*** It’s a great week to be in New Zealand. See you there! ***
UPDATE #23: For those who wish to communicate during our trip via WhatsApp, please download the app (if you don’t already have it) and go to this link https://bit.ly/2NrvmOB . If you don’t have it on your phone already, and don’t have an international calling plan, you will need to set up the app before you depart (it sends to you a verification code). We’ve used this for our past trips, and it works out well for group communication. One. more. week!
UPDATE #22: The contact information for our Adventure Tour Leader upon arrival at the airport is Heather: heatherc [at] scenicpacific [dot] co [dot] nz , +64 27 590 3140 (mobile). Please only use in an emergency as you are traveling to Australia. You can email me at jt [at] goingoutgroup [dot] com. I will connect to wifi when I’m not en route.
UPDATE #21: For those taking advantage of the group arrival transfer (see the “Flights, Days Off, & Airport Transfer” section of the trip posting for full details), just a reminder to look for the person at the arrival gates with the sign that says “J.T.’s DC New Zealand Meetup Trip.” If you are not taking advantage of the group arrival transfer, please see the “Flights, Days Off, & Airport Transfer” section of the trip posting for alternate transportation options. When you arrive at the hotel, you will check in under your name, and we will meet in the hotel lobby at 7pm as our meeting point before we go to dinner.
UPDATE #20: The rooming list has been finalized here… http://goingoutgroup.com/trips/newzealandadventurers030219.pdf . I used the latest information received from everyone. Please verify that I have you and any options listed correctly. Feel free to use the list above to reach out to your roommate and others (click on their Meetup profile to send them a message).
UPDATE #19: The list of hotels has been finalized as follows (with address and phone): QUEST CHRISTCHURCH (Mar 2 – 3; 113 Worcester St, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand; +64 3-222 2003), DONEGAL HOUSE (Mar 4 – 5; Schoolhouse Rd, Kaikoura, 7371, New Zealand; +64 3-319 5083), HURLEY’S QUEENSTOWN (Mar 6 – 7; Frankton Rd. & Melbourne St, Melbourne St, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand; +64 3-442 5999), EXPLORER TE ANAU (Mar 8 – 9; 6 Cleddau St, Te Anau 9600, New Zealand; +64 3-249 7156). Three more weeks!
UPDATE #18: RSVPs have closed, no more spots to be sold!
UPDATE #17: If you have not received your book yet and plan to attend another one of my events before our trip, please let me know beforehand (send me a message via my Meetup profile – do NOT comment on the trip posting), and I can bring one with me. Otherwise, I am available in the Tysons area (Silver line – Greensboro or Spring Hill stop) for pickup. I will bring any leftover books with me on the trip provided I have space remaining in my luggage.
UPDATE #16: Just a reminder to familiarize yourself with recommended vaccinations and visa requirements (see the “Visas, Vaccinations, & Immunizations” section of the trip posting for full details). For U.S. citizens with U.S. passport, a visa is not required for our tour dates. I suggest visiting a travel clinic prior to departure, since they can make recommendations on vaccinations that may be useful for travel to this country.
UPDATE #15: Just a friendly reminder, please send me your arrival flight airline, flight number, and landing time; and departure flight airline, flight number, and take-off time (see the “Traveler Information” section of the trip posting) if you haven’t done so already. Also, don’t forget insurance is required for this trip, so please purchase it if you haven’t already done so (see the “Travel Insurance” section of the trip posting for full details). Thank you!
UPDATE #14: As a followup to UPDATE #13, I heard back from the embassy, and unfortunately, they are unable to accommodate our visit request.
UPDATE #13: The embassy visit targeted for Thurs. Jan. 24th is not able to be accommodated by the embassy. I’ve been in communication with them since December to confirm either our original date or an alternate date that would work with their schedule. They continually inform me they will confirm a date soon, but they never end up doing so. If I don’t hear back from them by Fri. Jan. 25th, the embassy visit will unfortunately, not take place. I’ll post an on that date. This UPDATE has been emailed to the yes RSVPs.
UPDATE #12: The $2395 price has ended and the ticket price is now $2495.
UPDATE #11: The $2395 price will increase to $2495 on Tues. Jan. 1st (see the “Price” section of the trip posting for full details). Follow the steps in the “Payment” section to secure your spot. Don’t forget to send to me your traveler information (see the “Traveler Information” section of the trip posting) as soon as you can. I hope you can join us on this amazing adventure!
UPDATE #10: Just a reminder, the balance is due Tues. Dec. 18th. Please make sure to make your balance payment by that date (see the “Remainder Balance Payment Due” section of the trip posting), otherwise you will lose your deposit and your spot on the trip! Can’t wait for this adventure!
UPDATE #9: Just a friendly reminder, for those that have signed up and made payment for the trip, if you have not already submitted your traveler information (see the “Traveler Information” section of the trip posting), please send that to me (through my Meetup profile) as soon as you can. Thank you!
UPDATE #8: The $2295 price has ended and the ticket price is now $2395.
UPDATE #7: We’ve been able to extend the $2295 price! The first 20 paid sign-ups, or those who pay before Sat. Dec. 1st (whichever comes first) get the early bird price! After that, the ticket price will go to $2395.
UPDATE #6: The $2295 price will increase to $2395 on Thurs. Nov. 1st (see the “Price” section of the trip posting for full details). Follow the steps in the “Payment” section to secure your spot. Change the dollar figure to $500 if you are looking to make just the deposit (rather than paying in full). Don’t forget to send to me your traveler information (see the “Traveler Information” section of the trip posting) as soon as you can. I hope you can join us on this amazing adventure!
UPDATE #5: We have at least 15 people that have signed up and made payment… so this trip is confirmed! If you’ve made at least the deposit payment for this trip, feel free to book your flights per the “Flights, Days Off, & Airport Transfer” section of the trip posting!
UPDATE #4: We need just 1 more spot to fill for this trip to be confirmed (see the “Trip Confirmation” section for full details). If you haven’t signed up yet, come join us on this amazing adventure. If you are already signed up, tell your friends to join us, then we can purchase our air tickets. I look forward to seeing you on this incredible trip!
UPDATE #3: The $2195 price has ended and the ticket price is now $2295.
UPDATE #2: There are fewer than 10 early bird spots left and the price will increase from $2195 to $2295 when the early bird spots are gone or BEFORE Sat. Sept. 1st (whichever comes first). To be fair to those who want to join in and are ready to make payment, I’ll be removing those that haven’t paid at least the deposit by Sun. Aug. 26th. Make at least the deposit payment to lock in your spot and the early bird price (see the “Payment” section of the trip posting for full details). If you’ve already made payment, the PayPal email you received is confirmation that we’ve received your payment (no need to email me asking for payment confirmation). This UPDATE has been emailed to the yes RSVPs. I hope you are able to join us!
UPDATE #1: I’ve announced the New Zealand pre-trip dinner. Click here (https://bit.ly/2MR7zWN). If you’ve already made payment or deposit for the New Zealand trip and can make the dinner, please RSVP for the dinner but do NOT make payment, as the dinner is FREE for those joining the New Zealand trip itself. Please do so by Wed. Aug. 1st. After that date, if you’ve made payment or deposit for the New Zealand trip, and you’d like to RSVP for the dinner, please send me a message through my Meetup profile (do NOT comment on the event posting), and I’ll manually add you to the dinner event. I look forward to seeing you there!
Natural beauty abounds in New Zealand!
Rated the 3rd most beautiful country in the world in 2017 by influential travel guide, Rough Guides, (beating out the likes of Italy, Iceland, and South Africa), New Zealand’s scenic beauty includes active volcanoes, amazing caves, deep glacier lakes, verdant valleys, dazzling fjords, long sandy beaches, and the spectacular snowcapped peaks of the Southern Alps. It’s no wonder that this is the land where “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” took place – Middle Earth. This action-packed tour of New Zealand’s highlights is perfect for the adventurer with limited time who wants to explore the region’s diversity. Let’s get our adrenaline pumping, go on an exciting whale watching expedition, explore amazing glowworm caves, go swimming with wild dolphins, take a scenic nature cruise to see cascading waterfalls / stunning fjords (and much more). Our Adventure Tour Leader will help us find the secluded spots only the locals know. Does this sound like a fun and relaxing vacation to you?
Seven Reasons to Book This Trip:
- Affordable Adventure — Did you know that this trip INCLUDES a private sightseeing bus tour of Christchurch, an exhilarating whale watching expedition, a wild dolphin encounter, an exploration of magical glowworm caves, a breathtaking nature cruise of the spectacular Milford Sound, an Adventure Tour Leader for the full duration of our adventure, 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner, transfers from and to the airport, all in-country transfers between cities, 8 nights in a hotel, 3 events in DC (2 dinners and 1 Embassy visit), plus a New Zealand book discussion (book included) during the trip… all for less than $245 a day??
- Shared Photos — As with all of our events, we can all upload our pictures to this website to share the best of our photos and multiply the memories!
- Make New Friends — We are the ONLY Meetup group that offers us the opportunity to travel abroad with other globally-minded people from the DC area, PLUS arrange 3 more events for the group that take place in DC to make sure that we will make friends that we will continue to see in DC!
- Leadership — I (J.T., your organizer) will be there every step of the way, making sure that the trip goes as smoothly as possible.
- Book Discussion — We will each receive, read, and discuss sections of “Squashed Possums: Off the beaten track in New Zealand,” a tale of one man’s life in the New Zealand outback through 4 seasons that will help paint a picture for us of the culture and beauty of New Zealand. Please note if new prints are unavailable, the best available condition used book will be obtained.
- Unforgettable Memories — New Zealand truly is a beautiful and adventurous place. Let’s experience it together and make some wonderful memories!
- Escape the Cold Winter — Let’s get away from the cold DC winter and the occasional snowpocalyptic storm that comes through our area.
This 9-day exciting expedition through New Zealand is crammed with all the energy and activities deserving of our group. We’ll begin our journey in DC with a fabulous dinner at Blackfinn restaurant. Then, before departing on our trip, we will have a private visit at the Embassy of New Zealand featuring diplomats who will teach us about their country. Shortly after we return stateside, we’ll reunite at DC’s popular Cassett’s restaurant in Arlington with an evening of New Zealand food and a recap of our travel experience for our reunion dinner!
To help us pass the time while traveling and to learn even more about this culture-rich society, we’ll read the book “Squashed Possums: Off the beaten track in New Zealand” by Jonathan Tindale during our trip. At certain points during the trip, I (J.T., your Meetup organizer) will lead discussions of the book for anyone who wants to participate!
Please note this is a joint trip with the 30s & 40s Going Out Group, and the Global Travelers Going Out Group. Our traveling group will likely consist of members with an average age in their 30s.
Questions? If you have any questions not answered on this page, please post a comment in the comment box below, message me through my Meetup profile, or call / text me at 703.470.4848.
We’ve got an early bird special for this trip of $2195! The first 20 paid sign-ups, or those who pay before Sat. Sept. 1st (whichever comes first) get the early bird price! After that, the trip price will go to $2295, then $2395, then $2495. Our past trips have always sold out quickly! We have a LIMITED number of spots so make sure to RSVP early AND make payment to secure your spot and get the early bird price! To make payment, please follow the steps in the “Payment” section of the event posting.
I hope you can join us on this amazing adventure!
Fri. Aug. 17th: Pre-Trip Dinner at Blackfinn
This delicious meal at Blackfinn restaurant (or similar) in DC is open to other group members as a paid event, but is FREE for those attending the trip. It is wonderful way for all trip-goers to meet each other for the first time, and it’s a perfect time for those who haven’t yet signed up to ask any questions related to the trip. I will even refund the cost of the dinner to anyone who signs up and makes payment for the New Zealand trip AFTER our dinner!
(New Zealand Embassy)
Thurs. Jan 24th: Pre-Trip Embassy Visit
UPDATE: See UPDATE #13 at the top of the trip posting. We will meet with New Zealand diplomats and receive an official country briefing including the history, geography, culture and tourism of New Zealand (pending embassy approval). This event is organized exclusively for trip-goers and will NOT be open to other members of our group.
Sat. Mar. 2nd: Day 1, Christchurch
Arrive at any time in Christchurch, then check in and enjoy the city. Please try to arrive before 7pm for an important group welcome dinner where we’ll meet with our Adventure Tour Leader and other group members. We’ll gather in the lobby of our hotel at 7pm before heading off to eat!
Christchurch is one of the world’s most unique destinations, combining urban regeneration and innovation with heritage, culture, and exhilarating activity. Christchurch is a vibrant, energetic city where urban regeneration, creativity, and innovation thrive. Picture amazing street art, innovative projects, a booming hospitality scene, and state-of-the-art architecture that is changing the way the city looks, feels and functions – all the while staying true to its heritage and traditional English feel. It’s the gateway to the beautiful Canterbury region, featuring dramatic vistas and a backdrop of lofty peaks. Bordered by the snowcapped Southern Alps in the west and the Pacific Ocean in the east, the region is a playground for outdoor adventures.
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand! It was first settled by humans around 1250 and became a city by Royal Charter in 1856, making it officially the oldest established city in New Zealand. With 740 parks, covering about 7400 acres, Christchurch is known as the “garden city.” We can bungy jump, hike, mountain bike, raft, surf, swim, golf, visit wineries and gardens, shop, be entertained and awed, and so much more, all within a 2 hour radius.
Overnight: Quest Hotel or similar. Estimated Travel Time: 20 minutes. Approximate Distance: 6 miles
(New Regent Street)
Sun. Mar. 3rd: Day 2, Christchurch
After a hot breakfast, we’ll get ready to see the sites! During an informative and comprehensive 2 – 3 hour private bus tour, we’ll uncover the history and explore the must see sites of New Zealand’s oldest city up close. Our friendly and knowledgeable Christchurch tour guide will give us insights into the people, places, and events of this beautiful city.
We’ll spend time wandering through the stunning Mona Vale Gardens, a gracious historic site that is surrounded by 14 acres of gardens, landscaped lawns, and a heritage homestead. At the Sign of the Takahe, a function center built in the style of an English manor house, we’ll enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the city (Christchurch), mountains (Southern Alps), and the ocean (Pacific). Other highlights include: 1) Hagley Park, the 3rd largest urban park in the world (behind Central Park, New York and Hyde Park, London); 2) Christchurch’s Transitional Cathedral (the only cathedral in the world made from sustainable cardboard); 3) Provincial Chambers, the only purpose-built provincial government buildings in New Zealand still in existence; 4) Catholic Basilica, a listed Category I heritage item by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust; 5) Art Deco New Regent Street, an entire street made up of small specialty shops that was marketed as “The most beautiful street in New Zealand” when it opened in 1932; 6) Port Hills, a range of hills so named because they lie between the city of Christchurch and its port at Lyttelton. They are an eroded remnant of the Lyttelton volcano, which erupted 12 million years ago; 7) Antigua Boatsheds; 8) Botanic Gardens; 9) River Avon; 10) Canterbury Museum; 11) Arts Centre; 12) Christburch Art Gallery; 13) Bridge of Remembrance; 14) Friendship Corner; 15) Re:start Shipping Container Mall; 16) Christchurch Cathedral
After our tour, we have the rest of the day to pick optional activities according to our interests. There are many great possibilities, from taking a local bus or taxi to visit the Gondola (a cable car that traverses the slopes of Mount Cavendish where we can enjoy 360 degree views from 1600 feet above sea level) to visiting the International Antarctic Centre, where we can journey through modern day Antarctica and experience a taste of the unique and breathtaking continent. Or we can return to any of the sites we received as an overview during our morning tour for a more in-depth exploration!
Let’s see why the New York Times ranked Christchurch no. 2 on its list of 52 Places to Go in 2014!
Overnight: Quest Hotel or similar
Mon. Mar. 4th: Day 3, Christchurch / Kaikoura
In the morning, we’ll board our private coach for Kaikoura, traveling through the stunningly magnificent Waipara Valley region. With the majestic Alps to the west and the breathtaking Pacific Ocean to the east, Waipara is home to 100+ wineries and vineyards, which collectively produce around 100,000 cases of award-winning wine a year.
Kaikoura is one of the most picturesque places in New Zealand. It is famous for the spectacular marine life that inhabits the coastline including whales, dolphins, albatross, penguins, fur seals, and orca. A scenic peninsula town backed by the snow-capped Seaward Kaikoura Range, there are some epic views and few places in the world are home to such a variety of easily spottable wildlife.
(Swimming with dusky dolphins)
Once we’re in Kaikoura, we’ll board a boat and head off on a half day dolphin enounter tour. We’ll get up close and personal with Kaikoura’s incredible resident dusky dolphins in their stunning natural environment. Dusky dolphins have a playful, sociable characteristic, which makes them absolutely perfect for swimming with. Under the guidance of our experienced dolphin tour team, we’ll jump into the dolphin’s natural habitat and sharing a special moment with these gorgeous mammals. Those of us who choose not to swim with the dolphins will still have the chance to experience the entertaining actions of the frolicking, acrobatic dolphins as they interact with the other swimmers. It will be an experience that will put a smile on our face for years to come! During our ride, we’ll also enjoy the sea breeze in our hair and the taste of salt on our lips as we look for other marine life, such as albatross, fur seals, and hopefully even an orca or two.
Overnight: Donegal House or similar. Estimated Travel Time: 3 hours. Approximate Distance: 115 miles
(Whale watching expedition)
Tues. Mar. 5th: Day 4, Kaikoura
In the morning, we’re off on an exciting 2 – 3 hour whale watching expedition! Kaikoura is ranked as the best destination in the world when it comes to watching the world’s largest toothed predator, the giant sperm whale, which are present year round. Growing up to 60 feet long, the sperm whale of “Moby Dick” fame can dive as deep as 10,000 feet and remain below for more than two hours. Just offshore from Kaikoura, a deep undersea canyon attracts an extraordinary abundance of marine life. We may also encounter fur seals, pods of dusky dolphins, and the wandering albatross. Humpback whales, pilot whales, blue whales and southern right whales are also visible depending upon the season. The world’s largest dolphin, the orca or killer whale (yes this is actually a dolphin!) can be spotted, as well as the world’s rarest and smallest dolphin – the hector. Nowhere else in the world can this combination be seen in a such a small area.
After our tour, we have the rest of the day to choose our own adventure. We can hike the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, which winds from the town center to lookout points at Point Kean. This 2 – 3 hour walk shows off the stunning Kaikoura coastline and all kinds of marine life. We can visit a seal colony, go on a kayak tour, snorkel or scuba dive, or go on an ATV tour. There are cafés, restaurants, and shops to explore and numerous galleries showcasing the knitting, pottery, and jewelry of area artisans.
Overnight: Donegal House or similar. Estimated Travel Time: 40 minutes. Approximate Distance: 15 miles
Wed. Mar. 6th: Day 5, Kaikoura / Queenstown
In the morning, we’ll travel back to the Christchurch airport for our flight to Queenstown, enjoying the scenery along the way. Once we land, we’ll then take a ride to our hotel. The rest of the day is free for us to explore New Zealand’s ultimate destination.
Rated internationally as one of the world’s top holiday destinations, in 2014 Queenstown was named New Zealand’s number one destination in the Travelers’ Choice Destinations by TripAdvisor as well as the second best destination in the South Pacific. Staggering beauty and heart-pumping thrills await in Queenstown, which is also known for its Hobbits — much of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in the area. We’ll recognize many Middle‑earth locations here. Queenstown was also the base for the Mission Impossible movie team during filming for the latest film. Tucked into a picturesque bay on the shores of the crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu surrounded by majestic mountains, amazing views are guaranteed from every angle. According to Lonely Planet, Lake Wakatipu has the world’s second-purest lake water.
Overnight: Hurleys Queenstown or similar. Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours. Approximate Distance: 310 miles
(Bungee jump option)
Thurs. Mar. 7th: Day 6, Queenstown
Today is a free day to for us to see why Queenstown is world-renowned as the “adventure capital of the world!”
We can pick optional activities according to our interests. The outdoor enthusiasts among us can go kayaking, bungee jumping, jetboating, white-water rafting, ziplining, canyon swinging, horse-trekking, paragliding, and skydiving. The bungee was invented in New Zealand, and Queenstown is known as the “world home of bungee jumping.” Here we can jump 140 feet off the historic Kawarau Bridge, the first commercial bungee jump in the world!
The more mild-mannered adventurers among us can experience one of the many walking and hiking trails; enjoy its cosmopolitan dining, arts scene, excellent boutique shopping, and the diverse range of bars that can make evenings as fun-filled as the days; or sample pinot noir from one of the region’s 80 wineries (only a couple of hours away). For panoramic views of Queenstown, board the Skyline Gondola, the steepest cable car lift in the southern hemisphere. It carries us 1500 feet to the top of Bob’s peak where we can sit back, relax, and marvel at the stunning views. The region has some amazing and dramatic scenery which is why it’s no surprise that Peter Jackson was inspired to film the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies here. We can take specialized tours that take us to the epic locations that some of the films were shot!
Overnight: Hurleys Queenstown or similar
Fri. Mar. 8th: Day 7, Queenstown / Te Anau
In the morning, we’ll board our private coach and travel to Te Anau.
Picturesque Te Anau is nestled on the edge of a pristine lake of the same name, New Zealand’s largest lake by water volume (with depths of up to 1300 feet), whose glacier-gouged fjords spider into lush virgin forest on its western shore. To the east are the pastoral areas of central Southland, while west across Lake Te Anau lie the rugged World Heritage-status mountains of Fiordland National Park and Te Wahipounamu. The proximity of 3 of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks places Te Anau firmly on the map as “the walking capital of the world.” It’s home to the Milford Track, Kepler Track, and Routeburn Track. Te Anau is well known for its fine restaurants and 7-days-a-week shopping facilities with competitively priced goods, including high quality apparel, gift, and souvenir shops.
Once we arrive, we’ll tour the glowworm caves, where we’ll be awed and astonished by the wonders of this mysterious underground domain! Our 2 – 3 hour trip begins with a scenic cruise across the beautiful Lake Te Anau. On the tour of the caves by foot and small boat, our friendly and knowledgeable guides will point out the highlights and share their knowledge of the caves and its history. We’ll experience a magical underground world of rushing water before drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of thousands of glowworms, unique to New Zealand and one that is nothing short of extraordinary. This underground world is astonishingly beautiful. By geological standards the caves are very young (12,000 years) and are still being carved out by the force of the river that flows through them. The result is a twisting network of limestone passages filled with sculpted rock, tunnels, whirlpools, and a roaring underground waterfall!
Overnight: Explorer Te Anau or similar. Estimated Travel Time: 2.25 hours. Approximate Distance: 110 miles
(Milford Sound nature cruise)
Sat. Mar. 9th: Day 8, Te Anau / Milford Sound
We’ll depart in the morning for Milford Sound in our private coach, taking in all the highlights and breathtaking beauty of this world-renowned region. We won’t want to miss views of the mountains, glaciers, and rainforest… yep, we’ll need a camera on the coach! Once we arrive at the wharf, we’re off on a 2 – 3 hour Milford Sound nature cruise!
For mind-blowing eyeball-popping tear-inducing scenery that New Zealand is oh so famous for, Milford Sound is our number one choice. With a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor, we’ll see towering cliffs and peaks – including the most photographed and iconic Mitre Peak that rises more than a 5500 feet straight out of the sea. Waterfalls cascade into the fjord and luxuriant rain forest clings to sheer rock faces in this exceptional place. We’ll get within touching distance of impressive geological features and close enough to feel the full force from the powerful 15,000-year-old Stirling Falls (jackets are provided to keep us dry!). Called the “eighth wonder of the world,” Milford Sound is the most well-known and most accessible of all the fjords in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage area. We’ll have great viewing from both the outdoor decks and indoor lounge on our purpose-built sightseeing vessel. We’ll learn about the history, geology, and wildlife of the region from our specialist nature guides with insightful and entertaining commentary. Let’s watch out for dolphins, seals and the rare Fiordland crested penguins. We’ll also get to enjoy a tasty lunch provided during our cruise!
After our cruise, we will be taken back to our hotel and in time to shower and head out for a final meal and night on the town!
Overnight: Explorer Te Anau or similar. Estimated Travel Time: 3.5 hours. Approximate Distance: 75 miles
(Black Dog Bar option)
Sun. Mar. 10th: Day 9, Te Anau / Queenstown
We’ll leave Te Anau in the morning for Queenstown. Depart anytime after 3pm (do not book onward travel until after this time in case of delays… see the “Flights, Days Off, & Airport Transfer” section of the trip posting for full details).
Estimated Travel Time: 2.25 hours. Approximate Distance: 105 miles
TBD: Post-Trip Reunion Dinner at Cassett’s
Dates and details TBD. We will feast on a sumptuous New Zealand meal at Cassatt’s (or similar)! Dinner attendance will also be open to non-trip goers in our group.
Price below reflects double occupancy. For single occupancy, please add $675. Full payment is due by Tues. Dec. 18th.
- $2195 if booked before Sat. Sept. 1st (or whenever early birds sell out)
- $2295 if booked before Thurs. Nov. 1st (extended to before Sat. Dec. 1st)
- $2395 if booked before Tues. Jan. 1st
- $2495 on or after Tues. Jan. 1st
* Starting Tues. Jan. 1st, spaces are subject to availability. If booking on or after Tues. Jan. 1st, do NOT purchase your airline ticket until you have been confirmed on the trip by the Organizer.
Non-refundable deposit of $500 is due at booking, full payment due by Tues. Dec. 18th or at booking, whichever is later. This deposit locks in a price per the “Price” section.
The travel company needs the following information for final booking. Please send me a message (through my Meetup profile) with this information as soon as you’ve secured your spot by making payment (you can get to me your flight information later, but please get to me everything else that you can): 1. Full name as it appears on passport 2. Passport number 3. Passport issue date 4. Passport expiry date (as a general rule, passport must be 6 months valid beyond date of return from another country) 5. Date of birth 6. Nationality 7. Existing medical conditions 8. Meal requirements 9. Emergency contact / next of kin. 10. Will you take advantage of the transfer to the hotel upon arrival? 11. Cell phone number 12. Will you be getting a single room for an extra $675? 13. Sex 14. Roommate’s name (if you have one; otherwise, a roommate of the same sex will be assigned to you) 15. Arrival flight airline, number, and landing date / time; and departure flight airline, number, and take-off date / time (when you secure it).
Price is based on double occupancy. If you have a preference for a roommate, please let me know full first and last name (send me a message through my Meetup profile). Otherwise, you will be assigned a roommate (same sex). Single supplement is $675 to stay in your own room. Optionally, and pending availability, if you plan to stay additional day(s) in New Zealand either before our after our tour, and wish to book pre or post-tour accommodations, you may do so for $155 per night (Christchurch pre-tour) or $185 per night (Queenstown post-tour). Please click here (pre-tour) or please click here (post-tour) to make payment, and also send to me a message (through my Meetup profile) the exact date(s) you are looking to book.
PayPal account not required. Please follow the steps below (if payment by smartphone doesn’t work, please try your computer). Your RSVP is not guaranteed without payment, and your email receipt is confirmation that we have received your payment (please check your spam folder and email settings). You can also log into your PayPal or credit card account online to verify payment. All but 1 of our trips have sold out, so I recommend you secure your spot online early.
- Select “Yes” (checkmark)
- Enter the number of guests coming and click “Finish Payment on PayPal”
- Verify correct dollar amount for number of people you’re paying for. Modify if appropriate, click “Pay Now” (or “Pay Online Now” button at the top of the event posting)
If you are paying in full, and if you are looking for double occupancy, leave the dollar amount as is. If you are looking for single occupancy, please add $675 to the total and change the dollar figure. For your convenience, the single occupancy price will either be $2870 (booked before Sat. Sept. 1st), $2970 (booked before Thurs. Nov. 1st), $3070 (booked before Tues. Jan. 1st), or $3170 (booked on or after Tues. Jan. 1st). Click “Pay Now” or “Check Out” button.
If you are paying just the non-refundable deposit, change the dollar amount to $500. Click “Pay Now” or “Check Out” button. You will need to pay the balance by Tues. Dec. 18th.
- If you don’t have a PayPal account, enter your payment information
- If you have a PayPal account, simply log in, and pay as you normally would via PayPal
REMAINDER BALANCE PAYMENT DUE
PayPal account not required. DO NOT use the links in this section if you are making initial payment (please follow the steps in the “Payment” section above instead). If and only if you’ve already paid the initial non-refundable $500 deposit, please follow the instructions below for making the balance payment (if payment by smartphone doesn’t work, please try your computer). Your email receipt is confirmation that we have received your payment (please check your spam folder and email settings). Balance payment must be made by Tues. Dec. 18th, otherwise you will lose your deposit and your spot on the trip. If you would like to pay your balance in installments, please message me through my Meetup profile.
- Click on the appropriate link below
To pay the balance ($1695) for the $2195 price (to qualify, you must have made deposit before Sat. Sept. 1st), please click here
To pay the balance ($1795) for the $2295 price (to qualify, you must have made deposit before Sat. Dec. 1st), please click here
To pay the balance ($1895) for the $2395 price (to qualify, you must have made deposit before Tues. Jan. 1st), please click here
To pay the balance ($2370) for the $2870 price (to qualify, you must have made deposit before Sat. Sept. 1st), please click here
To pay the balance ($2470) for the $2970 price (to qualify, you must have made deposit before Sat. Dec. 1st), please click here
To pay the balance ($2570) for the $3070 price (to qualify, you must have made deposit before Tues. Jan. 1st), please click here
- If you don’t have a Paypal account, click “Pay with a Debit or Credit Card”
- If you have a Paypal account, simply log in, and pay as you normally would via Paypal
- Pre-trip dinner at Blackfinn restaurant (or similar) in DC
- Pre-trip Embassy of New Zealand visit with diplomats (pending approval)
- “Squashed Possums: Off the beaten track in New Zealand” paperback version and book discussions during the trip (please note if new prints are unavailable, the best available condition used book will be obtained)
- Accommodations as stated above (hotels 8 nights, based on twin-share rooms)
- 8 breakfasts
- 1 lunch
- 1 dinner
- Private sightseeing bus tour in Christchurch
- Wild dolphin encounter
- Whale watching expedition
- Glowworm caves visit
- Milford Sound nature cruise
- Group arrival and departure transfers from / to airport
- All transfers between destinations and to / from included activities (in-country flight, private coach, boat)
- English speaking travel guide
- Meetup group facilitation with book discussion by J.T. (Organizer)
- Local guides / representative assistance
- Post-trip reunion dinner at Cassatt’s (or similar)
- Tips for our Adventure Tour Leader (a $100 value)
- Entrance fees not listed
- International airfare
- Applicable tourist visas
- Airport taxes
- Tips or gratuities for day / excursion guides, porters, etc. (typically $5 for excursion guide [half day], $1 – 2 per bag for porter)
- Meals not mentioned above
- Excursions and activities listed as optional or suggestions
UPDATE: The trip is confirmed (see UPDATE #5 at the top of the trip posting for full details). Go ahead and purchase your air tickets!
This trip is confirmed when 15 people sign up and make at least the deposit payment. An email will be sent to the yes RSVPs when it is and I will also update the trip posting at the top of the page. Do not purchase your air ticket until the trip is confirmed (see the “Flights, Days Off, & Airport Transfer” section for full details).
FLIGHTS, DAYS OFF, & AIRPORT TRANSFER
UPDATE: The trip is confirmed (see UPDATE #5 at the top of the trip posting for full details). Go ahead and purchase your air tickets!
Please do not purchase your air ticket until this trip is confirmed (see the “Trip Confirmation” section for full details). We can coordinate air schedules in the comment box of this page to try to get the same flights.
When buying your air ticket, make sure it arrives on Sat. Mar. 2nd into Christchurch and departs on Sun. Mar. 10th from Queenstown (see paragraph below) after 3pm (do not book onward travel until after this time in case of delays… see Day 9 in “Itinerary” section). Also, depending on how many transfers you get, you may need to request off of work Thurs. Feb. 28th – Mon. Mar. 11th. Please send to me your flight information through my Meetup profile. I typically use Expedia or Travelocity’s multi-city option. Also, please see here for recommendations on when best to buy your airplane ticket… https://cnb.cx/AG1h3h . Note that I have had mixed results following these general rules of thumb in the past.
Upon arrival on Sat. Mar. 2nd, our group transfer from the airport (Christchurch International Airport – CHC) to the hotel will depart the airport at 5pm so we can get to the hotel in time for our recommended welcome meeting at 7pm with our Adventure Tour Leader and other group members. If you’d like to take advantage of our free group transfer, please be sure to arrive before then. Look for the person at the arrival gates with the sign that says “J.T.’s DC New Zealand Meetup Trip.” If you are unable to take advantage of our group transfer, you can use these following alternatives… 1) Bus – Departs from the northern end of the International Arrivals Hall, between the terminal and the Long Stay car park (exit through door 9 past the Vodafone counter). The Number 29 bus runs every 30 minutes towards the city center and you can buy your tickets from the driver. Tickets cost is ~$6 USD. Travel time is ~30 minutes. Operates from 6am – 10pm. 2) Taxi – The taxi stand is located outside the International Arrivals Hall (exit through door 7). Typical cost is $25 – $30 USD. Travel time to the city center is 15 – 20 minutes. 3) Super Shuttle – Shared van similar to our own. The shuttle stand is is located outside the International Arrivals Hall, next to the taxi stand (exit through door 7). Travel time is typically 15 – 30 minutes. Typical cost is $15 – $20 USD. Travel distance to the city center is 5 – 10 miles.
For departure on Sun. Mar. 10th, our group transfer from the hotel to the airport (Queenstown Airport – ZQN) will depart in the morning. Make sure your flight departs after 3pm (do not book onward travel until after this time in case of delays… see Day 9 in “Itinerary” section).
Luggage for our in-country flight includes a checked bag, to a maximum weight of 23 kg or ~50 lbs, and 158 cm or 62 inches of linear length (length + width + height). Travelers can have one carry-on with maximum weight of 7 kg or 15 lbs and 118 cm or 46.5 inches of linear length. Generally fees for excess luggage can be high, and would be communicated by the authorized agent when we are checking in.
VISAS, VACCINES, & IMMUNIZATIONS
For U.S. citizens with a U.S. passport, a visa is not required. Please take a look at the State Department website for visa information here… https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country.html (click on the destination country, then click “Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements”). Please take a look at the CDC website for recommended vaccinations and medications here… http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list/ . I suggest visiting a travel clinic prior to departure, since they can make recommendations on vaccinations that may be useful for travel to this country.
You are required to purchase an all-inclusive insurance policy that covers emergency repatriation, medical, and evacuation for a combined minimum amount of $200,000. Trip cancellation, trip interruption, baggage loss and accidents should also be included. Costs vary by age, travel dates, and when you purchase, but an approximate quote is $100 – $150 for a 30-year-old. You should extend the insurance to cover your entire journey if you are arriving before or departing after our trip. Please secure full coverage (rather than coverage for covered reasons). You will need to book your air flights first before getting insurance coverage.
Mains electricity in New Zealand is 230V 50Hz and utilizes plug type I. Depending on your appliance, you may need a converter and an adapter. Please see the following link for more information… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country
If you have any questions not answered on this page, please post a comment in the comment box below, message me through my Meetup profile, or call / text me at 703.470.4848.
Since payment is made in advance for this trip, all sales are final unless the trip is canceled or rescheduled. Thanks for understanding. =)
I was able to secure for our group that all tips are included for our tour leader!
SUGGESTED ITEMS TO BRING
1. USD cash 2. Credit and / or debit card 3. Pre-departure information and trip details 4. Passport, with photocopies (as a general rule, passport must have at least 6 months of validity beyond the date of return from another country) 5. Travel insurance (with photocopies) 6. Airline tickets (with photocopies) 7. Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required (with photocopies, see “Visa, Vaccinations, & Immunizations” section) 8. Camera (with extra memory cards and batteries) 9. Reading / writing material 10. Binoculars 11. Day pack 12. Plastic bags or cover for backpacks 13. Lock for luggage 14. Fleece top / long sleeve top 15. Windproof / waterproof jacket 16. Small towel and swim wear 17. Shirts / t-shirts 18. Water shoes / sports sandals / flip flops 19. Sun hat 20. Shorts / skirts 21. Long pants / jeans 22. Hiking pants / track pants 23. Hiking boots / sturdy walking shoes 24. Rain poncho / umbrella 25. Sunblock 26. Sunglasses 27. Toiletries 28. Watch or alarm clock 29. Water bottle 30. Pocketknife 31. Flashlight 32. Insect repellent 33. First-aid kit (should contain lip balm, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking) 34. Ear plugs 35. Eye mask 36. Moneybelt 37. Outlet adapter 38. Sleepwear
Our local Adventure Tour Leader will be able to help us with optional activities we may be interested in and to answer any questions. Some optional excursions require advance signup. So please take a look at the following helpful link if you are interested pre-booking activities during our free time (see the “Itinerary” section of the trip posting for full details)… http://www.newzealandsightseeing.co.nz/