New Zealand Off-Grid

15 Days from $2,946*pp multi share

Sometimes you just want to get off the tourist trails. Sometimes you're on the hunt for local experiences. Sometimes you're hungry for accommodation that’s truly special - accessible only by boat, or not usually open to the public. That’s why we've put together New Zealand Off-Grid. From learning the ways of Māori culture to hand-feeding parakeets in the wilderness of Lochmara, this isn’t more of the same: this is the future of travel - conscious, hyper-local and as authentic as it gets.


Talk to an agent


Inclusions

  • 15 nights accommodation
  • 10 breakfasts, 5 dinners
  • Coach, Ferry & Boat
  • An experienced Trip Manager & Driver Team plus local guides

Top Included Experiences

  • Take a behind the scenes tour of the of a Kiwi conservation project at the Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter
  • Learn about the wildlife recovery programme at Lochmara on a guided conservation tour
  • Visit the New Zealand Kiwi Hatchery at Rainbow Springs near Rotorua and hear about their efforts to save New Zealand's adorable national bird
  • Explore the hiking trails at Blue Duck Station, along the banks of both the Whanganui and Retaruke Rivers
  • Get a guided city tour of the captivating cultural hub of Wellington
  • Enjoy included kayaking, SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) and hiking from your base at Lochmara Lodge
  • Hike to the coastal paradise of Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Take a guided city tour of a city in transition: Christchurch
  • Immerse yourself in an awe-inspiring multimedia Dark Sky Reserve experience, 13.8 billion years in the making, combining science and tātai arora (Māori astronomy)
  • Take an early morning hike to Kea Point to see a golden sunrise fall over majestic Mt Cook
  • Start the morning with a yoga session at Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat

Travel Dates: Various departures dates available between December 2020 - February 2021 



Itinerary

DAY 1 - Auckland to Raglan 

Welcome to Auckland! We'll meet and greet in New Zealand's largest city today, before setting off on our first adventure. 

Surf's up! Welcome to the laid-back town of Raglan, set along the mesmerising Manu Bay. As well as an easy-going surf culture and word-class swells, Raglan is a tight-knit and eco-conscious community. The people who live here champion numerous green initiatives to ensure the town has an environmental impact, and we'll learn how the residents keep green before hitting the waves. You can do as the locals do and opt for some surf lessons, or if you're after something a bit different, Stand Up Paddle Boarding is a great way to explore the coast with a bit more stability. As the evening draws in, we'll have the option to end our first day in style, with a cruise and dinner while we watch the sunset along the bay. NZ - you've stolen our hearts already, and we're just getting started.

Free TimeAdd-ons:

  • Master the waves with a surf lesson at the chilled surf town of Raglan
  • Take a Stand-Up Paddle Board Tour along the coast of Raglan
  • Take a sunset dinner cruise along the bay of Raglan

Stay: Sunset Motel


DAY 2 - Raglan to Rotorua 

See ya, Raglan; what a cool little town you are. Don't be too sad, though - we're headed onto Rotorua next.

When you catch your first whiff of that .. 'unusual' sulphur smell, you'll know we've arrived in Rotorua. Famed for its spurting geysers, bubbling hot springs and lush canopies, Rotorua is a natural wonderland, and then some. It's also home to the Ngāti Whakaue Māori tribe, who will be our hosts for the next two nights. That's right, this is the first Special Stay of our trip, a traditional lakeside Marae, which is a traditional, ornately carved Māori home. Our hosts will make use feel welcome as they teach us Tikanga and Kawa, their customs and protocols. We'll then help them in the preparation of the steam Hangi (dinner) as they tell stories around the kitchen table. After a meal, we'll learn about Māori spirituality and healing practises, before the moment you've been waiting for. Yep, put on your best war face, as you're about to learn a haka! After showing you the ropes, our hosts will show us how it's done with their own cultural performance. Pinch yourself, it doesn't get much more authentic than this.

Stay: Marae (Special Stay)


DAY 3 - Rotorua

The day is yours to roam free in this remarkable landscape. If you're feeling active, hike up volcanic Mt Tarawera or go White Water Rafting in the Kaituna River. Alternatively, you can take a Pounamu (jade) carving lesson with a local Māori master craftsman. This stone is sacred to the Māori people, and as well as being an incredible cultural experience, you get a beautiful piece of jewellery at the end of it. Another optional highlight today is the Rotorua canopy tour. This will see you rise with the dawn and watch the sunset from a platform high up in the trees. After a coffee and some breakfast, you'll then harness up and soar through the treetops on your zipline. It's an enthralling way to experience Rotorua's stunning scenery. In this natural playground, the options are limitless and the decisions are yours.

Included Experiences:

  • Take a behind the scenes tour of the of a Kiwi conservation project at the Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter

Free Time Add-ons:

  • Hike the unique volcanic landscape of Mt Tarawera, Rotorua NZ$149
  • Go white water rafting down the crashing Kaituna River
  • Explore native rainforest at dawn with breakfast & coffee followed by ziplining on a Contiki Exclusive Rotorua Rainforest Canopy tour (from Oct 2020)
  • Visit a Māori master pounamu (jade) carver in Rotorua & learn how to carve your own masterpiece

Stay: Marae (Special Stay)



DAY 4 - Rotorua to Blue Duck Station

Leaving Rotorua behind, we'll stop off at the Treadright-supported New Zealand Kiwi hatchery, where we'll meet New Zealand's adorable but vulnerable national animal. We'll learn all about the incredible conservation effort being made for New Zealand's native birds, and also get the cuteness overload when we see some of the chicks. Then, staying on theme, we're headed to Blue Duck Station.

Another day, another Special Stay! Blue Duck station is nestled in the wilderness of the Ruapehu District, surrounded by Whanganui National Park. The site aims to conserve New Zealand's endangered wildlife, particularly its birdlife. Some of the kiwis we met earlier are released into the area surrounding the Station. Tonight, we'll enjoy an included farm to plate dinner, with produce harvested on the farm and meat that's been hunted in the surrounding bush. It's as sustainable as it gets, and it's utterly delicious.

Included Experiences:

  • Depart Ohinemutu with a traditional Poroporoaki, Māori farewell ceremony
  • The New Zealand Kiwi Hatchery at Rainbow Springs
  • A lunch stop in the North Island's lakeside resort town 
  • A fresh & sustainably-sourced farm-to-table feast

Stay: Blue Duck Station (Special Stay)


DAY 5 - Blue Duck Station

Rise and shine, we've got endless options for an adventure filled day today. With over 5,000 acres of tracked land, the land surrounding the station is perfect for hiking or horse trekking, as you traverse bush canopies, pine forests and mountain passes. You could kayak the Whanganui river (with a return journey by Jet Boat for the sake of your tired arms), or maybe take a bush safari.

On this adventure you'll learn what the Blue Duck station is all about as you hear about their conservation work and even kayak to the Kaiwhakauka falls in summer - eyes peeled for the blue duck itself! In the evening, there's an option to try the Chef's Table fine dining experience. Under the summer night's sky, framed by Mt Ruapehu, you'll enjoy a 10 course degustation menu, with every ingredient sourced from the local land.

Included Experiences:

  • Explore the hiking trails at Blue Duck Station
  • The New Zealand Kiwi Hatchery at Rainbow Springs
  • A lunch stop in the North Island's lakeside resort town 

Free Time Add-ons:

  • A half day horseriding adventure
  • Kayak from Whakahoro into Whanganui National Park and get picked up by jet boat later
  • A Blue Duck Station ATV bush safari
  • A unique Chef's Table 10-course fine dining experience under the night sky

Stay: Blue Duck Station (Special Stay)


DAY 6 - Blue Duck Station to Wellington

We're headed out of the wilderness today and into the compact cultural hub of Wellington.

With its stunning hook-shaped harbour and vibrant food scene, Wellington is a city like no other. After getting acquainted with the place with an included city tour, we'll visit the National Museum of Te Papa, before heading into town to explore the food & nightlife scene..

Included Experiences:

  • A guided city tour of the captivating cultural hub of Wellington
  • Visit Te Papa Museum

Stay: Abel Tasman Hotel


DAY 7 - WELLINGTON TO MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS

We'll have a morning to explore Wellington further today. This place has more cafes per capita than NYC, so make sure you grab brunch before we take a boat ride from Picton towards the Lochmara Lodge.

We're catching the ferry to the wild and wonderful South Island, where we'll hop on a smaller boat to travel to our next Special Stay - only accessible by water. Lochmara Lodge is more than just a place to stay, it's a natural haven, and a unique way to experience the magic of the Marlborough Sounds. There's no road access and no TVs - just gorgeous views, nature walks, art and wildlife and, at night, clear starswept skies. Facilities include free kayaks and paddleboards, hammocks, a beach, and world famous nature trails.

There's also the Underwater Observatory, where we'll get a tour from a marine biologist who will tell us all about their work to replenish fish populations of the sounds. We'll also take the sculpture and art trail along 10 acres of a 'living gallery' with mixed media art by renowned global artists.

Stay: Lochmara Lodge (Special Stay)


DAY 8 - Marlborough Sounds 

We've got a full day to explore the sounds. Go kayaking or stand up paddleboarding, hike to the Queen Charlotte Sound or take the Seafood Odyssey Cruise. Featuring Regal salmon, Cloudy Bay clams and Greenshell mussels with local Sauvignon Blanc for the perfect food and wine match, you'll also get to enjoy the beauty of the sounds as you cruise aboard a luxury launch. Bliss.

Included Experiences: 

  • Kayaking, SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) and hiking
  • Hike to the coastal paradise of Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Explore 10 acres of living gallery
  • Learn about the wildlife recovery programme
  • Hand-feed native parakeets and stingrays

Free TimeAdd-ons:

  • Take a cruise of the sunken valleys of the Marlborough Sounds while enjoying a seafood feast paired with local wine

Stay: Lochmara Lodge (Special Stay)



DAY 9: Marlborough Sounds to Christchurch

We're taking a quick break from nature today as we head onto Christchurch.

Christchurch is still recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquakes that destroyed its centre, but it remains a vibrant city steeped in its European heritage. We'll check out the local sights of this city in transition with an included tour before retiring and getting ready for our next venture into nature.

Included Experiences:

  • A guided city tour of a city in transition: Christchurch

Stay: Breakfree on Cashel


DAY 10 - Christchurch to Mt Cook

Get ready for your next Special Stay in Mt Cook - but first, we have a unique stop on the agenda.

We'll stop off to see the intense milky blue waters of glacially-fed Lake Tekapo, and here, we'll also get to enjoy an unforgettable Dark Sky experience. You'll be blown away by this interactive multimedia exhibition that mixes stargazing, science and traditional Māori astronomy, teaching us how the Māori people originally used to use stars to harvest food, and about the importance of limiting light pollution.

Our next Special Stay is a lodge located in Mt Cook National Park, a majestic landscape of glaciers, terminal lakes, turbulent rivers and Australasia's tallest peak, the mighty Aoraki (Mt Cook) soaring above at 3,724 metres. There's endless adventures to choose from today - walk some of the famed hiking trails or take a scenic flight over the glacier followed by a snow landing and glacier walk. If heights aren't your thing, take a cruise up close to the glaciers, where you to touch and taste 300-500 year old glacial crystals. As the pitch black night draws in, opt for a unique stargazing experience.

Included Experiences:

  • An awe-inspiring multimedia Dark Sky Reserve experience
  • A short and spectacular hike to Tasman Glacier Lake

Free Time Add-ons:

  • Fly in a plane and helicopter over the soaring peaks of majestic Mt Cook, followed by a glacier snow landing
  • Visit the Tasman Glacier, cruise the terminal lakes past icebergs and crystals & touch 300-500 year old glacial crystals
  • A unique stargazing experience 

Stay: Mt Cook Lodge


DAY 11 - Mt Cook To Glenorchy 

Rise and shine! You won't want to miss our morning hike to Kea point, to watch a golden sunrise stretch over the mountains. Hungry? We've definitely earned a buffet breakfast, and we'll enjoy floor to ceiling views of Mt Cook as we dine in the Heritage Hotel.

Whether or not you have any room left after breakfast, you'll be happy to know we have a quick stop off for lunch in Arrowtown, New Zealand's historic gold-mining town. A bit like a New Zealand version of the Wild West, Arrowtown is full of charming wooden-fronted shops, cafes and remnants of the goldrush era. Be sure to check out the replica miner's huts, buy some flakes of gold, wade in the river where people still go gold-panning, or buy some old-timey sweets from the Remarkable Sweet Shop on the main street.

Arriving in Glenorchy we'll get a guided tour of our eco-retreat Special Stay. Nestled among some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery, this place celebrates nature through buildings designed with non-toxic construction materials, native plantings, and creative touches from New Zealand artists and craftspeople. State-of-the-art technology helps to reduce water and energy use. We'll enjoy an included Kiwi BBQ dinner before turning in for the night. 

Included Experiences:

  • Early morning hike to Kea Point 
  • A full buffet breakfast at the Heritage Hotel 
  • Stop off in the charming historic goldrush settlement of Arrowtown

Stay: Eco Retreat (Special Stay)


DAY 12 - Glenorchy 

We've got a day to explore the great outdoors! Lucky us. Maybe start the day with some free yoga; after that the opportunities are limitless. Get the ultimate thrill with some tandem skydiving; take an e-bike tour of the Routeburn track; maybe take the safari kayak adventure and explore the islands of Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by the spectacular Southern Alps...New Zealand is the gift that keeps on giving, and we're not done yet.

Included Experiences:

  • A morning yoga session at Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat

Free Time Add-ons:

  • Hike part of the Routeburn Track
  • e-bike tour of the Routeburn track Glenorchy
  • AGlenorchy kayak safari

Stay: Eco Retreat (Special Stay)


  • DAY 13 - Glenorchy To Queenstown 

Glenorchy, it's been emotional, but we're headed to the adventure capital of the world.

Framed by the aptly named Remarkable Mountains, the birthplace of bungee gets the pulse racing in more ways than one. We'll take an orientation tour, and then there's a menu of adventures to choose from. So, where to start? You might be the one trailing through wine country and doing a spot of horseback riding, or you may insist on cramming in a bungy jump, a skydive and a heliraft. It's your adventure - run wild as you see fit.

Included Experiences:

  • Check out Queenstown's top adventure spots & nightlife

Free Time Add-ons:

  • AJ Hackett's Ledge Swing (NZ$165)
  • AJ Hackett Ledge bungy (NZ$205)
  • Take the plunge on the world's OG bungy at Kawarau Bridge  (NZ$205)
  • Paddle over Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu with Funyaks kayaking
  • An splashy adventure thrill ride on Queenstown's Shotover Jet  (NZ$129)

Stay: Jucy Snooze

 



DAY 14 - Queenstown

With our last day (sob) in adrenaline city ahead of us, this is the time to push yourself to the limits and hurl over any mental barriers you've put up around yourself. Maybe conquer those niggling fears once and for all.

We recommend the exhilarating Shotover Jet experience, where you can throw those hands in the air as you fly through narrow Shotover canyons at speeds of up to 85 kph. For those who did their dash yesterday, a day staying mellow and enjoying the beautiful wineries, cute cafes and incredible mountains is fine too!

Free Time Add-ons:

  • Jump off the third highest bungy platform in the world (NZ$275)
  • Go all out with Thrillogy - 3 of Queenstown's world class bungy jumps including the historic Kawarau Bungy, the freestyle Ledge Bungy, and the hair-raising Nevis Bungy (NZ$420)
  • The 300m Nevis Swing, one of the world's biggest canyon swings   (NZ$210)
  • Swing through the tree tops on a Ziptrek Zipline tour  (NZ$198)
  • Tour and tasting of a Central Otago Wine vineyard and Craft Brewery (NZ$210)
  • Enjoy dinner with unparallelled views at Queenstown's Skyline restaurant (NZ$85)

Stay:Jucy Snooze (Hostel)


DAY 15 - Queenstown

This morning our adventure comes to an end (sob) here in Queenstown, or you can take an optional transfer back to Christhurch. Hug it out with your New Zealand crew. We're sad to say goodbye, but memories of what we've experienced will put stupid grins on our faces for years to come.



*Terms and Conditions: Pricing correct as of 19 August 2020, available for new bookings only, per person, multi share. Valid for departure 6 December 2020. Additional dates and pricing are available. $99 per person deposit is vaild until 31 December 2020 secure your future travel with Contiki. Applicable for travel December 6, 2020 – February 17, 2021. Contact your local italktravel & cruise agent for more.