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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Hawaii Shark Encounters - Thrill of a Lifetime!

August 26, 2011

Are you looking for an adrenaline rush on your tropical island vacation? Forget about Bungy jumping or Ziplines! We have the ultimate adventure for you!  How about swimming with a shark? Well, swallow your fears and come face to face with one of Hawaii’s most majestic and misunderstood creatures of the deep!

Oahu’s North Shore has a large resident group of Galapagos and Sandbar sharks and Hawaii Shark Encounters visits a site where the sharks naturally occur to observe them. A specially designed shark cage not only protects but has plexiglass windows for a face to face encounter. Sometimes see as many as 30 sharks… and they come very close to the cage!

If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, I don’t know if it gets better than this. Just getting in is a thrill, when sharks are circling the boat! You enter the floating shark cage from above (directly from the boat) and stay on the surface using a mask and snorkel (provided). Within just a few minutes of being inside the cage I relaxed and felt safe, realizing the sharks could not (nor were they trying to) get in the cage.

No experience is required. The best view is definitely from inside the cage but if going in the water is not for you, you can always stay in the boat and view sharks as they swim on or near the surface with fins slicing through the water.

In addition to being an unbelievable adventure, this is also an educational tour taking you into a world that few can ever experience. Guides offer fascinating facts about shark biology and behavior, about ocean life, conservation issues and about the significance of sharks in Hawaiian culture.

Hawaii Shark Encounters has been seen on National Geographic, Discovery Channel, CNN, Inside Edition, ET, Animal Planet and more! There are so many great reviews for Hawaii Shark Encounters…

“Absolutely Amazing”     ”Don’t be afraid, be amazed”    ”This was on my bucket list”

Boat departs four times daily from Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor on Oahu’s North Shore, for the 15 minute journey to the shark grounds (over 3 miles off shore). No rental car? No problem! We can include transfers from Waikiki if needed.

Word to the wise… it is a 32′ boat on the open ocean, and even on a calm day the boat still rocks! Early tour times offer calmer ocean conditions. Also, the water at the shark grounds is over 600 feet deep and you cannot see the bottom.

If you’re looking for THE wildest ride of your life, give the TravelGal a call at 800 644-6659

or email Teresa@Luxuryhideaways.net

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New Zealand - The South Island, Christchurch & Queenstown

July 10, 2010

The South Island is home to some of New Zealand’s most striking landscapes… perfect for outdoor adventures.

Christchurch, the “Garden City,” is also called the “most English city outside England.” The largest city on the South Island, it is filled with beautiful parks and gardens, through which the Avon River runs. Whale-watching, visiting the International Antarctic Centre, punting on the Avon, hot air ballooning, and wine tasting are some highlights of a visit to Christchurch.

Toward the center of the South Island, Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand. Activities include jetboat rides, garden tours, lake cruises, helicopter flights, bungy jumping, golf, skiing, gondola rides, guided walks, fishing, skydiving, wine tasting, and much more. If there’s any outdoor activity you crave, chances are you can find it in Queenstown! By far the most popular activity is the trip to Milford Sound, including a launch cruise on this stunning fiord.

Dunedin, New Zealand’s oldest city, is located on the southern coast. It is home to Edwardian heritage buildings, museums, galleries, and New Zealand’s first university. The nearby Otago Peninsula is a haven for wildlife, including seals, dolphins, albatross, and penguins.

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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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