BEST OF NORTHLAND CHRISTMAS TOUR
6 days/5 nights.
Depart Auckland 10am friday 24th December, 2021 Return about 5pm wednesday 29th.
Day 1. Friday 24th December. AUCKLAND - KAURI MUSEUM AND FORESTS - HOKIANGA (D)
Depart Auckland 9am. Drive north over the harbour Bridge and along the Hibiscus Coast to the Otamatea Kauri and Early Settlers Museum, one of the best little museums in New Zealand. Learn of the importance of the kauri tree to the development of Northland and see the lifestyle of the early settlers who first came to this area in 1862. See the world' largest kauri slab at 22.5 metres long and New Zealand's first tractor.plus the beautiful furniture with its veneer of native timber, and the extensive display of kauri gum.
Continue through Ruawai 'kumara capital' of New Zealand, and Dargaville and visit the Kai-iwi lakes into the Waipoua kauri forest. Visit "Tane Mahuta" giant kauri tree - some 2000 years old and "Tane Ngahere" and "Three Sisters" (subject to access being open). Continue to Omapere and our accommodation at the Copthorne Hotel on the shores of the harbour. . Dinner at the hotel.
Optional evening twilight forest encounter with a local Maori guide exploring the forest and learning local Tikanga. Extra cost $180. Minimum numbers apply.
Day 2 Saturday 25 December Happy Christmas!. HOKIANGA (BD)
A relaxing day to walk the beach and enjoy a hike to the Hokianga Heads for spectacular views of the massive sand dunes and entrance to the harbour - renowned as having been visited by Kupe. Other activities may be available. Christmas lunch or dinner at the hotel included.
Day 3. Sunday. 26 January. HOKIANGA - BAY OF ISLANDS (BD)
Enjoy the new MANEA - FOOTPRINTS OF KUPE 75 minute multi sensory experience of guided story telling. Kupe is credited with discovering New Zealand some 800 years ago, his wife is credited with giving us the original name He ao, He ao, He Aotea, He Aotearoa (land of the long white cloud) , and and this is where Kupe is reputed to have left on his journey back to Raiatea from where the great migration came. Learn about maori beliefs and the migratory past in a 4D experience of the great voyage of Kupe. Continue to historic Rawene including Clendon House (usually exterior only) built in the 1860's. James Clendon had a chequered history including being signatory to the Declaration of Independence, present at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, and American Consul in the Bay of Islands. Also learn of Baron Du Thierry, self proclaimed 'Sovereign Chief of New Zealand', and his misguided plans for the area. Drive to historic Mangungu Mission station on the shores of the Hokianga and scene of the third signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Continue to Te Waimate Mission Station established as a model farm by the Missionaries in 1834 and where Charles Darwin enjoyed Christmas with the Missionaries in 1835. It was also the scene of the 2nd signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on the 10th February 1840.
Late afternoon we arrive at the Copthorne Hotel at Waitangi with rooms overlooking the sparkling Bay. Dinner at the hotel tonight.
Day 4. Monday 27th December. KERIKERI - BAY OF ISLANDS (BD) Drive through the citrus orchards of Keri Keri to visit the Stone Store which opened for business in 1836 and is still trading. Enjoy a tour of Kemp House built in 1822 and the oldest building in New Zealand. Visit Kororipo Pa site, home of the famous Maori chief Hongi Hika.Continue to the Haruru Falls with the option for a walk among the mangroves to Waitangi if you wish. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds for a tour of the Treaty House, scintillating Maori cultural performance, see the great war canoe, and enjoy an hour in the excellent Treaty Museum opened in 2016 and video presentations portraying the events of 4-6 February, 1840. Also visit the new 2nd World War Maori Battalion museum. This afternoon we cruise through the Bay of Islands to Cape Brett and through the 'Hole in the Rock' - weather permitting. Disembark in historic Russell for a walking tour of this historic town including the oldest church in New Zealand, and Pompallier House exterior. Dinner at the iconic Duke of Marlborough Hotel
Day 5. Tuesday 28th December. PAIHIA - CAPE REINGA - PAIHIA (BLD)
Depart at 7.15am by special bus for Cape Reinga at the top of New Zealand travelling part way on the sands of Ninety Mile Beach. See the meeting of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean and some of the beautiful beaches. Option to Boogie Board on the giant sand dunes. Lunch included today. Enjoy the drive down the beautiful East Coast passing Doubtless Bay, Coopers Beach, Mangonui on the beautiful Whangaroa Harbour arriving Paihia early evening. Dinner at the hotel tonight.
Day 6. Wednesday 29 December. BAY OF ISLANDS - AUCKLAND (B)
Visit Kawakawa to see the famed Hundertwasser toilets and ride on the historic train if operating. Continue to the Kawiti Glowworm Cave and Ruapekapeka Pa site, scene of the last battle of the Northern land wars then on to Whangarei Falls and town basin including the amazing Claphams Clock collection and the new artcentre - if open. Return to Auckland late afternoon.