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Spectacular New Zealand

9 days

Never more than 16 guests OR Travel Privately

Overall Rating
based on 57 Reviews

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Our Distinctive A+R Style

+ Wake up to some of the most stunning scenery on Earth on our naturalist-guided overnight cruise deep into Milford Sound.
+ Step aboard a turn-of-the-century steamer and cruise across Lake Wakatipu to spend time on a working sheep-station homestead.
+ Venture by 4WD into Middle Earth, the breathtaking and awe-inspiring setting for The Lord of the Rings films.
+ Embark on a thrilling jetboat adventure through the spectacular rocky gorges of the Shotover River.
+ Savor the bounty of the South Island, from wine tasting on vineyard estates to our congenial farm-to-table dining.
+ Delight in the very English ambiance of Christchurch and sit down to a convivial dinner with a local family.
+ With 7 nights in boutique hotels + overnight Milford Sound cruise; 17 meals with wine at dinner; comprehensive sightseeing; all transfers; port charges; and all gratuities except Trip Leader.

Visit 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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Upon arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the 5-star St. Moritz Hotel. This evening, join your guide and fellow guests for a welcome drink and dinner at the hotel. Meals D
 

This morning’s excursion to Glenorchy finds you on the northern end of Lake Wakatipu in a region of towering mountain ranges and old beech forests. Setting out in comfortable and maneuverable 4WD vehicles with skilled professional drivers, you’ll have ample time to take in these magnificent landscapes, including several sites that were featured in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
 
Back in town, the Skyline Gondola will take you to the top of Bob's Peak, nearly 1,500 feet above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. This is the steepest cable car ascent in the Southern Hemisphere and offers breathtaking views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Walter and Cecil Peaks and, of course, Queenstown. After lunch on the Peak, a thrilling jetboat ride through the picturesque canyons of the Shotover River promises an unforgettable afternoon adventure.  Meals B+L
 

After breakfast, you’ll spend this day exploring Queenstown and its surrounding countryside. At the Kiwi Bird Park, you’ll have a chance to observe and learn about some of New Zealand’s indigenous wildlife including the Brown Kiwi, Tuatara Lizard, and the colorfully plumed Rainbow Lorikeet.
 
Next up is historic Arrowtown. Founded in the heady days of the Gold Rush, this charming leafy town is nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. Take some time to stroll along Buckingham Street with its heritage buildings and old miners’ cottages – many of them now home to inviting galleries, shops and cafes.  

Later this afternoon, you’ll board the TSS Earnslaw, a turn-of-the-century steamer, for a cruise across beautiful Lake Wakatipu. Step off at a working high-country homestead where you’ll see highly trained sheep dogs in action and enjoy a delightful lakeside dinner with fine New Zealand wine. Meals B+D
 

Day
4

Cruise through Milford Sound

Milford Mariner

This morning’s drive begins along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and takes you through the amazing Homer Tunnel that opened in 1953. Continue through the spectacular glacier-carved Eglington Valley into Fiordland National Park to embark your overnight cruise aboard the comfortable Milford Mariner.
 
As you journey the full length of Milford Sound, our ship’s expert naturalists are on hand to explain the history and geology of the region and to answer your questions. You’ll have plenty of time to take in the fjord’s pristine waterfalls, rainforests and soaring mountain peaks - and with sharp eyes, you might observe seals and possibly even dolphins and penguins. Anchoring in a sheltered cover, you’ll be able to join our naturalist guides to explore in the Mariner’s tender or by kayak.

Featuring two levels of open decks and comfortable public spaces with panoramic picture windows, the Mariner is designed to surround you with the beauty and sounds of nature! You’re encouraged to take advantage of these inviting public areas as staterooms are small and simply furnished; there is a rectangular porthole so you won’t miss a bit of the scenery even when you spend time in your cabin. Tonight after a delicious carvery buffet, you can relax in the company of your fellow passengers or hit the deck to observe the constellations of the Southern Sky.
Meals B+D

After breakfast onboard the Mariner, we’ll step off ship and travel to the Punanga Manu o Te Anau Bird Sanctuary. Set on the shores of Lake Te Anau, this is a terrific place to observe an abundant variety of indigenous birds that are otherwise difficult to see in their native wilderness habitats. In addition to colorful forest parrots, warblers,  paradise shelducks, fantails and bellbirds, the star of the sanctuary is the rare, flightless Takahe - once thought to be extinct here on the South Island. We’ll tour the Sanctuary and learn about their captive breeding and rehabilitation programs that aim to reintroduce healthy birds into the wilderness. 

After lunch in Te Anau, our afternoon sightseeing takes us into spectacular Kawarau Valley, home to the famous Bungy Bridge where two daring adventurers launched the worldwide bungee jumping craze in 1988. The day’s journey ends at Oliver’s Hotel, set on an authentic 19th-century homestead in historic Clyde.  Meals B+L

Day
6

With fruit orchards, waterways and rolling hills, Central Otago is one of New Zealand’s loveliest and most bountiful agricultural areas. After breakfast, you’ll begin your exploration at a lively farmers market in Cromwell, a charming and historic town founded during the Gold Rush days of the 1800’s. At one of the area’s local orchards, you’ll have a chance to sample some of the region’s bounty. Then enjoy a guided tour, wine tasting and lunch at a nearby vineyard estate.
 
In the mid 1800’s, this region also witnessed New Zealand’s first major gold rush and fortune seekers and adventurers poured into the region to dig for gold. This afternoon’s tour at the Goldfields Mining Center immerses you in this colorful chapter of the island’s history. You can follow paths along the Kawarau Gorge to the mine shafts that were excavated more than a century ago and see the land laid bare by ground sluicing. Gold nuggets can still be found in the soil and you might even try our luck as you try your hand at gold panning! Enjoy a congenial dinner and another tranquil night in Clyde.  Meals B+L+D

Departing Clyde this morning, our first stop of the day will be the Maori Point Vineyard. Against a lovely mountain backdrop, we’ll enjoy a guided tour of the estate as we learn about the viticulture traditions of Central Otago, one of New Zealand’s premier wine-producing areas. Paired with local products including dried fruits, nuts, pâté, artisanal cheese and freshly baked bread, we’ll sample four of their award-winning wines including Pinot Noir and a desert wine to finish.

Then we’ll continue through the Lindis Pass at an altitude of 3,800 feet and make our way through the Mackenzie Basin – a land of powder blue lakes and wide-open grasslands set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains.

Arriving in the beautiful Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park, you’ll check in to the comfortable Hermitage Hotel in time for an available Mt. cook flightseeing adventure, and the thrill of seeing New Zealand's highest peak from the air. Tonight after dinner, the absence of ambient light makes the Aoraki MacKenzie International Dark Sky Reserve one of the best places to view the Southern Constellations.  Meals B+D

Day
8

Canterbury Plains to the Garden City

The George - Christchurch, New Zealand

After breakfast, you'll have some free time to enjoy the delightful setting of our hotel. A pleasant stroll on the landscaped grounds or through the surrounding alpine meadows would offer a chance to take in the fresh mountain air and marvelous views of the soaring terrain. Later, you’ll depart the National Park to journey over the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.
 
With its lovely parks and handsome Gothic buildings, there's a delightful, very English ambience to Christchurch. In contrast, the Cardboard Cathedral designed by Shigeru Ban in 2011 is a marvel of 21st-century architectural design and ingenuity, constructed of paper tubes, re-purposed shipping containers and a lightweight outer skin. Upon arrival, you'll set out to see the town's architectural landmarks and the Botanic Gardens - founded in 1863 with the planting of a single English oak tree. From this humble beginning, the garden has grown to encompass mature trees, expansive lawns and 10 different gardens set within a loop of the gently flowing Avon River. This evening, you’ll be the guests of a Christchurch family in their lovely home. Congenial conversation with your hosts and perhaps a few of their friends will accompany a wonderful home-cooked meal of traditional New Zealand fare.
 
Overnight at The George, a luxury boutique hotel on the Avon River.  Meals B+D
 

Day
9

Depart Christchurch

Transfer to the airport for your homeward flight. Or continue your adventure with our 12-day Small Group Journey to Australia. Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Begin in Australia

12-day Pre-Tour Extension from $7,699

In an intimate group of never more than 16 guests, our Australia Explorer tour fits perfectly before your travels in New Zealand. With our expert Down Under guides, you’ll experience the diversity of their native land – from Ayers Rock and the Great Barrier Reef to its iconic cities, cuisine and wine.

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Day
1

Welcome to Melbourne

On arrival, you’ll be escorted to the sophisticated 5-star Sofitel on Collins. Gather this evening for a welcome cocktail reception.

Day
2

Discover Melbourne

See the city’s Victorian architecture and tour the Royal Botanic Garden. Then visit the Shrine of Remembrance to learn about Australia’s wartime history before exploring the beachfront promenade in the charming coastal enclave of St. Kilda. Back in the city, you’ll sample the fine confections of a patisserie in the elegant Royal Arcade that opened 1870. This evening, enjoy fine dining, local wine and the waterfront setting of Berth. Meals B+D

Day
3

The Mornington Peninsula

Discover the tranquil fishing hamlets, picturesque farms and award-winning wineries of the Mornington Peninsula. Tour Green Olive, a family farm and vineyard, and sit down to a congenial farm-to-table lunch with wine. From Arthur’s Seat, you’ll have spectacular views of Port Phillip Bay. Meals B+L

Day
4

Fly to Queensland

Fly to Cairns and visit the mountain village of Kuranda. With two stops, the 4.5-mile long Skyrail Cableway shows you the forest floor and the rainforest canopy deep in the Wet Tropics of Queensland . Continue to Palm Cove on the coast just north of Cairns and check in to the Peppers Beach Club & Spa. Meals B

Day
5

The Great Barrier Reef

Cruise to Michaelmas Cay on the Great Barrier Reef , situated 25 miles off the coast and close to the pristine outer reef systems. Free snorkeling equipment and our marine biologist promise thrilling exploration of the undersea realm. Meals B+L

Day
6

A free day in Paradise

Enjoy the amenities of our tropical resort and the charms of Palm Cove. Meals B

Day
7

Ayers Rock + Kata Tjuta

Fly to Ayers Rock and transfer to Sails in the Desert. Then set out with our guide to learn about the life, bush food, and reptiles of the Outback and discover the physical majesty and spiritual importance of the 36 towering red-rock domes that comprise Kata Tjuta. Enjoy a glass of wine and behold the sun set over Uluru – a magical experience. Meals B

Day
8

Sunrise at Uluru + The Outback

Enjoy a picnic breakfast and watch the sun cast its first rays upon Uluru. A morning walk reveals Aboriginal rock paintings and a chance to hear the local Creation stories. Tonight’s sunset dinner overlooking Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park will be accompanied by the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo. Meals B+D

Day
9

Onward to Sydney

Fly to Sydney and transfer to the Sir Stamford at Circular Quay Hotel. MealsB

Day
10

Out and about in Sydney

Enjoy our special Backstage Tour at the Sydney Opera House and see the city’s most famous sites, like the Harbour Bridge, St. Mary’s Cathedral and Bondi Beach. Enjoy lunch and wine on Watsons Bay. Meals B+L

Day
11

At leisure in Sydney

Enjoy Sydney at your own pace today. Then gather this evening for a Harbour cruise with dinner and fine Australian wines. Meals B+D

Day
12

Depart Sydney + Begin your New Zealand Adventure

After breakfast, we’ll take you to the Sydney airport. On arrival in Queenstown, you’ll be met and escorted to the St. Moritz Hotel for the start of your 9-day Spectacular New Zealand tour, including this evening’s Welcome Dinner. Meals D
 
Please Note:
+ The flight from Australia to New Zealand is not included and is best purchased as part of your international transpacific flight.
+ For travel through March 2020, this Australia Explorer journey is offered only as a Post-Tour extension after our 9-day Spectacular New Zealand program, and is priced from $7,599.
+ From April 2020 onwards, your Down Under adventures begin in Australia and continue to with our Spectacular New Zealand tour.

Continue to the North Island

4-day Post-Tour Extension from $2,699

Add the wonders of New Zealand’s North Island after your travels across the South Island with this perfectly-planned extension including Rotorua and Auckland.

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Day
1

Fly from Christchurch to Rotorua

At the end of your 9-day tour of the South Island, we’ll take you to the airport for your included flight to Rotorua. With our engaging resident guide, who will also be your driver, you’ll visit the Te Puia Thermal Reserve. Marvel at the geysers, steaming springs and bubbling mud pools that reveal the powerful geothermal forces at work in this remarkable valley. Then we’ll take you to the Polynesian Spa Complex where you can take a relaxing dip in the hot geothermal pool overlooking Lake Rotorua. Spend the night at the inviting Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel where you’ll have time to refresh before dinner.  Meals D

Day
2

From Rotorua to Auckland

After breakfast and check-out, your morning sightseeing is highlighted by the farm show at the Agrodome, set on 35 acres of lush agricultural land. This entertaining and highly informative 1-hour show features 19 breeds of New Zealand sheep and remarkable working dogs that have been expertly trained keep the farm’s livestock in line! Then journey to the rural town of Matamata, where a working sheep farm was transformed into Hobbiton for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Enjoy a guided stroll through the pastoral Shire and see more than 40 unique Hobbit residences including Bag End. Continue to Auckland and check in to the 5-star Hotel Grand Windsor by Sofitel. This evening is yours to relax, enjoy and dine as you wish.  Meals B

Day
3

Discover Auckland

Auckland is a most extraordinary city comprised of 50 islands, 3 lovely harbors, 2 mountain ranges and 48 volcanic cones! After a leisurely breakfast and time this morning to relax and enjoy as you wish, join your guide for a city tour that includes the highly regarded Auckland Museum. Located in one of the country’s finest heritage buildings, the museum tells the story of New Zealand, from award-winning natural history exhibits to galleries that explore New Zealand’s cultural origins. From the top of the Sky Tower, you’ll have breathtaking 360° views of the city with its vibrant harbors and spectacular coastal scenery. This evening, you’ll enjoy a farewell dinner at your stylish hotel. Meals B+D

Day
4

Depart New Zealand

After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your onward journey.  Meals B

New Zealand MapSearch

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Our Special Departure March 23, 2020

Join us for a very special departure highlighted by an overnight cruise into Doubtful Sound, deep in the World Heritage Fiordland National Park. Named by Captain Cook in 1770, Doubtful is larger and less accessible than the better-known Milford Sound. Aboard the Fiordland Navigator, purpose-built to explore these remote waters, our exploration of Doubtful Sound promises rich discoveries enjoyed by few other visitors. Behold the sheer rock walls of the Sound, lush with vegetation, and set out in a kayak or on our ship’s tender craft to search for dolphins, seals and penguins. Experienced naturalists are there to enhance every moment in this untouched wilderness of mountain peaks, fiords and rainforest.

We include private en suite accommodations with dinner and breakfast onboard.

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Prices are per person, double occupancy, and may vary during holidays and trade shows. Additional surcharges and blackout dates may apply.

Pay-In-Full

Save $600 per couple + $300 solo on all of our Small Group, Small Ship and Private Journeys when you pay-in-full at time of booking.

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
  • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
  • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
  • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
  • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!

The South Island is Truly Spectacular… Here’s a Preview

These videos, articles and podcasts will illuminate the variety of enthralling experiences that await you on our Original Journey across the South Island. Drawn from respected independent sources, we’ve curated this multi-media collection to fire your imagination. Inspiring as they are now on your screen, the things you see, read and hear will truly come to life when you travel with our engaging native-born guides.

Our A+R Library

About Your Journey… New Zealand

With just over 4.7 million friendly residents spread across the 104,000 square miles of this Pacific archipelago, New Zealand is about the same size as Colorado – but with a significantly lower population density. And with its magnificent fjords, lakes, forests and mountains, you can expect the splendors of nature to top the list of vacation delights. And indeed, your journey across the magnificent South Island will be well rewarded with unforgettable vistas, from the mountain landscapes that provided the backdrop for the Lord of the Rings films to the pristine waterways of the Milford Sound.

But New Zealand also promises memorable experiences that reflect the diversity and spirit of its residents. Fine congenial dining is enhanced by the islands’ abundant wealth of natural produce, its world-famous lamb, fresh seafood and – of course – highly acclaimed wines. From thrilling 4WD forays into the countryside to heart-pounding jet-boat expeditions on pristine rivers, New Zealand also promises unforgettable adventure. And every step of the way, the welcoming laidback attitude of its residents will make this one of the most delightful vacations you’ll ever have!

Passports + Visas
Passport holders from the United States are now required to obtain a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) visa which is good for multiple entries valid for 2 years. You can apply online here: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/about-visa/nzeta.  You pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) at the same time as your NZeTA.

If you prefer to acquire your visa ahead of time, follow the link here:
https://www.pinnacle.gettraveldocs.com/New-Zealand-eTA-eservice22. Visitors from countries other than the United States should check on their specific entry requirements with the nearest New Zealand consular office.

American citizens will need to present a valid passport upon entry into New Zealand. Passports must be valid for six (6) months after the completion of your stay.  

Now’s a good time to assemble and check your travel documents, then keep them together in a safe, accessible area of your home. If you keep your passport in a bank safe deposit, retrieve it now to avoid a last-minute rush - and double check the expiration date!

Your Health
Visitors coming from the United States to New Zealand do not require any specific vaccinations or inoculations. However, your personal physician knows your health history and is the best person to consult regarding inoculations, health precautions and other advice for your upcoming journey. Always check the World Health Organization (WHO) website http://www.who.int/ith/en/ and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website https://www.cdc.gov/ before you travel internationally.

Medical supplies including CPAP machines for sleep apnea can be brought as an additional carry-on with most airlines.  If you are traveling with a CPAP machine, please let Alexander+Roberts know in advance and consider bringing a backup battery in case of inconsistent electricity supply. Distilled water is available in most destinations. Make sure you have all appropriate adaptors, although newer machines have universal power supplies that can adapt to various voltages. Bring extra supplies (especially cushions) and replacement parts as repairing the machine while travelling may not be possible.

If You Face Physical Challenges
Journeys to New Zealand tend to be active trips.  The excursions and activities we include often involve a great deal of walking over uneven terrain, and you assume responsibility for your personal safety. There will be hills to climb and descend, and steps often have no wheelchair access. Even indoor sites like museums and historical buildings may only have steps - no elevators or ramps. Hotels may be limited in the provisions they make for wheelchair access and airports may require steps to board and deplane without jetway access to the gate or terminal.

Mobility issues or physical challenges must be reported to Alexander+Roberts when making your reservation.  We will make reasonable attempts to accommodate special needs, but cannot always provide individual assistance nor can we ensure that local vehicles will be wheelchair-equipped. For these reasons, a qualified companion must accompany guests who need such assistance.  

You may encounter limitations at hotels, airports, rail stations and transportation facilities that may make your trip challenging.  Many natural and historical sites are in walking zones with uneven paving and uphill or downhill walkways with no wheelchair access.  Some museums and historical buildings may have only steps and no elevators.  

We regret that we cannot provide individual assistance for guests who need mobility assistance.  Nor can we ensure that local vehicles will be wheelchair-equipped. For these reasons, a qualified companion must accompany guests who need such assistance.
 
If you have any mobility or medical issues of which we should be aware, please advise Alexander+Roberts well in advance of your departure.

A Word about Hotels
As in other parts of the world, check-in time for most hotels is around 3:00PM and check-out time is typically 11AM. Should you arrive early to find that your room is not yet ready, the hotel will likely be more than happy to store your luggage securely for a few hours. That leaves you unencumbered to explore a bit at your own pace - or to relax with a cup of tea or coffee either in the lobby or at a nearby cafe.

Similarly, if you have a late departure flight, hotels will store your luggage after you’ve checked-out, leaving you free to explore and relax until it’s time to go to the airport. Depending upon how busy they are, hotels may allow you to occupy your room for another hour or two without charge; check with the front desk to determine if this is possible for your day of departure.

If early check-in or late check-out is required, advance arrangements can usually be confirmed for the cost of an additional night. Please notify us or your travel agent if you wish to confirm either.

Climate…What You Can Expect
New Zealand weather and climate is of paramount importance to the people of New Zealand, as many New Zealander's make their living from the land. New Zealand has mild temperatures, moderately high rainfall, and many hours of sunshine throughout most of the country. New Zealand's climate is dominated by two main geographical features: the mountains and the sea.

Because New Zealand lies in the Southern Hemisphere, the average temperature decreases as you travel south. The north of New Zealand is subtropical and the south temperate. The warmest months are December, January and February, and the coldest June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 60 - 85º F and in winter between 35 - 60º F.

Money Matters
The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar, NZ$ (NZD).  You can exchange cash and traveler’s checks for local currency at hotels, banks and international airports. Please note that these establishments will charge a fee to exchange traveler’s checks; some establishments may also charge a fee to exchange cash.

Many locations will accept major credit cards, but for incidentals and small vendors you will need local currency. It is a good idea to contact your credit card company before you travel to advise which countries you are visiting. 

ATM machines will dispense local currency for internationally accepted ATM cards and/or credit cards.  But be sure to pay attention to any fees – as some local banks charge a per transaction fee for use of their ATM’s.   If you wish to use your ATM card, we recommend that you notify your bank that you will be traveling internationally, and also to ask about any bank fees you might incur by using your card abroad. 

Tipping
For your on-tour convenience, we have included all gratuities except for your Trip Leaders or guides. This includes drivers, baggage porters and restaurant staff for all included meals; certainly, if any of these services are exceptional and go above-and-beyond, then feel free to tip additionally.

For your Trip Leaders or guides, many of our guests find it helpful to have some guidelines; in that spirit, we recommend tipping them $10 to $15 per person, per day.

Although not included in your Tour Fare, please remember that these gratuities are always at your discretion. They are appreciated as recognition for excellent service, but whether you tip, and how much, is entirely up to you.

When you’re out enjoying meals and activities that are not part of your A+R itinerary, here are tipping guidelines in accordance with local practices:

•    Upscale restaurants: A service charge (10%-15%) is typically already included on the bill
•    Bell hops: $2-$5
•    Taxi's: Tips are not expected by taxi drivers
•    Private Drivers: $2-5$ per trip
•    Spa services: add 10%-15%

There is a 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST) included for purchases and services.   Until recently, tipping in New Zealand was not customary and was even frowned upon by those in the service and tourism industries.  New Zealand service workers are paid a decent wage to start with and do not count on tips as part of their salary. However, as foreign travelers continue to visit, tipping has become a bit more popular, but only in the tourist areas. 

About Electricity
The voltage in New Zealand is 230-240 V AC.  An adapter and a converter will be necessary to charge your electronic devices.  We recommend purchasing an adapter prior to travel, but many hotels usually have them available at the front desk. For more information on plugs and sockets, review the information at:
www.iec.ch/worldplugs/map.htm.

Internet and Phone calls
If you plan to bring your cell phone when you travel, please check with your carrier to ensure that your plan covers international calls and/or mobile data from the countries you will visit on your trip and whether there may be money saving plans available from your carrier that can be arranged in advance. Alternatively, local prepaid SIM cards for your phone are usually available at the airport where you arrive and can be used to tap into local service providers. Wi-fi is available at many hotels either complimentary or for a fee. Waiting until you have Wi-Fi access allows you to use email and other applications without using mobile data. Check with the front desk upon check in regarding access details.

 If you need to place an international call from your hotel room, please check first with the Front Desk about their rates. Hotels often contract with outside vendors to provide direct-dial service for overseas calls – and the rates can be unexpectedly high!

The dialing code for New Zealand is +64 so prefix the local number with this code when dialing from outside of New Zealand.

Time Zone and Business Hours
New Zealand’s local time is 18 hours ahead of New York City, so if it is 12 noon eastern time, it is 6 AM on the following day in New Zealand.  Most businesses including banks are open from 9 to 5 on weekdays excluding holidays.

Meal Time
It wasn’t really all that long ago – as recently as the 1980’s – when travelers would return from New Zealand with terrific stories about its friendly people and spectacular natural beauty. But often, they would be a bit less enthusiastic about the food they ate. But a lot can change in three decades and New Zealand dining has come a long way. Taking full advantage of the islands’ abundance of fine natural ingredients, New Zealand chefs are developing their own unique style of cuisine that is fresh, simple and relaxing.

It’s no longer just overcooked lamb and boiled vegetables. As you travel throughout the country, you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy skillfully prepared meals featuring the freshest seafood, locally grown vegetables, the islands’ world-famous lamb and prime grass-fed beef. Ingredients are fresh and seasonal, and fine dishes are inspired by European, Asian and indigenous culinary styles. In the spring, young lamb is perfect for fast cooking or grilling. Mature by winter, chefs prefer lamb dishes that are slowly-cooked in casseroles and stews.

At the same time, New Zealand’s wine industry has become world-famous. The islands’ Sauvignon Blanc, in particular, is hailed for its fine citrus notes, making this wine the perfect accompaniment to oysters, scallops and other freshly harvested seafood!

Shopping
By all means, enjoy your shopping! But we do recommend that you avoid objects that appear to be ancient artifacts. Many so-called artifacts are anything but old. In addition, the export of genuine ancient relics is strictly controlled so that cultural treasures do not leave the country. Animal skins, things made with tropical bird feathers, and similar items should also be avoided. Some could be made from endangered species and their export (and import into the USA) may be illegal. Buying only from reputable shops will help you to avoid problems.

New Zealand’s Bio-Security
As New Zealand is an agricultural nation, it is illegal to bring fresh fruit, plants and some other items into the country. An instant ‘on the spot’ fine will be applied by New Zealand Immigration officials at the airport for any items found.  MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) aims to prevent the entry of pests and diseases which could endanger New Zealand's important agriculture and horticulture industries.   It is important to remember that if you have any animal or plant item with you, or packed in your luggage, you must declare it on your passenger arrival card. Please note that unaccompanied baggage may attract inspection charges.

For further information about quarantine restrictions, please contact:  MAF Biosecurity New Zealand www.maf.govt.nz
Phone: +64 4 894 0100

Overnight Bag
If your itinerary includes an overnight on Milford Sound aboard the Milford Mariner, you will need an overnight bag for your stay. This can be your carry on piece. Just make sure that this bag will hold everything you need for an overnight stay and is one that you can comfortably carry yourself. The rest of your luggage will be kept in a secure location.

Packing Advice to Get You Started
Generally, the attire is casual with the emphasis on comfort and convenience. Easy-to-care-for clothing and mix and match separates are ideal as to prevent the need to bring a lot of clothes. Restaurants range from coffee shops to elegant dining rooms where the dress varies from casual to semi-formal. We recommend that you dress in layers:  bring along clothing that will allow you to add or subtract a layer if you become too hot or cold, especially for your excursions into the countryside where the temperature tends to be cooler. Your program includes a fair amount of walking during sightseeing tours so please pay particular attention to footwear - bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes with rubber soles and firm arch support. The weather can be quite unpredictable, a rain jacket or travel sized umbrella will help to keep you dry if you do happen to encounter rain during your travels.

TSA Packing Tips
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) publishes a comprehensive list of items that are Permitted and Prohibited in carry-on and checked baggage. You can find the complete list online at https://www.tsa.gov/travel.

For vacation travelers, the important thing to remember is that only one small bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes can be in your carry-on bag when you pass through security. Each item is limited to 3.4 ounces (100ml) - and all containers must fit inside a clear, 1-quart sized, zip-top bag. If you have containers that are larger than 3.4 ounces, they must go inside your checked baggage.

Medications, baby formula/food and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding the 3.4-ounce limit, and they do not have to be in a zip-lock bag. You should declare these items at the checkpoint, and keep in mind that TSA Officers may need to inspect them.

And a Few Words about Safety + Security
New Zealand is a safe country and violent crime involving travelers is quite rare. But petty crime is a reality no matter where in the world you travel.  Traveling abroad is no different than visiting a new city in the United States: Use common sense precautions to safeguard your person and your possessions at all times. Remember to wash your hands frequently and use hand-sanitizer.
•    Do not go out and about with your passport unless specifically instructed to do so by your local guides.
•    Keep your extra cash and passport in the in-room safe of your hotel. In the few instances where they are not available, then store these items in the safety deposit box at the front desk.
•    Always make a copy of your passport, credit cards and e-tickets and keep them separate from the originals so that they can be more readily replaced if lost or stolen. Leave extra copies with someone at home that you can reach while traveling. Or consider scanning these documents and emailing them to an address which you can access while abroad.
•    If you don’t already own one, consider investing in a money belt that can be concealed under your clothing. This is a good place to keep the cash and credit cards that you need for personal expenses while sightseeing, shopping and touring.
•    Do not display large amounts of cash in public.  Carry your purse with the strap across your chest, not dangling from your shoulder or arm.

These measures will save you countless time and trouble should your credit cards, airline tickets or passport be lost or stolen. 
 

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