New Zealand Adventure

New Zealand Adventure copiaRoman 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.
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.

Cruising the Baltic’s Historic Waterways

Cruising the Baltic's Historic Waterways

Cruising the Baltic’s Historic Waterways

National Geographic photographer Sisse Brimberg, who grew up in Denmark, has produced more than 25 stories for National Geographic magazine over the last 28 years. Many of her assignments have brought her back to her native Baltic region, including stories about the Hanseatic League, Catherine the Great, and a cover story tracing the Vikings path through the Baltics. Sisse’s love for her native region will make this a very special voyage.

Ludmila Mekertycheva, expert on Treasures of Russia’s Waterways will join the group in St. Petersburg.

Cruise the Baltic’s historic waterways and discover magnificent capital cities and the summertime traditions of Russia, Scandinavia, and the Baltic nations. Spend four days in St. Petersburg, Peter the Great’s “window to the West;” embark the National Geographic Endeavour to explore ancient Viking settlements; and visit the cities of Tallinn, Stockholm, Gdan’sk, and Copenhagen.
June 9 and 10 Newark/St. Petersburg, Russia
Depart on an overnight flight. Arrive in St. Petersburg, the stunning city planned by Peter the Great as his “window to the West.” This evening, gather for a welcome dinner.
Grand Hotel Europe (D)

June 11 and 12 St. Petersburg
Admire the Hermitage’s impressive collection spanning from the Stone Age to the 20th century. A panoramic tour of St. Petersburg includes St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Peter and Paul Fortress, burial place of modern tsars, including Nicholas and Alexander. Ludmila Mekertycheva, National Geographic magazine’s local Russian expert, will travel with the group in St. Petersburg and share her unique perspective on life in Russia. The next day, visit the town of Pushkin, a favorite residence of many tsars and home to the baroque Catherine’s Palace.
B, L on June 11; B, L, D on June 12

June 13 St. Petersburg
Explore Petrodvorets, the imperial family’s summer palace, known for its whimsical fountains. Return to St. Petersburg by hydrofoil and board the National Geographic Endeavour to begin your cruise on the Baltic Sea.

June 14 Tallinn, Estonia
Our walking tour of Estonia’s capital includes the scenic Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and Town Hall Square. Then enjoy free time in this Hanseatic city.

June 15 Helsinki, Finland
Explore this architecturally fascinating capital and see its magnificent Lutheran cathedral, Tuomiokirkko; the Finnish National Museum; and Finlandia Hall.

June 16 Stockholm, Sweden
After a dramatic entrance to Stockholm Harbor by Zodiac, enjoy a walking tour through the narrow streets of the old town, Gamla Stan. Visit the Royal Palace and the Stockholm Cathedral. See the fully restored 17th-century battleship Vasa at the famed Vasa Museum.

June 17 The Swedish Archipelago
Cruise along Sweden’s east coast, a string of some 24,000 islands, skerries, and islets home to sea birds, seals, and a few hardy fishermen. Explore some of the islands by Zodiac or kayak.

June 18 Visby, Gotland, Sweden
Discover the walled city of Visby on foot and visit the Fornsal Museum, the botanical gardens, the Church of St. Maria, and the beautiful 18th-century Klinten building.

June 19 Riga, Latvia
Spend the afternoon exploring Riga’s eclectic architecture—medieval, national romantic, art nouveau, neo-Gothic, neo-baroque, and ultramodern. Visit the Dome Cathedral, renovated in 2001 for Riga’s 800th anniversary.

June 20 At sea
Enjoy a talk by our expert and relax on deck as we cruise the Baltic Sea to Gdañsk.

June 21 Gdan’sk, Poland
Visit the birthplace of Poland’s Solidarity movement and meet with former President of Poland Lech Walesa when he joins us on board for a specially arranged visit and reception. Stroll through the restored Old Town, highlighted by the “long street” to the Church of St. Mary’s and Neptune’s Fountain. Stop in the 15th-century Artus Court, seat of municipal guilds, and the Maritime Museum.

June 22 Christiansø and Bornholm Islands, Denmark
Explore an artists’ village that now occupies the site of an 18th-century castle. Visit the picturesque fishing port of Gudhjem and the ruins of an ancient castle.

June 23 Lübeck, Germany
Ride through the connecting canals of Lübeck’s Trave River and tour the magnificent halls and churches of this island-like city.

June 24 Copenhagen, Denmark
Explore City Hall Square; Amalienborg Palace; the old Stock Exchange; and Rosenborg Castle, home to Denmark’s crown jewels. Glimpse the famous Little Mermaid statue. Visit either the Carlsberg Glyptotek museum or the National Museum. Enjoy an evening visit to the world-famous, historic Tivoli Amusement Park, dating from the 1840s.

June 25 Copenhagen/Newark
Disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight home.