From $1390.00 per person
Spectacular yet diverse coastlines, marine reserves, kauri forests, and two oceans that collide make Northland an unmissable and unforgettable destination. Subtropical Northland is a land of contrasts where every area is steeped in history. Our five day Northland Discovery tour will explore the different areas of Northland including Whangarei in the south, Paihia – the hub of the Bay of Islands, the beachside resort of Taipa, the northernmost point in New Zealand, Cape Reinga, the Hokianga Harbour and everywhere in between.
Wednesday 12 June – Sunday 16 June 2019 (5 Days)
Day 1 Wednesday 12 June 2019 HOME CITIES TO WHANGAREI(D)
Departing Hamilton we journey by coach north to Auckland and we’ll drive past the delightful beaches of the Hibiscus Coast before stopping Kaiwaka for lunch (own cost). We continue our journey north passing through the small township of Ruakaka, before arriving in Whangarei, nestled between forest-clad hills at the heart of the beautiful Whangarei Harbour. On arrival, we travel out to view the Whangarei Falls, a picturesque waterfall, falling vertically for 26.3 metres over basalt cliffs. We then continue on our way to our accommodation in Whangarei. Dinner tonight will be at our hotel.
Accommodation: Distinction Hotel, Whangarei – 1 night
Day 2 Thursday 13 June 2019 WHANGAREI TO TAIPA (BD)
From Whangarei we travel into Paihia – the hub of the Bay of Islands. We make a stop at Kawakawa to view the well known crazy toilets designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser who once lived in the area. We continue to Paihia where we have some free time to browse the shops and purchase lunch. This afternoon, we visit the Waitangi Treaty House for a guided tour. It was here on 6 February 1840 that Maori and British settlers signed an historic agreement which gave birth to the nation of New Zealand. The Maori Meeting House in the grounds is a superb example of the skills of Maori wood carvers and flax weavers. Departing Waitangi, we travel out to Matauri Bay with its golden sandy beach looking out to the Cavalli Islands – the final resting place of the ill-fated Greenpeace flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, which has become home for reef fish and is a spectacular diving spot. Continuing our journey, we travel to Doubtless Bay, a beach paradise encompassing the settlements of Coopers Beach, Cable Bay, Whatuwhiwhi, and Taipa, where we stay overnight. Tonight we’ll enjoy dinner at our hotel.
Accommodation: Ramada Resort Reia Taipa Beach, Taipa – 1 night
Day 3 Friday 14 June 2019 TAIPA TO HOKIANGA (VIA CAPE REINGA) (BD)
This morning we depart Taipa, and travel to New Zealand’s northernmost point, Cape Reinga. Cape Reinga is a place of great spiritual importance to Maori. It is from here – the northern tip of the country – that the spirits of the dead took a last rest before beginning the long journey back to their ancestral homeland, Hawaiki. We will see the famous lighthouse and enjoy the spectacular coastal views where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet. After viewing the lighthouse, we travel south to Kaitaia, where we will have our lunch break (own cost). Our journey continues as we venture to the Hokianga Harbour, which is unique in many ways, not least for the stunning 150m high sand dunes which frame the north side of the entrance to the harbour. Our overnight accommodation has spectacular views of the sparkling harbour and the sand dunes. Dinner tonight will be at our hotel.
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Hokianga – 1 night
Day 4 Saturday 15 June 2019 HOKIANGA TO DARGAVILLE (BD)
Continuing south we follow the ‘Kauri Coast’ which is a superb Forest Sanctuary abounding with rare New Zealand flora and fauna, mighty kauri, nocturnal kiwi, feather-like ferns, amongst a sub-tropical rainforest – this is the Department of Conservation’s 9105 hectare Waipoua Kauri Sanctuary. A fully grown kauri can reach 60 metres and have a trunk five metres or more in diameter. They are slow growing and some kauri are 2,000 years old. Several huge trees are easily reached from the road including Tane Mahuta, “Lord of the Forest”, the largest kauri tree in New Zealand. It stands close to the road and is estimated to be 1,200 years old. Our next stop is the Kai Iwi Lakes, nestled amongst 538 hectares of premier recreation reserve with white sand, freshwater dune lakes renowned for their jewel‑like beauty and clear waters. We travel to Dargaville, where we will have lunch (own cost). After lunch we have the opportunity to view exhibits at the Maritime Museum depicting the history of the area. Here you can learn the story of the Rainbow Warrior bombing in Auckland Harbour. View the Maori artefacts – including the largest pre-European canoe exhibition in New Zealand. This afternoon we visit the Kumara Box where kumara grower Warren Suckling (aka Ernie) puts on a kumara show and you have the opportunity to learn the history, visit a kumara pit, see bulk kumara in storage and watch a DVD on Ernie’s kumara secrets. We then check in to our accommodation for the evening. Dinner tonight will be at the local RSA.
Accommodation: Hobson’s Choice Motel, Dargaville – 1 night
Day 5 Sunday 16 June 2019 DARGAVILLE TO HOME CITIES (B)
Departing Dargaville this morning, we travel to visit the Matakohe Kauri Musueum which offers us an insight of how our early pioneer settlers made a living from foresting the mighty Kauri Tree, and also the Kauri Gum found in Northland. The museum has a working replica sawmill, a chainsaw and motor collection and also a fantastic collection of gum ornaments and Kauri furniture, including the vast Kauri staircase up to the next level. From the museum we travel east to arrive back on the first main road that we have seen for a few days, and begin our journey back home to Hamilton. On the way to Hamilton we make a stop in the ‘Big Smoke’ to purchase lunch and are home early in the afternoon.