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Auckland, New Zealand-port

Auckland, “The City Of Sails”, is spread over a narrow isthmus between the sparkling waters of the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours on New Zealand’s North Island. It earns its sobriquet from having more boats per capita than any other city in the world. The first settlers here were the Maori, and are still a vibrant component of its cosmopolitan population. Auckland offers the visitor all the amenities of a world-class city. Browse the shops of Queen Street or the Parnell area with its galleries and boutiques in quaintly restored Victorian buildings. For a magnificent panorama of the city travel to Mount Eden, the city’s highest point, or visit the Skytower for loftier views. Minutes from downtown you can relax on a black sand beach, or explore the America’s Cup Yachting Village. Further afield there are the spectacular pine-clad Waitakere Mountains, the amazing Waitomo Glowworm Caves and the verdant vineyards of Kumeu River Wines.

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  • PRE New Zealand Countryside and Wineries

PRE New Zealand Countryside and Wineries

Code: AKLL09

Experience life in the countryside surrounding Auckland by observing a gannet colony, watching a sheep-shearing demonstration at a working farm, and wine tasting in one of New Zealand’s newest wine regions north of Auckland.

DAY 1

Upon arrival at the Auckland Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel where the remainder of the day is at leisure and dinner is on your own.

This will be the first of three evenings spent in the luxurious Sky City Grand Hotel.

DAY 2

After enjoying breakfast at the hotel you will start your day with an orientation tour of Auckland. This will include a drive along the waterfront where a stop will be made at Bastion Point for views over the harbor before continuing to St Heliers Bay and through the eastern residential suburbs.

Continue with a drive into the fertile farmland and wine-growing areas of Kumeu and Huapai before reaching Muriwai Beach on the rugged west coast. Here, you will stop and walk approximately 250 meters (275 yards) to a special lookout above one of the world’s few mainland gannet colonies.

As you will be very close to the white seabirds, you will be able to watch them nesting, feeding and flying in the updrafts offshore. Their behavior will depend on the season and time of day, but regardless of what the activity, you can expect it to be hugely entertaining, especially if they are diving for fish. There should be hundreds, if not thousands of gannets in the colony, all of them clustered about the cliffs side by side.

Continuing on, you will travel through more beautiful countryside to Haumoana, a 200-acre working farm on the lovely Kaipara Peninsula. Situated high on a hill, the property offera splendid views over the rolling land and out to the harbor. The farm raises sheep and beef and supports a herd of friendly fallow deer that will usually come when called. It makes for an excellent photo opportunity.

Then, following a hearty lunch, you will watch a sheep-shearing demonstration. In the hands of a skilled farmhand, a sheep can typically be sheared head to tail in about three minutes.

After the demonstration, you will drive back to Auckland via a different route through farming areas, across the Auckland Harbor Bridge, and into the shopping district downtown. Upon arriving at the hotel, you will have the remainder of the day at your leisure with dinner on your own.

DAY 3

Following breakfast at the hotel, you will drive north towards Matakana, a small town in the heart of one of New Zealand’s newest wine regions. Here, you will have the opportunity to visit several distinct wineries for tastings and to discover how the various wines are produced on the gentle slopes throughout this region.

Your first stop is Omaha Bay, a family-owned, fourth-generation boutique vineyard and winery overlooking the bay of the same name. Omaha Bay is known for its classically herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc, densely colored Syrah and spicy, full-bodied Montepulciano.

Next, you will visit nearby Mahurangi River Winery, which produces a number of handcrafted wines that include Malbecs, Merlots and Syrah Viogniers. Although the oldest vines are Chardonnay and Bordeaux, the vineyard has added plantings that are somewhat novel in New Zealand in hopes of producing even more unique wines.

Continuing on, you will enjoy lunch and a tasting at Ascension Winery, which sits on a steep north-facing hillside of iron-rich clay that yields small crops of intensely flavored grapes. The exact wines in the tasting will be determined once you arrive, but they may include a popular Merlot-dominant red blend known as Epiphany and a soft, light-bodied Viognier.

Following this extended visit, you will drive on toward Auckland, pausing along the way for yet another tasting at Ransom Wines. The family-owned and operated winery produced its first vintage in 1996 and has since grown to become one of the area’s most revered brands. Some of its wines are made with Albarino white grapes, which are Spanish in origin and were planted at Ransom in 2009.

After departing from Ransom, you will return to the hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure with dinner on your own.

DAY 4

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. After check out at 12 noon you will be transferred to the ship for embarkation.

Land Program Step by Step:

Please note: The order of sites visited may vary to avoid congestion. The timings indicated are only approximate, and are given here for general reference purposes and are subject to change.

EXTRA NIGHTS: Should you book any extra nights through the cruise line, you will be met per the flight details provided and transferred to the Sky City Grand Hotel. Note that check in time is 3:00pm. Any meals other than breakfast as well as any activities are on your own until Day 2 of the program. Kindly ensure that the cruise line has your most up to date flight details.

DAY 1

Arrival of international flights

Meet and greet and transfer to the hotel.

Check-in is at 3:00pm. Rooms may or may not be ready prior to this time.

Remainder of the day is at leisure

Dinner on own

Overnight at the Sky City Grand Hotel or similar hotel

DAY 2

AM Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

08:30am Start the day with an orientation tour of Auckland and continue with your day tour of the Auckland Countryside and Gannet Colony

11:45am Stop at the cliff tops overlooking the beach. Walk to the Gannet Colony lookout.

12:15pm Drive to Haumoana

12:45pm Arrival at Haumoana – visit and lunch followed by a sheep shearing demonstration.

2:45pm Return to Auckland city

4:00pm Arrive back at the hotel

The remainder of the day is at leisure with dinner on your own

Overnight at the Sky City Grand Hotel or similar hotel

DAY 3

AM Breakfast at the hotel

8:30am Depart for Matakana wine region

10:00am Visit Omaha Bay Winery

10:45am Depart Omaha Bay Winery

11:15am Visit Mahurangi River Winery

12:00pm Depart Mahurangi River Winery

12:30pm Lunch and tasting at Ascension Winery

2:00pm Depart Ascension Winery

2:15pm Tasting at Ransom Wines

3:00pm Depart Ransom Wines

4:30pm Arrive back at the Sky City Grand Hotel

The remainder of the day is at leisure with dinner on your own

Overnight at the Sky City Grand Hotel or similar hotel

DAY 4

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. After check out at 12 noon you will be transferred to the ship for embarkation.

Please remember to settle your personal incidental account with the hotel prior to leaving.

Expected Weather:

New Zealand's seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere. This means that the warmest months are December, January and February, while the coldest are June, July and August.

What to Bring:

Dress is informal and relaxed. Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants and nightspots. Men are not expected to wear suits and ties, except in a few of the premier formal bars and restaurants.

In the summer, bring a light jacket or sweater in case the weather turns cooler or you visit higher altitudes. You can expect some rain, so include a light waterproof jacket or coat and an umbrella.

Currency:

The New Zealand Dollar is the currency. All major international credit cards can be used in New Zealand and Travelers Cheques are accepted at hotels, banks and some stores. If your credit card is encoded with a PIN, you will be able to withdraw cash from automatic teller machines (ATMs) at most banks and shopping centers.

Electricity:

Electricity throughout New Zealand is 230/240 volts (50 hertz), although most hotels and motels provide 110-volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only.

For all other equipment, an adapter/converter is necessary, unless the item has a multi-voltage option. Power outlets only accept flat three-pin or two-pin plugs, depending on whether an earth connection (ground) is fitted.

Documents and Visa Requirements:

A valid passport is required. International guests are required to check with their travel agent in regards to Visa requirements.

Accommodation:

Sky City Grand Hotel

90 Federal St Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

Phone: +64 9-363 6000

If a similar hotel is required due to unforeseen circumstances, it will be of equal ratings and standards.

Program includes:

3 Nights at the Sky City Grand Hotel or similar Hotel, including breakfasts

Touring as outlined above

Lunch on Day 2 and Day 3

Wine tasting on Day 3

English-speaking driver and guide

Please Note: Guests booking their own flights (independent of the cruise line) are responsible for ensuring that the cruise line has the most current and updated arrival information so your transfer can be arranged. Should you book any additional nights independently of the cruise line, an arrival transfer is not provided.

Program excludes:

Any meals not listed above

All beverages

Gratuities to drivers and guides

Other hotel incidentals and personal expenses

Please note: Land programs that encompass multiple days ashore customarily include extensive and prolonged activity, while those of shorter durations typically have more moderate activity levels. However, each program varies and participants should be prepared to negotiate a mixture of surfaces, which may include inclines, cobblestones, sand, gravel and natural paths. There may also be a need to climb steps or stairs on occasion. Guests who utilize a wheelchair and those with mobility concerns are advised to check with the cruise line in advance to see if any portion of the tour program may not be considered suitable for their individual situation. Weather-appropriate clothing, hats, sunglasses, and flat comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

Hotel and Land Program pricing is not combinable with FREE 1-Night Pre-Cruise Luxury Hotel Package. If applicable, please contact Regent Seven Seas Cruises or your travel agent for multi-night pre-cruise hotel pricing information. Land program promotions are subject to terms.