Please read through the experiences and transportation options below. Happy to provide pricing and availability on all experiences and transportation.
Dates: 11th - 12th December 2018
This is a rest day, so we will leave out any experiences on this day. Happy to provide restaurant recommendations for your evening.
Drive from Auckland City to Taupo in your rental vehicle
Total drive time = 3 hours 35 minutes
Dates: 12th - 14th December 2018
The technical description for this remarkable place is that it’s part of an 18-sq. km active geothermal park at the northern perimeter of the Reporoa Caldera (a collapsed volcanic crater) formed 230,000 years ago within the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The ‘wow’ factor is much in evidence at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, the place we love to share with visitors from all corners of the globe. Trip Advisor calls Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland ‘one of the most surreal places on earth’ so naturally it’s high on the list of Rotorua’s must-see attractions. A place to marvel at nature’s artistic splendour, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is also committed to providing a safe visitor experience.
Departing daily, the Scenic Cruise’s catamaran leaves from Taupo Boat Harbor for a tour of the lake’s best vantage points. You’ll enjoy cruising in comfort and style aboard a launch that offers fabulous views from both the top and bottom internal decks, and there are large outdoor decks to enjoy close-up views of the Maori Rock Carvings. Also included is a clay bird shooting off the boat and fly-fishing for brown and rainbow trout.
Join your guide John Panoho for a deep inside look into the history and culture of the Taupo region. Follow the paths of ancient ancestors through stunning landscapes as you explore the region. The tribal homelands of Ngati Tuwharetoa are full of historical landmarks – the legendary mountains of Tongariro National Park and Mt Tauhara, and the soul-stirring home of the Ka Mate haka on the shores of Lake Rotoaira. This is a true cultural experience not to be missed.
Lifting off by helicopter from lakeside, you will enjoy panoramic views over the northern shores of Lake Taupo, towards the majestic volcanic mountains of the World Heritage designated Tongariro National Park. Form here your pilot will identify the southern most point of the famous ‘Pathway of Fire’, then head north via the mighty Huka Falls into the geothermal valley of Wai-OTapu, and onto Mt. Tarawera summit. Your destination is the ever-steaming White Island, out in the waters of the Bay of Plenty.
A helicopter flight deep into the mountains will uncover some of the most legendary and challenging fly fishing in the world. Your fishing guide will pick you up in a private twin-engine helicopter and provide you with top-quality rods, reels, waders and flys. These are trophy waters where huge trout cautiously cruise in deep clear pools. We recommend the heli fishing as it provides easy access to many of New Zealand's most famous mountain rivers and more remote streams only a short flight away. The flight itself is the ultimate exhilarating experience.
Drive from Taupo to Napier in your rental vehicle
Total drive time = 1 hour 50 minutes
HAWKES BAY, NZ
Dates: 14th - 17th December 2018
Since the Art Deco Trust began showing the city’s Art Deco treasures to tourists in 1985, thousands of people each year have experienced Napier’s fascinating heritage and have been captivated by the dramatic story of this city’s rebirth in the vibrant 1930s. In February 1931, Napier was levelled by earthquake and fire but was rebuilt in the depths of the Great Depression in just two years. Nowhere else in the world can you see such a concentration of buildings in the styles of the 1930s: Art Deco, Spanish Mission and Stripped Classical. Whatever you choose, you’ll hear the story of the earthquake that devastated Napier in 1931 and be introduced to the Art Deco style and hear stories of the characters involved in rebuilding this city.
Enjoy a personal tour around Craggy Range, one of New Zealand’s most respected wineries and producer of some of the best wine in the country. Its restaurant, Terrôir, is inspired by the classic French-country dining experience; one that is relaxed and whose menu is designed around the concept of sharing. The food is all locally-sourced, and seasonal produce is gathered from vineyard’s gardens. Paired with Craggy Range wines, this is a dining experience not to be missed (wine not included with lunch).
Napier Maori Tours will take you on a journey through the wildlife protected Ahuriri Estuary, the biologically diverse gem of Napier. They offer exclusive and private tours of what was once a highly prized lagoon valued for its seafood, bird life, and natures biodiversity. Share in the discovery and use of the prehistoric art of music and instrument. Observe their traditional food gathering practices once used by their ancestors and still successfully practiced today. Feast on your catch where it's cooked and served with fresh Māori seafood and traditional culinary delights. Enjoy in their legendary stories and local history.
Drive from Napier to Wellington in your rental vehicle
Total drive time = 4 hours 20 minutes
Dates: 17th - 21st December 2018
Te Papa Museum
Walk down Cuba Street
Wellington Cable Car
Wellington Writers Walk
Walk down Oriental Bay
Wellington Chocolate Factory
Fix and Fogg Peanut Butter Factory
Best Ugly Bagels
Ortega Fish Shack
Duka Carvell’s Emporium
Out of Wellington experiences:
Just 30 minutes’ drive from Wellington CBD is Boomrock Lodge, a 3000-acre farm perched on a cliff, 750ft above sea level. This stunning cliff-top location boasts spectacular views over the Cook Strait towards Mana, Kapiti and the South Island. Boomrock comprises three venues, The Lodge, The Track and The Bunkers. While there guests can enjoy stunning views and light-hearted activities, or opt for the adrenalin junkies’ dream – a variety of challenges and thrilling experiences including the chance to fly a helicopter, drive around a private car-testing circuit, or a 4WD all terrain park.
Enjoy a unique and diverse day-long wine tour of Martinborough - meeting both local identities and experiencing the culture of the region, with vineyard and winery tours, informative wine tasting and delicious cuisine, plus a visit to a local olive oil producer.
Drop off rental vehicle at Wellington Airport
Depart by commercial air from Wellington to Nelson Airport, courtesy of Air New Zealand
Departure times that may suit are: 9:00am, 10:15am, 11:30am, 12:45pm, 2:00pm, 2:55pm
Flight time = 40 minutes
Dates: 21st - 24th December 2018
The boat is a nicely maintained motorized catamaran that has a zodiac in tow and is equipped with kayaks. This day trip leaves at 10:00- 10:30 am (timing up to you) and returns about 4:15 and includes a stop to listen to the bellbird colony on Adele island, Split Apple Rock, kayaking around Tonga Island and it’s seal colony, a 45-minute walk to a spectacular headlands for photo opps, and exploration of golden sanded beaches in the zodiac. Lunch on board. You can also tailor this trip to your liking (i.e. more walking, kayaking, etc.)
Helicopter to Awaroa in the Abel Tasman National Park. After your spectacular flyover the park, land at Awaroa where your kayak and kayak guide will meet you for 2 hours of guided kayaking. Local wildlife, such as seals and blue penguins, are regularly encountered. After a picnic lunch, return to Split Apple Retreat by helicopter.
Abel Tasman National Park is situated near the top of the South Island, and is accessible by walking, cruising or kayak. The sheltered bays of the Park are perfect for sailing and sea kayaking, also offering opportunities to see the seals and dolphins who regularly play in these coastal waters. If you prefer to explore by land, the Abel Tasman Coast Track follows the coastline through native bush, over limestone cliffs and along golden beaches.
Tracking west into the heart of the Kahurangi, you will land at a remote alpine location where you can enjoy the overwhelming surrounds of New Zealand’s second largest National Park. From the mountains we descend further west to Westhaven Inlet and track the rugged and remotely beautiful and wild north-west coastline for a landing on the beach where you can explore sand dunes and eroded rock formations. Here you will sit back, relax and enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch and glass of local wine. After lunch you lift off to explore Farewell Spit and Golden Bay before the final landing at Awaroa Bay in the Abel Tasman National Park. A short bush walk through aged Manuka forest takes you up close to the pristine waters and golden sand beaches that make the Abel Tasman world famous.
“Rotomairewhenua” - Blue Lake is a small lake located in Nelson Lakes National Park, in the northern reaches of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Sacred to local Māori, it has the clearest natural fresh water in the world. This flight takes you south into the Nelson Lakes where you enjoy spectacular views of Lake Rotoiti, Lake Rotoroa and Blue Lake, before a mountain landing on the National Park boundary. Please note that Blue Lake is a protected wilderness area which we are only permitted to overfly.
Depart by commercial air from Nelson to Queenstown Airport, courtesy of Air New Zealand
This will be two flights via either Wellington or Christchurch
Departure and arrival times that may suit with the least lay over times are:
12:40pm depart Nelson, 1:15pm arrive into Wellington. 2:00pm depart Wellington, 3:20pm arrive Queenstown. Total travel time = 2 hours 40 minutes.
2:40pm depart Nelson, 3:30pm arrive into Christchurch. 4:05pm depart Christchurch, 5:05pm arrive Queenstown. Total travel time = 2 hours 25 minutes.
Private aircraft from Nelson to Queenstown Airport direct
Total flight time = 45 minutes
Happy to provide pricing options if this is of interest
Dates: 24th - 29th December 2018
Perfected over the years, the Milford Ultimate is Over the Top’s trip of a lifetime. Leaving Queenstown, we fly west over the high country peaks of Queenstown, towards the ‘Main Divide’ of the Southern Alps and into the World Heritage listed Fiordland National Park. The scenery unfolds dramatically with vast U-shaped glacier carved valleys rich with primeval beech forests. The Milford Ultimate includes four landings, each at diverse and pristine locations where you can sip the pure waters of an alpine lake; take in the majestic Milford Sound; stroll along uninhabited wild yet beautiful west coast beaches, see the blue ice on glaciers high in the Alps and the fiords coastal rain forests. At each landing site, the helicopter will shut down for you to enjoy the quiet sound of the mountains. Perhaps a curious Kea, New Zealand’s native parrot, will drop in to say hello. No two Ultimate trips are the same. This trip includes a gourmet picnic hamper of delightful cheeses, cold meats, breads, salads and fruit. Sip champagne and a selection of non-alcoholic beverages at a location far from where others may travel.
This adventure can only be described as incredible. Whether it’s a jet boat ride, or a kayak down this idyllic river, the team at Dart River Safari will make sure you have an experience never to be forgotten. Your Wilderness Jet trip will be an exhilarating and spectacular journey deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park – one of the most stunning locations for jet boating in New Zealand. Take in this awe-inspiring opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the local landscape, as you power your way along the waters of the Dart River.
We offer two transport options for our Farm 4WD Experience. Our very capable luxury 4WD or Yamaha Viking Recreational Off Road vehicles for those up for a bit of adventure. Ben Lomond Station is a 13,500 hectare Merino sheep station beautifully kept with grazing lands, native Beech forest, lakes, rivers, mining huts and tracks from the gold mining era. Your vehicle of choice will take you through the river route with it’s gold mining history and the mountain pass overlooking the rugged land sculpted by gold mining and sheep farming. Above the treeline, panoramic views open up in alpine style. Several river crossings later at Moonlight Lodge we will catch up with John Foster himself. He will formally introduce us to his sheep and give us an insight into the art of shearing and many great yarns of the early settlers and the mining history that made this land rich. Enjoy a gourmet lunch at Moonlight Lodge to keep fueled for the afternoon. Where we can embark on nature walks following the water races in beautiful old beech forest, try some lake fishing, gold mining, tackle some farming or relax and enjoy beautiful surroundings.
Central Otago is one of the leading wine regions of the world, established in Gibbston by Sir Alan Brady in 1981. Pinot Noir became the variety of choice in this cool climate at 45 south. The quality of the wine is a testament to the passion and hard work. You will be looked after from start to finish. A pickup from your accommodation in one of our luxury vehicles. All bookings and tastings are arranged with flexible times to ensure that you are not rushed throughout the day. If you like a vineyard then we can stay and enjoy more time. We have access behind the cellar door at most wineries allowing private tasting, one-on-ones with owners, managers and winemakers.
Lunch options are available at selected wineries.
Depart by commercial air from Queenstown to Bay of Islands Airport, courtesy of Air New Zealand
This will be two flights via Auckland
Departure and arrival times that may suit with the least lay over times are:
10:25am depart Queenstown, 12:15pm arrive into Auckland. 12:50pm depart Auckland, 1:40pm arrive Bay of Islands. Total travel time = 3 hours 15 minutes.
1:55pm depart Queenstown, 3:45pm arrive into Auckland. 4:30pm depart Auckland, 5:20pm arrive Bay of Islands. Total travel time = 3 hours 25 minutes.
Private aircraft from Queenstown to Bay of Islands Airport direct
Total flight time = 2 hours 45 minutes
Happy to provide pricing options if this is of interest
BAY OF ISLANDS
Dates: 29th - 2nd January 2019
Depart your Bay of Islands accommodation property or central Paihia for your 30 minute (approx) helicopter flight across to Omapere where you will be met by your Footprints Waipoua guide. Footprints is operated by local Maori on Northlands rugged West Coast. Let Kupe’s (NZ’s first discoverer) descendants take you on a guided walk of the largest kauri forest in the world and introduce you to their relationship with Mother Nature, both spiritually and culturally. A highlight of your experience with Footprints will be an introduction to Tane Mahuta – God of the Forest. (Forest Tour duration approx. 1.5 hours). From Omapere you continue to the Cape Reinga region via Northlands spectacular West Coast and of course the famous Ninety Mile Beach. Kauri Cliffs will prepare a snack pack lunch prior to your departure.
This experience takes in some of the most historic and culturally significant locations in New Zealand. Enjoy a half or full day private tour of the Bay of Islands, including historic sights at Waitangi, Paihia, Russell, Kerikeri, and Waimate North. You will be accompanied by our driver/tour guide who is well versed in local history. A cultural performance at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds can also be arranged as an add-on to your experience, as well as lunch at the Duke of Marlborough in Russell (lunch not included in the pricing).
This tour takes you to the Kauri Coast and the Hokianga Harbor on the West Coast of New Zealand. The scenery on this side of the island is rugged in its beauty, with wild, ever-changing seas. On arrival, your guide will take you into the Waipoua Forest, to see Tane Mahuta – at 2000-years-old, the oldest and largest Kauri tree on earth.
Departing from the Kerikeri Inlet, this memorable excursion will introduce you to some of the 144 islands that are dotted around this tropical paradise. On your relaxing journey around the islands you will also witness a large array of marine life, including dolphins. This is a half-day tour and includes a gourmet, buffet-style lunch of local seafood.
Drive from Bay of Islands to Auckland in your rental vehicle
Total drive time = 3 hour 40 minutes
Depart by commercial air from Bay of Islands to Auckland Airport, courtesy of Air New Zealand
Departure times that may suit are: 9:45am, 3:05pm, 3:45pm
Flight time = 45 minutes