COAST TO COAST
(Auckland to Christchurch v.v.)

   

The tour offers you a taste of the types of climate and nature in New Zealand. We start with a tour of the countries largest city Auckland and its black sand surf beaches. From here we travel north to the forests with their gigantic Kauri trees. This area once supplied the whole world with timber for boat-building. The steep and winding roads make you wonder how it was possible to transport these logs to the harbours.

We visit Cape Reinga, the most northern tip of the main land. This is where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific ocean, a very spectacular sight especially when the seas are rough. To finish a nice day of riding we take the '90 Mile Beach' down to Kaitaia. A unique experience in itself to ride this almost endless beach just before sunset!

Historical grounds await us in Waitangi, the country's first capital, today a mere village. Here the British signed the treaty with the Maori tribes. Further down the coast we make a stop at Whangarei in the world heritage park and spend the day at the 'Poor Knights Islands' marine reserve, a subtropical dive and snorkel paradise. From here the tour takes us to the Coromandel Peninsula, an historic goldmining area with dense forest and beautiful beaches. New Zealand is known for its kiwi fruits and on our way to Rotorua we pass through the kiwi orchards of the Bay of Plenty. In Rotorua, the Maori capital, we make a longer stop to learn more about the Maori culture and way of life. Rotorua is also the largest geothermal area in New Zealand and offers many interesting sights.

The next stop is Taupo and the enormous crater lake, from here we follow the heritage trail to Stratford at the foot of Mt Taranaki, the volcano that gave the west coast its black sand. From here we head for the capital Wellington and spend some time to explore the town, before the ferry takes us through the Marlborough sounds to Picton and the South island. In Kaikoura we visit the seal colony and have an opportunity to go whale watching and to swim with dolphins.

We follow the coast southwards to Dunedin where yet again we have a chance to see wildlife at close range. Albatrosses, sea-lions and penguins inhabit the Otago Peninsula. We leave the civilised world behind and head for the worlds most southern rainforest; Fiordlands National Park. The natural beauty and remote location of this part of the country with hundreds of waterfalls and fiords is almost unmatched in the world. We make camp in Te Anau and visit the Homer Tunnel and the Milford Sounds with boat sightseeing and scenic flights available.

Our next stop is Queenstown, a beautifully situated little town by lake Wakatipu. Queenstown used to be a goldmining but today has become an adrenalin and action sport Mecca. It was here that the Bungy jump was invented. Other things to try are white water rafting, jet boats, paragliding, skydiving etc. Queenstown also offers more relaxed sightseeing such as steamboat rides on the lake, walks around town or a visit to Arrowtown, a well preserved goldmining town.

We continue through Haast pass and visit the Glaciers Franz Josef and Fox in Westland National Park. This part of the country is as remote and empty as Alaska. We follow the coast on the foot of the Southern Alps to Hokitika where we cross through the majestic Arthur's Pass to reach the end of our trip, the 2nd largest New Zealand city Christchurch. Christchurch is a typical "English-style" city with a friendly atmosphere and a rich cultural heritage. We will spend a day sightseeing here.

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