This New Zealand journey features a rich menu of adventure activities such as taking a plunge into one of the world’s top ten dive sites to discover a fascinating marine microclimate. Take a jetboat trip through towering, rocky canyons and savor a cruise aboard a 100-year-old steamer. A helicopter takes you to Fiordland to discover the stunning wilderness area known for misty rainforests, brooding fiords and soaring mountain peaks. Grab a kayak or go for a paddle in harbors or offshore or fish in exclusive spots for rock fishing. Enjoy stays in in luxury accommodations such as a private lodge in a remote glacial valley surrounded by towering peaks and accessible only by helicopter. Discover the uniqueness of this island nation.
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New Beginnings Collection
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Day 1: Auckland, New Zealand / Whangarei
Welcome to New Zealand! On arrival at Auckland International Airport, you are met by your Big Five Airport representative who assists with customs and immigration formalities before board your connecting flight to Whangarei. On arrival in Whangarei, you collect your mid-size 4WD automatic rental vehicle including daily insurance, unlimited kilometers, accident excess reduction and GPS. Drive about half an hour to your accommodation.
The Glasshouse is a luxurious retreat at the tip of a 20-acre coastal peninsula, providing you with privacy, tranquility and glistening ocean vistas. A perfect first stop for a spectacular honeymoon adventure. Admire the spectacular, 180-degree panorama from your room. This retreat has everything you need to spend time exactly how you choose, whether it’s getting cozy by the outside fire, enjoying a long shower with ocean views or napping in a hammock. The Glasshouse (D)
Day 2: Whangarei
This morning you depart on a shared diving excursion to the Poor Knights, a 12-mile drive that gives you the chance to see whales and dolphins. Once at the Poor Knights, you get ready for your diving adventure with a briefing from your instructor. Then, you take the plunge to one of the world’s top ten dive sites! A marine microclimate is created by a warm tropical current, bringing many creatures not known anywhere else in New Zealand.
The complex underwater landscape is a unique environment. Subtropical and temperate marine life coexist with extraordinary diversity, beauty and density. Over 125 species of fish share this environment with soft corals, encrusting sponges, vibrant anemones, ecklonia kelp forests, sting rays, gorgonian fans and myriad other life forms. Enjoy snorkeling before relaxing for lunch and then perhaps enjoy kayaking or swimming, in the afternoon. The Glasshouse (B,L,D)
Day 3: Whangarei
Enjoy a day at leisure to take advantage of optional experiences. Swim, surf and explore the beautiful beaches. Walkers savor hours of uninterrupted time strolling some of the most stunning beaches in the world such as Kauri Mountain and Ocean Beach. Visit the perfect crescent of Matapouri, the picture-postcard Whale Bay and gorgeous Sandy Bay. Native and coastal birds are plentiful. Away from the city lights, the night sky here is a masterpiece of constellations and brings out even more delights to spot, with brown kiwi living on the peninsula.
Grab a kayak to explore the lovely Taiharuru Estuary at your own pace or take a guided tour to paddle tranquil harbors or offshore. Fishing is another option with exclusive spots for rock fishing, and harbor and big game fishing available nearby. Nearby, golfers enjoy an 18-hole Parua Bay Golf Course, with a very easy walking course with amazing views to the bay and Mt. Manaia. The Glasshouse (B,L,D)
Day 4: Whangarei / Kaikoura
Today drive to Whangarei Airport and return your rental vehicle prior to boarding your onward flight to Blenheim, where you pick up your mid-size 4WD automatic rental vehicle including daily insurance, unlimited kilometers, accident excess reduction and GPS. Travel to Kaikoura, about a two-hour drive across the vineyard-clad hills of Marlborough before reaching the east coast. Continue to wind your way around the rocky shoreline before arriving in Kaikoura. The one-bedroom Tree House is perfect for couples, warm and inviting with deep soaking tubs, fireplaces and custom-made furniture. Hapuku Lodge – One Bedroom Treehouse (B,D)
Day 5: Kaikoura
This morning enjoy a small-group dolphin cruise to go swimming with the dusky dolphins in their natural environment. The dolphins inhabit the coastal waters off Kaikoura year-round, making the region unique in that wild dolphins can be encountered every day weather permitting. Renowned for their acrobatic leaps and interactive behavior, you will have a stunning encounter and gain an understanding of the dolphins in their natural environment. The afternoon is at leisure. Hapuku Lodge – One Bedroom Treehouse (B,D)
Day 6: Kaikoura
Today is at leisure in the Kaikoura area to relax or opt for one of the optional experiences such as a whale-watching cruise where you may also see dolphin and other marine life year-round. Or opt to tour in a helicopter or light plane. Spend a few hours fishing out on the ocean and have your chef cook up your catch for dinner. Be sure to check out ‘street food’ Kaikoura style, which encompasses crayfish (lobster) from ‘Seafood BBQ’, a caravan-come-restaurant serving up crayfish on the beach. The Peninsula Walkway is perfect for walkers with its coastal views. Many species of birds nest in Kaikoura, including albatross, gannets, shags and penguins. Hapuku Lodge – One Bedroom Treehouse (B,D)
Day 7: Kaikoura / Christchurch / Annandale Pigeon Bay Banks Peninsula
Today you will continue your journey south from Kaikoura to the city of Christchurch on about a four-hour drive that winds along the shoreline around Kaikoura with its many rocky beaches and rough surf. Travel over the Hunderlee Ranges onto the vast Canterbury Plains, New Zealand’s largest farming region. You have the opportunity to stop in the small wine region of Waipara before entering Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city. Continue over Banks Peninsula to your accommodation.
In 1843, nearly a decade before the first immigrant settlement of Christchurch, Ebeneezer and Agnes Hay brought their family from Scotland to New Zealand. They established a farm at Pigeon Bay. The Annandale homestead has been lovingly restored to create a luxurious five-bedroom villa in a private and tranquil setting. It boasts 4,000 acres of dramatic coastal pasture, which is home to around 500 head of beef cattle and between 7,000 and 14,000 sheep.
Enjoy the exclusive use of this property located by the ocean, and select activities including day cruises, fishing and diving charters, dolphin-watching and even swimming with dolphin and penguin viewing tours. For more active adventures, you can choose water skiing, sea kayaking, jet boating and hiking. Take a guided 4WD tour across the farm, watch sheep dogs at work and enjoy the atmosphere of the shearing shed, and if you’re lucky see the skilled shearers in action, depending on season.
You will have a private chef who will cook dinner and breakfast for you as well as a gourmet picnic lunch daily. The working coastal farm and four luxury villas are nestled between the rolling hills of the Banks Peninsula and the sparkling water of the Pacific. These private locations feature award-winning architecture and a unique experience we refer to as “gumboot luxury”. From sunrise to sunset, your private retreat at Annandale is authentic and unforgettable. Seascape Annandale Pigeon Bay Banks Penisula (B,L,D)
Day 8: Annandale Pigeon Bay Banks Peninsula
Today explore Pigeon Bay and the surrounding waters of Banks Peninsula in your private powerboat. You will view the friendly hector dolphins, fur seals in their natural habitat, bird colonies around the coastline and other wildlife. Your cruise will provide an excellent perspective to see the fascinating volcanic topography and geology that created the Banks Peninsula millions of years ago. Return to your villa and enjoy the afternoon is at leisure. You can opt to take part in a cooking class with our talented chefs or go for a bike ride or kayak the sheltered bays and beaches of Pigeon Bay. Seascape Annandale Pigeon Bay Banks Penisula (B,L,D)
Day 9: Annandale Pigeon Bay Banks Peninsula / Christchurch / Queenstown / Wanaka
Today set out to drive about an hour to Christchurch Airport and return your rental vehicle prior to your onward flight to Queenstown. On arrival at Queenstown Airport you board a helicopter for the shared scenic flight, about half an hour, to your accommodation near Wanaka.
Minaret Station Alpine Lodge is a private, luxury lodge in a remote glacial valley surrounded by towering peaks and is accessible only by helicopter. Comfortable in every sense, with warm hospitality and world class cuisine, Minaret Station is truly an extraordinary location to escape the “real world”. With just four chalets, the lodge provides the opportunity to enjoy some of life’s most precious elements: time, fresh air and open space. Minaret Station Alpine Lodge (B,D)
Day 10: Wanaka
Enjoy a day at leisure to relax or participate in one of the available activities that include guided fishing tours to well-stocked, high-country streams and rivers; a helicopter to Fiordland to take in the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Listed wilderness area known for misty rainforests, brooding fiords and soaring mountain peaks. Hike rocky ridge lines, grassy undulating valleys or luscious ancient rainforests. Mountain bike on purpose-built trails or, in season, go heli-skiing on exclusive mountain peaks. Tour the working farm and see stock including sheep, cattle and deer. Minaret Station Alpine Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 11: Wanaka / Queenstown
Today return to Queenstown aboard your shared 30-minute helicopter ride. Pick up your mid-size 4WD automatic rental vehicle, including daily insurance, unlimited kilometers, accident excess reduction and GPS. Drive about 25 minutes to your accommodation. The Spire Hotel Queenstown – Deluxe Suite (B)
Day 12: Queenstown
Today you are met at your accommodation by your private vehicle and guide for a half day of sightseeing, tailored to suit your interests. View the Shotover River that rushes hundreds of feet below and the fabulous alpine surrounds of Queenstown. Here enjoy a small group jetboat excursion on the Shotover River. This 25-minute ride speeds through the towering, rocky canyons of the South Island’s river of gold, the Shotover. The major highlight is the famous “Shotover Jet turn” where your boat spins a full 360 degrees in its own length.
Continue to Queenstown Hill Viewpoint and picturesque Lake Hayes which is a favorite for photographers and artists for its mirror reflections. Enjoy a visit to Arrowtown, which has become an attraction as an example of a living historic gold-mining town. Strict preservation orders protect the originality of the town’s historic buildings, and the excellent Lakes District Museum has many displays pertaining to the pioneering past of the district.
Continue to the Kawarau Bridge to watch the action at the world’s first bungy-jumping bridge, established in November 1988. The Kawarau Bungy Centre is an ecologically designed building created in harmony with the unique landscape of the region and includes cafe and interactive and interpretive areas with excellent views of the 45-meter jump itself. Return to your accommodation later this afternoon. The Spire Hotel Queenstown – Deluxe Suite (B)
Day 13: Queenstown
Queenstown offers a wealth of engaging experiences. Savor an excursion to the stunningly beautiful Milford Sound by helicopter or plane; ply Lake Wakatipu aboard the 100-year-old TSS Earnslaw.
Take a Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for views over the town and Lake Wakatipu. You can opt to go on an adventurous zip line or luge ride the bottom. Hike the varied landscapes that encompass lakeside, rainforest, high country, alpine and farmlands. Play on Queenstown’s world-class golf courses such as Jacks Point, The Hills or Millbrook. Visit any of the dozens of surreal film sites used in the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and other movies. Enjoy sample from some of the region’s leading cellars and restaurants such as Amisfield, Chard Farm, Peregrine and Gibbston Vineyards. Take to the remote high country to watch sheep dogs at work, observe wool shearing or harvest your own fruit and vegetables from the orchards and fields. A menu of adrenaline activities are available including skydiving, canyoning, white water rafting, quad biking and more. The Spire Hotel Queenstown – Deluxe Suite (B)
Day 14: Queenstown / Depart
Today you are transferred to the airport for your international homebound flight. (B)
Land only, double Occupancy: From US$1,600 per person, per day.