New Zealand

Trip Date: 
Saturday, February 19, 2022 - Monday, February 28, 2022
Trip Location: 
North and South Islands, New Zealand

 

 

The Wonders Down Under

10 days in magical New Zealand, from Auckland 

to Christchurch to Queenstown, with customized

excursions on both the North and South Islands 

February 27 – March 8, 2021

 

After spending 10 days with us in New Zealand, the small country with the big heart, we believe you’ll agree with Mind’s Eye Travel that it truly is ‘the last best place.’ With the help of friends in-country, and with our own experience there, we have created a special tour that will bring New Zealand alive for us visually handicapped travelers.

 

The ‘Wonders Down Under’ package Includes:

One sighted guide for every two passengers
All land travel, beginning in Auckland and ending in Queenstown 
Domestic flight from Rotorua to Christchurch 
9 nights’ accommodations
Meals: 9 breakfasts, 6 evening meals 

—and the following activities: 

Tiritiri Matangi Island excursion 
Hobbiton – Lord of the Rings movie set 
Overnight Maori Marae stay – Rotorua 
Thermal pool swim 
International Antarctic Centre 
Christchurch city tram excursion
Avon River punt tour 
Gondola ride near Christchurch 
Winery tour and tasting in Queenstown
Lake cruise, farm visit and gourmet BBQ dinner in Queenstown
Services of Ability Adventures tour escort/driver 
Personalized tour booklet – electronic and hard copy 
NZ Goods & Services Tax of 15%

 

Prices:      $7,990 per person, double occupancy

$990 single supplement

 

Saturday — Auckland (two nights, dinners) 

Our hosts will meet us at Auckland International Airport. This cosmopolitan city is nestled between two harbors and dotted with volcanic hills. We’ll stretch our legs on a leisurely walking tour of the city center, including Viaduct Harbour, home of KZ1, New Zealand’s famous America’s Cup racing yacht, before checking into our hotel. We will be here for two nights.

 

Sunday — Auckland (breakfast)

Today we’ll take a 20-mile ferry ride from downtown Auckland to Tiritiri Matangi Island, a wildlife sanctuary that is home to scores of native bird species. Some were rescued from the threat of extinction, but all love to sing, gossip, chatter, squawk or flap their wings. This sanctuary is anything but quiet, and some of the birds are so unafraid that they will meander up to us like family pets.

 

Monday — Rotorua (two nights, breakfast, dinner) 

Today’s journey takes us south by mini-bus to the green and rolling hills of the Waikato agricultural district and into the Taupo Volcanic Zone, one of the most active volcanic regions on earth. On the way, we will pass through ‘Middle Earth’ with a visit to the famous Lord of the Rings movie set, including Hobbiton. Finally we’ll arrive at Rotorua, an area steeped in the history of the Maori, New Zealand’s indigenous people. We’ll stay one night in an ancestral Maori Marae, meeting house, and enjoy a private guided tour of the village with insights into tribal customs. 

After dinner this evening there will be a performance and then stories, legends and reflection time. Next morning, our village host will introduce us to Maori arts and crafts and give us the opportunity to create our own woven treasures. 

 

Tuesday — Rotorua (breakfast)

After saying farewell to our Maori hosts, we have a day trip to Lake Taupo, where we’ll take a short hike down easy pathways and over wooden bridges to famous Huka Falls. (Where my husband and I were married, many years ago.) Then, on our way back to Rotorua, we’ll stop at New Zealand’s internationally acclaimed thermal spa for a relaxing soak in these natural mineral hot-spring pools. This afternoon, we’ll have some time for shopping in Rotorua. Tonight we stay in a hotel in Rotorua.

 

Wednesday,  Christchurch (two nights, breakfast, dinner) 

From Rotorua, we’ll hop a short flight down to Christchurch, on the South Island. Christchurch, the ‘garden city,’ was devastated by earthquakes in 2010 and ’11, but it has re-emerged as vibrant as ever. One of our stops will be the International Antarctic Centre. (Christchurch is the jumping-off point for several Antarctic bases, including the US Navy’s.) We’ll experience an Antarctic blizzard in the storm room, take a Hagglund all-terrain-vehicle tour, see penguins and make friends with huskies, and immerse ourselves in the big-screen ice tour and the 4-D theater. We’ll learn about the first South Polar expeditions, modern-day life on Antarctica’s Scott Base and the future of humanity on the ice.

 

Thursday — Christchurch (breakfast) 

Today is our day to explore downtown Christchurch by tram and river punt. Then, after lunch, we’ll venture by gondola up into Christchurch’s Port Hills and enjoy a walk along the rim of the extinct Banks Peninsula Volcano. Later on, those who are interested may add—if the wind permits—a tandem Blokarting adventure. (A Blokart is a speedy sail-powered three-wheeler.)

 

Friday — Mt. Cook (breakfast, dinner) 

This morning we travel south across the Canterbury Plains to the Mackenzie Basin, stopping at Lake Tekapo to explore the shores of this turquoise glacial lake which lies in a barren volcanic landscape. Then we continue on to Mt. Cook Village in the heart of the Southern Alps. Mt. Cook, Aoraki, is New Zealand’s tallest mountain (12,316 feet). It lies within the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area, a region of snow-capped peaks, glacial ice, alpine vegetation and the crispest, clearest mountain air your lungs can inhale. We’ll explore this spectacular area by walking trails and soak up the peaceful alpine environment. Those who are interested may opt to visit the Sir Edmund Hilary Alpine Centre.

 

Saturday — Queenstown (two nights, breakfast, dinner) 

This morning we will continue south over tussock-clad Lindis Pass into Central Otago and on through the rugged Kawarau Gorge to Queenstown. En route we’ll enjoy a vineyard tour and wine-tasting. Those who wish may also visit the adjoining cheesery or—for the stout of heart—experience a bungie jump or zipline adventure. Late this afternoon, we’ll continue a short distance into Queenstown, New Zealand’s version of Aspen, Colorado. 

 

Sunday — Queenstown (breakfast, dinner) 

Hugging the shores of Lake Wakatipu and flanked by the Remarkable and Eyre Mountains, Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand. Optional activities include:

Kawarau bungie jump 
Kawarau zipline 
Skyline Gondola
Tandem sky dive 
Tandem bike hire 
Jetboat trip 
Kiwi Birdlife Park

This evening we’ll board the steamship Earnslaw and cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station. Here we’ll learn about sheep farming in the high country and then settle down to a sumptuous final evening BBQ dinner together. Late in the evening we’ll return by boat to Queenstown.

 

Monday — Queenstown (breakfast)

Depending on your schedule, you may be able to fit in some more exploring or shopping before transferring to Queenstown International Airport in time to catch your return flights home.

 

Please Note:

A $1,500 deposit per person is required to hold space; the balance will be due 90 days prior to the trip, after which fees will no longer be refundable.
Prices are for double or single occupancy and do not include airfare, alcoholic beverages, personal items or any gratuities. 
Mind’s Eye Travel recommends trip insurance. 
Our trips are non-smoking and not combinable with any other offer.
Flights must depart from the US on the evening of February 17, in order to arrive in New Zealand on the morning of February 19, after crossing the International Date Line. The actual flying time from California to NZ is about 14 hours. Since there are no stops en route, the flight is surprisingly comfortable, with time for meals, movies and plenty of sleep.

Contact us about this trip to begin your reservation today!

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