Epic New Zealand Group Tours
March 21st - April 1st, 2023
Our outrageously popular adventure throughout New Zealand is back! Experience the best off-the-path gems & must-see highlights of New Zealand's South & North Islands. Our local Kiwi guide who knows New Zealand like no other will take us from glaciers and fjords to volcanos and geothermal wonders. The diversity in landscapes, nature, & geological phenomena is mind-bending and provides amazing photographic opportunities around every corner. Join us on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure across the ever-changing backdrop that is New Zealand!
E-mail us at email@example.com for the daily itinerary!
South Island Adventure (12 Days)
The South Island IS the adventure isle of the world with rolling green pastures, sandy beaches, the towering Southern Alps mountain range, mirror blue lakes, glaciers, fjords, and so much more! The famed Queenstown has even been coined the "Adrenaline Capital of the World".
Christchurch → Kaikoura → Nelson/Abel Tasman National Park (4 Nights)
From the very start, we'll hit the ground running with a night in the "Garden City" of Christchurch, NZ's South Island capital, before heading on our first epic road trip along the gorgeous northeastern coast. Our first stop is Kaikoura where we can go whale watching and swim with dolphins! Then on to Nelson, the sunshine capital of NZ. We'll spend an awesome day in Abel Tasman National Park amongst the stunning bush, ocean cliffs, waterfalls, and sandy beaches.
- Explore the earthquake ridden city of Christchurch, still beautiful with parks and interesting street art as major rebuilding is taking place (cool photos to be taken all around).
- Kaikoura, an east coast gem where we'll have the option of going on a whale watch cruise with a 95% chance of sightings or the opportunity to swim with wild dusky dolphins!
- Stop at Ohau Point to encounter juvenile seal pups near a magnificent waterfall!
- Explore Abel Tasman National Park: A boat trip with a beach landing takes us to this coastal wonderland where we can relax on the white sand or hike along a coastal track through lush forest and swing bridges. (Optional kayak tours and other guided hikes available). So many opportunities for stunning photos throughout this day.
Northern Greymouth & Franz Josef Glacier (2 Nights)
- Cross the gorgeous Southern Alps with photo stops en route, arriving in Punakaiki to see and photograph the unique Pancake Rock formations.
- Guided walk through the Truman Track in Paparoa National Park: Unspoilt sub-tropical forest, podocarp and rata trees, vines, and nikau palms everywhere.
- Greymouth: Considered the heart of the west coast, the town is famous for its rich history of jade hunting, gold mining, and dramatic river floods.
- Franz Josef Glacier: See and photograph this unique glacier, one of only a few in the world that descends into a temperate rain forest. Our guided walking tour gets us as close as possible to the terminal face of the glacier but don't miss the optional helicopter hikes or scenic heli rides with glacier landings. End the day relaxing in soothing hot pools fed by natural springs nearby (optional).
Queenstown & Milford Sound (3 Nights)
Lake Matheson: En route to Queenstown we'll take a short walk along the shores of this beautiful mirror lake. Hopefully, the water will be still for some awesome shots!
- Chinese Mining Village of Arrowtown: A small community rich in history for its gold mining glory days. Many original shacks and structures from the NZ gold rush era still stand today.
- Explore Queenstown: Several optional adventures are available including bungy jumping, sky diving, Skyline Gondola, horseback riding, wine tours, ATV tours, and more!
- TSS Earnslaw historic steamship ride to Walter Peak Farm for a kiwi style gourmet BBQ dinner and farm show.
- Mind-Blowing Milford Sound Exploration & Cruise: This is a place that potentially tops all others in New Zealand (and that's saying a lot!). So magical in fact, that famed British writer Rudyard Kipling deemed Milford Sound an 8th Wonder of the World. Numerous waterfalls decorate the walls of the cliffs and shower down into the sea. Explore & photograph the gigantic fjords, and if we're lucky, see fur seals, dusky & bottlenose dolphins, & the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin!
Lake Tekapo → Christchurch (2 Nights)
- Lake Tekapo: Amazing views and photographs to be taken of this stunning lake and the Southern Alps with the Church of the Good Shepherd in the foreground.
- Mt. John Observatory Astronomy Tour (Optional): Super clear skies make Lake Tekapo the best place for star & planet gazing
- Tekapo Hot Springs (Optional): Relax our muscles under the stars in the local hot pools.
- Visit Mt Cook Village: Photo ops of New Zealand's tallest mountain and Lake Pukaki with its gorgeous turquoise glacier water.
Single Supplement: $1049.00
North Island Adventure
April 1st - April 7th, 2023
For the complete New Zealand experience come with us to the North Island, with vastly different landscapes, rich in geothermal activity and home to iconic volcanoes such as Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe (filmed in "Lord of the Rings" as Mt. Doom). We'll explore stunning black sand beaches backed by towering cliffs & the largest volcanic cone in Auckland. Experience & photograph fascinating geothermal activity in Rotorua and become immersed in Māori culture. In just one week, we'll see & photograph a completely different island compared to the south. It might as well be on the other side of the world!
Whether you're joining us on our epic New Zealand South Island journey or not, this adventure is not to be missed! All are welcome to join this extension option! (Ask about a reduced rate since no domestic flight needed)
Auckland → West Coast → Rangitoto Island: 2 Nights
On arrival at the Auckland International Airport, we'll waste no time and head straight into the north island's capital. Known as the “City of Sails”, NZ's largest city boasts a beautiful harbor filled with sailboats. A drive around the city highlights takes us to some fantastic lookout points for great panoramic views and pictures!
- Auckland War Memorial Museum: Our visit here is a great way to discover the country's history and culture including a memorial to those who sacrificed their lives in wartime. It has pre-eminent Māori and Pacific collections (our favorite part!), significant natural history resources, and major social and military history collections, as well as decorative arts and pictorial collections.
- Muriwai's Black Sand Beaches & the Gannet Colony: This small community on the west coast has an impressive shoreline with cliff-top trails leading to a huge gannet colony! Easy access and viewing platforms let us get up close without disturbing the birds to capture amazing images! The trail and colony overlook a huge, volcanic, black sand beach that runs along most of the town's coastline.
- Rangitoto Volcano Island: Part of the massive Auckland volcano field, the Rangitoto volcanic cone is the largest of them all. At 1000 ft, the last eruption was only 600 years ago. At the time, the Polynesian Māori were living on a small neighboring island & certainly witnessed it. In fact, footprints have been found solidified in ash, and oral history details several generations living here before the eruption.
- Volcanic Exploration: Journey through rugged lava crop on board a 4WD road-train, while learning all about the 600-year-old volcano’s fiery past. We'll arrive at the base of the summit, and from here it’s just a short climb to the very top for epic views & photographs.
Waitomo → Rotorua (2 Nights)
- Waitomo underground caves: After making our way south through "King Country" we arrive in the small town of Waitomo famous for its mysterious limestone caves filled with glowworms. We'll explore & photograph this fascinating underground world on a guided walking tour through the ethereal atmosphere, and marvel at the curtain-like limestone formations, crystal tapestries, and shimmering glow worms!
"Catch a whiff of Rotorua’s sulfur-rich air and you’ve already had an introduction to NZ’s most dynamic geothermal area. The Māori revered this place, naming it one of the most spectacular springs Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters). Today 34% of the population is Māori, with cultural performances and traditional hāngi (steam-cooked banquets) as big an attraction as the landscape itself." - Lonely Planet
- Wai O Tapu: Here we'll feel the "pulse of the earth", famous for boiling mud pools, exploding geysers, and vibrant colored sulfur pools (yes this place is stinky but so worth it for the photography alone!).
- “Te Puia”: More colorful travertine terraces to photograph here but the highlight will be the Maori cultural experience with an authentic Hangi, or earth oven, feast with dancing and music that's still a rich part of the Maori tradition today. (Like a New Zealand Luau, except better!)
Taupo → Tongariro National Park → Auckland 2 Nights
- Huka Falls: Experience awesome views of Huka Falls (New Zealand's highest volume waterfall) on a hike to photograph the great rushing beast. A real New Zealand experience with crystal clear water, birdlife, and native bush lined riverbanks.
- Tongariro National Park: After a good night's sleep by the enormous crater lake, Lake Taupo, we'll spend the day in NZ's oldest and most famous national park. More recently made famous from its role in the Lord of the Ring's trilogy, the park is based around the three volcanic cones of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu, and combines excellent hiking with spectacular scenery. An easy-moderate hike will be offered with lots of stops throughout the park for amazing photo opportunities!
* Free time to relax and enjoy the sand & sun!
* Optional Marble Mountains Adventure (Awesome photo ops of unique rock structures with pagodas carved right into the mountain itself!)
Single Supplement: $550.00
Cancellation Policy & Refunds
*There is a $100.00 administrative fee for all cancellations. Cancellations made 120 days (November 21st 2022) or more prior to trip departure date are fully refundable except for the $100 fee. Cancellations less than 120 days (November 22nd 2022) prior to the trip departure date will receive no refund of the full amount due. No refunds on unused portions of the tour. Credit card fees and paypal processing fees cannot be refunded. After airline tickets are issued, airline cancellations are per the airline’s policy and are usually non-refundable and changeable with a fee plus new ticket price. Travel insurance strongly encouraged (ask us about policy options). *Hotels subject to change based on availability
COVID Cancellation Policy – Local Planet Travel Services OR Guest may cancel this reservation if the USA or country(s) we are visiting mandates a country-wide closure due to COVID. If this happens, you would receive a full refund. If guest chooses, the funds can remain on file and be applied for any future tour with PhotoFly Travel Club. *Please note bank merchant service fees when using a credit card are non-refundable.
MANDATORY VACCINE REQUIREMENT: The safety of all our guests is a top priority regardless of where our adventures take us. All travelers are required to have an approved COVID-19 vaccination to participate in this tour. Travelers that meet this mandatory requirement can join our adventures after 14 days have elapsed since their final dose. Proof of vaccination must be provided by emailing a copy of the participant's COVID-19 vaccination card to firstname.lastname@example.org upon sign-up. *Guests who are not vaccinated for medical reasons are exempt from this mandatory vaccine policy with proof from a certified medical professional.
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Greenville, SC 29607
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