New Zealand is an adventurer's dream, snow capped mountains, golden sand beaches, majestic fiords, and wonderful food and wine. There are few places on earth that pack as much punch per square km as Aotearoa, ''the land of the long white cloud'' (or middle earth for ''Lord of the rings'' lovers)
This private trip will show you the very best of the country in comfort, with Richard as your guide and driver. This adventure will be nothing like a coach tour, we will use a comfortable car, enabling us to stop whenever we want, enjoy picnics on the beach or delightful cafe's, visit out of the way waterfalls, pop into a winery, and search out interesting restaurants and coffee shops, generally avoiding the coach tour crowd altogether.
This is a trip for those who love getting outdoors. A modest level of fitness which allows you to walk a formed path for 1-2 hours at a time will enable you to get the full experience, but there are shorter walks as well.
Daily Itineraries can change but here is a overview of my suggestions bast on what you have indicated you would like.
Auckland (2 nights)
Most international flights arrive early in the morning, I will meet you at the airport, transfer you to your hotel where you can freshen up. If you have the energy can join me on a afternoon city tour of Auckland after which, the jet lag usually means a early first night to recover from your flight.
The next day we will head off to explore Waiheke island, (just ranked as No5 in Lonely Planet's list of must see islands of the world) stunning scenery great wine and food and of course a visit to see Liese at her house at the far end of the island. We return In the evening by car and ferry to your hotel in Auckland).
Bay of islands trip (2 nights)
Pick up from your hotel and we head north to the Bay of islands where the treaty of Waitangi was signed, this is a must for anyone interested in Maori culture and the history of NZ. There is an option for a cruise to the ''hole in the rock'' or to view dolphins plus lots of free extras with Richard showing you the best.
We spend the morning of the second day at the treaty house and its award winning museum, and we tour of the treaty grounds, before heading to the west coast for a night on the Hokitika harbour the hotel I recommend is right on the beach.
We drive back to Auckland via the west Kauri coast, stopping to be in the presence of these most majestic trees and a visit to the Kauri museum.
After our breakfast up the car before heading south through rich farmland for a optional visit to Hobbiton for a 2 hr tour (which charms even non ''Lord of the rings'' fans) or the Glow worm caves (Pick one or other) and then on to Taupo and the amazing Huka falls.
Taupo (1 night)
We have a early start heading to nature's geothermal area at the spectacular and colourful Wai-O-Tapu thermal wonderland.
In the evening there is the option to visit the polynesian spa and soak the bones in the thermal waters. Also option for lunch in a Maori village
Rotorua (1 night)
After breakfast we load up the car and head directly to the airport to catch our flight to Christchurch and the beginning of our south island adventure. (you may be able to book this as part of your international ticket or I can book for you here for about $ 125-150 depending on seats available)
Christchurch (1 night)
Our trip starts in the garden city of Christchurch, (still being rebuilt after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011) we arrive in the afternoon with time to explore the botanical gardens and have a walk along the Avon river.
Greymouth (1 night)
We then hit the road to drive over the spectacular southern alps via Arthurs pass. There is the option here to catch the Tranz Alpine train (one of the worlds great train trips) for this section, with me driving over with the luggage and meeting you at the other end, it's a must for train enthusiasts.
Franz Josef (1 night)
After leaving Greymouth the scenery continues to be spectacular as we drive down the west coast to the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers region. We will aim to arrive around lunch time and then in the afternoon walk to the base of the Glacier before returning to Franz Josef and a soak in the natural hot pools.
After breakfast the next day we continue south and cross the Southern Alps at the Haast Pass, stopping for photos and then winding our way down to lake Wanaka where we stop for a coffee and ice cream before heading on to Queenstown.
Queenstown (3 nights with option of 1 night in the national park at Milford sound if available)
Queenstown is set in spectacular scenery and we can enjoy its great bars and restaurants. We will have 2/3 nights here, and it sure is a highlight, often called the adventure capital of the world, with majestic views everywhere. We will spend 3 full days exploring the wonders of Fiordland with an overnight in the national park at Milford sound and a optional cruise being a highlight (subject to availability) and weather permitting some spectacular short walks in the Alpine region.
Accommodation on this trip is an eclectic mixture, of lodges, B&B or guest houses (where possible), and hotels, all twin share, with en-suite. As always on my trips I will recommend character value places over ''Glam'', think 3-4* with a central location. Our lodge in the national park at Milford sound is the only accommodation in the park a luxury chalet costs aroung $450-470 and sleeps 3. Some places will include breakfast and some will be self catering as is the Kiwi style.
On this trip you will need a pair of walking shoes, a light day pack, and a rain jacket plus a swimming costume for when the sea looks too tempting to resist.
One of the great advantages of a small private trip like this is, because of our small size we get to eat in cafe's and restaurants where the locals eat rather than buffets at the chain hotels, we can find little private lodges which have real character, and we get to stop whenever we want and avoid the shopping stops the coach trips make. We can also make changes when the weather requires it, or when get to know your interests and know there is something you would like me to show you. It will be like a private tour but without the price tag.
New Zealand a 14 day adventure.
Arrive Auckland and depart Christchurch.
Custom trip, you decide the dates and then we can start planning. Here is an example of my suggestions for a great 2 week trip.
Budget $100-150 twin share (shared bathrooms)
Motel $200-300 twin share (private bathroom)
B&B $200-300 twin share (private bathroom)
Nice $300-400 twin share (private bathroom)
Generally a private tour for 4 people works about the same cost as a coach tour where you will be with 35+ other people, so great value. For less than 4 it is of course more expensive but more personal, and you get to stay at small locally owned accomodation which is way more charming than the big chain hotels. I find great little restaurants for you and the whole experience is one of exploring together rather than being herded around.
Coach tours on a bus start about US$3500 pp and go up to US$7000 depending on inclusions for a 14 day trip of both islands in a large group. A private tour will fall into the same range and depend on the quality of accomodation chosen
Due to the nature of Adventure travel and the prices of the resources on which it depends, the published price of any trip is subject to change at any time, before or after booking confirmation, up to 30 days before the departure.