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New Zealand

29 Jan — 12 Feb 2019 | Tour Director: Mark Hanger

ACE Aquileia tour: Basilica of Aquileia

ix

Tour Director

Andrew Wilson portrait

Mark Hanger, MA

graduate of Otago University, experienced botanist and ornithologist

full biography and other tours

Itinerary

Day

1

Tour assembles 1200 at Grand Millennium Hotel, Auckland, for three nights. Afternoon: Waitakere Ranges, including coniferous and hardwood forests (immense kauri trees), Muriwai gannet colony on western coast.

Day

2

Morning: Mt Eden (panoramic views of the city and harbours), walking tour of Auckland (with historical and medicinal explanations of indigenous plants and herbs). Maori performance by Haka the Legend. Afternoon: Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens and Sculpture Gardens.

Day

3

Whole day excursion by ferry to Tiritiri Matangi (a predator-free island with regenerating forests). Chance to see re-introduced endemic birds such as the North Island saddleback and takahes (rediscovered in the Fiordland mountains in 1948). Free evening.

Day

4

Morning: drive south to the spectacular geothermal region of Lake Taupo via volatile Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Afternoon: boiling mud-pools of Mt Tarawera. Transfer to Chelmswood Manor, Lake Taupo, for overnight stay.

Day

5

Orakei Korako (geothermal area), Pureora Forest Park (some of New Zealand’s finest lowland podocarp forest, range of forest bird species), Tongariro National Park. Two nights at Chateau Tongariro, Tongariro.

Day

6

Day exploring flanks of Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu (volcanoes).

Day

7

Whanganui River National Park, Pipiriki (boat excursion into heart of wilderness region), Maori sites along lower reaches of Whanganui River. Overnight stay at 151 on London Motel, Wanganui.

Day

8

Transfer to Wellington. Old St Paul’s Cathedral (early church crafted largely of New Zealand kauri timber), and Te Papa Tongarewa (national museum). By ferry across the Cook Strait and Marlborough Sounds (blue penguins and wandering albatross) to the South Island. Overnight stay at Broadway Motel, Picton.

Day

9

Morning: Black Birch Range (mountains with spectacular alpine vegetation, panoramic views).  Afternoon: Kaikoura (spectacular coastal scenery with fur seals along the rocky shore at Ohau Point). Two nights at White Morph Inn, Kaikoura.

Day

10

Morning marine trip: look for sperm whales, which inhabit deep water just off the coast, three dolphin species and wide array of seabirds. Afternoon: local Kaikoura Maori experience.

Day

11

Transfer to Christchurch. Free afternoon in Christchurch (Avon River, Transitional Cathedral, Botanic Gardens, Canterbury Museum). Overnight stay at Rendezvous Hotel. Free evening.

Day

12

Drive through Canterbury Plains, the foothills of New Zealand’s Southern Alps and Mackenzie Country. Optional plane excursion over Mt Cook National Park (the highest peaks and glaciers of the Southern Alps). Two nights at Mackenzie Country Inn, Twizel.

Day

13

Whole day excursion to Mt Cook National Park via Lake Pukaki for explorations of the Hooker Valley and the foothills of Mt Cook (spectacular panoramic views) or optional visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre.

Day

14

Morning: Bendigo Historic Reserve (mining ruins of the mid 19th century, dryland vegetation and fauna of Central Otago).  Lunch at Mt Difficulty Winery (specialising in producing Pinot Noir). Overnight stay at the Edgewater Resort, Lake Wanaka.

Day

15

Morning transfer over Crown Range to Queenstown.

Tour Dates

29 Jan — 12 Feb 2019

Days

15

Cost

£4595

Tour Code

NZEA-19

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Cost includes:

accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, full board with water (except two dinners), excursions & admissions, gratuities.

Not included:

travel insurance, Mt Cook plane excursion, single room supplement £690, Murihiku extension, international flights.

 
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