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new zealand

October 4 - 15, 2023
Texas Ski Council Fall Expedition

We're going to the Land Down Under for Quite an Adventure!

Pre-trips to Cairns and/or Sydney Australia - New Zealand (Base Trip) - Post-trip to Fiji 

Trip Chair: Tere Mayne


New Zealand is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, located in the south westernmost part of Polynesia. New Zealand is a remote land and one of the last sizable territories suitable for habitation to be populated and settled. It lies more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southeast of Australia, which is its nearest neighbor. The country comprises two main islands—the North and South islands—and a number of small islands, some of them hundreds of miles from the main group. The capital city is Wellington and the largest urban area Auckland, which is where we will fly into and the countries largest port. We will spend the first part of our trip here. Both cities are located on the North Island.

New Zealand is a land of great contrasts and diversity.  Here you will find active volcanoes, spectacular caves, deep glacier lakes, verdant valleys, dazzling fjords, long sandy beaches, and the spectacular snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps on the South Island—all contribute to New Zealand’s scenic beauty. New Zealand also has a unique array of vegetation and animal life, much of which developed during the country’s prolonged isolation. It is the sole home, for example, of the long-beaked, flightless kiwi - the ubiquitous nickname for New Zealanders.

We will fly from Houston to Auckland via Air New Zealand and will transfer from Auckland Airport to our hotel with a driver/guide. We will stay
 2 nights in Auckland  at the 4 Star Hotel Grand Millennium.

The hotel is located in the city center near some of the city’s finest dining, shopping and entertainment venues. Also nearby are landmark venues e.g. The Civic, Auckland Town Hall and Aotea Square, the city's largest outdoor civic space where you can relax and often attend local events. It’s a 452 stylish hotel with a smart design, chic decor, floor to ceiling windows for natural light and modern amenities. It has many quality facilities you can take advantage of during your stay, whether it’s enjoying a swim in the heated indoor pool or savoring a delicious teppanyaki meal at Katsura Japanese Restaurant. We will be provided fully-cooked breakfast daily at the hotel.

During our transfer from the airport to our hotel we will have a 1/2 day city tour. We will also spend a full day touring Waiheke Island by boat and bus that will include lunch and a wine tasting (round trip transfer included).
Rotorua is world famous for its geothermal landscape and rich Māori culture. Te Puia, Tamaki Māori Village and Mitai Māori Village all offer a wide range of cultural experiences, from traditional welcomes by Māori warriors to flax weaving, paddling a waka (Māori war canoe) and traditional earth-cooked meals, known as "hangi."

We will travel. via private motor coach with a driver/guide from Auckland to Rotorua. We will have a tour of "Lord of the Rings" "Hobbiton Village - lunch will be served in route.

Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand is one of the most successful movie sagas Lord Of The Rings was mainly filmed in New Zealand, whose rich nature offers a variety of differing sites. Hobbiton was a set, built for the movie. However, after the filming was finished somebody got the idea to leave this Hobbit village as the tourist attraction - aren't we glad they did!

We will spend 2 nights in Rotorua at the 4-Star Hotel Millennium - fully-cooked breakfast daily included. We will have an evening "Maori Experience" and dinner in the Rotorua Maori Cultural Center.

The “Maori Experience” is a hangi (earth oven feast) coupled with a song-and-dance performance. The hangi is the traditional Maori method of cooking. A large pit is filled with a wood fire topped by stones; when the stones are heated through, baskets of food are placed on top and covered with damp cloths. Earth is then shoveled over to create a natural oven. After about 3 hours, dinner is unveiled, with intermingling flavors of various foods lightly touched by wood smoke. Not all hangi are this authentic—indeed, many hotel hangi are now steamed for health and safety requirements.

Queenstown: After 2 nights in Rotorua we will take a motor coach to the Auckland airport to fly to Queenstown where we will stay 5 nights at the 4-Star Novotel Lakeside Hotel . Our stay will include a fully-cooked breakfast daily.  All rooms are equipped with coffee/tea makers (see website for more details). The hotel property is just 15 minutes from the airport and located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu with  fine dining close by.  We will have a welcome party and dinner buffet at the Skyline Gondola with wine, beer, soft drinks. 

We will cruise across the Lake Wakatipu on the steamship TSS Earnslaw to enjoy a BBQ dinner at the Walter Peak Colonel's Estate. It’s one of the best ways to see Queenstown’s surrounding landscape aboard the iconic century-old coal fired steamship. The leisurely 90 minute cruise across Lake Wakatipu showcases some of Queenstown’s spectacular alpine scenery. 

The 106 year old TSS Earnslaw was commissioned by New Zealand Railways to service the communities around Lake Wakatipu. Launched on October 18, 1812. Known as The Lady of the Lake, she provided an essential link between the isolated farming communities along the lake and the outside world.  At 48 metres long, she was the biggest boat on the lake and carried passengers, sheep, cattle, mail and supplies.

Return Trip from New Zealand to USA: October 15
Those returning to the US from Queenstown, New Zealand will fly Air New Zealand to Auckland International Airport and then onto Los Angeles and then Houston or Austin (Flight schedules will be confirmed by mid November).

For those extending your stay to experience the beautiful beaches and natural beauty of Fiji, you will fly from Queenstown to Auckland where you will change to Fiji Airways to arrive at Nadi International Airport on October 15. You will fly back to LAX via Fiji Airways. (Flights and upgrades on Fiji Airways will be confirmed by mid November.)

Pre-Trip to Australia 

What would a write up for a trip to Australia be without starting out with a pic of a Koala Bear? Check out this National Geographic brief video on them. If you didn't already know they're an arboreal herbivorous marsupial not a bear. The koala is found in coastal areas of the mainland's eastern and southern regions, inhabiting Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia.

 (Cairns & Sydney) - September 27 to October 15, 2023
We fly into Auckland from the US then on to Cairns via Virgin Australia and transfer with driver/guide between Cairns Airport and hotel. Return flight to Auckland on Air New Zealand. We will have 3 nights accommodations in Cairns at the 4-Star Pullman Cairns International Hotel. Breakfast will be provided daily at the hotel. Transfer from hotel to Cairns airport included. 

We will have a Full Day cruise to the Great Barrier Reef that includes lunch and snorkeling. There will also be a Full Day tour to Kuranda Rain Forest and National Park with BBQ lunch. We will also enjoy a Sydney Harbour Coffee Cruise.

The Great Barrier Reef  (GBR) is the world's most extensive coral reef system – it is globally outstanding and a significant entity. Practically the entire ecosystem was inscribed as World Heritage in 1981, covering an area of 348,000 square kilometres or 216,247 miles and extending across a contiguous latitudinal range of 14o (10oS to 24oS). The GBR includes extensive cross-shelf diversity, stretching from the low water mark along the mainland coast up to 250 kilometres (155 miles) offshore. This wide depth range includes vast shallow inshore areas, mid-shelf and outer reefs, and beyond the continental shelf to oceanic waters over 2,000 metres (1,242’) deep.

Within the GBR there are some 2,500 individual reefs of varying sizes and shapes, and over 900 islands, ranging from small sandy cays and larger vegetated cays, to large rugged continental islands rising, in one instance, over 1,100 metres (684’) above sea level. Collectively these landscapes and seascapes provide some of the most spectacular maritime scenery in the world.

Post Trip - Fiji - October 15-19 - 4 nights

Welcome to the Republic of Fiji located in the South Pacific about 1,300 miles Northeast of New Zealand's North Island. The capital of Fiji is Suvu, which also serves as the country's principal cruise ship port. About 3/4 of Fijians live on Viti Levu's coast, either in Suvu or in smaller urban centres such as Nadi—where tourism is the major local industry or Lautoka, where the sugar-cane industry is paramount.

Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the Pacific thanks to its abundant forest, mineral, and fish resources. Its currency is the Fijian dollar, and its main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry, remittances from Fijians working, and bottled water exports. It has a population of almost 900,000. The local currency is the Fiji dollar and the official language is English.

Almost half of Fiji’s total area remains forested, while dry grasslands are found in western areas of the large islands. Coconut palms are common in coastal areas, and almost all tropical fruits and vegetables can be grown. Much of the shoreline is composed of reefs and rocks, while mangrove swamps are found on eastern coasts. There are few white-sand swimming beaches and, because of the encircling reef, little surf. Most animals, including pigs, dogs, cattle, and a few horses, are domesticated.

We will fly out of Queenstown to Auckland, NZ then onto Nadi, Fiji via Fiji Airways. There will be a welcoming "Lei" greeting upon arrival at the Nadi airport before our transfer to our hotel on Denarau Island. Our 4 night stay at the beautiful ocean-side 4-Star Sheraton Denarau Resort is a perfect place to relax, have fun in the sun, explore restaurants, shops, bars and lots of excursion opportunities. Breakfast is provided daily at the hotel. Since our flight back to the USA will leave Fiji late evening, our group will be granted a late check out before transferring to the airport. 

You must be a current Austin Skiers Member to join a trip.

Prices are per person, double occupancy unless noted as a single supplement.

BASE TRIP - New Zealand
 October 4-15, 2023

(9 nights = 2 Auckland, 2 Rotorua, 5 Queenstown)

Full Trip pp $4,529
Single Supplement  add $1,288

Pre-trip: Cairns & Sydney, Australia

(4 nts Cairns, 3 nts Sydney)

September 27 to October 15

Double Occupancy Add: $2,226
Single Occupancy Add:  $3,256

Post -trip: Nadi, Fiji (4 nights)
October 15-19

Ocean Breeze Double Add: - $887
Ocean Breeze Single Add: $1,286

Ocean View Double Add: $1,018
Ocean View Single Add: $1,517

Ocean Front Double Add: $1,149   
Ocean Front Single Add: $1,748


Payment schedule: $1,400 deposit due upon registration. 

 2nd payment due Jan. 6, 2023: $2,500

Final Payment Due June 1, 2023

Cancellation Fees:

Before June 2, 2023  $50pp*

June 3-Aug. 2, 2023 $200pp*

After Aug 3- Sep 1, 2023: up to 50%* 

No refunds after Sep 1. 2023

*Plus any unrecoverable expenses to Austin Skiers.

HTrip Insurance with Medical and Evacuation coverage is recommended for all travelers. Visit Austin Skiers Trip Insurance Resources


Air UpgradesAvailable on trans-pacific flights only.  Based on availability. 1st come/1st served. Air Prices subject to change. 


*Skycouch and Premium Economy are

NOT available on Fiji Post-trip*

1 on sky couch to NZ only +$1,475 pp**  

1 on sky couch RT, NZ only +$2,950 pp** 

2 sharing 1 sky couch NZ only +$750 pp** 

Premium economy to NZ +$1,718pp (1-way)** 

Business Premier NZ only (RT)    ASK


MAKE ALL CHECK(s) PAYABLE TO AUSTIN SKIERS AND MAIL to Tere Mayne per registration instructions.

Final payment due June 1, 2023. if you wish to pay any portion of your trip by credit card your Trip Leader will work with our Treasurer to generate a PayPal invoice for you to pay. A 3.5% handling fee will apply.


* If you choose to pay your trip via credit card tell your trip chair so that an invoice can be generated via PayPal. (A 3.5% merchant fee will be applied.) 

*A passport is required for this trip.  You will need your passport number and expiration date to register. It needs to be VALID 6 months beyond the return date of the tour (Exp dates: Apr. 16, 2024 or Apr. 20, 2024)

VISA Requirements: Each trip participant is responsible for filing for online VISAs required to enter Australia (~$101) and New Zealand (~$22). These costs are extra, and not included in trip prices. Based on current exchange rate and susceptible to change.

Families can register together to receive 1 invoice: At the bottom of the registration form, click "Add Guest" to register your family member`

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