Pre and Post Tour
Options for the
2018 NZ Epicurean Extravaganza
Tour leader David (right) and Coach
Roger on top of Kaiti Hill, Gisborne, on the 2016 NZ tour.
Add further to your New
Zealand experiences and enjoyment with these additional touring
opportunities before or after the main NZ Epicurean Extravaganza.
Our tour's main core itinerary, almost two
weeks in duration, gives you a great exposure to much of
NZ's North Island, and its sights, experiences, and of course,
culinary and wine related lifestyle.
There is of course plenty more to see and do in NZ. Maybe you'll
save the South Island for another visit, or, if time allows, maybe you
can add time in the South Island on this occasion, too.
We are offering some Travel Insider options both before and after
the main tour. Exact details will depend on the number of people
participating in the options, but we're showing the itinerary
and activity details below so
you can start planning the rest of your time and the dates for your international travel
in and out of NZ, even if leaving the internal parts slightly open at this stage.
In particular, can we recommend the optional
extension in Queenstown. It is a wonderful part of the
country and a great start to your NZ experience.
When we have a firmer idea about how many people add
these options on to their main tour, we'll come up with
definite and costed itineraries for you (and of course,
leaving plenty of time for personal choices).
After you've finished viewing
the details of the two tour options below, please
click here to return to the
main New Zealand Epicurean Extravaganza Tour page and/or
to the main tour's detailed
1. Pre-Tour Itinerary -
(Please page down a bit
for the Post-Tour option)
For the pre-tour option, we
are recommending you fly direct to Queenstown (airport code ZQN)
and spend time based there prior to the start of the main tour. When we say 'fly direct' that
probably means fly into Auckland on your international flight
and then take a connecting domestic flight on from AKL to ZQN.
The flight to Queenstown is
potentially one of the highlights of your experience (and how
often can you say that about any flight!). If there is
little cloud, you'll be able to view the country from one side to
the other - from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean, and will
see its beautiful scenery from the air.
The last part, flying over
the Southern Alps and then into
Queenstown, is particularly spectacular. Do be sure to ask for a
window seat (we suggest on the left side of the plane, but both
sides are great).
How long should you spend in
Queenstown? How high is up! We're recommending a
four night extension to the main tour, but you could
arrive earlier, or turn up a day or two later if you preferred.
Adding four nights would
have you arrive into Queenstown on Wednesday 25 October, which
would imply probably leading the US on Monday 23 October.
Here is the four day Queenstown
Day 1 (Wednesday 24
October) Arrive in Queenstown
It is an easy and stunningly beautiful 1 hr 45 minute
nonstop flight from Auckland to Queenstown. Here
we see a plane flying over NZ's Southern Alps.
You might choose to dine in one of the outdoor
establishments lining Queenstown's Mall.
You'll probably arrive in Queenstown
early afternoon today.
in to your hotel, we suggest you take the rest of the day
easy. Maybe enjoy a stroll along the tranquil banks of
One other thing to
consider for an easy afternoon would be visiting the amazing
wine sampling store in Queenstown, with an incredible
variety (over 80 wines in an Enomatic Wine Serving System), and sometimes incredible quality, of wines, all
available for small (or larger) tastes by the glass.
Oh - they also have over 700 wines you can buy, and a
shipping service if you get really carried away.
Dinner tonight could be at one of Queenstown's lovely
indoor or al fresco outdoor boutique restaurants, or perhaps at the lovely restaurant at
the top of the gondola ride with amazing views out over the
town, the lake, and the mountain range so aptly called The Remarkables.
Day 2 (Thursday 25
October) Milford Sound Tour
The iconic view of Mitre Peak reflected in the still
waters at the foot of Milford Sound.
You'll get up close and personal with waterfalls on your
Milford Sound cruise.
A very long full day tour which you would almost certainly want to
experience on one of your days in Queenstown is a tour through Fiordland
National Park, via the lakeside town of Te Anau, and to beautiful and
stunning Milford Sound.
You'd probably have a lunch cruise of Milford Sound before
returning back to Queenstown that afternoon.
In addition to the long coach tour, you can add another
element of experience by flying one way (we recommend the
return, but either way would work), or if you want to minimize
the coach time, fly both ways.
It is also an easy route to drive on your own, so if you
are considering renting a car, you could do this by yourself.
Day 3 (Friday 26 October)
Active Adventure Activities - or More Sedate if You Prefer
A classic view of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the
Remarkables mountain range in the background.
David being beaten by his (then 9 yr old) daughter on the luge
Everyone should go jet-boating
while in Queenstown. Although jet-boats can now be
found in other countries, they were invented and perfected
in New Zealand.
There are several different jet boat tours to enjoy, we
can tell you which one is absolutely the best of them all -
or, if you wish, try out two of them.
Other moderately active things to do could include going
river rafting, biking, hiking, horseback riding, golf,
fishing, air sightseeing, helicopter rides, even bungy
jumping and a luge track.
Note - if these are all a bit too active for you, there
are plenty of more relaxing activities too. For
example, enjoy a beautiful cruise around Lake Wakatipu on a
restored vintage steam ship. Go to lovely Arrowtown
and possibly pan for some gold. Take the gondola ride
up Bob's Peak for stunning views.
Whatever your interests and activity levels, there's lots
to do in and around Queenstown.
Day 4 (Saturday 27 October) :
A private tasting inside the cave cellar at the Gibbston
More popular dining choices, this time on Queenstown's
The Queenstown region, the
Gibbston Valley, Bannockburn and Central Otago in general is
a moderately recent addition to NZ's leading wine regions,
but has quickly gained impressive prominence, particularly
for its Pinot Noirs and aromatic whites.
There are over 75 wineries all
reasonably close to Queenstown, and assuming we have a
dozen or so people joining us, we'll arrange a
private tour of three of the best wineries, starting with an
optional jet boat ride, and then time for lunch in beautiful
Arrowtown, before an afternoon visiting the wineries.
Day 5 (Sunday 28 October) Join the Main Tour in
Looking over downtown Auckland, and beyond Devonport to
the Rangitoto and Waiheke island volcanoes.
Fly up to Auckland this morning in
time for the main tour's start this afternoon. Most of
us will be flying on the nonstop Air NZ flight at 11.10am.
And whereas your fellow tour members
will be off their 12+ hour overnight flights in to Auckland,
you'll have enjoyed merely a short easy scenic 1 3/4 hour
Try not to be too smug or too
boastful about your Queenstown experiences!
2. Post-Tour Itinerary - Cairns in Tropical North
Our main tour ends on
Tuesday afternoon, 6 November.
You can either spend
Tuesday evening in Wellington, or perhaps take a late flight to Cairns
today. We recommend you finish the day in Wellington -
there's a lot to see and enjoy in New Zealand's capital city,
but the choice is yours. Depending on flights and how
their tickets/fares are written, people also sometimes spend the
Tuesday night in Auckland.
We have a four night package
based in this lovely tropical paradise, starting from Wednesday
(the Tuesday night, wherever you spend it, is not included).
The many thousands of people my travel company
sent to this region would all agree that it is one of the nicest
parts of an Australian itinerary.
Day 0 (Tuesday 6 November)
Qantas' distinctively painted 747, 'Wunala Dreaming', is
a great way to travel from NZ to Australia.
Beautiful Port Douglas, surrounded on three sides by the
warm waters of the Coral Sea, just north of Cairns.
Today our main tour ends in the early
You could take a late afternoon
flight to Cairns, getting in that evening, or you could
spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying Wellington.
It is entirely your choice, whichever
you prefer, and maybe you might be influenced by the
airline/airfare choices as between flying Wednesday
afternoon or Thursday morning.
Whenever you arrive into Cairns,
we'll transfer you to our resort that we'll be staying in.
Day 1 (Wednesday 7 November)
Dusk falls at the end of another day in paradise - or,
to be more exact, Cairns.
Yes, the locals are friendly. No, the crocodiles,
not quite so much!
The Millaa Millaa Falls are in a stunningly beautiful
setting of rainforest bush, on the Atherton Tablelands.
If you didn't fly over to Cairns
yesterday afternoon/evening, you'll probably do so early
this morning and arrive in the early afternoon.
We'll transfer you to our hotel and
the rest of the day is at leisure.
If you arrived into Cairns yesterday,
you have a full free day today. There are a lot of
activities you might choose to do - perhaps one
recommendation would be to do an Atherton Tablelands tour so
as to get a feeling for Australia's Outback.
Or maybe you'd like to go Bungy
Seriously, there's a huge variety of
activities. We can help you choose something fun, or -
equally valid a choice, do nothing! Take it easy,
enjoy the hot tropical warmth, stroll along the Esplanade
and the shopping area.
Day 2 (Thursday 8 November) : Tjapukai, Skyrail, Kuranda, Scenic Commentary Train
Learn how to play a didgeridoo, and how to throw a
boomerang at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.
Silently glide up to the Atherton Tablelands and then
see the world heritage rainforest up close, and from
above rather than below, on your Skyrail ride.
Stroll through the markets in the lovely town of
The Kuranda Scenic Commentary Train stops at the Barron
Falls as you return down from the Tablelands.
We have four extraordinary
experiences today - any one of which would be enough by
itself, and all four of which will risk overwhelming you!
We start off with an amazing
presentation at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, where
you'll see traditional and modern presentations of the
Australian Aboriginal way of life. One of the most
ancient races on the planet, their story is wonderfully told
at this multi-award winning attraction.
Then we travel up from the coastal
plain to the Atherton tablelands, via a series of gondola
rides that take us up the side of the hills and variously
through and above the rainforest canopy.
We get off at a couple of transfer
stations on the way where we can see the rainforest even
Next we get to spend time in the
delightful and beautiful town of Kuranda, renowned for its
arts and crafts, floral displays, and beautiful street scenes.
There's a great market to be tempted in, a zoo with native
Australian animals, art galleries and restaurants.
The fourth experience is riding the
Commentary Train back down from Kuranda to Cairns.
Day 3 (Friday 9 November)
The Great Barrier Reef
We travel to the clear waters of the Outer Barrier reef
by high speed wave piercing catamaran.
can go Scuba diving, or if you prefer, visit the
underwater observatory and also cruise on the
A novel concept is 'reef walking' with these diving
bells - anyone can do it, no need for a Scuba
One of the (many) reasons that well
informed people stay in Cairns is because it is closer
to the Great Barrier Reef than most of the rest of the east
coast of Australia.
Today we enjoy a wonderful experience
with the very finest of the many reef tour operators, going
to one of the finest locations on the reef.
We moor on the reef for a solid day
of varied activites.
While at the pontoon there's an
enormous range of different things to see, do, and
experience. You can of course go snorkeling, you can
visit the underwater observatory and cruise around on the
If you're more adventurous,
additional options could have you flying over the reef by
helicopter, or Scuba diving or 'reef walking' in the water.
Day 4 (Saturday 10 November) :
Breakfast with the Birds, Mossman Markets, Daintree
Breakfast with the Birds is exactly as its name
suggests. Birds will fly down and may wish to
share your breakfast with you!
Unsophisticated Mossman, and all that much nicer for
The Daintree rainforest has a stunning diversity of
vegetation, including many plants and trees not yet
fully categorized or understood. Who knows what
new miracle drugs are awaiting discovery from such
Breakfast with a difference, this
morning. We go inside an enormous aviary/wildlife
refuge, and quite literally have breakfast with the birds.
We will also get to see all manner of other distinctive
Australian animals, including koalas and kangaroos and
Then we'll go to the unassuming and
delightfully un-touristy small country town of
Mossman and visit their Saturday market (fresh tropical
fruits, arts and crafts, food, even opals and all sorts of
other things) before continuing
up, across the Daintree river and into the splendid heart of the
World Heritage rainforest.
We visit the Daintree Discovery
Center, where we can stroll along a suspended aerial walkway
that goes right through the heart of the rainforest, plus
get down to the base of the rainforest on a boardwalk.
Day 5 (Sunday 11 November) :
Choices, choices, choices
Jim-Jim Falls, one of the iconic experiences in Kakadu
Uluru, or Ayers Rock. Climb it, walk around it,
watch the sun set over it - or do all three!
Sydney - truly one of the world's most beautiful cities.
This marks the end of the official
Australian extension, but need not be the end of your
If you wish, we can help you plan
more time in Australia - perhaps going to Darwin and Kakadu/Katherine,
to the Red Center of Alice Springs and Ayers Rock, to
cosmopolitan Melbourne and/or to glorious Sydney, one
of the world's most spectacular cities.
Or, if you've been away from home
long enough, you could fly home today. You'd probably
fly first from Cairns to one of Australia's international
gateway cities - Brisbane (BNE), Sydney (SYD) or Melbourne
(MEL) and flying home from there.
For More Information
Please return to the main
page for more information about our
2018 New Zealand Epicurean
And here's a link to jump you directly down to the
you prefer, you can go back to the day
by day itinerary for the main tour.