26th JANUARY TO 9th MARCH 2019
43 days and 42 nights
Led By Norman Peterken & Carol Mantle
2 nights Singapore, 3 nights Brisbane, 1 night Auckland, 2 nights Paihia, 1 night Opononi, 1 night Whangarei, 2 nights Pauanui, 2 nights Rotorua, 1 night Taupo, 2 nights Napier, 2 nights Wellington, 1 night Picton, 2 nights Christchurch, 1 night Greymouth, 1 night Franz Josef, 1 night Wanaka, 2 nights Queenstown, 2 nights Te Anau, 1 night Invercargill, 2 nights Dunedin, 1 night Twizel, 1 night Tekapo, 2 nights Sydney, 4 nights Bali
Saturday 26th January Bus transfer to Madrid for an overnight flight to Singapore
Sunday 27th January
Bus transfer to the centrally-located Summer View Hotel for a 2 night stay.
Monday 28th January
Today is a free day to give you time to recover from jetlag. Alternatively, you could go shopping or visit Chinatown or….
… the Gardens by the Bay.
Tuesday 29th January
Free morning. Afternoon flight to Brisbane for a three night stay at Meriton Suites Adelaide Street.
Wednesday 30th January
Today is another free day to give you time to recover from jetlag. Alternatively, you could join the optional visit to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Thursday 31st January
Free day. You could make use of the city ferry services to explore Brisbane.
Friday 1st February
There will be a morning flight to Auckland to begin our tour of New Zealand that will begin with an overnight stay in Auckland.
Saturday 2nd February
Our day begins with a visit to the Auckland Sky tower. There are stunning panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside.
We head north from Auckland stopping en route at the famous Hundertwasser designed public toilets in Kawakawa. We continue to Paihia in the Bay of Islands for a two night stay at the Kingsgate Autolodge.
Sunday 3rd February
We will enjoy a morning visit to the Museum of Waitangi and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, one of New Zealand’s premier attractions and birthplace of the nation. During our visit, we will see a spellbinding cultural performance and learn the meanings behind Maori protocol and culture.
In the afternoon, there is an optional Dolphin Cruise to the Hole in the Rock. This is a half day cruise in search of dolphins and other marine life. There are fabulous views from our catamaran as we journey to the end of the Cape Brett Peninsula and the famous Hole in the Rock on Motukokako Island.
Monday 4th February
The day begins with a one hour optional excursion that gives insight into New Zealand’s earliest European history. It visits areas of historic interest that cannot be covered easily on foot.
We travel to the beautiful Haruru Falls and then on to Kerikeri with time to visit the Stone Store. We cross from the east coast to the stunning west coast via Rawene and on to the Copthorne Hotel & Resort in a stunning location that overlooks Hokianga Harbour.
Tuesday 5th February
Our journey takes us down the west coast, stopping to see Tane Kahuta, the giant kauri tree that is estimated to be between 1500 and 2500 years old. We also view the group of kauri trees known as the Four Sisters before stopping at the Kauri Museum. It contains exhibits telling the story of the pioneer days when early European settlers extracted kauri timber and kauri gum.
Wednesday 6th February
After our overnight stay at the Distinction Hotel Whangarei, we leave Northland heading back through Auckland towards the Coromandel Peninsula.
Our stop in Thames provides an opportunity to stretch your legs and to take an optional excursion to the Goldmine Experience. The guided tour takes you through an operational 19th century Stamper Battery and into one of the richest goldmines of the time.
We continue to Pauanui on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula for a two night stay at the Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort.
Thursday 7th February
We will enjoy a full day tour of the Coromandel Peninsula, first taking the scenic route to Coromandel town, a centre for arts and crafts that still contains many fine examples of Victorian and colonial architecture.
There will be an optional visit to the Driving Creek Railway, a narrow-gauge mountain railway with superb views, unique art and replanted native forest.
If the tides are in our favour, we will include a visit to Hot Water Beach where, at low tide, you can dig your own natural hot water spa pool.
Friday 8th February
Today, we leave the Coromandel and head to the Waikato town of Matamata, home of the Hobbiton movie set. It was used as the setting for The Shire in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies directed by Peter Jackson.
Our visit starts with a drive through the picturesque 1250 acre sheep farm before we walk through the 12 acre site and discover how the Hobbiton movie set was created.
We will enjoy a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn. The Southfarthing range includes two traditional ales, an apple cider and a non-alcoholic ginger beer. There is a delicious range of traditional fare available for purchase.
In the afternoon, we continue to Rotorua for a two night stay at the Novotel Rotorua Lakeside.
Saturday 9th February
Our day begins with a guided tour of Te Puia where we will encounter bubbling mud, pools of boiling water still used for cooking and stunning geysers. The Pohutu geyser is the star of the geothermal show.
At Te Puia, we will also experience the renowned Maori cultural performance incorporating song, dance and the haka. We will also see live kiwi and learn how they are protecting these extraordinary endangered birds.
We continue to the Redwoods Treewalk for an experience designed to see the 115 year old redwood giants up close. The 553 metre long walkway is located 12 metres above the forest floor and was constructed to traverse between 22 of the majestic redwoods.
There is a free afternoon with an optional visit to the Agrodome show. Hear amazing facts and have a few laughs as you are introduced to 19 breeds of sheep. There is a live sheep shearing demonstration and a fun sheep auction. The remarkable farm dogs will demonstrate their ability to respond to commands and keep the sheep, and ducks, in line. You will have the opportunity to feed the baby lambs or even hand-milk a cow.
In the evening, there is an optional meal at the Stratosfare restaurant. After a gondola ride to the top of Mount Ngongotaha, you will be able to enjoy spectacular views of Lake Rotorua, the city and the geothermal features while you dine at the restaurant. After returning on the gondola, our coach will transport you back to our hotel.
Sunday 10th February
As we head south from Rotorua, we will enjoy a stop at Orakei Korako, a highly active geothermal area most notable for the most amazing silica terraces in the world. We first take a boat ride across the lake before following a boardwalk around the volcanic world of geysers, hot springs, bubbling mud pools and silica terraces.
We continue to the Huka Falls, the most visited natural attraction in New Zealand. The Waikato River, which is normally 100 metres wide, is forced through a 20 metre wide gorge and over a dramatic 20 metre drop.
Following our arrival in Taupo for an overnight stay at the Millennium Hotel, we will enjoy a 2 hour cruise on Lake Taupo. During the cruise, we will be able to view the stunning Maori carvings that are only accessible by boat.
Monday 11th February
Leaving the Central Plateau, we travel the scenic route to Napier, located on the east coast in the Hawke’s Bay wine-producing region, for a two night stay at the Beachfront Motel. Rebuilt after an earthquake in 1931, the city is known for its art deco landmarks. Along the tree-lined waterfront, the Pania of the Reef statue, depicting a Maori maiden, is a symbol of the city.
In the afternoon, we will take a bus tour, organized in association with Napier’s Art Deco Trust, that is probably the best informed and most authentic Art Deco tour in the region.
The tour also includes wine tasting at two world class wineries and a visit to the chocolate factory.
Tuesday 12th February
In the afternoon, we join a private tour to discover the wonders of Cape Kidnappers gannet colony in Hawkes Bay. Our tour guides have been guiding visitors for over 50 years and provide the only way to be driven within a few feet of these remarkable birds.
Travel is in air-conditioned 4×4 vehicles that will take us through Cape Kidnappers Station traversing riverbeds, broad rolling pastures, stands of native bush, steep gullies and breathtaking inclines. On the way, there is a stop at a cliff top with spectacular views of Hawkes Bay right across to the Mahia Peninsula. The 3 hour trip also provides information on the farming at Cape Kidnappers Station, local maori legend and, of course, the gannets.
Wednesday 13th February
Departing Napier, we head south through Norsewood and Dannevirke to traverse The Saddle and view the Te Apiti Wind Farm. The wind turbines are peppered across the Ruahine and Tararua ranges and are visible from many locations in this region. At the viewing area, you are able to stand directly beneath a turbine.
We continue to Wellington for a two night stay at the Distinction Hotel. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and sits close to the southernmost point on the North Island and the Cook Strait. This cosmopolitan city has been named the world’s most liveable city and is famous for its vibrant creative culture fuelled by great food, wine, craft beer and coffee.
Thursday 14th February
Our day begins with a visit to Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand.Its 6 floors contain a great variety of displays and exhibits such as Bush City, the Earthquake House, traditional Maori meeting house and sleeping houses and New Zealand’s flora and fauna.
We then take a trip on the Wellington Cable Car. Stops on the way include Victoria University, with access to the Botanic Garden, and the Carter Observatory. The Kelburn terminus has fine views over the city and harbour.
There is an optional tour to the Weta Workshop, where many of the special effects for the Lord of the Rings movies, and many other films, were developed and manufactured.
Weta Workshop is located on Marine Drive, one of New Zealand’s great coastal drives so we will also enjoy a scenic journey to and from our destination.
Friday 15th February
We bid farewell to the North Island and take one of the most scenic ferry rides in the world across the Cook Strait to Picton where we will stay overnight at the Picton Yacht Club Hotel. The three hour ferry journey covers 92 km and passes through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds.
On arrival in Picton, there is an option to take one of the most popular and iconic trips in the Queen Charlotte Sound, the Mail Boat Cruise. This is the only officially licensed NZ Post Rural Service by water in the Sounds making for a truly unique and interesting tour. The skipper delivers post, groceries and anything else that the residents may need. The route changes daily to enable delivery of the Mail to different areas.
During the cruise, the skipper will provide an interesting and informative commentary on the history of the Marlborough Sounds and the people who lived there then and now. There will be a short stop at Ship Cove, named by Captain Cook in January 1770 when the Endeavour anchored there to replenish supplies of food, water and wood. Keep an eye out for the resident wildlife and marine animals such as fur seals and dolphins.
Saturday 16th February
Leaving Picton this morning, we will make our way down the stunning east coast of the South Island to the lovely coastal town of Kaikoura. Few places in the world can boast of such natural wonders offered by both land and sea in Kaikoura. It is renowned for its abundant wildlife and its sperm whale population.
This afternoon we will take an unforgettable experience off the coast of Kaikoura with Whale Watch to a marine environment so rich in nutrients that it attracts some of the sea’s most magnificent creatures.
Whale Watch is New Zealand’s only vessel-based whale watching company that offers an exciting up-close encounter with the world’s largest toothed predator, the Giant Sperm Whale, in its natural environment. These whales can grow up to 20 metres and weigh over 50 tons and can be seen all year round, making Kaikoura one of the most popular whale watching locations in the world.
In addition, you may see the high-spirited Dusky Dolphins, the rare and endangered Hectors Dolphin, New Zealand Fur Seals and a wide variety of sea birds including the Royal Albatross.
We continue our journey down the east coast and make our way to Christchurch in the Canterbury region for a two night stay at Hotel 115. Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island and is known for its English heritage.
Sunday 17th February
Christchurch is still in transition after the large earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 that left 186 people dead. The rebuild is huge with road cones and repurposed shipping containers everywhere but this vibrant city is still full of charm with beautiful gardens, art projects and new architecture.
This morning we will join the City Rebuild tour for an inside look at this lovely city and see the innovative progress that is being made. An expert guide will join us to explain the city’s vibrant past, the seismic forces involved in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, the technology involved in the rebuild and the exciting plans for the future of the city.
This afternoon, we take an excursion through the stunning scenery of the Banks Peninsula to the French settlement of Akaroa, established in 1840.
Monday 18th February
Today, we will traverse the South Island leaving behind the Canterbury Plains and heading through the Southern Alps via Arthurs Pass to the west coast. This is a stunning road trip with wildly contrasting terrain and majestic views. ….
The road is a piece of extreme engineering involving viaducts, bridges, rock shelters and waterfalls redirected into chutes. On the eastern side, you will see wide, shingle-filled riverbeds and vast swathes of beech forest.
On the western side, we will pass through dense rainforest alongside deeply gorged rivers. We will overnight at the Ashley Hotel in Greymouth.
Tuesday 19th February
Gold miners, coal miners, shipwrecks and pounamu (jade/greenstone) hunters all form part of the history of the west coast which is never more than 50 km wide. Today, we will first journey south to Hokitika. If weather and time permit, we will take a side trip to Hokitika Gorge to view the vivid turquoise water surrounded by lush native bush.
Our travels will, at times, hug the wild west coast and, at others, be right at the foot of the Southern Alps as we make our way through to the Franz Josef Glacier.
We will take a stroll to view the face of the 12 km long glacier before head on into the town of Franz Josef for an overnight stay at the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef.
There is an optional scenic helicopter flight to the glacier. Franz Josef Glacier provides some of the most stunning ice architecture’ of any glacier in the world. The glacier was in a state of advance until 2008, when it started to retreat. Following a spectacular collapse of the terminal face in 2012, it is now only accessible by helicopter.
Your flight will explore the awe-inspiring ice falls of the glacier and will include a snow landing, an excellent opportunity to really take in the surroundings. Please note that this excursion is weather dependent.
If flying is not your preference, you take a stroll around the township or make an optional visit to New Zealand’s most unique hot pool experience in the heart of a rainforest. Glacier Hot Pools are a haven of natural tranquillity and the perfect way to unwind and relax. Main pools, private pools, spa and massage are available.
Wednesday 20th February
Today, we will travel south along the west coast and then along the Haast River …….
before traversing the scenic Haast Pass ……
in Mont Aspiring National Park.
On the other side of the Southern Alps, we will travel the shores of Lake Wanaka and pass through The Neck…
and along the shore of Lake Hawea …..
as we travel towards the lakeside town of Wanaka for an overnight stay at the Oakridge Resort
After our arrival, there will be time for an optional visit to Puzzling World…..
With our hotel located outside the town, our bus will take us into town for an early dinner so that we have the opportunity to take photos of That Wanaka Tree at sunset and see if we can match the professionals
Thursday 21st February
We will depart from Wanaka this morning heading south to Cromwell, deep in the heart of Central Otago. Rugged mountains, the confluence of two rivers and the pristine waters of Lake Dunstan all make Cromwell a must visit. Home to some of the world’s finest Pinot Noir, this area also has a rich heritage in gold mining.
If time allows, we will visit the historic Cromwell Heritage Precinct and one of Central Otago’s most well-known orchards. Mrs Jones’ Orchard makes a lovely stop to purchase some of New Zealand’s fine fruits or a refreshing fruit-flavoured ice cream.
We continue to Arrowtown, a charming and quirky gold rush town and one of the most picturesque settlements in New Zealand. Established in 1862 during the height of the Otago gold rush, the settlement grew quickly and many of those early buildings can still be seen today.
The rugged beauty of the Kawarau Gorge brings us to Queenstown for a two night stay at the Mercure Hotel, or similar.
Queenstown is renowned as one of New Zealand’s top destinations and is the adventure capital of New Zealand. Surrounded by the soaring heights of the Remarkables and on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown shows off its beauty to all that come.
In the afternoon, we take a stunning gondola ride to the top of the mountain. Refreshments are available at the top.
On the way down, you can have some fun on the luge. This thrill ride for all ages is on purpose-built cars that give you total control as you take on over 800 metres of corners, tunnels and dippers. If you enjoy it, you can hop on the chairlift and do it all over again.
Friday 22nd February
A full day optional excursion is available. The excursion begins with a 90 minute cruise on Lake Wakatipu aboard the iconic steamship TSS Earnshaw to see some of Queenstown’s spectacular alpine scenery.
We continue by 4WD to take us along the gravel road from Glenorchy at the far end of Lake Wakatipu to…
Saturday 23rd February
We begin another stunning day as we leave Queenstown and make our way to Milford Sound. Even the road from Te Anau to Milford Sound enjoys World Heritage status.
Milford Sound is a fjord in the southwest of the South Island. It is a world-renowned natural wonder with towering peaks, cascading waterfalls and amazing wildlife.
Best known for the towering Mitre Peak, the fjord is also home to fur seal colonies, penguins and dolphins. During our Nature Cruise, we will learn about the history of the region and experience the spray of a waterfall as we cruise close to sheer rock faces. We return to Te Anau for a two night stay at the Disinction Luxmore Hotel.
Sunday 24th February
There is a full day optional excursion to Doubtful Sound. Located deep in the heart of a World Heritage Area, Doubtful Sound is an overwhelming place. The vastness and beauty of Doubtful Sound will take your breath away. Known for its wilderness and wildlife, Doubtful Sound is the second largest of the 14 fjords in Fjordland National Park. It is three times longer and 10 times larger than Milford Sound. This unspoilt wilderness can be clear and sun-drenched one minute and mysterious and cloaked in mist the next. When you discover Doubtful Sound, you will struck by its silence, only broken by birdsong or the rushing of a distant waterfall
The excursion begins with a cruise along the crystal clear waters of Lake Manapouri, ……
renowned for its numerous islands and deserted beaches. We will travel underground by coach to see the Manapouri Underground Power Station
and then over the Wilmot Pass on one of New Zealand’s most remote and prettiest sub-alpine roads with a stop along the way to experience some of Fjordland’s most dense rainforest and view Doubtful Sound far below.
On the Sound, we will board a catamaran for a cruise on this pristine fjord with guides who are passionate about this region. The nature guides will provide interesting commentary and point out highlights. We will want to keep an eye out for wildlife as bottlenose dolphins frequently swim alongside, fur seals bask on the rocks around the fjord and rare penguins can sometimes be seen.
Monday 25th February
This morning, there will be an optional visit to the glowworm caves. We will cruise across Lake Manapouri to join a guided adventure underground by path and small punt through limestone caverns to the glowworm grotto, drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of thousands of glowworms. This underground world is astonishingly beautiful and, by geological standards, very young (12000 years). The force of the river that flows through the caves results in a twisting network of limestone passages filled with sculpted rock, whirlpools and a roaring underground waterfall. Beyond the waterfall, we will enter a silent hidden grotto inhabited by thousands of glowworms, unique to New Zealand.
Leaving Te Anau behind, we will head to Invercargill for an overnight stay at the Kelvin Hotel. Invercargill is the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand. The warmth and hospitality of Invercargill is renowned and it is a city full of character.
Tuesday 26th February
This morning there is the opportunity to take an optional excursion to Stewart Island, New Zealand’s third largest island. The excursion begins with a flight to the island that lies 30 km south of the South Island across the Foveaux Strait. The flight takes 20 mniutes and will take us past world record holder Burt Monro’s test track, Oreti Beach, Bluff, the mainland’s southernmost town, and the Foveaux Strait, where the world famous Bluff Oysters are harvested. Approximately 85% of the island is reserved as Department of Conversation land.
On arrival, we will be met for a guided minibus tour providing unforgettable insight into the diversity and beauty of this island sanctuary, especially its native plant and bird life. There will be an early afternoon return flight to Invercargill. Please note that numbers are limited on this tour.
In the afternoon, we will head to Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South, for a two night stay at the Victoria Hotel.
Stops along the way will include the prosperous rural town of Gore and Balclutha.
Wednesday 27th February
Free day with optional tours in both the morning and afternoon
The morning tour is the Taieri Gorge Rail Trip. Known as one of the world’s great train trips, we will depart from Dunedin’s beautiful railway station and begin the jouney into some of New Zealand’s most spectacular and iconic scenery. The train travels through the southern parts of Dunedin city until it arrives at Wingatui Junction,where it turns off onto the Taieri branch.
From here, the train snakes across the Taieri Plains and climbs into the Taieri Gorge, a narrow and deep gorge carved out over aeons by the Taieri River. As it negotiates the gorge, the train travels through 10 tunnels and over countless bridges and viaducts. The natural wonders combined with the challenge of manmade engineering will leave you amazed. It is a wonderful example of the sheer determination of the early railway pioneers. The train will stop or slow down at various scenic points along the way for photos and for you to disembark, stretch your legs and enjoy the stunning views.
The afternoon offers a bus tour of the stunning Otago Peninsula. As well as its beautiful scenery, there are breeding centres and sanctuaries for the Royal Albatross, the Yellow Eyed Penguin and the Blue Penguin. We will see as much as possible in our half day.
Thursday 28th February
Leaving Dunedin behind, we will marvel at the natural phenomenon that is the Moeraki Boulders before stopping for morning tea in Oamaru.
We will then travel up the Waitaki Valley, viewing the massive hydroelectric power projects on the Waitaki River before stopping for lunch in Omarama.
In the afternoon, we will skirt the shores of Lake Pukaki before arriving in Twizel for our overnight stay at the Mackenzie Country Inn.
Friday 1 st March
To make the most of the spectacular views, we will head off to Aoraki/Mount Cook stopping off at the Sir Edmund Hilary Alpine Centre and then The Hermitage.
En route, we will visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Sheep Dog statue and there will be some free time.
This evening, we will enjoy a Tekapo Star Gazing experience, a unique experience that will introduce us to the famous Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve.
This will be followed by a relaxing soak in the hot pools.
Saturday 2nd March
This morning, we will head through Burke’s Pass ….
and Fairlie ……
before arriving in Timaru for a sightseeing tour of the inner city.
We continue on to Geraldine before our arrival in Christchurch for lunch and our transfer to the airport for our early evening flight to Sydney. On arrival in Sydney, we will have a bus transfer to the centrally located Megaboom City Hotel for a two night stay.
Sunday 3rd March
Free day. You could visit: Sydney Opera House ……
or Sydney Harbour Bridge……
or take a Sydney Harbour cruise ……
or visit The Rocks.
Monday 4th March
There will be a free morning followed by a bus transfer to the airport for our late afternoon flight to Bali. On arrival, there will be a bus transfer to the 5* Royal Tulip Visesa Ubud Hotel. The hotel is in a stunning location in the centre of the island. You may want to skip one or more of the excursions to rest in preparation for our return journey to Spain.
Tuesday 5th March
Today’s excursion begins with visit to the Tegenungan Waterfall and the Tegalalang Rice Terraces
We continue to Ubud to visit Ubud market and Ubud Palace.
Lunch at a local restaurant is included.
Wednesday 6th March
Our tour begins with visits to Mengwi and the Ulun Danu Temple, built at Lake Beratan and dedicated to the god of fertility
We continue to the Jatiluwih rice terraces and Tanah Lot, a sea temple built on an ocean rock in the 16th century.
Lunch at a local restaurant is included.
Thursday 7th March
Our tour begins with visits to the 11 th century Goa Gajah and the 10th century Tampaksiring water spring temple.
Lunch at a local restaurant is included.
We continue to Kintamani mountain resort from where there are magnificent views of the lake and Batur Caldera.
Friday 8th March
As with the Vietnam trip, after checking out, several rooms will be kept for storing luggage and showering and changing before our departure from the hotel. There is a 9pm departure to the airport for our flight home.
Saturday 9th March
Flight arrives in Madrid at 1240 followed by a bus transfer to Moraira.
The cost of the trip will be approximately €6,000 to €7,000 to be confirmed subject to receiving final quotes from suppliers.
The single room supplement to be confirmed
To secure a place on this trip, please pay a deposit of €1,000 at the Travel Desk at the next general meeting.
There are several reasons why price of the trip is approximate:
The prices quoted for hotels and entrance fees are the 2018 prices. There is likely
to be a small increase in the 2019 prices.
The cost of the flights was calculated using the prices quoted for flights on the
equivalent dates in January to March 2018. We will not know the exact price until
we book the flights for 2019 in March or April next year.
The price for the tour of New Zealand was quoted in New Zealand dollars. The
current exchange rate was used in calculating the cost of the trip. The exchange
rate when we make the final payments is likely to be different.
We will not be able to confirm the bookings at the stopover hotels until after the
flights are booked. Changes to the 2019 flight schedules could require changes to
the details of the stopovers.
The price includes:
• Pick-ups and transfers, as specified, by private vehicle with an experienced, safe driver
• Sightseeing with experienced local guides as indicated in the itinerary
• All breakfasts and some lunches as indicated in the itinerary
• Entrance fees according to the itinerary
• VAT and all taxes
The price excludes:
• Personal travel and health insurance