We’re excited to be heading back to New Zealand – Aotearoa in 2024. Much has changed — and thankfully, much has not — since our previous tours here in the mid 2000s. Our new program will highlight the country’s impressive culinary scene along with some of the gorgeous natural wonders that have been drawing visitors to New Zealand for many decades.
Beginning in cosmopolitan AUCKLAND on the North Island, with its stunning harbor hemmed in by verdant volcanic scenery, we’ll spend a day savoring the delights of nearby WAIHEKE ISLAND, known as the Tuscany of the Hauraki Gulf, the nation’s largest marine reserve. Think vineyards, olive groves, beaches, breweries, and galleries. It was once something of a hippy haven but now is more trendy while maintaining a laid-back charm in a sun-kissed Mediterranean-type climate.
In New Zealand’s charming capital city, WELLINGTON, we’ll be impressed by the innovative Te Papa Tongarewa Museum dedicated to the nation’s cultural and natural heritage plus the city’s nature spots, architecture, and great views in this vibey city surrounded by hills and a brilliant bay. A lovely day trip brings us out to WAIRARAPA — one of the country’s prominent wine regions where we get to taste not only wines, but artisanal cheeses too, and have a wander around charming Greytown.
On the South Island we’ll take in the jagged OTAGO PENINSULA, famous for its array of excellent marine and bird life including yellow-eyed penguins, the world’s only mainland nesting colony of royal albatross, seals, sea lions, dolphins, whales, and orca. The region’s capital, DUNEDIN, has been known as “the Edinburgh of the South” and locals are proud of their Celtic roots. It’s New Zealand’s first city and home to a prestigious and the country’s oldest university. Atmospheric with its Victorian architecture Dunedin is also a UNESCO designated “City of Literature.”
The thrill-seeking resort town of QUEENSTOWN, the “adventure capital of the world,” was the birthplace of bungee jumping while also boasting world-class hiking, biking, skiing, paragliding, rock climbing and jet-boating. While these activities won’t be on our itinerary you’ll have time to pursue something on your own if you’d like. Our focus will be on the excellent wine, beer, and food of this Western Otago region along with some of the beautiful nature spots, lakes, and mountains that surround Queenstown, including Middle-earth film locations from The Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit fame and historic Arrowtown, once a center for gold mining.