - reflecting New Zealand’s part in the wars of the world.
Overall, the Museum provides a window on New Zealand’s cultural and natural history and houses a fine collection of Maori treasures. The Discovery Centres - “Weird and Wonderful” and “Treasures and Tails” are places for fun and exploration of the natural world and human culture for kids of all ages.
Hours of opening
By donation - $5.00 suggested Pounamu Mäori Culture Performance - $8.00 Adults, $5.00 Concessions (no extra charge to see the main museum galleries) Groups are charged $5.00 per person. Groups need to be booked preferably two weeks in advance.
This is it......the fair city of Auckland! That's the new Sky Tower you see in he middle of the picture. It houses the casino and is the site of the recent world record breaking bungy jump done by AJ Hackett He jumped from the top and it took 8 seconds for him to make contact with a bunch of balloons just above ground level.....awsome!
Day Three & Four
Auckland - Rotorua
Estimated Driving Time: 3 Hours
A three hour drive south/east, will lead you through farmland, along rivers and many small country towns to Lake Rotorua and the small city of Rotorua. It is an easy and well sign posted drive.
Seen by many as one of the most interesting, entertaining, intriguing and yet mysterious places to visit.. Never think you can get away with a "quick visit" to. Rotorua because you'll only be letting yourself down. The first thing you'll notice is the strong smell of sulphur in the air....this comes from the minerals in the ground and is just one of the areas main attractions. Natural beauty is in every corner of this busy city.... take the time to view them all....you won't be disappointed. Just one friendly word of warning.....if you're tempted to purchase from the tourist shops there, chances are you'll buy the same things in another town for a much lesser price....don't tell them you read that here!!A small sample of what you can see in Rotorua In the foreground is a sample of maori carving and in the background is a typical lake scene. The palm-like tree you see is called a punga. these are a native of New Zealand and grow
right through-out both islands
Discover the wonders at one of the many thermal parks with their geysers, bubbling mud, sulphur lakes and colourful mineral caves.
Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park New Zealand
You will enjoy our parklike grounds situated in the very heart of Rotorua Ideally located two kilometres from downtown Rotorua, across the road from the Arikikapakapa Golf Course and a stone's throw from historic Whakarewa Thermal Reserve and and the NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park has a lot to offer.
As well as providing fully equipped tourist flats with bedding, we are delighted to offer our modern log cabins with or without Ensuite facilities.
For the camper we have 10 acres of ideally suited tent sites, for the caravanner 180 powered sites set amongst mature trees. We consider our wide range of competitively priced accommodation and ultra clean facilities, all set in beautiful surroundings to be one of the most progressive accommodation complexes in the country.
Take the gondola ride to the top of a mountain to take in the panoramic views of lake Rotorua, it town and surrounding area.
This evening's meal will be a memorable one, a Maori Hangi. You will be taught proper protocol for entering a Maori Marae (meeting house and grounds) and then be invited onto the Marae. You will enjoy traditional song and dance before and after indulging in the earthen cooked meal. The warmth of the Maori customs will be with you for days after this magical evening.
Rotorua - Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula
Travel day to the beach
Estimated Driving Time: 4 Hours
Today you begin the journey to your beach side destination. The three to four hour drive up the Pacific Coast highway offers a buffet of beautiful sights for your eyes to devour!
You will pass through wonderful orchard country. Be sure to stop and enjoy one or more of the fruit, vegie & coffee stands.
You have the rest of the afternoon to walk the beach, dig for clams, catch a fish, relax or take a ferry ride across the estuary.
Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula
Relaxing Beach Days
With all the driving, adventures and sight seeing up to this point a day of relaxation on the beach .
Hot Water beach
Hot Water Beach is NOT a secret! It is known around the world!
Hot Water Beach is located along New Zealand's Pacific coast just south of Mercury Bay at the northeast tip of the Coromandel Peninsula (map).
What is it?
Some volcanos develop huge underground reservoirs of superheated water. Over time, this water will escape to the surface — cooling on the way. There are two fissures at Hot Water Beach issuing water as hot as 64ºC (147ºF) at a rate as high as 15 litres/minute. This water contains large amounts of salt (NOT salt water), calcium, magnesium, potassium, fluorine, bromine and silica. There are other hot water springs nearby but the location of these two springs on the beach make them unique.
Beach gear, of course! Bathing suit (tops ARE optional 8·) and sandals -- plan on walking through the small stream which separates the parking lot from the beach.
Towels and sunscreen are necessary in the summer.
Spade and bucket -- the spade will help you dig your spa but the bucket is just as important! It will allow you to bring the cooler ocean water to keep you from scalding your feet (or whatever else you put in your spa!-)
Camera! If you arrive in our winter, it will be cool but the water can be HOT!
Despite Kiwis' love of their dogs, please plan on NOT bringing your dog here. They are not prohibited but dogs MUST be on a lead and you'll have to "police" any mess.
How much does it co$t?
Sorry, the New Zealand government has yet to tax the natural thermal springs such as this one on the beach (all New Zealand beaches are open to the public) so there is NO CHARGE! Of course, if you'd like to have an ice cream, drink or sandwich at the shop (conveniently located at the car park), those are not free. It's true that there's "no free lunch," but ...
Hot Water Beach is FREE
Day Seven & Eight
Whitianga - Auckland - Queenstown
Estimated Driving Time 3½ Hours plus a two hour flight
Time to say good bye to your beachside resort and head for the South Island. You will wind over volcanic mountains, over the longest one way bridge in New Zealand, through farmland and along the Firth of Thames before arriving at the Auckland domestic terminal.
There you board your noon flight to Queenstown. Upon arrival at Queenstown again you will board a shuttle for transport to your lake view accommodation.
Queenstown is a bustling lakeside resort surrounding by dramatic mountain ranges. You have the rest of the day and tomorrow to explore the wonders of the area.
Programm for day seven & eight http://nz.com/Queenstown/
Queenstown, The Remarkables & Crown Range, 4 July 1999
Spectacular QUEENSTOWN, the most popular holiday destination in New Zealand for international visitors, offers an incredible range of things to do in all seasons. This justifiably is known as New Zealand's action and adventure capital, which explains why the young and energetic flock here (and hate to leave). Organizations that discover Queenstown can hold functions here with all facilities -- and who would miss the chance to attend? With its diversity of accommodations, activities, places to eat, and entertainment accessible to all ages, Queenstown also provides an ideal family holiday, as well as an opportunity to see the country at its most splendid.
Complex located five minutes walk from central Queenstown is the gondola base station, which will take you 790m above sea level to Bob's Peak. Our complex is open 365 days a year.
An Austrian Doppelmayr system with a vertical rise of 450m and an incline of 37.1 degrees, it carries 700 people per hour in four seater cabins. Since the cableway began in 1967 we have carried over five million passengers.
The system is driven by an electric motor with a diesel auxiliary and has a rope size of 35mm.
Skyline Buffet Restaurant:
This restaurant offers a tempting five-course "Taste New Zealand" buffet in a relaxed atmosphere for groups or couples to enjoy.
Thanks to a revolutionary tiered seating design, floor to ceiling windows, up to 320 diners can enjoy an unhindered view of the Wakatipu panorama.
Open for lunch and dinner.
Two 800 metre tracks winding down through the trees, accessed by Pomagalski chairlift from the restaurant complex. A scenic track with viewing bays allows a leisurely trip down whilst enjoying the panorama. An advanced track allows the more adventurous to enjoy the challenge of banked corners, a tunnel, bends and dips.
Doubtful Sound Day Exursion
Doubtful Sound is a remote, unspoilt wilderness of many moods: one minute clear, blue and sun-drenched, the next, mist-shrouded and mysterious. When you discover Doubtful Sound you will be struck by its silence -- a silence broken only by bird song, maybe the sound of a fish leaping or the rushing of a distant waterfall.
Your Doubtful Sound adventure begins as you cruise the crystal clear waters of Lake Manapouri. After disembarking at West Arm, you travel underground by coach to see the remarkable Manapouri Power Station machine hall (visit optional). Then it's over Wilmot Pass, stopping along the way to experience some of Fiordland's densest rainforest and to view the colourful alpine moss gardens.
On reaching Deep Cove, board our spacious catamaran for a three hour cruise which takes in the most dramatic scenery of Doubtful Sound. Our staff are always on hand to point out highlights. Bottle-nose dolphins frequently cavort alongside our vessel; fur seals bask on the rocks at the mouth of the Fiord and rare penguins can often be observed.
Queenstown - Milford Sound - Queenstown
Milford Sound Day trip
Rise and Shine! Today is an early start. You will shuttle out to the airport for your 8am Milford flight. The morning hours are the most beautiful time of the day to fly over the sound. You will fly from Queenstown to Te Anau. There you will board a small van for the drive between Te Anau and Milford. You will travel through rain forest like bush, sheer cliff sides dressed in multiple waterfalls and through Homer's Tunnel, an amazing demonstration of the pioneer's sheer determination to build a tunnel! There are many photo stops along the way and since you are in a small van (as opposed to the huge coach) there are opportunities to stop places where the buses can't fit!
Upon arrival at Milford Sound you will board a cruise boat for a two hour boat trip through the glacier created, dramatic landscape. It is as if a journey to pre-historic times. Lunch will be served during the cruise.
Milford Sound is the most famous
and accessible of Fiordland's magnificent glacier carved fiords. Deep blue waters, cascading waterfalls, sheer cliffs, dense rainforest, towering mountains and fascinating wildlife, its all here waiting for you.
Fiordland Travel offers a variety of daytime cruises at Milford Sound and there's sure to be one that meets your needs.
The Milford Wanderer
offers a longer, more leisurely cruise of Milford Sound. Designed along the lines of a traditional trading scow, the Milford Wanderer is well suited to those who enjoy relaxing on deck or in the cosy saloon. Our friendly crew includes a nature guide who will be on hand to point out sights and to answer any questions you may have about the fiord and the surounding area.
A full-length cruise on the Milford Wanderer takes 2 hours and 30 minutes, which gives the skipper plenty of time to stop off at points of interest and locate some of the local wildlife -- penguin, seal and dolphin sightings are common.
Milford Sound Underwater Observatory Visits
Guided visits to the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory are available with Milford Sound Scenic, Wanderer and Friendship Cruises. After an informative introductory talk, visitors descend to the underwater viewing chamber to observe the fascinating corals, anemones, sponges, sea horses, and fish species in their natural habitat.
After the boat trip, instead of heading back to Queenstown via the same route you will board a flight from Milford! High atop the spectacular landscape, the sources for the many waterfalls can be viewed. The glacier lakes, high country bush and incredible scenery are at times so over welming that it takes your breath away. After the short thirty minute flight you will be back in Queenstown.
Once back at the airport you will be up your rental car.
Queenstown to Fox Glacier
Up the West Coast to Glacier Country. It is time to explore the mighty ice up close. This is the only place in the world that you go from Glacier to Rain forest in a few short steps! A walk on the glacier will be a good way to stretch the legs and get a real feel for the power of the frozen earth movers. A helicopter ride to the top of the glacier always proves to be a highlight for most.
On the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, in the heart of Westland National Park, there is a little green strip of land cradled between the majestic Southern Alps and the sparkling Tasman Sea. It is here that you will find Fox Glacier, a tiny settlement at the apex of the beautiful valley that is the outwash plain of the Fox and Cook rivers. These rivers find their source 2,500m above in the massive snow and ice fields fed by most of New Zealand's mightiest peaks. The valley is embraced on either side by densely forested hills, ancient moraine walls that remind us that all of this country was under 300m of ice fourteen thousand years ago. Magnificent views of Mounts Cook and Tasman, New Zealand's two highest peaks can be seen from the valley and cradled within the ancient moraines is Lake Matheson, New Zealand's famous mirror lake, which reflects its two highest peaks So special is this place that it has been recognised as a World Heritage site along with the Grand Canyon, the Serengeti National Park and the Great Barrier Reef. Since the first pioneers made their way, over 100 years ago, to the Fox Valley from Gillespies Beach when the black sands there could yield no more profitable leads of gold, Fox Glacier has been the starting point for thousands of journeys into the surrounding wilderness of forests, lakes, glaciers and mountains. Visitors to Fox will find a small but comfortable township with two hotels and a good selection of motel, hostel and motor camp accommodation and several restaurants. Despite being in the wilderness, the town has all essential services including a good garage, a district nurse and a visitor centre.
Fox Glacier - Christchurch
From the West Coast - The East Coast via Train
Estimated Driving Time: 3½ hours
After breakfast, a walk around Lake Matheson offers one of the most amazing photo opportunities in New Zealand. The lake in the morning is so still that is perfectly reflects the near by Alps. In a photo it is difficult to determine which way is up and which is down!
Then it's time to head north up the west coast. You can check out the typical West Coast town of Hokitika. Hokitika is a haven for crafts. Wonderful wood carving, greenstone (jade) carvings, pottery, woven goods, blown glass and much more can be found at bargain prices. Do not look around for too long, your Trans Alpine train leaves at 2:00pm.
The four hour journey from Greymouth to Christchurch meanders through Arthur's Pass. It was voted the top sixth train ride in the world! You arrive in Christchurch around 6:30pm.
Hokitika is situated on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, beside the Tasman Sea with a view to Mount Cook and the Southern Alps.
Hokitika is the gateway to the South Westland World Heritage National Park. The Arahura River, which enters the sea 8 kilometres (5 miles) north of Hokitika, is a traditional source of pounamu (greenstone) for the Maori people and still yields a large proportion of the Coast's continuing supply.
Several shops in Hokitika sell expertly crafted greenstone jewellery and sculptures. The region is also popular with other craftspeople, including gold jewellers, wood turners and potters. Tourism, farming, spagnum moss and fishing also provide the source of wealth for the residents of Hokitika.
South of Hokitika are two beautiful water-holes. Lake Kaniere is a placid lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains and a favourite place for boating, water skiing, picnics and swimming. Lake Mahinapua, surrounded by bushland, is ideal for sailing and has good camp facilities. Between Hokitika and Franz Josef is the settlement of Whataroa and the famous white heron (kotuku) which nests between November and February.
Glaciers two hours drive, Punakaiki Blowholes 90 minutes drive, Shantytown 20 minutes drive, jade carving, glass blowing, fur and skin shops, commercial gold mining, bushwalks, fishing, scenic drives to Lakes Kaniere and Mahinapua and Hokitika Gorge, glow worm dell, Water World, craft galleries.
Christchurch - Exploring the city
Modern Christchurch is a diverse and lively melting pot of cultures and nationalities, with a continental café scene and a distinct, ever-evolving Kiwi identity, all sitting (not always comfortably) alongside neo-Gothic architecture and an English university-town ambience. Urban pursuits are nicely balanced by the excellent beaches of the Pacific Coast suburbs and the hilly solitude offered by Banks Peninsula, all just a short bus ride away.
The city centre, together with many of its more compelling sights, is encased within four avenues: Moorhouse, Fitzgerald, Bealey and Deans. They define a useful border round the downtown and business districts, in the very centre of which is the Cathedral Square. Scattered in the streets and around the square are many of the city’s most attractive buildings. Over on the western edge of the four avenues lies Hagely Park, a focal point for sporting and leisure activities at weekends and adjacent to the excellent botanical gardens, Arts Centre, museum and gallery.
Laid out in a grid pattern, interrupted only by the snaking river, Christchurch is a low-rise city over which the Cathedral spire presides, serving as a useful landmark. Beyond the four avenues you pass into suburban districts characterized by beautifully kept gardens, but venture further west and you can sample the joys of the beaches, Banks Peninsula and the spectacular panoramic views from the Christchurch Gondola. If this seems a little sedentary, you can cycle around the hills of Mount Cavendish or, less energetically, down to the Gondola base with the Mountain Bike Adventure Company, taking in some grand views and hair-raising curves. For getting round the centre itself you’ll find walking best, though if you’re bushed you can do worse than take the tram – with inexpensive, all-day tickets available it’s a great way to get familiar with the sights.
Christchurch - Kaikoura - Christchurch
Whales, Dolphins and Seals
An 7:30am pick up is required for your trip to Kaikoura. The two hour drive up the east coast and through little towns passes quickly, before you know it you are at the old whaling village of Kaikoura. You will be able to enjoy a short walk through town then around the peninsula to the seal colony before luxuriating in a lobster lunch.
Then it is time to search for the mammoth mammals of the sea, the sperm and hump back whales. It is an amazing sight to see one of these creatures curve it's body into the deep ocean followed by a flip from their enormous tail. Be sure to bring film!
Try a once in a life time opportunity to swim with dolphins in the wild! These playful mammals create a feeling of euphoria when one is able to interact with them.
….few places in the world can boast such natural wonders as those offered by land and sea at Kaikoura.
The seaside settlement of Kaikoura is situated midway between the city attractions of Christchurch and wineries and waterways of Marlborough. On the rugged east coast on New Zealands South Island, Kaikoura is overlooked by majestic mountains which are snow capped for many months of the year. This unique combination of ocean and mountains never fails to leave visitors to the area in awe.
The township is located on a rocky peninsula, protruding from lush farmland beneath the mountains. In waters off the this peninsula the complex marine system provides an abundantly rich habitat for marine mammals and seabirds making it an ideal place for getting 'close to nature'.
Kaikoura's numerous species of whales, dolphins and seals first attracted European settlers to the town when the whaling industry began in the early 1800's. Today however, marine mammals are sought after for an entirely different reason in the waters off Kaikoura - viewing.
A destination for all seasons, Kaikoura offers activities for all - whether just soaking up the surrounding beauty, watching the whales, or even shark diving for the keen.
Some of Kaikoura’s key attractions are:
Dolphin and seal swimming
The Peninsula Walkway
Diving and fishing
Enjoying the natural beauty and environment
Kaikoura has a wealth of attractions from whale watching to skiing. Below is a sample of the delights we have available.
Whales, Dolphins, Seals and Birds
Local tour operators offer visitors the chance to watch whales, dolphins and many other species of sealife on a daily basis; by boat, airplane and helicopter. With wetsuits provided, visitors can also join dolphins and seals in their ocean environment on a swimming trip. Kaikoura is also home, or a half way point, for a wide variety of pelagic birds including the albatross which can be seen all year round.
Diving, Fishing, and Boat Tours
Visitors may like to experience scuba diving the undersea world of Kaikoura, for some of the best reef diving in the country. Kaikoura is renowned for its great fishing grounds, which anyone can enjoy by boat with a local fishing guide. Crayfish are in abundance – catch your own and enjoy it for dinner!! For those wanting a true adrenaline rush shark diving is available during the summer months when they are hungry. Or, if you are into something more sedate – try a glass bottom boat tour around the reefs and seal colonies of the Kaikoura peninsula. Great for families.
Back at your accommodation for your last night in New Zealand.
Christchurch - Home
Good Bye New Zealand
There should be time for some last minute shopping and an exploration around the Antarctic Museum before embarking on your international flight back to home.
* Be sure to take a picture together somewhere in New Zealand to be included in our yearly client's newsletter!