A B EXPLORER TOURS
Box 153 GORE 9740 Ph 03 2087704 or 0274 324068
Tour Director – Allan Boyer
Member New Zealand Professional Guides Association & Travel Agents Association New Zealand
BULLETIN: May 2021:
It certainly has been a busy 3 months with 4 Explorer Tours completed with most departures filled to capacity. It is great that many of you are enjoying so much of New Zealand. The first trip was to Marlborough and the West Coast. Folk experienced the great coast of North Canterbury and Kaikoura, and then exploration in the Blenheim area before moving on to Murchison. 4 nights in Westport allowed us to take in Denniston, Karamea and the greater Westport area before moving on to Hokitika and then out east to the mountains and the Hokitika Gorge. Over the mountains for a last night in Methven.
East Coast North Island Explorer arrived into Wellington where Roger from Pacific Tourways met us to start our journey via Cape Palliser to Masterton, Napier, Gisborne, Hicks Bay, Southern Coromandel, Rotorua and Ohakune and back to Wellington. Between Roger, Patricia and me we organised places which bigger coaches cannot access. A highlight for most was probably taking in the view and a coffee high up on Mt Ruapehu, by way of Sky Waka!
We did have a mix of weather on the Canterbury Valleys and Akaroa Explorer. The high country stations of Canterbury are always impressive and the days in Akaroa were enjoyed despite a lot of the businesses being shut. The harbour cruise and the sighting of Hectors Dolphins was exciting to say the least.
The last trip departed from Dunedin and travelled through the Catlins to Invercargill. Next day Riverton and Cosy Nook with views to Stewart Island and on to Tuatapere and Te Anau, the base for 4 nights. The all lady group split up for a day with their various choices of going to Doubtful Sound, a helicopter adventure, Glow Worm Caves or a walk into Surprise Bay near the finish of the Kepler Track. Next day to Milford Sound and a cruise out to the Tasman Sea. Another highlight for most was the adventure to Walter Peak on the shores of Lake Wakatipu on the back road via Mavora Lakes and Mt Nicholas Station. We joined passengers from the “Earnslaw” for lunch in the Colonel's Homestead before heading back to Te Anau, experiencing a heavy rain storm along the way.
Covid is still a real problem and has forced us to make the decision that we will not be offering further departures to Australia although Norfolk Island may still be a possibility. It is recommended that people have the jab to enable you to continue travelling and other activity in the future but that is, of course, your decision entirely. We are fortunate that the government has taken such bold steps to keep us as safe as is possible.
So what is the future for A B Explorer Tours? We will cut back on what we offer over the next year. Allan is not quite ready to hang up the keys or put the suitcase away completely just yet! We do have a lot of New Zealand and Australia we want to experience in the next few years ourselves while we still can.
EXPLORER TOURS 2021/22:
TOP of the NORTH ISLAND:
The journey will start in Wellington on 7th of September and will conclude in Auckland on the 21st.
Time allowed on arrival day into Wellington for a city sights experience prior to checking into our hotel. Next day we board the Northern Explorer train for a relaxing journey and along the way you will experience the central North Island including the Volcanic Plateau and descent of the Raurimu Spiral. We leave the train in Hamilton to meet our Coach Driver (hopefully Roger) who will be with us for the next 14 days. After taking in the international gardens in Hamilton we continue onto Tairua in the Southern Coromandel. Next day it is to Hot Water Beach, Cathedral Cove, Cooks Beach, Whitianga and into Coromandel town for 2 nights. While here we will ride the Driving Creek Railway through
regenerating Kauri forest and free time in the town. Passing through Thames we will stop for lunch at Pukekohe then through Auckland to Snell's Beach and the next day a cruise to Kawau Island, once the home of Sir George Grey. Later in the day a visit to Morris and James Pottery at Matakana. Next day we travel to Paihia for 3 nights and along the way will have time to experience Whangarei. From our base you will experience the Bay of Islands Cruise and perhaps pass through the Hole in the Rock. Later in the afternoon take in Russell on a short coach tour. Waitangi and the Treaty Grounds is a must do experience. Moving on we will have time in Kerikeri taking in the Stone House and other interesting places in the area. Our next base is Taipa Beach for 2 nights. From here you will enjoy the drive along 90 Mile Beach and the stunning Cape Reinga. The choice of a sand dune toboggan run down the sand hills is an option too. From Taipa we will travel to Omapere on the Hokianga Harbour and this day see the statue to Opo the dolphin and the harbour towns of Rawene and Opononi. Our last day of full travel will allow for a short walk to take in the giant Kauri tree Tane Mahuta prior to arriving at the impressive Kauri Museum at Matakohe. This is a place to learn of how the Kauri gum and timber was so important to the far north in the early days of European settlement. Later in the day we pass through Auckland again to our final night hotel prior to heading home on the 21st or other destination on your behalf as arranged.
Expressions of Interest for this exciting departure are required by Monday 31st May. Our final numbers are required then as we need to confirm rooms in early June. You will be asked for a deposit shortly after to secure a place. The Itinerary is now available.
TOP of the SOUTH ISLAND:
Some folk have asked that we do this again so have booked accommodation for this to depart on 12th November and to conclude on the 25th. We have altered the detail slightly to include activity not included on past departures. The first day will see us travel to Ashburton then on to Hanmer Springs for 2 nights with a free day to do as you wish there. Day three it is over the Lewis Pass to Motueka for 2 nights. Our full day there will include a cruise along the shore of the Abel Tasman National Park where people could alight from the ferry to spend time on a beach and be picked up an hour or so later. Four days in Takaka on Golden Bay. We will spend a day on the Farewell Spit tour, travel to Whanganui Inlet and down to road's end at the Anatori River on the West Coast. A day to Totaranui on Golden Bay and of course Pupu Springs will be on the agenda. Next stop Havelock and a day cruise on the Mail Boat on Kenepuru Sound. Driving South through Blenheim the next stop will be in Kaikoura and half a day to take in the area. The last night will be back in Ashburton. Over the previous two days you will have seen the amazing rail and road rebuilds after the 2016 earthquake.
This will be the last time we will undertake this Explorer so if it has been on your bucket list for a while this is an opportunity not to be missed. The itinerary will be available by the end of this month and expressions of interest are required by June 28th with a deposit by the end of July.
At last we have an Explorer to our third largest populated island. After negotiations I have secured Motel accommodation for not one but two departures over there and as the cheese ad says “good things do take time”! Each departure will be for 4 nights and that is ample time to explore the highlights. By the time you read this I will have been over to the island for a day to organise the detail.
Each group will fly over from Invercargill (25 minutes) then settle into the Bay Motel with views over Oban. During the time there you visit Ulva Island for half a day, where you can choose from several walking tracks. Take a boat ride up some of the Freshwater River, join a coach tour on the available roads, visit the new impressive Museum or have free time to do as you wish. There are restaurants nearby and a BBQ at the Motel (limited cooking facilities in unit). Options include Kiwi Spotting at night, fishing and other water tours in Paterson Inlet or you can just kick back and relax.
DATES: 15th to 19th December and 11th to 15th April. Each group will be limited to just 8 people.
Going on interest to date it is expected these trips will probably fill quickly.
Expressions of interest will need to close by 15th June but if you want to be included do not delay in making contact to ensure your name is on the list for information and your preferred date to travel to Rakiura. It simply will be an amazing Explorer.
Now that we have the Travel Bubble with Australia this does include Norfolk. We are looking to return in the early part of 2022 with a group. However before we come up with a plan Allan needs to head up there to check things out and plan the detail as so much has changed since we last operated departures up there. Air Chathams is about to start flying weekly to the island and in August to start offering two flights a week. If that can be continued then we should be able to plan a 10 or 12 day departure from Auckland.
If you would like to have your name included for information when the Explorer is set up please advise us now.
On page 1 you will have read of our recent departures to various parts of the South Island. Some people have indicated that they would like to be part of any future Catlins, Southland, Fiordland and Mavora Lakes/Walter Peak Explorer next summer. We could plan that again should interest warrant that happening. Thoughts currently are to extend it by one day and have a night in the Catlins as well, because there is so much to see through there.
Also we could put together another Canterbury Valleys and Akaroa departure but only if interest warrants that.
Expressions of interest.
As indicated on the proposed departures above we need people's expressions of interest for any of these early on. With New Zealand citizens travelling extensively around our country there is great pressure on the available accommodation in some places and we can only hold rooms for a limited time! If you are considering any of these departures please do not delay in making contact as there is a time frame when rooms have to be released or I will be charged for them.
That is our lot for now. It would be great to see you again on any of the above. It really is wind down time for me. Perhaps there is a potential operator out there who could continue the small group concept that we have established?
Patricia and I look forward to talking to you should you be interested in any of the above. It would be great to talk to you in that regard.
In the meantime take care out there.
Patricia & Allan