Mountains to Sea 2019
23-29 September 2019Download PDF Itinerary
Treat yourself to a spring getaway. We spend a night of affordable and good old fashioned luxury at the Chateau Tongariro, a night at the quaint coastal settlement of Raglan, and take tea with the hobbits of Matamata.
Monday 23 September - Travelling to Taupo
With transfers arranged from Wellington, Kapiti, Palmerston North, Wairarapa and other surrounding areas, we meet at a central point to enjoy morning tea together before departing for Taupo.Travelling via Hawke’s Bay, our first lunch together is at the historic Oruawharo Homestead - one of Hawke’s Bay’s most splendid examples of early colonial architecture. This property also features Vincent’s, the historic St Vincent’s Church from Takapau which has been respectfully renovated to allow the needs of modern functions to be met, whilst retaining all of its original charm and ambience. After lunch we will have a chance to wander the expansive garden and outbuildings.
This afternoon we travel over the Napier-Taupo Road, an historic coaching route in days gone by, to our final destination Taupo. There may be time after dinner this evening to arrange a transfer for anyone wanting to take a relaxing bathe in the natural thermal pools of the De Bretts Taupo Hot Springs (entry at own cost). An alternative would be the following night.
Tuesday 24 September - Around Taupo
This morning we travel out to the hidden valley of Orakei Korako, to experience the eerie majesty of this thermal area.Our tour takes us across the Waikato River by boat, to explore a world of gushing geysers, and some of the largest silica terraces in the world. Lunch is back in Taupo (own choice and cost), before this afternoon making the short journey to the Aratiatia Dam site, from where we join our Huka Falls River Cruise. With time first to view the truly spectacular sight of the Aratiatia Dam emptying into and filling the river gorge below, we then board the specially designed and covered in riverboat for our cruise, taking us upstream to view the fabulous Huka Falls. Motoring up the crystal waters of the Waikato River, you will also see birdlife, natural hot streams and witness the natural energy that drives the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station. Returning to our hotel we have time to relax before dinner in house.
Wednesday 25 September - Taupo to Raglan
We leave Taupo behind today and travel up through the lush countryside of the Waikato.On a farm in the Matamata countryside we stop to visit “Hobbiton” – the film location of the Shire, as seen in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Here we enjoy a guided tour of the film set, with the chance to view the hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, the Mill and other structures. We also enjoy morning tea and lunch here today, before we continue on to our coastal Waikato destination of Raglan. After exploring the sheltered harbour, and the coastline that attracts thousands of surfers to this area every year, we should also have time to browse the shops of this attractive seaside town before checking in to our motel. Dinner is onsite this evening.
Thursday 26 September - Raglan to Whakapapa Village
Departing Raglan this morning our travels take us to the magical underground wonderland of the Waitomo Caves.We will see formations known as the Catacombs, the Pipe Organ and the Banquet Chamber as well as the magnificent Cathedral, which at 18 metres in height, is the largest cavern and is world-renowned for its superb acoustics. The highlight of our tour is a boat trip through the spectacular Glowworm Grotto, as we glide silently through the Grotto, lit only by these tiny living lights.
Re-emerging, our journey takes us through the heart of the King Country to Te Kuiti where we stop to find lunch (own choice and cost). Our final destination today is the Whakapapa Village for a night of affordable luxury at the historic Chateau Tongariro. On arrival, weather permitting, we take a drive to the “Top-o-the-Bruce” to Whakapapa Skifield where you have the option of taking a scenic chairlift ride (own cost) up this sacred mountain in all its snowy glory, or if you prefer, just enjoy a play in the snow and a coffee at the Mountain Café. On our arrival we have time to relax by the fire in the sitting room gazing upon views of the mountains, before enjoying a night of fine dining in the hotel restaurant.
Friday 27 September - Travelling Home
We are homeward bound today, with a stop in Ohakune for morning tea Tranzit style and Taihape for lunch (own choice and cost).Arriving back in Palmerston North in time to meet connecting services for those travellers continuing on to Wellington and Wairarapa.
The cost of the tour includes
- Good quality motel and hotel accommodation (including a night at the Chateau Tongariro)
- 2 course or buffet dinners
- All breakfasts
- Morning teas
- All coach travel
- Oruawharu Homestead/Vincents luncheon
- Entry to the Hidden Valley of Orakei Korako
- Huka Falls River Cruise
- Entry to Hobbiton, morning tea and lunch
- Entry to Waitomo Caves