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This trip listed in the 2010
National Geographic Top 50
Tours of a Lifetime!

New Zealand – The Best!

February 5 - 18, 2015


Jane at Jane's Travel in Phoenix (480 755-1388)
can assist with ALL of your flights

Currently Fiji Air $1280 round trip LAX - Auckland

Fiji extension prior to NZ trip -  $645 per person

A Maori Welcome

New Zealand has been described as “The world in a shoebox” as it has pieces of most all the geographic features of the world squished into two long islands.  This makes for a very stimulating vacation and Canyon Calling ensures that you see the whole country – from volcanoes and beaches to glaciers and alps.  New Zealand is Lord of Rings country - home to some of the most beautiful scenery on earth. Throw in the friendliest, most welcoming people you could ever meet plus great activities and you have the classic lifetime trip. Highlights include hiking a glacier that tumbles into a rain forest, sea-kayaking turquoise waters to golden sand beaches, and sailing in the Bay of Islands.  There’s even an optional quiet prelude on Fiji’s Beachcomber Island. However nothing is more memorable than our stay on the Maori tribal homeland. We are greeted with ceremony and warmth, treated with generosity and kindness and we leave as family. New Zealanders will open their homes and their hearts to you.  One traveler said “God practiced and practiced and when he finally got it right, he made New Zealand.”  A trip to “Godzone” is the most special of experiences.

The earth's crust is very thin here in the middle of the North Island and mud pools, steam vents and geysers abound.    Meet the children of Kutrere Marae as they perform for us.   I filmed this haka, or Maori war dance, at Napier Airport in 2008. It was being performed by local Maori who were welcoming back a co-ed sports team from their marae, or homeland, from overseas. The haka was originally used to get men ready for battle. Today it is used as an expression of Maori pride and this is evident by observing how quickly the returnees stop standing and being honored by the welcome but actually join in!

This trip exceeded my expectations by 10. Cheryl provided context and just enough structure to help us bond as a team. Her insider’s perspective is definitely the way to see NZ and was an excellent experience. - Jeanne L, NM

This may have been my first trip with Canyon Calling but it certainly won’t be my last. Why did I wait so long? I will cherish these memories and all the friends we met along the way. - Jan N, KY

I feel you put your heart and soul into making this a great trip for everyone. I appreciated that we did so many different things including sailing and lugeing which were new to me. - Shirley L. MO.

I always feel so great after your trips – excited about where I’ve been, what I’ve done, challenges I’ve met. I experience a country in a way not offered by other companies – via stories, people, food and places off the beaten path. You have my deepest gratitude. - Joy O, MN

The beauty of New Zealand is unsurpassed and your sharing the passion you have for your country is the icing on the cake. Looking forward to the next trip with Canyon Calling. - Deb S, Australia

Thank you for a most remarkable trip. It would not have been possible to have a better time. Thank you for following your passion and being a role model for women. - Charleen T, WA

Cheryl’s knowledge and love for her native land is palpable. This is a trip I’ll talk about for the rest of my life. New Zealand’s beauty is only half the story. The other half is the people who live life as it should be – in the moment and full of laughter. - Linette H, AZ

Our sisterhood of the “traveling ice cream cones” was a generous, fun-loving group. What an adventure - through the most beautiful land I’ve ever experienced. - Becky B, Canada


Airfares are NOT INCLUDED in Canyon Calling trips. It is your responsibility to get yourself to the assembly point of a trip and home afterwards. There are many reasons for this policy including customers wanting to use their air miles, people wanting to go early or stay on after the trip, some wanting to drive etc. Jane at Jane’s Travel in Phoenix has helped our customers with booking their flights for the last 17 years. You can phone her at (480) 755-1388 or send an email to  Internal flights are included in trip prices when they fall inside a tour like on our Costa Rican, Peruvian Andes, Australian and Hawaiian Islands trips. .

B (breakfast) L (lunch) D (dinner)

Thursday Feb 5
Meet-up at Auckland Airport at 1.30pm in the International Terminal, Arrival Hall. We’ll meet those of you coming in from Fiji on Air Pacific FJ411 scheduled to arrive at 12.50pm. Driving through the beautiful city of Auckland you’ll see why it’s called the “City of Sails.” It’s a three-hour drive north to the seaside community of Paihia where we’ll check into our apartments for a three-night stay. A wine on the deck is a perfect way to soak in the views of the bay and feel like you’ve arrived. Dinner this evening is with the locals at a nearby club.  D

We are the only tour company to incorporate Waitangi Day celebrations into our schedule! On this, New Zealand’s national day, we’ll stroll down to the harbor to see the Maori wakas (war canoes) paddle across the harbor – quite a sight! Enjoy a wonderfully relaxing sail in the Bay of Islands on a 50’ yacht. You can take the helm or sit back and relax. We’ll lunch at an unspoiled anchorage and swim in crystal clear waters. Maybe we’ll see dolphins. Stop in at the tiny community of Russell, where musket holes in historic buildings tell tales of less tranquil times. Before dinner we’ll visit the park where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the Maori people and European settlers.  B, L, D

Journey to the top of New Zealand! Drive to Kaitaia to meet our bus for the trip up to the top of the island at Cape Reinga. This includes a drive along 90-Mile Beach where we take a break to stroll the beach. A favorite activity is our stop to climb up sand dunes for a thrilling toboggan ride down. At Cape Reinga we’ll see the broiling waters where the two oceans meet – a top photo spot. We’ll picnic at a beautiful beach where you have time for a dip. This is an especially scenic day. Drive back from Kaitaia and there’s time to stroll the shops before a fresh fish and chip dinner.  B, L, D

We retrace our route south down through Auckland City and then across to the gorgeous Coromandel Peninsula. We’ll stop for lunch at a bakery. Change into swimsuits. It’s an hour’s easy stroll down to Cathedral Cove for swimming and relaxing on the most beautiful beach in New Zealand. The hike back up is wonderfully scenic and there’ll be lots of stops for photos. Check into our motel in the seaside community of Tairua. Enjoy dinner in Tairua on the patio of our favorite local restaurant.  B, D

Drive south through coastal communities in the Bay of Plenty and arrive in Rotorua in time for a concert at a local Maori village. On our walk through this community we’ll see how well the steaming hot pools are utilized by the tribe. Pohutu geyser often erupts while we are there! After lunch we’ll drive south and see boiling mud pools in this volcanically active region. Outside of Taupo enjoy a great soak in the best hot springs in NZ, set divinely in native bush. Our stop at Huka Falls is a dramatic photo opportunity and hopefully there will be a clear view of the three volcanoes across Lake Taupo. There is time for shopping in Taupo and then it’s a short drive to Turangi for the evening where a barbecue dinner is prepared by our hosts.  B, D

After breakfast we’ll meet our guides and climb into wetsuits and paddle off on a great white water rafting adventure. We raft grade 3 rapids on the Tongariro River running through idyllic native forest. After lunch we’ll drive across to Napier, the art deco city rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1931. Another hour‘s drive south and we are welcomed onto a local Maori marae (homeland) in a moving, traditional ceremony. The dinner the tribe prepares for us includes delicious local seafood. We sleep comfortably and communally in the whare where everyone is invited to speak. Our stay on the marae is a tour highlight.  B, L, D

After breakfast it’s a heartfelt farewell to the people of the marae. Our destination is the capital city of Wellington. It may remind you of San Francisco with its scenic harbor and houses clinging to steep hills. Old friends of Cheryl’s will welcome us to lunch in their home. After a scenic drive around Wellington we’re scheduled for an hour tour of Te Papa, the National Museum of NZ. Board a ferry to the South Island, a scenic trip through the Marlborough Sounds. We’ll overnight at a motel in Picton.  B, L

An early start today for a scenic drive across to Nelson then onto Marehau. Sea-kayak the emerald seas and golden beaches of Abel Tasman National Park. Kayak on crystal clear water around the shoreline and across to an island. Relax on the beach and swim while lunch is prepared. If there’s an afternoon sea breeze, we’ll hoist our sails and take the easy way back! Change into dry clothes for our 3-hour journey south. It’s a perfect afternoon to stop for one of New Zealand’s delicious ice creams! Dinner and lodging this evening is in the quiet country town of Murchison.  L, D

Our road south is squeezed between the Southern Alps and a stunning coastline. At Punakiki, walk out to limestone pancake formations and if we’re in luck, the sea will send blowholes into the air. The drive south is often compared with California’s Big Sur. Lunch in Greymouth. There is an afternoon stop in Hokitika where you may want to buy NZ greenstone and even see a live Kiwi. You’ll have an hour in Franz Josef to shop or soak in hot pools. Dinner is “Blue Ice” pizza! Our motel at Fox offers fabulous views of Mt Cook as the sun is setting.  B, D

Lake Matheson at 6am has a stunning reflection of Mount Cook and after a 30 minute bush stroll you will be treated to great photos. Breakfast near the lake. Nowhere in the world at this latitude have glaciers advanced so close to the sea. We’ll climb the fast moving and ever-changing Fox Glacier, walking beside walls of blue ice. This is a high-energy crampon hike, climbing and descending ice steps. After lunch in Fox we’ll travel through Haast Pass to the dry side of the island. We’ll pass magnificent deserted lakes on route to Wanaka then it’s a short hop over the spectacular Crown Range down to historic Arrowtown for dinner. Drive into Queenstown, NZ’s most beautiful city and check into our motel for a three-night stay.  L, D

After a sleep-in and a lazy breakfast we’ll sail on the historic steam ship Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu. At Walter Peak high country sheep station we’ll see a sheep-dog round-up and a shearing demonstration. Enjoy a sumptuous barbecue lunch at the homestead and stroll the beautiful gardens. On the return trip it’s fun to join a piano sing-a-long. Back in the city we board the gondola and are pulled up to the most amazing view of Queenstown. Then we ride another shorter gondola up to the start of our luge ride – fun to be a kid again! You’ll have a couple of hours to shop before dinner at your leisure and make bookings for activities you have planned for your day off tomorrow.  B, L

Day off!! Queenstown is the launching point for trips to world re-known Milford Sound by bus or plane. This activity is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and includes a launch trip where you can photograph waterfalls, fur seals and fabulous scenery. Queenstown has a host of activities for travelers – tandem paragliding, Shotover jet boat rides, wine tours, strolling Arrowtown and you can even jump off Kawerau bridge, the original bungy site! It’s a fun dinner swapping stories of the day’s adventures.  B, D

Our drive north to Rangiora ensures we see a huge amount of the famous South Island scenery today. We’ll pass through the high country sheep stations of Mackenzie Country. We’ll visit Bendigo Station and learn the importance of this farm and how its history shaped the economy of the South Island. The scenic highlight will be views of Mt Cook (from the other side!) if it’s a clear day. It towers above the powder blue glacial waters of Lake Pukaki. Lunch at Lake Tekapo, visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and see the memorial to the beloved sheep dog. Drive to a sheep station farm stay for the evening. Our hosts give us a short tour of their farm and serve a beautiful meal including pavolva dessert! This is a perfect place to relax and reflect on our journey through Aotearoa.  B, D

After breakfast, if there is time before your flights, we’ll drive into the city and see what remains of the beautiful cathedral after the 2010 earthquake. Tour ends. Fly to Auckland to connect with your 2.15pm flight FJ410 arriving Fiji 4.05pm. Board FJ810 departing Fiji at 10:50pm. Arrive at LAX 1:05pm (still Wednesday).  B.

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