Splendor in the Land of the Maori: Gardens, Wineries and Landscapes
March 25 – April 6, 2012
Edventures is pleased to announce a 13-day tour ̳Down Under‘ March 25-April 6, 2012. ―Splendor in the Land of the Maori: Gardens, Wineries and Landscapes‖ will bring travelers to New Zealand‘s two major islands and its spectacularly beautiful landscapes of vast alpine mountain chains, sweeping coastlines, deeply indented fiords and lush rainforests. The trip will explore Queenstown, set in the magnificent mountain ranges known as ―The Remarkables‖ and visit landscapes featured in the film, ―Lord of the Rings.‖ Ancient forests unchanged for 80 million years, an exploration of Maori culture in museums and villages, visits to wineries, public and private gardens are only some of the included sights and events.
The tour concludes with a two-night visit to Sydney and its famous opera house, Harbor Bridge, and beaches.
25 March, 2012 Depart from San Francisco via Air New Zealand to Queenstown, New Zealand. Travelers will meet in San Francisco. If you would like to arrive a day or two early, please note on the trip reservation form that we have obtained special hotel rates for our travelers.
26 March, 2012 Enroute to Queenstown
27 March, 2012 Upon arrival in Queenstown we will meet our local tour guide and deluxe motor coach and transfer to our hotel.
The Remarkables mountain range nestles above Queenstown.
Overnight: Queenstown Meals: Breakfast
28 March, 2012
A mountain resort city, Queenstown is set along placid Lake Wakatipu, with the mountain range known as the Remarkables on the horizon. The range lives up to its name by rising sharply to create an impressive mountain scape. From Queenstown, the mountain range creates a stunning backdrop.
This evening is at leisure to rest and explore the charming pedestrian mall of downtown Queenstown.
After breakfast, enjoy a relaxed tour of the Gibbston Valley area and enjoy a wine tasting with lunch at Gibbston Valley Winery. Its underground cave was blasted out of the mountains, creating an ideal environment for its award winning boutique wines. We will also visit the Amisfield Wine Company whose iconic stone building has stunning views of snowcapped mountains and the beautiful Lake Hayes. It is renowned for its Pinot Noirs and aromatic whites.
New Zealand is famous for the invention of extreme adventure sports, so in the afternoon we will visit the AJ Hackett bungy bridge, where bungy jumping is an optional activity. We will then return to Queenstown and visit a local private Queenstown garden. Your hosts are local gardening enthusiasts and will be happy to share their knowledge and gardening tips. Nestled in the heart of the rural Wakatipu, each gardener draws their inspiration from the spectacular alpine landscape.
Overnight: Queenstown Meals: Breakfast, lunch
29 March, 2012
Breakfast at hotel. Today is open for a variety of activities. First, this is the day to take an optional day- long trip to Milford Sound, which is part of the World Heritage Fiordland National Park. This may be the only opportunity you have in your lifetime to visit a fiord. Milford Sound is a place of awe-inspiring landscapes, dramatic rivers and cascading waterfalls from the steep cliffs that surround the fiord. Your journey to the sound will take you through Home Tunnel, almost one mile long and drilled through solid rock. You will also visit Eglinton Valley, a place of ancient alpine
forest and gushing waterfalls. The boat trip not only provides spectacular views but also sightings of seals, birds, and other wildlife. With luck you will see the rarest penguin in the world, the Fiordland crested penguin. Additional details are at the end of the itinerary.
If you choose not to take this optional boat trip, your day is at leisure to explore the natural areas around Queenstown, lunch in one of the many charming restaurants in Queenstown, take a cable car ride or shop for some wonderful New Zealand knitwear.
Overnight: Queenstown Meals: Breakfast
30 March, 2012 After breakfast, we travel to Glenorchy, located on the northern arm of Lake Wakatipu. We will travel the back country route by 4WD safari vehicle and stop to view some of New Zealand‘s most spectacular scenery that has framed the epic backdrop for many international movies, including the ‘Lord of the Rings.’ We will then hike through the nearby primordial forest where a naturalist will help us understand the history of the area, its flora and fauna and the value placed on the location by the Maori people. We will then board a jetboat for a ride in the gorge of Mt. Aspiring National Park. We will navigate the ever changing shallow channels of the glacier fed Dart River‘s braided river system, with our expert jet boat driver stopping along the way to highlight points of interest that make this a unique area of natural and cultural importance. We have some free time on our own for lunch and to shop for some of some of the country‘s famed ―possum socks.‖
This evening we will cruise Lake Wakatipu on a vintage steam ship to a traditional farm, the Colonel‘s Homestead, where we will enjoy a dinner of the best of New Zealand meats and seafood. This will be followed by an entertaining presentation that provides a glimpse into high country farming life. On your return cruise to Queenstown, relax with a drink from the bar, join a lively sing-along, or watch the crew feed the steam engine.
Overnight: Queenstown Meals: Breakfast, dinner and cruise
31 March, 2012 Today we will leave the south island and fly to New Zealand‘s north island and the city of Rotorua.
We begin our discovery of the Maori with a powhiri (welcome ceremony) before we enter the village, with crackling open fires in front of traditional whare (houses). We’ll hear traditional Maori instruments and watch the daily activities of days gone by. In the wharenui (meeting house), a Rangiatea culture group offers a powerful display of haka song and dance. Then, as new friendships are forged, we will dine on a traditional hangi feast, where the food is cooked slowly beneath the ground in earth ovens. This is an amazing re- enactment based on actual events from history, with real characters, traditional arts and crafts, and power filled song and dance. This dinner theater is a great way to understand the Maori traditional culture combined with a meal typical of the Maori.
Overnight: Rotorua, Meals: Breakfast, dinner & show
01 April, 2012 After breakfast we begin a full day of sightseeing. We will visit the Rotorua Museum which is housed in the historic Bath House building, located in the Government Gardens.
Next we will visit Te Puia Thermal Reserve and Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. Te Puia is the premier Māori cultural center in New Zealand, a place of gushing waters, steaming vents, boiling mud pools and spectacular geysers. The Māori tradition lives on at Te Whakarewarewa, with guided tours and attractions featuring Māori culture, and the National Carving and Weaving Schools of New Zealand. For more information, see http://www.tepuia.com/about_te_puia_our_maori_people.htm.
Our next stop will be to visit Wai-O-Tapu. Sculptured out of volcanic activity and thousands of years in the making, Wai-O-Tapu is considered to be New Zealand‘s most colorful and diverse geothermal sightseeing attraction. You are introduced to a uniquely different natural landscape – the key to what you see lies below the surface – one of the most extensive geothermal systems in New Zealand.
In the late afternoon you may wish to take a spa treatment at the Polynesian Spa which is open until approximately 9 pm for optional swims and spa delights. You can get more information at http://www.polynesianspa.co.nz/polynesianspa.
Overnight: Rotorua, Meals: Breakfast
02 April, 2012
After breakfast we will take a scenic drive to Hamilton where we will visit the Hamilton Gardens (http://hamiltongardens.co.nz/collections/), with their collection of mature gardens from around the world such as a Chinese Scholars Garden, an English Flower Garden, a Japanese Garden of Contemplation, an American Modernist Garden and an Italian Renaissance Garden. The Garden Collections include the Rogers Rose Garden, the New Zealand Cultivar Garden, the Rhododendron Lawn, the Hamilton Camellia
Garden and the Victorian Flower Garden. For those more interested in the food which a garden can produce there are the Herb Garden, the Kitchen Garden and the Sustainable Backyard Garden.
In the afternoon we will continue to Auckland with a visit to the Auckland Botanic Gardens (http://www.aucklandbotanicgardens.co.nz/) and, time permitting, the Parnell Rose Gardens.
Overnight: Queenstown Meals: Breakfast
03 April, 2012
Our full day of sightseeing begins with a visit to the Auckland Museum where you will tour the section devoted to the Maori. This will be followed with a wilderness tour
to the Waitakere Ranges, a large regional park only half an hour away from Auckland and a jewel box of 40,000 acres of geographic diversity, including a rainforest, spectacular rocky outcrops, streams, waterfalls and beaches.
At its peak we will experience breathtaking views from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean. After a picnic lunch we will visit the black sand volcanic beach overlooking the Tasman Sea and
return via the Rose Helleby Cottage, which is located high up on the hills in the Waitakere Ranges and offers spectacular views over bush country to Auckland and its surrounding waters.
This evening there is an optional dinner cruise aboard the Pride of Auckland sailing yacht which departs from Auckland‘s Viaduct Basin. It was created when New Zealand won the America‘s Cup Sailing Regatta and is the largest yacht marina in the southern hemisphere. Following a seafood dinner (alternative menus available), the Pride of Auckland sets its sails and brings its passengers on a harbor cruise, passing under the Harbor Bridge to Chelsea sugar works, Devonport Naval Base and the City’s waterfront. Guests are welcome to participate in sailing the yacht or can just sit back, relax and enjoy the sail
Overnight: Auckland Meals: Breakfast and lunch
04 April, 2012
Today we fly to Sydney. Upon arrival, a local assistant will meet us and accompany us to the hotel. Sydney is a thriving harbourside metropolis populated by almost four million people and is Australia’s best known city. It was
the first site of European settlement on the Australian continent – one vastly different from today’s cosmopolitan showcase. The city’s most famous landmarks include The Harbor Bridge, The Opera House and the Centrepoint Tower. With the harbor as the Sydney’s heart, the city proper is bounded by water to the north and west and fringed to the east by the extensive green parklands of the Botanical Gardens and the Domain. Sydney is an exciting and interesting city to experience.
Overnight: Sydney Meals: Breakfast
05 April, 2012 Sydney City Tour After breakfast, we will meet our local coach for a panoramic sightseeing tour of Sydney and the southern beaches. We will see the historic buildings of Governor Macquarie’s time in The Rocks, Mac Quarie St. with Parliament House and St
Mary’s Cathedral. Moving on to more modern style
architecture we stop at Mrs MacQuaries Chair in the Domain alongside the Botanical gardens for fine views of the Sydney
Opera House. We also take in the picturesque views of the Sydney Harbour, Double Bay, Rose Bay, Vaucluse and the Sydney Harbor heads. We end our
tour with a stop at the famous Bondi Beach.
Overnight: Sydney Meals: Breakfast
06 April, 2012 Today we return home.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
OPTIONAL TOUR ACTIVITIES:
Full day tour to Milford Sound: $195 per person Milford Sound is a world-renowned natural wonder. Nowhere else in fiord land do the mountains stand so tall, straight out of the sea. Luxuriant rainforests cling to sheer rock walls and waterfalls tumble hundreds of feet to the sea below. We will depart via motor coach from Queenstown, connecting to our cruise boat at Milford Sound. There are frequent stops along the way for visits to sights of natural wonders. Amazing photo opportunities are available. An included lunch will be on board.
360 degrees Shotover River trip: $89 per person (must be pre-purchased before departure to get this price—approximately $100 US on site)
World famous as the ultimate jet boating experience, Shotover Jet has thrilled over 3 million people since 1970, and now it’s your turn! Take a unique breathtaking ride
through dramatic and narrow Canyons, and hold on tight for Queenstown’s only exhilarating full 360° spins. ‘Can you handle the canyons?’ with award winning Shotover Jet, ‘The World’s Most Exciting Jet Boating Ride’ and the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons. (http://www.shotoverjet.com)
3) Pride of Auckland dinner cruise: $119 per person (must be pre-purchased before departure to get this price)
Bungy Jump (to be booked and paid locally) in Queenstown
TRIP PRICE based on double room occupancy is $5,499. The single supplement is $899. SMALL GROUP FEE: A small group fee of $200 will be charged if the group number falls
below 20. PAYMENT SCHEDULE: A deposit of $500 per person is due at time of registration.
DISCOUNT FOR EARLY SIGN-UP: Travelers who send in their registration fee by November 30, 2011, will receive a discount of $100.
TOUR PACKAGE INCLUDES:
Flights San Francisco to Queenstown on Air New Zealand with return from Sydney to San Francisco via Auckland.
Airline fuel surcharges of $300, subject to change until airline tickets are issued. 10 nights accommodations at the following hotels or similar
4 nights Copthorne Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand 2 nights Distinction Hotel, Rotorua, New Zealand 2 nights Heritage Auckland Hotel & Towers, Auckland, New Zealand 2 nights Menzies Hotel, Sydney, Australia
Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned motor coach
Daily breakfast, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
Entrance fees per itinerary Gratuities
Porterage of one piece per person on arrival and departure at each hotel
Tax deductible donation to the sponsoring organization.