Day 1/2 Honolulu – Auckland
Our flight from Honolulu to Auckland was over 9.5 hours long but it was very pleasant. There were a lot to vacant seats so some of us took advantage of using extra spaces during the flight.
Day 3 Auckland – Queenstown
After spending a night at Sudima Hotel near the airport, we took a domestic flight to Queenstown in the morning. Beautiful Lake Hayes welcomed us as the first scenic spot on the South Island. The air was crisp but very pleasant in the sunny winter day. We visited Gibbston Winery, the Bungy Jump center, Arrowtown in the afternoon. Dinner was at a beautiful lake front restaurant.
Day 4 Queenstown
New Zealand’s winter weather changes quickly. It was a cold rainy day. The optional tour to Milford Sound which some of us took was cancelled due to the road closure caused by snow and rain. Instead we were offered to visit Doughtul Sound. Doughtful Sound is 3 times longer than Milford Sound so we enjoyed 3 hours of cruse time instead of 1.5 hours. It rained off and on but we were pleased with the breath taking Fjord view with rainbow, wild dolphins, and waterfalls.
Day 5 Queenstown – Haast – Franz Josef
It was a long bus ride driving up the wild west coast along the Tasmanian Sea. The highlight of the day was 2 hours of a nature walk of Glacier Valley. New Zealand is truly a nature lovers’ heaven.
Day 6 Franz Josef – Greymouth – Christchurch
We spent a lovely morning at Shantytown Heritage Park experiencing gold panning, riding the locomotive train, and eating fish & chips! Then we took a Tranz Alpine train crossing the island to Christchurch. The view from the window started with green mountains and sheep. Then after going through a long tunnel, it totally changed to winter scenes, all the mountains were covered by snow. At Arthur’s Pass station, all of us got off and enjoyed playing with snow and taking pictures.
Day7 Christchurch – Auckland
Christchurch is called the “Garden City’. Even in winter the Avon River and Mona Vail House were so beautiful. After the half day sightseeing, we took a flight back to Auckland. Our dinner was at Orbit restaurant located on the 52nd floor of Sky Tower. What a view!
Our driver, Craig, took us around the city in the morning. We drove through Domain, Parnell, Savage Memorial Garden, Winter Garden, Viaduct Harbor area and enjoyed free time in the afternoon.
Day 9 Auckland – Waitomo – Rotorua
We enjoyed the dynamic North Island. Waitomo Glow Worm cave was so mystic. No pictures were allowed to take so beautiful blue lights above our heads are all in our memory. It was very impressive to visit Mitai Maori Village since we shared similar Polynesian culture in Hawaii. We went to sleep in the light smell of sulfur in Rotorua.
Day 10 Rotorua
This is authentic New Zealand! We enjoyed sheep shearing show and feeding Sheep and Aplaca in Agrodome. Then we rode Skyline gondola up the mountain and had a huge buffet, and even challenged to ride downhill on Luge. Exciting! After dinner we had some relaxing time at Polynesian Spa.
Day 11 Rotorua – Matamata – Auckland – Honolulu
Time goes by so quickly but our last day was filled with so much fun till the last moment. We learned Maori culture at Te Puia and visited the popular movie site, Hobbiton. The Hobbit style festive buffet dinner was such a fun way to end our journey. New Zealand offers gorgeous scenery, a rich indigenous culture, quality foods, and much more. Join us for the next trip to discover beauty of New Zealand with your own eyes!
Posted by Kat Spear
Please inquire detail for 2018/2019 escorted tours at:
JTB USA Honolulu Office
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 1370
Honolulu HI 96814
www.jtbusa.com >> Branch Special >> Honolulu
⇒ Search Cheap Airfare to Japan by JTB USA
⇒ Japan Rail Pass The Best Way to Travel in Japan
⇒ Explore Japan’s top destinations with the help of JTB Sunrise Tours