Koromiko – 11 Day North Island

This Boutique Journey takes in the stunning sights of the North Island starting with a journey to the sparkling Pacific waters of the Bay of Islands. Further south you’ll visit the Art Deco town of Napier and enjoy the wonderful wines of the Hawke’s Bay region before arriving in Wellington, ‘The coolest little capital in the world’.

Featured Experiences

  • Entry to Waitangi Treaty Grounds
  • Journey along 90-mile beach – or – take a dolphin and Hole in the Rock cruise
  • A scenic cruise from Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula, stopping at Waiheke Island
  • Narrow-gauge railway journey through native Coromandel bush
  • Visit Hot Water Beach and photogenic Cathedral Cove
  • A private guide around a geothermal valley with geysers, mud pools and hot springs
  • Visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley – or – experience Hobbiton Movie Set
  • Delve into Maori life and enjoy a powerful cultural performance and feast
  • Enjoy a wine tasting and evening meal at Mission Estate in Napier
  • Travel on Wellington’s famous Cable Car and visit Te Papa Museum

Itinerary

Day 1   Auckland  Haere mai – welcome!  Arrive into Auckland where you will be met and transferred to you accommodation.  Spend the afternoon and evening at your leisure exploring the ‘City of Sails’.  MSocial, Auckland

Day 2   Auckland to Bay of Islands   (B)  Travel north via Auckland’s iconic Harbour Bridge visiting the Reed Memorial Park.  Here walk along an elevated canopy walkway through a remnant of the original kauri forests – some kauri trees are known to be at least 500 years old.  Take in the picturesque Whangarei Falls formed more than 2 million years ago, before continuing to the Bay of Islands, a stunning region of 144 sub-tropical islands scattered through warm shallow waters and bays abundant in natural wonders and marine life.  Regarded as the birthplace of New Zealand the Bay of Islands is rich in both Maori culture and early European history.  You are welcomed to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, to learn the story of Waitangi including the signing of the 1840 treaty between Maori tribes and British settlers; the magnificent meeting house; the interactive and contemporary museum; and the war canoe (waka).  Next, take a ferry to the seaside village of Russell spending the next two nights at the historic Duke of Marlborough Hotel.  Duke of Marlborough Hotel, Russell – 2 nights

Day 3   Bay of Islands   (B)  Today you have the choice of two excursions:

  • a) Discover the Far North of New Zealand – Journey along the magnificent 90 Mile beach to Cape Reinga the very tip of New Zealand, where the Tasman Sea collides with the Pacific Ocean. This full day tour includes a visit to the ancient Puketi Kauri forest and lunch.
  • b) Enjoy a Dolphin and Hole in the Rock cruise. On the way to the Cape Brett Lighthouse, playful dolphins race alongside the boat, now hold your breath as the skipper skilfully navigates his way through the famous Hole in the Rock and into Grand Cathedral Cave (conditions permitting).  Return to Russell to meet a local guide for an insight into this historic town’s rip-roaring past!

Day 4   Bay of Islands to Auckland   (B)  Head south through rural towns and past delightful beaches before arriving in Auckland; New Zealand’s largest and most cosmopolitan city to enjoy a sightseeing tour of the ‘City of Sails’ including panoramic views from Bastion Point; trendy Parnell Village; the lovely bays of the waterfront drive; and the vibrant Viaduct Harbour area.  Also enjoy a guided tour of the Auckland Museum which gives an excellent introduction to the artistic legacy and cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific. M-Social Hotel, Auckland

Day 5   Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula   (B)  Take to the water for a scenic cruise across the Hauraki Gulf passing many volcanic islands to the Coromandel Peninsula. Visit the nearby Driving Creek Railway climbing 120m on a narrow-gauge line to the ‘Eyefull’ Tower for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and back over the Hauraki Gulf. Drive east across the Peninsula through beautiful scenery to reach the resort of Whitianga on Mercury Bay.  Oceans Resort, Whitianga – 2 nights

Day 6   Coromandel Peninsula   (B)  White cliffs, golden beaches, inviting turquoise waters and green forests are the colours of the Coromandel, with scarlet highlights courtesy of the flowers of Pohutukawa trees in summer, making this one of our favourite regions.  Rightly famous is Hot Water Beach, where warm springs bubble up through the sand, and when the tide is right you can dig out your very own ‘spa’ pool for a wallow in the warm waters.  Walk down into Cathedral Cove – your efforts are rewarded with one of the most photogenic beaches in New Zealand.  Depart by water taxi back to Hahei where your driver will be waiting to take you to Cooks Beach – named after Captain James Cook who sailed on the HMS Endeavour into Mercury Bay in 1769 – famous for its long golden sandy beach which is now a popular retreat for Kiwis during summer months.  From Cooks Beach you can choose to catch the short ferry ride back to Whitianga and walk to your accommodation or travel back with your driver.  

Day 7   Coromandel Peninsula – Rotorua   (B)  Taking the Pacific Coast Highway through the beachside towns of Whangamata and Tauranga in the beautiful Bay of Plenty before turning inland to visit a well-formed bushwalk with scenic lookouts over Okere River and its spectacular waterfalls.  Rotorua is the epicentre not only of New Zealand’s geothermal activity but of Maori heritage, and no visit to Rotorua would be complete without including Te Puia, not only an active geothermal site, but the nation’s centre for indigenous arts and crafts and a Kiwi conservation project.  At Te Puia it’s part of their culture to welcome, guide, entertain, and treat you like part of the family and you are treated to a private guide throughout your time here.  Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua – 2 nights

Day 8   Rotorua (B,D) Today you have the choice of two excursions:

  • a) Visit the Waimangu Volcanic Valley – site of the eruption of Mt. Tarawera in 1886 the devasting eruption buried local Maori villages and destroyed the world-famous ‘Pink and White’ silica terraces, once considered to be the eighth wonder of the world. This catastrophic event changed the landscape forever and created the valley you can now walk through, past boiling craters and jewel-coloured steaming lakes. Take a cruise across Lake Rotomahana to the site of the old silica terraces, hear the story of Guide Sophia and see the new terraces of silica slowly forming.
  • b) Experience the real Middle-earth with a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set, the delightful setting for The Shire that featured in Peter Jackson’s films, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit film series. Your Hobbiton guide will escort you through the ten-acre site recounting fascinating details of how the movie set was created.  The Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, Mill and other structures created for the films can be viewed, and you will see how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth.

This evening travel to a Marae (Maori Village).  Experience a formal welcome (powhiri) including the hongi – that is sharing breath.  Delve into Maori life, both past and contemporary. Listen to their fascinating reality – how things are and what is important to their family, their connection to their land, the importance of whakapapa (lineage) and life amongst their people.  Finally, this evening enjoy a powerful cultural performance, storytelling and Hangi (feasting).

Day 9   Rotorua to Napier   (B,D)  Visit the powerful Huka Falls then view the vast Lake Taupo – more inland sea than lake, though its fresh waters teem with trout.  Across the lake stands the mighty volcanic peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro within the Tongariro National Park.  Onto Napier to view one of the world’s most complete examples of Art Deco architecture, second (arguably) only to Miami Beach.  This joyful seaside town had a tragic birth, being virtually levelled by fierce fires that followed the devastating 1931 earthquake.  Napier was rebuilt in the most up-to-date style of the time, which today is referred to as Art Deco.  This afternoon your local guide brings history and architecture alive with entertaining stories as you discover Napier on foot.  Today’s journey has brought us to the North Island’s wine country, so this evening’s treat is dinner at New Zealand’s oldest winery, Mission Estate, where you enjoy dinner in the restored seminary buildings with sweeping views of Napier.  Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier

Day 10   Napier to Wellington   (B)  Travel through the vineyards and orchards of Hawke’s Bay and the bush-clad ranges of the Wairarapa into New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington.  On arrival view New Zealand’s magnificent Parliament Buildings including the iconic ‘Beehive’ building.   From the Kelburn lookout take the Wellington Cable Car down into the central city precinct before visiting Te Papa – one of the most exciting museums in the world, featuring New Zealand insights; the shaping of its land, the spirit of its diverse peoples, its unique wildlife, landscapes and its distinctive popular culture.  James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

Day 11   Depart Wellington (B)  Haere ra – farewell from New Zealand.  After breakfast you are transferred to the Wellington Airport for your return home taking with you fond memories of your time in New Zealand.  Alternatively, should you wish to extend your stay, we can assist you with additional travel arrangements.

 

Culinary Inclusions:  12 meals included:  10 breakfasts (B) 2 dinners (D)

*Itinerary and Accommodation subject to change.