Autumn Colours of the Pacific East Coast Highway
Door to Door pickups, Transport, Accommodation, Flights When Applicable, All entries, Meals as listed.
Friday March 17th DAY ONE L, D
This morning we’ll enjoy the coastal views all the way to Whakatane we’ll stop along the way for morning tea and some lunch. Our destination for the evening is Te Kaha a small New Zealand community situated in the near Opotiki. We’ll spend our night at the stylish Te Kaha Resort overlooking the shimmering waters of The Eastern Bay of Plenty. Fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping at the shores just meters from your room.
Saturday March 18th DAY TWO B, D
Our journey continues along the Great Pacific Highway, passing through small settlements, an area steeped in Maori history. We will visit St Mary & Tikitiki churches to view their lovely carvings. We call in at beautiful Waihau Bay with its sweep of white sands beach and take time to stroll out onto the historic Hicks Bay Wharf. Some of the country’s finest Manuka honey and oils are produced in the area, in what is developing into a significant industry. We will stop at East Cape Manuka for some insights into this fascinating industry and what it has done for the local economy. After lunch, we amble along the seaside road to Cape Runaway, where those feeling energetic climb the steps to the East Cape lighthouse, to be rewarded with breath-taking views from the top. We spend the night in either Te Puia Springs or Tokomaru Bay, depending on the size of the group. We enjoy a great meal and local entertainment at the local seaside hotel.
Sunday March 19th DAY THREE B, D
From Tokomaru we detour to gorgeous Anaura Bay, then travel to the small rural town of Tolaga Bay for morning tea. After refreshments, we walk along the historic Tolaga Bay Wharf, New Zealand’s longest, a 660m pier which 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 'Gissy,' the city enjoys some of the best weather in New Zealand. This evening accommodation will be at The Quality Hotel Emerald where we’ll enjoy our dinner at the onsite Restaurant.
Monday March 20th DAY FOUR B, MT, L, D
This morning we celebrate autumn as a wonderful season, 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 travel on to the small rural town of Wairoa enjoying the rugged hill country views. This evening we’ll be settling in for the evening at the Wairoa Vista Motor Lodge with dinner at the onsite Restaurant.
Tuesday March 21st DAY FIVE B, MT, L, D
The home of the ‘Children of the Mist,’ the Tuhoe people, is our destination for the day. 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 drive through 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 about the region from the local Department of Conservation. We’ll return to Wairoa Vista Motor Lodge for evening’s accommodation.
Wednesday March 22nd DAY SIX B, D
Leaving Wairoa, we travel across the Mohaka Viaduct (the tallest in Australasia) and continue on to Lake Tutira over the ‘devil’s elbow’ to reach Napier City, New Zealand’s famed art deco capital. We will learn about the city’s history on an art deco focused tour guided by a local historian. We’ll then settle into our night’s accommodation at The Scenic Hotel-Te Pania, styled to complement its remarkable location on the edge of the beautiful Hawkes Bay. Tonight, we will dine at the onsite Restaurant.
Thursday March 23rd DAY SEVEN B,
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. We’ll stop for a bite to eat at the Tarawera Café along the Highway and have a comfort stop in Rotorua before heading home to Tauranga.
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Next Tour Date
Fri, 17th of Apr 2020