The Mighty Waikato 2019
14-19 October 2019Download PDF Itinerary
We explore the expansive Waikato region with a wealth of riches to discover.
You will end this tour wowed by some of the undiscovered treasures we have uncovered. We visit heritage homes and gardens including a guided tour of the wonderful themed Hamilton garden, finishing off with a cruise on the mighty Waikato River. We marvel at the sculptures at Waitakaruru Arboretum. We uncover the history of Kawhia Harbour, take an historic paddleboat ride on the Waihou River at Paeroa, visit Pirongia, and discover wondrous limestone formations near Waitomo.
Monday 14 October - Travelling to Hamilton
We meet in Palmerston North this morning, with transfers arranged from Wellington, Kapiti, Wairarapa and other surrounding areasFollowing morning tea together, we begin our journey through to Hamilton (our home for the next four nights). Stopping for lunch at Taihape (own cost), we take the Desert Road to Hamilton. We have time upon arrival at our accommodation this evening to relax and freshen up before dining in together at the hotel restaurant, after which the night is ours to spend at our own leisure.
Tuesday 15 October - Hamilton and Around
This morning we visit The Sculpture Park at Waitakaruru Arboretum.Formerly a quarry, now transformed into a stunning large garden and arboretum, the park features rocky outcrops, ponds, flowing water, and views toward Mt Pirongia. It is the location of one of NZ’s most extensive sculpture galleries, featuring over 50 sculptures.
Wednesday 16 October - South-West - Pirongia & Kawhia
Heading south-west this morning to the historic Pirongia village in the heart of the Waikato.We visit Highgate Gardens, a natural wooded and relaxed garden with many different features including a sunken garden pond and abundant birdsong. We enjoy morning tea in these pleasant surrounds before departing for picturesque Kawhia Harbour. This is a place steeped in Maori and European history, and following lunch at the Rusty Snapper (included), we join a local guide who will open our eyes and hearts to what came before, and highlight why this location is described as one of NZ’s best kept secrets. Returning to our hotel we dine in again tonight.
Thursday 17 October - North-East – Paeroa, Te Aroha, & Waihi
Our first destination this morning, to catch the most suitable tide, is Paeroa.Here we enjoy morning tea Tranzit style, entry into the Historical Maritime Park & Museum, and a paddleboat ride on the historic “Tamati”. This small kauri boat, originally built in 1902, has been lovingly restored to operate on the Ohinemuri and Waihou Rivers. After a picnic lunch (included), we traverse the Karangahake Gorge with its sheer cliffs and lovely bush to visit Athenree Homestead, a property that played an important role in the early history of Ulster settlement in Katikati and Athenree near to Waihi Beach. Bypassing the Waihi Beach community and the township of Waihi, we retrace our steps through the gorge to visit the township of Te Aroha nestled under the sacred mountain. The Te Aroha Museum, housed in the historic Cadman building originally opened in 1898 by the Government Tourist Bureau.as a bathhouse, is opening especially for our group. Returning to Hamilton after completing another full day we dine in once more.
Friday 18 October - Hamilton to Taupo
We farewell our Hamilton hotel this morning.We collect a picnic lunch to go -then we take a detour ‘off the beaten track’ to visit a stunning local attraction near Waitomo, the Mangapohue Natural Bridge. The track follows a boardwalk through an impressive limestone gorge that takes you underneath a magnificent 17m high limestone arch spanning the Mangapohue Stream, which is all that remains of an ancient cave system. We enjoy morning tea here, Tranzit style, before continuing our journey to Tapuwae Garden, described as a high-altitude informal country garden. On a clear day we would be able to see both Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu. We enjoy our picnic lunch here before continuing our travels on Waikato’s back country roads to Taupo, our end destination today. We dine in-house tonight.
Saturday 19 October - Travelling Home
Homeward bound today.We enjoy a little retail therapy or sightseeing in Taupo before departing for lunch in Taihape (own choice and cost). Palmerston North will be the final farewell for all as the tour party breaks into the various geographical groups to meet transfer vehicles returning them to their home locations.
The cost of the tour includes
- 2 course or buffet dinners
- All breakfasts
- Morning teas on most travelling days
- All coach travel
- Lunches on Days 2, 3, 4, & 5 as per itinerary
- The Sculpture Park, Waitakaruru Arboretum - entry
- Hamilton Gardens – guided tour
- Waikato River Cruise
- Highgate Gardens - morning tea and entry
- Historic tour of Kawhia
- Te Aroha Museum - entry
- Historical Maritime Park & Museum, Paeroa - entry
- Paddleboat trip - Paeroa
- Athenree Homestead – visit to house and gardens
- Tapuwae Garden - entry