Northland Arts, Gardens and History

Moderate - twin share

From $2,560.00 per person

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Friday 22 – Wednesday 27 September 2023 (6 Days)

Welcome in spring with an escape to subtropical Northland for a creative exploration of the region. Visit a wide range of gardens, sculpture parks, and historic sites along with some popular sightseeing activities and attractions throughout the region. Join your likeminded travellers for dinner on most evenings to compare thoughts and inspirations from your travels.

Day 1              Friday 22 September 2023
Starting our tour today we head into the heart of Auckland, our first visit is to Eden Garden. This New Zealand Garden Trust 5-star rated garden has become a must-see destination due to the beautiful plant collections that always provide something in bloom. The stunning display of tulips is Eden Garden’s way of farewelling winter and welcoming the bloom 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”. Wander down the pathway to view the incredible collection on display that is unlike anything you have seen before. Leaving this wonderful experience behind in Matakana, we continue with our journey north to Whangarei to our accommodation for the next few nights. We dine together tonight in the hotel restaurant.
Accommodation: Distinction Hotel, Whangarei - 2 nights

Day 2              Saturday 23 September 2023
Our first visit today is the Whangarei Quarry Gardens, a community garden project created by volunteers in the forested western hills of Whangarei City in the once dilapidated quarry site which has become a subtropical oasis for all to come and enjoy the plethora of native and exotic plants on display While strolling among the gardens, enjoy the many sculptures to be found including "Te Kereru Rua" - by artist Shane Hansen, "Hand Holding Young Kiwi" - by artist Susan Dinkelacker, and many more wonderful creations. Heading back into Whangarei we visit the Botanica Whangarei. The botanica showcases a range of areas that grow a fascinating combination of exotic plants including a heated conservatory for tropical plants and cactus house.  This afternoon we have time to explore the Tutukaka Coast and Matapouri Bay area at our leisure. 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'. We retrace our steps back to Whangarei in the late afternoon and tonight we enjoy dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Day 3              Sunday 24 September 2023
Take the opportunity this morning for a stroll to the Marina before we head to the AH Reed Kauri Park.  Kauri trees known to be at least 500 years old can be easily viewed up close from the raised walkway through the forest canopy.  There will be plenty of time to walk the loop track before we visit the Whangarei Falls, a picturesque waterfall that falls 26 metres over basalt cliffs. Continuing our journey north we travel up Northland’s west coast following the Kaihu River to Kai Iwi Lakes, reaching the primeval forest of Waipoua, meaning ‘water falling at night’. Arriving early afternoon at our accommodation on the Hokianga Harbour, take time to relax and enjoy the magnificent views of the harbour and sand dunes before we visit Manea – Footprints of Kupe. This 75-minute multisensory journey guides us through stories of long ago using art, performance, the natural surroundings and other media for a spectacular experience.  Afterwards we will make our way back to the hotel to enjoy dinner together.
Accommodation: The Heads, Hokianga – 1 night

Day 4              Monday 25 September 2023
After breakfast we travel to the eastern coast of Northland stopping at Kerikeri, a town with a rich and colourful history.  While here we enjoy a guided tour of the Kerikeri Mission Station, visiting Stone Store and Kemp 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 buildings many functions throughout the years. Built in 1822, Kemp House is the country’s oldest surviving building, surrounded by an English-style cottage garden and orchards. We hear the story of the first missionary families and see their personal items and furniture preserved over the years. Leaving this historic site behind, we visit the Wharepuke Subtropical Garden and Sculpture Park with a 1 km trail of creations leading through the award winning Wharepuke Subtropical 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 visit Makana Confections where we sample their delicious hand-made chocolates. Departing Kerikeri we travel south into the heart of the Bay of Islands to reach Paihia. On arrival we visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds to 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, and perhaps visit the fascinating Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi, an award-winning museum which brings to life the history of Waitangi and Aotearoa New Zealand’s founding documents. There is free time this afternoon to relax and stroll the shops, cafes and beach of the Paihia township before enjoying dinner the hotel restaurant.
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel, Paihia – 2 nights

Day 5              Tuesday 26 September 2023
BAY OF ISLANDS           (BL)
This morning we take to the water to enjoy the Hole in the Rock cruise.  On way to the Cape Brett Lighthouse, look overboard to find bottlenose and common dolphins taking delight in racing alongside the boat and showing off their acrobatic flipsacrobatic flips! Farther out we reach the beautiful Motukokako Island and the famous Hole in the Rock. Hold your breath as the skipper skillfully navigates his way through the hole and into Grand Cathedral Cave (sea conditions permitting). On the return we pass several remote islands, fringed with golden sand beaches before reaching nearby historic Russell. Here we enjoy a leisurely lunch at the famed Duke of Marlborough Hotel situated right on Russell’s waterfront, before taking in the sights of Russell on an intimate one-hour coach tour combining historical knowledge and local insight. Learn about significant sites like Pompallier House and Christ Church before standing atop Flagstaff Hill for stunning Bay of Islands views. Enjoy time after the tour to stroll and explore the beautiful township. Stay in Russell or explore Paihia to find some dinner tonight, there are many wonderful options in either town or on the Paihia wharf.

Day 6              Wednesday 27 September 2023
Making our way south this morning, we make a stop at The Kauri Museum at Matakohe, an award-winning Museum that tells the fascinating story of the pioneering days and the foresters, sawmillers, gum diggers and farmers that made this area their home. We explore the many exceptional displays and galleries inside the museum, and also visit the two-storey life-sized replica Boarding House, a Pioneer School and the historic Matakohe Post Office with a fantastic collection of telephones. We take the road less travelled to Kumeu, a town which offers a refreshing blend of boutique wineries, orchards and rolling green farmland. Browse through the boutique shops and find some lunch (own cost) before we continue on our way. We travel along the Southwestern Motorway 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.

Distinction Whangarei Aerial view with boats in background

Distinction Whangarei

Distinction Whangarei Hotel & Conference Centre is perfectly suited to both business and leisure travellers. Conveniently located opposite the stunning Whangarei Town Basin and a few minutes walk from the Whangarei city centre as well as some of Whangarei’s most tranquil bush walks and gardens. The majestic Bay of Islands is less than one hour’s drive from our 4 star Whangarei hotel. All comfortable guest rooms and suites are air-conditioned and offer SKY TV channels and FREE unlimited WiFi.

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 & drop off service available from select areas – refer to flyer for further information
  • 5 nights’ accommodation - twin/double rooms, all with private facilities (single rooms available with surcharge)
  • Tour admissions as per itinerary
  • Touring in modern air-conditioned vehicle
  • Breakfasts (B), Lunches (L), Dinners (D) where indicated on your daily itinerary – 5x breakfasts, 1 x lunch, 4x dinners
  • Roadside Morning Teas – where possible
  • Admission to Eden Garden
  • Admission to Sculpureum
  • Manea Tour
  • Guided tour of Stone Store + Kerikeri Mission House
  • Guided tour of Waitangi
  • Hole in the Rock Cruise
  • Russell Mini Tour

Tour Payments Per Person ($NZD)

Twin/Double Share $2,560.00
Single Supplement: $  530.00
Non-refundable deposit due at time of booking $   200.00

Full balance of tour payment due by Friday, 11 August 2023

Early Bird Offer

Early Bird Offer: Book and pay in full by Thursday 25 May 2023 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? MODERATE 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 Garden & Arts Sept 2023

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