You depart from the U.S.
The particulars of your arrival are detailed with your flight itinerary and
Day 2 - In flight to Christchurch
Flying from the U.S.
to New Zealand
requires crossing the International Date Line, so this day is “lost.”
Day 3 - Arrive in Christchurch
Upon arrival at the Christchurch
airport, gather your luggage at the international baggage collection area and
proceed toward the main exit past the International Free phone area. Around the
corner, look for the Super Shuttle vehicle. It will be parked in the
International Shuttle Rank on your left. Use it to transfer (approximately 30
minutes) to your Christchurch
hotel. If your flight is delayed, please notify Super Shuttle at 64 9 522 5100.
Once you arrive at the hotel, the rest of the day is yours to relax or explore.
Your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 pm. You may
store your luggage with the reception desk. VBT provides you with City
Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes information and
recommendations on what to see and do in Christchurch
during your stay.
Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly
in earlier than the scheduled program dates, transportation from the airport
will be at your own expense.
Day 4 - All guests meet at Christchurch / Warm-up ride / Welcome reception
VBT No-Air Package guests: Please plan to arrive at your Christchurch hotel by
late morning. If you are unable to arrive before 12:00 pm, please contact the
hotel, who will advise our Trip Leaders.
VBT Air and Pre-Trip Extension guests: You are free to
museums and botanical gardens on your own after breakfast.
Lunch is on your own, and then begin your New Zealand
travel experience with VBT; meet your VBT Trip Leaders at 12:00 pm at the hotel
for a safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a warm-up ride and a welcome
reception. Trip Leaders will be wearing VBT staff garments. Dine with the group
Day 5 - Cross Southern Alps by train / Cycle to the seaside town of Hokitika
After an early breakfast, shuttle with your Trip Leaders to
the Christchurch train station. We board the 8:15 a.m. TranzAlpine Express. Our
train passes through the Canterbury Plains and traverses the gorges and river
valleys of the Waimakariri River. We are
treated to stunning views of the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps as we
climb 2300 feet towards Arthurs Pass, the south’s highest settlement.
We leave the train at either Arthur’s Pass or Jacksons, and
begin cycling from Little Orangipuki through open farmland to Lake Brunner. We stop for lunch at the Station House Café
in Moana en route. At the end of our
ride we shuttle to Hokitika. Hokitika boomed with gold-rush fever, and at one
time the main street once housed more than 80 hotels. Today there are only six
This evening, you have free time to enjoy dinner on your
own. Later, you might take a walk along the beach and look skyward for the
Southern Cross, a constellation that can be seen year-round, but only from the
Southern Hemisphere. The Southern Cross contains four bright stars that depict
the extremities of a Latin cross. The stars are very bright and located close
together, making the constellation very easy to spot.
Day 6 - Cycle Westland
National Park / Discover Franz Josef Glacier
This morning, visit the Greenstone Jade Factory, featuring
carvings from this beautiful native stone. Then shuttle to Ross, where we begin
cycling toward Westland
National Park and Franz
Josef Glacier. The park covers an expanse of towering mountains and glaciers,
dramatic waterfalls and icy, gray-blue rivers that tumble down to the Tasman Sea. A rolling ride through this beautiful forest
takes us to a picnic lunch under a covered shelter in Pukekura. After lunch, we
continue cycling to Hari Hari. Spend free time in town before shuttling back to
the hotel, where you can freshen up before dinner.
Day 7 -
Optional hike on Franz Josef Glacier / Cycle to Okarito with hiking and kayaking
After breakfast, we have a free day to choose from a variety
of optional pursuits. Head to Franz Josef Glacier for an exhilarating hike, or
embark on a guided heli-hiking adventure (both options at your own expense). If
you prefer, remain in Franz Josef to shop and explore the town. In the
afternoon, cycle to Okarito Lagoon, a rich wildlife haven noted for its
unspoiled beaches. Here you can find more than 70 species of birds. Experience
the lagoon up close during an optional hike or kayaking excursion. Tonight,
dinner is on your own at one of the many wonderful local restaurants.
Day 8 - Cycle in the heart of Westland
A morning shuttle brings us over a scenic pass to Fox
Glacier, where we pedal through native New
Zealand rain forest along the Tasman
Sea. Enjoy lunch at a salmon farm, and then continue on to the
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki. Surrounded by a thriving 1,000-year-old rain forest
and pristine seacoast, the lodge is perfectly situated for outdoor exploration
and activity – or just relaxing and taking in the wonders of nature. The owner
of the lodge, Dr. Gerry McSweeney, is the former president of the New Zealand Royal Forest
and Bird Protection Society, the country's largest environmental organization. Accordingly,
the lodge is committed to the protection of the environment.
Dinner this evening is in the lodge's dining room, which
overlooks the wilderness area.
Later, you may wish to join your lodge host for a walk on
the grounds to view a colony of glowworms!
Day 9 - Explore Lake
After breakfast, we spend a free day participating in
optional outdoor activities provided by the Wilderness Lodge, including
kayaking or hiking through the rain forest. Your trip price includes two
shorter guided activities of 60-90 minutes, including the rain forest, bird and
tree fern walks, freshwater eel feeding, canoe instruction on the river and
lake, night sky walks and historical talks. Additional activities may incur
extra costs. After a day of exploration and lunch on your own, rejoin the group
for dinner at the lodge.
Day 10 - Cycle through the Haast
and enjoy a local homestay
Take a brief shuttle along the dramatic cliffs above the Tasman Sea. We stop at the Haast
Visitor Center; from there, cycle
beside the clear blue Haast River as you travel east toward Haast Pass.
Descend into the Makarora River Valley
and ride through Mt.
Park. Spend the night at a local homestay and
enjoy Kiwi hospitality and a home-cooked meal.
Day 11 - Cycle through the Otago region to Queenstown
This morning we cycle along the Clutha River, lifeblood of
the Otago region, to the historic town of Cromwell. Stop at a local winery, for
a picnic lunch in the garden and enjoy a wine tasting. Then head to Queenstown,
via the shuttle van, with an optional stop at A.J. Hackett Bungy at Kawarau
Bridge — home of the original, 130-foot-high bungee jump! If you're feeling
daring, you can experience the thrill of a bungee jump for yourself at your own
expense, or watch others as they gather up the courage to plummet to the Kawaru
River below only to be caught at the last second by their secure bungee
Once at your Queenstown hotel, you have free time on your
own before a group farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 12 - Depart for U.S.
or begin your optional trip extension in Queenstown
VBT No-Air Package guests: You are responsible for your own
transfer arrangements to the airport. The hotel's Elements Restaurant opens at
6 am for any guests with early departure flights.
VBT Air Package guests: Transfer from the hotel by Super
Shuttle to the Queenstown Airport 2½ hours prior to your scheduled flight
departure time. (This transfer is included in your package.) The Elements
Restaurant opens at 6:00 am for any guests with early departure flights.
VBT Post-Trip Extension guests: Enjoy one of the many
optional activities available in Queenstown. Perhaps you'll join an excursion
to breathtaking Milford Sound, a thrilling jet-boat ride through the Shotover
River Canyons, a pleasant Lake
Wakatipu cruise on the
S.S. Earnslaw to a sheep station or a
scenic gondola ride. After a full day of exploration, relax at the hotel this
evening. Dinner is on your own tonight. VBT provides you with City Information
in your Final Travel Booklet that includes information and recommendations on
what to see and do in Queenstown during your stay.
Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you
extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to
the airport will be at your own expense.