Northland Coasts & Cape
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: 13 Oct 2019, 17 Nov 2019, 24 Dec 2019 CHRISTMAS*, 16 February 2020, 15 March 2020, 19 April 2020
HOTEL/HOME PICKUP FROM AUCKLAND, HAMILTON, TAURANGA, ROTORUA & 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 / Matakohe / Opononi (D)
This morning, you will be picked up from your nominated address, then head off to join the rest of your group for the coach journey to Northland. Departing Auckland, we travel across the Harbour Bridge northwards, onto Wellsford and Warkworth. We travel west at the Brynderwyns, passing through the lovely township of Maungaturoto and on to visit the award-winning Matakohe Kauri Museum. The Matakohe Kauri Museum tells a fascinating story of the pioneering days through the use of kauri timber and kauri gum. Settlers first came to Matakohe and nearby Paparoa and Maungaturoto in 1862. This museum was established to celebrate their centennial and to pay tribute to those early pioneers. There are many exceptional displays and dedicated galleries to admire – the museum holds the world’s best and biggest display of exquisite kauri gum, polished and carved specimens. View the world’s largest kauri slab, a huge 22.5 metres long! Witness the gigantic rings showing sizes of the largest known kauri, and the magnificent collection of antique kauri furniture. The museum also contains restored machinery including NZ’s earliest tractor, a 1929 Cat 60 and a turning Steam Sawmill, as well as a blacksmith’s workshop plus the nikau gumdigger’s hut and model dam to admire. There is beautiful kauri furniture, including the Governor General’s boardroom table, and an extensive series of early photographs providing intriguing windows into the past. Continuing our journey on past the town of Dargaville, then north towards the West Coast, through the forest and through rolling countryside, arriving at the twin beach settlements of Omapere & Opononi. We check-in at our accommodation at the Opononi Hotel. Tonight, enjoy a delicious “Lamb on a Spit” dinner with your new friends! As you see the (and smell!) the lamb being cooked you will undoubtedly work up an appetite – and rest assured there is a good selection of sides to accompany (non-lamb & vegetarian also).
Stay: Opononi Hotel
Day 2. Waipoua Forest Experience & Giant Kauri Tane Mahuta (B,D)
Today, we will enjoy breakfast in the hotel before we set off to explore the majestic Waipoua Kauri Forest. Waipoua is an ancient green world of towering trees and rare birds. The endangered North Island kokako and the North Island brown kiwi both still live here today. Here, we meet a guide from the international award winning “Footprints Waipoua” – named by leading travel guide Lonely Planet as one of two New Zealand and 84 globally Lonely Planet Code Green Experiences of a Lifetime. Arriving at the ancient Waipuoa Forest, local Maori guides will meet your coach and take you to experience of the forest’s spiritual significance and fascinating stories of the mythologies & legends of the environment as well as the history as passed down through the Maori oral tradition. The highlight of the tour will be a moving meeting with “The Lord of the Forest”, Tane Mahuta, the largest kauri tree in the world, standing an incredible 150 feet tall and estimated to be 3000 years old. When taking pictures of Tane Mahuta, make sure you stand in front of it to get a good perspective of its size! At the conclsion of our time in the stunning Waipoua Kauri Forest, we will head back to Opononi to enjoy free time to enjoy the beach – maybe take a trip across to the giant Hokianga Sand dunes across the harbour to explore (and there’s sandboarding for the most adventurous people!) This evening we enjoy dinner at the Boar & Marlin restaurant.
Stay: Opononi Hotel
Day 3. Clendon House, Hokianga Crossing, Doubtless Bay (B,D)
After our breakfast, we farewell Opononi and board our coach. We head to the quaint Hokianga town of Rawene, which is full of charm with its rich variety of historic buildings, art galleries and cafes, as well as stunning water views. Rawene is New Zealand’s third oldest European settlement and home to a growing population who appreciate its beauty and lifestyle. Here, we will enjoy a guided tour of Clendon House. Clendon House was built in the 1860s by James Reddy Clendon, a trader, witness to the Treaty of Waitangi, Magistrate and New Zealand’s first US Consul. The family lived in the home for over 100 years. Step back in time and explore the home of one of Northland’s most prominent historical figures crammed with historic treasures belonging to the Clendon family – Clendon House is truly a heritage goldmine! A short walk from Clendon House, we can also visit the old, tiny Victorian jail, before heading back to our coach. A pleasant ferry ride across the Hokianga Harbour will take us to the charming seaside town of Kohukhu, another small eccentric town nestled on the harbour’s edge. From here, we will continue our ascent of the North Island, driving through the Maungataniwha, a large area east of Kaitaia characterised by mosaics of forest and regenerating shrublands on hill country. Later this afternoon, we will arrive at our hotel in Taipa in Doubtless Bay, and settle in before enjoying a dinner together in the hotel’s restaurant.
Stay: Ramada Resort Taipa Beach
Day 4. 90 Mile Beach & Cape Reinga (B, D)
After breakfast this morning, we board our coach to start our northern expedition. We meet our special tour vehicle to travel off road and on the beach! We head west to the renowned Ninety Mile Beach. Cruise up the coast of this official New Zealand highway, while the waves gently come crashing beside us. Though the beach isn’t actually 90 miles long – rather 55 miles – it is still one of New Zealand’s longest stretches of sand and it certainly isn’t short on natural beauty! A stop on the beach will allow us to feel the sand between our toes and the salty breeze in our hair, as we take in the amazing views of this almost never-ending paradise. Then the off-road experience continues as we drive up Te Paki Stream & alongside the mountainous sand dunes. Then we journey on to the very top of the country – New Zealand’s most Northern point , Cape Reinga. Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) has great significance in Maori mythology. Maori believed that upon death their wairua (spirit) travel up the coast, then gather at Spirits Bay. At the very tip of Cape Reinga is a gnarled pohutukawa tree, believed to be over 800 years old, which the wairua are said to climb down to reach the ocean. They then travel underwater to the Three Kings Islands, where they turn for a last farewell to New Zealand before continuing onto the land of their ancestors. before departing Aotearoa on their journey home to Hawaiiki (the ancestral homeland).The iconic lighthouse of Cape Reinga was the last manned lighthouse to be built in New Zealand and it certainly makes for perfect pictures! It was first constructed in 1941 and lit during May of that year. It was manned by a real person until 1987, when it was fully automated. It is now operated remotely from Wellington. From the Cape, we can also witness the rare and astounding sight of two seas colliding, as the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean come crashing together in a spectacular swirl of currents, waves and foam! Then we depart for our return journey down the East Coast. Heading back towards Taipa, enjoy views along the way of the beautiful Northland East Coast. Once we are back at the hotel, we will get all the sand out of our clothes, freshen up and enjoy dinner.
Stay: Ramada Resort Taipa Beach
Day 5. Kerikeri, Stone Store & Kemp House, Te Waimate Mission, Paihia & Bay of Islands (B,D)
This morning we enjoy breakfast and say our farewells to Taipa & Doubtless Bay before we make our way south to the quaint town of Kerikeri. Here, we will visit and enjoy a guided tour of some of the oldest buildings in New Zealand, an insight into the time of European colonial influx. Kerikeri is home to New Zealand’s oldest standing European buildings: the Stone Store and Kerikeri Mission House (Kemp House). The Stone Store, New Zealand’s oldest stone building, was built in 1832-36. Designed by Wesleyan missionary John Hobbs and built by an ex-convict stonemason from New South Wales, the Store was meant to house New Zealand mission supplies and large quantities of wheat from the mission farm at Te Waimate. When the wheat failed, the building was mainly leased as a kauri gum trading store. It was then passed into Kemp family ownership, and from 1929 onwards, it was used mainly as a general store. The Stone Store is of national and international significance as the oldest surviving commercial building in New Zealand, demonstrating the early stages of the country’s connection with international trade. Also known as Kemp House, the Kerikeri Mission House was built in 1821-1822 by the London-based Church Missionary Society, the mission under the protection of Hongi Hika, the most influential Maori leader in the Bay of Islands. Built for the Reverend John Butler by missionary carpenters and Maori sawyers, the two-storey structure is of simple Georgian design, with a hipped roof and symmetrical façade. The garden, first dug in 1820 and cultivated ever since, recalls the mission period. After our informative visit, it will be time to go sweeten things up at Makana Chocolates! Makana Chocolates are a fabulous boutique chocolatier. All the chocolates are handmade and we can view the skilled artisans making the chocolates before our eyes. Perhaps have a taste, and maybe even purchase a few as a treat! We then head to view New Zealand’s second oldest building, Te Waimate Mission, which preserves missionary, farming and architectural history, as well as stories of important early encounters between Maori and Europeans. Then we will head to the Bay of Islands and Paihia. Once we have settled into our hotel, we enjoy dinner together in the hotel’s restaurant.
Stay: Copthorne Resort Waitangi
Day 6. Russell visit & Bay of Islands Dinner Cruise (B,D)
This morning, we will have breakfast at the hotel before going out to explore Paihia and Russell. Paihia is a gorgeous seaside town and one of the crown jewels in New Zealand’s tourism landscape. From here, we will enjoy a ferry trip to visit the historic township of Russell. As we stroll around Russell, Bay of Islands today, we are walking back in time. The town’s original street plan and names from 1843 are still intact and feature some of New Zealand’s oldest and most significant historic buildings. The township gained a reputation as a lawless and rowdy port and the unflattering nickname “Hell Hole of the Pacific”. At the conclusion of our time in Russell, we travel back to Paihia. This evening we enjoy a delicious dinner during a relaxed cruise up the Waitangi River, an area rich with abundant bird life and historical points of interest. We see the beautiful horseshoe-shaped Haruru Falls from the boat which gives a much better vantage point than on land. Here in the birthplace of New Zealand, Haruru Falls was an aramoana (sea road or ocean path) for inland Maori tribes. Maori legend says that a taniwha (water monster) lives in the lagoon below the falls. Once we are back on solid ground, we will head back to our hotel.
Stay: Copthorne Resort Waitangi
Day 7. Hundertwasser Toilets, Kawiti Glow Worm Caves, Puhoi Pub, Auckland (B)
Sadly this is our last day, so after breakfast, we check out of our hotel and head south. Our first stop will be at the fascinatingly designed Hundertwasser Toilets by the internationally famous artist who made this town his home. After a brief stop and look about, we will head to visit the mesmerizing Kawiti Glow Worm Caves. The Kawiti caves (formerly Waiomio Caves) were discovered in the early 17th century by Roku. Today, the Kawiti Caves are owned & operated by the Kawiti family, direct descendants of the chieftaness Hineamaru of the Ngati Hine Tribe. At the conclusion of our time at the Kawiti Glow Worm Caves, we will continue to head south, passing through Whangarei, driving through the townships of Wellsford and Warkworth, until we reach the historic township of Puhoi. Puhoi was originally settled in 1863 by immigrants from Bohemia, (now the Czech Republic). Here the Puhoi Pub is like a museum in itself, showcasing photos, tools & old-time farm memorabilia. We will enjoy an afternoon tea. Then we complete the journey back to Auckland, where we will all be met and returned to our homes.