Islands of the Hauraki Gulf 2020
5-11 February 2020
Join us as we explore some of the myriad small islands that dot the Hauraki Gulf:
Visiting the islands of the Hauraki Gulf is an adventure! We explore ruggedly volcanic Rangitoto, Tiritiri Matangi – a haven for endangered NZ bird life, historic Kawau and wonderful Waiheke. And while we’re at it we meander to Miranda, a world-renowned destination for migratory shore birds.
A reasonable level of fitness is recommended for this tour, in order to take full advantage of the many natural attractions that take a little time and physical effort to reach.
Combine this holiday with our Great Barrier Island tour-Ask our agents about our combo pricing!
Wednesday 05 February - Travelling to Hamilton
With transfers arranged from Wellington, Kapiti, Manawatu, Wairarapa and other surrounding areas, we gather at Sanson this morning to enjoy a welcome morning tea together (included).Continuing North towards our island's adventure, we stop in Taihape for lunch today (own cost), before continuing via the Desert Road and Taupo, to Hamilton, our destination tonight. We dine in at our hotel, The Distinction Hotel, Hamilton this evening.
Thursday 06 February - Rangitoto Island, a Volcanic Wonderland
This morning we travel through to Auckland, stopping at the Botanical Gardens in Manurewa for a cuppa and a wander.Heading to the city, we catch a ferry to Rangitoto Island, with time to enjoy a picnic lunch (included) on the journey across. Our island ranger guide will greet us and direct us to our 4WD tour vehicle, which will take us through the rugged lava crops of this 600 year old volcano and the native bush of the island - Rangitoto has NZ’s largest remaining stand of pohutukawa forest. Our guide provides us with an informative commentary, and a short walk to the summit rewards us with 360-degree views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf islands. We re-board our vehicle to tour the western side of the island before catching our ferry back to Auckland City where we make the short transfer to our accommodation-Rydges, Auckland City. We dine in house tonight.
Friday 07 February - Tiritiri Matangi, an Island Wildlife Sanctuary
Tiritiri Matangi Island is one of the world’s most successful conservation projects.Today we board Fullers 360 ferry to visit this haven for endangered NZ wildlife. Regenerating native forest and ever-increasing birdsong are the results of over 25
years of careful management by the Department of Conservation in partnership with the Tiritiri Matangi Trust. Little blue penguin, takahe and kokako are among the starring residents on the island.
We enjoy a guided tour, along with the opportunity to explore independently. There are many walking tracks on the island, including a walk to the island’s 150-year-old lighthouse. A picnic lunch (included) can be enjoyed at leisure and a stop in at the Visitor Information and Education Centre is a must. Back at our hotel we have time to relax before dinner in house.
Saturday 08 February - Island Life on Waiheke
Today our destination is Waiheke as we board the ferry again, to take us out to the most populated island in the Gulf.An Explorer Bus Pass allows us to explore the island at leisure, hopping on and off where and when we choose, with commentary provided on the island’s history and culture. Explore the main village of Oneroa with its shops, Community Art Gallery and Music Museum, Wine Centre and cafés. Set out for a vineyard or two; Mudbrick is a must see, and a great lunch option. Onetangi Beach ia a great spot for an amazing two-kilometre beach walk, a swim, or a coffee. Rangihoua Olive Grove is on the circuit, as is Dellows Distillery. After a day of discovering, we return to the mainland and our hotel for relaxing dining in house
Sunday 09 February - Kawau Island, Where History and Nature Collide
Today we board our coach and head north to Sandspit near Warkworth.Here we join the Royal Mail Run cruise to historic Kawau Island, exploring the beautiful bays as the large and comfortable ferry goes about its daily mail run. Lunch today is a barbecue on board (included) before we disembark to explore the island. Enjoy an optional tour of historic Mansion House – originally built for the mine superintendent on the island, in 1862 the island and homestead were purchased by Sir George Grey, NZ’s first Governor.
Take a stroll through the subtropical gardens joined by weka, wallabies and peacocks, all legacies of Governor Grey who was an enthusiastic collector of plants and animals from around the world, or enjoy one of several other easy walking options.
Monday 10 February - Miranda Seabird Coast
We leave the City of Sails behind this morning.Today we wind our way out through Clevedon countryside, before enjoying a cuppa at Kawakawa Bay, a calm sheltered beach looking towards Waiheke and Ponui Islands. After morning tea, we follow the East Coast Road and the scenic Miranda Coast - a world-renowned destination for shore birds, many making an extraordinary seasonal migration from the other side of the world. We stop at the Miranda Shorebird Centre to learn more about the birds that make this unique place their seasonal home. We enjoy our picnic lunch here too, before continuing down through the Hauraki Plains to our destination tonight, Rotorua.
Tuesday 11 February - Homeward Bound
Homeward bound today, we make our way south.Our morning tea stop is on the shores of Lake Taupo, and our lunch stop is Taihape (own cost), arriving back in Palmerston North in time to meet connecting transfers for those travellers continuing south towards Wellington and Wairarapa.
The cost of the tour includes
- All coach travel
- 3 Picnic lunches
- Fullers Rangitoto Volcanic Explorer tour
- Fullers 360 Discovery Cruise to Tiritiri Matangi Island
- Fullers Waiheke Island Explorer Tour (boat and bus)
- Reubens Kawau Island Mail Run Cruise and barbeque lunch
- Miranda Shore Bird Centre tour and talk
- 2 course or buffet dinners
- Morning teas on travelling days