From $1850 per person
Come celebrate Christmas with us. Starting in Hamilton we visit Taupo to enjoy the Huka Falls River Cruise, before travelling to Tongariro, where we will stay at the Chateau Tongariro, where we will spend Christmas. We’ll also enjoy two nights in Napier with some sightseeing including a ride around the city on the Hawkes Bay Express.
Tuesday 24 December – Saturday 28 2019 (5 Days)
Day 1 – Tuesday 24 December 2019 HOME CITIES TO WHAKAPAPA (D)
This morning we commence our tour by driving to Taupo and on arrival, we’ll have an early lunch (own cost) at Wairakei. After lunch, we enjoy the Huka Falls River Cruise. The cruise is the only way you can get close to the turbulent white water below Huka Falls and experience its awesome power. The purpose-built riverboat has comfortable inside seating, a large rear deck and front viewing platform. This is the best way to photograph and video Huka Falls and lots of fantastic New Zealand scenery including birdlife, native bush, natural hot springs, Taupo’s famous trout and much more. After our cruise, we’ll stop in Taupo for some time out, before continuing to our accommodation at Chateau Tongariro. The elegant Chateau Tongariro is located within Whakapapa Village – in the heart of Tongariro National Park and was constructed during the ‘roaring twenties’. Before entering the hotel we will visit The Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre where you can see displays of the area.
Accommodation: Chateau Tongariro – 2 nights
Day 2 – Wednesday 25 December 2019 TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK (BL)
Merry Christmas! Waking up today I guess you’ll check to see if Father Christmas visited during the night. This morning you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast and the remainder of the morning is at leisure for you to enjoy the hotel facilities. Christmas Lunch will be the feature of the day where you will be treated to a scrumptious Christmas Menu in The Ruapehu Room which is the Chateau Tongariro Hotel’s signature restaurant and is located off the opulent Chateau Tongariro main lounge. The Ruapehu Room delivers the finest ambience and all the sophistication expected of the Chateau’s elegant traditions. After lunch, we will have a drive to the top of the Bruce. Tongariro National Park is dominated by the three volcanoes of Mount Ruapehu (2797m), Mount Ngauruhoe (2291m) and Mount Tongariro (1968m). The region has been formed by many volcanic eruptions over the last 300,000 years; as well as glaciers from the last ice age. This has created surreal colours, landscapes and textures. Dinner tonight is at your leisure in either the Ruapehu room or the Pihanga Café if you are after a lighter meal.
Day 3 – Thursday 26 December 2019 WHAKAPAPA TO NAPIER (BD)
After breakfast this morning, we depart Whakapapa and travel across the Rangitaiki Plains to Hawke’s Bay and the seaside city of Napier. Napier was devastated by an earthquake in 1931 and was rebuilt during the period when Art Deco Architecture was fashionable. The area is also one of New Zealand’s top grape growing regions with some of the country’s best-known wines coming from the Hawke’s Bay. On arrival in Napier, we’ll stop in the central city for you to purchase your lunch. After lunch, we climb onboard the Hawkes Bay Express, for a unique tour of Napier. The Express is a custom built luxurious road train, appearing as a steam train on the outside and a 1930’s time warp inside. It has been fashioned after the gorgeous Orient Express, recreating the opulence and romantic atmosphere of the Art Deco era. The ride includes seascape views of Cape Kidnappers and you can marvel at some of the world’s most stunning examples of Art Deco architecture. From the town centre the train heads over Bluff Hill with a short photo stop on top where the landmarks of the region are pointed out to us, then on into Ahuriri, once the old port village, now a haven for summer tourists. After our tour, we check into our centrally located accommodation. Dinner tonight will be at our hotel.
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Te Pania—2 nights
Day 4 – Friday 27 December 2019 NAPIER (BD)
Today is at leisure. You may wish to visit one of the many wineries located around the region. The MTG Hawkes Bay museum is a short walk from the hotel and has an excellent exhibit on the 1931 earthquake, where objects, archives and a documentary tell the stories about how this disaster impacted the people, townships and the local landscape. For those of you looking for a day of pampering, Ocean Spa is located across the road from the hotel. Relax, re-energise and enjoy panoramic ocean views from the open air, heated and chlorinated pools or outdoor spas. Tonight we travel out to Mission Estate Winery for a delicious 3-course dinner. The restaurant is located in a historic building overlooking Napier and Hawkes Bay. This building was built in 1880. It was known as La Grande Maison or the “big house” and became the home for the early French Marists for three decades.
Day 5 – Saturday 28 December 2019 NAPIER – HOME CITIES (B)
There will be time to have a quick look around Napier before commencing our homeward journey. We will stop in Taupo for lunch before continuing on to our final destination. Time now to say farewell to your travelling companions and we wish you a Happy New Year.