Port of call & excursions

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    1. Wellington city sights

      • Port of call : Wellington
      • Length : 4h00

      Enjoy the best of Wellington on this scenic tour.  Leaving the port make your way to the Wellington Botanical Garden. Over 26 hectares of unsurpassed views, unique landscape, exotic forests, native bush, colourful floral displays and gorgeous specialist gardens. Visit the Duck Pond, Begonia House or the award-winning Lady Norwood Rose Garden. Many paths to choose from. Start at Kelburn Station and meander through the garden and meet your coach at the Founders (Main) Entrance.

      Continue on your scenic tour, taking in Wellington's impressive Parliament Buildings, known as the Beehive (photo-stop). Your route will also take you past Wellington Cathedral before arriving at the former Cathedral - Old St. Paul's. This traditional looking former parish church with its stunning stained glass windows and carved oak pulpit is constructed entirely from New Zealand native timbers.

       Have a brief stop here before continuing to Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand's innovative and interactive museum located on Wellington's spectacular waterfront. With your knowledgeable Museum Host, explore the great treasures and stories of this country, it's unique environment, the vitality of Maori culture and its dynamic art heritage. With the combination of latest technology and classic storytelling, Te Papa educates, entertains and inspires. The Mäori words ‘Te Papa Tongarewa’ can be translated to mean 'a container in which precious objects are held'. You will have a 60 minute guided tour to discover the hidden treasures, or you can choose to stay here and return to the ship on your own.

      •  This tour involves approximately 1.3 mile / 2 kms of easy walking at an easy pace.

       

      50.00 €
    2. Rotorua Thermal Wonderland

      • Port of call : Tauranga
      • Length : 9h00

      Join your coach and travel across the countryside for approximately 90 minutes from Tauranga to Rotorua towards Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Wai-O-Tapu (meaning Sacred Waters) is a world of its own - nestled in a natural bush setting it has been sculptured over thousands of years by volcanic activity.  With safety and the environment in mind, clearly defined tracks make up a series of walks. Visitors are provided with a detailed coloured Guide Map which identifies the walks and provides easily understood information on each of the unique volcanic features and vistas.  Translations of this map are available in French. Within the park and supplementing this information are well positioned displays providing depth to the geology of the area and information on some of its fauna and flora.

      You will have enough time to complete Walk 1 (approx 30 minutes) winding its way through the main geothermal activity.  During you walk, see the brilliantly coloured Champagne Pool, renowned for its size, colour and texture. Steaming ground, huge volcanic craters, hot and cold coloured springs.  The Devil’s Bath, the last feature before returning to the Visitor Centre has a water colour that has to be seen to be believed.

      Reboard your tour coach and travel to Te Puia. Te Puia is home to the internationally renowned spouting Pohutu geyser and boasts silica terraces, pools of boiling mud and dramatic steams vents.You will enjoy an exclusive Maori performance in their sacred meeting house and witness their culture and traditions regarding visitors onto their land. The performance includes the world famous haka, a war dance designed to frighten an enemy and intricate hand games that are used to train young warriors.

      Then, enjoy canape's whilst overlooking the world famous Pohutu Geyser before making your way to your Maori inspired lunch. After lunch enjoy some time visiting  Te Puia's Maori Arts & Crafts Institute. Here, the students learn skills ranging from carving to weaving, along with creating flax skirts and patterned bodices, and you will see all this at close hand.

      Before leaving back to your ship, take a drive through Rotorua, viewing the local bath houses, the Rotorua Museum and Government Gardens and Rotorua Lakefront before making the trip back to the ship’s berth at Tauranga.

      • This tour involves walking on well-formed walking tracks. Some steps and gentle gradients at Waiotapu and Te Puia. Distance covers about 1.8 mile/3 kms at leisurely pace. Wear comfortable walking shoes, protect yourself from the sun and bring a light sweater.

      185.00 €
    3. Around Wellington

      • Port of call : Wellington
      • Length : 4h00

      After being completely closed for five years while constructing New Zealand’s largest wind farm, access has been granted to Terawhiti Station.

      From the ship, embark your coach for the 30-minute drive to the farm. Enroute, travel past the Beehive and Parliament buildings, Botanic Gardens and Zealandia on our way to the suburb of Karori.

      Then it’s off the main road and into Wellington’s best scenery. Travel through the farm in air conditioned vehicles, with guaranteed forward facing seats, and plenty of photo opportunities!

      What you’ll see along the way:

      New Zealand Fur Seals : Stop for refreshments at a seal colony. While numbers fluctuate seals are guaranteed year round.

      Wind Turbines: You travel through New Zealand’s largest wind farm. Get right up to the towering 111m turbines, harnessing the wind to generate clean, renewable electricity.

      Terawhiti Farm, one of the North Island’s largest farms and has been in the same family since 1850. Learn about the fascinating history of the area and its connections to Wellington. There are over 3000 wild goats on the property

      Great views: from Tinakori Hill Lookout over the city and harbour.

      Visit where the power cable comes across the Cook Strait and joins the North to the South Island.  Also learn about the local Maori History of this area.

      • This tour is limited to 18 guests and involves about 200 yards/meters of walking.

       

      75.00 €
    4. Maori Experience

      • Port of call : Napier
      • Length : 5h30

      You will be met at the port of Napier by your Maori guide and your tour begins with a 1-hour drive along the picturesque roads, fertile farm land, orchards and vineyards. 

      As you approach the coastal village of Waimarama the dramatic coastal landscape appears with breathtaking views of the island Motu O Kura which sits just off the coast of Waimarama in the Pacific Ocean.  You will learn of its legend and its importance to the local Maori. 

      Upon disembarking the coach and after you have had time to use the rest rooms, you will hear the sound of the conch shell signalling to the ‘home people’ that you have arrived. The warrior will place a peace offering on the ground which will be accepted by your elected chief. Your group must meet the warrior’s challenge before you can be greeted into the outdoor arena of the ‘Arch of the Ancestors’ by the ‘home people’ and participate in the moving and powerful customs of the greeting ceremony. 

      After the traditional welcome, you will spend time with the ‘home people’ in small groups as you are shown different crafts and customs by which their people survived.  You will see demonstrations of some of the various traditional activities all of which are still practiced tod ay:  

      • Witness the fighting drills of the warriors and learn about weaponry.
      • Discover the art and skill of flax weaving, dance, and the other graceful Maori customs.
      • Hear the sounds of the various ancient musical instruments.
      • See how the native eel, a major food resource, was gathered and maintained in the natural wetland habitat.

      Make your way back to Napier township and learn about the devestation 1931 earthquake that forced the town to rebuild. Note the marvelous Art Deco buildings of that time through your city drive before returning to the port.

      •  This tour involves approximately 0.6 mile / 1 km of walking at an easy pace over uneven bush terrain. Wear comfortable walking shoes and protect yourself from the sun.

       

      60.00 €
    5. Cape Kidnappers & gannets

      • Port of call : Napier
      • Length : 5h30

      Begin your excursion with a drive down Napier’s beautiful Marine Parade with its stand of tall Norfolk pines. Continue along the Hawke’s Bay coast to Cape Kidnappers Station. From there, the unpaved road crosses rolling pastures, riverbeds and gullies. You will stop just a few yards from the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers, affording a close-up look at the birds. The gannet is a member of the booby family, and is easily recognized by its distinctive black eye markings and pale gold crown. The birds arrive here at the colony in the latter part of July, and their chicks hatch in late November and December. Migration begins again in March. You will see gannets swooping and diving into the sea for food, while others preen themselves or perform the ritual dance of recognition.

      Cape Kidnappers is one of only two known mainland gannet colonies in the world.

      Following your gannet-watching experience, on the way back to the farm, you will enjoy light refreshments. Then relax for the 30-minute journey back to Napier with an orientation drive and a stroll through the art deco district, en route to the ship.

      • This tour involves very little walking over uneven and gravel path. The Cape Kidnappers Gannet Reserve is managed by the Department of Conservation for the purpose of protecting the gannet nesting sites.  The 13 hectare reserve includes the Saddle and Black Reef gannet colonies. Both are closed to public access.  All revenue generated goes into the management and protection of the Gannet colonies.  Access is undertaken by commercial tourism operators licensed by the Department of Conservation.

       

      130.00 €
    6. Marlborough aviation, history & sights

      • Port of call : Picton
      • Length : 4h30

      Marlborough is known as New Zealand’s Gourmet Province, and is the nation’s leading producer of fine wines, garlic, olives, cherries, salmon and mussels. Today, you will see the best of what this sunny region has to offer.

      From Picton, travel through the rich farmlands of the Koromiko Valley to Blenheim, the main town of the Marlborough province.  Start with a visit to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, a stunning complex best described as movie set with amazing exhibits of World War 1 aircraft skilfully brought to life. Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre houses a display like no other and you don’t have to be an aviation buff to enjoy it!  Human stories from the Great War come to life in a theatrical treatment, which is innovative and visually stunning. Captivating scenes depict the aircraft in context, some recreating actual incidents. The rare memorabilia is worthy of any national collection and ranges from beautifully crafted ‘trench art’ through to personal items belonging to the famous Red Baron himself.

      Then it’s time to go and visit Forrest Estate.  The estate’s Marlborough winery and tasting room are nestled in amongst the vineyards in the heart of Sauvignon Blanc country just outside of the town of Renwick. At the entrance to Forrest wines stands a prominent stone wall built of the very stones that come from the surrounding area of the Wairau Valley. Beyond the wall the driveway winds through the oldest Sauvignon Blanc vineyard, over the small stone bridge and into a beautiful park setting, with willow trees and a duck pond. The winery prides itself on providing informative discussions about its wines, winemaking and the region. Your time here will include, a premium tasting with a winemaker plus a hosted walk in the vines (weather permitting) before leaving this tranquil area and heading back to the ship.  

      Return to Picton via Spring Creek and Tuamarina. Head through to Rarangi beach and enjoy a slow walk along the beach at Rarangi on the rugged coast of Cloudy Bay. Walk over to Monkey Bay an easy 10 minute walk where you will have fantastic sweeping views down the coastline.

      • This tour involves very little walking.

      130.00 €
    7. Queen Charlotte Sound cruise

      • Port of call : Picton
      • Length : 4h00

      The Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island are one of the most beautiful and tranquil places in New Zealand. Richly endowed with jewels of natural beauty, this intricate maze of waterways with its attractive beaches and lush greenery provides for the perfect nature experience.

      Your excursion starts with a 30-minute coach ride to Picton Marina where you will board a catamaran and travel through Queen Charlotte Sounds. Queen Charlotte Sound is the easternmost of the main sounds of the Marlborough Sounds, in New Zealand's South Island. It is, like the other sounds, a drowned river valley (or ria).  

      Take in the natural beauty and tranquility of this fantastic area and enjoy a commentary on the history of Marlborough Sounds and the pioneering people who have settled here over six generations. Among the variety of wildlife you may see terns, shags, blue penguins, and even dolphins and seals. The skipper will point these out as you cruise the Queen Charlotte Sounds.

      During your journey, you will pass by a Salmon Farm and learn how this world class product is grown in the Marlborough Sounds. Depending on the sea conditions, guests may have the oppurtunity to step onto the Salmon Farm and feed the fish.

      Marlborough is the Greenshell Mussel capital of the world, see what a Greenshell Mussel farm is and your boat captain will explain why this delicacy grows so well in the Marlborough Sounds.

      Continue your cruise and enjoy a tasting of local salmon products served as nibbles and also try some fresh steamed NZ Greensheel Mussels which is matched with a crisp glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

      • This scenic boat tour involves very little walking. This tour needs a minimum of 22 participants and is limited to 40. Animals sightings, though frequent, are not guaranteed.

       

      130.00 €
    8. Queen Charlotte cruise & walk

      • Port of call : Picton
      • Length : 3h30

      Enjoy a bush hike of approximately one and a half  hours on an easy to moderate trail.

      Your excursion begins with a 15-minute walk to the wharf from where you will take a 45- minute cruise across the Queen Charlotte Sound.

      You will cruise across to Mistletoe Bay, where you will disembark with your guide. Your 1 ½ hour walking tour will follow a trail which loops around a peninsula with spectacular coastal views. The loop is part of the renowned Queen Charlotte Track system that attracts visitors from all over the world.

      The trail leads through regenerating native forest , with some large stands of tree ferns, manuka and beech trees. Some sections may be somewhat steep, rough or muddy therefore strong footwear is necessary. The song of native birds will be the only sound to disturb the peaceful surroundings. Nearby you will be able to venture into a fully protected “James Vogel” reserve section of native rainforest to experience what the forest on the peninsula will be like in hundreds of years to come. On your return journey , enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit while exploring some secluded bays only accessible by boat.

      • This tour involves 1 ½ hour walking over uneven terrain with exposed roots. Wear comfortable walking shoes and protect yourself from the sun.

       

      90.00 €
    9. Otago peninsula & wildlife

      • Port of call : Port Chalmers-Dunedin Harbour
      • Length : 6h00

      Your tour starts with a picturesque drive past the charming towns of Sawyer’s Bay, Roseneath and St. Leonard’s, which all rest along the shores of beautiful Otago Harbor.  Making your way into Dunedin, you will enjoy a brief orientation tour of the city which includes a drive past the Botanical Gardens and the historic University of Otago before heading east from the city to the Royal Albatross colony at Taiaroa Head.  

      Arriving at the Royal Albatross Centre, your visit will begin at the Reception Centre where you will be given an informative introduction to the colony before being escorted to the observatory.  In order to ensure the birds are not unduly disturbed, access to the colony is strictly controlled and extensive measures have been taken to protect the birds’ natural habitat. As you will learn, these incredible birds have a fascinating social and family life and while seeming so ungainly on the ground, are truly magnificent to watch in flight. What an exhilarating experience it is to have one of these huge Albatrosses, with its incredible wing span of nearly 10ft., glide smoothly and gracefully close-by to you.   

      Continuing on from here, travel a short distance to Natures Wonders. Arriving at the Centre’s Reception area, you will be given a full overview of safety procedures before boarding the Argo, an eight-wheel drive vehicle, built specifically to take you places that are normally inaccessible.

      The Otago Peninsula headland is arguably the most precious wildlife habitat in New Zealand and the farm owned by the Reid family is right on the forefront of this headland.  Here, amidst truly spectacular scenery, the world’s rarest penguins, Hoiho the ”yellow-eyed,” the little blue penguins, the New Zealand fur seals and the Spotted Shags all live in harmony. 

      The first stop along your route will be the mythical “Maui’s Footprint” location which offers breath-taking panoramic views over the Otago Peninsula.  Descending from a height of 620 ft./188m above sea level, you will then stop at a breeding colony of Cormorants (Spotted Shag), found nestled on a rugged cliff face that rises directly above the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.

      Continuing on, you will arrive at a “hide” for a very close encounter with a breeding colony of New Zealand Fur seals and their adorable pups.

      • This tour includes a basic boxed lunch as there are no restaurant facilities on this tour. Wildlife sightings, though frequent, are not guaranteed. The “Argo” portion of the tour will only be conducted in English.

      160.00 €
    10. Taieri Gorge railway

      • Port of call : Port Chalmers-Dunedin Harbour
      • Length : 6h00

      Disembarking the ship, a short bus transfer will take you to the train (railcars are reserved for the exclusive use of Ponant guests). Then your journey begins which is sure to be a highlight of your visit to New Zealand.  Welcomed aboard by the friendly crew, you will be served morning tea as you settle in for an amazing excursion into areas only accessible by train.

      You will first travel alongside beautiful Otago Harbour before turning inland to traverse suburban Dunedin. Leaving the city behind, your train will first pass through the fertile farm land of the Taieri plains before climbing into the Taieri River Gorge. Famous for its sheer cliff faces and dramatic ravines that frame the paradoxically tranquil Taieri River, the kaleidoscope of spectacular scenery that unfolds before you is quite simply, breath-taking.

      The railroad itself is a true marvel, having been built by early pioneers through some of New Zealand’s most rugged terrain; its very existence is considered by many to be a remarkable feat. From your vantage point aboard the train, you will get an up-close look at the intricate work of the skilled railway gangs, stonemasons and engineers who carved the high bridges and produced the labyrinth of latticework that supports the soaring viaducts that comprise this historic train route. 

      As you relax and enjoy the magnificent landscape, you will be served a boxed lunch aboard the train including local wine and beer. During the course of your journey, your train will wind its way through the gorge, passing one unspoiled panorama after another while navigating through rock tunnels and crossing dramatic bridges suspended high above the river below. Several stops will be made along the route in which you may alight from the train and capture some photos that will surely become memorable keepsakes of your holiday.

      On returning to Dunedin, the train stops at the Dunedin Railway Station, a superb example of Edwardian architecture.

      • This tour includes morning tea and a vegetarian boxed lunch. Beverages included are bottled water, soda, beer or 1 glass of local wine. The train stops at a couple of places where local markets are set up, only local currency is accepted.

       

      160.00 €
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