Join us on this short tour, showcasing the best of the “Top of the North”.
With stunning scenery, golden beaches, and year-round warm weather, it is easy to see why this is one of New Zealand’s most popular regions to visit.
Packed full of highlights, with plenty of inclusions, this tour is the perfect short escape. Beginning in Auckland, staying at a luxurious hotel on the Viaduct, we enjoy a full day in Waiheke, with wine tastings before travelling north to Whangarei and Russell, where we take a cruise to see the famous Hole in the Rock – we may even see some dolphins if we are lucky! We visit Waitangi, where we gain in-depth knowledge of the significance of the location and explore the beautiful Ninety Mile Beach & Cape Reinga. Here we can see two oceans collide and discover the place where according to Maori history, the spirits of deceased Maori leap into the ocean to return to their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki. Making our way back to Auckland, enroute, we visit the giant Kauris of the Waipoua Forest, home of Tane Mahuta, the country’s largest kauri tree, which is approximately 2,000 years old and still growing – a sight to see!
- 3 nights in Auckland including Waiheke Island Day Tour
- 2 nights Russell including Hole in the Rock Bay of Islands Cruise – staying at the iconic Duke of Marlborough Hotel.
- Ninety Mile Beach & Cape Reinga Day Tour
- Visit to Waipoua Forest to see NZ’s largest Kauri tree – Tane Mahuta
- Tour of Waitangi & Haruru Falls
Wednesday 30 MARCH Arrive Auckland (D)
Arrive Auckland today. Tonight, we meet up for our first dinner together.
During our stay in Auckland, we will be accommodated at the 5-star Park Hyatt, perfectly located on the water’s edge offering expansive views across Wynyard Quarter’s Lighter Basin and out to the Waitematā Harbour.
Thursday 31 MARCH Auckland – Waiheke Day Tour (B.L)
After breakfast this morning, we will catch the ferry for the 40-minute journey to Waiheke Island, the most populated and the second-largest island in the Hauraki Gulf. While touring the island, we indulge in locally produced specialties such as award-winning olive oil, fresh-shucked oysters and artisan cheese as well as enjoying a wine tasting and vineyard lunch. There is time for further exploration and a short walk before returning to Auckland later this afternoon. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Friday 01 APRIL Auckland – Whangarei (B.D)
Departing Auckland after breakfast, we journey north, stopping enroute at Parry’s Kauri Park, for a short walk through the native bush. We then make our way to Sculptureum, located just outside of Matakana. On site, there are three gardens, extending over 1.5km of flat paths bursting with sculptures, prehistoric rocks, live animals, and reflective quotes all surrounded by colourful plantings that change with the seasons along with six indoor art galleries all following a different theme. Glass, figurative, recycled materials, animals and modern abstract works fill the first five galleries. The final room of The Sculptureum Experience houses a grand, glass chandelier by the famous American artist Dale Chihuly. After our visit there is time for lunch before continuing through to Waipu, a friendly town with intriguing history, strong Scottish heritage and spectacular natural surroundings. We visit Waipu Cove, a long, sandy beach in secluded surroundings before reboarding the coach and making the final stretch through to Whangarei, where we overnight at the Distinction Hotel.
Saturday 02 APRIL Whangarei – RUSSELL (B.D)
After a leisurely breakfast, we continue our journey north to Paihia. We take the scenic route and will make a short stop at Whangarei Falls and Tutukaka. We then travel via Matapouri, where you can choose to take a short walk to Whale Bay – an idyllic white sand, bush fringed beach. Continuing on, we make a stop in Hikurangi – a small busy community which is a service centre to the local farming areas before we arrive in Russell mid-afternoon and check into our accommodation for the next two nights – The Duke of Marlborough Hotel, perfectly positioned on the waterfront with stunning views of the brilliant blue-green sea.
Sunday 03 APRIL RUSSELL – Bay of Islands Cruise & Russell (B)
This morning, we board our cruise and take in the stunning views as we glide out through the islands and along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse keeps watch over Piercy Island/Motukakako, or as it is popularly known the ‘Hole in the Rock’. Keep an eye out for dolphins! At the conclusion of the cruise, we disembark in Russell. At the turn of the 19th century Russell, then known as Kororareka, was the first permanent European settlement and served as a shore station for whalers, a swashbuckling town full of whalers and sealers with a reputation as the ‘Hell Hole of the Pacific’. It was renamed Russell in 1844 in honour of the British Colonial Secretary of the day. Today Russell offers one a wonderful holiday experience in the country, with its range of top-class restaurants and cafes, abundant fresh local produce and seafood, exquisitely restored historic buildings and excellent galleries. The afternoon is yours to explore this charming town at your leisure.
Monday 04 APRIL RUSSELL – Taipa (B.L.D)
We depart Russell this morning and continue through to Waitangi – just 1.8km north of Paihia, where the Waitangi River meets the sea. The name Waitangi means ‘weeping (or noisy) waters’ in Māori. This seaside spot is New Zealand’s most important historical site: on these stunning, park-like grounds overlooking the Bay of Islands, the historic Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. The Treaty is generally considered the founding document of New Zealand as a nation, and a symbol of the coming together of two diverse cultures – Māori and Pākehā. We then visit Haruru Falls a small residential settlement, but in the days of early European settlement, it was the scene of many firsts. Haruru Falls was New Zealand’s first river port and an aramoana (sea road or ocean path) for the inland Maori tribes and for the early vision boats. We continue our journey with a visit to Makana Chocolate Factory, Kerikeri, followed by a lunch at a local venue, before making the final stretch through to Taipa, located just out of Kaitaia, where we spend two nights at the Taipa Beach Resort.
Tuesday 05 APRIL Ninety Mile Beach & Cape Reinga (B.L.D)
Today we spend the day exploring the famous Ninety Mile Beach & Cape Reinga. We drive along the shore as the waves crash beside the custom-built coach. Take a stroll and feel the sand between your toes as you take in the beautiful surroundings. We stop at the sand dunes where you can experience the thrills and spills of sand surfing – if you’re brave enough! During our stop in Cape Reinga we hear the stories of this significant site where, according to Māori legend, spirits depart on their journey home to Hawaiki. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views, visit the iconic lighthouse, and see the point where the Tasman Sea and the mighty Pacific Ocean come crashing together. We return to Taipa later this afternoon where dinner is included at the hotel.
Wednesday 06 APRIL Taipa – Hokianga (B.L.D)
After breakfast, we farewell Taipa and head south toward Kohukohu, stopping at various points of interest enroute.
On arrival in Kohukohu, we will join the Kohu Ra Tuarua vehicle ferry for the short journey to Rawene. Reboarding the coach, we continue to our accommodation for the evening, via the beaches of Opononi and Omapere. We stay at The Heads Hotel, located on the quiet water’s edge of Hokianga Harbour. We enjoy dinner at the hotel this evening.
Thursday 07 APRIL Hokianga – Auckland (B.D)
Departing Hokianga, we head south toward and the giant Kauris of the Waipoua Forest. Of all New Zealand’s kauri forests, none is more famous than Waipoua Forest. As the largest remaining tract of native forest in Northland, Waipoua is an ancient green world of towering trees and rare birds. The highway through the forest is memorable for the natural gateways created by huge kauri trees and the fringing of colourful ferns along the road’s edge. The forest is the home of Tane Mahuta, the country’s largest kauri tree, which is approximately 2,000 years old and still growing. Nearly 18 metres to the first branch and 4.4 metres in diameter, Tane Mahuta is rightly called ‘The Lord of the Forest’. We also visit the Kauri Museum – with 4500m2 of undercover displays, it is the largest undercover attraction in Northland. Arriving back at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Auckland around mid-afternoon, there is time for a bit of relaxation prior to meeting for our farewell dinner this evening.
Friday 08 APRIL Auckland – Home (B)
Time to farewell our new friends as we all make our way home today.