Spectacular yet diverse coastlines, marine reserves, kauri forests, and two oceans that collide make Northland an unmissable and unforgettable destination. Subtropical Northland is a land of contrasts where every area is steeped in history. Our six day Northland Discovery tour will explore the different areas of Northland including the west coast of Northland, home to ancient kauri forests, wild windswept harbours, giant sand dunes; the historical sites of Kerikeri, the beachside resort of Taipa and Doubtless Bay, Whangarei in the south, and everywhere in between.
Day 1 Wednesday 7 April 2021
HAMILTON TO DARGAVILLE (D)
Departing Hamilton today we commence our travel north towards Auckland. We travel across the Auckland Harbour Bridge and past the lovely Pacific Coast beaches of Orewa and Waiwera. Continue through picturesque farmlands to Matakohe for a visit to the excellent Timber Museum. This award winning Museum records the timber milling and gum digging pioneering days of the Northland region. Afterwards we travel to Dargaville where we will stop overnight. Dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant in town.
Accommodation: Hobson’s Choice Motel, Dargaville
Day 2 Thursday 8 April 2021
DARGAVILLE TO HOKIANGA (BD)
Continuing our journey north we travel up Northland’s west coast skirting Kaipara Harbour and following the Kaihu River to Kai Iwi Lakes and the primeval forest of Waipoua, which translates as ‘water falling at night’. We will arrive at our overnight accommodation on the Hokianga Harbour in the early afternoon. There will be time for you to relax and enjoy the magnificent views of the harbour and sand dunes before we have an early dinner at the hotel. This evening we will be collected from the hotel foyer for a 90 minute night tour into the Waipoua Forest to visit one of the oldest and largest known kauri trees in the world, Tane Mahuta (The lord of the forest). Let the night noises, foreign environment, time, local Maori guides and ecological and cultural interpretation (Maori story, song and instruments) awaken your spiritual senses.
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Hokianga
Day 3 Friday 9 April 2021
HOKIANGA – KERIKERI – TAIPA (BD)
After a leisurely start this morning we commence our travel to the eastern coast of Northland. Our first stop for the day will be Kerikeri, a town with a rich and colourful history. While here we enjoy a guided tour of the Stone Store and Kemp House (Kerikeri Mission House). The iconic Stone Store stands at the edge of the Kerikeri inlet, offering a unique shopping experience with an interactive story space upstairs. See how the early settlers lived and learn about the building’s many lives as a trading post, library, barracks, school and general store. Built in 1822, Kemp House is the country’s oldest surviving building, surrounded by English-style cottage garden and orchards. Hear the story of the first missionary families and see their personal items and furniture preserved over the years. We’ll stop in Kerikeri for you to purchase your lunch before visiting Makana Confectionery, where you are able to sample their delicious hand made chocolates. Continuing north we travel to the beautiful Doubtless Bay where we will stay for the next two nights. Dinner tonight will be at the hotel.
Accommodation: Ramada Reia Taipa Beach, Taipa - 2 nights
Day 4 Saturday 10 April 2021
CAPE REINGA DAY TRIP (BLD)
This morning we will board a Great Sights coach and visit the most northern point of New Zealand – Cape Reinga (Te Rerenga Wairua). On this full day tour by coach, uncover the wild beauty of this vast and untouched region that is rich in Māori culture and tradition. Enjoy a taste of New Zealand's varying and beautiful landscape: the rolling hills of Northland's rural countryside, breath-taking coastal views and native forest. We drive along the sand on Ninety Mile Beach as the waves crash beside the custom-built coach. Feel the sand between your toes as we help the driver guide dig for shellfish (conditions permitting). Our off-road journey continues up Te Paki Stream, stopping at the massive sand dunes where you can experience the thrills and spills of sand-boarding. Clambering up and surfing down the dunes (if you dare!) is sure to get your heart pumping. We also visit the Puketi Kauri Forest and get up close to ancient and majestic giant kauri trees and native bush. Stroll along an elevated walkway as these graceful giants surround you and learn about conservation efforts to preserve the forest today. The highlight of the trip is visiting Cape Reinga where we hear the stories of this significant site where, according to Māori legend, spirits depart on their journey home to Hawaiki. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views, visit the iconic lighthouse, and see the point where the Tasman Sea and the mighty Pacific Ocean come crashing together. During our Cape Reinga tour we enjoy a delicious fresh fish and chips lunch! A vegetarian option is available. Dinner tonight will be at the hotel.
Day 5 Sunday 11 April 2021
TAIPA TO WHANGAREI (BD)
Departing Taipa this morning we travel south into the heart of the Bay of Islands – Paihia. Here we will enjoy some leisure time in Paihia. We then travel to Kawiti Caves where we enjoy a guided tour. Our 30 minute guided tour will follow a wooden boardwalk through a 200 metre limestone cave system. Once inside, we will see thousands of glow worms spread across the ceiling surrounded by breath taking stalactites and stalagmites. As you enjoy the galaxies of glow worms above, our friendly guide will explain the life cycle of the New Zealand Glow worm (Arachnocampa Luminosa) and the intricate webs used to catch their prey. We’ll even get close enough to see the actual body of the glow worm and its stunning blue/green tail light, before you make the return bushwalk through a natural corridor of karst rock formations and pristine rainforest. Continuing our journey we travel to Whangarei, where on arrival we will stop at Whangarei Falls, a 26m high waterfall surrounded by park and native New Zealand bush. We then proceed to check into our accommodation for the evening. Dinner tonight will be at our hotel.
Accommodation: Distinction Whangarei
Day 6 Monday 12 April 2021
WHANGAREI TO HOME CITIES (B)
Today we commence our journey back to Hamilton. We travel on the road less travelled via Kumeu, a town which offers a refreshing blend of boutique wineries, orchards and rolling green farmland. We will stop here for you to purchase your lunch and browse their variety of boutique shops. Departing Kumeu, we travel along the South Western Motorway and through the Waterview Tunnel (touted as the biggest change to Auckland's roading network since the opening of the Harbour Bridge in 1959) before arriving back in Hamilton.