Stay in modern and luxurious accommodations with us in New Zealand. Our hotel in the village of Fox Glacier has rooms with private balconies offering views overlooking the lower Fox Valley and Cook River Valley. Enjoy stunning lakeview rooms from our hotel in Queenstown. Explore the city of Auckland from our conveniently located modern luxury hotel in the center of the city.
NEW ZEALAND is a small country. It is about the size of Colorado with a sparse population of only four million people. Maori were the first to arrive in New Zealand journeying in canoes from Hawaii about 1,000 years ago where they set up a tribal society that thrived for hundreds of years. Abel Tasman, a Dutchman, was the first European to sight the country, but it was the British who were the backbone of colonization. In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi, an agreement between the British Crown and Maori, was signed. It established British law in New Zealand, while at the same time guaranteeing Maori authority over their land and culture. The Treaty is considered New Zealand’s founding document. The grounds and the building where the treaty was signed have been preserved, and today the Waitangi Historic Reserve is a popular tourist attraction.
New Zealand’s spectacularly beautiful landscape and temperate maritime climate includes vast mountain chains, steaming volcanoes, sweeping coastlines, deeply indented fjords and lush rain-forests. It is a haven for those seeking peace, rejuvenation and relaxation as well as a playground for adventurers. Our small group escorted tour takes full advantage of everything New Zealand has to offer.
AUCKLAND: Our guided adventure tour takes us sailing on a genuine Americas’ Cup yacht. We become the crew and are encouraged to take the helm, exert energy on the grinders or simply sit back and enjoy the thrill of these grand prix racing machines as you sail down lovely Auckland Harbor
WAIHEKE ISLAND is one of the jewels of the Hauraki Gulf. It’s just a 40 minute ferry ride from the hustle and bustle of downtown Auckland but, in landscape, lifestyle and experience, it’s a whole world away.
Our small group and private guide visit includes beautiful galleries and craft boutiques in this homeland of artists. There are plenty of places to enjoy a good coffee or a taste of New Zealand’s fresh Pacific Rim cuisine. The island also boasts more than a dozen high-quality vineyards, many with relaxed restaurants on site. Since the 1970s the island’s Mediterranean climate has seen the growth of a flourishing wine industry with low quantities of high quality fruit. We will visit three selected wineries with wine tastings Among the better-known wineries are Goldwater, Mudbrick, Peninsula Estate and Stonyridge. Enjoy local wine while looking out over vine-covered valleys to the blue sea beyond!
WAITOMO CAVES: On our guided tour of the famous Waitomo Caves we discover an ancient underground labyrinth of limestone caves and grottos. See the fascinating limestone formations of stalagmites, stalactites and columns that have formed over thousands of years then enjoy a silent boat ride on an underground river into the starry wonderland of the magnificent Glow-worm Grotto. Afterwards drive on across picturesque farming country and over the bush clad Mamaku Ranges to Rotorua.
ROTORUA: Rainbow Springs is a showcase of New Zealand’s natural flora and fauna. We have a private guided tour which includes the opportunity to see the rare Tuatara lizard, New Zealand’s only reptile species and the Kiwi bird in a special nocturnal enclosure. We also see huge trout and native birds as well as crystal clear freshwater streams and deep fern fringed pools. We are entertained at the Agrodome sheep show and the Government Gardens. Our small group relaxes in the natural mineral water of a Lake Spa at Polynesian Thermal Pools. The Lake Spa Retreat offers unique and exclusive bathing in four hot mineral rock pools with lovely views over Lake Rotorua. Our group adventure includes a exclusive guided tour of Te Puia, the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, to see the geysers and other fascinating thermal activity and the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, where young Maori are learning traditional carving and weaving skills. Enjoying dinner and a concert of Maori song and dance in the magnificent carved Meeting House in the Maori village is a highlight.
ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK: Take a scenic cruise up the coastline viewing en-route the world-famous Split Apple Rock, New Zealand Fur Seals, golden sands and the turquoise waters of Anchorage, Bark Bay, Tonga Quarry, Awaroa and Totaranui Beach. Then drop off at Medlands Beach at for a varied walk to Anchorage Beach. Scenic highlights en-route include South Head lookout, the famous Falls River swing-bridge and time permitting, Cleopatra’s Pool.
PUNAKAIKI is renowned for its wild, rugged coastline and the famous ‘Pancake Rocks’ and blow holes. These stratified limestone stacks are an extraordinary monument of nature. There are various scenic walks and hiking opportunities in this beautiful isolated area of New Zealand.
HOKITIKA: At Greenstone Factory in Hokitika, a local jade-like stone highly prized by pre-European Maori is crafted into the most exquisite jewellery.
FOX GLACIER offers a half-day eco-adventure guided walk onto the glacier, which is a huge river of snow and ice that flows from vast snowfields high in the Alps down almost to sea level. Walk beside the riverbed to the track, which zig-zags slowly uphill for forty-five minutes through ferns and regenerating temperate rainforest. Enjoy fantastic views of the glacier and its upper and lower icefalls. From its high point, the track winds down to the edge of the ice, where you are outfitted with instep crampons to follow the ice steps cut by the guides. The route takes you onto the ice among crevasses and ice ridges that lead you into the middle of the glacier for spectacular views of the icefall and lower glacier.
MILFORD SOUND: We board a boat for a nature cruise past towering Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea. The scenery, some of the best in New Zealand, is stunning with cascading waterfalls, dense rainforest, steep cliff faces and marine life that inhabits these waters
MT COOK NATIONAL PARK: There are 17 peaks above 10,000 feet in Mt Cook National Park, including New Zealand’s tallest peak, Mt Cook (12,349 ft). The scenery is spectacular and excellent for photographers. We also can walk some of the shorter alpine trails or for optional sightseeing take a 4-wheel drive tour to the Tasman Glacier or even a scenic flight with a glacier landing.
QUEENSTOWN: There is plenty to do in this wonderful alpine resort. Suggest a river rafting on the famous Shotover River. Other options are a cruise on the 1912 vintage lake steamer TSS Earnslaw or the thrill of a Shotover Jetboat ride. Another option is a day hike on the famous Routeburn Track.
New Zealand has a rich natural environment, which is protected in ways that range from vast national parks to the everyday actions of individual people. The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people”. New Zealand’s focus on ecotourism brings us in contact with some of the country’s diverse ecosystems. Wildlife and indigenous culture interact with natural elements in a sustainable, conservative and responsible way. Biotrek's Eco-vacations in New Zealand seek to add richness and diversity!
New Zealand is a magical country of amazing landscapes full of amazing wildlife. The vast open spaces filled with stunning rugged landscapes, gorgeous beaches, temperate climate and fascinating animal and plant life make New Zealand’s natural environment an expedition of great importance. There are many different landscapes, environments and ecosystems very close to each other for our small group to explore. Travel photography is excellent.
Besides the magnificent environment , one thing that is particular about New Zealand is it’s policy on protecting the aboriginals – the Maoris. In New Zealand, Maori language and traditions are woven into everyday life, offering visitors a fascinating journey of cultural discovery. The Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, they are Polynesian and comprise about 14 percent of the country’s population. Te Reo is the Maori native language. It is related to Tahitian and Hawaiian. It is believed that the Maori migrated from Polynesia in canoes around the 9th century to 13th century AD.
Before the coming of the Pakeha (white man) to New Zealand, all literature in Maori was orally passed down to succeeding generations. This included many legends and waiata (song). The most recognized tradition today is the “Haka” which is a war dance. The Haka was performed before the onset of war by the Maori last century. The traditional Maori welcome is called a powhiri, this involves a hongi, which is a greeting that involves pressing noses as opposed to a kiss.
Another prominent feature of Maori culture is the striking tattoos that adorned the face. Full faced tattoos or “moko”, amongst the Maori tribes was predominantly a male activity. Female forms of moko were restricted to the chin area, the upper lip, and the nostrils. Today the moko still lives on as an increasing number of Maori are opting to receive their moko, in an effort to preserve and connect with their culture and identity.
Traditional carvers also help to keep Maori culture alive by creating intricate works that pay respect to the past. Every piece carved tells a story, which can be read by those who know how. The shape of the heads, position of the body as well as the surface patterns work together to record and remember events.
Bird Watching and Sanctuaries
Because of New Zealand’s remote location and relative isolation, the country enjoys a diverse collection of bird life. Bird watching sanctuaries are located throughout both islands. New Zealand’s national symbol, the kiwi, is a nocturnal flightless bird with nostrils on the end of its large beak. It is now endangered, and difficult to see in the wild. However, there are a number of ‘kiwi houses’ in wildlife parks. While they may look cute, kiwi can be fierce and highly territorial.
Over 20 percent of New Zealand is covered in national parks, forest areas and reserves, which is why New Zealand ecotourism is so unique. The 13 national parks contain an incredible variety of unspoiled landscape and vegetation. We find a variety of awesome landscapes within New Zealand. Spectacular glaciers, picturesque fiords, rugged mountains, vast plains, rolling hillsides, subtropical forest, volcanic plateau, miles of coastline with gorgeous sandy beaches —it’s all here!
Over thousands of years, the process of subduction has seen parts of the New Zealand landscape become submerged. The Marlborough Sounds and Fiordland are examples of high mountain ranges that have ‘sunk’ into the sea, creating spectacular sounds and fiords. These areas provide some of New Zealand’s most picturesque scenery, with steep lush hills plunging down to the deep still bays below.
New Zealand’s high rainfall and many sunshine hours give the country a lush and diverse flora, with 80 percent of the trees, ferns and flowering plants being native. From the kauri forests of the far north to the mountain beech forests and alpine tussock of the Southern Alps, we experience fascinating plants and trees in every region of New Zealand. In the majestic evergreen native forests many varieties of beech and the largest native tree of them all, the giant kauri are discovered. Underneath the trees you’ll find dense and luxurious undergrowth including countless native shrubs, a variety of ferns, and many mosses and lichens.