Northland Arts, Gardens & History

Guaranteed Moderate Twin Share Small Group

From $2,560 per person

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Friday 14 – Wednesday 19 October 2022 (6 Days)

Take a springtime break and escape to subtropical Northland for a creative exploration of the region. We include a wide range of gardens, sculpture parks, and historic sites along with some popular sightseeing activities and attractions throughout the region. Join your likeminded fellow travellers for dinner on most evenings to compare thoughts and inspirations generated from your travels.

Day 1              Friday 14 October 2022
Starting our tour today, our first visit is to Eden Gardens in the heart of Auckland to see their Tulip Extravaganza! Developed by volunteers in the disused Eden Quarry on one side of Mt Eden, Eden Garden has become an award-winning destination with beautiful plant collections that always provide something in bloom.  Showcasing a mass planting of tulips in the garden it is Eden Gardens way of farewelling Winter and inviting the promise of Spring! We depart Auckland heading northbound to Matakana to visit the Sculptureum Experience where the owners Anthony and Sandra Grant, have spent ten years creating a destination that is designed to “unlock the imagination, fuel creativity and ignite the mind”. They have spent many more years collecting the displayed works, which have been brought together for an art experience that is internationally unique. The hundreds of works on display have been chosen to amuse, inspire, and stimulate. After a wonderful visit, we continue on with our journey north to Whangarei to our accommodation.
Accommodation: Pembroke Motor Lodge, Whangarei – 2 nights

Day 2              Saturday 15 October 2022
With a more leisurely start to the day after breakfast we head to the Whangarei Quarry Gardens. This is a community garden project created by volunteers in the forested western hills of Whangarei City in a once dilapidated quarry site which has after many years of hard work become a subtropical oasis for all to enjoy. At Whangarei Quarry Gardens these climatic conditions, coupled with the sheltered and heat-radiating properties of a stone quarry, create an ideal microclimate for growing a plethora of native and exotic subtropical plants.  While strolling among the garden enjoy the many sculptures located around the gardens including "Te Kereru Rua" - by artist Shane Hansen, "Hand Holding Young Kiwi" - by artist Susan Dinkelacker, and "Gong" - by artist Archie McCahon to name a few. We head back into Whangarei for a visit to Botanica Whangarei - a horticultural complex where the public can come and enjoy a colourful and exotic range of plants. The facility includes a heated conservatory for tropical plants, a cactus house, an extensive fernery, a small Japanese style garden and a shade garden area. This afternoon we have a leisurely time exploring the Tutukaka Coast and Matapouri Bay area.  Matapouri Bay is well known for a spectacular white sand beach while the Tutukaka Coast has been rated as one of the top coastal destinations on the planet by 'National Geographic Traveller'.

Day 3              Sunday 16 October 2022
This morning we have a chance to take a morning stroll to the Marina then we visit the AH Reed Kauri Park where maturing kauri trees known to be at least 500-years old can be easily viewed close up from the raised walkway through the forest canopy. There is time here to complete the loop walk then we will visit the Whangarei Falls, a picturesque waterfall that falls 26-metres over basalt cliffs. Continuing our journey north we travel up the west coast skirting Kaipara Harbour and following the Kaihu River to the primeval forest of Waipoua, which translates as ‘water falling at night’. Arriving early afternoon at our accommodation on the Hokianga Harbour spend time relaxing and enjoying the magnificent views of the harbour and sand dunes. This evening we are treated to something very special as we experience a 90-minute night tour into the Waipoua Forest to visit one of the oldest and largest known kauri trees in the world, Tane Mahuta (known as The Lord of the Forest).  Let the night noises, foreign environment, time, local Maori guides and ecological and cultural interpretation (Maori story, song and instruments) awaken your spiritual senses.  Dinner in the hotel restaurant this evening.
Accommodation: The Heads Hokianga – 1 night

Day 4              Monday 17 October 2022
After breakfast we start our journey to the eastern coast of Northland. Our first stop for the day is at Kerikeri, a town with a rich and colourful history.  While here we enjoy a guided tour of the Stone Store and Kemp House (Kerikeri Mission House).  The iconic Stone Store stands at the edge of the Kerikeri inlet, offering a unique shopping experience with an interactive story space upstairs; see how the early settlers lived and learn about the building’s many lives as a trading post, library, barracks, school and general store. Built in 1822, Kemp House is the country’s oldest surviving building, surrounded by English-style cottage garden and orchards. Hear the story of the first missionary families and see their personal items and furniture preserved over the years. Next we visit the Wharepuke Subtropical Garden and Sculpture Park with work installed along a 1-km trail through the award winning Garden of National Significance (NZ Garden Trust) making it an ideal walk for both art and garden enthusiasts.  For the sweet tooths on board we make a stop back in town where we visit Makana Confections and sample their delicious hand-made chocolates. Departing Kerikeri we travel south into the heart of the Bay of Islands – Paihia. On arrival we visit the Waitangi Treaty House where New Zealand’s history began.  We explore the Treaty House and marvel at the scale of Ngatokimatawhaorua, one of the world’s largest carved war canoes (waka taua). There is also time to wander through the beautiful grounds of the Waitangi estate, complete with extensive gardens, bush tracks, beaches, and enjoy fabulous views over the Bay of Islands and beyond, and perhaps visit the fascinating Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi and Te Rau Aroha, a recently opened museum which commemorates the service and sacrifice of Māori in the NZ Armed Forces in times of conflict.  Free time this afternoon to relax and stroll the shops, cafes and beach of the Paihia township. Dinner is at the hotel restaurant tonight.
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel, Paihia – 2 nights

Day 5              Tuesday 18 October 2022
BAY OF ISLANDS          (BL)
This morning we join a Fullers Great Sights Hole in Rock cruise.  On the way to the Cape Brett Lighthouse, the boat seeks out the playful dolphins; bottlenose and common dolphins take great delight in racing alongside and showing off their aerobic flips!  Farther out see beautiful Motukokako Island and the famous Hole in the Rock. Hold your breath as the skipper skilfully navigates their way through the hole and into Grand Cathedral Cave (sea conditions permitting). On the return to Paihia pass several remote islands, fringed with golden sand beaches.  Before reaching Paihia we disembark our vessel in nearby historic Russell. Here we enjoy a leisurely lunch at the famed Duke of Marlborough Hotel situated right on the waterfront, before taking in the sights of Russell on an intimate one-hour coach tour combining historical knowledge and local insight. We learn about significant sites like Pompallier House and Christ Church and stand atop Flagstaff Hill for stunning Bay of Islands views.  Free time after the tour to stroll and explore the beautiful township, before taking the ferry back to Paihia at a time that suits you. Dinner this evening is at your leisure – take a stroll to the village to dine at a restaurant on the wharf or for something more relaxed grab some fresh fish and chips to enjoy on the wharf or beach!

Day 6              Wednesday 19 October 2022
Today we begin our journey south to Auckland then Hamilton.  On our way south we make a stop at The Kauri Museum at Matakohe, an award-winning Museum that tells the fascinating story of the pioneering days through the use of kauri timber and kauri gum. We explore the many exceptional displays and galleries inside the museum, from the magnificent collection of antique kauri furniture to restored machinery, NZ’s earliest tractor, a 1929 Cat 60, and a turning steam sawmill.  As one of Northland’s top attractions, we also view a two-storey life-sized replica Boarding House, a Pioneer School and the historic Matakohe Post Office with a fantastic collection of telephones. We then travel on the road less travelled via Kumeu, a town which offers a refreshing blend of boutique wineries, orchards and rolling green farmland. We stop here to purchase lunch (own cost) and browse their variety of boutique shops. Departing Kumeu, we travel along the Southwestern Motorway and through the Waterview Tunnel (touted as the biggest change to Auckland's roading network since the opening of the Harbour Bridge in 1959) before arriving back in Hamilton.

Castaways Resort


Pembrooke Motor Lodge

The Pembrooke Motor Lodge is located in the perfect spot to enjoy the wonderland of beauty, history and charm of Northland. Overlooking native bush clad hills, the lodge is friendly, peaceful and only a short stroll to the CBD.

The Heads Hokianga

The Heads Hokianga

With beachfront rooms and a minute's stroll from the shore and surrounded by natural beauty, The Heads Hokianga is an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life just 3 hours north of Auckland.

Kingsgate Hotel Paihia Pool Exterior

Kingsgate Autolodge Paihia

Located on the waterfront and only 100 metres from Paihia wharf and township the Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge Paihia is the ideal base from which to explore the historic and scenic Bay of Islands area. All 100 rooms and 13 waterfront suites offer all the modern amenities a guest could need, as well as the hotel's general amenities including a swimming pool, an indoor spa, fitness room and game room.

Tour Inclusions

  • Door-to-door home collection and drop-off service available from defined areas - refer to further information available here
  • Touring in a modern air-conditioned tour coach including roadside morning teas (where possible)
  • 5 nights' accommodation - twin/double rooms, all with private facilities (single rooms available with surcharge)
  • Tour admissions as per itinerary
  • Breakfasts (B), Lunches (L), Dinners (D) where indicated on your daily itinerary
  • Roadside Morning Teas – where practicable

Tour Payments Per Person ($NZD)

Twin/Double Share $2,560.00
Single Supplement: $  533.00
Non-refundable deposit due at time of booking $   200.00

Full balance of tour payment due by Friday, 02 September 2022

Early Bird Offer

Early Bird Offer: Book and pay in full by Thursday 16 June 2022 and receive $100.00 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.

Northland Arts, Gardens & History Oct 22
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