This is a 9 day small-size group tour that travels the North Island of New Zealand, starting in Auckland and finishing in Wellington.
Haere Mai and Welcome to Aotearoa/New Zealand. The first stop on your adventure is Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand. Often referred to as the ‘City of Sails’ by locals, Auckland is home to 2 harbours and over 44 volcanoes! On arrival in the city, make your way to the Nesuto Stadium Hotel where you can check in and drop your bags. At the hotel reception, you’ll receive a welcome letter with some tour information, and this evening you’ll meet your group and welcome host at 6:15pm and head for a delicious welcome dinner at 6:30pm.
This morning we’ll be leaving Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) and making our way to Waitomo, famous for its enchanting glowworm caves. We’ll be visiting the brightest glowworm cave in Waitomo, which was even visited by Sir David Attenborough! You’ll take a spectacular boat ride through a cave lit entirely by glowworms and experience the magical sight of hundreds of glowworms shining just for you. We’ll follow this with a walking tour of another amazing limestone cave shaped over millions of years. Afterwards, we’ll continue down to Rotorua, the geothermal wonderland of New Zealand. This evening we’ll enjoy a delicious dinner together and then settle in for a luxurious night’s sleep in Rotorua.
This morning we’ll skirt round the edge of Lake Rotorua to a lookout point where we’ll have a view of the infamous Mount Tarawera, once the home of the renowned pink and white terraces before a violent eruption destroyed them. We’ll end with a visit to the Buried Village, New Zealand’s most visited Archaeological Site, where we’ll learn about the famous 1886 eruption and visit the site of the now buried Te Wairoa village. This afternoon we’ll go for a walk in the Whakarewarewa forest where we’ll see towering Redwoods, magnificent Douglas firs and New Zealand’s native silver fern and then you have some free time to explore Rotorua on your own. If you’d like to see some geothermal activity for free, we recommend taking a walk around Kuirau Park to see boiling mud pools and steaming lakes. Go for a walk to the lakes edge and through the government gardens, spend some time relaxing at the Polynesian Spa or take the Gondola up to see the amazing Rotorua Skyline.
This morning we’ll travel to the shores of Lake Aniwhenua in Murupara, where you’ll get to experience a slice of the real New Zealand. Owned by a passionate local Maori family who have dedicated their lives to making a difference in their local community, Kohutapu Lodge is situated on the lake, and has been helping to transform the local town of Murupara through community-driven initiatives for years. Your experience will begin with a guided tour of the sacred Maori rock carvings and then you’ll travel to the Lodge to witness the preparation of a traditional ground cooked hangi. Once the food is ready, you’ll dine at the lodge on arguably the best meal you’ll have in New Zealand! After lunch, we’ll depart for Taupo where you’ll get to see the fiercely blue Huka Falls and explore the charming lakeside town.
After breakfast, this morning we’ll head to the stunning Hawke’s Bay region. Napier boasts some of the best wineries in New Zealand/Aotearoa and a visit here would not be complete without a trip to Mission Estate Winery. After a wine tasting, you’ll sit down for lunch to enjoy an afternoon of delicious food and exceptional wines, while soaking up sunshine and the ambience of this stunning estate. Later, it’s an easy drive into the beautiful coastal town of Napier, known for its perfectly preserved Art Deco facades. Go for a stroll along the tree-lined promenade this evening and sample some fresh seafood at one of the many restaurants overlooking the beach.
This morning we’ll depart Napier and journey down to Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand and the home of the best cup of coffee in the country! On the way down, we’ll make a stop in Greytown, Wairarapa’s oldest town, for a spot of lunch. A picturesque village with restored Victorian buildings, Greytown is a charming place to stop, refuel and browse the boutiques before we continue down to Wellington. With a population of less than 220,000 people, no city in NZ combines a relaxed atmosphere and a cultured, bohemian spirit better than Wellington. The afternoon is free for you to spend exploring the city – we highly recommend a visit to our national museum Te Papa which offers free entrance and boasts some incredible exhibits.
Today is the final day of the tour, our trip has come to an end. Enjoy breakfast before saying a fond farewell to your tour leader and all your travel companions. Whether you’re travelling home today or staying in Wellington for longer, we hope you leave this tour with some happy memories and friends for life.