Autumn Colours of the Pacific East Coast Highway
DAY ONE MT, L, D
This morning we’ll enjoy just the best coastal views all along the way to Whakatane, Opotiki, then onto Te Kaha. We’ll stop along the way for morning tea and some lunch also a little time at the Opotiki museum, which punches above its weight. We will spend our night at the stylish Te Kaha Resort overlooking the shimmering waters of rocky coastline. Fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping at the shores just meters from your room.
DAY TWO B, MT, L, D
Our journey continues along the Great Pacific Highway, passing through small settlements, an area steeped in Maori history. We will visit the iconic Ruakokore Anglican Church then travel on calling into the beautiful Waihau Bay, with its sweep of white sands beach. Some of the country’s finest Manuka honey and oils are produced in the area, developing into a significant industry. We travel the picturesque road out to the deep water of Lotton Point and enjoy morning tea in this tranquil spot. We then continue onto East Cape Manuka for insights into this fascinating industry and what it has done for the local economy. After lunch, road and weather permitting, we stroll along the seaside road to the East Cape. Those feeling energetic can then climb the steps to the East Cape lighthouse and be rewarded with breath-taking views from the top. We enjoy a hearty meal, magnificent views, and rest tonight at the hilltop hotel of Hicks Bay.
DAY THREE B, L, D
Getting away a little earlier today will allow us time to enjoy the fantastic St Mary’s church and its fine carvings within. We will push on and detour to Anaura Bay a picture-postcard East Coast beach. We continue onto Tokomaru Bay to visit the old Freezing Works site, the historic pier, and a stop for picnic morning tea, then travel to the small rural town of Tolaga Bay for lunch. After refreshments, we walk along the historic Tolaga Bay wharf, New Zealand’s longest, a 660m pier that stretches out in front of huge blue papa cliffs. Continuing our journey, we pass sheep and cattle farms in rugged hill country before arriving back on the coast at Tatapouri Bay’s ‘stingray experience.’ Here we learn about the local little blue penguins, mako sharks, dolphins and, of course, the friendly stingrays. If the tides are favourable, we will be able to feed the rays on the reef. From Tatapouri, it’s a short drive to the city of Gisborne, better known as ‘Gizzy,’ the city enjoys some of the best weather in New Zealand. This evening accommodation will be at The Quality Hotel Emerald, where we will enjoy our dinner at the onsite restaurant.
DAY FOUR B, MT, L, D
This morning we celebrate nature, travelling to Eastwood Hill, the National Arboretum of New Zealand, which encompasses 135 hectares of exotic and native trees, shrubs, and climber plantings. The botanical collection planted by Douglas Cook is regarded as the largest and most comprehensive collection of Northern Hemisphere trees south of the equator. After a guided tour through this colourful wonderland, we take morning tea and lunch with our hosts. After lunch, we visit Rere Falls and the infamous Rere Rockslide before heading back to Gisborne to enjoy a scenic drive and some free time in town. This evening we will enjoy dinner off-site in town.
DAY FIVE B, MT, L, D
The home to the ‘Children of the Mist,’ the Tuhoe people, is our destination for the day. We will pick up a local guide to talk us through the area. Te Urewera National Forest Park is a 212,600-hectare temperate rainforest and the largest single tract of native forest in the North Island. The park has an abundance of native birdlife with many rare lizards and our native bat. We will stop for morning tea with our local guide and then head on through the native bush to Lake Waikaremoana in the heart of the park. The North Island’s deepest lake (250 metres) is surrounded by ancient native forests and features many dramatic waterfalls. Enjoy an informative talk from our guide about this fascinating region. We will then travel to Napier, heading to our evening’s accommodation.
DAY SIX B, D
Today we will explore Napier surroundings, heading east, stopping at Birdwood Cafe and Garden for morning tea, a magical place full of sculptures from all over the world, and beautiful gardens. We then head to Havelock North for some free time to check the local shops and eateries at your leisure. After lunch, it is time to return to Napier for our Art Deco guided tour of the town. A local expert will tell us about the town festival, the 1931 earthquake and the architecture that defines Napier. You will then be able to go for a stroll on the walk-friendly waterfront or have a well-deserved shopping session before returning to the hotel and prepare for dinner onsite.
DAY SEVEN B, MT
This morning we’ll make our way back to Tauranga via the Napier Taupo, enjoying photographic opportunities along the way, including Kaweka, Ahimanawa Forest Ranges and Waipunga Falls. For morning tea will stop in at the 280-acre Mohaka River Farm at the Kaweka Ranges’ foothills. Here you will also be treated to a safari-like tour of the property to learn more of their sustainable farming practices and appreciate the serenity and beauty this tranquil location enjoys. Taupo will be our lunch stop before heading home. We will have a comfort stop in Rotorua before arriving back in Tauranga.
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Next Tour Date
Wed, 20th of Apr 2022