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New Zealand: South Island and North Island - Itinerary
DATES & COST 

March 22 - 31, 2020
10 Days /9 Nights

Tour starts in Queenstown and ends in Auckland

$5,080 per person/double occupancy
$1,480 optional single supplement
$340 early arrival includes airport transfer, single or double
Includes all fees and taxes

TOUR DIRECTOR 
TOUR MAP 
Click on the image to enlarge the map

This tour may be combined with The Spectacular Australia tour (April 1 - 11, 2020)


THIS TOUR IS FULL. WE ARE ACCEPTING STANDBY RESERVATIONS.

This tour starts at 6:00PM on Sunday, March 22, 2020 in Queenstown.
Your flight should arrive before 4:00PM. Otherwise, we recommend arriving one day early.

Day 1: Queenstown - Arrivals 

On arrival at the Queenstown Airport, you will be met by a Sights and Soul representative for your private transfer to our hotel in the center of the city, overlooking the lake and the Remarkables Mountain range. Queenstown, nestled among glacier-rounded hills and dramatic rugged mountain peaks, is New Zealand’s premier alpine resort, yet it is steeped in the history of the gold mining days, evident in the many relics scattered in the surrounding hills. In the afternoon, there will be some time to rest, before we meet to enjoy a welcome dinner at a restaurant specializing in fine local cuisine, served in a beautiful Victorian setting.
Meals: Dinner
Accommodations: Novotel Lakeside Queenstown

Day 2: Queenstown 

Today, we'll spend the day experiencing the highlights of Queenstown. After breakfast, we'll travel to Arthur's Point for a thrilling Jet Boat ride, skimming over thrashing rapids in just inches of water through the narrow twisting gorges of the Shotover River. Afterwards, we'll visit Arrowtown, a delightful gold rush village of heritage buildings, tree-lined avenues and tiny miner’s cottages, nestled below the peaks surrounding the sparkling Arrow River. Here, we'll visit the Wild Earth Winery for a tour of the vineyards, wine tasting in the underground caves lined with barrels of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay still reaching their prime, followed by a light lunch of the winery's signature dishes. On the way back to Queenstown, we'll ride the aerial gondola to Bob’s Peak for panoramic views over Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables Mountain range, and in the evening, we'll cruise across Lake Wakatipu on board a 1912 vintage steamer to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a delicious gourmet BBQ dinner in the dining room of the Colonel’s Homestead.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Novotel Lakeside Queenstown

Day 3: The Milford Sound 

This morning, we'll set out to Milford Sound, one of New Zealand's most magnificent sights. En route, we'll travel around Lake Wakatipu, via Te Anau and the Fjordland National Park. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Area, this is one of the great wilderness areas of the Southern Hemisphere, with spectacular scenery of lofty mountains, deep valleys carved out by Ice Age glaciers, clear rushing streams and leaping waterfalls set in mystical native rainforest. We'll stop to see the Mirror Lakes, the Disappearing Mountain and the Chasm where the waters disappear into the rocks. On arrival at Milford Sound, we'll board a comfortable boat for a scenic cruise down Milford Sound past the towering Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea, with seals and dolphins in the clear waters of the fjord, as we're enjoying a picnic lunch on board. On the way back to Queenstown, we'll travel through the Cleddeau Gorge, Homer Tunnel and the lovely Eglinton Valley.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations: Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

Day 4: Queenstown to Mt. Cook 

After breakfast, we'll leave Queenstown and journey north to Mt. Cook National Park, through the rugged Kawarau Gorge, past pretty Lake Dunstan and across the distinctive Central Otago countryside to the Lindis Pass. We'll pass the small towns of Omarama and Twizel, scenic canals, and we'll drive along the shores of Lake Pukaki. At the heart of New Zealand’s most spectacular alpine region is Mt. Cook, also known by its Maori name, Aoraki, New Zealand’s tallest peak, but there are also 17 other peaks over 10,000 ft in Mt. Cook National Park, as well as 5 major glaciers. The Tasman Glacier flows past the flanks of Mt. Cook to terminate among vast fields of rock debris at the photogenic Blue Lakes. On arrival, we'll visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre to learn about the history of the area, then we'll check into the hotel and enjoy dinner at the Alpine Restaurant. If the weather cooperates, we'll take an easy hike at the foot of the stunning Mount Cook, and after dinner, we'll enjoy the Night Sky Tour to learn about and admire the Southern Sky and its constellations (weather permitting).
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Hermitage Mt. Cook Hotel

Day 5: Mt. Cook to Christchurch 

This morning, we'll continue our journey through Mt. Cook National Park, past Lake Pukaki, over the Burkes Pass and on to the fertile Canterbury Plains. Upon arrival in Christchurch, we'll enjoy a city tour, seeing not only the famous landmarks, but also remains of the destruction from the 2010 earthquake that forever changed the image of this lovely city. The "most English city outside England" grew out of a planned Anglican settlement in the 1850s, and is filled with formal gardens and Victorian architecture shaded by atmospheric oaks and willows. We'll see the River Avon, the Canterbury Museum, the Provincial Chambers, the Catholic Basilica, the Bridge of Remembrance, the funky Cashel St, and the Art Deco New Regent Street. Afterwards, we'll relax, as we're enjoying Punting in the Park by boatmen in straw boaters and traditional Victorian dress, giving an informative and entertaining commentary on the Avon River and the Botanic Gardens. After checking into our hotel, we'll have dinner at a contemporary restaurant in the heart of the Arts Precinct.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Day 6: Christchurch to Rotorua 

After breakfast, we'll take a morning flight to Rotorua, where we'll set out for the exclusive guided tour of Te Puia District which combines a premier Maori culture experience with an introduction to the magnificent geothermal activity in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, with its boiling mud pools, steaming silica terraces, hot springs, active geysers, and the Rainbow Springs with its rainbow trout and the rare kiwi birds. Sitting on the shore of Lake Rotorua, the area is part of the geologically active "Pacific Rim of Fire", as will become apparent as we tour the area. At the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, we'll admire the Maori skills of traditional carving, weaving and dancing of their ancestors, and we'll tour the sacred meeting house of Rotowhio Marae. After checking into our hotel and some time to rest, we'll meet again in the afternoon and transfer to the Tamaki Maori Marae for a Maori Cultural Experience and Hangi Dinner. We'll be greeted with the traditional welcome, powhiri, then we'll witness the Maori ceremonial rituals, dancing, singing and storytelling at this pre-European Maori village, and we'll be able to enter their ancestral Meeting House to watch a cultural performance and enjoy a Maori feast cooked the traditional way in an earth oven.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Day 7: Rotorua 

Today, we'll travel south to the Waimangu Valley thermal reserve, the site of the famous Pink and White Terraces, where the 1886 volcanic eruption of Mt. Tarawera resulted in a rift creating the Emerald Pool, a seemingly bottomless Blue Steaming Lake and colorful silica terraces. We'll cruise across Lake Rotomahana to see the famous Steaming Cliffs, fumaroles, lake edge geysers and unusual thermal plants. Then, we'll take a guided walk through the valley and its beautiful forest, followed by a picnic lunch. Afterwards, we'll transfer to Matamata, where we'll experience the real Middle Earth during a tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set, the bucolic setting for The Shire that featured in the Peter Jackson movies ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and ‘The Hobbit’. After a picturesque drive with spectacular views of the Kaimai Ranges, our guide will escort us through the site, recounting fascinating details of the Hobbiton movie creation, as we visit Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, the Mill and other structures created for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. From The Shires Rest, we'll journey back to Rotorua for an evening at leisure, including a visit to the Polynesian Spa for a soak in the naturally heated mineral waters, offering unique and exclusive bathing in four hot mineral rock pools with beautiful views over Lake Rotorua.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations: Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Day 8: Rotorua to Waitomo to Auckland 

We'll leave Rotorua this morning to travel across the Mamaku Ranges and through picturesque farmlands en route to the Waitomo Caves region. Here, we'll enjoy a guided tour of the Ruakuri Cave offering a comprehensive cave experience with its winding passageways, immense caverns, and deep crevices. From the spiral descent from the ground level via a remarkable drum entrance, along narrow corridors and across low-lit walkways suspended above the Huhunui River below, this tour will let us wonder at the remarkable glow worms, elaborate cave formations, underground rivers, and hear about myths, legends and sacred Maori sites. After a short break, we'll travel north through the Waikato Valley and the Bombay Hills into Auckland City. The gateway to New Zealand, Auckland is a modern city set on a narrow isthmus between the restless Tasman Sea and the calm waters of the Pacific Ocean. The Waitemata Harbour, one of the city's most treasured sights inspired Auckland's affectionate nickname, ‘City of Sails’. In the evening, we'll celebrate the magic of Auckland with dinner at Sky Tower Restaurant offering mesmerizing views of the city.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: M Social Hotel, Auckland

Day 9: Auckland 

After breakfast today, we'll enjoy a narrated tour of the ‘City of Sails’ including the panoramic city and harbour views from Bastion Point, the trendy Parnell Village, the lovely bays of the Waterfront Drive and the vibrant Viaduct Harbour area. We'll also visit the Auckland Museum which provides an excellent overview of the artistic legacy and cultures of the peoples of the Pacific: the monumental carvings, buildings, canoes and taonga of the Maori, and an insight into the diversity of cultures which form the rich tapestry of race, nationality and creed of modern New Zealand. After the tour, we'll board the Pride of Auckland yacht for a luncheon cruise on the sheltered waters of the sparkling Waitemata Harbour, while viewing the sights of Auckland City and listening to an informative commentary. The afternoon will be at leisure to enjoy some of the many activities available in this vibrant city or enjoy its excellent shopping, and in the evening, we'll meet to celebrate our New Zealand adventure and the new friends at the elegant farewell dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: M Social Hotel, Auckland

Day 10: Auckland - Departures 

If you are combining the South Island and North Island tour of New Zealand with the Spectacular Australia tour, we will be checking out of the hotel early for our morning flight to Melbourne. If you are leaving New Zealand today to travel back home, we will arrange for a private airport transfer to coincide with the timing of your departing flight.
Meals: Breakfast

This tour ends after breakfast on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 in Auckland.

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

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Why travel with other women?
Many women do not have families or compatible friends who wish to travel. When going on a main-stream tour, women often find that most activities are geared towards couples and quite often they feel left out. Singles' tours are not always what women are looking for. If you do not have a traveling companion, there is also the issue of the expensive "single supplement", sometimes as much as 50 or even 100 percent of the tour cost. By going on women-only tours, women can easily avoid paying for the single supplement by sharing a room with another woman traveler.
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