The Waikato West Coast Wilderness
Door to Door pickups, Transport, Accommodation, Activities, Meals as listed.
DAY ONE MT, L, D
We have an exciting experience for you all today as we head north, stopping first at the beautiful Waihi Beach for morning tea. After the beach break, we will call into the Woodturners Café for lunch before journeying to Tuakau Jetty. Here, we board the 22-metre houseboat “Discovery 1”, a state-of-the-art luxury palace on water. We will partake in a delicious boxed lunch on board along with plentiful tea and coffee. We depart historic Lapwood Landing and cruise upriver accompanied by the spectacular moving landscape of the Waikato Riverland, with its Maori culture, towering ancient cliffs, early history, water activities, and abundant birdlife. We are following in the wake of the old paddle steamers which plied supplies upriver to Hamilton before the establishment of road and rail. This section of the Waikato River plays a significant part in New Zealand’s unsettled colonial history as the backdrop to the Land Wars fought here from 1863 – 1864. As we cruise up the river, we will pass the old Tuakau Sand Plant location, and if you look carefully under the trees, you’ll spy skeletons of abandoned barges. Learn more about the fascinating history of the Tuakau Bridge. Once we’ve disembarked, we will travel to the west coast township of Raglan, where we will be spending our first night.
DAY TWO B, L, D
After breakfast, we will be at the pier to step aboard the Wahine Moe for about an hour’s cruise of the Whaingaroa Harbour - discovering for ourselves the delights of its expansive and distinctive coastline. The fascinating geology, natural birdlife habitats and riveting local history will be pointed out to us by our captain and crew on this relaxing and refreshing journey. Afterwards, we will explore the local township and main beach – Ngarunui famous for a lot of things – and its left-hand point breaks at beaches to the south of the town, making it a mecca for surfers from around the world. Many of the local shops and sights pay homage to the community’s surfing customs and traditions. Leaving Raglan mid-morning, we journey through rugged country, stopping for lunch and perhaps a cup of the Raglan Roast Coffee before travelling onto the impressive 55-metre high Bridal Veil Falls, located on the Pakoka River. We next drive to the coastal settlement of Kawhia for a short comfort stop before proceeding to our destination to overnight in Te Kuiti.
DAY THREE B, MT, L, D
After breakfast, we are in for a treat – a hairy feet treat, to be exact. Ten years ago, when Sir Peter Jackson’s film crew turned up to Mangaotaki Valley near Piopio to film The Hobbit and put Warwick and Suzie Denize’s farm on the map, no one knew how much life was going to change. Our exploration with the Piopio Hairy Feet Tour will showcase the unusual rock formations, massive limestone cliffs, native forest, working sheep & cattle farm , and the extensive film shoot locations. After a picnic morning tea, we’ll be off to the Awakino Hotel for a pub lunch, and from there, we will be enjoying a scenic drive. Stopping off to access the famous Waikawau Beach Tunnel – cut into the sandstone cliffs in 1911 by three men armed only with picks and shovels. Our next stop-off will be Marokopa Village and the 35-metre waterfalls of the same name. Some say the most impressive and photogenic falls in New Zealand, so make sure you click away and marvel at their beauty before we take in another local natural wonder - Mangapohue Natural Bridge and gorge. The 17-metre limestone arch is the remains of an ancient cave system. The walk highlights the stalactite-like formations, farmland and 25 million-year-old fossilised oysters exposed in the limestone outcrops. After all this, we will have worked up a mean appetite, so the sumptuous dinner onsite is going to be most welcome for us tonight! staying in Waitomo this evening.
DAY FOUR B, MT, L
We will begin our day after breakfast by gliding silently beneath thousands of magical glowworms in our tour boats within the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. This iconic attraction has been running since the 1880s, and the limestone caves have a fascinating history dating back 30 million years to when they began to form. We will have our morning tea here before setting out for Otorohanga , stopping in for our tour at the Kiwi House and Native Bird Park. We will learn more about the active breeding program of the brown kiwi and contribute to its ongoing work: lunch and a look through town before heading home.
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