The Norwester – Taranaki and Beyond 2019
8-13 March 2019Download PDF Itinerary
Subtitled “Taranaki and beyond” this little gem of a tour uncovers lots of hidden highlights. Explore the Forgotten World highway in a railcart, cruise the Mokau River, rediscover the remote King Country and walk on a wild beach in West Waikato.
Friday 08 March - Travelling To New Plymouth
We meet at Sanson this morning, with transfers arranged from Wellington, Kapiti, Palmerston North, Wairarapa and other surrounding areas.Here we gather to enjoy a welcome morning tea together (included). We have time to mix and mingle, catch up with old friends and welcome new ones, before travelling on to Hawera. Our lunch today (included) is provided by Olive’s Pantry & Catering at the Hawera Club.
Continuing on to New Plymouth, we take a sight seeing tour to orientate ourselves with this attractive coastal city. Finally we check into our New Plymouth hotel, where we will be based for the next two nights. We dine in this evening.
Saturday 09 March - Forgotten World Rail Journey
Today we enjoy a rail tour with a difference, on the hidden rail trail of the Forgotten World Highway.We experience the journey from the comfort of a cleverly adapted rail-cart, as we wind our way into the hills towards Whangamomona, crossing lush dairy pasture which gradually transforms into rugged bush clad hills. We enjoy lunch today (included) at the historic Whangamomona Hotel, New Zealand’s most remote country pub. There will be a chance to wander this tiny village that famously declared itself an independent republic back in 1988, before our coach and driver meets us here to return us to New Plymouth. After our big adventure today we enjoy a relaxed dinner at our hotel.
Sunday 10 March - New Plymouth to Te Kuiti
We leave New Plymouth behind this morning, the Tasman Sea never far from view as we travel through rolling North Taranaki pastureland and pockets of lush native bush to Awakino, a small community on the banks of the river of the same name.Here we stop for morning tea before continuing north, and leaving the coast behind we make our way inland through the tiny King Country towns of Paemako and Piopio. Taking a short detour through the picturesque Mangaotaki Valley we enjoy a picnic lunch (included) before we join a guided tour over a third-generation family property which features impressive limestone cliff formations and was used as a location in the filming of the Hobbit Trilogy. Continuing on to our destination Te Kuiti - in the heart of the King Country – we check in to our motel, before making the short drive to Roselands at Waitomo to enjoy dinner, a gourmet kiwi barbecue experience.
Monday 11 March - Te Kuiti, Raglan and Hamilton
Back on the road again, this morning we make our way to the seaside town of Raglan, with a morning tea break and leg stretch on arrival.After a cuppa we will take a drive to explore the sheltered harbour and the coastline that attracts thousands of surfers to this area every year. We will also have the chance to browse the shops of this attractive town and enjoy lunch (own cost and choice) at a selection of local cafes.
Travelling in to Hamilton this afternoon, we head out to Gordonton, where we discover Zealong Tea Estate, New Zealand’s only commercial tea growing enterprise. Here we learn the fascinating story behind Zealong, see how tea is made, and experience a traditional tea ceremony. We then make our way to our hotel, where dinner is in house tonight.
Tuesday 12 March - Port Waikato
Today we discover some of the hidden secrets of the north-western Waikato.This morning we head out west of Huntly to journey on the Pukemiro Line operated by the Bush Tramway Club. This is a small privately owned and member funded railway featuring a large collection of locomotives and rolling stock of historical significance relating to both the logging lines of the King Country, and the coal mines west of Huntly. We then continue west to the tiny community of Waikaretu, where lunch (included) awaits us at the Nikau Cave Café, located in a gorgeous rural setting overlooking a bubbling stream and with a back drop of soaring limestone outcrops. This afternoon we pass through more spectacular limestone country as we continue on to Port Waikato, an historic spot where the mighty Waikato River flows out to sea. A sleepy holiday town, Port Waikato features a long sweeping beach, acres of sand dunes and a calm estuary surrounding the wide river mouth. There will be time to explore before we follow the river back inland to Mercer, returning to State Highway 1 to take us back to Hamilton with, time permitting, a short stop in Pokeno for that famous ice cream.
Wednesday 13 March - Travelling Home
Travelling homeward today.we break up our journey with refreshment stops along the way, as we travel to Palmerston North in time to meet connecting transfers for those travellers continuing on to Wellington and Wairarapa.
The cost of the tour includes
- 2 course or buffet dinners
- Morning teas on most travelling days
- All coach travel
- Lunch in Hawera
- Forgotten World Rail Journey
- Lunch at Whangamomona Hotel
- Hairy Feet Hobbit Tour
- Picnic lunch day 3
- Dinner at Roselands Restaurant
- Tea walk and tasting experience, Zealong Tea Estate
- Bush Tramway Club, Pukemiro Line rail journey & visit
- Lunch Nikau Caves Café