NORTHLAND GRAND HERITAGE TOUR
7 days/6 nights. Features full Waitangi Day celebrations at Waitangi.
Departs Auckland 9am Monday 01 February, 2021. Returns sunday afternoon.
Unsolicited comment from past passengers:
Hi Steve - have just returned to Southland. I just wish to say a very big THANK YOU for organising an amazing trip and also to James for being a really great driver and getting us to all,points on time - well done team.
Day 1. AUCKLAND - KAURI MUSEUM AND FORESTS - HOKIANGA (D)
Depart Auckland 9.00am. 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.
Continue through Ruawai 'kumara capital' of New Zealand, and Dargaville 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). Visit the Kaiiwi Lakes and 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.
For those who want a more active experience take the local ferry across the Hokianga to the massive sand dunes for boogie boarding. - extra expense.
Day 2. Tuesday. 02 February. HOKIANGA - KAITAIA (BD)
Visit historic Rawene including Clendon House 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!.
We take the ferry across the Hokianga and continue north to Kaitaia. Visit the local museum and see the history of the Gumdiggers at the Gumdiggers Park.
Dinner and overnight in Kaitaia or Taipa.
Day 3. Wednesday 03 February. 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. 4 nights accommodation and breakfast at the Scenic Bay of Islands hotel. Dinner at the hotel tonight.
Day 4. Thursday. 04 February BAY OF ISLANDS (BLD)
Cruise the Bay of Islands this morning to Cape Brett and through the 'Hole in the Rock' - weather permitting including stopover at Otehei Bay and barbecue lunch. 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.
Dinner included tonight at the historic Duke of Marlborough Hotel.
Day 5. Friday BAY OF ISLANDS (BD)
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 to Mangungu Mission station on the shores of the Hokianga Harbour and scene of the third signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. 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 bult in 1822 and the oldest building in New Zealand. Visit Rewa's recreated early maori traditional village and 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. Enjoy dinner while we cruise up the Waitangi River. See the Cormorant colony and Haruru Falls
Day 6.Saturday 06 February. WAITANGI DAY! (BD)
Free day to celebrate Waitangi Day 'on location' Transport will be provided to the Treaty Grounds for the dawn service, and shuttle 2 or 3 times during the day, and after the evening 'beating the retreat' ceremony.
Day 7. Sunday 07 February. PAIHIA - 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. Return to Auckland late afternoon.
You are welcome to stay longer in the Bay of Islands and return by scheduled transport if you wish.