New Zealand Extension - November 11-19, 2023

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11 November 2023

Fly from Sydney to Queenstown.

Transfer to the Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront within easy walking distance of the centre of Queenstown and picturesque Lake Wakatipu.

Free afternoon.

Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront x 2 nights.

12 November 2023

Full breakfast at hotel.

Today we have a full day tour to Milford Sound via Te Anau by private coach. Described by Rudyard Kipling as the 'eighth wonder of the world', Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. Breathtaking in any weather, the fjord's cliffs rise vertically from the dark waters, mountain peaks scrape the sky, and waterfalls cascade downwards from as high as 1000 metres. When it rains in Milford Sound, and it often does, those waterfalls multiply with magnificent effect. The fjord is home to fur seal colonies, penguins and dolphins.

We explore Milford Sound with a 2 hour Nature Cruise and picnic lunch before returning to Queenstown.
Bring: Comfortable shoes, waterproof jacket, warm clothing, and insect repellent

13 November 2023

Full breakfast at hotel.

Today we have a long day of bus touring as we make our way to Christchurch. Leaving Queenstown we head through Kawarau Gorge and over historic Kawarau Bridge, the birthplace of bungee jumping. We continue through the vineyards of Gibbston to the old historic town of Cromwell, known for its many fruit orchards. Head over Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand's highest roads at 971 metres and descend into the Mackenzie Basin. We pass through the towns of Omarama and Twizel before arriving at Lake Pukaki and taking the Aoraki Mount Cook Highway.

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is home of the highest mountains and the longest glaciers. It is alpine in the purest sense - with skyscraping peaks, glaciers and permanent snow fields, all set under a star-studded sky. According to Ngai Tahu legend, Aoraki and his three brothers were the sons of Rakinui, the Sky Father. While on a sea voyage, their canoe overturned on a reef. When the brothers climbed on top of their canoe, the freezing south wind turned them to stone. The canoe became the South Island (Te Waka o Aoraki); Aoraki and his brothers became the peaks of the Southern Alps.

Leaving the park, we stop at the visitor centre on the shores of Lake Pukaki to learn about the formation of the region and drink in more spectacular views. We go through the small town of Tekapo, home to the much-photographed Collie Dog statue and Church of the Good Shepherd. From here we travel through Burkes Pass and continue across the vast Canterbury Plains to arrive in Christchurch.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold, whose distinct architecture reflects Christchurch's image as the most English of cities.

14 November 2023

Full breakfast at hotel.

We should have some free time to explore before afternoon departure for our flight from Christchurch to Wellington. On arrival in Wellington we transfer to our hotel.

Accommodation: The Bay Plaza Wellington x 2 nights.

15 November 2023

Full breakfast at hotel.

Today's adventure is our Lord of the Rings Full Day Tour with Capital Personalised Tours. Our day begins with visits to filming locations. Heading north into the Hutt Valley we follow the 'River Anduin' and take in the sights of 'Helms Deep', before stopping at the 'Gardens of Isengard'. Next stop is Rivendell and the Legolas Tree before we head back to Wellywood. Then it's on to the Weta Cave mini-museum with characters, props, and displays from the movies. Visit Weta Cave Workshop and get up close to props, weapons, and costumes created for LOTR, Avatar, District 6, and more. See artists at work on the tour stage and peek through windows directly into the Workshop.

16 November 2023

Full breakfast at hotel.

Today we leave Wellington for the drive to Rotorua, heart of New Zealand's Maori culture. The drive takes us via the Kapiti Coast and rural towns before arriving in the central plateau. Skirting Tongariro National Park we see the 2500 metre peak of the volcanically active Mt. Ruapehu. You might also recognize the symmetrical shape of Mt. Ngauruhoe, used as the scenery of Mt. Doom in the LOTR Trilogy. The township of Taupo, our destination, sits on the shorers of New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo -- a gigantic volcanic caldera formed during one of the world's largest-ever eruptions.

Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua x 2 nights.

17 November 2023

Full breakfast at hotel.

Our day begins with adventure in the treetops with the Original Canopy Tour by Rotorua Canopy Tours! Embark on a 3 hour adventure through native New Zealand forest via an incredible network of trails, tree platforms, Ziplines, and swing bridges. See breathtaking views of the woodland valleys and hills as you fly through tight openings in the trees.

Wear closed-toe footwear and bring an extra layer of warm clothing.
Maximum weight for this tour is 120 kg (264 lbs).

This evening we enjoy the Te Pa Tu Evening Cultural Experience at Tamaki Maori Village. Feast on song, drama, tradition, and divine seasonal kai (cuisine)O within the forest villlage, blanketed by towering Tawa trees and blazing bonfires.

Te Pa Tu shares Maori history, traditions, and cultural aspirations across 4 hours of celebration and feasting. Local seasonal delicacies may include ell, abalone, foraged greens, chunky smoked kahawai, warmed kumara, and restorative kawakawa tea. Each dish is inspired by or infused with traditonal ingredients, stories or cooking techniques

Celebrate the spirit of hakari (feasting) and of Aotearoa, New Zealand!

Please dress for warmth and comfort.

18 November 2023

Full breakfast at hotel.

Depart by private coach for our 2.5 hour drive to ... Middle-earth! It's time for a 2 hour tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set. you can step into the lush pastures of the Shire™, as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Fall in love with the Alexander family sheep farm, just as acclaimed director Sir Peter Jackson did, as you journey through the unequivocal beauty of the land, with the mighty Kaimai Ranges towering in the distance. Our guide will then escort us around the set, showing the intricate detailing, pointing out the most famous locations and explaining how the movie magic was made.

We will be fully guided around the 12 acre set; past Hobbit Holes™, the Mill and into the world-famous Green Dragon™ Inn while our guide shares behind-the-scenes tales and insight into the making of the films.

Leaving Hobbiton, we cross the dairy county of the Hauraki Plains before arriving in Auckland

Accommodation: Grand Millennium Auckland.

19 November 2023

Full breakfast at hotel.

All good things must end! Check out of our hotel and board our private transfer to the airport. We arrive home the same day as we cross the International Date Line.

Return flights to Portland