• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton
    Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Newfoundland………

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Credit Jackie Appleton

 

Yvonne has been working on a lovely itinerary to Newfoundland for some customers travelling this summer, and I was reminded of the trip I made a few years ago to this remote untouched corner of Canada. She asked me particularly about Quirpon Island – a tiny island on the furthest northern tip of Newfoundland where one stays in the lighthouse keepers cottage. If you have yet to visit Newfoundland – put it on the list – it is gorgeous. Almost like a little piece of New Zealand, but virtually on the doorstep. My most visid memory is the sunset – which was to die for!

See our Atlantic Canada pages for further ideas: http://www.experienceholidays.co.uk/index.asp?pgid=230 or call us on 01323 446550.

New Zealand’s Fjordlands

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Picture courtesy of Chris Sisarich

        Picture courtesy of Chris Sisarich 


Credit Orion Expedition Cruises

Credit Orion Expedition Cruises

We’ve recently received a newsletter from Destination Fjordland in Fjordland a region of New Zealand, and thought it worth a mention as a reminder of just how diverse this part of the country is. Located on the South Island, and most easily accessible from Te Anau, both Milford and Doubtful Sounds are stunningly beautiful – with sheer cliffs, superb waterfalls, flora and fauna.

There are a huge variety of ways in which the region can be explored – fairly traditionally by way of a day trip from Te Anau comprising coach and cruise, or more energetically by kayak or by tramping the well marked trails. Trails include the renowned Milford Track and Keplar Track, along with the lesser known Chasm Track. The walks vary in difficulty – some graded easy, and others for the more experienced hiker.

Consider joining a walk along the rugged coastline –the longest walkable stretch of wilderness coastline in New Zealand for something a little different.

One unique option is to dive Milford Sound and Piopiotahi – with a chance to see legendary black coral trees that grow up to five metres tall, red corals, sea dragon, dog sharks, crayfish, snake stars, octopus and others besides.

Take a horseback ride or quad biking tour through the beautiful scenery – much of which features in the Lord of the Rings films and the new Hobbit film, or take a tour of a working farm.

These are simply a few possibilities in this region – there truly is something to suit everyone here, whether your interest lies in the scenery, the wildlife, activities or a combination of these. The region is a ‘must’ during a holiday to New Zealand, and we can work with you to incorporate this region into a wider itinerary to this beautiful country.

Call us on 01323 446550 or e-mail info@experienceholidays.co.uk for more details, or see our website –www.experienceholidays.co.uk.

Hidden Gems of New Zealand….

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Credit Angie Watson

Yellow Eyed Penguin in Catlins

I have recently returned from a whirlwind trip to the south part of the south island of New Zealand, and have fallen totally and irrevocably in love with the region! This is the path less travelled – where those on a tight time schedule tend to miss out, and boy do they miss out!

Discover the Otago Peninsula, with its stunning views over the harbour and opportunities to see endangered wildlife such as the Royal Albatross, Little Blue Penguin and the rarest penguin in the world – the Yellow Eyed Penguin. Visit Larnach Castle with its Scottish architecture and interesting history, and explore the city of Dunedin with its heritage buildings and home to Speights Brewery.

From Dunedin, drive west through the beautiful Catlins region – home to rolling farmland, beautiful deserted beaches, temperate rainforest and plentiful waterfalls. See New Zealand sea lions lounging on the beach, tramp one of the many walking trails through the rainforest, and explore the small villages of this quiet region. A visit to Curio Bay and the Petrified Forest is a must – with more chances to see the rare Yellow Eyed Penguin in its natural environment (as I was lucky enough to see!).

Drive on to Invercargill, and from here travel by light aircraft or by ferry to the wild and incredible Stewart Island. With less than 400 residents on the island, and most of the island made up of National Park, this is a real chance to get away from it all, and enjoy the opportunity to explore the endemic flora and fauna found here. Nearby Ulva Island is a must for bird watchers, with many endemic and native species found here, and the island being almost entirely predator free. On Stewart Island itself go kiwi spotting at night (one of the few places to see kiwi in the wild), tramp part of the Rakiura Track – from a few hours to several days, or meander the small village of Oban and learn about the locals’ way of life.

This southern region provides a chance to get back to nature – to enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife, to meet some of the friendliest people and to taste some of the freshest seafood on offer in New Zealand.

For more information on the region, and how it can be incorporated into a wider New Zealand bespoke tailor made holiday, call our office on 01323 446550 or email me at angie@experienceholidays.co.uk and we can discuss the possibilities to suit your preferences and requirements.

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Credit Angie Watson

 

Otago Peninsula

Christchurch is Back on Track!

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Credit Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism

 

We were delighted to receive a newsletter from Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism this week informing us that the iconic trams in Christchurch are now back up and running. This final piece of the puzzle means that 100% of the visitor attractions in the city are now operational – and are a true testament to the optimistic and hardworking locals there.

Whilst there is a still lot of construction work happening following the earthquakes, almost all of the demolition has now been completed and the local people are embracing the opportunity to redesign the city – ensuring of course that all new buildings are built using the newest earthquake-related technology.

The regeneration of the city will take several years, and this interim period is a unique and exciting time to visit Christchurch – see the innovative Cardboard Cathedral, the wooden pallet open-roof bar (popular with locals and tourists alike) and the Re:Start shopping complex built out of shipping containers. All of these sit alongside the traditional attractions of the city –punting along the river, the botanic gardens and of course the iconic tram.

The biggest gateway to the South Island of New Zealand is still very much a ‘must’ when planning your trip to this diverse and beautiful country – for more information on Christchurch and how a stay there can be incorporated into a wider New Zealand holiday, see our website www.experienceholidays.co.uk, call our office on 01323 446550 or email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk – we can work with you to put together the right bespoke tailor made itinerary to suit your requirements and preferences.

New Zealand: Tailor Made Holidays To South Westland National Park & Glacier Country

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South Westland and New Zealand’s very own Glacier Country national park, is easily one of the world’s most unpretentious and yet should be iconic travel destinations. Laying between the sleepy pioneer gold rush townships of Hokitika and the world’s self professed adventure capitals of Wanaka and Queenstown, townships on New Zealand’s west coast are often only passed through by tourists eager to get to the latter two townships. However, if you’re looking for a truly once in a lifetime tailor made holiday and experience, it’s worth planning New Zealand travel itineraries around at least a few days and nights exploring what South Westland itself really has to offer.

Credit Tourism New Zealand

Credit Tourism New Zealand

Starting in places like Greymouth and Hokitika, the road down into South Westland is bordered in most places by green and yellow, typically Lord of The Rings sweeps of unspoiled mountain sides. Moreover, as one travels further south, Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain is often a prominent feature upon the horizon, as green levels of expansive agricultural land finally give way to the snow capped ever winter of glacier country.

Tailor made holidays and adventures into glacier country, will subsequently usually be made memorable by hiking tours taken onto either the Franz Josef or Fox glacier in the heart of South Westland. Terminating in subtropical rain forest, you usually won’t ever have to worry about the cold. Rather, hiking on both glaciers is almost like taking a surreal hike across an exposed blue ice and white crystalline desert. However, rather than travel onward after ticking a tour of two of the world’s most unique glaciers off your bucket list, places like Fox Glacier are also famous for being the location of the world’s most scenic sky dive.

Even better, South Westland in New Zealand is home to deserted gold rush towns, miles of hiking trails and spectacular secluded beaches complete with resident seal colonies and abundance of natural flora and fauna. In this case, if you are trying to plan truly memorable tailor made holidays to New Zealand, think about spending three or four days experiencing the country at its most naturally striking and atmospheric in South Westland.

New Zealand: Are You A North Island Kiwi Or A South Island Kiwi?

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There is a peculiar myth associated with travelling to New Zealand. This myth being that the island upon which you first arrive will be the one that you fall in love with. Of course, when you’re planning tailor made holidays to somewhere like New Zealand, you probably want to see and experience the best of all that the country has to offer. However, North Island New Zealand and South Island New Zealand are distinctly different.

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

Arriving in the North Island, travellers are met by the familiar cosmopolitan city airs of either Auckland or Wellington. One a windy city and one a harbour side city of sails daringly resting atop 47 naturally capped volcanoes, both Wellington and Auckland are visually stunning and culturally iconic cities in their own right. However, arriving at either as part of package tours or tailor made holidays to New Zealand, people sample New Zealand’s social and cosmopolitan atmosphere, prior to the Land of The Long White Cloud’s unspoiled natural magnificence.

Alternatively then, when one arrives in South Island New Zealand, one is met with much smaller city sizes, where New Zealand’s awe inspiring natural ruggedness really is just a stone’s throw in any given direction. Much more laid back, new Zealand’s South Island is home to a total population equivalent to just a quarter of that of the city of Auckland. Likewise, distances between destinations are markedly increased.

Of course, people planning self drive tailor made holidays to New Zealand will fall in love immediately with South Island’s epic expanses of mountain ranges and impenetrable bush. However, while the north of the South Island is renowned for almost year round sunshine, the South Island itself is markedly different from the North in that coastal areas especially are much more rugged and in many cases only accessible by short hiking trails.

Looking to experience the best of both islands? Itineraries which focus on facilitating tailor made holidays which sample both islands are perfect for travellers with enough time on their hands. The only question is, will where you initially arrive affect your choice of favourite island?        

Join us at the Telegraph Travel Show, Excel Centre, London 8 – 10 January 2016

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Vicki Tester

 

With Christmas and New Year just around the corner, you may well have time to start thinking about your next adventure for your holiday next year. To help you consider all of the options why not come and join us at the above show – and free of charge!

We will be on stand H30 and pretty difficult to miss as we will have a Cruise America Motorhome on the stand – difficult to miss both from size and colour. We will be there to discuss all types of holidays but be glad to show you around the motorhome if you ever thought of free wheeling through the USA or Canada.

For your free tickets to the Show just go the following link and register:

 http://travelshow.telegraph.co.uk/guest-tickets  and enter the code EXPERIENCE16

 An eticket will then be sent to you.

We would love to see you there.

New Zealand Itinerary – The Tailored Holiday Experience

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Once you’ve experienced New Zealand, it’s hard to ever feel content anywhere else. From subtropical rain forest terminating glaciers, to sun drenched beaches, turquoise volcanic lakes and several spectacular cultural centres, New Zealand simply has a little bit of everything. This being the case, Experience Holidays have put together some of the best New Zealand holiday itinerary options, targeted at helping you experience all of the very best that New Zealand has to offer.

Starting with three week long tailor made holidays in New Zealand, Experience Holidays takes pride in being able to offer holiday-makers the chance to sample everything from Maori arts and craft centres in Rotorua, to New Zealand’s sunshine capital of Nelson and the Abel Tasman National Park.

In fact, the only limit on Experience Holidays’ holiday itinerary for New Zealand is you. Maybe for instance, you will opt for an overnight cruise around the Fjordland scenic masterpiece that is the Milford and Doubtful Sounds, before cutting short bungy jumping and skydiving in Queenstown in favour of better exploring and star-gazing around Lake Tekapo.

Designed around you and what you want to experience, Experience Holidays’ New Zealand itinerary options are fully adaptable to suit each of your chief interests and activity preferences. Tailor made holidays in New Zealand after all, can encompass everything from helicopter accompanied glacier hikes around compacted snow lakes the size of Auckland, to relaxed saunters around the vibrant art and cultural scenes of places like Napier and Motueka.

The only question is, what’s your perfect New Zealand holiday itinerary? Ideally of course, you’d have a whole lifetime to sample and experience New Zealand, but for those who don’t, Experience Holidays can help put together holiday itinerary for New Zealand options which will guarantee you at least, the experience of a lifetime.  Contact us now by clicking here and we will set you on the first step!

Wildlife of South Island, New Zealand

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Credit Angie Watson

Credit Angie Watson


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Zealand is not only a country of stunning scenery, a rich and interesting culture and friendly people, but is also home to a wide variety of wildlife – predominantly marine and birdlife, and mostly in the South Island.

Perhaps the most famous of these is the kiwi – a rare flightless bird native to New Zealand. Stewart Island is one of the few places in New Zealand where you may encounter a native Kiwi bird in the wild. Nearby Ulva Island offers a predator-free environment where these, and other endangered birds, can thrive. Take a bird watching tour with an expert for the best chance of seeing these elusive birds.

The Catlins, located in the deep south of the South Island, is comprised of rolling farmland, temperate rainforest, beautiful deserted beaches and plenty of waterfalls. Here, observe New Zealand sea lions lounging on the beach, tramp one of the many walking trails through the rainforest, and explore the small villages of this quiet region. A visit to Curio Bay and the Petrified Forest is a must – with a chance to see the rare Yellow Eyed Penguin in its natural environment.

Visit the Otago Peninsula with opportunities to see the Royal Albatross, Little Blue Penguin, Yellow Eyed Penguin and sea lions too.

On the east coast of the South Island, Kaikoura is famous for its whale watching opportunities. Here, take a cruise to see humpbacks, blue whales and giant sperm whales, along with orcas, dolphins, New Zealand fur seals, shearwaters, albatross and petrels.

In the Fjordlands National Park, take a cruise to Milford or Doubtful Sound. Here, a highlight is the Fjordland crested penguin, along with seals and dolphins. See breathtaking scenery including mountains, waterfalls and rainforest.

If wildlife is of interest, then the South Island of New Zealand is well worth a visit. For information on bespoke New Zealand holidays, see our website www.experienceholidays.couk, call us on 01323 446550 or email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk.

Photo courtesy of Mr Hardman

Photo courtesy of Mr Hardman

 

Walking in New Zealand

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Amanda Skingle

 

Picture courtesy of Chris Sisarich

Picture courtesy of Chris Sisarich

 The beautiful and diverse landscapes of New Zealand lend themselves to the idea of putting on the hiking boots and getting out there to explore. From rolling farmland, boiling mud pools and pristine beaches to dramatic mountains, glaciers and lakes there are almost endless possibilities for walkers in New Zealand.

Whether you prefer to take a short walk to a scenic spot or overlook, or whether you enjoy the adventure of a multi-day hike (or tramp as the New Zealander’s call it) there is something for everyone here, and most are easily incorporated into a self-drive tailor-made holiday. Below I have mentioned just some of the possibilities.

On the north island, the Tongariro Crossing is a popular option – this is a full day fairly strenuous walk that involves part of the ‘Tongariro Northern Circuit’ Great Walk, across active volcanoes and with stunning panoramic views. Whilst this can be self-guided, our recommendation is to book a trip that includes a guide – providing the opportunity to learn about the flora and fauna of the region.

On the south island, there are a number of iconic Great Walks to consider. The Routeburn Track is a three day walk that links Mount Aspiring National Park and Fjordland National Park, weaving through meadows and alpine areas with beautiful vistas along the way.

The Milford Track follows an historic route through FjordlandNational Park over four days that can only be walked in one direction. This is quite a challenging track, but rewards walkers with incredible scenery throughout.

The Abel Tasman Coastal Track is quite different to those I mentioned above, with views of idyllic beaches, bays and coves, and with parts of the walk involving walking along the beach. The full walk takes five days, although a three day section can be taken instead.

The Rakiura Track is a three day route on Stewart Island – this is perhaps the most remote of the walks I have mentioned, and with some of the most pristine wilderness to explore. If you’re lucky enough, you may even spot a kiwi in the wild – Stewart Island is one of the only places this is possible.

For more information on these walks, and how they could be incorporated into a tailored holiday in New Zealand, give us a ring on 01323 446550 or email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk.

Picture courtesy of Miles Holden

Picture courtesy of Miles Holden

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