"Auckland & Northland Adventure"
10 Nights / 11 Days
Fully Escorted or Self Drive
Arriving into Auckland early am.
We pick up your luggage and breeze through customs to make our way to our luxury shuttle transport that will take us to the selected accommodation at the Waitakere Estate.
When we arrive there you will look about you in awe that you could find yourself in the center of such glorious rainforest that is so close to a city. This is the creme de la creme of settings to stay in.
You will be overjoyed with your room, and, after you settle in, your group shall all meet in the exquisite Kauri Lounge to talk about the flight, the fun, and what lays ahead! Particularly about the days activities.
For the group, we will be doing an afternoon tour about the area, taking in the incredible Piha Beach and KareKare Beach made famous by the movie ‘The Piano.’
We will also stop by a winery for sample tastings for those of you that love the vino, and for sure visit the incredible Muriwai Beach and see one of the few mainland gannet nesting colonies in the world, situated on the cliff tops overlooking the Tasman ocean.
And of course, whatever else peaks your interest we will take in, whenever possible.
For some of you, an afternoon at this incredible accommodation property might be all you want. A walk outside the door onto the beautiful lawns, you will find trails that lead you to 1500 year old Kauri trees! Right on the property!
Kauri wood is an extra special wood. In its heyday it was a very versatile timber of which large planks could be obtained in an unblemished state because the tree has no branches for much of its trunk height. It was a sought after timber by kings for their ship building. It grows naturally only in the upper North Island.
A walk about the grounds and gardens will make you feel a deep restfulness, and the air is earthy smelling and fresh. The birdsong will amaze you, little tunes.
You might also like to have a go at playing some croquet, and then follow all this with a spa experience, right here.
But, if you like adventure, then we will hook you up with A.W.O.L. - for a really good one!
A fully guided adventure of canyoning in a steep sided volcano rock valley with a series of thundering waterfalls that cascade their way down toward the ocean, providing a spectacular view, and a thrill!
Do a 165 foot abseil over the majestic Kitekite Falls and descend down with jumps, caves and idyllic natural rock pools to swim in. You can do this in the afternoon, or at night if you want to be even more daring.
A delicious dinner is provided for you this evening, cooked by the estates top French chef, and over dinner and drinks you will have the lovely experience of being with your friends and/or family who have joined you on this tour.
Look out the large windows over the blackness, to see the lights of Auckland city sparkling in the distance, as you enjoy your meal and the good association together, and anticipate with excitement what lays ahead!
When you are sleepy and ready to retire you will want to step out on your balcony to listen to ‘absolute silence’, and see stars so huge and bright in the dark sky. You will sleep well.
You will awaken to birdsong like you have not heard before. This forest is full of native birds.
Enjoy a delicious breakfast before we load up and get on the road.
We travel north toward the ‘Winterless’ region of New Zealand, Northland.
The first destination for this day is Dargaville. This is a scenic journey through farmland and stands of forest.
We will stop at Matakohe, and visit the Kauri Museum with its many displays and a look into the history of the ancient Kauri forests, after which it will be time to enjoy lunch at the cafe.
Around 1pm we will be checking into our suave accommodation at Hobson's Choice, and after you get settled in we are off to explore!
We shall drive out to the fabulous Baylys Beach and you can drive quads on it if you want, and have fun on the very high golden sand dunes!
Or, maybe just a ripping drive in a 4WD along its hard sand at low tide for miles at full speed!!
It will blow cobwebs out of your hair and out of your lungs just being in this place.
We will visit the wooden lighthouse at Pouto Point, and see all kinds of sea life and sea lions, and even shipwrecks.
Dig for shellfish to take back to your accommodation and cook up, or buy a fish, maybe a snapper, off one of the kite-fishermen or long-liners on the beach, and take it back and cook it. Or a Mullet or Flounder off the ones that are netting. That’s as fresh and delicious as you’ll ever get fish to be.
Also, one of the best kept secrets is the wonderful Coastal Golf Course here at Baylys Beach, so if that’s your interest, go for it.
For those of you that prefer meandering about shops and things, well, we’ll drop you off in Dargaville township and you can enjoy the shops.
You will like to do a visit to the Woodturners Kauri Gallery to watch Rick at work, woodturning Kauri into beautiful items to purchase. The studio is choca with exquisite pieces.
How about we drive to the TokaToka Tavern, not specifically for a drink, but that could be a good idea! But right behind the tavern you will see a high peak. It is the plug of an extinct andesite volcano of which there are only 5 in the world. How about climbing up to the peak? You can have a beer afterwards!
We also want to try and see the Dargaville Museum, well at least those of you who haven’t spent your whole afternoon having thrills on the beach!
It houses shipwreck relics recovered from the coast and many Maori ancient artifacts as well as private collections and treasures galore.
Well, there’s much more of course, but obviously we can’t do it all.
For dinner, you could take your fresh fish you managed to procure from the fishermen, or the local fish shop if that failed, or shellfish you dug up, and cook it at your accommodation.
Otherwise there is the fish and chip shop! Fat scallops and oysters too.
Great burgers (juicy and huge) or any other cuisine you feel like.
It will be a happy evening recounting the day together with your group.
Its breakfast, and then off we go. But before we leave we will be going Rail Carting.
This will take a couple of hours but worth every minute! Self driving a converted golf cart along miles of unused railroad tracks. Rolling along passed the Wairoa River and through farmlands and native bush. Through 2 tunnels and over 21 bridges, and see things never seen except by rail. This is a blast!!
We will have a second option for those who would prefer it, and that is a Riverboat Cruise on Daisy, a 27 foot flat bottomed boat.
Cruise along the mighty Wairoa river and learn some of the history of early Kauri milling, the sailing ships, and stories of the past.
When everyone is gathered together again after their adventure, we will grab a lunch to go and get on the road again to head north. Soon we will enter the beautiful Waipoua Forest.
It is a one and a half hour drive to our destination but after an hour we will stop at the track that leads us to ‘The Lord of the Forest’ - Tane Mahuta.
This is the largest Kauri tree of them all. We shall walk the track to see it. It is approximately 2000 years old and still growing!
Our next stop is the Hokianga.
You will see ahead of you the twin beach towns of Omapere and Opononi. These are nestled within a vista of blue water and open sky that’s framed by flax groves, cabbage trees and rolling green hills - with a backdrop of huge white sand dunes.
You will be staying at the Copthorne Hotel & Resort in a beachfront room. It is an old style Kauri villa located right on the beachfront in manicured lawns and gardens.
There will be time left in the day to look about the immediate area, and maybe some water activity still possible. But, we definitely will drive to Opononi to watch the sunset!
Dinner will be at the hotel for the group, in the 100 year old Bryers Room Restaurant overlooking Hokianga Harbor. Delicious awaits you!
Happy chatter over drinks, and to end the evening a stroll along the waterfront and jetty.
Wake early, have a nice breakfast, and be ready for an incredible day!
If you are seriously interested in fishing, then devote your day, or at least half of it to that. We will arrange this for you with a local fishing guide if you wish.
Or, maybe you can rent your own things and go it alone. We will help you wherever we can. There is a smorgasbord of species here and in the freshest waters you can ever find. Your catch can be cooked at the hotel for you later if you’d like.
If it is water type activities you love, then there is enough here to suit you.
Captain your own jet ski and follow the guide into the harbor. This is awesome!!!
Or, if you prefer something more gentle, paddleboard or kayak until your heart's content.
Or, you can take a water taxi across the harbor to the giant, and we mean giant, sand dunes to dune surf on boogie boards! Fun for any age, if you have the stamina to climb to the top!
Or, maybe horse riding along a remote beach?
Or, cycling some truly beautiful trails?
Or, hiking in the bush?
Choose your adventure!
But, for those of you that want to skip the thrills of that kind, we will leave the adventure seekers busy at their adventure and do a short drive to Rawene, a little village that will intrigue you. It is the 3rd oldest European settlement in New Zealand with heritage buildings and an old world charm.
Browse the arts and crafts and quaint shops, and stop for a great espresso and gourmet pizza at the Boatshed Cafe.
We will visit Clendon House, home of Captain Clendon, ship owner and trader who was in the thick of the earliest Maori and European interaction.
We’ll also take a stroll along the Mangrove Walkway, a boardwalk, to see wetland habitat, and here also are the wood remains of the old Rawene timber mill established in 1903, and closed in 1928.
Take pictures to show the ones that missed it.
There is also the Rawene vehicle Ferry that crosses the South Head to Kohukohu, and it is a very pleasant and scenic 20 minute little boat journey. Plenty of time to do it if you want.
Kohukohu has a buzzing arts scene and is a quietly charming little village that has numerous heritage buildings from the Kauri milling days. There is the Geddes Gallery and The Village Art Gallery, if you love art. Many of the pieces by local artists.
We will return and collect any adventurers that need collecting and after freshening up at the hotel each can decide about dinner.
Fish and chips, a burger, or have the kitchen cook up your fresh caught fish, if you caught one fishing today!
But there is also the option of just dining at the lovely hotel restaurant again.
The evening shall be your happy throng, together in the Sands Bar. Sit back, relax, talk about your day and enjoy the serenity. Play pool if you’d like!
Up and at-um early today, it’s a big one! Breakfast and we’re gone.
A short 30 minute drive will bring us to Taheke where we will take a 20 minute detour that will bring us to the Wairere Boulders Nature Park.
Put on you good hiking shoes, a raincoat, maybe, maybe not. But, it won’t be cold.
You will enter another world such as you have not seen before. You will marvel at how the earth has formed this amazing geomorphic valley of rocks and rainforest.
It is like stepping into a prehistoric world. Hundreds of fluted basalt rocks cluster together in formations. They were formed by a volcano that they say erupted 2.8 million years ago. It poured a layer of basalt rock over the land. This rock was gradually eroded by rainfall, and eventually the layer broke up into huge boulders.
It is like a magical place that you would expect to see little fictional gnomes and fairies in. This will take us 2 hours, and you will enjoy the picnic lunch here that the hotel prepared for your group.
Returning back to Hwy 12 we turn left headed for Kaikohe. All in all a 40 minute drive and we are there.
Kaikohe is the highest community above sea level in the Northland region.
It has an interesting Maori history, a huge one actually. The population is just under 4,000 people.
We will drive straight to (what is recognized as) the most therapeutic hot pools in the world - Ngawha. Your group will have these all to yourselves for 1 hour.
The residents of Kaikohe do NOT get arthritis at all, and the reason is that these pools are rich in boron. After your hike you will really appreciate this stop.
Afterwards, we will also stop by the ‘Pioneer Village’ which is a step back in time to the European heritage of this area. It resembles an historic movie set. It is a fascinating tour, of an entirely recreated town from the past. And there are buggy rides.
Back on the road and a 25 minute drive from Kaikohe will bring us to Kawakawa, and here we will stop for a truly unique experience: The Bay of Islands Vintage Train ride.
This Vintage Railway was the North Island’s first passenger rail service back in the day. You will find this amusing because once you are all aboard, it will rumble along ‘through the center of town’, with the steam engine ‘Gabriel’ pulling it, and it proceeds out on a fun trip through farmlands and passed native flora and fauna.
It is a 50 minute ride and has open carriages at the back so the wind is in your hair. We have booked this train for you to have all to yourselves!
After this exhilarating ride, you might enjoy a walk about this little town and it will be difficult not to notice the public toilets which are world famous. Honestly! They are a combination of sculptures, mosaics, copper and cobblestones, created by an Austrian architect.
Okay, time to move on toward our destination of Paihia, and to your accommodation at the Paihia Pacific Resort.
After settling into your room and freshening up, you may feel like staying in to rest, or you could venture out to discover your surroundings and enjoy a walk along the waterfront and the little township.
Your group may opt to stay together and enjoy dinner and drinks and talk about the days fun. And, there is a restaurant in the hotel.
Or, you might want to just pick up something to eat, or, just make your own dinner experience at a local restaurant with one or two of you, your choice.
If you want some nightlife, there is the Sandpit Pool Room and Bar, and they have great pizza and dessert. Drinks are on point and there is dancing, and pool tables and darts. Keep in mind too, this is not an area where one needs to worry about ones safety when out late.
But, there is a lot to plan for over your next two days here in this incredible place.
Another day of adventure awaits you! Enjoy your breakfast and time to go!
If you have chosen the day trip to the Far North and Cape Reinga, the coach will depart quite early, and it returns in the evening.
It is New Zealand’s top attraction and well worth it to see the two oceans merging together.
So, for the rest of you:
Paihia is the place for beach play at its best.
Cruises of all types leave from the wharf, and this morning you will enjoy the water adventure that you chose.
Maybe you are doing the popular Fullers cruise to the outer secluded islands and through the famous Hole in the Rock, and then out to the Cape Brett Peninsula.
Or, have you chosen to do a thrilling jet boat ride out into the wide open blue?
But, it could be that you want to swim with the dolphins!
Or, maybe it’s a cruise on the Tall Ship Tucker Thompson.
It’s your call.
If it is all about serious fishing for you, then today is your day. You can hook up with a fishing expedition from Paihia Wharf, or from the Russell wharf - which a water taxi would transport you to. You can go fishing from here for marlin, tuna, broadbill, sharks, and more.
But, some of you may prefer sea kayaking on turquoise waters alongside stretches of honey gold sand, and passed secret coves. Then, you’ve got it!
How about taking the water taxi 20 minutes across the beautiful bay to visit the little village of Russell? It was New Zealand’s first European settlement, and a huge whaling port back in its day, known as ‘The hellhole of the Pacific’ because it was a shore leave destination for sailors, whalers and traders.
Now, it is unique with its old historic buildings, and its interesting Maori history.
It is like a little toy town, something out of a story book, and along its waterfront are outdoor cafes, art galleries, quaint shops and restaurants that give it a romantic aura. To dine at its Duke of Marlborough Hotel is quite an experience.
We will do a local tour 20 minutes away to the closeby town of Kerikeri, with its many arts and crafts. Resident potters and painters have given this district a creative personality. And there are two very significant and historic buildings - Kemp House and the Stone Store.
Kerikeri is known for its wineries, galleries, cafes and shopping. It will intrigue you. We will go for a wine tasting, if you’d like.
There is also a nice easy 1 hour hike from Kerikeri to the beautiful Rainbow Falls, if that interests you.
You could eat lunch (or dinner if we stay in Kerikeri long enough) at the lovely tropical Wharepuke restaurant, or pick up something savoury from a bakery and enjoy as a picnic on the beautiful grounds by the water. You decide!
This evening, dinner out at the restaurant of your choice. The group can stay together or everyone do as they please.
But, keep in mind that if you like fish, you will rarely be in a place where it is so freshly caught and served. So if you don’t usually like fish, you might want to give it a try here at a seafood restaurant, you may change your mind!
Today after breakfast, is another day of fun. There is so much to do in this place, and it is impossible to cover it all in 2 days, but we will do our best!
We will begin with a short 5 km drive west to a boardwalk that will lead us to the gorgeous Haruru Falls. Spectacular.
Next we will go to Waitangi, one of New Zealand’s most significant historic sites. This is where the Treaty was signed between the British and more than 500 Maori chiefs in 1840, and it became a British colony.
It has a museum full of artifacts from that time, both British and Maori and here is where you come up close to Maori history. There is an art gallery and a carving studio in action. Even original houses with everything inside exactly as it was. It's fascinating.
This is a major New Zealand attraction and takes you back in time to the signing of the Treaty. It's set within incredible gardens and lush rainforest.
The rest of the afternoon we will let you look about the little township, and just be there on call for you to take you wherever you want to go.
For dinner, you and your group will decide, and we will see that it happens for you!
After breakfast, we will make our way south.
About 32 minutes into driving, we will stop to see the Kawiti Glow Worm Caves. This is a spectacular thing to see. Stalactite formations and amazing glow worm displays.
You will follow a wooden boardwalk through a 657 feet limestone cave system. You’ll even get close enough to see the actual body of the glow worm and its stunning blue/green tail light. Then, you will make a return bush walk through a natural corridor of karst rock formations and pristine rainforest.
We are back on the road heading south on Hwy 1. A 40 minute drive brings us to the beautiful Whangarei Falls, said to be New Zealand’s most photogenic waterfall. So, take pictures!
Arriving into Whangarei, we head straight for Kiwi North, and at 1pm we shall see a Kiwi feeding. Kiwi North is set on 25 hectares of rolling volcanic farmland, forest and bush.
Inside the Kiwi House, day becomes night. The Kiwi is nocturnal. You will see him foraging for food as he would in the wild. But watch when he is fed! It will surprise you.
Also see here the little Tuatara - he is the last known link to the dinosaur.
We have a 1 hour drive ahead of us, so sing songs, tell funny stories, take pictures, and make fun of the driver all you want!
Soon you will see some neon pink sheep grazing on a lawn, this is Sheepworld, and we are here for a private 1 hour show just for your group.
This is a highlight that you will especially enjoy. You will learn a lot about why New Zealand has so many sheep.
There is an entertaining live demonstration of the dogs bringing in the sheep from afar, which is incredible to watch.
Also, watch the sheep shearing, and afterwards feed the lambs. So cute! Then, walk about the grounds to see numerous other animals.
Lots of wool items for sale here too.
Later, a 10 minute or so drive will bring us to Warkworth, and we will deliver you to your accommodation at the Warkworth Lodge.
Warkworth is a pretty town poised at the edge of the Mahurangi River, and it has a pretty town center to walk about.
A fish n chip dinner sitting on its duck populated river bank is ever so restful, and might be a nice idea.
There is also the option of a barbeque for the group at your accommodation.
Don’t eat breakfast! We are doing an 11 minute drive toward the coast to the lovely Matakana. This is a ‘foodies’ paradise!
Enjoy the Farmers Market bursting with tasty things like local made cheeses, olive oils etc, and try some hot delicious mussel fritters with a locally brewed craft beer, and enjoy it beside the Matakana River,
And, here is where the wine lovers among you are going to be happy.
This region is known for its impressive vineyards with award winning wines, chardonnay, pinot gris, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
There is the Brick Bay winery and sculpture trail, with wine tasting in the vines, and 60 works of art placed around the vineyard, lake and native bush. Lunch in the glass house overlooking the lake?
Also, the Sculptureum right here in Matakana, a world of art, food and wine. There are wine tastings here too.This is Auckland’s newest top attraction. This place has been 10 years in the making. It has 3 sculpture filled gardens, six galleries, and a vineyard. It’s quite amazing.
Are you interested in a behind the scenes factory tour of a fascinating gallery of pottery that reflects the local flora and fauna?
Or, just more wineries???
Also a 15 minute walk on the lovely Omaha Beach.
Well, you have eaten to satisfaction here! And tasted some delicious wines. Now it’s time to leave.
Onward south for 48 minutes to our destination Auckland.
We will pass through numerous seaside towns along the Hibiscus Coast, and then come to the Auckland Harbour Bridge, which opened in 1959.
The ‘City of Sails’ awaits you!
Auckland is the largest Polynesian city in the world and the most multicultural, with over 180 different ethnic groups, all of which adds to its cosmopolitan vibrance. This is no ordinary city!
It is considered one of the world's most livable cities, with a population of over 1.4 million.
Although it is a bustling city, nature hugs it.
It is a buzzing urban hub perched on the edge of a sheltered harbor thats dotted with 150 emerald islands. Many of these islands are wildlife sanctuaries.
Arriving at your accommodation, a 4 star boutique hotel in the heart of the city, The Auckland City Hotel. Perfectly named for its perfect city location.
This evening the city is yours!
Enjoy fine dining on Auckland’s waterfront, or Celebrity chefs creations on Federal Street, relaxed eats on Queen Street, or ethnic cuisine on Elliot Street.
You have tonight, and tomorrow night to explore the nightlife, which is found at the Viaduct Harbour, Britomart, and the Wynyard Quarter.
But remember, early-ish to rise in the morning.
Today, you and your group do our 40 minute cruise out to the beautiful Waiheke Island.
Waiheke Island was recently rated one of the top island escapes in the world. It has miles of golden sand beaches, stunning coastal headlands, vineyards, olive groves, and seaside villages.
This is a mini cruise through the beautiful Hauraki Gulf that you will never forget.
With more than 30 boutique vineyards, it is known as New Zealand’s ‘island of wine.’ So sip your way through the wineries, and sample fresh pressed olive oils.
You will take the Hop on Hop off Explorer coach around the island, which allows you to get off and on again as you want. Each stop has one or two of the mentioned highlights.
Try the best oysters you will ever eat at Te Matuku where they are farmed here on the island.
Hire a scooter and zip around the island, or cycle the beautiful tracks.
But, if you want a thrill of thrills? Ziplining is here!!!
Imagine flying through vines! This is how to get a bird's eye view of the island and feel like you’re on top of the world! It is geared for any age,
Waiheke offers it all, great eateries, vineyard restaurants, you won’t want to leave it, we promise.
As the sun is going down, the Explorer coach will deliver the last of you back to the wharf entry point, where you will make your way back to Auckland on the return cruise.
Some of you will just want to grab a bite and relax in the hotel lounge with a drink and talk to your friends.
Others of you might head for the spa.
But, the party lovers among you will head out to Auckland’s lights!
But, you will all sleep well.
Sorry, this is departure day. But, there’s still a lot you can do!
You might want to spend the day in town, on Queen Street buying last minute gifts, souvenirs etc.
But, we simply MUST take you to the very top of the Skytower, to see a breathtaking 360 degree view for miles upon miles. (you partiers will probably have done this the night before!) If you’re game, walk the edge up here! They harness you up well!
The city of Auckland will fascinate you.
Queen Street is lined with graceful heritage buildings. From here you can walk to High Street and Chancery with their cutting edge boutiques and quirky gift shops.
The cafe culture in Auckland is tops. No weak milky latte’s here! Outdoor cafes are everywhere.
The City Works Depot is a foodie hotspot, and would be a great place to have your last lunch in New Zealand. It has a Kiwi twist to it, and New Zealand craft beers are served here.
We will guide you toward the sort of items you might be looking for, and the interests you have.
If you are not into shopping, you might like a visit to the huge Auckland Museum, or the impressive Art Gallery right in the center of the city. Just ask us.
You could also take the 15 minute ferry across the bay to the little historic suburb of Devonport, built in the 1800s. It has a very significant N.Z. Naval history. It is a delightful excursion!
Then too, there is the amazing Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium, right near the city.
It is home to New Zealand’s only sub-Antarctic penguins, and here you can get up close and personal to the marine life of the Pacific.
This is skimming the top, and there is sooo much more, but we must head for the airport now.
We will load up and make our way to the Auckland International Airport at 5pm for your evening departure.
Homeward bound! But you’ll be back, right?;)
Full Inclusions & Price: (*for fully escorted)
All ground travel during tour
10 nights of 4 star accommodations
All local touring
Two special 3 course dinners
Two full breakfasts
Railcarting Scenic Adventure
Vintage Train Ride
Hole in the Rock and Dolphin Cruise
Glow Worm Caves
Matakohe Kauri Museum
Wairere Boulders Nature Park
Ngawha Hot Mineral Pools
Sculptureum & Vineyards
Waiheke Island, ferry R/T with Hop on Hop off coach pass
Total Price: $2,975pp*
For semi escorted or self drive option, please inquire for pricing.
*The quoted price is based on a fully escorted group of 10 minimum to 18 maximum, and double occupancy.
This tour is based on double occupancy.
Does not include air, this is a ground package only.