Discover the Best of the North Island
Unsolicited comments from past passengers:
I am writing to thank you for organising our very interesting and enjoyable tour of New Zealand. R and I agree that it was very well put together. I am experiencing the aftermath with my thoughts still in your very beautiful and stimulating New Zealand. I find myself playing the haunting Maori songs. (J.B. Australia)
Just a note to tell you that we really enjoyed our North Island tour and felt that we had good value for money. (M and B. F New Zealand).
The organisation was fantastic and couldn't be faulted. The drivers were superb and we are now sold on small group tours. (T. and P. England)
Day 1. Saturday. AUCKLAND ARRIVE
Arrive Auckland and you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2. Sunday. AUCKLAND. (B)
Free day for optional tours, cruises, shop, relax, or explore at your leisure.
Day 3. Monday. AUCKLAND - KAURI FORESTS - HOKIANGA - BAY OF ISLANDS (B)
Depart Auckland 8.00am and drive north over the Harbour Bridge, and on to the Otamatea Kauri and Early Settlers Museum - the best little museum in New Zealand!. See the amazing displays of kauri gum and learn of the lifestyle of the early settlers before continuing through Dargaville to the Waipoua forest. Visit "Tane Mahuta" giant kauri tree - some 2,000 years old. Enjoy the views of the Hokianga Harbour and sand dunes. Visit historic Rawene and see the exterior of Clendon House built by James Clendon in 1862. Continue to Te Waimate Mission Station built as a model farm in 1830, scene of the 2nd signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, and where Charles Darwin enjoyed christmas with the missionaries in 1835. Accommodation in Paihia for 2 nights
Day 4. Tuesday. CAPE REINGA EXCURSION (BL)
Travel by special coach to the Puketi Kauri Forest, then on to Ninety Mile Beach for a drive on the sands and see the amazing Te Paki sand dunes and quicksand. Visit Cape Reinga lighthouse and see the meeting of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean. Return to Paihia early evening. Lunch is included today.
Day 5. Wednesday. BAY OF ISLANDS - AUCKLAND (BL)
Enjoy a cruise around the beautiful Bay of Islands this morning to Cape Brett and pass through the 'hole in the rock' - weather permitting. Cruise past the islands and into secluded bays and enjoy a stopover on Urupukapuka Island - once home to author Zane Grey. Buffet lunch included on the island. Usually dolphins are to be seen during this cruise. Disembark in historic Russell for a tour of the town including a visit to Flagstaff Hill and the oldest church in New Zealand. Visit the Waitangi Treaty House where the Treaty of Friendship between Maori and the British Government was signed in 1840 and see the great war canoe.Return to Auckland early evening.
Day 6. Thursday. AUCKLAND - WAITOMO CAVES - OTOROHANGA KIWI HOUSE - HOBBITON - ROTORUA (L) Depart Auckland 8.00am and drive south over the Bombay Hills and along the banks of the Waikato River to Visit Otorohanga Kiwi House to see our unique endangered native kiwi birds at feeding time, the ancient Tuatara reptile, and walk through the largest dome aviary in New Zealand to see our native Kereru (Wood Pigeon) Kakariki (Parrot), and other native birds
Continue to Waitomo Caves for a guided tour through the main limestone cave and cruise through the glowworm grotto. (45 minute tour)
Options - must be requested with your tour reservation.
1. Add Aranui Cave INSTEAD of lunch - 1 hour tour - no change in cost
2. Tour Ruakuri Cave instead of Glowworm Cave and Lunch 2 hour tour - no change in cost.
3. Small group experience (maximum 11 participants) in Footwhistle Cave among the limestone formations and get up close and personal with the myriad of glowworms as well as see ancient Moa bones from our extinct native birds and visit the bush tea house to sample unique tea from the Kawakawa tree, used by by Maori for healing purposes. (75 minute tour - no change in cost)
Continue to Roselands farm restaurant for a barbecue buffet lunch (except options 1 and 2 above) - beef, chicken, fish, salads, cake and coffeee plus a taste of mussels and kumara chips. Passengers on the shorter cave options above also have the opportunity to stroll through the gardens, and meet some of the farm animals.Visit Lake Karapiro, home of New Zealand rowing, and the Karapiro hydro dam on the Waikato River, at 425 km this is New Zealand's longest river.
Continue to Hobbiton and the Shires Rest to join your guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie set, made famous by "Lord of the Rings, and "Hobbit" films. Drive through part of the picturesque 500 hectare (1,250 acre) sheep and cattle farm and your guide will escort you through the 10 acre Hobbiton site. See the Hobbit Holes, Bag End (Bilbo and Frodo Baggins home), Party Tree, Lake, The Mill, and the Green Dragon Inn, and learn how this Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle Earth. Enjoy a cold drink from the Green Dragon Inn and continue to Rotorua.
Day 7. Friday. ROTORUA - WAIOTAPU. (BD)
Visit the Waiotapu thermal area to explore the coloured terraces and see Lady Knox geyser play. Return to Rotorua this morning for a guided tour of the Te Puia thermal area to see bubbling mud pools, famed Pohutu geyser, and the maori carving and weaving school. Ride the Skyline gondola for a panoramic view over the lake and city with lunch and luge options - extra expense. This afternoon enjoy the Agrodome farm show to see sheep being shorn, a cow being milked, and sheep dogs working.
Free time to relax in the thermal waters of the Polynesian Spa if you wish - extra expense.
This evening enjoy an introduction to maori culture with a concert, and a hangi steam cooked dinner Day 8.Saturday. ROTORUA - TAUPO - AUCKLAND (B) Drive to Lake Taupo and visit the the Aratiatia Rapids, Huka Falls, Honey Hive, bungy site (try if you wish), and Taupo lakefront. There is time for an optional exciting jet boat ride on the Waikato River - extra expense. Return to Auckland mid evening or continue to Wellington - no extra charge. Travel from Taupo to Auckland or Wellington may be by scheduled coach.
Day 9. Sunday. AUCKLAND DEPART. (B)
Transfer to the airport for departure
Tour cost includes:
All travel by mini bus or coach, 8 nights accommodation and breakfast, 3 lunches, 1 hangi dinner, sightseeing admissions to Kauri museum, Waitangi Treaty House, tour to Cape Reinga by special bus, Bay of Islands cruise, Otorohanga Kiwi house, Waitomo Caves, Hobbiton, Maori concert, Te Puia Arts and Crafts and thermal areas. Waiotapu thermal area, Skyline gondola, Agrodome farm show