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Add further to your core NZ tour with either or both of these two extensions.

The Queenstown area of NZ's South Island is a truly outstanding region full of every possible great and good thing to do with New Zealand, and highly recommended to all NZ visitors.

Tropical North Queensland in Australia, with two World Heritage sites - the Great Barrier Reef and the Rainforest - is an area of stunning natural beauty and alive with wonderful ways to see and experience it.

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Pre and Post Tour Options for the
2018 NZ Epicurean Extravaganza

Tour leader David (right) and Coach captain Roger on top of Kaiti Hill, Gisborne, on the 2016 NZ tour.

Add further to your New Zealand experiences and enjoyment with these additional touring opportunities before or after the main NZ Epicurean Extravaganza.

Optional Extensions

Our tour's main core itinerary, almost two weeks in duration, gives you a great exposure to much of NZ's North Island, and its sights, experiences, and of course, culinary and wine related lifestyle.

There is of course plenty more to see and do in NZ.  Maybe you'll save the South Island for another visit, or, if time allows, maybe you can add time in the South Island on this occasion, too.

We are offering some Travel Insider options both before and after the main tour.  Exact details will depend on the number of people participating in the options, but we're showing the itinerary and activity details below so you can start planning the rest of your time and the dates for your international travel in and out of NZ, even if leaving the internal parts slightly open at this stage.

In particular, can we recommend the optional extension in Queenstown.  It is a wonderful part of the country and a great start to your NZ experience.

When we have a firmer idea about how many people add these options on to their main tour, we'll come up with definite and costed itineraries for you (and of course, leaving plenty of time for personal choices).

After you've finished viewing the details of the two tour options below, please click here to return to the main New Zealand Epicurean Extravaganza Tour page and/or to the main tour's detailed itinerary page.

1.  Pre-Tour Itinerary - Queenstown

(Please page down a bit for the Post-Tour option)

For the pre-tour option, we are recommending you fly direct to Queenstown (airport code ZQN) and spend time based there prior to the start of the main tour.  When we say 'fly direct' that probably means fly into Auckland on your international flight and then take a connecting domestic flight on from AKL to ZQN.

The flight to Queenstown is potentially one of the highlights of your experience (and how often can you say that about any flight!).  If there is little cloud, you'll be able to view the country from one side to the other - from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean, and will see its beautiful scenery from the air.

The last part, flying over the Southern Alps and then into Queenstown, is particularly spectacular.  Do be sure to ask for a window seat (we suggest on the left side of the plane, but both sides are great).

How long should you spend in Queenstown?  How high is up!  We're recommending a four night extension to the main tour, but you could arrive earlier, or turn up a day or two later if you preferred.

Adding four nights would have you arrive into Queenstown on Wednesday 25 October, which would imply probably leading the US on Monday 23 October.

Here is the four day Queenstown itinerary.

Day 1  (Wednesday 24 October)  Arrive in Queenstown

It is an easy and stunningly beautiful 1 hr 45 minute nonstop flight from Auckland to Queenstown.  Here we see a plane flying over NZ's Southern Alps.

You might choose to dine in one of the outdoor establishments lining Queenstown's Mall.

You'll probably arrive in Queenstown early afternoon today.

After checking in to your hotel, we suggest you take the rest of the day easy.  Maybe enjoy a stroll along the tranquil banks of Lake Wakatipu.

One other thing to consider for an easy afternoon would be visiting the amazing wine sampling store in Queenstown, with an incredible variety (over 80 wines in an Enomatic Wine Serving System), and sometimes incredible quality, of wines, all available for small (or larger) tastes by the glass.

Oh - they also have over 700 wines you can buy, and a shipping service if you get really carried away.

Dinner tonight could be at one of Queenstown's lovely indoor or al fresco outdoor boutique restaurants, or perhaps at the lovely restaurant at the top of the gondola ride with amazing views out over the town, the lake, and the mountain range so aptly called The Remarkables.


Day 2  (Thursday 25 October)  Milford Sound Tour

The iconic view of Mitre Peak reflected in the still waters at the foot of Milford Sound.

You'll get up close and personal with waterfalls on your Milford Sound cruise.

A very long full day tour which you would almost certainly want to experience on one of your days in Queenstown is a tour through Fiordland National Park, via the lakeside town of Te Anau, and to beautiful and stunning Milford Sound.

You'd probably have a lunch cruise of Milford Sound before returning back to Queenstown that afternoon.

In addition to the long coach tour, you can add another element of experience by flying one way (we recommend the return, but either way would work), or if you want to minimize the coach time, fly both ways.

It is also an easy route to drive on your own, so if you are considering renting a car, you could do this by yourself.


Day 3  (Friday 26 October)  Active Adventure Activities - or More Sedate if You Prefer

A classic view of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the Remarkables mountain range in the background.

David being beaten by his (then 9 yr old) daughter on the luge in Queenstown.

Everyone should go jet-boating while in Queenstown.  Although jet-boats can now be found in other countries, they were invented and perfected in New Zealand.

There are several different jet boat tours to enjoy, we can tell you which one is absolutely the best of them all - or, if you wish, try out two of them.

Other moderately active things to do could include going river rafting, biking, hiking, horseback riding, golf, fishing, air sightseeing, helicopter rides, even bungy jumping and a luge track.

Note - if these are all a bit too active for you, there are plenty of more relaxing activities too.  For example, enjoy a beautiful cruise around Lake Wakatipu on a restored vintage steam ship.  Go to lovely Arrowtown and possibly pan for some gold.  Take the gondola ride up Bob's Peak for stunning views.

Whatever your interests and activity levels, there's lots to do in and around Queenstown.


Day 4 (Saturday 27 October) :  Wineries, too

A private tasting inside the cave cellar at the Gibbston Valley Winery.
More popular dining choices, this time on Queenstown's Wharf.

The Queenstown region, the Gibbston Valley, Bannockburn and Central Otago in general is a moderately recent addition to NZ's leading wine regions, but has quickly gained impressive prominence, particularly for its Pinot Noirs and aromatic whites.

There are over 75 wineries all reasonably close to Queenstown, and assuming we have a dozen or so people joining us, we'll arrange a private tour of three of the best wineries, starting with an optional jet boat ride, and then time for lunch in beautiful Arrowtown, before an afternoon visiting the wineries.


Day 5  (Sunday 28 October) Join the Main Tour in Auckland

Looking over downtown Auckland, and beyond Devonport to the Rangitoto and Waiheke island volcanoes.

Fly up to Auckland this morning in time for the main tour's start this afternoon.  Most of us will be flying on the nonstop Air NZ flight at 11.10am.

And whereas your fellow tour members will be off their 12+ hour overnight flights in to Auckland, you'll have enjoyed merely a short easy scenic 1 3/4 hour flight.

Try not to be too smug or too boastful about your Queenstown experiences!

2.  Post-Tour Itinerary - Cairns in Tropical North Queensland, Australia

Our main tour ends on Tuesday afternoon, 6 November.

You can either spend Tuesday evening in Wellington, or perhaps take a late flight to Cairns today.  We recommend you finish the day in Wellington - there's a lot to see and enjoy in New Zealand's capital city, but the choice is yours.  Depending on flights and how their tickets/fares are written, people also sometimes spend the Tuesday night in Auckland.

We have a four night package based in this lovely tropical paradise, starting from Wednesday (the Tuesday night, wherever you spend it, is not included).

The many thousands of people my travel company sent to this region would all agree that it is one of the nicest parts of an Australian itinerary.


Day 0 (Tuesday 6 November)  Wellington?  Cairns?

Qantas' distinctively painted 747, 'Wunala Dreaming', is a great way to travel from NZ to Australia.
Beautiful Port Douglas, surrounded on three sides by the warm waters of the Coral Sea, just north of Cairns.

Today our main tour ends in the early afternoon.

You could take a late afternoon flight to Cairns, getting in that evening, or you could spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying Wellington.

It is entirely your choice, whichever you prefer, and maybe you might be influenced by the airline/airfare choices as between flying Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning.

Whenever you arrive into Cairns, we'll transfer you to our resort that we'll be staying in.


Day 1 (Wednesday 7 November)  Arrive Cairns

Dusk falls at the end of another day in paradise - or, to be more exact, Cairns.
Yes, the locals are friendly.  No, the crocodiles, not quite so much!

The Millaa Millaa Falls are in a stunningly beautiful setting of rainforest bush, on the Atherton Tablelands.

If you didn't fly over to Cairns yesterday afternoon/evening, you'll probably do so early this morning and arrive in the early afternoon.

We'll transfer you to our hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure.

If you arrived into Cairns yesterday, you have a full free day today.  There are a lot of activities you might choose to do - perhaps one recommendation would be to do an Atherton Tablelands tour so as to get a feeling for Australia's Outback.

Or maybe you'd like to go Bungy jumping!?

Seriously, there's a huge variety of activities.  We can help you choose something fun, or - equally valid a choice, do nothing!  Take it easy, enjoy the hot tropical warmth, stroll along the Esplanade and the shopping area.


Day 2 (Thursday 8 November) :  Tjapukai, Skyrail, Kuranda, Scenic Commentary Train

Learn how to play a didgeridoo, and how to throw a boomerang at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.
Silently glide up to the Atherton Tablelands and then see the world heritage rainforest up close, and from above rather than below, on your Skyrail ride.

Stroll through the markets in the lovely town of Kuranda.

The Kuranda Scenic Commentary Train stops at the Barron Falls as you return down from the Tablelands.

We have four extraordinary experiences today - any one of which would be enough by itself, and all four of which will risk overwhelming you!

We start off with an amazing presentation at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, where you'll see traditional and modern presentations of the Australian Aboriginal way of life.  One of the most ancient races on the planet, their story is wonderfully told at this multi-award winning attraction.

Then we travel up from the coastal plain to the Atherton tablelands, via a series of gondola rides that take us up the side of the hills and variously through and above the rainforest canopy.

We get off at a couple of transfer stations on the way where we can see the rainforest even more intimately.

Next we get to spend time in the delightful and beautiful town of Kuranda, renowned for its arts and crafts, floral displays, and beautiful street scenes.  There's a great market to be tempted in, a zoo with native Australian animals, art galleries and restaurants.

The fourth experience is riding the Commentary Train back down from Kuranda to Cairns.


Day 3 (Friday 9 November)  The Great Barrier Reef

We travel to the clear waters of the Outer Barrier reef by high speed wave piercing catamaran.
You can go Scuba diving, or if you prefer, visit the underwater observatory and also cruise on the semi-submersibles.

A novel concept is 'reef walking' with these diving bells - anyone can do it, no need for a Scuba certificate.

One of the (many) reasons that well informed people stay in Cairns is because it is closer to the Great Barrier Reef than most of the rest of the east coast of Australia.

Today we enjoy a wonderful experience with the very finest of the many reef tour operators, going to one of the finest locations on the reef.

We moor on the reef for a solid day of varied activites.

While at the pontoon there's an enormous range of different things to see, do, and experience.  You can of course go snorkeling, you can visit the underwater observatory and cruise around on the semi-submersibles.

If you're more adventurous, additional options could have you flying over the reef by helicopter, or Scuba diving or 'reef walking' in the water.


Day 4 (Saturday 10 November) :  Breakfast with the Birds, Mossman Markets, Daintree Rainforest

Breakfast with the Birds is exactly as its name suggests.  Birds will fly down and may wish to share your breakfast with you!

Unsophisticated Mossman, and all that much nicer for being so.

The Daintree rainforest has a stunning diversity of vegetation, including many plants and trees not yet fully categorized or understood.  Who knows what new miracle drugs are awaiting discovery from such species.

Breakfast with a difference, this morning.  We go inside an enormous aviary/wildlife refuge, and quite literally have breakfast with the birds.

We will also get to see all manner of other distinctive Australian animals, including koalas and kangaroos and crocodiles.

Then we'll go to the unassuming and delightfully un-touristy small country town of Mossman and visit their Saturday market (fresh tropical fruits, arts and crafts, food, even opals and all sorts of other things) before continuing up, across the Daintree river and into the splendid heart of the World Heritage rainforest.

We visit the Daintree Discovery Center, where we can stroll along a suspended aerial walkway that goes right through the heart of the rainforest, plus get down to the base of the rainforest on a boardwalk.




Day 5 (Sunday 11 November) :  Choices, choices, choices

Jim-Jim Falls, one of the iconic experiences in Kakadu Park.
Uluru, or Ayers Rock.  Climb it, walk around it, watch the sun set over it - or do all three!

Sydney - truly one of the world's most beautiful cities.

This marks the end of the official Australian extension, but need not be the end of your Australian adventure.

If you wish, we can help you plan more time in Australia - perhaps going to Darwin and Kakadu/Katherine, to the Red Center of Alice Springs and Ayers Rock, to cosmopolitan Melbourne and/or to glorious Sydney, one of the world's most spectacular cities.

Or, if you've been away from home long enough, you could fly home today.  You'd probably fly first from Cairns to one of Australia's international gateway cities - Brisbane (BNE), Sydney (SYD) or Melbourne (MEL) and flying home from there.


For More Information

Please return to the main page for more information about our 2018 New Zealand Epicurean Extravaganza Tour.

And here's a link to jump you directly down to the booking form.

Or, if you prefer, you can go back to the day by day itinerary for the main tour.

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