This morning you will ferry out to Waiheke Island to enjoy a guided tour of the Island, stopping at a number of boutique wineries such as Casita Miro, Kennedy Point Winery and Stonyridge for wine tastings. You will finish your tour at Mudbrick Winery where you will enjoy a delicious lunch with incredible views out over the Hauraki Gulf towards Auckland City (lunch is an additional cost). Return to Auckland in the late afternoon, and perhaps enjoy dinner at one of the wonderful waterfront restaurants that line the Viaduct Harbour.
Today you farewell ‘the city of sails’ and head South through both the Waikato and King Country areas to reach Waitomo. Waitomo is New Zealand’s most extensive underground caving network. Here you will take a guided tour through the spectacular Caves and see the impressive glow-worms that light up the cave roof (included activity). Arrive in Rotorua in the afternoon and perhaps take a city tour featuring Kuirau Park mud pool reserve and view the stunning government gardens and lakefront. This afternoon/evening you could experience a relaxing soak in the thermal waters of the famous Polynesian Spa (optional – extra cost).
Your first stop for the day is Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland – a Wonderland of Stunning Geothermal Activity. You will see New Zealand’s largest thermal mud pool, sinter terraces and stunning hot and cold pools of many different colours (included activity). Heading south and stopping at the mind-blowingly powerful Huka Falls en route, you will reach Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake where you may wish to stop for lunch. From here you head to the East Coast to the beautiful seaside city of Napier. Napier was flattened by an earthquake in 1931, which led to massive rebuilds in the Art Deco Style, making this iconic city a beautiful hub of period architecture, and nowadays it is also well known for producing exquisite food and wine.
Napier is a seafront city that was reinvented after massive destruction from the 1931 earthquake. A new city arose from the ashes with a distinctive Art Deco facade. In the morning, you’ll take a guided walking tour of Napier’s famous Art Deco buildings and learn about this style of architecture. Hawke’s Bay is well known for its excellent wines and rolling vineyards throughout the region and following your city tour, you will go on a small group tour of several Hawke’s Bay wineries which could include Black Barn, Mission Estate, Alpha Domus, Church Road, Te Mata Estate and others.
Today you will take the picturesque drive down to the Wairarapa region. This charming area just north of Wellington is known for its temperate climate and alluring charm. First, you can stop in Greytown – voted NZ’s most beautiful town – where idyllic cottages line the main street among boutiques and locally owned and run cafés and restaurants. From here you’ll continue to Martinborough, the main nexus of the winemaking in the area. You will enjoy a delicious lunch at Poppies and then spend the afternoon visiting the surrounding wineries such as Palliser Estate and Tirohana Estate for tastings.
This morning you will take the beautiful drive out to the Putangirua Pinnacles where scenes for The Dimholt Road in Lord of the Rings were filmed. The Putangirua Pinnacles are a stunning yet unusual canyon-like landscape surrounded by tall, thin pinnacle rock formations. The impressive scenery here meant that no CGI was needed to create the Dimholt Road nature did it all! Go in search of the Army of the Dead by walking straight through the Pinnacles or take the walk up to the lookout and view this bizarre but beautiful landscape from above. Next up you will leave picturesque Martinborough and take the drive over the Remutaka Ranges to arrive in Wellington in to discover New Zealand’s capital city. Spots on your city tour could take in sights such as Mt Victoria – Wellington’s most spectacular viewpoint with 360-degree views of the city, harbour and mountain ranges in the background, parliament, New Zealand’s national museum Te Papa, Zealandia wildlife sanctuary, the Wellington Botanic Gardens and Weta Cave where the magic of The Lord of the Rings was created. Your tour concludes this evening.