Feathers and Footprints

Description

You will feel as free as a bird on this special Feathers and Footprints self drive tour of New Zealand. You already know how ludicrously photogenic it is from all the films, but these views are no Hollywood-crafted mirage . . . they are the real deal, and certain to take your breath away. On top of their looks, the islands’ rich Maori culture, sheep outnumbering people, and exquisite wines, create a country that defies even the most imaginative adventurers’ expectations. This self drive tour takes you off the beaten track to experience the best of New Zealand wildlife often missed on mainstream itineraries wilst staying in wonderful boutique properties

Day 1
Arrive Auckland

On arrival at Auckland airport, on the North Island, you will be met by one of our tour representatives then pick up your hire car at the airport depot and drive to your hotel for the night. If there is time, visit the Auckland Museum and the Natural history gallery on the first floor will give you an insight into the bird population, past and present, of New Zealand. There is an excellent Maori cultural performance three times daily and be sure to fit in a trip to the lively harbour district and try one of the many great restaurants.

Day 2
Auckland to Waipoua

Depart Auckland and head north via the rugged West Coast. You may like to stop off at Muriwai Beach to marvel at the black sands and take time to visit the gannet colony. Muriwai is one of New Zealand's most spectacular black sand surf beaches. At its southern end, Otakamiro Point is the site of one of this country's few mainland Gannet breeding colonies. The Takapu Refuge is located at the southern end of Muriwai beach and is an established breeding area for gannets. About 1,200 pairs of adult gannets nest here each summer and can be seen between August and March each year. Fur seals feed and rest at Oaia Island, 1.6km off the coast and can sometimes be seen during spring. This evening enjoy the Twilight Encounter Tour of Waipoua Forest. Your Maori guides will relate stories and legends of the forest and how Maori used plants for medicinal purposes. Learn of the rich bird life and other fauna that inhabits the forest. As night falls, the shyest creatures of the forest awaken and begin to go about their work. Deep in the forest among the towering trees and surrounded by the sounds of the nocturnal creatures awakening, you will meet the ancient kauri tree guardians of the forest

Day 3
Waipoua – Matakana

Travel on to the Matakana Coast a place of stunning countryside, coastal landscapes, vineyards, beaches, artisan food products, sculpture tails and characterful villages.

Day 4
Matakana – Devonport

Recommended today is optional sightseeing to Tiritiri Matangi from Gulf Harbour (Wed-Sun only) Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf is an open sanctuary with over 283,000 trees planted over 10 years and many rare and endangered birds have been translocated to the predator free island. These include Takahe, Saddleback, Kakariki, Kokako, Whitehead, Little Spotted Kiwi, Stitchbird, Teal, NZ Robin and Fernbird

Day 5
Miranda - Rotorua

Travel today via the Seabird Coast. The Miranda Shorebird Centre records 131 bird species including 43 waders. The extensive tidal flats and rare shell bank create a world renowned and accessible site for migratory and endemic waders. Continue through farmland, lake land and forest until the distinctive smell of sulphur and constant steam drifts lets you know you are in tempestuous, geothermal Rotorua. Visit Rainbow Springs Wildlife Park with its Kiwi Encounter, a breeding recovery programme for native New Zealand Kiwi. Enjoy a unique behind-the-scenes tour of a working Kiwi nursery and hatchery

Day 6
Rotorua

Day at leisure. A full day to enjoy the many sights and activities on offer in and around Rotorua

Day 7
Rotorua - Kapiti Coast

Today’s journey takes you to the west coast with its spectacular sea vistas, glorious sunsets, untouched native forest and dramatic hillscapes

Day 8
Kapiti Coast

Take the ferry to Kapiti Island, home to the Little Spotted Kiwi (now extinct on the mainland). Your evening guided Kiwi spotting walk provides the opportunity to engage with endangered New Zealand birds like Takahe, Kaka, Weka, Tieke (Saddleback), Kereru, Kokako, Hihi, and Toutouwai (Robin). There is also the chance to get up close to some extraordinary New Zealand native flora and fauna. The lodge is remote with limited facilities but is welcoming with genuine Maori hospitality

Day 9
Kapiti Coast to Wellington

Just a short journey today to the capital city Wellington, to enjoy its cafes, harbour and nightlife. Lots of things to see and do when you arrive but a visit to Zealandia is highly recommended. The star tenants of this sanctuary in the middle of Wellington City are the Bell birds, Brown Teal, Stitchbird, Little Spotted Kiwi, North Island Kaka, North Island Robin, Saddleback, Scaup, Tui and Weka with many other bird species recorded. Another resident is the relatively rare Maud Island Frog.

Day 10
Wellington to Picton to Kaikoura

Today you drop your car off in Wellington before boarding the Interisland Ferry which takes you through the beautiful Marlborough Sounds to Picton. There will be plenty of seabirds to spot throughout this spectacular sea journey. On arrival at Picton, on the South Island, you pick up your car. Stop for lunch and a brief tour of one or two of the wineries in the Blenheim area before continuing on to Kaikoura where you stay tonight..

Day 11
Kaikoura – Hanmer

The unique marine geography of Kaikoura provides the perfect environment for the local Sperm Whales which cohabitate close to land whilst hunting deep sea squid. At any time of the year you are almost guaranteed to see whales, Dusky and common dolphins, seabirds, seals and small marine creatures. Today’s Albatross Encounter brings you up close to a diverse array of seabirds including albatross, petrels, shearwaters, shags, terns and gulls. These species all occur naturally within a close proximity of the Kaikoura Peninsula. Kaikoura's marine environment is home to more seabird species in a small area than anywhere else in the New Zealand. Later, continue on to Hanmer Springs, a beautiful and popular alpine resort, known for its thermal pools and spa

Day 12
Hanmer - Oamaru

Today after breakfast you drive the 100 miles to Dunedin. Known as the “Edinburgh” of the south, this very Scottish city provides a rich Highland heritage. Enjoy a half day tour of the Otago Peninsula where you can see the Royal Albatross Colony, Hookers sea lions and yellow-eyed penguins and a Pelagic tour of the harbour. In the evening try Haggis washed down with a good malt whisky.

Day 13
Omaru- Dunedin

Today after breakfast you drive the 100 miles to Dunedin. Known as the “Edinburgh” of the south, this very Scottish city provides a rich Highland heritage. Enjoy a half day tour of the Otago Peninsula where you can see the Royal Albatross Colony, Hookers sea lions and yellow-eyed penguins and a Pelagic tour of the harbour. In the evening try Haggis washed down with a good malt whisky.

Day 14
Dunedin to Catlins

Spend some more time in Dunedin, possibly visiting the visually impressive railway station and walking up the world's steepest street, before beginning the 150 mile drive to the scenic Catlins region. Sheep, cattle and deer are farmed at Greenwood on land stretching from the Purakaunui Falls to Purakaunui Bay and you will be staying tonight at Greenwood Farm where you get a real taste of agricultural life in New Zealand.

Day 15
The Catlins – Bluff - Stewart Island

watching destination - Stewart Island is largely untouched by humans, providing an excellent habitat for native and endangered birds. The Stewart Island Brown Kiwi - or Tokoeka - is active during the day and night, with numbers estimated at 20,000. Residents on the island share their gardens with native birds and summer evenings resound with the melody of Kaka and cheeky Weka strut around Oban township

Day 16
Stewart Island

Today’s half day guided tour takes you to Ulva Island, an open bird sanctuary. Covered in unspoilt forest, the island is home to birds including the native Tui, Kaka, Rifleman and Fantail, as well as the endangered South Island Saddleback

Day 17
Stewart Island – Bluff -Te Anau

After breakfast this morning you say farewell to Steward Island and its wonderful bird life and catch the ferry back to the South Island and travel through Invercargill and along the the Southern Scenic route to Te Anau. This journey is around 200 miles but there is plenty of time for stops at places on interest before you reach your accommodation for the night

Day 18
Te Anau – Manapouri – Doubtful Sound

Today’s Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise takes you into the wilderness of one of New Zealand’s most spectacular and pristine fiords. With stunning views of waterfalls, rainforest and mountains it is home to bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins. Dedicated nature guides provide specialist knowledge of the region’s history, flora and fauna and kayaking and exploring by tender craft is offered. Please note: As the overnight cruise does not operate over winter it will be replaced with a day cruise including lunch and additional night in Te Anau

Day 19
Doubtful Sound – Manapouri - Wanaka

Travel today to scenic Lake Wanaka. A stop enroute in Queenstown is highly recommended. Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown has earned a reputation as the Southern Hemisphere’s premier lake and alpine resort and is described as the adventure capital of New Zealand. From Queenstown travel through the Kawarau Gorge and via Cromwell and Lake Dunstan to Wanaka. An alternative route today is via the Crown Range Road which is New Zealand’s highest sealed highway. This route is shorter than the one via Cromwell however travel time may take longer due to the winding nature of the road (note this route is not recommended over winter).

Day 20
Wanaka – Lake Tekapo

View braided river valleys, native beech forests and lush alpine meadows before reaching beautiful, turquoise Lake Tekapo.

Day 21
Lake Tekapo - Christchurch

If time permits a detour to enjoy the views at Aoraki, Mt Cook is recommended before travelling across the patchwork farmlands that make up the Canterbury plains, to Christchurch.

Day 22
Depart Christchurch

Tour concludes with the return of your rental car to Christchurch Airport depot.

Tour details 22 days

Boutique Rate fr £4498pp
Valid between: 01/11/2017 - 31/03/2018

Tour Highlights

  • Auckland
  • Waipoua
  • Matakana
  • Rotorua
  • Kapiti Coast
  • Wellington
  • Kaikoura
  • Hanmer
  • Oamaru
  • Dunedin
  • The Catlins
  • Stewart Island
  • Te Anau
  • Doubtful sound
  • Wanaka
  • Lake Tekapo
  • Whataroa
  • Christchurch

Included:

  • 21 Nights Boutique Accommodation
  • 22 Days Car Hire Full Size
  • Some Tours & Sightseeing
  • 21 Breakfasts and 3 Dinners

Not included:

  • Mid May - 30 Sep Doubtful Sound Cruise
  • International & Domestic Flights
  • Optional Tours

TRUSTED REVIEWS
See what 92 customers thought of Wellington

Excellent service all round as usual.

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Excellent communication giving reason and contact for a flight change. Thank you again.

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Terry is a top class tour organiser and absolutely faultless in his organisational skills, approach and customer care. The complex tour went without a single hitch and all the flights and accommodation at every stop were absolutely superb and highly enjoyable.

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Sadie provided an excellent service throughout.

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Excellent service from Chloe. Thanks for all you did to make this trip a memorable one.

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Any question I had, Jacob answered in an efficient and timely manner. He was informative, helpful, and very easy to communicate with.

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A long journey but hardly any waiting between flights so excellent service and price, will definitely recommend to others.

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Fabulous holiday. Very efficient, no issues at all. Well done!

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Keep up your excellent woek. Your professional and friendly staff were great to engage with.

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All went very well.

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Dale and his team, thanks so much. All went well. Flights great and so were the times you got for me. Thanks once again for all your help.

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Very happy with the trip which was arranged by Ethan

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Thank you to Dillon and his team, excellent!

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Everything went smoothly. Even got upgraded from Singapore to Sydney! Thanks to Roray for his good advice as usual.

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