Kauri Museum and Forests - Hokianga - Bay of Islands - 4 days/3 nights
Tour cost per person $1,290 share twin. $1,570 single room
Unsolicited comments from past clients ;
On behalf of our family group I would like to thank you for the unforgettable trip you organised for us. We highly appreciate your considerations with our need to be together as a family group, and for the excellent organisation during the whole trip. (E.R. Israel).
Day 1. AUCKLAND - KAURI MUSEUM AND FORESTS - HOKIANGA
Depart Auckland 9.00am. Drive north over the harbour bridge 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.
Continue through Ruawai 'kumara capital' of New Zealand, and Dargaville to the Kaiiwi Lakes for a short visit. Enter the Waipoua Forest to visit "Tane Ngahere", "Three Sisters", and "Tane Mahuta" giant kauri tree - some 2000 years old. (subject to access being open). Continue to Omapere and our accommodation at the Copthorne Hotel on the shores of the harbour. Check in 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. 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. Tuesday. HOKIANGA - BAY OF ISLANDS (B)
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 from 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 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. Continue 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 bult 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. Summer - Optional dinner cruise up the Waitangi River. See the Cormorant colony and Haruru Falls - extra expense.
Day 3. Wednesday BAY OF ISLANDS (B)
Cruise the Bay of Islands this morning to Cape Brett and through the 'Hole in the Rock' - weather permitting including stopover at Otehei Bay. Dolphins are usually seen during this cruise.
Disembark in historic Russell, first permanent European settlement in New Zealand, for a tour of the town, including Flagstaff Hill, the oldest church in New Zealand, and enjoy a guided tour of Pompallier House Catholic Mission station built in 1842 including a 'hands on' introduction to tanning leather and bookmaking as done by the Catholic brothers 170 years ago.
Day 4. Thursday BAY OF ISLANDS - AUCKLAND (B)
Visit Kawakawa to see the famed Hundertwasser toilets and new display on Hundertwassers life. Continue to the Kawiti Glowworm Cave and Ruapekapeka Pa site, scene of the last battle of the Northern land wars in 1846 (30 - 50 minutes walking). Continue to Whangarei Falls and town basin including the amazing Claphams Clock collection. The new Hundertwasser building is expected to open in December, 2021.Return to Auckland late afternoon.
You are welcome to stay longer in the Bay of Islands and return by scheduled transport if you wish.
We do recommend an extra night or two in the Bay of Islands to enjoy all that it has to offer. This will provide a more relaxed time in Russell and gives you the option of taking the historic 'Cream cruise', R Tucker Thomson tall ship cruise, and/or swim with the dolphins cruise either instead of, or as well as the most popular Cape Brett cruise we include. (Some activities do not function in winter). Return to Auckland will normally be by scheduled coach from Paihia wharf terminating in Downtown Auckland for less than 4 passengers.
CAPE REINGA. A coach tour to the top of New Zealand can be substituted for wednesday sightseeing and join us for dinner in Russell. Extra cost $100. The fly/road tour can be substituted wednesday morning and join us for the tour of Russell. Extra cost $350.
OPTION ONE.: Nature at its best - Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach.
You will be picked up by special coach for a full day excursion north through the Puketi forest plus the beautiful Mangonui Harbour and Coopers Beach to Cape Reinga at the top of New Zealand.
Travel part way on the sands of Ninety Mile Beach. See the meeting of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean. Return to the Bay of Islands early evening. Lunch is included today. Extra cost $140
OPTION TWO: FLY/ROAD TO CAPE REINGA:
For a shorter day, a bigger experience, and fabulous scenery not seen from the ground transfer from your hotel to Kerikeri airport and fly north over Ninety Mile Beach to land near Cape Reinga. Your special vehicle will be waiting for a 2.5 hour (approx) land tour to Te Paki stream and masive sand dunes on Ninety Mile beach, Cape Reinga light house, Tapotupotu Bay. Fly back to Keri Keri via the fabulous coastal scenery of Parengarenga Harbour, Great Exhibition Bay, Houhora Harbour, Karikari Peninsula, Whangaroa Harbour, Cavalli Islands and Bay of Islands. Return to Kerikeri airport and transfer back to you hotel. Departs twice daily in summer, once daily in winter - cost instead of coach $450 per adult. Total time from Paihia approximately 5 hours