New Meaning? New Zealand!
(New Zealand, Australasia)
In a Nutshell
Some say that what the earth needs now more than anything is good storytelling. A story so good, and told so clearly, that it creates enough understanding, interest, empathy & rage to realize that we are treating it like someone who plays russian roulette, but with a fully loaded gun. In light of recent reports, we fully agree. We also believe that like any kind of storytelling (cinema, theater, TV series) the crucial elements are great lighting,stunning scenery and of course, the storytellers themselves.
With this in mind, we chose New Zealand, cinematic home of Lord of the Rings, and voted as one of the most inspirational locations on the planet, to host this adventure. Located on the South Island, our work will help maintain the biodiversity that is so needed for the planet in general and this part of it, in particular. We will be on the west coast for five days, to witness global warming via magnificent glaciers, to study seal colonies and much more. And that’s just the first part… during the second part, we will discover the magic of the Canterbury region, moving from the tranquil wilderness of the west coast to vibrant Christchurch, to visit Banks Peninsula, meet and greet dolphins, penguins (and people) and then return to the serenity of Hanmer
Springs. Scenery- check! As for the storytellers, well, that’s your part. We will inspire you to be so much more than keyboard warriors, to put on your working boots for this cause and afterwards,help recruit the next planet guardians, by telling them what a meaningful time you had, so much more than just plain fun.
Located on the rugged and wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Punakaiki is the gateway to the dramatic limestone canyons of the Paparoa National Park and its famous Pancake Rocks, caves and blowholes.
Participants will contribute to the Punakaiki Coastal Restoration Project, which aims to restore native forest habitat for the Westland Petrel. Our base will be near Paparoa National Park, allowing us easy access to explore some of the most incredible scenery New Zealand has to offer, such as Pancake Rocks and Tauranga Fur Seal Bay. Then, we will cross to the east coast by train via more incredible scenery, to start the second and third anchors of this adventure.
Day 1, Monday: Pick up from Christchurch international airport and travel through the untouched beech forests surrounding Lewis Pass. After a six-hour journey, we will arrive at our accommodation in Punakaiki. A warm welcome and an overview of our itinerary for the next four days is next on today’s agenda. In the late afternoon we will join an animal monitoring activity, placing sensing (motion activated) cameras in the national park (see the “contributional part” below for more details). Last on the agenda – a good night’s sleep after a long day.
Day 2, Tuesday: Conservation day ahead: We will visit and meet local participants at the coastal restoration site and participate in habitat restoration activities. This may include tree planting, seed collecting, invasive plant species removal and more. Why are we doing it, and why here? This land has special ecological significance due to its proximity to Paparoa National Park and the protected habitat of the Westland Petrel, which fly over the project site to reach their breeding colonies inland. We will be a part of this meaningful project and help to save the Westland Petrel! After our contributional work is done for today, we will visit the South Island’s iconic Pancake Rocks (natural limestone cliffs formed more than 30 million years ago) and tour the Blowholes Walk (an easy hike, approx. 1km). In the evening we will enjoy a horse wagon tour on Barrytown Beach. We recommend calling it an early night, as tomorrow will be as filled with activities as today.
Day 3, Wednesday: Today we will witness the impact of global warming on the Franz Josef Glaciers. After an early morning start, we will head for the magnificent glaciers. We will learn about the detrimental effects of climate change at high altitudes. This is another example of how we separate ourselves from plain tourists: glaciers are often viewed simply as magnificent nature structures; however, we’ll learn how for scientists and researchers studying climate change, glaciers offer so much valuable insight about the past. After the glacier tour we’ll visit Greymouth, the largest town of the West Coast region. Here we will have dinner and you may choose to relax at the local pub. We’ll return to our Punakaiki accommodation by approximately 8pm.
Day 4, Thursday: Early departure for the Seal Colony at Tauranga Bay where we will help conduct a survey of coastal health using the quadrat method. Later, we will protect habitat and marine species, including seals, by participating in beach clean-up tasks on the coast. We will learn the importance of sorting and documenting waste and how to better protect our marine ecosystems. Why is beach clean up so important? Because marine debris is a global issue: more than eight million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic every minute. Up to 80% of all litter in our oceans is made of plastic. Globally, only 18% of plastic is recycled. Some items can take hundreds of years to break down. Today’s activity is aimed to reduce marine pollution and help save the marine ecosystems, a kilogram at a time. After dinner, we will gather under the stars of Punakaiki to reflect upon this week’s journey, and participate in a certificate ceremony.
Day 5, Friday: Final day of contribution, and a dreamy train ride: After breakfast, we will retrieve the remote sensor camera that we put in place on our first day and examine the findings. Then we will say farewell to the only breeding site for the Westland Petrels and to the staff in Punakaiki. Come noontime, we will depart for Greymouth Station to catch the TranzAlpine Scenic Train for one of the world’s most famous and beautiful journeys. This marks the official ending of part one of our adventure. Goodbye Punakaiki, Hello Christchurch! Upon arrival we will be met by a new group leader who will look after all of our land arrangements while in the Garden City. He will also facilitate the transfer and check-in to our lovely Christchurch city accommodation in a great boutique hotel.
Day 6, Saturday: Urban vibes! Today we will enjoy a fully guided tour of Christchurch including the very best of the city’s attractions. We will immerse ourselves in this city’s sad yet inspirational story: Our day will start with a city highlights tour of Christchurch’s city center,which was completely devastated by a6.2 magnitude earthquake in February 2011. Our team leader will explain both the history of the city and the effects of the earthquake, and we will see for ourselves the destructive powers of nature and the rebuilding which has continued for nearly a decade. While in the city center, we will enjoy a ride on a historic tram, which travels through the inner city center and provides commentary on the buildings and landscape as we pass. Our next stop is at the Antigua Boat Sheds, located on the banks of the Avon River. From here we will be taken down the river on an English punt. At this point the Avon River forms the border of the Christchurch Botanical Gardens. The punt will return us to the Antigua Boat Sheds, where our team leader will be waiting.
From the city center, our tour travels south via the Port Hills and Lyttelton Harbour, We’ll pass through the residential, hillside suburb of Cashmere and the vantage points overlooking the city; we’ll view Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps from the historic Sign of the Takahe and Sign of the Kiwi rest stops. Traveling over the hills and into Lyttelton Harbour, we will reach Governors Bay and then travel around the inner bays of the harbour to the port of Lyttelton.
From Lyttelton we will travel over the newly reopened Evans Pass, which was closed for more than seven years due to cliff collapse in the earthquake of 2011. Evans Pass will provide us with fantastic views of the harbour’s heads and the southern bays. Continuing on from Evans Pass we will arrive at the seaside suburb of Sumner and Cave Rock, where we will have time to explore the beach and/or the shops in the quaint village.
The tour continues to the Christchurch Gondola where you will enjoy a ride up the port hills and enjoy magnificent views over Christchurch, north along the coast, west to the Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps and back south, over Lyttelton Harbour and the port of Lyttelton.
From the Christchurch Gondola we will return to the city center and Mona Vale, a historic homestead and gardens on the banks of the Avon River. Here we can wander through the grounds and gardens, or even stop for a tea in the homestead’s cafe.
Our final stop today is at the International Antarctic Centre, which is one of Christchurch’s leading attractions. The centre recreates the atmosphere of Antarctica with a snow and ice experience, the Little Blue Penguin encounter, an exhilarating Hagglund ride and a 4D movie experience. From the International Antarctic Centre our group leader will return us to our accommodation. Rest well…
Day 7, Sunday: Banks day ahead! Today we will depart Christchurch and travel to Akaroa over the beautiful Banks Peninsula, formed following violent eruptions of two ancient volcanoes. The aptly named “Hill Top view,” offers glorious views of Akaroa Harbour and the remote bays and farmlands. The Akaroa crater nurses the picturesque harbor and Akaroa village, the only French settlement established in New Zealand. We will visit a local, French-style cheese factory where we will see the cheese being made and even taste the final product. After lunch we will embark on a two- hour nature cruise where we hope to spot the very rare, Hector Dolphins, which are the world’s smallest oceanic dolphin, together with seals and the Little Blue Penguins in their native habitat. We will return to Christchurch, and enjoy a free, urban evening.
Day 8, Monday: Goodbye Christchurch, Hello Waipara and Hanmer Springs! We will check out by mid-morning and with our group leader, travel north of Christchurch to the Waipara Wine Region, in which we will explore several of North Canterbury’s boutique vineyards. Waipara is well known for its warm, dry climate and rich alluvial soils, ideal for superior wine production. Over 40 vineyards and wineries pepper the landscape of the valley, with pinot noir, riesling, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc dominating local plantings. Our first stop will be Pegasus Bay Winery, one of the few wineries in this region that is renowned for award winning red wines, as well as a great selection of whites. The next stop will be at Waipara Hills Winery, followed by Waipara Springs Winery, where both a tasting of their wines and lunch has been arranged for our enjoyment. Following lunch, the winery tour will conclude with tastings at Greystone Winery.
From Waipara we will travel onto Hanmer Springs, approximately 45 minutes northwest of Waipara. Hanmer Springs marks the conclusion of our Christchurch tour. On arrival our team leader will introduce us to the beautiful surroundings and assist with our luggage and check in to our last boutique hotel before saying farewell.
Day 9, Tuesday: Super indulgent day ahead; consider yourself warned… With a variety of pools including relaxing rock pools, soothing sulphur pools,pools with water jets and bubbles at a range of temperatures;, plus a luxurious day spa with a range of treatments, private pools, sauna and steam rooms, Hanmer Springs can, and will be very indulging. Come evening we will enjoy a complimentary festive dinner, that will help us reflect on everything we have experienced during this adventure. A good night’s sleep is recommended to prepare for a day full of transfers.
Day 10, Wednesday: Goodbye Hanmer Springs, Goodbye Christchurch, Goodbye New Zealand! After a bountiful breakfast and a relaxing morning, that may include some more splashing and soaking in the accommodation’s pool, we will start the journey back from Hanmer to Christchurch International Airport. Home awaits!
- Location of the adventure: Punakaiki, Christchurch, Canterbury Region, Hanmer Springs, New Zealand (Multiple locations)
- Project length: 10 daysArrival & departure airport: Christchurch International Airport (CHC)
- Contributional Work: This program’s vision is to develop an ecological corridor that spans from the mountains to the sea, reflecting the rich biodiversity of the area that includes the only nesting ground of the vulnerable Westland Petrel, the natural habitat of the Blue Penguin and the threatened sand plain forests, bearing Nikau Palms and Rata trees many hundreds of years old. In 2010, the site was officially declared a nature reserve and was named Te Ara Tāiko Nature Reserve. During this adventure you will play an active role in restoring the forest surrounding the Westland Petrel colonies on the Te Ara Tāiko Nature Reserve, which will include tree planting, weed control, seed collection and propagation of native plant species in the onsite nursery that provides all of the plants for the project. As for the use of sensing cameras: this activity has been widely used by researchers and scientists, aimed to capture wildlife movement in remote habitats in order to understand the distribution and presence in the region. The data we will collect will contribute to a long-term animal survey program to help our team and the Department of Conservation in New Zealand better understand the local wildlife distribution.
- Family Option: This project accepts families with children as young as 11 years old.
- Number of participants: This adventure requires a minimum of six participants.
- Accommodations: Throughout the adventure, 4-star, super comfortable accommodation is provided in upscale, eco-friendly boutique hotels. Twin share accommodation, maximum three guests per room, upon request only.
- Food: On Days 2-4 all meals are included, although some meals are prepared together as a group. On Days 5-10, breakfast only is included. On Days 1 and 9, dinner is also provided.
- Transport: All transportation, including private transport between and within cities, to and from the project, the TranzAlpine train and round trip airport transfers, is provided.
- Activities: All activities (tours, classes, museums, park entrances, etc.) and Certificate of Contribution are included.
- Orientation: Participants will receive an orientation upon arrival.
- Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 emergency hotline, experienced local field team, including experienced Team Leader during the contributional portion, and on in Days 6-8.
- Weather, recommended equipment and clothes: The climate in Punakaiki and the West Coast is considered a temperate climate with high annual rainfall. Weather can change very quickly, so ensure that you bring suitable wet weather gear (jacket and trousers) and expect four seasons in one day.
- Luggage is limited to a maximum of 10 kg and we will provide you with an essential packing list.
What’s Not Included
- Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, alcoholic drinks, personal expenses.
- Breakfast on Day 1; dinner Days 5-8 and 10
- Laundry, souvenirs and or any additional tours or activities
Adventure Departure Dates
- September 9th, 2019
- October 14th, 2019
- November 11th, 2019
- December 9th, 2019
- January 17th, 2020
- February 14th, 2020
- March 13th, 2020
- April 17th, 2020
Adventure Cost : $3,790 USD