Red Eye Flight
In an attempt to maximize time (and minimize vaca days used) a Red Eye flight was booked after the work day on the 1st. A short layover happens in LA, but after that the long flight to NZ is underway. It can consist of chair cuddles in attempt to stay comfortable, scifi movies or shows on the ipad to pass the time, and sleep.
Arrival & Check In
The official first day is a freebee. In anticipation of jetlag and travel weariness there are no plans for the day! After the arrival the game plan is to check in to the Air B&B and settle in. They're staying in a small beach town outside of Auckland that is known for its restaurants. So they can recharge or venture out to explore the town.
HOBBITON Tour & Rotorua
Naturally, the first activity must be a visit to Hobbiton, the LOTR set. This visit includes a formal tour, lunch, and lots of pictures. After their indulgence of Middle Earth their adventures transition to the bubbling mud pools of Rotorua. This mud spring is located in a reservation nearby. Anticipate mud pushing and throwing.
SEPT 3 (EVENING)
Larnach Castle Ghost Tour
Don't worry, this isn't a sleepover night tour! Larnach Castle is known as a 'hot spot' in NZ for cranky spirits. Multiple reportings of pushes, touches, and other odd occurances have happened from the various night ventures of the spot. The tour consists of a history lesson throughout the castle and the gardens. Maybe there will be a paranormal encounter!
Dolphin Kaikoura and Whale Watching
The snorkling lessons start now! They will be needed to seamlessly swim and play with the Dusky Dolphins, which are known for their playful and friendly nature. In addition to playfulness, these guys are very acrobatic as well. Expect lots of splashes and flips from them. For the excursion afterwards, a boat serving meals in hopes to catch some activity from humpback whales.
SEPT 4 (EVENING)
Southern Lights Tour
Yes, Virgina! There is such a thing as the Southern Lights, and they can be viewed in NZ. This experience starts off as a tour that consists of a small group hiking before sunset to Lake Tekapo. Once at the lake people are welcome to venture off and stargaze from a blanket, a hot spring, or find a hill to take up close and personal pictures.
This is a more scenic day. A compilation of hikes to hit, including a volcanic island and woodland trails littered with waterfalls and hot springs to dip into. All the hikes picked were labeled as 'easy' and are relatively short. The Isthmus Peak hike is the most time consuming and carded as a medium difficulty in hiking, but the view is worth it. This is the last hike of the day.
Glowworm caves at Waitomo
The day of caves! There are numerous Glowworm caves to see, but the one chosen to explore is one that they can river tube through. If they're feeling adventurous they could travel around to a few others and swim through them for a more quiet and intimate experience. In addition to the caves they can paddle out to see Māori Rock Carvings in Mine Bay.
SEPT 6 (EVENING)
Dig Your Own Spa Pool @ Hot Water Beach
For ten dollars you can rent a shovel and dig your own geothermal pool when it's low tide. The water being more on the warmer side is perfect for the turn of the season. The recommended hours were obtained for a sunset experience and used as guidance on when to go and dig in order to relax and enjoy a beachy sunset.
This was dedicated to more goofing off than anything else. Small experiences such as ziplining, go cart racing, ride the rere rock slide, and Zorbing (yep, don't throw up) took up the bulk of this day. It was a more liesurely day with less rush and more chill. They can get into as many goofy experiences as they want, take an afternoon nap maybe, visit a winery, or taste test some excellent eats.
SEPT 8 (MORNING)
Cathedral Cove Sunrise
What better way to say goodbye than with a lazy, beachy morning? It is said that Cathedral Cove is completely abandoned in the early mornings which makes for a relaxing and intimate time spent on its beach. Since it's spring it'd be a bit chillier, so have towels and body heat handy after if you venture out into the water
Red Eye Flight
Homeward bound. The landing back home will happen midday on the 9th which will give them both some time to settle in and decompress from the journey before the work day happens.