Roman Dial earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1992 and now teaches ecology, mathematics, and outdoor skills at Alaska Pacific University. An accomplished adventurer, Roman led his team to finish fourth in the New Zealand Eco-Challenge, considered one of the most difficult adventure races. Roman’s 800-mile bike traverse of the Alaska Range was featured in the May 1997 issue of National Geographic magazine. Roman will share tales of his adventures in New Zealand and around the globe.
With its glacial mountains, fast-flowing rivers, dramatic fjords, cascading waterfalls, and sky blue lakes, New Zealand is paradise for anyone with a love of stunning landscapes and the outdoors. Explore lush rain forests, paddle a subterranean river, search for whales and other sea mammals, and kayak in secluded bays on New Zealand’s exotic South Island.
ITINERARY: 14 DAYS
October 23, 24, and 25 Los Angeles/Auckland/Christchurch
Depart for Auckland and lose a day crossing the International Date Line. Arrive in Auckland and transfer to Christchurch. Take a walk in the hills above Christchurch and admire the views of the city, harbor, and magnificent Southern Alps.
Rydges Christchurch Hotel (L,D)
October 26 Mount Cook National Park/Queenstown
Today, head out toward Mount Cook National Park, and stop at the turquoise glacier-fed Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki. At Mount Cook National Park, hike along the alpine trails, or take an optional scenic flight over the park. Then continue on to Queenstown. This evening, ride a gondola cable car up to the Skyline Restaurant for dinner.
Rydges Lakeland (B,D)
October 27 Queenstown
This morning, take the Triple Challenge: a jet boat ride on the Shotover River, a white-water rafting trip, and a helicopter flight. Or, alternatively, join only the jet boat ride or take a guided forest walk. Enjoy the afternoon exploring lovely Queenstown.
October 28 Queenstown/Milford Sound
Drive or take an optional ride on the restored Kingston Flyer, a charming narrow gauge steam train, from Fairlight to Kingston. Drive to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. After stopping at the Gulliver River for a walk, continue on to Milford Sound. Embark on the Milford Mariner for an overnight cruise, passing dramatic waterfalls and seals basking on the rocks. From the ship, there will be opportunities for kayaking and exploring the shoreline by small Zodiac craft.
Milford Mariner (B,D)
October 29 Milford Sound/Wanaka
Pass through some of New Zealand’s most breathtaking scenery as we drive from Milford Sound over the Crown Range route to Wanaka. En route, you may take an optional helicopter ride through the snow-capped Southern Alps or continue on the spectacular drive.
Edgewater Resort (B)
October 30 Wanaka/Franz Josef
Sample New Zealand hospitality over tea at a high-country sheep station. At Westland National Park, see the Fox Glacier—a UNESCO World Heritage site—and hike through the temperate rain forest below to the glacial moraine, or take an optional helicopter flight above glaciated mountains and land to hike among otherworldly ice formations.
Franz Josef Glacier Hotel (B,L)
October 31 Franz Josef/Punakaiki
At Whataroa see a collection of 3,000-year-old whale-bone carvings. Later, visit Hokitika, popular for its jade and stone carvers, and then continue to Paparoa National Park with its beautiful palm trees and rock formations.
Punakaiki Rocks Hotel (B,D)
November 1 Charleston/Nelson
Enjoy an unforgettable underground rafting adventure in Metro Cave. Wet suits are handed out before our descent to a subterranean stream. Millions of glowworms greet us with an otherworldly luminescence as we paddle through the caverns and out into the rapids of the Nile River. Or, you may walk along the river through Paparoa National Park, known for its pancake rock formations.
Rutherford Hotel (B,L)
November 2 Nelson/Abel Tasman National Park
Embark on a cruise through Abel Tasman Park. From Torrent Bay, we can kayak through a marine reserve to Pinnacle Island, home to penguins and playful fur seals. Enjoy lunch and time to snorkel or relax on the beach before cruising to Kaiteriteri.
November 3 Nelson/Blenheim/Marlborough/Kaikoura
Taste New Zealand’s acclaimed vintages at Ponder Estate vineyards and enjoy lunch under the arbor at Wairau River Cafe. Continue to Kaikoura. The day ends with an optional sunset horseback ride.
Waves on the Esplanade (B,L)
November 4 Kaikoura/Christchurch
Spend the morning looking for Hector’s dolphins, New Zealand fur seals, royal albatrosses, orcas, and sperm whales on an ocean cruise. This evening in Christchurch, we gather for a farewell dinner.
Rydges Christchurch (B,D)
November 5 Christchurch/Los Angeles
Enjoy a morning at leisure before your flight home. Arrive in Los Angeles the same day.