East to West A Heartland Journey
Door to Door Pickups, Transport, Accommodation, all Entries, Local Guide, Meals as listed. 20 Tunnel Forgotten Rail Adventure Tour - Includes: Morning Tea and Lunch
Thursday January 16th DAY ONE D
This morning we’ll enjoy the beautiful countryside as we make our way to the East Coast of Hawkes Bay. Stopping for lunch and any scenic vistas we can find along the way.
Friday January 17th DAY TWO B, D
With breakfast behind us, we meet our Guide and bus to then travel to the iconic Cape Kidnappers, visiting the world’s largest mainland Gannet colony. You will travel in comfort, in an air-conditioned 4 x 4 coach, through Cape Kidnappers Station and its International Golf Course. You will traverse riverbeds, broad rolling pastures and breath-taking inclines. During the drive, you will stop at a spectacular cliff top with panoramic views across Hawkes Bay. Having also passed through the native forest and predator-proof fencing, you will arrive within a few metres of this massive colony. Following your Gannet viewing adventure, our Driver/Guide will return us for lunch in Havelock and time to explore the village.
Saturday January 18th DAY THREE B, D
This morning Annie is calling!! We head to the hills. The drive through the Kaweka Range is now one of the great scenic drives, recently sealed, this delightful road winds its way through rugged farmland, forested mountains and tussock covered pastures. We will stop to breathe in the mountain air, use the loos and enjoy some morning tea at Kuripapango. We cross over the glistening Ngaruroro River then ascend the “the Annie”. We descend past Erewhon and turn south heading into the remote Moawhango Valley then into Taihape for lunch. From Taihape, our journey continues to Taumarunui - our destination for the night.
Sunday January 19th DAY FOUR B, D
Awake to find yourself nestled deep within the hidden valleys of King Country’s “Forgotten World” region. After breakfast, the group, who have chosen the Rail Carting option, will get away a little earlier. The Rail Carting journey is like no other. Travelling on long ago closed lines between Whangamomona and Taumarunui, we’ll experience this remote area from the comfort of rail-carts which have been cleverly adapted to be self-driven along the tracks. Journey over bridges and rivers, through tunnels and townships that time has forgotten. There’ll be plenty of photo opportunities as we’re guided through ever-changing vistas. Those, not Rail Carting will enjoy a little more sleep time and after breakfast will take the scenic journey in the coach to meet the ‘’Rail Carters” at Whangamomona. Once we are all together we will continue through the rugged hills to Stratford and then onto our accommodation for the next couple of nights in New Plymouth.
Monday January 20th DAY FIVE B, D
Today we take a relaxed drive through to Hawera visiting the one and only Tawhiti Museum, a truly unique enterprise. The creation of artist Nigel Ogle, its attention to detail is simply stunning and ever-changing. Widely acclaimed as the best private Museum in the country, the Museum uses life-size exhibits and scale models to present our heritage in a series of super realistic and engaging displays. We will enjoy the new Traders and Whalers experience, incorporating a fun boat ride through the chapters of New Zealand’s history. After lunch, we head to a little gem hidden in the hills. Lake Rotokare a stunning 230-hectare forested hill-country catchment, extensive wetlands and 17.8-hectare natural lake, mature Tawa, Rewarewa and Mahoe dominate the forest. We will enjoy a talk on this amazing community project before heading back to New Plymouth. This evening is extra special. After dinner, we don our warm jackets and head out into the summer evening to view the now famous and absorbing Festival of the Lights. This is a magnificent display of lights throughout the Pukekura Park. It will certainly be one of the highlights of the trip.
Tuesday January 21st DAY SIX B, D
After a leisurely breakfast, we travel to the lower slopes of Mount Taranaki arriving at the marvellous Pukeiti Gardens. This vast Council owned garden estate is known as a “Garden of International Significance”. Pukeiti is now one of the country's top rhododendron gardens. After a 4.7-million-dollar refurbishment, Puketiti now sports a 360-hectare collection of plants and regional rainforest and offers a covered walk through tropical rhododendron species, a new car park, new tracks, an aerial walkway, a protected Kokopu treehouse and the transformation of the former gatehouse into a rainforest centre and cafe. We will enjoy a tour through the gardens on their mobility vehicle and lunch in the Café before heading back to New Plymouth for a lazy afternoon, with city centre or waterfront wandering as an option available. Batteries recharged, for those that are keen we will head back to the ‘’Festival of Lights” and catch up with any areas we may have missed the night before or just to experience the fantasy of it all again.
Wednesday January 22nd DAY SEVEN B
This morning we head for home, stopping at Mokau for brunch and maybe a sneaky whitebait fritter or two. We then continue through the Awakino Gorge counting the numerous whitebait stands along the way and over the scenic Mount Messenger arriving back home late afternoon.
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