There is no bad time to visit New Zealand. Plan your trip around your interests, whether that is skiing the Southern Alps or kayaking on mountain lakes. The Southern Hemisphere’s seasons are the opposite of those in North America. Summer lasts from December to February. Spring is September through November. Autumn is from March to May. Winter runs June through August.
Adrenaline Factor: 5
Day 1: Arrive Auckland, New Zealand
Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s most sophisticated city, known as the ‘City of Sails’ and the Polynesian capital of the world. A Big Five representative will be waiting to chauffeur you to your accommodation, Mollies Boutique Hotel. This delightful hotel is the result of the talented owners, who share a passion for opera, attention to detail and fine furnishings. The result is a wonderfully eclectic, yet soothing environment with centuries-old antiques and sleek modern furniture in the heart of Auckland city. Your adventure begins at Auckland's Sky Tower, the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere and this afternoon you have the chance to jump from it. That’s right, jump! New technology ensures even the lightest jumper will fall at the same speed as the heaviest jumper (53 miles per hour) with a plummet time of around 11 seconds! The ground rush is unbeatable. Unlike bungee jumping, there is no hanging upside down or bouncing around. You simply fall…fast and smooth...for 630 feet to the landing platform! This evening, dine at Mollies, one of those little gems that people want to keep to themselves, where you might easily run into an elusive celebrity. Mollies Boutique Hotel – Premier Villa Suite (B,D)
Day 2: Auckland
Experience the thrill of aerobatics in one of the world’s most famous aerobatic aircraft, the Extra 300. How game are you? For the mildly adventurous there are loops, rolls and dives to the adrenaline pumping aerobatic thrills including vertical, ‘Zero G’ and ‘Negative G’ unleashing the full power of the Extra 300 as your pilot takes you through a full air show routine. Only serious thrill junkies need apply! Mollies Boutique Hotel – Premier Villa Suite (B,L)
Day 3: Auckland / Taupo
This morning you will be met at your hotel and privately transferred to Auckland Domestic Airport for your flight to Taupo. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to Huka Lodge by private vehicle. Located on the edge of Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake, Taupo is a pretty town renowned for its trout fishing, the Huka Falls, and the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station. On a clear day, stunning views across the lake of snowcapped Mounts Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe can be enjoyed, and its close proximity to these mountains in winter makes it a great place to base yourself for skiing. Huka Lodge – Lodge Room (B,D)
Day 4: Taupo
Today you will be privately transferred from Huka Lodge to the Taupo Motorsport Park for your Formula Challenge. For the ultimate driving experience combine one session driving a V8 racecar with two sessions driving the Formula Challenge single seat racecar. No experience required! You will arrive at the exclusive race facility to be greeted by friendly hosts and enjoy a complimentary cup of tea or coffee. Your family and friends will be able to enjoy the exclusive facilities while always feeling involved in your day.
Familiarization time: two laps with instructor. After some classroom instruction, and before you get behind the wheel, the Motorsport New Zealand qualified driving instructors will drive you around the track to familiarize you with the racetrack. As a bonus exclusive to Formula Challenge, one of your guests can go along for the ride.
Drive a V8: one session of 8 laps on track 3 or 5 laps on track 2. You will be fitted with full race gear to wear. You will be photographed with your racecar – a Ford or a Holden racecar – before being strapped in. Experience the speed and handling of Australasia's icon vehicles. You will actually drive while your instructor helps you achieve your personal best time.
Drive a Formula Challenge Time: two sessions of 10 laps on track 3 or 6 laps on track 2. You will actually drive the Formula Challenge single seater for two sessions. Cross the finish line and take your place on the podium to receive your certificates, complimentary photo's and Formula Challenge race data. Huka Lodge – Lodge Room (B,D)
Day 5: Taupo
This morning you will have a private transfer to Helipro Taupo. Here you will board the Helipro Tongariro Volcanic Direct. Fly to the summit crater of Mt Ngauruhoe and enjoy spectacular views of the Tongariro crossing, stunning Emerald Lakes and the thermal activity of Ketetahi Hot Springs. Flights include the magnificent scenery of Lake Taupo, white cliffs, world famous Tongariro River and Central North Island volcanoes. After this tour, you will have a ‘hands on’ lesson to experience the thrill of flying one of the dual control helicopters. You’ll try to master the skills of hovering and flying with a qualified instructor beside you. Please note: A weight limit of under 105kg/231 lbs applies for this flight. Huka Lodge – Lodge Room (B,D)
Day 6: Taupo / Queenstown / Glenorchy
Today, fly to Queenstown, long known as New Zealand’s ‘Adventure Capital’ because of its wealth of adventure activities available, from bungee jumping to whitewater rafting. This afternoon, you are in for some “Thrill Therapy” aboard a jet boat along the famous Shotover River. After a behind-the-scenes peak to see the inner workings of a jet boat, you set out on your own private jet boat on the river. The Shotover Canyon walls tower above you as your expert driver skillfully whips the boat past rocky outcrops, skims around crags and boulders and speeds through the dramatic narrow canyons. Rock faces blur in your peripheral vision, the opaque water sprays into myriads of white crystals with every turn, and you grip the handrail and let out a whoop of excitement as your driver spins the boat around in its own boat length – you've just experienced the famous Shotover Jet full 360 degree spin. Hold on tight and enjoy the thrill as you spin and, without losing momentum, keep speeding along the river. Your jet boat is capable of speeds well over 53 mph in as little as four inches of water! Following your exhilarating jet boat ride you will be transferred to Blanket Bay, one of Queenstown’s beautiful hidden gems. Located 40kms/25 miles from Queenstown, Blanket Bay sits on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu. Offering all the flair and sophistication of the world’s finest alpine lodges, Blanket Bay perfectly complements the town’s lively cosmopolitan atmosphere. Blanket Bay – Lodge Suite (B,D)
Day 7: Glenorchy - Milford Sound Excursion
No trip to New Zealand is complete without visiting Milford Sound, often described as the eighth wonder of the world. This morning, you will delight in the most dramatic scenery New Zealand has to offer. Your scenic helicopter flight takes you past the headwaters of Lake Wakatipu to the glacial beauty of Milford Sound. View spectacular Mitre Peak before heading back through the mountains and valleys of the Milford area. A glacier landing on the return flight will enable you to pause amidst breathtaking scenery, make sure your camera is ready to capture these incredible landscapes. Blanket Bay – Lodge Suite (B,D)
Day 8: Glenorchy / Queenstown
Today, you have the extraordinary opportunity to take part in one of the ultimate flying adventures available from the seat of the Pitts Special, one of the finest high performance aerobatic aircraft ever built. Experience aerial sky dancing in this ‘Ferrari of the Skies.’ Not for the faint hearted, this flight is unique to JAG AIR and one you couldn’t possibly forget! The thrill factor begins with a gentle tingle for those who don't want to stray too far out of their comfort zone. For braver hearts, the ride can build until it is a full-scale, five-star buzz. Not only will you fly at speeds in excess of 200mph, you will experience up to +6 and -3 G's. Your accomplished pilot flies you high above the Queenstown basin amongst spectacular lakes and mountains. The awe-inspiring cocktail of maneuvers, ordinarily only be seen at an air show, will take your breath away as the world spins like crazy, and mountains turn to lakes then air and back again in the blink of an eye. Afterwards check into your luxury accommodation, Eichardt’s Private Hotel, on its prime lakefront site overlooking Lake Wakatipu. The hotel was the original watering hole for early gold miners. It has been beautifully restored, not only to reflect its former glory, but also to accommodate the needs of today’s discerning travelers. This evening enjoy Queenstown’s nightlife, including the premier restaurants at your doorstep. Eichardt's Private Hotel – Lakeview Suite (B)
Day 9: Queenstown – Wanaka Excursion
Your day begins with a scenic helicopter flight over the Crown Range to Wanaka, set at the feet of the Southern Alps and the alpine Mount Aspiring National Park. At Wanaka airfield, you have the rare opportunity to savor a piece of aviation history. Step back in time as you don the old-style leather flying helmet, complete with flying goggles and silk scarf. Then, settle into the seat of an open cockpit, vintage aircraft, and take off for an incredibly scenic flight around Wanaka and view breathtaking New Zealand landscapes. You can imagine the excitement of those early flyers as the wind hits your face, and you feel the freedom and romance of times gone by while reveling in the spectacular scenery around you. Visit the New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum before being transferred back to Queenstown by private car over the scenic Crown Range – en-route, stop at Peregrine Valley Wines for a wine tasting. Eichardt's Private Hotel – Lakeview Suite (B)
Day 10: Queenstown / Depart
Your Speed Adventure concludes as you are transferred to Queenstown airport to board your connecting flight home. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: $21850