Australian Natural Adventures

nature travel, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general travel to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific


Custom Itinerary tour for

John & Christie Weber

ice cave fox glacier

December 14 January 2, 2007

Day 1 – Thursday, December 14: Huntsville / Los Angeles / Lost in Space
Depart from Huntsville at 11.35am this morning on American Airlines flight AA3500 to Dallas, where you change planes to AA2453 departing at 3pm for Los Angeles, arriving at 4.15pm. Stroll around the top of LAX past the Tom Bradley International Terminal to Terminal 2 (you arrive iair new zealand 747nto terminal 4, and you can also take the shuttle) to check in for your 9pm Air New Zealand flight NZ5 departing to Auckland. Check-in may not open until 6pm, and the best cafes and restaurants, and also a reasonably good bookshop, are in the Tom Bradley terminal – food is at the rear. The Kiwi style is apparent once you board your NZ plane – easy going and friendly. Sit back and enjoy a meal and a movie aboard the well-equipped Boeing 747.         (*D)planets

Day 2 – Friday, December 15: Lost In Space
Day lost due to the International Dateline, but regained on the return journey.

Day 3 – Saturday, December 16: Auckland / Waitomo
Arrive in Auckland at 6.45 this morning, pass through customs and imnew zealand sheepmigration and pick up your Avis rental car at the counter. Head out of the airport to Highway 1, the road south to Hamilton, about 45 miles away. Continue on via Highway 3 a further 35 to 40 miles to the Waitomo turnoff; the village is only 2 miles off the highway. Check in to your accommodation, Waitomo Caves Guest Lodge, and the rest of the day is free to relax and decide on your activities tomorrow.       (*B)

Black abyss caving New ZealandDay 4 – Sunday, December 17: Waitomo
Today enjoy Waitomo’s offerings – perhaps the Black Water Rafting tour, or a simpler boat ride through the caves. There’s abseiling and climbing, and many other activities as well. Should you choose the Black Water, you’ll spend three hours on the legendary Black Water Rafting Adventure, The Black Labyrinth, in a wetsuit, on an inflatable tube travel into the caves and float down the underground stream emerging in to the Waitomo forest. A wonderful adventure, followed by a hot shower, soup and bagel. Various options are detailed below.

1. Black Abyss caving and tubing: You'll descend spider-like into the black depths of Ruakuri Cave and enjoy the best caving adventure tour on a five hour expedition that combines abseiling the breathtaking tomo, climbing, tight rock squeezes and cave tubing down the river into one unforgettable journey. Your entry abseil is over 100 ft, and the climb out involves real rock ascents, so this tour is not just a normal cave tour. In addition to the caving you tube the black water, and see the glowworms shine.

Black Labyrinth caving and tubing: half day of blackwater tubing with some caving. Over three hours you'll work your way through tight squeezes, take leaps of faith over cascading underground waterfalls and float serenely down river asglowworms waitomo you enjoy the glowworm show on the vaulted limestone galleries up above. Your journey concludes when you emerge into the sunlight of the Waitomo forest.

2. Lost World Epic: Abseil over 300ft into Lost World then take the wet way out. This is the most dramatic abseil of its kind in the world. The descent takes around 10-15 minutes. Once down, lunch is served before heading off upstream, walking, swimming and climbing through cathedral-sized vaults. See waterfalls, fossil oysters and whalebones, as well as untold glow worms. Emerge several hours later and head back to caving WaitomoWaitomo for a well-earned dinner (all included).

3. St Benedicts Caverns: 3.5 hours of cavinghaggas absiel

4. Haggas Holes: four hours of caving, abseiling including waterfall abseils.

5: Rap, raft & Rock: With an unbelievable 27 metre abseil into a huge chasm in the Earth, experience the refracted light highlighting the amazing plant and rock formations making this a truly awesome descent. Then you will cave upstream to the cathedral-style 400sq metre cavern where you will witness a glow-worm display that will absolutely take your breath away.This is followed by a blackwater rafting trip downstream floating through caverns filled with more glow-worms that fill the cave with a soft blue light. Then there is the challenge of moving through the cave with the option of squeezing through passages until you reach the exit. The final challenge is a breathtaking 20-metre climb back to the rest of the world where a well-deserved hot shower awaits you.

There are also several less challenging options.       (B)

Day 5 – Monday, December 18: Waitomo / Rotorua
maori warrier mita rotorua After leaving Waitomo pass through the provincial centers of Kihikihi and Tirau travel through lush rolling farmlands and across the heavily forested Mamaku Ranges to arrive in Rotorua, the geothermal and cultural centre of New Zealand, located at the Whakarewarewa Valley. This afternoon visit the thermal area and a Maori crafts workshop and art gallery/museum. This evening you should experience a traditional Maori hangi and cultural experience. The Mitai experience,near the base of Mount Ngongotaha, about five minutes out of town, will take place at a marae (traditional Maori village site) for a powhiri (traditional welcome), concert of Maori song and dance and hangi dinner. Thismaori dance is a special and educational experience offering a wonderful introduction to the spirit, talents and humor of the Maori people. After dinner enjoy a short night bush walk by flashlight to see the bush glowworms, learn about the traditional uses of native flora, see the source of the Fairy Spring with trout and eels swimming in the crystal clear water. Your accommodation in Rotorua is convenient – just a walk if the weather is fine – to the main thermal area. By the way, the pipes you'll see steaming behind many of the houses are Rotorua's unique thermal energy system.      (B)

Day 6 - Tuesday, December 19: Rotorua / Nelson
zorbong rotorua You have much of the day free to explore. You may want to travel a little north to the Agrodome for a touristy but interesting displays and demonstrations of the sheep industry, or may be go Zorbing - rolling down hills in a plastic ball(!) Return the rental car at Rotorua airport and nelson new zealandfly to Nelson at 3.50pm on Air New Zealand flight NZ8583 to Wellington, connecting with flight NZ8441 for Nelson, arriving at 6.05pm. On arrival give your ahoglund gallery glass nelson new zealandccommodation – Tuscany Gardens – a call, and they will collect you. Nelson, overlooking the Tasman Bay, is one of the country's sunniest holiday resorts areas (for New Zealand, that is) and the temperate climate also contributes to the area's wealth. Apart from export apples and pears, beer hops are also grown here. Another feature of the region is the abundance of artists, making Nelson a renowned art and craft centre.      (B)

Day 7 – Wednesday, December 20: Abel Tasman National Park
This morning begin a three day sea kayak and hike around and in Abel Tasman National Pasea kayaking abel tasman national park new ealandrk, often considered New Zealand’s most beautiful park, and equal to any in the world. You are picked up at 6.30am from Nelson and travel to Motueka, where your luggage is organized for the trip (excess can be left safely here at the tour company’s office, or back at your hotel), then continue on entree torrent bay lodgeKaiteriteri. At Kaiteriteri, your guide will settle you into your kayaks for a full training session. You do not leave the beach until your guide is satisfied you can safely negotiate the coast in your kayak. Paddling along the coast, discover pristine bays and beaches named by the French explorer Dumont D’urville in 1827. A stop is made for lunch at one of the bays. Eventually, after about 8 miles and 4 ½ hours of easy paddling you arrive at Torrent Bay Lodge, isolated in the Park. After a full day of activity the Lodge offers a welcome evening’s rest, complete with gourmet dinner.      (L,D)

Day 8 – Thursday, December 21: Torrent Bay / Awaroa
Today you have a choice, as you can sea kayak and hike, or just hike. The two sections of the day are Torrent Bay to Onetahuti (Tonga Beach), which is 4 hours paddling or a 6 mile walk – you can choose to do either. The second section is Onetahuti to Awaroa, abtonga bay abel tasman national parkout 3 miles walking. Start the day by leaving Torrent Bay for a morning of beach hopping up the coast, taking in points of interest including Falls River and Frenchman’s Bay. Stop for lunch around midday at Bark Bay and take time out to relax, explore, swim or sunbathe on the golden sand. If conditions allow, visit the seal colony at Tonga Island and other sites of historical and scenic interest. Leave the sea kayaks at Onetahuti and walk over the Tonga Saddle to Meadowbank Homestead – Awaroa for the night.      (BLD)


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