EAST Cape EXPLORER
Includes: Accommodation (3 & 4 Star Hotels), All Dinners & Cooked Breakfasts, All Listed Sights & Admissions, Transfers / Home Pickup from designated centres (If not listed call or email us for details).
DATES: 24 Dec 2019 CHRISTMAS*, 16 February 2020, 8 March 2020, 19 April 2020
HOTEL/HOME PICKUP FROM AUCKLAND, HAMILTON & MORE:
NZ$2499 per person (sharetwin)
Travelling Solo? Matched Twin (same gender) No Extra Cost!
NZ$695 Single Supplement (to Guarantee Single Room)
Day 1. Auckland / Hamilton / Rotorua (D)
This morning we pick you up from your home to join your tour. Departing Auckland, travel through rich farmlands of the Waikato region stopping at the small township of Huntly, the site of a massive coal-fired power station.The open cast coal mine produces around 10,000 tonnes a day. Next, travel through Hamilton – now New Zealand’s fourth largest city, to the Hamilton Gardens. The impressive gardens are the pride of this region and cver 58 hectares. Take time to stroll and explore before continuing south to Cambridge, ‘the town of trees and hectares. Take time to stroll and explore before continuing south to Cambridge, ‘the town of trees and champions’. It’s memorable for its leafy streets, heritage buildings and provides the ideal location for a lunch stop. Leaving Cambridge we continue through to Rotorua. Here we enjoy a visit to the fascinating Te Puia. Te Puia is the premiere geothermal site in New Zealand. Te Puia is located in the Te Whakarewarewa valley, a geothermally active region of New Zealand. It is home to the famous Pohutu and Te Tohu (Prince of Wales’ Feathers) geysers. It also serves as home to the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute – an active repository of knowledge and training of Maori cultural arts and culture. See spectacular geysers (steam & water eruptions), boiling mud pools, hot pools and lots of native plants in the surrounding area. Later this afternon we visit the Rotorua Gondola. Enjoy spectacular views as you ride up to the side of the mountain over looking the city, where you can look down over Lake Rotorua and Mokoia Island. Here we enjoy a sumptuous dinner at Stratosphere restaurant.
Day 2. Rotorua / Taupo / Napier (B,D)
The Huka Falls are the largest falls on the Waikato River. The Waikato River which is normally 100m wide, is squeezed through a 20 metre wide gorge and over a 20m drop. Every second up to 220,000 litres of water gushes through the gorge and shoots out over 8 metres beyond to create a beautful blue/green pool. Leaving the Huka Falls and continue through Taupo and then on to the Hawke’s Bay region and the Art Deco city of Napier. Napier’s misfortune in 1931, when it was almost levelled by an earthquake, has led to the city’s world famous point of difference. Today Napier has one of the most outstanding collections of 1930’s architecture in the world. Walking around the city, you’ll see wonderful examples of Art Deco, Spanish Mission and Stripped Classical design.
Stay: Scenic Hotel Te Pania
Day 3. Cape Kidnappers / Gannet Colony / Napier Winery (B,D)
Drive along the scenic coast from Napier to Te Awanga and join Gannet Safaris Overland Tour to the worlds largest, accessible gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers. You will travel in comfort in our air conditioned 4 x 4 wheeled vehicles, through Cape Kidnappers Station – traversing riverbeds, broad rolling pastures, through stands of native bush, steep gullies and breathtaking inclines.There is a stop on the way for spectacular cliff top views of Hawkes Bay right across to the Mahia Peninsula. On arrival at the gannets you can stretch your legs and take in the magnificent scenery from the clifftops – 100 metres above the ocean. Here your driver / guide will serve you refreshments whilst you enjoy watching the gannets perform around you. Following your Gannet Safari, enjoy a Devonshire Tea at the station and then continue on to the quaint and beautiful township of Havelock North where you have time for lunch. Then continue through Hastings to the a local Winery, to learn the history of the winery, the regions vitaculture, cellarmasters explanations as to how the wines vary, the flavours to distinguish each wine, and how to enjoy the bouquets of each different type. Then return to Napier and enjoy a short tour of the Art Deco buildings of this completely Art Deco city. Enjoy the remainder of the afternoon free at leisure to relax or wander around and explore this beautiful seaside town – the most complete Art Deco town in the world. Your tour leader can recommend activities and assist with bookings.
Stay: Scenic Hotel Te Pania
Day 4. Napier / Gisborne (B, D)
Leaving Napier we travel northwards around the Bay with views of Young Nick’s head to Wairoa where a short convenience stop is made. We then continue onwards, travelling through to Poverty Bay and Gisborne. Here in Gisborne, view the obelisk memorial at the spot near where Captain James Cook & his crew first landed in 1769. We also visit the Tairawhiti Museum, which is home to a particulary noteworthy exhibit on the Maori Battalion’s C Company. The balance of the day is free to explore the first city on earth to see the sun each day.
Stay: Emerald Hotel or Portside Hotel Gisborne (or similar)
Day 5. Gisborne / Tolaga Bay / Hicks Bay (B,D)
Leaving Gisborne we drive north through unspoilt bays and the area famous for the movie ‘Whale Rider’ the Whangara Marae (location where the movie ‘Whale Rider’ was filmed.) Whangara is located 30km north of Gisborne, and belongs to the ancestral lands of the Ngati Porou. The quaint seaside settlement is built around the Marae made famous in the movie. Next, stop at Tolaga Bay (around 30km north of Whangara) is also closely associated with the ancestor Paikea. It is said that the original inhabitants of Tolaga Bay (traditionally known as Uawa) were descended from Maui Tiki-Tiki-a-Taranga (the ancestor who fished up the North Island) and Paikea (the ancestor who voyaged from Hawaiiki). Tolaga Bay is steeped in Maori history and culture, and is also the site of some important encounters between Captain Cook and local Maori. The major attraction in Tolaga Bay is the 600 metre long historic wharf – said to be one of the longest in the Southern Hemisphere. Enjoy lunch here before continuing to the East Cape area overnight.
Stay: Hicks Bay Motel
Day 6. East Cape Lighthouse / Tauranga (B,D)
This morning the tour drives out to the North Island’s eastern-most point – East Cape. The East Cape lighthouse is the easternmost lighthouse in New Zealand. The lighthouse at East Cape was originally located on East Island, just off the tip of East Cape. The East Island light was first lit in 1900. This location was very troublesome right from the start. The light on East Island was extinguished in April 1922. The tower and all the buildings were relocated to the mainland. The East Cape Lighthouse began operation in December 1922. The lighthouse is now operated remotel from Wellington. After taking time to enjoy the view we continue westwards through beautiful coastal scenery to the seaside town of Opotiki. Then on to Whakatane. Whakatane is one of the sunniest towns in New Zealand. Just off shore to the north is White Island, an active volcano. The volcano is estimated to be between 100,000 and 200,000 years old. And resembles a moonscape with vegetation being unable to survive within its acrid inner noonscape like crater walls. We then continue northwards along the coast to Tauranga. Here we visit the Historic Elms Mission Station, formerly the Te Papa Mission, one of the oldest groups of buildings in New Zealand. The Mission House enjoys a rich history and was the scene of the final dinner of the officers of General Cameron’s British force before their stunning defeat the next day. You will be taken on a short tour of The Mission station and its beautiful grounds, through the main house and library, explaining the history and significance of the Mission.
Stay: Trinity Wharf Hotel
Day 7. Tauranga / Waihi / Auckland (B)
After breakfast this morning we will depart our hotel and Aboard our luxury coach we depart Tauranga for the return journey to Auckland. As you continue along the northern reaches of the harbor, you will view the low-lying Matakana Island before reaching the town of Waihi; a small town that sprang up in the 1870s after gold was discovered in the nearby Karangahake Gorge. On then to the Goldmine Lookout to enjoy wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. Here we enjoy a fascinatng visit to the Waihi Goldmine, where you will learn al about the mining history and process. From the Waihi Goldmine you take a short drive to the Waihi Station to join the “Goldmine Express” to ride to Wakino Station at the Karangahake Gorge. At the beautifully restored station you will have the opportunity to take refreshments before continuing through the gorge to Paeroa. Continue the journey to the Bombay Hills and back to Auckland where our Gold Club Tours team awaits to return you home.