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The Far North

7 - 16 October 2020

Double or Twin Share $3,570.00

Single Accommodation $4,362.00

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We return to the Far North and plot the history of the unique Northland kauri industry and commune with ancient kauri... drive along the endless sands of 90 Mile Beach, cruise to the Hole in the Rock, visit the amazing sculpture park at Matakana, discover the kumara capital of Dargaville and uncover an amazing whaling museum in a remote tranquil spot.

Day One

Wednesday 07 October - Travelling to Hamilton

We meet in Sanson this morning, with transfers from Wellington, Kapiti, Wairarapa and other surrounding areas.

After a welcome morning tea, we travel through to Taihape, our lunch stop today (at own choice and cost). This afternoon we travel the Desert Road, before skirting the shores of Lake Taupo and following the languid path of the Waikato River as it journeys north to our destination Hamilton. We dine in at our hotel tonight, the Heartland Ambassador Hotel Hamilton.

Day Two

Thursday 08 October - Hamilton to Whangarei

We start our day headed to the coast.

Following the Hibiscus Coast highway, we take morning tea with our toes in the sand at beautiful Orewa Beach. Our first destination today is the town of Warkworth. Driving down past the mouth of the Mahurangi river we park up to grab our lunch (own cost) and explore this historic town that boasts a great selection of shops, cafes and restaurants to wander through. Continuing our journey, we head to Matakana Coast Wine Country.
A visit to Sculptureum at Matakana sees us enjoy the amazing gardens bursting with sculptures, prehistoric rocks, live animals and reflective quotes all surrounded by colourful plantings that change with the seasons. After a relaxing afternoon in the gardens we head to our accommodation, Distinction Whangarei where we dine in house this evening.

Day Three

Friday 09 October - Whangarei to Omapere

Our journey today plots the history of the unique Northland kauri industry, with one of the highlights of the day a visit to the superb Kauri Museum at Matakohe.

This is the standard by which you will measure all others and is definitely the place to pick up that kauri souvenir, as the quality, range and price are extensive. A picnic lunch is included today. This afternoon our adventures begin with rail carting hosted by Dargaville Rail and River Tours, using a rail line that affords beautiful views crossing farmland, and in parts follows the historic Northern Wairoa River. Heading north once more we visit the Waipoua Kauri Forest, the last extensive stand of kauri forest still remaining in NZ, and home of the majestic Tane Mahuta - “Lord of the Forest”. Omapere is our final destination, with an opportunity to relax in our hotel, the Copthorne Hotel and Resort Hokianga, set in this quiet coastal location on the shores of the Hokianga Harbour.

Day Four

Saturday 10 October - Omapere to Kaitaia

We have a leisurely start this morning as we continue our travels northward.

A short distance away is Opononi - home of the statue of Opo, the dolphin who brought this small seaside town to fame with his antics in the summer of 1956 and which we stop to view.
Continuing to Rawene, a quaint little coastal village on the shores of the harbour, we have time to enjoy a cuppa and explore before boarding the unique Rawene car ferry to cross the harbour to Kohukohu. Our lunch stop today (own choice and cost) is in Kerikeri, known as the “fruit bowl of the north”. Following lunch we visit the old Mission House, NZ’s oldest
building, as well as the Stone Store, one of this country’s most recognised historic buildings. We take a short drive to the picturesque Rainbow Falls before making our way to Kaitaia, our final destination today. We have time for a well earned
rest before dining in tonight at our accommodation the Orana Motor Inn - home for the next two nights.

Day 5

Sunday 11 October - Cape Reinga

We enjoy the company of a local guide today who will provide us with an entertaining and informative itinerary, as we journey to the northernmost tip of New Zealand.

We travel the white sands of 90 Mile Beach and there is an opportunity for the intrepid to toboggan the sand dunes of the famed Te Paki.
We visit many well-known landmarks and enjoy unparalleled views of both the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea as we learn about the cultural and natural history of Cape Reinga - “the departing place of the spirits and the meeting place of the seas”. Our picnic lunch, (included) will beat a remote bay at the top of New Zealand. We enjoy another night in Kaitaia.

Day Six

Monday 12 October - Kaitaia to Paihia

Armed with a picnic lunch to enjoy at an idyllic spot on route we travel south today, leaving Kaitaia behind us as we make our way to Taipa in Doubtless Bay, where the legendary Kupe is said to have first made NZ landfall.

We continue on past pohutukawa lined beaches to historic Mangonui, and then out to the privately owned Butler Point for morning tea and a tour of the Whaling Museum, house and gardens. We take a short detour into the tranquil Whangaroa Harbour - site of the Boyd shipwreck- and through Kaeo and onto Kawakawa for a look at the famous Hundertwasser toilets. On arrival into the lovely little town of Paihia in the Bay of Islands, there is time to view the Haruru Falls before checking into our hotel, the Kingsgate Autolodge Paihia. Looking out into the bay, and within easy walking distance of the village and all amenities, this is our home for the next two nights.

Day Seven

Tuesday 13 October - Paihia

This morning we explore the sheltered waters of the Bay of Islands on the popular Hole in the Rock Cruise.

A catamaran will ensure our comfort as we explore the
many islands and search for dolphins on our way to the spectacular hole in the rock. Part of today’s tour includes a one-way ticket from either Russell or Paihia with an option to ‘jump ship’ at Russell on the way back, or alternatively return to Paihia and travel to Russell later this afternoon. The afternoon is yours to spend at your leisure and cost, with a variety of options for you to indulge in. Paihia is deservedly one of NZ’s top tourist destinations, with many historic and scenic places for you to visit. Should you decide to take a short journey across the waters to Russell you can stroll about this picturesque peaceful village, visit historic Pompallier House, or take the highly recommended mini-coach tour and
learn about the fascinating and, what would seem, unlikely turbulent history of this town. The local ferries to Russell leave on the half hour and return on the hour.
Alternatively, you may like to visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds, location of the signing of NZ’s founding document between Maori and British. We meet for dinner this evening to share stories of the day’s activities.

Day Eight

Wednesday 14 October - Paihia to Whangarei

Departing Paihia this morning we catch the vehicle ferry from Opua for a short journey across the harbour to explore more of the scenic coastline and beautiful bays of this area.

After enjoying morning tea Tranzit style at Oakura Bay, we
rejoin the main highway at Whakapura and continue on to Whangarei to visit the spectacular Whangarei Falls. The intrepid can take the short bush walk to get the view from the bottom as well. We then head into the town basin for lunch at our own cost and leisure, before we take the “time” to visit the fabulous Clapham’s Clock Museum. Picturesquely located on the Whangarei Marina, the town basin is the hub of the city, and offers much to see. Explore the specialty shops, watch the comings and goings on the marina - popular with international yachting visitors- or take a stroll along the waterfront which has been landscaped and enhanced with a number of sculptures commissioned from local artists. Tonight we are welcomed back by the staff of Distinction Whangarei where we enjoy dinner in-house.

Day Nine

Thursday 15 October - Whangarei to Auckland

As we depart Whangarei this morning, we stop off to visit the NZ Refining Company Visitor Centre, at Marsden Point.

With the help of an audio-visual presentation, the 130sqm working scale model provides an insight into how our only oil refinery works. After a welcome cuppa we travel to Waipu, where we divert once again off the main highway and follow the coastline through Lang’s Beach, affording great views of the Hen and Chicken Islands. We travel through Mangawhai, before rejoining the main drag and retracing our steps back through Waiteitei and Wellsford. After our lunch break (own choice and cost), we continue our journey to the Kaipara Coast Sculpture Garden with a sculpture trail to walk around in a tranquil and inspirational rural oasis. Our last night together is at the Heartland Hotel Auckland Airport, where we have time to relax and freshen up before dining in this evening.

Day Ten

Friday 16 October - Travelling Home

Homeward bound today,

after breakfast we will be transferred to Auckland Airport where we join our Air NZ flight back to Wellington. After fare-welling fellow travellers, we will be met by transfer vehicles at Wellington Airport to transfer us back to our homes.

The cost of the tour includes

  • Good quality motel and hotel accommodation
  • All coach travel
  • 2 course or buffet dinners
  • All breakfasts
  • Morning tea on travelling days
  • 2 picnic lunches – Days 3 and 6
  • Air New Zealand flight Auckland to Wellington
  • Entry to Matakana Sculptureum
  • Entry to The Kauri Museum, Matakohe
  • Dargaville Rail and River Tours – Rail carting
  • Rawene ferry
  • Kerikeri’s historic Stone Store and Mission House entry
  • Cape Reinga Safari Tour, including lunch
  • Butler Point – morning tea and tour of the Whaling Museum, House and Gardens
  • Hole in the Rock dolphin cruise
  • Opua ferry
  • Entry to Claphams Clock Museum
  • Entry to Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens

Departure Detail

Thank you Ali for your professionalism as our tour guide, Steve and I both enjoyed the tour very much. - Pearl, Travel Club Member