We all flew into Christchurch real early & jumped onto our private coach with our driver Chrissy, who would be with us for the next few days.
Arthur’s Pass was blocked with snow & ice so we had to take the alternate route via Reefton through Lewis Pass.
Photo stops near the beautiful mountains, braided rivers as we travelled, our gorgeous West Coast on an unusually clear & bright day, Nikau palms & Punakaiki pancake rocks. Then down to Hokitika for the night @Stopforths Motel where Sonja prepared a masterful Kiwi dinner, Geoff introduced the group to some choice local wines, & Phil entertained us with an evening of great star gazing!
What a way to spend the first day of the tour!
Short hop down to Franz Josef Glacier with a couple of stops on the way for pics & toilets. Onto the three waiting choppers for a twin glacier flight with snow landing – WOOOHOOO!!!!!
Super lunch @The Landing Bar & Cafe (best fries on the West Coast…). Live Kiwi birds & prehistoric Tuatara reptiles @West Coast Wildlife Centre. Fox Glacier valley walk, dinner @King Tiger & sleepover @58 on Cron Motel.
Early start, long way to go. Coffee/toilet stop @Salmon Farm Cafe. Blue Pools walk & photo opp. Lunch @Makarora Country Cafe. Another photo opp at stunning Lake Hawea. Quick stop in Wanaka then on to Queenstown for the next few days staying @Garden Court Suites & Apartments.
Early start for the coach to Milford Sound. Cruising the Sound on a 3-level catamaran. Great buffet lunch, & back to QT late in the evening. A long day but totally worth the trip to Milford – another must do activity in the South Island.
Onto Lake Wakatipu with the historic steamship TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a sheep shearing demo & a fabulous gourmet BBQ lunch @Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant.
Free time in the afternoon before the team met up @Skyline Gondola for Luge fun in the sun & another fabulous buffet dinner at the Stratosfare Restaurant at the top of Bob’s Peak overlooking Queenstown. This gondola is the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the must-do activities in Queenstown!
Back on our private coach with new driver Ed. Over the Crown Range to the historic Cardrona Hotel for coffee and a swing. Fun at the World famous bra fence. More fun for the kids @Puzzling World. The 70 year old Wanaka tree (sometimes called the ‘Lonely Tree’) in Roy’s Bay. Choice lunch @Francesca’s Pizzeria, then back on the Crown Range up to Snow Farm for more fun in the snow with the kids – both big and small!
Our last morning in Queenstown – in New Zealand actually!! We split into three groups, the first taking the adventure plunge and opting for a morning of sky diving, the second for a more relaxed bush walk out to Bob’s Cove close to Queenstown, and the third for a totally relaxed late sleep in and 11am checkout of our accommodation.
We all met up for lunch and had Fergburgers (again…) then our private coach dropped us off at the airport for return flights.
We’ll be sorry to see you go & look forward to your next visit to our beautiful country.
Kia ora and ka kite anō! (Thank you and see you again!)
Arataki Centre and Kauri Dieback Education Programme
We recently put together a community education presentation about kauri dieback at the Arataki Centre west of Auckland in the Waitakere Ranges. This 16000ha forest park is integral to our guided tours and a wonderful place of historic, cultural and ecological significance. Kauri dieback (Phytophthora agathidicida) is a killer pathogen with a 100% mortality rate amongst our beloved kauri tress, and stopping its spread in our favorite forest park is paramount to our ecological sustainability as a tour operator in this area.
Click the image below to play the video.
The beauty of sharing & why we do what we do…
Our back yard is truly a beautiful place but we tend to forget that fact over time (understandably), because it’s what we see on a daily basis. This was brought back to me recently when guiding a single client (something we don’t often do) from America who was in a bit of a personal pickle & needed to get away from the city to clear her mind & settle her emotions from family pressures.
It was my luck too that I was about ready for a break from the office so perhaps this was just a match made in heaven for that day! Off the two of us went bright & early & I’m quite sure she had no idea at all of what to expect from her day tour – websites, including our own, just cannot adequately describe what kind of experience a customer will have when travelling around our gorgeous country!
Small tour groups always equal more time to stop & ‘smell the roses’ – larger groups are always slower so there’s less time to do stuff, so in light of that I made an unscheduled stop at Corwallis Wharf on our way out west. Midweek, sunny day, two people fishing on the end of the wharf, otherwise deserted, she couldn’t have asked for better!
The charm of Blue Spring – light, shade and color
by WCT@WP | Feb 7, 2018 | Blog
With temperatures in Auckland yesterday close to 32oc, we popped down for a quick walk along Blue Spring. Baking heat, cool shadows, hot Summer sweating but we were happy! It’s been a long time!
The serene tranquility of this place is stunning – a constantly changing kaleidoscope of aquatic blues and greens in the cool spring waters flanked by the riverine forest undergrowth, cool, inviting, thirst quenching, ever changing light and shadow, punctuated by small rapids tumbling over black rocks in deep shadow.
Well worth the walk for both young and old!