Welcome to New Zealand. After bring collected from the airport you will take a short city tour of Auckland featuring the sky tower and its 360 degree views. Tonight we will enjoy the Auckland waterfront and get ready for the tour ahead.
South we go. Leaving New Zealand’s largest city we head for the Coromandel, one of the key locations for the New Zealand gold rush in the 1800’s. We will take a walk together in one of our native forests to learn all about our native plant and bird life and see our most ancient tree up close, The Kauri Tree. These trees grow up to 60m in height and can be as old as 2,000 years old. Our next stop en route is Coromandel’s Driving Creek Railway. This has been built and designed by kiwi ingenuity over many years on a local resident’s land. You will get a chance to ride the mini train and see his pottery work up close. We arrive in Whitianga late afternoon where we will be based for the next 2 nights with views of Buffalo Beach and its palm tree lined shores.
This morning we will take a visit to the world famous Hot Water Beach. Did you know that this is one of the only places in the world where one can discover thermal water underneath a beach? Water in places can be as hot as 70 degrees Celsius. Bring your swimming gear, as you will have the opportunity to dig your very own thermal pool and bathe in its waters. This afternoon upon return to Whitianga, the evening is free for leisure activities. Options include; A boat trip to a marine reserve, walking along Buffalo Beach and Horse-riding at a local farm.
Leaving the Coromandel area, our first stop today is a visit to an open cast gold mine in the town of Waihi. The gold industry is still very much a booming trade in New Zealand and it is estimated that as much as $1.3 million dollars per day of gold can be extracted from this mine. Heading into the Bay of Plenty we will visit a New Zealand Kiwifruit farm and see how our native fruit is grown and the many products that can be made from it on a guided tour around the orchard. We arrive in Rotorua late afternoon and pay a visit to a Maori church on the shores of Lake Rotorua known as Ohinemutu. This church combines a variety of fantastic Maori wood carvings as well as strong evidence of both the Anglican and catholic faiths. Tonight we will really get up close and personal with our native culture with a ‘Hangi’. This is an important part of Maori Culture. We will see a show and enjoy a 3 course sumptuous meal together.
Rotorua is known not only for Maori Culture but also geothermal activity and geysers. This morning you will be guided around Te Puia village and discover mudpools and geysers up close. You will also get the opportunity to learn all about Maori woodcarving and flax art and see our native kiwi bird up close. This afternoon is free to discover Rotorua, you may enjoy; A cruise on Lake Rotorua’s Lakeland Queen, a walk through our redwood forests, a trip up Rotorua Gondola or a visit to Rainbow Springs.
Our first stop today is Huka Falls. This is nature at its best. It is where our largest river, Waikato River, drains out of Lake Taupo, our largest lake. 220,000 litres of water per second gushes out through its gorge. Along the road you will see evidence of our geothermal industry with its power stations and pipe system. Late this afternoon we will take a guided walk around the foot of our three largest active volcanoes, Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngaurahoe. We overnight in the National Park.
If we are feeling active this morning there is a possibility of taking one of the many stunning short walks in the Tongariro National Park. Heading south we arrive in Wellington in the afternoon to discover New Zealand’s capital city. We take a Wellington city tour taking 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. We will take a look around our Parliamentary grounds and visit Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum with 5 stories of information on everything from earthquakes to bird and plant life. This evening feel free to take a stroll down our capital city’s main street and absorb the atmosphere and culture on offer.
Today you will be transferred to Wellington airport for your ongoing travel arrangements. We trust that you had The Road Trip of a lifetime.