Central Plateau & Forgotten Highway

From $1,710 per person

Monday 2 August – Thursday 5 August 2021 (4 days)

Celebrate winter in the heart of the Tongariro Volcanic Plateau, including two nights at the iconic Chateau Tongariro. Our journey also takes us through the Forgotten World Highway. On this stretch of road, we wriggle our way over four mountain saddles, through an eerie one-lane tunnel along a sinuous river gorge to Stratford, and our last night will be spent in New Plymouth.

 

Day 1          Monday 02 August 2021
HOME CITIES TO NATIONAL PARK          (D)
This morning, we climb onboard the Northern Explorer train and travel to National Park in the heart of the North Island. On our journey today we see fantastic views of New Zealand farmland, the volcanic plateau, Mount Ruapehu, the world famous Raurimu Spiral, and stunning river gorges - all from the panoramic windows and open air viewing decks allowing you the best possible views. Lunch today can be purchased on board the Northern Explorer (own cost). On arrival in National Park Village, we will be met by our tour coach and driver and our first stop will be the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre where you can see displays and learn about the natural and cultural history of the area.  We’ll then make our way up the Top of the Bruce at Mt Ruapehu and ride the Sky Waka – New Zealand’s most advanced gondola, high above the world-heritage-listed mountain area.  Each aerial gondola cabin allows 360-degree views through floor to ceiling windows for exceptional viewing of one of the North Island’s most rugged and spectacular landscapes.  As we travel to Knoll Ridge we’ll see filming locations from Lord of the Rings movies and amazing mountain scenery, including waterfalls, volcanic rock and panoramic vistas. After our visit up the mountain, we retrace our steps to the Chateau Tongariro, where we will stay for the next two nights. The elegant Chateau Tongariro is located within Whakapapa Village - in the heart of Tongariro National Park. This iconic hotel was constructed during the 'roaring twenties' and was also the year that was the beginning of the world's great depression, 1929. Tonight we enjoy a delicious dinner at our hotel.
Accommodation: Chateau Tongariro – 2 nights

Day 2          Tuesday 03 August 2021
NATIONAL PARK          (BD)
After breakfast, we commence our scenic drive, as we circumnavigate around the Tongariro National Park. On our way to Ohakune, you will see the car graveyard at Horopito, featured in the 1981 film Smash Palace. On arrival in Ohakune, we will have time out to wander through the village and view the giant carrot before continuing on our journey to Waiouru. We will stop briefly at the Tangiwai Memorial Site, which commemorates the lives lost in New Zealand’s worst rail disaster on 24 December 1953. Waiouru is home to New Zealand’s largest military base, so it is fitting that the New Zealand Army Museum is located here. After lunch in Waiouru we will visit the army museum. The history of the New Zealand Army is explained here with an extensive collection of artefacts, audio visuals and realistic displays. Our journey around the mountains will continue as we travel on the Desert Road back to our accommodation for the evening. Tonight we enjoy another delicious dinner at our hotel.

Day 3          Wednesday 04 August 2021
NATIONAL PARK TO NEW PLYMOUTH          (BLD)
This morning we depart from the Central Plateau and heads towards Taranaki, travelling on the Forgotten World Highway, as it threads 155km through pristine sub-tropical rain forests and unspoilt scenery, just as they were thousands of years ago - including the beech ridge-tops of Whangamomona Saddle and the awesome Tangarakau Gorge. We will stop in for a hearty lunch at the iconic Whangamomona Hotel before continuing along the highway to Stratford. As we come closer to Stratford we will cross the Strathmore Saddle, which on a fine day will offer spectacular views of Mt Taranaki, and Mt Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. Our day ends in New Plymouth where we will check into our accommodation for the night. As our hotel is centrally located, there will be free time for you to explore the New Plymouth CBD area.
Accommodation: Autolodge Motor Inn , New Plymouth – 1 night

Day 4          Thursday 05 August 2021
NEW PLYMOUTH TO HOME CITIES          (B)
After breakfast this morning, we commence our journey back home. We will have a brief stop at the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge which is a pedestrian and cycleway bridge across the Waiwhakaiho River. Its spectacular shape and setting make it a popular landmark. On a clear day, you can see Mt Taranaki through the shape of the bridge. Our journey home will take us through Mokau, Te Kuiti, and Otorohanga.

Chateau Tongariro

The elegant Chateau Tongariro is located within Whakapapa Village - in the heart of Tongariro National Park at the foot of the majestic and sacred Mount Ruapehu, in one of nature's finest playground. The Chateau was constructed during the 'roaring twenties', opening in 1929. 

Autolodge Motor Inn

Located approximately 8kms from the airport and within easy walking distance to the coastal walkway, beaches and Pukekura Park.  On-site facilities include Juliana’s Restaurant and Bar, indoor heated pool and spa, guest laundry, and a pool table.  Guests also receive complimentary wireless broadband internet access in all rooms and public areas.

Tour Inclusions

  • Door to door home collection & drop off service available - refer to flyer for further information
  • 3 nights accommodation, twin/double rooms (single rooms available with surcharge), all with private facilities
  • Northern Explorer Train from Auckland/Hamilton to National Park
  • Return ticket for the Skywaka
  • Admission to New Zealand Army Museum
  • Lunch at Whangamomona Hotel
  • 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 3 dinners included

Tour Payments Per Person ($NZD)

Club Member Guaranteed Share Twin Cost: $1,690.00
Non Member Guaranteed Share Twin Cost: $1,710.00
Single Supplement: $325.00
Non-refundable deposit due at time of booking $200.00

Full balance of tour payment due by Monday 21 June 2021

Book and pay in full by Friday 4 April 2021 and receive $75.00 discount per person!

 

Are door to door collections included on this tour? YES

Yes. Leisure Time Tours offers a free home collection and drop off service from selected Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and most Auckland City areas. Our complimentary collections are based on your individual post code, other home collection locations available at an additional cost. Alternatively you may wish to meet us at our Hamilton depot in which case you can park your car in our secure yard free of charge for the duration of your holiday. For all tours that have a flight component, we can also offer door to door collections from Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin city areas.

Please refer to our Home Collection flyer for further information about this service.

Is the Guaranteed twin Share Price available on this tour? YES

Yes. Our Guaranteed Twin Share price is available for those passengers willing to share with another single traveller of the same gender. If there isn’t another passenger of the same gender to share with we GUARANTEE our twin share price. Leisure Times Tours accepts no responsibility for the compatibility of passengers travelling under this arrangement. If someone is not compatible with the person they have been matched up with, all additional costs incurred to assist with changing their shared room type to two single rooms will be at the expense of both travellers and will be subject to availability. Acceptance of a guaranteed twin share room is subject to the individual’s medical condition being suitable for this type of arrangement.

Please note that the guaranteed twin share pricing is not available to pre & post tour accommodation arrangements.

What fitness level is required for this tour? EASY LEVEL

To ensure that you select the right tour for you, we’ve developed a very clear set of fitness recommendations for our tours. These physical ratings clearly explain how much physical exertion is required to participate on each tour. 

Level 1 – Easy

  • Relaxed paced tour
  • Be able to participate in guided or unguided small walking tours at a relaxed pace.
  • Walk on mostly level ground
  • Tackle an occasional flight of stairs
  • Occasionally need to stand for up to 10 minutes
  • Able to get on and off transportation unaided

Level 2 – Moderate

  • Be able to participate in walking tours with time to rest at least every 10 minutes
  • Stand for 15 minutes without needing to sit down
  • Tackle a flight of stairs or incline
  • Able to get on and off transportation unaided
  • Walk confidently on bush tracks

 Level 3 – Active

  • Participate in walking tours without having to rest for up to 20 minutes
  • Walk up an incline equal to a flight of stairs without stopping
  • Stand for 30 minutes without needing to sit down
  • Walk over uneven ground and walk through soft sand
  • Able to get on and off transportation unaided
Will there be a daily seat rotation on this tour? YES

Passengers rotate seats in the coach daily so that all passengers have the opportunity to enjoy forward and window seating. All passengers are expected to participate as a booking condition.

Can you assist with pre & post tour accommodation? YES

Yes we can. Should you wish to arrive earlier or stay longer we can book in some pre and post tour accommodation for you. Please ask at the time of booking if you require this.

Is this tour a guaranteed departure? NO

This tour will be guaranteed once there are 10 passengers booked on the tour.

Are roadside morning teas included on our tours? YES

Yes. A point of difference is that wherever possible we offer our passengers roadside refreshments served from the coach. This gives all passengers the chance to mix and mingle over a hot cuppa allowing us to share our experiences as we journey together.

Do I need travel insurance?

Leisure Time Tours strongly advises all passengers to purchase a travel insurance policy. A comprehensive travel insurance policy may prevent you from spending extra money in case of an emergency and will help you feel protected during your holiday. We are agents for Cover More Travel Insurance. Ask us for a no obligation insurance quote today. 

How much luggage can I bring?

Luggage is restricted to one suitcase and one small item of hand luggage per person. Baggage handling of one suitcase per person, at each hotel, is included in the trip price. Carry-on/hand luggage handling is the responsibility of each guest and all personal items must be taken off the coach by you each day of the trip.

What clothing should I pack?

When on tour, dress is generally relaxed and casual with an informal dress standard on most occasions. Casual wear is recommended for travelling with something a little more formal for evening dining. If taking part in outdoor activities, make sure you have a waterproof coat, comfortable footwear and dress in layers to help you adjust to any sudden changes in climate. Be prepared for New Zealand’s powerful sun, even on cold windy days, bringing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Booking Terms & Conditions

Terms & Conditions….
(Applicable for New Zealand Tours from 01 May 2020 - 30 September 2021)

Acceptance of Terms and Conditions
If you book a Packaged Tour with us and pay your deposit, you are deemed to have accepted these terms.  If you booked your Packaged Tour with us through an agent, the agent is deemed to have accepted these terms on your behalf.  We may ask you to sign a copy of these terms when you join your Packaged Tour to provide a record of your acceptance of these terms and you agree to sign these terms on our request.

Itineraries
The itinerary for your Packaged Tour was correct at the time of printing, but it is subject to change without notice.  Your itinerary could change due to road or weather conditions, changes imposed by other tour operators or a range of other factors outside our control.  You agree that we have no liability to you for changes to your itinerary.

Price Amendments
Prices were correct at the time and date of printing, however Leisure Time Tours reserves the right to amend the price subject to any changes in price imposed by other tour operators and carriers included in the itinerary or major fluctuation in the exchange rates, or increases in government or other levies. The final tour cost will be guaranteed not to change once the full and final payment has been received. Tour Price excludes drinks, telephone calls, travel insurance and items of a personal nature. Leisure Time Tours also reserves the right to cancel the tour due to low numbers and in this instance a full refund will be provided.

*Guaranteed Twin Share Prices
Our Guaranteed Twin Share price is available for those passengers willing to share with another single traveller of the same gender. If there isn’t another passenger of the same gender to share with we GUARANTEE our twin share price. Leisure Times Tours accepts no responsibility for the compatibility of passengers travelling under this arrangement. If someone is not compatible with the person they have been matched up with, all additional costs incurred to assist with changing their shared room type to two single rooms will be at the expense of both travellers and will be subject to availability. Acceptance of a guaranteed twin share room is subject to the individual’s medical condition being suitable for this type of arrangement.

Health and Fitness
Passengers should be in good health and able to walk moderate distances to fully participate and experience the sightseeing opportunities within the enclosed itinerary.  All passengers are required to acknowledge that they are of reasonable health and are considered to be fit to travel and are not travelling contrary to any medical advice.  By acknowledging their health and fitness to participate passengers are indemnifying us from all actions, claims and demands arising out of any lack of health and fitness.  We reserve the right to remove a passenger from a tour if their health or fitness interferes with any other passenger’s experiences or the day to day running of the tour.  In this instance our normal cancellation terms and conditions will apply.  You agree that we have no liability to you for any loss, damage, costs or other effects of health problems you may encounter on your Packaged Tour.

Health and Safety Information Including COVID-19
For the health and safety of all passengers on tour any illness (such as fever, coughing or difficulty breathing) will not be accepted onboard the coach unless they can provide us with a negative Covid19 test result received within the past 72 hours.  Should any passenger start to feel unwell on arrival or while on tour, they must immediately advise their tour manager and contact Healthline then visit a medical practitioner/medical centre/hospital.  To return to the tour the passenger must be deemed fit and well to participate fully on a coach tour, obtaining and providing us with a written medical clearance – not just a negative Covid19 test.  Any costs incurred will be at the passenger’s own expense.

Payments, Cancellations and Refunds
A non-refundable deposit per person is required at time of booking to confirm your seat. All balance payments must be received by Leisure Time Tours prior to the date specified as per itinerary or your booking confirmation. Payments are available to be made by Cash, Cheque, Direct Credit or EFTPOS only –  Credit Card payments are not available without an additional surcharge.  Leisure Time Tours reserves the right to amend or reschedule the tour due the result of circumstances outside the company’s control. Leisure Time Tours also reserves the right to cancel the tour due to insufficient numbers and in this  instance a substitute date will be offered or a full refund will be made available. Tour Price excludes drinks, telephone calls, travel insurance and items of a personal nature.

Travel Insurance
Leisure Time Tours strongly advises all passengers to purchase a travel insurance policy. An important part of planning the holiday is to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy as it may prevent passengers from spending extra money in case of an emergency and will help passengers feel protected during the holiday. We are agents for Cover More Travel Insurance. Ask us for a no obligation insurance quote today.

Land Component Cancellation Policy
By making a booking with us and paying your deposit you agree to pay us the full price for your booking.  If you cancel your booking:

  • 31+ days prior to tour commencement, loss of non-refundable deposit
  • 15-30 days prior to tour commencement your cancellation charge will be 60% of the holiday price (40% refund) plus any applicable supplier cancellation fees
  • 8-14 days prior to tour commencement your cancellation charge will be 80% of the holiday price (20% refund) plus any applicable supplier cancellation fees
  • 0-7 days prior to tour commencement your cancellation charge will be 100% of the holiday price (no refund)

No refunds on any unused portions of any itinerary.  The exception is if a sightseeing service is cancelled by operator due to weather conditions/safety concerns etc and the operator authorises a refund.  Any such refunds will be processed through agent.

Please note that any applicable airline content does not apply to the above refunds – see your airline for their specific cancellation/refund policies.

COVID-19 Cancellation and Refund Policy
COVID-19 has created uncertainty for us all, therefore for cancellations directly related to COVID-19, we have negotiated special terms with our suppliers which would override ‘normal cancellation’ terms as outlined above;

If the New Zealand Government imposes travel restrictions that would impact our ability to deliver your travel package prior to commencing travel, passengers will receive a full credit, less any applicable airline cancellation fees.  If travel restrictions are imposed while on tour, we will seek credits on any unused portions of the itinerary from all suppliers.  Any applicable credits will first be applied to any additional costs that our company may have incurred on the passenger’s behalf e.g. if alternative accommodation or transportation to repatriate the passenger to their home city or nearest airport etc is required.  Any remaining refunds will be credited to the booking agent to enable them to pass onto their passenger.

If a passenger has been tested positive for COVID-19 directly prior to travel or while on holiday with us, then with supporting documentation provided to us (a positive COVID-19 test), we will seek credits on any unused portions of the itinerary from all suppliers.  Any applicable credits will first be applied to any additional costs that our company may have incurred on the passenger’s behalf e.g. if alternative accommodation or transportation to repatriate the passenger to their home city or nearest airport etc is required.  Any remaining refunds will be credited to the booking agent to enable them to pass onto their passenger.

Chateau Tongariro in the winter snow
Sky Waka gondola in winter on Mount Tongariro with snow
Sky Waka gondola in winter on Mount Tongariro with snow