Are you Ready for a Family Adventure in New Zealand?

December 7, 2012

If you are an adventurous, energetic and athletic family that loves to explore the outdoors and take in all that nature has to offer, this is the trip for you. This trip includes New Zealands only native forest zipline canopy tour, Hobbiton movie set, a tour the village movie set from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, visiting Waitomo Glowworm Caves as well as experiencing a Maori Village.  We can even add bungy jumping into the mix, if interested.

We can organize a car for part of your journey, then set up tours along the way.  I would suggest quaint hotels for your journey, then end at a fabulous resort for the last few nights.

Along the way, you will experience:

* Waitomo Glowworm Caves - Today see the Waitomo glowworm, Arachnocampa luminosa, which is unique to New Zealand. Thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light as expert guides provide informative commentary on ‘The Waitomo Glowworm Caves’ historical and geological significance.

* Tamaki Tours Hangi & Concert - This evening you will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Tamaki Tours for your evening’s Hangi and Concert excursion at a Maori Village.

* Te Puia 90 Minute Guided Tour - This geothermal valley is a special place, home to Te Arawa people for generations. The environment alone is of enormous geological significance, with thermal activity ranging from boiling mud to the world-famous 30-metre (100-foot) Pohutu geyser, erupting up to 20 times each day. Hot springs, boiling sulphurous pools, silica terraces and bubbling mud pools are among the natural wonders.

* Rainbow Springs - Breathe deeply, and take in the native bush, ferns, trees and plants that grow and flower all around you as you wander through the tree lined pathways at Rainbow Springs Nature Park. Enjoy the tranquillity of the crystal clear mineral water that flows tirelessly from the subterranean springs throughout the park, and marvel at the silent grace of the magnificent specimens of Rainbow, Brown and Tiger trout and feed them as they cruise the fern-fringed pools.

* The Agrodome Sheep Show is a one-hour performance where you will see nineteen sheep breeds introduced onto the stage, and be shown the art of sheep shearing, along with sheepdog demonstrations, cow milking, bottle feed lambs and an exciting sheep auction.

* Hobbiton Movie Set - tour the village movie set from the Lord of the Rings trilogy is situated on a working sheep and beef farm with scenic views across to the Kaimai Ranges.  The Hobbiton movie set has been returned to its natural state however, Hobbit holes and some structures from the film set are still present.  Your tour guide will escort you through the 10-acre site, recounting fascinating details of how the Hobbiton set was created.

* Experience New Zealand’s only native forest zipline canopy tour - A 400 metre walk through native forest leads to the first launch platform where your guides familiarise you with the forest, birds and history of the area. You’ll experience trail walking, 10 platforms, 6 ziplines and 2 swing bridges mixing thrill and slow paced observation of the forest.

* Breathtaking Lake Taupo - The start of the Waikato River signals the proximity of a huge watery crater - Lake Taupo. Your drive winds along the shore of this extinct volcano before ascending the plateau to view the ominous snow-clad peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro.  Continue along the desolate and barren Desert Road to windy Waiouru before dropping down into the farming community of Taihape.

* Fly from Wellington to Queenstown - From Wellington Airport fly across Cook Strait which divides New Zealand’s North Island from the South Island, before following the Southern Alps mountain range towards Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital.

* Milford Sound - Today you will undertake a scenic cruise day trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound. Milford Sound is frequently referred to as the Eighth Natural Wonder of the World. The cruise is out to the open sea which takes you past towering Mitre Peak and the spectacular Bowen Falls.

* Safari Of The Scenes - When JRR Tolkien created Middle-Earth little did he know the magical landscapes of his imagination actually existed, 12,000 miles away from his homeland.

This morning you will be met at your accommodation for your 4WD sightseeing excursion.  It took Peter Jackson 10 years and millions of dollars to bring The Lord of the Rings to life on the big screen.  You can visit it today.

Many of the areas that the tour visits provide spectacular backdrops to much of the action in Peter Jackson’s “The Fellowship of the Rings”; The Ford at Bruinen, The Misty Mountains, Isengard and Lothlorien, better known as Skippers Canyon, Macetown and Paradise, to name a few.

* This holiday should be one for the family memory books - time to fly home and share all of your amazing stories with friends and family.

NOTE:  The best months to travel to New Zealand would be in the spring and fall.  Their winter is our summer so if you wanted to visit Queenstown for skiing, the optimal time is right around the 4th of July.

If you too want to plan an amazing trip, contact me, the Travel Gal at 800 644-6659 or email Teresa@Luxuryhideaways.net

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New Zealand offers a New Experience for the Thrill Seeker!

September 25, 2012

While planning your holiday to New Zealand, save time for the Nevis Swing, (AKA Nevis Arc), at 120m is Queenstown’s newest thrill seeking innovation brought to you buy the gravity pioneers.

Walk across a 70m suspension bridge to the Launch Pad which is suspended high above the valley floor. Then it’s up to you to choose forwards, backwards, alone or with a friend, and finally whether to release yourself or be released by their crew. Arcers will find themselves getting suspended high above the valley floor in a fully secure harnessed swing dropping down the valley floor at an incredible speed and then swooping towards the oncoming cliff face!

The Nevis Swing is the world’s biggest and fastest swing, are you up for it?

The trip includes:
** Return transport from the Queenstown Bungy Centre to the Nevis site

** Duration: Expect a 4 hour return trip, some trip lengths may vary

** Children 16 years and under must have written consent from a parent or guardian

** Spectators can go out to the Nevis site for a fee of $50. This allows access to the jump site and if you wish decide to go ahead and jump when you are out there the $50 goes towards the cost of your jump.

Contact the Travel Gal and team to plan your ultimate adventure vacation today by land or by sea!

800 644-6659 or Teresa@LuxuryHideaways.net

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Extreme Sport & Authentic Adventure Holiday

June 6, 2012

If you are looking to connect with nature and spend some time with wildlife, New Zealand is for you.You can hire a punt on an urban river; relax for days on a houseboat, motor yacht or sailing vessel; be your own captain or hire an experienced professional crew.

The pristine landscapes and waterways of the Southern South Island offer a favourite cruising experience for many, offering scenic cruises through Fiordland, Queenstown and Stewart Island.

Whether you prefer a high speed jet boat ride or a leisurely jaunt, you’ll find New Zealanders are happy to share with you their love of water-borne transport.

JET BOATING
Like a jet aircraft, a jet boat has no external propeller. Instead, it squirts water out at high speed just below the surface behind the boat. This allows the boat to operate in depths of only a few centimetres.

The jet boat was developed in the 1960s by New Zealand farmer William (Bill) Hamilton, to allow navigation of the shallow Canterbury rivers. However, enterprising New Zealanders soon realised its potential as an adventure activity.

Sit back, buckle yourself in and feel the acceleration. A New Zealand jet boat ride will take you powering through narrow river gorges, almost brushing against sheer rock faces; or skimming across the surface of water channels that weave through the shingle banks of braided rivers.

Jet boating is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness, and can be enjoyed the whole year round. Some of the most exhilarating trips are available near Queenstown and Canterbury. Other areas include the Buller and Makarora regions in the South Island and the Rangitaiki, Whanganui and Waikato Rivers in the North Island.

KAYAKING - SALT WATER
Exploring New Zealand’s magnificent coastline by paddle power is an exercise and pure enjoyment. You can discover the coastal regions of national parks. You can paddle around islands and along fiords. You can even paddle a traditional Maori waka.

In the South Island, sea kayaking experiences can last half a day or several. Meander through the Marlborough Sounds, where waters are sheltered and people are few; follow the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park and hope for encounters with seals, dolphins and orca; get a sea level view of a fiord; or find your way around Okarito Lagoon, where you’ll see all kinds of wading birds.

In the North Island you can embark on a sea kayaking safari around the Bay of Islands, Waiheke Island or Wellington harbour. Sheltered water experiences can be found on the Hokianga and Tauranga Harbours. Paddling around a marine reserve, such as Goat Island, is always fun - beach your kayak and go for a snorkel.

RAFTING
From a quiet drift through the forested wilderness to a white-knuckled, wide-eyed journey down turbulent rapids, rafting covers the full adventure spectrum.

The mountains of New Zealand’s interior feed a myriad of fast flowing rivers that run through the forests to the sea. Grade 1 rivers offer relatively tranquil waters, while grade 5 rivers is regarded as an extreme sport. Trips ranging from a couple of hours to five days are led by qualified rafting guides who comply with established safety codes. All gear and special clothing is provided.

Rafting rivers in the North Island are mostly found in the central east coast areas of the Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay. In the South Island, you’ll get the chance to try rafting around the resort town of Queenstown, Christchurch and on the West Coast. Some operators offer a combined helicopter and rafting experience. You can also try black water rafting through underground caves.

SAILING
There are several areas of New Zealand’s coastline that are ideal for sailing adventures. Sheltered harbours open out to inshore cruising grounds dotted with picturesque islands, and there are popular coastal journeys with harbour-like bays conveniently spaced less than a day’s sail apart.

You can charter a vessel and sail her yourself or opt for a skipper and crew. Skippered voyages range from an afternoon tea and sightseeing sail on the harbour to several days on an ocean-going maxi racing yacht.

The style of boat varies from restored historic square riggers to New Zealand’s high-tech America’s Cup winners. You can get as hands on or as laid back as you wish.

The maritime reserves of the Bay of Islands, Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds are among the best areas for a holiday afloat. Auckland, known as the City of Sails, has the world’s largest number of boats per head of population.

WHALE WATCHING
Kaikoura, on the east coast of the South Island, is the main centre for whale watching in New Zealand. It’s one of the only places in the world where you can easily see sperm whales.

Sperm whales, the largest of the toothed whales, grow to over 15 metres in length. They dive deep into the ocean to feed. The resident population of sperm whales at Kaikoura can be seen all year round. Orca (killer whales) may be seen from December to March, and humpback whales in June and July. Several dolphin species are seen almost daily in the area.

Whales thrive close to Kaikoura because of its unusual submarine landscape. The continental shelf drops quickly into a number of extremely deep underwater canyons. In addition, a warm current from the north meets a colder one from the south. This causes nutrients from deep within the ocean to be carried upward, a phenomenon that helps to support all types of marine life from plankton and krill to dolphins and whales.

DOLPHINS
An encounter with dolphins always feels such a privilege. Their gentle nature is something most people admire, and something we would prefer to see more of in humans. These playful creatures appear keen to communicate. They’re quite a large animal, yet they present us with no danger. They are intelligent, but seem to be completely free of cruelty or greed. This may explain why swimming with dolphins has been rated by visitors as one of the top tourism experiences in the country.

Many dolphin species can be seen in New Zealand. There’s the common dolphin and the large bottle-nosed dolphin, which can often exceed three metres in length. The smaller dusky dolphin is less than two metres long and is very playful. The Hector’s dolphin is one of the world’s rarest and smallest dolphins, and is found only in our waters.

New Zealand offers a wide selection of dolphin watching and swimming tours. Operators take great care not to harm the dolphins, and some of the tour price often goes towards dolphin conservation.

PENGUINS
These cute little creatures are bound to make you smile. In the sea they dive and swoop like other birds do in the air, and on land they march upright and waddle like officials in a parade.

You’ll find three species of penguin around New Zealand. The korora, or little blue penguin, is the world’s smallest. Standing only 25 centimetres tall, and weighing just over a kilogram, it is found in coastal waters and often comes ashore at night. The Marlborough Sounds, Akaroa Harbour, Oamaru and Stewart Island are excellent places to see little blues.

The rare hoiho, or yellow-eyed penguin, has a beautiful yellow eye band sweeping back from each yellow eye. You can find hoiho on the Otago Peninsula, just out of Dunedin, and along the South Otago Coast.

The Fiordland crested penguin is one of the world’s rarest. It is found in Fiordland and Stewart Island, in the deep south of the South Island.

Antarctic king and gentoo penguins can be viewed at an aquarium and Antarctic attraction in Auckland.

To learn more about travel to New Zealand, call the Travel Gal at 800 644-6659 or email Teresa@LuxuryHideaways.net

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New Zealand - Cruise Aboard Oceanic Discoverer

May 20, 2012

Discover New Zeland on a Expedition Small Ship Cruise

  • All meals included
  • Excursion, zodiacs & glass bottom boats
  • Guest lectures cultural & eco tourism
  • Amazing on shore sightseeing
  • Cultural experiences
  • Resort style accommodations
  • Much more…
New Zealand Cruise on Small Ship Oceanic Discoverer

Oceanic Discoverer Cruise New Zealand

On your expedition cruise through NZ your’ll see and experience pristine landscapes and stunning natural features of the Land of the Long White Cloud. Get ready to be amazed by the spouting geysers, bubbling thermal pools, fiords, glaciers, snow-capped mountains, rivers and sweeping stretches of white sandy beaches enshrine the country’s natural heritage; forever protected in 14 national parks. New Zealand is a land of spectacular landscapes,amazing wildlife, lush forests, and pleasant climate make it a haven for many outdoor activities, and a great place to unwind. [Read more]

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You did such a wonderful job and made our trip worry free. You are terrrrrrrific!

April 28, 2012

maori dancersHi Teresa
Yes yes yes! Our trip was all fabulous and even more than we expected! Auckland was great. Our tours were terrific! When we arrived we took a ferry to Devinport. It was such a lovely quaint town. In Rotorua the Springs was beautiful. We went to the Polanesia Spa and were pampered all day

Our cruise was wonderful. New Zealand is absolutely beautiful. We took so many pictures and had some enlarged and framed.

We saw our friends in Melbourne and had an Australian Barbie.

Sydney was really my dream. I had to touch the walls of the Opera House, to realize that I was truly there.  Our stop in Tasmania completed the dream of kangaroos and koalas.

We did so much and the time went so fast that we hardly believed it was time to come home.

You did such a wonderful job and made our trip worry free.  Absolutely everyone and everything was on time and perfectly planned.  You are terrrrrrrific!

Love ya
Mary Ann and Armand

[Read more]

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New Zealand-Hot Air Balloon or Skydive - Your Adventure Vacation!

July 2, 2011

New Zealand - Whats there to do? Are you looking for the ultimate New Zealand Adventure? Then lets review some options for you whether you arrive in New Zealand by land or sea, we are able to customize your holiday.

HOT AIR BALLOONING
You have to rise early to catch a hot air balloon flight, but the experience beats a sleep-in every time. As you float over a world that is only just waking up, your smile will be as wide as the horizon.

With the exception of Queenstown, hot air ballooning operators in New Zealand are usually found on the flatter parts of the country - North Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa.

North Island flights will take you above lush rural areas, where you can observe an ornate natural tapestry of pasture, crops, vineyards, forests, roads, rivers, lakes and towns. In the South Island, the imposing Southern Alps provide an impressive snow-capped backdrop for hot air balloon flights that float over the sprawling patchwork of the Canterbury Plains.

From inflating the envelope at the beginning of your adventure to the champagne breakfast that marks the end of your flight, hot air ballooning is a long-lasting thrill.

SKY DIVING
Is it time to make the big leap? Sky diving is one of those things that many people say they’re going to do “some day”. Maybe that day is going to happen during your New Zealand vacation.

On a tandem skydive, where you’ll be strapped onto the front of a qualified jumpmaster, there’s plenty of time to admire the scenery on the way down. You can expect up to 60 seconds of free fall, followed by several minutes of peaceful floating before touchdown.

In the far north you can admire the beautiful Bay of Islands as you float towards the drop zone. The central north island has volcanic wonders to enjoy - crater lakes, geothermal areas and mountains. Canterbury, Wanaka and Queenstown deliver vast amounts of alpine scenery on your down-to-earth journey.

One of New Zealand’s leading skydive operators, and a winner at the 2008 New Zealand Tourism Awards, is Skydive Lake Wanaka. With Skydive Lake Wanaka, you can enjoy a personalised scenic flight up, 45 - 60 seconds of freefall at 200 kilometres per hour harnessed to your instructor, and five minutes of gentle parachute gliding towards the landscapes below.

The most southern jump on offer is in Te Anau - it’s a very imaginative way to see Fiordland!

SCENIC FLIGHTS

If you aren’t quite the daredevil, then lets look at a more comfortable way to view New Zealand. Sightseeing from a small plane or helicopter will give you the ultimate view of New Zealand’s spectacular geography.

You’ll be able to count the volcanic cones that are scattered across the face of Auckland; appreciate the immensity of Lake Taupo, a supervolcano that’s just biding its time; and glimpse the beautiful glaciers that tumble down from the peaks of the Southern Alps.

Flightseeing opportunities are concentrated in areas where the scenery is most extraordinary - Northland and Auckland, the central North Island, Canterbury, Queenstown, Fiordland and the West Coast.

Some operators combine airborne sightseeing with ground explorations. White Island, an active marine volcano in the Bay of Plenty, is a destination that uses this formula. At Mount Cook and Franz Josef a ski-plane operator makes glacier landings, so that you can get out and feel the quiet solitude of the mountains. Another rare treat is a flight to watch the whales at Kaikoura.

Contact the Travelgal to assist you in building your

ultimate adventure holiday to New Zealand

Teresa@Luxuryhideaways or 800 644-6659

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Waiheke Island Vineyards & Wineries

June 30, 2010

Waiheke Island is home to boutique wineries that produce unique, high quality wines based on cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, cabernet franc and the recent move into chardonnay grape varieties.  The hot, dry summers and stony soils of Waiheke are perfect conditions for growing grapes.

There are Waiheke Island vineyards and wineries spread throughout the island and visitors can either visit at their leisure, or take a tour. Below you will find a partial list of some of the best boutique wineries on the island:

Cable Bay Vineyards - The Cable Bay winery, restaurant and cellar door are set amidst vineyards and olive groves.

Goldwater - Goldwater combines old world traditional wine making techniques with modern day technology to achieve outstanding and memorable hand-crafted wines.

Jurassic Ridge - Syrah, Montepulciano, Pinot Gris and Cabernet Franc vines are planted over 155 million year old Jurassic rock.

Kennedy Point Vineyard and Olive Grove - At the International Wine Challenge, London 2009 the Kennedypoint 2007 Syrah was awarded International Syrah Trophy, Best NZ Red, Best NZ Syrah.

Man O’ War Vineyard - Located at the eastern end of Waiheke Island, Man O’ War first introduced grapes in 1993, firm in the belief that world class wines could be produced here.

Mudbrick Vineyard - Named after the Barn/House was built from mud bricks, Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant offers a unique Waiheke wine and cuisine exprience, available all year round.

Obsidian Vineyard - Obsidian Vineyard nestles in the coastal hills of the Onetangi Valley.

Passage Rock - Passage Rock Wines was established in 1994 by David and Veronika Evans-Gander.

Peacock Sky Vineyard - Located in the centre of Waiheke Island surrounded by lush native bush.

Peninsula Estate - With spectacular views of Oneroa Bay and the Hauraki Gulf, Peninsula Estate is focused on producing single estate, world-class premium red food wines, that can be confidently cellared for many years.

Poderi Crisci - Poderi Crisci is a small family owned vineyard with a passion for growing Italian varietals and olives.

Stonyridge Vineyard - Stonyridge Vineyard is a specialist cabernet-blend winegrower producing cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot, combining traditional winemaking with meticulous organic viticulture.

Te Motu Vineyard - Te Motu Vineyard was established by the Dunleavy family in 1989 and is noted for its fine reds, notably the Te Motu cabernet/merlot.The first vines were planted in 1989, and the first vintage was produced in 1993.

Te Whau Vineyard - With breathtaking 360° views, stunning architecture, exquisite food, and a fantastic wine list, including its own five-star wines, Te Whau Vineyard and Cafe is a truly unique wine lover’s experience.

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A Perfect Combo - M.Y. Galerna & Blue Penguin Estate

December 11, 2008

New ZealandWhile in Marlborough your onboard Galerna experience is paired with its exclusive land base, Blue Penguin Estate, off Tory Channel. Accessible only by boat or helicopter, Blue Penguin comprises 450 acres of secluded coastline and the northern slopes of Mount Taurakawa.

When you’re not out cruising, a jetty and floating pontoon connect Galerna to the estate, complementing your onboard experience with a tennis court, heated pool and spa, barbecue area, boutique vineyard, private beaches and bush walks.

Everything about your ship and shore experience can be tailored to your wishes. Never has a luxury cruise offered such unique variety and comfort.

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Cruise New Zealand Aboard Your Own Private Yacht

December 11, 2008

Stateroom aboard GalernaCruise aboard the M.Y. Galerna - a fully crewed, luxury charters through New Zealand’s finest coastline - a travel experience for the discerning, unlike any other.

Make your rendezvous with New Zealand as luxurious and uniquely memorable as possible by experiencing this exquisite land from the stunningly beautiful sea surrounding it aboard your own private luxury motor ketch.

The M.Y. Galerna once host to the Danish Royal family, and the artist Salvador Dali, this classic Scandinavian motor yacht, fitted out to the highest specifications, offers guests the ultimate in cruising comfort. Galerna is 87 feet and is fully crewed to provide the ultimate in ocean-going pleasure. Teak and mahogany interiors embrace you; state of art technology and entertainment systems pamper you. All meals and drinks are provided by your gourmet chef.

From the simple joy of ‘taking the air’ on the expansive wooden decks while enjoying the ever-changing southern scenery, to soothing away stresses and strains in the Scandinavian sauna, everything is undeniably first-class. The haute cuisine, centered on the fish and shellfish harvested daily, is superb; the New Zealand wines captivating.

Accommodating up to 6 guests in three stylish guest cabins, each with full ensuite facilities, Galerna offers pleasures to stimulate the most jaded traveler: luxury tenders for exploring shallow areas and rivers, water skiing, wind surfing, wake boarding, game fishing, hunting, archery, kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving.

The very best in navigational and marine safety equipment ensures Galerna provides the ultimate in safe luxurious cruising. Enjoying exclusive use of so elegant and finely appointed a vessel as Galerna provides you with the perfect platform from which to discover New Zealand’s unique cruising playgrounds.

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The Huka Lodge Helicopter Adventure!

November 4, 2008

Huka Lodge Helicopter AdventureYour helicopter awaits on the front lawn of Huka Lodge. From here you will fly along the eastern edge of Lake Taupo towards the majestic Kaimanawa mountain ranges. As you approach, sit back in awe as the alpine scenery unfolds before you. Once your Pilot has set the aircraft down beside the crystal waters of the Rangatiki River, you may take a short walk to one of the many secluded pools which are home to some of New Zealand’s largest Rainbow trout. This is nature at its best!

Re-board your helicopter for the remainder of the flight, which continues west along the Kaimanawas towards Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and the snow-capped peaks and crater lake of Mt Ruapehu. On a clear day visibility exceeds 50km. Descend from the mountains, head towards the Western Bays of Lake Taupo where your pilot will set the aircraft down on a remote rock shelf where a well-appointed motor launch, a sumptuous lunch and a chilled bottle of New Zealand wine awaits you. En route back to Taupo you will have the opportunity to troll for trout or you may wish to try your hand at clay pigeon shooting or swim in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Taupo. On arrival at the Taupo Boat Harbour, a courtesy vehicle awaits to transfer you back to Huka Lodge. What a day! I’m ready to experience Huka Lodge now! [Read more]

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