Queenstown Marathon New Zealand 2018

In 2011 the IMFR Fellowship stayed three weeks in Australia. For most participants this was a “once-in-a-lifetime”-experience, they will never forget. 2018 will be a new chance for such an outstanding adventure: Don´t miss it.

(1)  Sa  03 NOV 18: LAND 2 nights

Auckland, the “City of the Sails”, is – with a population of more than 1,3 million – the largest city of New Zealand and the most important commercial centre of the country. Approximately 30% of the entire population of New Zealand lives in this attractive city, located on the isthmus between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea. More than 600 years ago the city was settled by the Maori of the Tainui tribe – named after one of the canoes, in which, according to a legend, the ancestors of the Maori sailed to New Zealand. In 1842 Auckland was appointed the capital of New Zealand, but lost this status to Wellington in 1865 already.

(2)  So  04 NOV 18: Auckland

Half-day city-sightseeing Auckland. Landmark of the city is the Harbour Bridge, built in 1959 and which connects the northern suburbs with the centre. Another interesting sight is the quarter of Parnell, which was restored in the Victorian style. Visibly remarkable is the Sky Tower, with 328 meters the highest free standing building of the southern hemisphere.

(3)  Mo  05 NOV 18: AUCKLAND – WHANGAREI BAY – OF ISLANDS  2nights

Distance: 220km Driving time: 3½ hrs

The province north of Auckland is called “Northland”, also known as the “winterless North” even though this part is already located in subtropical latitudes. Three centuries ago its entire surface was covered with Kauri forests, before European settlers, mainly Croats from Dalmatia, cleared them. Next is Whangarei, the largest city in the Northland and location of New Zealand’s only oil refinery.

Via Kawakawa, for many years the residence of the worldwide known artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, we arrive in the Bay of Islands. This area played a key role in the colonial development of New Zealand by the Englishmen in the 19th Century. Here the first mission stations were established and in 1840 the important “Treaty of Waitangi” between the Maori and the English colonialists was signed. The Maori ceded the sovereignty of New Zealand to Britain; Maori gave the Crown an exclusive right to buy lands they wished to sell, and, in return, they were guaranteed full rights of ownership of their lands, forests, fisheries and other possessions; and that Maori would have the rights and privileges of British subjects. To this day the Treaty provides for controversies. Today the Bay of Islands is a popular summer holiday destination and most of this area is protected as a “Maritime Park”.

In the afternoon you take a cruise through the magical Bay of Islands out to Cape Brett. You cruise through waters which are loved and treasured by deep-sea fishermen the world over. If the weather conditions are right, we will even cruise through the “Hole in the Rock” and into the “Grand Cathedral Cave”. It is also likely to see some dolphins. In the late afternoon the boat is back in Paihia.


Day at leisure. Alternatively, a day excursion to Cape Reinga: An early morning start takes you to the tip of the North Island, the Cape Reinga. Maori legend has it that it is here where the souls of the dead start their journey across the ocean back to the land of their ancestors, the legendary Hawaiki. Depending on the tide the coach travels across the famous 90 Mile Beach on the way up or down. You will also visit the Pukeiti Kauri Forest where up to a thousand years old Kauri trees can be found.


Distance: 360km Driving time: 5¼ Std

The road takes us across the island to the Westcoast, to the moony Hokianga Bay, where time seems to have come to a standstill. On the opposite side of the bay enormous sand dunes are rising up. Afterwards we arrive at the Waipoua Kauri Forest, a protected area with some fine examples of the Kauri, which – together with the California Redwoods – ranks among the mightiest trees on earth. Their wood is very much in demand due to its high quality.

A short footpath leads to “Tane Mahuta”. The ‘ God of the Forest’, is an estimated 2,000 years old. It stands 51,5m tall and has an extent of 13,8m. Further south, a brief stop in Matakohe allows for the visit of the Pioneer and Kauri museum. Here you will find an excellent collection of Northland’s pioneer history. Furthermore you get information about the Kauri tree, its wood and its resin. Once we passed through the numerous suburbs of Auckland we will get a beautiful panoramic view of Auckland’s skyline when crossing the Harbour Bridge again.

(6)  Do  08 NOV 18 : AUCKLAND – ROTORUA

Distance: 235km Driving time: 3½ hrs

We are heading further south and the road partly follows the course of the Waikato, New Zealand’s longest river. The fertile Waikato area is used intensively for dairy farming. After crossing the Mamaku Range we arrive in Rotorua, the thermal hot spot of New Zealand. The smell of sulphur lingers in the air. One gets used to it fairly quick though. It is noticeable that the proportion of Maori in the population is substantially higher in Rotorua than in other regions. In the city’s surroundings you will find numerous ‘Maraes’. Thus one calls the meeting houses of the Maori, whose culture is present here everywhere.

A highlight of every visit to Rotorua is Te Puia with its thermal area of Whakarewarewa. Boiling mud pools, the Pohutu Geysir, steaming and trembling earth and further thermal activities in the most varied forms are to be found here. A special experience is also the meeting with the Maori, the Polynesian natives of New Zealand and traditional guardians of Whakarewarewa. You will also visit the Arts & Crafts Institute, where – during the week – carvers are demonstrating their exceptional skills.

Te Puia’s evening cultural experience. It is a feast of storytelling, entertainment and Māori Cuisine. When you visit Te Puia at night, you enjoy an indepth experience of the customs and traditions of Māori, with a traditional pōwhiri (Māori welcoming ceremony), a warrior’s challenge and a full kapa haka (Māori performing arts) concert.

Feeding guests is regarded by Māori as an honour and a sign of a tribe’s mana (standing), so a sumptuous banquet is provided during the evening. This banquet combines contemporary cuisine with a traditional hangi (earth-cooked oven meal), where kai (food) is steam-cooked by hot rocks in the earth, giving it a delicious smokey flavour.


Distance: 220km Driving time: 3 1/2hrs 

Wairakei, an hour’s drive south of Rotorua is the location of one of the largest geothermal power station in the world. It was the first that used hot water steam for the operation of its turbines. Subsequently we make a brief stop at the mighty Huka Falls, where 220,000 litres of water per second rush through a natural narrowing and gush into the lower reaches of the Waikato River over an 11m high waterfall.

Lake Taupo is well known and with a surface of 606 km2 the largest lake in New Zealand, popular in particular amongst anglers due to its abundance of trout.

The route between Taupo and Napier is well known for its great range of scenery, from green lush valleys, to rolling plains, rugged hills and endless spaces. Our destination Hawke’s Bay is New Zealands oldest and one of the largest wine regions. The climate is perfect with long sun hours and very high temperatures.

Hastings was devastated by a huge earthquake in 1931. As a result, the city has a great deal of remarkable Art Deco and Spanish Mission-style architecture. Then we reach today’s destination Napier. It was also levelled by the 1931 earthquake, and rebuilt in the style of the times. Napier is now considered the Art Deco Capital of the world.


Distance: 320km Driving time: 4 1/2hrs

We are travelling south through fertile farmland. Another well-known wine growing area, the Wairarapa region, is situated around Martinborough. Pinot Noir is the most common variety of wine grown around here.

After crossing the Rimutaka Hill we enter the region of Wellington.

Wellington is the cultural centre of New Zealand and the capital since 1865. The city has a population of 350.000 and impresses with its complexity and international flair. Historical buildings are contrasting the modern ones. Along the promenade numerous cafes, bars and restaurants invite for a break. Despite its size, the city centre can easily be explored on foot. Mount Victoria offers a beautiful view across the city which is built in a semi circle around the sheltered harbour of Port Nicholson.

(9)  So  11 NOV 18: WELLINGTON – PICTON – NELSON North-⇨Southisland 2 Nights

Distance: 145km Driving time: 2hrs

In the morning we are boarding the ferry from Wellington to Picton. After leaving Wellington Harbour, we are crossing the Cook Strait, named after the British explorer, Captain Cook. On the southern side of Cook Strait a narrow passage has to be negotiated at Tory Channel. The ferry enters the picturesque and sheltered Marlborough Sounds. After just over 3 hours the sea journey ends in the small town of Picton.

From here a scenic drive takes us across Pelorous Bridge and finally to the Tasman Bay and Nelson.

Sunny Nelson, as is widely know, gets its reputation from the warm climate of this region. In summer, the long, sandy beaches have always attracted holiday makers from all over the South Island. A variety of artists and crafts people, especially potters, have settled here and their creations can be found in the many galleries around Nelson.


We drive to Kaikeriteri for a cruise to the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. This National Park is named after the Dutch explorer, Abel Janszoon Tasman, who first discovered and recorded New Zealand in 1642. After reaching the National Park, the boat cruises along the coastline with its bush and sandy beaches. There is also the opportunity to leave the boat for a while in order to enjoy a walk or a swim in the park. In the late afternoon the cruise ends in Kaiteriteri again. Short drive back to Nelson.

(11)  Di  13 NOV 18: NELSON – MURCHISON (Map G) – Punakaiki – GREYMOUTH

Distance: 315km Driving time: 4 ½ hr

Today, the journey takes us to the “Wild West Coast” of the South Island. The route follows the Buller River, which flows from Lake Rotoiti through the Buller Gorge to the Tasman Sea. With 170km it is one of the longest rivers in New Zealand and reaches the West Coast at Westport, a small coal mining town.

After visiting a seal colony we continue south along the bush clad coastline, passing some former gold mining towns. The final destination is Punakaiki in the Paparoa National Park. We visit the famous Pancake Rocks – rock formations that resemble piles of pancakes stacked on top of each other. After a beautiful drive along the coastline we travel to Greymouth, largest city on the West Coast and an important fishing port.


Distance: 180km Driving time: 3 hrs

Shortly afterwards we arrive in Hokitika. The formerly wealthy provincial town is currently the administrative centre of the Westland region and a centre of jade carving. The pounamu jade plays an important role in the Maori culture. Weapons, decoration, artefacts and tools were made of this stone, which is found in the river beds of the region.

We continue along the West Coast, through historic gold mining villages like Ross and Hari Hari, until we arrive in Franz Josef, a tiny village close to the Franz Josef Glacier Valley.


Distance: 355km Driving time: 5¼ hrs

Shortly after our departure we pass through Fox Glacier. The surrounding landscape of glaciers, mountains and forests is protected as a national park and habitat of rare endemic birds, e.g. the Kiwi and the Kea, New Zealand’s only alpine parrot. The following trip to the Haast Pass leads through the rain forest and partly along the rugged coastline. The Haast Pass – named after the German geologist and researcher Sir Julius von Haast – is the only connection between the southern West Coast and the inland. After crossing the pass the vegetation changes rapidly. After the lush green rain forest we are entering the dry area of Central Otago. Along the idyllic lakes of Wanaka and Hawea we finally arrive in Queenstown, located at the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

(14)  Fr  16 NOV 18: QUEENSTOWN Day at leisure in Queenstown

Queenstown is a charming resort town surrounded by mountains and situated on the peaceful shores of Lake Wakatipu. From the shores you get a wonderful view right across the lake. It is a hub for adventure and activity enthusiasts.

This small township has its origins in the gold rush of the 19th century. Highly profitable gold prospecting areas can still be found in the river valleys of the area, in particular in the Skippers Canyon. Countless activities are on offer. The old steamship TSS Earnslaw has a special place in the history of Queenstown. Since 1912 the steamer has been transporting goods to remote settlements and conveying passengers on the most beautiful Lake Wakatipu. Today it operates cruises to Walter Peak Sheep Station which is situated on the other side of the lake. Bob’s Peak can be reached via the Gondola in Queenstown. From the viewing deck at the top station one can overlook Lake Wakatipu with the Remarkables Mountain Range in the distance.


(16)  So  18 NOV 18: QUEENSTOWN – MILFORD SOUND overnight-cruise

Distance: 410km Driving time: 6 hrs

The journey takes us to the Fiordland National Park today, New Zealand’s largest National Park. After travelling along the shores of Lake Whakatipu and through the farming villages of Kingston and Mossburn we reach Te Anau. This town is the administrative centre of the region and thrives on tourism. The lake is very deep and was shaped by ancient glaciers. The landscape on the opposite side of Lake Te Anau is dominated by almost impenetrable bush and mountains. The road to Milford Sound is the only access to this mostly unexplored wilderness. After crossing an area dominated by tussock grasses, we reach dense bush again and also encounter some small lakes, like Lake Gunn and the Mirror Lakes.

The road crosses the Divide, continues through the Homer Tunnel and then makes a very steep decent down to the fiord. Milford Sound is one of the most beautiful fiords in the southern hemisphere.

In the afternoon we board the “Milford Mariner” “which takes us through the fiord in its entire length until we reach the open Tasman Sea. We anchor in a protected bay for the night and you will have the opportunity of exploring the surroundings by kayak with a guide before night falls.

(17)  Mo  19 NOV 18: MILFORD SOUND – TE ANAU – DUNEDIN (Map I)

Distance: 415km Driving time: 6hrs

After breakfast we are leaving the ship and travel back to Te Anau. From here we are crossing the Takatimu Hills towards Gore, the centre of New Zealand Country Music and well known for trout fishing.

Gore is the centre of the surrounding fertile farm land and one of the few areas where wheat – mainly oat – is grown. The nearby Hokonui Hills were once a hideaway for illegal distilleries during the prohibition, vividly remembered by names like Whisky Creek.

In Balclutha we cross the mighty Clutha River on our way to Dunedin. Dunedin is also known as the “Edinburgh of the South”. Founded in 1847 by Scottish settlers of the Free Church of Scotland, the city experienced an economical boom during the days of the gold rush in the 19th century.

A lot of the Victorian buildings date back to that era. A visit to the grounds of the Otago University and the Train Station is highly recommended. Dunedin can also be found in the “Guinness Book of Records”, as Baldwin Street is listed as the steepest street in the world. Today the city is influenced by many thousands of students studying at this well respected university.

After a brief city sightseeing we continue to the Otago Peninsula. A cruise takes us close to the only accessible Royal Albatross nesting site in the world. Here in Tairoa the first egg of this bird, whose home is Antarctica, was discovered in 1919. Since then one succeeded in constructing a protected colony. Every now and then more than 30 pairs of these majestic birds build a nest here. They spend most of their life far out on the sea and can have a wingspan of over 3metres. If we are lucky, we might also see penguins, seals and dolphins. Afterwards it is a leisurely drive back to Dunedin.

 (18)  Di  20 NOV 18: DUNEDIN – MOERAKI – TWIZEL

Distance: 265km Driving time: 4hrs

Along the impressive Otago coastline we arrive in Moeraki, known for the Moeraki Boulders. The geological curiosities, each weighing several tonnes and measuring up to 4m in circumference, were formed on the sea floor about 60 million years ago. Oamaru to the north is a small port, known for its white limestone. In 1882 the first load of frozen lamb was shipped from here to England, creating one of the most important sources of income for New Zealand to this day. Along the dry valley of the Waitaki River we turn inland. Waitaki, Aviemore and Benmore Dam offer excellent fishing opportunities. The day ends in Twizel, a small farm community close to Mount Cook.


Distance: 290km Driving time: 4 ½ hrs

From Twizel we reach the shores of Lake Pukaki. From here excellent views are obtained of the Southern Alps. Next stop is Lake Tekapo, well known for its turquoise waters. Here you will visit the beautiful little “Church of the Good Shepherd” with its lake and mountain views. We continue on over Burkes Pass across the fertile expansive Canterbury Plains until we arrive in Christchurch.

Christchurch, with a population of approx. 360,000, is the trade centre of the South Island. Founded by the Anglican Church in the 19th century, the city used to be known as “the most English town south of Dover”.

The spacious urban area is surrounded by flat grazing land. Christchurch is known as the “Garden City” due to its many parks, e.g. the Hagley Park (one of the largest inner city parks in the world) or the Botanical Gardens. Main attractions are the Canterbury Museum and the Arts Centre, which is located in the Gothic buildings of the former university.

Unfortunately, the earthquakes and aftershocks in 2010 and 2011 have changed the city substantially and many of the historical building have been lost. The city is in the process of rebuilding and this is a huge opportunity for the community to create something new and exiting.


Tour ends after breakfast.


Rates per person share twin EUR 4.770,– / Single Supplement EUR 2.555,–

MasterCard and VISA welcome – transaction fee 2 % will be charged (unregulated credit cards)

This quote includes the following services:

* New Zealand GST

* share twin accommodation in middle – class hotels (subject to availability)

* English-speaking tour guide

* Overnight cruise on Milford Mariner in Cabins with private facilities

* coach transport in modern ac-coach

* all services mentioned incl. entrance fees

* porterage of 1 piece of luggage per person (where applicable)

* concession fees for National Parks    

* luggage transport (max. 20 kg per person, max 1 piece per person)

* meals, daily breakfast, 3 dinner and 1 Hangi & Concert


This quote does not include:

* international flights

* transfers from airport to hotel and from hotel to airport

* optional activities

* marathon entry and donation

* domestic and international airfare

* excess luggage of more than 20kg per person and more than 1 piece

* tips and other personal expenses

* guaranteed early hotel check-in before 3pm or late check-out after 10am

* other meals than stated above

* insurance: We recommend insurance which covers cancellation fees in case of sickness (doctor’s certificate will be needed). We also strongly recommend private health insurance.

The calculation is based on min 26 adults travelling. If this minimum will not be reached the tour may be cancelled by extratour until 4 weeks before departure.

See details No. 6 on T+C attached.

As agreed on our IMFR trip to Australia, friends of IMFR members are welcome to join us in New Zealand. Bookings for friends will be confirmed after the deadline of 31st March 2018, up to which date IMFR members will have the exclusive right of booking.

Bookings will be handled on a first come first served basis.

Visitors from Germany are generally allowed to enter New Zealand without a visitor visa, provided their total stay in New Zealand is for three months or less. They must hold a paid and valid return or onward flight ticket for a date within the three-month period and a valid passport and evidence of sufficient funds for their stay in New Zealand.