Charming Chatham Islands
Door to Door pickups, Transport, Chatham Island Bus Tours, Accommodation, Flights All entries, Meals as listed
Optional Extras: *Fishing Charter & Pitt Island Day Tour if 4-5 people booked (Return Flight Included)
DAY ONE D
We head up to Auckland by road this morning, stopping on the way for morning tea and arriving in good time to catch our flight to New Zealand's easternmost outpost, the Chatham Islands. Our Air Chathams flight will touch down on the island late afternoon. As we descend, you'll be struck by the rich diversity of scenery below, with rolling farmlands, white sandy beaches, volcanic peaks and dramatic rocky outcrops. The Chatham Islands consist of two main inhabited islands, Chatham Island (90,000 ha) and Pitt Island (6,300ha) surrounded by smaller islands. We disembark and head to the Hotel Chatham to check-in. Built-in the 1860s on the waterfront at Waitangi, our accommodation has a delightful vintage charm with all the modern hotel facilities.
DAY TWO B, L, D
After breakfast, we head west to Splatter Rock to take in the spectacular pillow lava-flow formations and marvel at the layered olivine basalt cliffs of Cape Young. This location is an opportunity for plant enthusiasts to view the famously huge Chatham Island forget-me-nots, thriving just above the high tide mark. We will stop for a picnic lunch and visit Helen, our host, at her historic Maunganui sandstone cottage nestled in a flourishing garden. Built for missionaries between 1866-1868, it's full of historical artefacts and old photographs, each with a story to tell. After lunch we head to Waitangi West - home to the Chatham Island Oyster Catchers – travelling through a diverse landscape of coastal sand dunes, past lakes and spectacular views of large sand blowouts and remnant kopi stands. Dinner tonight is at the hotel.
DAY THREE B, L, D
Some may opt to head out on a fishing charter from the settlement of Owenga , but for the rest, the day centres around land-based activities. After breakfast, we head to the Kopinga Marae. Built for its panoramic views of the islands and opened in 2005 it pays tribute to the Chathams Moriori ancestors. A fish factory tour at Owenga is scheduled this morning – our deeper dive into the island's primary industry. Amazing views are all around us at our next stop at Rangaiki Cliffs and Shelley Beach, where we'll find a pretty spot to have a picnic lunch. While we are in the neighbourhood, we'll drop in to visit Eva Cherie Tuck. Her art gallery displays an array of colourful artworks depicting the diversity of flora and fauna of the local landscape. As we set out for the journey back to the hotel, we'll stop to pay our respects to Tommy Solomon, who died in 1933. His commemorative statue marks his place in history as the last full-blooded Moriori – the islands' indigenous people.
DAY FOUR B, L, D
Bird-watching is on the agenda this morning as we head to the south coast after breakfast to visit the Albatross colony breeding programme set up by Taiko Trust at a protected site at Point Gap. We then visit a local farm to learn more about the unique challenges of farming on New Zealand's remotest islands. We'll head back to a fish and chip lunch at the hotel before visiting the museum, where the islands' ancient and modern history is on show. A walk up Tikitiki hill and around the town will be an excellent way to get your bearings, take photos and enjoy the fresh air before dinner tonight at the hotel.
DAY FIVE B, L, D
Don your hiking shoes as we are off after breakfast to explore the Nikau Bush Conservation area's peaceful track. 19 hectares of regenerating forest are home to the native Nikau palm – usually in full bloom at this time of year. Following this, we stop at DOC's Ocean Mail Reserve, to have a picnic lunch and enjoy fantastic ocean views and seabirds. Onwards then to Muirson's Farm to see a Sunderland flying boat restoration project. The Point Munning fur seal colony is our next stopover – over 200 years ago the processing of their skins and oil was a thriving industry in the Chathams. Still regarded as a sacred treasure by the Moriori, the incredibly rare tree carvings at Hapupu are set to be a highlight of our entire stay. We stop here as our last activity for the day. Tonight's dinner is the famous seafood buffet dinner at the Kaingaroa Sports and Social Club.
DAY SIX B, L, D
This morning we explore the private reserve of Te Matarae before marvelling at the ancient Moriori carvings on the limestone walls of Nunuku's Cave. At our next stop Te Whanga Lagoon, the sands conceal buried treasure that you may be lucky to unearth this morning: fossilised shark's teeth millions of years old. We will picnic before heading to the regenerating coastal forest of Henga Scenic Reserve. Featuring cheeky weka, fantails and other native birds, the spectacular limestone formations deep in the bush are breathtaking. There will be an opportunity for keen botanists to purchase native plants at Sylvia's Native Plant Nursery at Henga Lodge. Dinner tonight is back at the hotel in Waitangi.
DAY SEVEN B, L, D
The Chatham Islands' penultimate day is underscored with a highly recommended flight to Pitt Island - a fully escorted tour for those who want to explore further afield. If you decide to stick to the main island, we have a visit to the massive olivine Basalt Columns this morning – an unusual lava rock field created out of lava flows dating back 80 million years. We'll be finding a pleasant spot for a picnic lunch at Port Hutt, previously the main harbour for the Chathams, where several vessels have run aground. Following this, we will be taking a stroll through the utterly beautiful Admiral Gardens. Established by the Croon family, the garden boasts, in addition to a plethora of native and exotic plantings, vast swathes of the Chatham Island forget-me-not, a botanical mecca for bees, birds and butterflies. We'll be lingering here after our garden tour to enjoy the Admiral Gardens hospitality with a buffet barbecue dinner before returning to Hotel Chatham for our last night on the island.
DAY EIGHT B
Sadly, we say goodbye after breakfast to the friendly and welcoming Chatham Islanders. We depart this morning on Air Chathams bound for Auckland, where you will be met and then driven back to Tauranga with a lunch stop on the way for those that are hungry. Drop off to home will be late afternoon.
- The order of activities listed may change due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather. This is the nature of being on an Island but half the fun, of course.
- This tour is not escorted by a No.8 Guide. No.8 Tours-NZ's Senior Travel Club is acting as a booking agent for this Chatham Island Tour and is responsible for your pickup and drop off to and from Air Chathams. On the Chatham Islands, you will be under the care and hospitality of Hotel Chathams and their team, who will be coordinating and executing the above itinerary.
- Your time on the Chathams will require you to be able-bodied and fully independent to participate in all organised group activities fully, such as farm walks.
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VIP Club Member Price - Tauranga
Mandatory booking fee
Single supplement fee
Next Tour Date
Thu, 18th of Nov 2021