Spirit of New Zealand


20 nights

£4130

Introductions
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Spirit of New Zealand

Spirit of New Zealand from Christchurch to Auckland on 21 Day journey.


20 nights

from £4130

Description

This comprehensive journey takes you through both North and South Islands to a wonderland of towering snow-capped mountains, ice-blue glaciers, pristine lakes and World Heritage sites of extraordinary volcanic activity, and reveals fascinating insights into the intriguing culture of the original inhabitants, the Maori.

Highlights
  • Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo
  • Explore the Glowworm caves at Te Anau by boat and taste Central Otago stone fruit at a local orchard
  • See awe-inspiring Franz Josef Glacier and watch artisans carving native greenstone (jade) in Hokitika
  • Punakaiki, home to Pancake Rocks & Blowholes
  • Explore the word Wearable Arts and visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand
  • Immerse yourself in Maori culture at a Hangi & Concert
  • Explore the geothermal valley at Te Puia in Rotorua and relax in the Bay of Islands
  • Experience farm life at the Agrodome Farm Show
Additional Information

Flight information

LCQB: Christchurch to Auckland

Day 1 – flights to arrive prior to 4.00pm into Christchurch Airport 

Day 21 – flights to depart anytime from Auckland Airport

LCQA: Christchurch to Auckland

Day 1 – flights to arrive prior to 4.00pm into Christchurch Airport 

Day 18 – flights to depart anytime from Auckland Airport

Flights are not included in the holiday price.

Pricing
Feb 2024
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Jonny Green-gold

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Description

Welcome to Christchurch

This evening, join your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and dinner.

Ibis Christchurch Hotel

Nearby to the Cashel Street. START mall - this "pop up" shopping precinct is the new vibrant heart of the city, featuring many new designer shops and modern cafes. The Hotel is very close to the famous Cathedral Square, the historic heart of the city providing easy access local activities, outer lying attractions and the airport. The ibis features 155 contemporary rooms, Oopen Restaurant & Bar and a meeting room.

Meals Included: Dinner included

DESTINATION

Christchurch

Christchurch, located on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island, is a vibrant and eclectic city that has a lot to offer visitors. Often referred to as the "Garden City," Christchurch is known for its lush parks, gardens, and tree-lined streets, making it the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The city is home to a rich history and cultural heritage, with numerous landmarks and historical sites to explore. One of the most prominent is the Christchurch Cathedral, which has been a staple of the city's skyline since its construction in the late 19th century. Despite the damage it sustained in the 2011 earthquake, the cathedral remains an iconic symbol of Christchurch's resilience and determination to rebuild.

In addition to its rich history, Christchurch also boasts a thriving arts and cultural scene. From world-class museums and galleries to vibrant street art and murals, there is plenty to explore for art lovers. One of the most popular cultural destinations in the city is the Canterbury Museum, which offers a fascinating insight into the region's Maori culture, natural history, and early European settlement.

For those who love the great outdoors, Christchurch is a paradise. With its close proximity to the Southern Alps, there are endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. Hiking, skiing, and snowboarding are popular activities in the area, and the stunning scenery makes for a breathtaking backdrop. The city is also located on the coast, making it an ideal spot for water-based activities such as surfing, kayaking, and fishing.

Foodies will love Christchurch, with its thriving cafe and restaurant scene offering a range of cuisine from all over the world. Whether you're in the mood for a traditional Kiwi meal or a more exotic dish, you'll find something to suit your taste buds in Christchurch. The city's bustling nightlife and entertainment scene is also not to be missed, with plenty of bars, clubs, and live music venues to keep you entertained long into the night.

For those interested in shopping, Christchurch offers a range of shopping experiences, from large shopping malls to unique local boutiques. The Re:START Container Mall is a must-visit for those looking for something a little different. Made up of shipping containers, the mall offers a unique shopping experience with a range of shops, cafes, and restaurants.

In conclusion, Christchurch is a city that offers something for everyone. From its rich history and cultural heritage to its stunning natural beauty and thriving arts scene, it's a destination that promises to leave a lasting impression. Whether you're a nature lover, history buff, or simply looking for a fun-filled city break, Christchurch is the perfect destination for your next travel adventure.

The city was named after an Oxford college, and those on holiday in Christchurch will understand why when they see the neo-Gothic architecture and the punting on the gently winding river. 

The Englishness is however largely skin deep and in recent years the traditional English conservatism has evolved into a lively and youthful city with an explosion of bars, restaurants, night-life, theatre music and street entertainment. Christchurch holidays promise an eclectic mix of historic elegance and contemporary culture. Being the gateway to the South Island, holidays in Christchurch are an easy add on to any New Zealand Itinerary. 

Those on a Christchurch holiday will discover that there is both plenty to do in the city itself and in the surrounding areas. Holidays to Christchurch usually begin at Cathedral Square which dominates the Metropolitan centre. The square is a large, square cobblestone area with a cathedral adjacent to it. Driving, walking or cycling in the Port Hills is also popular for those on holiday to Christchurch as it offers fantastic views of Christchurch, the Canterbury Plains, Banks Peninsula and Lyttelton Harbour.

Kennedys Bush image

It isn't as accessible as "people's choice" Rapaki Track however it's worth the grunt up Kennedys Bush Road in Halswell, or a zig zag up the Crocodile, to find one of the most rewarding farm tracks in the South Island. Turn around at the top and it's a quick downhill home, or follow Summit Road along the top and drop down via Rapaki or Huntsbury Hill instead. Challenging: but not impossible.

Godley Head image

Head up Evans Pass Road (or Captain Thomas Track if you're dead keen) on a quiet Sunday morning to pick up the track (look left) to Godley Head, which you'll usually have all to yourself. This takes you all the way out to Godley Head and the gun emplacements, for some local history and heavenly ocean views. Even on a rainy day this is one of the most spectacular views in the world - take a picnic, some photos - and trust the tussock. It's a great track for falling off since the tussock-covered ground is soft and forgiving. Challenging: medium. Technical: yes.

Worsley Spur image

If there were a scale from "friendly" to "unfriendly" in mountain biking terms, Rapaki would be on one end and Worsley would be at the other. Just follow Worsley Road to the end - and head up.

The Traverse image

You'll catch great views "from Ocean to Alps." The ride takes you up Rapaki, along the Traverse and down Dyers Pass Road (down through Victoria Park is another option).

Victoria Park image

You'll see shuttle buses of 14-year-olds doing the Saturday morning circuit and wonder if you're missing out. If downhill is exciting then follow the queue; this will quickly become your base camp in the Port Hills. Situated on the ridges and valleys descending from Sugarloaf, Victoria Park has panoramic views of Christchurch, the Canterbury Plains, Pegasus Bay and the Southern Alps. The park has a vast array of tracks for walking and wheelchair as well as mountain bikes.

Victoria Park is a great place for families with picnic and play areas and a dog park. Plus there's a permanent orienteering course, which starts from near the visitor centre. When you come to Christchurch, if you love the outdoors then make sure you explore on two wheels. There are plenty of city and Port Hills cycle tours, cycle hire and locals to help you find your way.

History image

In 1851 the Canterbury Association kept aside an area of the Square for the planned Christ Church Cathedral and also for a school. This land came under the control of the Church Property Trustees in 1855, and in 1857 the site planned for a grammar school (Christ's College) was exchanged for its present site in the Botanic Gardens. The original choice of Ridley is another of Christchurch's many references to Oxford, since Ridley was martyred there.

Cathedral Square has a large number of buildings and statues that are registered as heritage items with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Many of those were damaged in the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake and some of these will be lost as a consequence.[4]

The citys main meeting point image

The square is the city's main meeting place for people taking a break from their work, or just visiting the city, and is a regular site of street performers and speakers of all varieties. Until recent years, the most well-known of these was The Wizard of New Zealand. Since the year 2000, The Chalice, a large piece of modern sculpture in the form of an inverted cone, has stood in the square subverting the shape of the spire that rises above the cathedral. The Chalice, designed by prominent New Zealand artist Neil Dawson, is made up of forty.

Christchurch Cathedral image

The Anglican Cathedral of ChristChurch in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, was built in the second half of the 19th century. It is located in the centre of the city, surrounded by Cathedral Square. It is the Cathedral seat of the Bishop of Christchurch in the New Zealand tikanga of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

The Cathedral has been damaged by earthquakes in 1881, 1888, 1901, 2010 and 2011. The 2011 Christchurch earthquake destroyed the spire and part of the tower on 22 February 2011, leaving only the lower half of the tower standing. The structure of the building was seriously damaged.

Architect George Gilbert Scott image

The origins of Christchurch Cathedral date back to the plans of the Canterbury Association who aimed to build a city around a central cathedral and college in the Canterbury Region based on the English model of Christ Church, Oxford. Henry John Chitty Harper, the first Bishop of Christchurch, arrived in 1856 and began to drive the Cathedral project forward. In 1858 the project was approved by the diocese and a design was commissioned from George Gilbert Scott, a prolific British architect who was known for his Gothic Revival churches and public buildings (he later went on to build St Pancras railway station in London, England, and St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland). Scott himself never visited Christchurch, but handed over the oversight of the project to Robert Speechley.

The cornerstone was laid on 16 December 1864, but financial problems in the fledgling city saw its completion delayed between 1865 and 1873. At the start of the project, Christchurch was still a small town (its male population numbering only 450), and raising funds for the construction of the Cathedral proved to be difficult. Commentators of the time voiced their disappointment at the lack of progress - the novelist Anthony Trollope visited the town in 1872 and referred to the "vain foundations" as a "huge record of failure".

In 1873 a new resident architect, New Zealander Benjamin Mountfort, took over the project and construction began again. Mountfort adapted Scott's design, adding tower balconies and the west porch, and decorative details such as the font, pulpit and stained glass. The initial plans called for wooden construction, but were changed with the discovery of a source of good quality masonry stone locally. Banks Peninsula totara and matai timber was used for the roof supports.

The nave—100 foot (30 m) long—and tower were consecrated on 1 November 1881, but the transepts, chancel and sanctuary were not finished until 1904. The Christchurch Beautifying Society planted two plane trees to the south of the Cathedral in 1898.

The Rhodes family—which arrived in Canterbury before the First Four Ships—provided funds for the tower and spire. Robert Heaton Rhodes built the tower in memory of his brother George; and the spire was added by the children of George Rhodes. The Cathedral spire reached to 63 metres (207 ft) above Cathedral Square. Public access to the spire provided for a good viewpoint over the centre of the city, but the spire has been damaged by earthquakes on four occasions. The tower originally contained a peal of ten bells, cast by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough, hung in 1881. The original bells were replaced in 1978 by 13 new bells, also cast at Taylors of Loughborough.

In 1894, the widow of Alfred Richard Creyke arranged for the western porch of the Cathedral to be built in his memory. On the south side of the Cathedral's nave, there is also a Watts-Russell Memorial Window in memory of her first husband.

The Cathedral underwent major renovations during 2006–2007, including the replacement of the original slate roof tiles.

Cultural significance image

Lake Ellesmere / Te Waihora has been a revered mahinga kai (site of traditional significance for food and other natural resources) for Māori since ancient times and remains central to the lives of many Māori who now live in the area. Under the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement 1998, ownership of the lake bed of Lake Ellesmere / Te Waihora was returned to Te Rūnanga O Ngāi Tahu, who are now able to reassert their rangatiratanga (ownership) over this significant site through direct control of its management.

Recreation image

As well as holding high cultural significance to the indigenous population Lake Ellesmere / Te Waihora is also rated as a nationally significant site for recreation. The lake is currently used for a wide range of water and land based activities. It has been identified as nationally significant for waterfowl hunting, and regionally significant for fishing and cycling on the rail trail.

A wide range of both water and land based activities are currently undertaken in the area including fishing, waterfowl hunting, bird-watching, picnicking, camping, cycling, trail biking, scenic driving and water sports such as kayaking and water-skiing. Many of these activities are reliant on a healthy natural ecosystem, especially fish and wildlife habitat, and a decrease in the number of people participating in trout fishing and other activities has been recorded since 1996.[4]

TRACK image

The Track covers 30km over three nights and takes you through many different types of vegetation and landscapes including farmland, beech forest and sub-alpine terrain.

ITINERARY image

Drive to the Hurunui High Country Track in the afternoon/evening where you will spend the first night at the Cook House. The next morning you start walking 14.6km to your second night's accommodation at the Valley Camp. The second days walk is 8.2km up and down to the third night at the Bush Hut. The last days walk is only 7km and you will arrive back at your car at the Cook House at around lunch time.

Special Events image

Christchurch is the festival capital of New Zealand -- no matter when you visit, it's bound to coincide with a festival of some sort. The World Buskers Festival, from mid- to late January, is the largest street performance festival in the Southern Hemisphere. You'll be treated to jazz and comedy shows, as well as acts of juggling, contortionism, and more. In February, the city bursts into bloom with the Festival of Flowers  and the Ellerslie International Flower Show. The Christchurch Arts Festival is staged every 2 years in July and showcases international talent. The next one will be held in 2011. Showtime Canterbury, featuring the Canterbury A & P Show, is an absolute tradition in this part of the world. Staged the second week of November, it features thoroughbred and standard-bred racing.

Architect George Gilbert Scott image

The origins of Christchurch Cathedral date back to the plans of the Canterbury Association who aimed to build a city around a central cathedral and college in the Canterbury Region based on the English model of Christ Church, Oxford. Henry John Chitty Harper, the first Bishop of Christchurch, arrived in 1856 and began to drive the Cathedral project forward. In 1858 the project was approved by the diocese and a design was commissioned from George Gilbert Scott, a prolific British architect who was known for his Gothic Revival churches and public buildings (he later went on to build St Pancras railway station in London, England, and St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland). Scott himself never visited Christchurch, but handed over the oversight of the project to Robert Speechley.

The cornerstone was laid on 16 December 1864, but financial problems in the fledgling city saw its completion delayed between 1865 and 1873. At the start of the project, Christchurch was still a small town (its male population numbering only 450), and raising funds for the construction of the Cathedral proved to be difficult. Commentators of the time voiced their disappointment at the lack of progress - the novelist Anthony Trollope visited the town in 1872 and referred to the "vain foundations" as a "huge record of failure".

In 1873 a new resident architect, New Zealander Benjamin Mountfort, took over the project and construction began again. Mountfort adapted Scott's design, adding tower balconies and the west porch, and decorative details such as the font, pulpit and stained glass. The initial plans called for wooden construction, but were changed with the discovery of a source of good quality masonry stone locally. Banks Peninsula totara and matai timber was used for the roof supports.

The nave—100 foot (30 m) long—and tower were consecrated on 1 November 1881, but the transepts, chancel and sanctuary were not finished until 1904. The Christchurch Beautifying Society planted two plane trees to the south of the Cathedral in 1898.

The Rhodes family—which arrived in Canterbury before the First Four Ships—provided funds for the tower and spire. Robert Heaton Rhodes built the tower in memory of his brother George; and the spire was added by the children of George Rhodes. The Cathedral spire reached to 63 metres (207 ft) above Cathedral Square. Public access to the spire provided for a good viewpoint over the centre of the city, but the spire has been damaged by earthquakes on four occasions. The tower originally contained a peal of ten bells, cast by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough, hung in 1881. The original bells were replaced in 1978 by 13 new bells, also cast at Taylors of Loughborough.

In 1894, the widow of Alfred Richard Creyke arranged for the western porch of the Cathedral to be built in his memory. On the south side of the Cathedral's nave, there is also a Watts-Russell Memorial Window in memory of her first husband.

The Cathedral underwent major renovations during 2006–2007, including the replacement of the original slate roof tiles.

 image

Your time at Hanmer Springs concludes with a relaxing bathe in the thermal pools in the center of Hanmer Springs village. After a day exploring, any tensions simply melt away with a soak in these natural mineral pools surrounded by native bush. The natural hot water springs at Hanmer Springs were discovered over 100 years ago and visitors have been soaking in the therapeutic waters ever since. The thermal waters contain a variety of beneficial minerals including sulphur, sodium chloride, calcium, carbonates, magnesium, and potassium which are said to relieve the pain from arthritis and related complaints. 

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You will then be back on the road to Christchurch, winding through the National Park where the highlight for many is the chance to get the adrenaline pumping with an amazing jet boat ride through the gorges of the Waimakariri River.

 

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Description

Christchurch – Omarama

More of Christchurch is revealed before the colours of the Canterbury Plains spread before you: the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo, snowcapped mountains and atmospheric towns. You may opt to take in the drama ona scenic flight over the Southern Alps (weather permitting).

Heritage Gateway Hotel

The Heritage Gateway Hotel is situated in Omarama, at the crossroads of MacKenzie Basin, Lindis Pass and Waitaki Valley. It offers panoramic views and excellent hiking and biking opportunities.

Meals Included: Breakfast + Dinner

DESTINATION

Omarama

Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of New Zealand's South Island, Omarama stands as a hidden gem, inviting travelers to embark on a journey of natural beauty, adventure, and tranquility. Tucked away between the towering Southern Alps and the expansive Mackenzie Basin, this charming township offers a captivating blend of awe-inspiring vistas, outdoor activities, and a serene atmosphere that captivates the hearts of all who venture here.

Omarama's allure lies in its seamless fusion of rugged wilderness and refined relaxation. As the sun rises over the distant peaks, it bathes the region in a golden glow, illuminating the dramatic contours of the landscape. The Mackenzie Basin, a vast expanse of rolling hills and tussock-covered plains, serves as a canvas for nature's artistic prowess. The clarity of the skies above earned the area international recognition as a Dark Sky Reserve, making it a haven for stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts who gather to witness the celestial symphony.

For adventure seekers, Omarama doesn't disappoint. Its reputation as the gliding capital of New Zealand is well-deserved, drawing thrill-seekers from around the globe to experience the exhilaration of gliding over the diverse terrain. With thermals generated by the surrounding mountains, the region offers optimal conditions for both experienced gliders and those seeking their first soaring experience. The sight of colorful gliders dancing gracefully through the skies against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks is a sight that etches itself into memory.

As the day's activities wind down, Omarama extends its warm embrace to weary travelers through its selection of cozy accommodations and inviting eateries. The town's hospitality mirrors the surrounding landscapes – genuine, welcoming, and refreshing. Visitors have the chance to savor locally sourced cuisine, ranging from hearty comfort food to gourmet delights, often paired with New Zealand's renowned wines. The intimate dining settings allow for mingling with fellow travelers and locals alike, fostering a sense of community that adds depth to the overall experience.

Nature enthusiasts will find themselves immersed in a haven of biological diversity. The Ahuriri Conservation Park, a short distance from Omarama, presents a thriving ecosystem of native flora and fauna. Traversing its trails, one may encounter rare bird species, encounter vivid wildflowers, and revel in the harmony of untouched nature. Lake Benmore, a shimmering expanse of azure waters, provides opportunities for fishing, boating, and lakeside relaxation, where time slows down to match the tranquil rhythm of the surroundings.

Omarama is not simply a destination; it's an escape from the ordinary. Its beauty is in its simplicity, its ability to rejuvenate weary spirits, and its power to reconnect travelers with the profound majesty of nature. Whether you find solace in the crisp mountain air, seek thrills in the skies, or long for moments of stillness in a world of constant motion, Omarama promises an experience that transcends travel – it offers a chance to discover a piece of yourself amidst the awe-inspiring landscapes of New Zealand's South Island.


As a junction town, Omarama is naturally a great place to stop and stay if you're coming from Christchurch, Christchurch or from Ohau via the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail. After a long day travelling or pedalling, have a relaxing soak in a private hot tub filled with pure mountain water at Hot Tubs Omarama under the starry night sky.

Or now that you’re in the high-country, watch a live sheep shearing show at the Wrinkly Rams with shearing and sheep dog demonstrations. The Wrinkly Rams is also a popular restaurant and souvenir shop.

Omarama also has a stellar reputation for world-class gliding. With Glide Omarama you can soar over the beautiful Waitaki Valley and McKenzie basin on introductory scenic flights. There’s nothing quite like peacefully soaring over some of New Zealand’s most beautiful scenery.

Don’t miss the unique geological attraction, the Clay Cliffs, just north of Omarama. You feel dwarfed walking among towering pinnacles and ridges separated by steep ravines. It’s like something straight out of a western movie.

The Ahuriri River adds plenty more character to the landscape – both out at the Clay Cliffs, from the town and in the air from your glider. It runs by Omarama and into Lake Benmore and is a particularly popular spot for fly-fishing.

Location
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Description

Omarama – Dunedin

Architectural drama awaits in Dunedin. While away the afternoon in atmospheric art-lined alleys or sipping a lager or two in Speight’s Brewery (a national institution). Or venture further afield to discover Larnach Castle, fur seals and penguins. Continue to Dunedin.

Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin

Located right in the heart of the city, Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin is ideal for either the business or leisure traveller. Otago Museum is a 15 minute walk away, the beach 10 minutes drive, the Central Business District is right on your doorstep and you are within walking distance of stately homes and Gothic revival style buildings.

Meals Included: Breakfast + Dinner