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Chatham Island

16th September 2024
11 Days

Day 1: Monday 16th September 2024 (D)

All aboard! Today we make our way down to Melbourne. As the flight is in the morning, stay the night at the Best Western Airport Motel. Get to know your fellow travellers over a 2-course meal.


Day 2: Tuesday 17th September 2024 (B, D)

After breakfast! The hotel will transfer you to the airport where you go through formalities and board your flight to Wellington.

Welcome to Wellington! The capital of New Zealand, a compact city with much to offer. After leaving the airport we will be transferred to our accommodation for the next two nights.  The Sofitel Wellington is a luxurious property, as you settle in take advantage of what the hotel has to offer. Dinner will be served by Sofitel.


Day 3: Wednesday 18th September 2024 (B, D)

Have a relaxing start to the day, enjoy at your leisure breakfast and then the day is yours. You might like to spend your time strolling the streets and saying Kia Ora to the locals, relaxing by the water. Or you might like us to organise something for you. Today is a free day!


Day 4: Thursday 19th September 2024 (B, D)

The Chathams are part of New Zealand so there are no border controls or formalities on arrival. You could however show your passport, in the hope of getting a CHATHAM ISLAND franking stamp from the hotel. During the flight you may like to put your watches forward. The Chathams are 45 minutes ahead of NZ time (but 20 years behind the times).

Arrive Chatham Islands (Tuuta Airport 19 km northeast of Waitangi Township).  Upon arrival, we will assemble in front of the aircraft for a group photograph. We will be met at the airport by our host and tour guide, Toni Croon. During your stay, we will visit the four corners of the Island and the special places in between. Due to the very changeable weather, please pack your day bags for four seasons in one day. Comfortable footwear is recommended as you will be crossing over farmland.  The water is fine for refilling your water bottles. A notice board will be put up every night, with hints on your next day’s adventure. At the hotel, check in and freshen up for dinner. Retire to the bar, mix with the locals and relax ‘til the small hours. Wi-Fi code is available at the lounge bar. If Wi-Fi is in your unit, the code will be printed on the back off the Wi-Fi.


Day 5: Friday 18th September 2024 (B, D)

When you arrive on the Chatham, you feel you are in the New Zealand of 40 years ago. The abundance of seafood (we are talking crayfish, paua, groper and blue cod) makes you wonder why you have to go so long between bites in other parts of the country.  Today there will be optional Activies available. Accommodation on Chatham will be Hotel Chatham and Travellers Rest.  

Optional Activities (weather permitting)

Pitt Island

Day tour out to Pitt Island ($450 per person). Book on the day at the hotel.

Please be mindful; if you go to Pitt Island you may forgo a day’s activities on Chatham. Pitt Island involves a lot of variables. I let the hotel look after this 100% as they are in constant communication with Pitt Island. After you arrive on the Chathams, mention your interest at the hotel office. You might get there. You might be able to fly. You might have to go by boat. The weather might allow it to happen. You might not get there at all. On the other hand, you might just strike it right. Pitt Island is always a big MIGHT. It’s a great place to visit if you can.


Optional activities (subject to minimum number and weather permitting). The hotel has its own boat, the 40 ft Nancy Kay. Up to 12 people at a time can enjoy 2-3 hrs of Chatham Island deep sea fishing, hand lining for Blue cod and Hapuka. Weather permitting, this option is complementary.  All fish generally comes back to the hotel and frozen in packs for pax to take home on the last day. Additional charters are available for up to eight keen fisher- people @ $200 pp for two to three hours. However, please note that five blue cod and one hapuka pp is the limit on these charters. Times for fishing are tide dependent and on number of pax going, we can do 3 trips on same day, each going for 2-3 hours. Extra, fresh "free flow” blue cod can be bought at $65 per 2 kg to bring home. Toni will have got numbers of persons going and arranged the fishing trip the night before. Overall Catch Limits The following is hereby agreed by the signatories to this MOU: The maximum take to be adopted in the interim until the legislation is in place is as follows: Species Daily Catch Limit Blue cod 5, Hapuka 2, Paua 5, Rock lobster 2, Kina 10 Accumulation is all at the one-day limit Messaging to Visitors

Those who haven’t gone fishing will have had time to look around "Downtown Waitangi” with a visit to the museum and shop (and have your passport stamped).

Day 6: Saturday 19th September 2024 (B, D)

Kaingaroa - Northern Part of the Chathams 

Depart hotel by bus. Drive out to to Splatter Rock. These rocks on the western end of Wharekauri Beach are from "Middle Earth” and the metamorphic glass in them sparkles in the sun. The farm we travel through is Wharekauri Farm Station. It is 28,000 acres in extent. There are 40 miles of fencing, 12,000 sheep and 260 acres under crop. Ocean Mail Reserve. Continuing to Ocean Mail Scenic Reserve we take a boardwalk and wander through this wetland area.  J M Barker Reserve (Hapupu) Tree Carvings, Dendrogliphs (tree carvings). At Hapupu Historic Reserve we discover another unique archaeological site.  Carved into the bark of kopi (karaka) trees within the reserve are Moriori tree carvings – known as dendroglyphs. They are among the little evidence of pre-contact Moriori culture remaining on the island. The last remaining trees were expected to die and disappear between 2015 and 2017. However, they are still there in sad shape. We also visit Broughton Landing, an old mission and whaling station, and the farm "Mission Station” owned by the late Jim Muirson. Jim had 1,400 hectares, running 3,000 ewes and 350 cows. This is where we will be able to view the remains of a wrecked RNZAF Short Sunderland and a newly arrived Fokker Friendship, in the process of preservation. This particular Sunderland aircraft provided an aviation lifeline to the island until it was holed by a rock while taking off from the Te Whanga Lagoon in 1959. We travel across many paddocks to reach the huge fir seal colony at Point Munning. Back to the hotel, check in and freshen up for dinner. Retire to the bar, mix with the locals and relax ‘til the small hours.

Day 7: Sunday 20th September 2024 (B, D)

This morning we journey down to the southwestern part of the island where we visit Awatotora Reserve. This is an area of regenerating native bush, and home of the Chatham Island wood pigeon (parea), which we hope to spot. Bus for Blind Jim’s Creek (fossilized shark teeth). On the shores of beautiful Te Whanga lagoon, near Blind Jim's Creek, careful fossicking is likely to be rewarded by the discovery of fossilised shark teeth. Around 30 million years old, these incredibly ancient objects are almost as scarce as hen’s teeth but can be found in the Chatham Islands. To find a tooth from a creature that was eating fish long before the first primate - let alone the first human - walked the earth is amazing. I am sure that by the time you leave Te Whanga Lagoon, you will all be in possession of one or many of these prized ancient fossils. Nikau Reserve.  Nikau Bush is a 19-hectare reserve located 1.5 km north of Blind Jim’s. It conserves broadleaf forest with a fine stand of nikau palms, the best on the island. This is the only palm native to the Chatham Islands, an even more impressive sight when flowering and bearing fruit. BBQ picnic lunch and a cup of tea or coffee on the way. Running southwest of Waitangi, the Tuku Road provides views of rich farmlands and shoal coastal waters. The stunning Tuku Reserve lies in the valley, a great place for viewing parea, the Chatham Island pigeon, and other bird life Back to the hotel. Check in and freshen up for dinner. Retire to the bar, mix with the locals and relax ‘til the small hours.

Day 8: Monday 21st September 2024 (B, D)

Southeast and the Owenga fishing settlement.

Depart for our journey out to the southeast and fishing settlement of Owenga.  The first stop is the Moriori Kopinga Marae, sited on the hilltop at Te Awatea.  This is the only Moriori marae in New Zealand sited on the hilltop at Te Awatea. Kopinga Marae, shaped like an albatross when viewed from the air, continues to amaze visitors. Learn the culture, learn about the History of the first inhabitants fo the Island. Panoramic views across lake Huro to Waitangi and across Te Whanga to its entrance at Te Awapatiki. Tommy Solomon Statue at Manakau, Owenga. Tommy Solomon (7 May 1884 to 19 March 1933), is believed by most to have been the last full-blooded Moriori, the indigenous people of the Chatham Islands. Kopi Farm. Enjoy a few hours with Bridget and John Preece. They have a lovely bush walk and will talk you through their journey to build a TV1 Grand Designs house. Return to the hotel for a day’s de-brief at the bar.


Day 9: Tuesday 22nd September 2024 (B, D)

Waitangi West

A bus will leave the hotel with everybody on board. We travel "out west” to Waitangi West. Here we will enjoy a packed lunch and a cup of tea or coffee. We travel over part of the Waitangi West Station, consisting of 3,412 hectares carrying 10,000 sheep. Recently the station was bought by a Chinese buyer for $5,000,000. Stone Cottage (under renovation and possibly not open) and Maunganui Bluff. The cottage was built between 1866 and 1868 for the Moravian missionaries who arrived in the Chathams in 1843. These German missionaries made no converts, but had a significant input into the history and lifestyle of the Chathams. They introduced large-scale horticulture, sheep farming, shipbuilding and literacy. The cottage was built largely of local stone and timber, reflecting the missionaries' attitudes. They were committed to the idea of being self-reliant in their own lives and, as an example to others, used only local materials. We then visit the safest fishing harbour with the most shipwrecks on the island, at Port Hutt. Our next stop is the amazing Basalt Columns at Ohira Bay. Over farmland down to Ohira Bay lie massive olivine basalt columns, part of lava flows dated nearly 80 million years ago. They comprise an interesting geological formation ̶ a series of pentagonal-shaped volcanic rock columns on the shoreline. They are not found anywhere else on the island and in only two other places in the world ̶. Giant’s Causeway, one in Northern Ireland and one in Scotland. We stop of on the way home at Admiral Farm, named after the abundant butterfly. This is a fourth-generation Chathams property, owned by the Croon family, with a gorgeous garden featuring the eerie skeletons of dead kopi trees and great drifts of the stunning Chatham Island forget-me-not. Lois and Val Croon will be in attendance. Complimentary drinks and wine will be provided. Return to the hotel for a day’s debrief at the bar.

Day 10 Wednesday 23rd September 2024 (B, D)

Today we say goodbye to this remote part of New Zealand. We fly back into Wellington and will be transferred to the Sofitel, for our overnight stay.

Day 11: Thursday 24th September

It will be an early start this morning as we head to the airport. Go through airport formalities, on arrival into Australia, Cardwells we will be waiting to take you back to your original towns. 

Price Per Person: $6,710

Single Supplement: $535

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Tour: Chatham Island on 16th September 2024

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