Well...I'm not missing out on this trip of a lifetime! Check this out:
Day 1: Leave the U.S. on a flight bound for New Zealand. Lose a day on the calendar as you cross the International Dateline.
Day 2: Arrive in Auckland and transfer to a flight that will take you to Christchurch, the beginning of this amazing adventure. Your first evening will be spent at the exclusive Willowbank Wildlife Reserve where you will enjoy a formal greeting by a group of native performers. After traditional Maori entertainment and buffet dinner, tour the Reserve and see the wildlife both native and introduced to New Zealand. On the way back to the city you’ll be treated to a guided nighttime tour of Christchurch.
Days 3 & 4: Christchurch — Explore this beautiful city, known for its amazing gardens. Hagley Park, the Botanic Gardens, Victoria Square, and the spectacular Mona Vale on the banks of the River Avon, all help give Christchurch the nickname, The Garden City. Optional excursions will be available.
Day 5: Christchurch/Mt. Cook/Queensland — Travel south today via Lake Tekapo where you can view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd. Continue alongside the Tasman River to Mt. Cook National Park. Enjoy a hosted lunch as you enjoy the spectacular scenery of this beautiful park. Continue southward through the beautiful countryside as you make your way to Queenstown.
Day 6: Queenstown — Spend a free day enjoying all New Zealand’s adventure capital has to offer, from the incredible beauty to extreme adventures. Optional excursions will be available.
Day 7: Queenstown — Continue your exploration of this fun four-season city from its majestic mountains to its crystal clear lakes and glacial fjords with the many available optional excursions. Join your friends on a scenic gondola ride to the breathtaking vistas of the Skyline complex high above Queenstown for a special farewell dinner as you prepare to leave this exotic land.
Day 8: Board a return flight to Auckland with onward connections to the U.S. and Canada.
Sampling of Excursions and Optional Activities ... More to Come!
New Zealand’s South Island is rife with wildlife, adventures, and sight-seeing. The only limit to the fun is your imagination. As you prepare to join Close To My Heart on this amazing land tour, consider some of these exciting optional excursions you can enjoy with your fellow Consultants:
- Alpine Safari by Road, Train and Boat
Drive by road through the Canterbury Plains to the Waimakariri Canyon in the foothills of the rugged Southern Alps. Travel by jet boat into the canyon past train viaducts, waterfalls and thick beech forest. Travel in a 4×4 vehicle across Torlesse Station while viewing the spectacular alpine scenery. Following lunch at Te Kowhai Cafe, travel on the historic state highway to Arthurs Pass National Park and join the TranzAlpine train for the return journey to Christchurch.
- Akaroa Day Tour
Depart Christchurch and drive to Akaroa via Sign of the Takahe and Little River. Stop at the hill-top on the volcanic rim for panoramic views of Akaroa Village, harbor and surrounding areas. Stop at the Barrys Bay Cheese Factory to taste New Zealand cheeses. Continue to Akaroa and explore the craft shops and old French colonial buildings. Enjoy lunch in Akaroa and join the Canterbury Cat for an Akaroa Harbour cruise to see dolphins, penguins and seals before returning to Christchurch.
- Kaikoura Discover the Whales
This full-day tour travels north from Christchurch through North Canterbury to the township of Kaikoura. Here, the ocean's continental shelf is very close to the shore—with over 200 species of marine life. See hundreds of fur seals, spectacular leaping dolphins and sperm whales. Kaikoura is also on the migratory route for pods of orca ("killer") whales, pilot whales and the rare blue whale. View whales in their natural environment (weather permitting). Departs daily at 7:45 AM and returns approximately 6:30 PM.
- Hammer Springs Tour
Just north of Christchurch is the small alpine destination of Hanmer Springs—perfect for rest, relaxation or adventure. Sit back and relax in natural outdoor thermal waters or opt for a thrill-seeking adventure of an exhilarating jetboat ride or breathtaking bungy jump (own expense)!
- Tramway Restaurant
A truly unique experience in restaurant dining! Relax in the luxury of a colonial style dining tram and be treated to superb service and cuisine, breathtaking scenery and cultural heritage. The 36-seat tram departs daily at 7:30PM from the Train Station tram stop in Cathedral Junction.
- TSS Earnslaw & Walter Peak High Country Station
Relive the elegance of turn-of-the-century travel with a cruise on board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. During the 40-minute cruise, enjoy an entertaining and informative insight into New Zealand high country farming. On the walking tour of the farm, see animals, sheep dogs, and the farm demonstrator shear a sheep. Wander through the gardens and enjoy morning or afternoon tea and home baking in the Colonel’s Homestead before the return cruise to Queenstown.
- Shotover High Five
This is a day of fun and excitement! Start off with a Jetboat ride through the Shotover Canyons. Then fly high over Queenstown with a scenic transfer helicopter ride. Visit the Skyline Gondola complex and enjoy the thrills of the luge track. Ride the Gondola Cableway down to town and finish with the Kiwi Magic Movie at the cinema downtown.
- Dart River Excursion
This jetboat safari is an exciting journey along the Dart River amongst towering mountains and the pristine wilderness of the Mt Aspiring National Park—a World Heritage Area where snow-capped mountains range over a glacier formed valley. Stroll through ancient forests and enjoy a back road journey through remote areas of this region.
- Luxury Milford Sound Tour
Travel by luxury vehicle along Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables Mountain Range to Te Anau. After morning tea, continue to Mirror Lakes and the Homer Tunnel. The guide will share tales of the adventurers of the area. Embark on a scenic cruise of the majestic Milford Sound and enjoy lunch onboard. The return journey to Queenstown is either by vehicle or scenic flight.
- Safari of the Scenes
Based around specific filming sites, this 4WD tour offers a spectacular look at New Zealand High Country’s diverse scenery. These are real places—there are no movie sets. Two tours are available, or combine them for a full day. Duration is 4 hours; refreshments provided.
- Shotover Jet
Get ready for the world’s most exciting Jet Boat ride! Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons. It’s a thrilling ride — skimming past rocky outcrops at close range in the Shotover Jet “Big Red” as it twists and turns through the narrow canyons at breath taking speeds. And a major highlight — hold tight for the world famous Shotover Jet full 360° spins!
- Funyak Adventure
Funyaks provide one of the most unique adventures available in New Zealand—experience over an hour of scenic jetboating and then float down river in your own inflatable kayak allowing plenty of time to explore the rivers hidden secrets. Enjoy a wilderness buffet lunch, stunning scenery and the expertise of the guide.
- Milford Sound Heli Flight
This captivating flight soars over alpine lakes, lush rainforest, and past rugged peaks. Experience the grandeur of the Southern Alps before landing at Key Summit. Fly into the heart of Fjordland, with unparalleled views of world famous Milford Sound and Mitre Peak. View the spectacular Tutuko Glacier before returning to Queenstown. Tour’s duration is 1 ½ hours.
This is going to be totally amazing. I will be using my blog to keep you all updated on my progress for earning this incentive trip for my 40th birthday! :O) That's not til January 2010, but all the hard work will obviously be well worth it!
A goal needs to be out of reach, but not out of sight.
I'm off to make some sweet dreams. :O) Pamela