Balloons over Waikato
From $1,370 per person
Thursday 17 – Sunday 20 March 2022 (4 Days)
Visit the Waikato during the annual hot air balloon festival, an iconic must-do event that has run for over 20 years. We weave exciting elements of the festival into some fabulous days of seeing the best local sights including Waitomo’s natural wonders both above and below ground; the impressive Hamilton Gardens; a brewery tour and dinner at the Good George; and a Second Breakfast at Hobbiton Movie Set.
Day 1 Thursday 17 March 2022
ARRIVE HAMILTON (D)
Today you will need to make your own arrangements to Hamilton, arriving at our accommodation by 4.00pm. If you are driving, you are more than welcome to park your car at our coach depot for the duration of the tour. Our private driver/guide will meet us at the hotel lobby then we transfer to Good George Brewery for an intriguing behind the scenes tour to see where their beer, cider and gin is made. We will learn about the brewing process and be shown how the beers are made, with a few surprises along the way. After the brewery tour, we will enjoy a two-course dinner in the Good George Dining Room.
Accommodation: Ventura Inn & Suites, Hamilton – 3 nights
Day 2 Friday 18 March 2022
WAITOMO SIGHTSEEING (B)
Our day commences with the first of our balloon festival events. Early morning we are transferred to Innes Common to view the balloons lifting off this morning. Then we travel south to Waitomo, an area well known for its underground caves. We stop in at Otorohanga en route for you to purchase lunch (own cost) to enjoy later in the day. On arrival at Waitomo, we enjoy a guided tour into the Ruakuri Cave which offers a comprehensive cave experience including winding passageways, immense caverns, and deep crevices. The tour commences with a spiral descent from ground level via a remarkable drum entrance and walkway then wanders along narrow corridors and across low-lit walkways suspended above the Huhunui River below. The tour is 1½-hours in duration and includes 1.6-km of walkways. Our guide will bring us up close to glowworms, elaborate cave formations, underground rivers, myths, legends and sacred Maori sites. After our guided tour, we will have time to eat lunch purchased earlier, before travelling out to view Marokopa Falls and Mangapohue Natural Bridge. We take a brief walk following the boardwalk as it weaves its way through the impressive limestone gorge bringing us underneath the stunning natural bridge. From here we retrace our steps back to Hamilton. The remainder of the evening is at leisure.
Day 3 Saturday 19 March 2022
HAMILTON SIGHTSEEING (BL)
This morning we revisit Innes Common to view the Pilot Cash Grab event as part of Balloons over Waikato. Be amazed by the skills of the balloon pilots as they attempt to win $1,000 cash from the top of a pole. After viewing the balloons we travel to Hamilton Gardens. Through breath-taking themed garden collections, Hamilton Gardens explores different civilisations, and recreates historically important garden styles from the farthest reaches of the world. Here we take a guided tour with one of their experienced guides who will share their behind-the-scenes knowledge of the gardens. We are guided on a journey of discovery along paths delivering mysterious surprises: step from a peaceful Sung Dynasty Chinese Scholar’s garden into an Italian Renaissance Garden, before being enthralled by the grandeur of the Indian Char Bagh (‘four quartered’) Garden. Following from our garden visit we have a delicious lunch at the Hamilton Gardens Café. We allow for some free time after our garden visit to relax before we visit one of the highlights of the Balloons over Waikato Festival, the Zuru Nightglow! This is the biggest night of the festival, with live music performances, followed by the main event, where they light up the balloons, creating a stunning light and sound show choreographed to music. The night ends with a spectacular fireworks display. There are plenty of food stalls available on the night to purchase dinner (own cost). We will supply the chairs for the nightglow. At the conclusion of the event, we are transferred back to the hotel.
Day 4 Sunday 20 March 2022
HOBBITON - DEPART HAMILTON (B)
We have an early start this morning as we travel to Hobbiton Movie Set and enjoy their Second Breakfast Guided Tour. We’ll make the first footsteps in the morning dew on the Movie Set as part of Hobbiton’s first tour of the day. Our Hobbiton tour guide will escort us through the 12-acre movie set, recounting fascinating details from filming the trilogies and pointing out the most iconic sites and scenes as we walk through the movie set. We then arrive at The Green Dragon™ Inn where you will be offered a complimentary beverage from their exclusive Hobbit™ Southfarthing™ range. We then follow our guide back over the double arch stone bridge to The Millhouse, where we are treated to a breakfast spread fit for a Hobbit. The breakfast table will be heaped with seasonal fresh fruit, breads, pastries, preserves, cold meats and a hot breakfast selection featuring an assortment of a Hobbit's favourite breakfast staples. At the conclusion of breakfast we make our way back through the wandering paths of The Shire and say goodbye to Hobbiton. On our way back to Hamilton we will drop off any passengers flying home (flights not included) at Hamilton Airport before returning to the Leisure Time Travel office.
Please note – The Ruakuri Cave and Hobbiton Movie Set Tour are walking tours and will require a reasonable level of mobility. At Hobbiton, a golf cart is available to those who require it (limited spaces available, and must be noted at the time of booking). The paths are made of cobblestones and dirt tracks so it is bumpy and uneven in places. The paths are also quite narrow in places and there are some low level stairs to climb. Please ask the office if you have any questions.
No refunds will apply should an festival events be affected by or cancelled due to weather.
Ventura Inn & Suites
Ventura Inn & Suites is located in Hamilton’s CBD and offers comfortable and affordable accommodation. The hotel offers a complimentary continental breakfast is served every morning.
- Door to door home collection & drop off service available from select areas - refer to further information available here
- 3 nights accommodation - twin/double rooms, all with private facilities (single rooms available with surcharge)
- Touring in modern air conditioned vehicle
- 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner included
- Guided brewery tour and dinner at Good George Brewery
- Guided tour of Ruakuri Cave
- Guided tour of Hamilton Gardens
- Attend events as part of Balloons over Waikato, including the Zuru Nightglow!
- Hobbiton Movie Set Second Breakfast tour
Tour Payments Per Person ($NZD)
|Club Member Guaranteed Share Twin Cost:||$1,350.00|
|Non Member Guaranteed Share Twin Cost:||$1,370.00|
|Non-refundable deposit due at time of booking||$200.00|
Full balance of tour payment due by Thursday 03 February 2022
Book and pay in full by Wednesday 17 November 2021 and receive $50.00 discount per person!
Are door to door collections included on this tour? YES
Yes. Leisure Time Travel offers a free home collection and drop off service from selected Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and most Auckland City areas. Our complimentary collections are based on your individual post code, other home collection locations available at an additional cost. Alternatively you may wish to meet us at our Hamilton depot in which case you can park your car in our secure yard free of charge for the duration of your holiday. For all tours that have a flight component, we can also offer door to door collections from Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin city areas.
Is the Guaranteed twin Share Price available on this tour? YES
Yes. Our Guaranteed Twin Share price is available for those passengers willing to share with another single traveller of the same gender. If there isn’t another passenger of the same gender to share with we GUARANTEE our twin share price. Leisure Times Tours accepts no responsibility for the compatibility of passengers travelling under this arrangement. If someone is not compatible with the person they have been matched up with, all additional costs incurred to assist with changing their shared room type to two single rooms will be at the expense of both travellers and will be subject to availability. Acceptance of a guaranteed twin share room is subject to the individual’s medical condition being suitable for this type of arrangement.
Please note that the guaranteed twin share pricing is not available to pre & post tour accommodation arrangements.
What fitness level is required for this tour? MODERATE
To help you select the right tour for you, we’ve developed a set of fitness recommendations for our tours. These physical ratings explain how much physical exertion is required to participate on each tour.
Level 1 – Easy
- Relaxed paced tour
- Be able to participate in small walks at a relaxed pace for 10-15 minutes
- Walk on mostly level ground
- Tackle an occasional flight of stairs
- Occasionally need to stand for up to 15 minutes
- Able to get on and off transportation unaided
Level 2 – Moderate
- Be able to participate in walks with time to rest at least every 20-30 minutes
- Stand for 30 minutes without needing to sit down
- Tackle a flight of stairs or incline
- Walk confidently on uneven and undulating surfaces
- Able to get on and off transportation unaided
Level 3 – Active
- Participate in walks for 45-60 minutes at a time without having to rest
- Walk up an incline equal to a flight of stairs without stopping
- Stand for 60 minutes without needing to sit down
- Walk confidently over uneven ground or undulating surfaces
- Able to get on and off transportation unaided
Will there be a daily seat rotation on this tour? YES
Passengers rotate seats in the coach daily so that all passengers have the opportunity to enjoy forward and window seating. All passengers are expected to participate as a booking condition.
Can you assist with pre & post tour accommodation? YES
Yes we can. Should you wish to arrive earlier or stay longer we can book in some pre and post tour accommodation for you. Please ask at the time of booking if you require this.
Is this tour a guaranteed departure? NO
This tour will be guaranteed once there are 10 passengers booked on the tour.
Are roadside morning teas included on our tours? YES
Yes. A point of difference is that wherever possible we offer our passengers roadside refreshments served from the coach. This gives all passengers the chance to mix and mingle over a hot cuppa allowing us to share our experiences as we journey together.
Do I need travel insurance?
Leisure Time Tours strongly advises all passengers to purchase a travel insurance policy. A comprehensive travel insurance policy may prevent you from spending extra money in case of an emergency and will help you feel protected during your holiday. We are agents for Cover More Travel Insurance. Ask us for a no obligation insurance quote today.
How much luggage can I bring?
Luggage is restricted to one suitcase and one small item of hand luggage per person. Baggage handling of one suitcase per person, at each hotel, is included in the trip price. Carry-on/hand luggage handling is the responsibility of each guest and all personal items must be taken off the coach by you each day of the trip.
What clothing should I pack?
When on tour, dress is generally relaxed and casual with an informal dress standard on most occasions. Casual wear is recommended for travelling with something a little more formal for evening dining. If taking part in outdoor activities, make sure you have a waterproof coat, comfortable footwear and dress in layers to help you adjust to any sudden changes in climate. Be prepared for New Zealand’s powerful sun, even on cold windy days, bringing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Terms & Conditions….
Valid from 1 October 2021
Acceptance of Terms and Conditions
If you book a Packaged Tour with us and pay your deposit, you are deemed to have accepted these terms. If you booked your Packaged Tour with us through an agent, the agent is deemed to have accepted these terms on your behalf. We may ask you to sign a copy of these terms when you join your Packaged Tour to provide a record of your acceptance of these terms and you agree to sign these terms on our request.
The itinerary for your Packaged Tour was correct at the time of printing, but it is subject to change without notice. Your itinerary could change due to road or weather conditions, changes imposed by other tour operators or a range of other factors outside our control. You agree that we have no liability to you for changes to your itinerary.
Prices were correct at the time and date of printing, however Leisure Time Travel reserves the right to amend the price subject to any changes in price imposed by other tour operators and carriers included in the itinerary or major fluctuation in the exchange rates, or increases in government or other levies. The final tour cost will be guaranteed not to change once the full and final payment has been received. Tour Price excludes drinks, telephone calls, travel insurance and items of a personal nature. Leisure Time Travel also reserves the right to cancel the tour due to low numbers and in this instance a full refund will be provided.
*Guaranteed Twin Share Prices
Our Guaranteed Twin Share price is available for those passengers willing to share with another single traveller of the same gender. If there isn’t another passenger of the same gender to share with we GUARANTEE our twin share price. Leisure Times Tours accepts no responsibility for the compatibility of passengers travelling under this arrangement. If someone is not compatible with the person they have been matched up with, all additional costs incurred to assist with changing their shared room type to two single rooms will be at the expense of both travellers and will be subject to availability. Acceptance of a guaranteed twin share room is subject to the individual’s medical condition being suitable for this type of arrangement.
Health and Fitness
Passengers should be in good health and able to walk moderate distances to fully participate and experience the sightseeing opportunities within the enclosed itinerary. All passengers are required to acknowledge that they are of reasonable health and are considered to be fit to travel and are not travelling contrary to any medical advice. By acknowledging their health and fitness to participate passengers are indemnifying us from all actions, claims and demands arising out of any lack of health and fitness. We reserve the right to remove a passenger from a tour if their health or fitness interferes with any other passenger’s experiences or the day to day running of the tour. In this instance our normal cancellation terms and conditions will apply. You agree that we have no liability to you for any loss, damage, costs or other effects of health problems you may encounter on your Packaged Tour.
Health and Safety Information Including COVID-19
For the health and safety of all passengers on tour any illness (such as fever, coughing or difficulty breathing) will not be accepted onboard the coach unless they can provide us with a negative Covid19 test result received within the past 72 hours. Should any passenger start to feel unwell on arrival or while on tour, they must immediately advise their tour manager and contact Healthline then visit a medical practitioner/medical centre/hospital. To return to the tour the passenger must be deemed fit and well to participate fully on a coach tour, obtaining and providing us with a written medical clearance – not just a negative Covid19 test. Any costs incurred will be at the passenger’s own expense.
Payments, Cancellations and Refunds
A non-refundable deposit per person is required at time of booking to confirm your seat. All balance payments must be received by Leisure Time Travel prior to the date specified as per itinerary or your booking confirmation. Payments are available to be made by Cash, Cheque, Direct Credit or EFTPOS only – Credit Card payments are not available without an additional surcharge. Leisure Time Travel reserves the right to amend or reschedule the tour due the result of circumstances outside the company’s control. Leisure Time Travel also reserves the right to cancel the tour due to insufficient numbers and in this instance a substitute date will be offered or a full refund will be made available. Tour Price excludes drinks, telephone calls, travel insurance and items of a personal nature.
Leisure Time Travel strongly advises all passengers to purchase a travel insurance policy when booking a tour. A comprehensive travel insurance policy gives peace of mind for unexpected issues or emergencies that may arise prior to or during a tour. We are agents for Cover More Travel Insurance. Cover More now provide insurance cover for a number of COVID-19 related medical, cancellation and amendments costs, giving you confidence to book your trip. Ask us for a no obligation insurance quote today or further information about travel insurance for your upcoming tour.
New Zealand Cancellation Policy
If you cancel your booking:
- 42+ days prior to tour commencement, loss of non-refundable deposit
- 30-41 days prior to tour commencement your cancellation charge will be 50% of the holiday price (50% refund) plus any applicable supplier cancellation fees
- 30 days prior to tour commencement your cancellation charge will be 100% of the holiday price (no refund)
No refunds on any unused portions of any itinerary. The exception is if a sightseeing service is cancelled by operator due to weather conditions/safety concerns etc and the operator authorises a refund. Any such refunds will be processed through agent.
Please note that any applicable airline content does not apply to the above refunds – see your airline for their specific cancellation/refund policies.
COVID-19 Cancellation and Refund Policy
COVID-19 has created uncertainty for us all, therefore for cancellations directly related to COVID-19, we have negotiated special terms with our suppliers which would override ‘normal cancellation’ terms as outlined above;
If the New Zealand Government imposes travel restrictions that would impact our ability to deliver your travel package prior to commencing travel, passengers will receive a full credit, less any applicable airline cancellation fees. If travel restrictions are imposed while on tour, we will seek credits on any unused portions of the itinerary from all suppliers. Any applicable credits will first be applied to any additional costs that our company may have incurred on the passenger’s behalf e.g. if alternative accommodation or transportation to repatriate the passenger to their home city or nearest airport etc is required. Any remaining refunds will be credited to the booking agent to enable them to pass onto their passenger.