GISBORNE CHRISTMAS TOUR
No Single Supplement Available Sorry Includes: : Door to Door pickups, Transport, Tauranga Direct Flights & Auck Direct Flights, Accommodation, All entries, Local guide, Coastal Cruise, Meals as listed (B breakfast, MT Morning tea, L lunch, D dinner)
DAY ONE L, D
It’s an early start as we head east today for our first day of fun activities. At the short stop for morning tea on the outskirts of Whakatane you might select something from their famous freshy baked menu to fortify you for the journey onwards. At Matawai we then join the famous Motu Road trail - the first linking Gisborne with the Eastern Bay of Plenty – taking in 60kms flanked by remote bush country historic farmland and panoramic views before disembarking at Toatoa for lunch and a talk. There will be opportunities at Motu and Toatoa for comfort stops. Toatoa Farm is an operational back country farm with a rich colonial history so a leg stretch and a bite to eat in this tranquil and remote spot will be a lovely memory. From here we’ll be winding our way through to finish up in the later afternoon at our accommodation at Emerald Hotel.
DAY TWO B, L, D
After breakfast we will be heading to the studio and gallery of one of New Zealand’s leading screen printers – Tony Ogle. Tony’s dynamic graphic work depicting the quintessential Kiwi landscape and the people who play in it is portrayed in clear, crisp colours. Why not give in to temptation and buy one of Tony’s works as an early Christmas present to yourself? From here we will sustain today’s creative theme with a visit to the Tairawhiti Museum & Art Gallery. Refresh and revive at the very popular Exhibit café for morning tea before exploring the exhibitions in the gallery, gardens and heritage collections housed in the museum. For lovers of Murray Ball’s Footrot Flats cartoons we’ll stop to admire Weta Workshop’s tribute to Wal and Dog – a bronze cast sculpture outside the library before taking a stroll through Gisborne’s beautiful rose gardens. Home to a large bird aviary the gardens also host an impressive array of mature trees and some sister city collections depicting American, Australian and Japanese gardens. From here we will be meeting our guide to be escorted on a historic home & buildings tour and a sit-down lunch. The remainder of the afternoon is free time to explore where you wish.
DAY THREE B, L, D
Good walking shoes will be a prerequisite for today’s round of events. The Rere Rockslide - a giant 60-metre long natural rock-slide north-west of the city attracts hundreds each day in the warmer months to careen down Mother Nature’s theme park ride on a bodyboard or inner tube. We won’t be “riding the slide” here but we will instead head to the very beautiful Rere Falls to have a refreshing picnic morning tea. Lunch today will be at Eastwoodhill – New Zealand’s National Arboretum and in 2004 adjudged a Garden of National Significance. Founded in 1910 by Douglas Cook, the 135 hectares of exotic and native trees, shrubs and climber plantings is one of the region’s most visited tourist attractions. We will be touring the gardens in a 12-seater jeep with a gourmet boxed lunch to ensure we spend as much time absorbing the astonishing beauty of our glorious surroundings. A return to town and a chance to relax and wander the shops or for those with energy still to burn, the paved, 1km Riverside Trail Walk awaits. We’ll reconvene at the hotel late afternoon to put our feet up for a bit before Christmas Eve dinner at the hotel tonight.
DAY FOUR B, L, D
Happy Christmas! A good way to kick off this special day will be our very pleasant meander through Gisborne’s Botanical Gardens followed up with a walk on Wainui Beach to inhale the sea air and admire the ocean views. Christmas lunch will be a sumptuous feast put on by Emerald Hotel’s Nick’s Bar & Restaurant where there will be ample opportunity to eat ourselves to a standstill. Gray’s Bush Scenic Reserve 10km from the city centre is semi-coastal and home to a small but significant remnant of the tall kahikatea (podocarp) forest. This will be an excellent place to walk off the excesses of our lunch but if this is too strenuous, the beach waits for a late afternoon stroll as the day draws to a close. Our evening meal will be an appropriately light supper before we turn in after our day of revelry.
DAY FIVE B, MT, L, D
Today’s blend of discoveries historical, environmental and viticultural begins with a trip up Wheatstone Road to get a bird’s eye view of Gisborne before assembling mid-morning at Dive Tatapouri. In addition to morning tea here, we’ll be hearing from their guides about the incredible work taking place at this unique marine attraction working with a range of stingray species and other sea life. From here we’ll be gathering for lunch, wine-tasting and a talk and tour at Matawhero Wines. Current owners Richard and Kirsten Searle continue a grape-growing legacy started in the 1960s which today sees them producing 8 varietals from 45 vintages and garnering a slew of awards. Afterwards we take in the historically important Titirangi Domain on Kaiti Hill. Formerly an ancient Maori settlement, there are several lookouts to admire the extensive vistas over Poverty Bay, the harbour and city. A World War II gun emplacement reminds of Gisborne’s strategic wartime location and at the summit, Cooks Plaza is a space to reflect on our colonial past. The October 1769 landing of the first Europeans - Captain Cook and his crew - is marked by an obelisk erected in 1906 near the foreshore. Following our time here we’ll be heading back to our hotel and dinner at Nick’s Bar and Restaurant – so named after Young Nick – Captain Cook’s cabin boy, who legend has it, first spotted the white cliffs of Poverty Bay.
DAY SIX B, MT
Time to head for home after breakfast via Opotiki and the history lessons continue as we pass by a number of historically significant sites through the Waioeka Gorge. We’ll have a comfort stop and morning tea at the Manganuku camp site. Midday sees us spending our last hours together exploring the Opotiki Museum housing a splendid collection of implements, vehicles, early pioneer photographs and exhibits focussing on Opotiki’s once thriving shipping industry. After lunch at the Opotiki Bakery Café we’ll be heading back to Tauranga arriving late afternoon.
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