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New Zealand Globus Journeys Tour

This is a trip report, but I think that the target audience might not see it under the Trip Reports forum which is mostly Europe.
We just got back from the Globus Journeys small group tour(21 of us on a regular size bus) Highlights of the South Pacific.
I chose this tour because we would be able to see all the highlights and we had an entire day free in each of the cities of Queenstown, NZ and Melbourne, Cairns and Sydney in Australia. Internal flights to Queenstown, Melbourne, Cairns and Sydney were included in the tour. We recommend this tour-it was very well organized, our tour director Leonie was great, and my husband thought it was well done and he does not like group tours.

Our traveling companions were mostly retirement age, since this was a 17 day tour. Everyone got along well, was on time, and we didn't hear any grumbling (although our tour guide Leonie said that some people complained to her about the rainy weather).

We flew Figi Airways because we saved $2500 each on Business Class tickets from LA to Auckland then back home from Sydney.Be prepared to go up or down steps for internal flights-many do not use jetways.

We arrived two days early and stayed at the Hilton on the harbor(with points). We took the ferry trip to a nature preserve-Tiritiri Matanga. We saw a lot of birds and you should pay for the guided tour because the volunteers who do this are really good.

Day 1 of Tour-Auckland We moved our stuff to the Sky City Hotel and then went to the Auckland Museum, which is not easy walking distance from the hotel. Auckland is hilly. The museum is really enjoyable. That night, after we met our group, we had dinner in the revolving restaurant on top of Sky City and the food was much better than you would expect in that type of venue. All the lunches and dinners included in the tour would have been highlight dinners on most tours. This one was the only dinner in our hotel.

Day 2 of Tour-Auckland We had an orientation tour of Auckland and then took a ferry to Waiheke Island for wine and olive oil tastings and a fantastic lunch at Stoneyridge Winery.

Day 3 of Tour-Rotorua We drove to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. If the significant steps down make you nervous, you will be happy to know that you will not have to go back up those steps. After the caves, we drove to Hobbiton. It was definitely a highlight of the trip but it would pour rain for 10 minutes, then the sun would come out, then it would pour again.You definitely need waterproof shoes in New Zealand. We then drove to Rotorua for a two-night stay at the Distinction Hotel.

Day 4 of Tour-Rotorua We drove to Agrodome to see the show of trained sheep. Then we went to the thermal area at Te Puia. Since I've been to Yellowstone, I was more interested in the tour we took of the Maori Arts and Crafts college there and the opportunity to see a Kiwi. That night we went to the Maori Hangi Dinner.

Day 5 of Tour-Queenstown We had an amazing experience at the Rotorua Airport-no security at all! This is because they only fly prop planes. We flew to Queenstown, which is tied with Kauai and the SC Lowcountry as the most beautiful places I've ever been. We stayed at the Heritage Hotel, which had laundry facilities. That night we took the gondola to Bob's Peak for dinner.

Day 6 of Tour-Milford Sound This was a long 9 hour drive over scenic roads. It rained so we saw lots of waterfalls.

Day 7 of Tour-free day in Queenstown Some tour members took an optional tour on the Great Ocean Drive, but we signed ourselves up for a Lord of the Rings tour with Pure Glenorchy. There was a 3/4 mile hike on rocks at the beginning of this tour.

Day 8 of Tour-fly to Melbourne, Australia Australia will be covered in a separate post.

Posted by
126 posts

Sounds fun! You've covered a lot of ground in 7 days, and I think this itinerary would be possible but tough to do without the logistics of a group tour.

Hopefully, it's given you a teaser, so you can come back to see more next time!

Posted by
4300 posts

Kiwi, as much as I loved New Zealand-Queenstown is so spectacular! and y'all really know how to do tourism-I won't be making that flight again. I agree that group tour logistics always are more efficient in their use of time and that was just what we needed on this trip!

Posted by
1743 posts

I'm going to New Zealand in April. Many of the same spots you visited, plus a few others, 17 days total with Overseas Adventure Travel. It was exciting read about your experiences. I hope we don't have as much rain as you had!

I'm also flying Fiji Airways, and stopping for four nights in Fiji to enjoy the beach and get over jetlag. Then going to Sydney for three nights and Cairns for three nights before starting the tour in New Zealand.