Bay of Islands - Island paradise of golden, sandy beaches & charming towns
Door to Door pickups, Transport, Accommodation, Activities, Meals as listed. (B breakfast, MT Morning tea, L lunch, D dinner)
DAY ONE MT, L, D
As we set out for the winterless north, we head to the Auckland Botanic Gardens for our Morning Tea Stop. From here, we head north across the Auckland bridge and to the Sculpturem Gallery in Matakana. With three sculpture-filled gardens, six art galleries, and a vineyard, there is something for everyone. From here, we head to Brick Bay Wines for a sumptuous lunch. Onwards and upwards in a northerly direction will see us arrive at the Distinction Whangarei, home for tonight. Enjoy dinner at the hotel.
DAY TWO B, MT, L, D
After breakfast, we continue our journey north; our holiday would not be complete without pausing to take in the quirkily iconic Hundertwasser Kawakawa toilets. From here, we head to the Butlers Museum and Gardens for Morning Tea. Captain William Butler was a retired whaling ship captain who became a successful merchant in northern New Zealand. In 1838 Butler purchased land that formed the nucleus of what is today Butler Point.
Butlers Point Whaling Museum & Garden in Hihi, is about stepping back in time to learn more about New Zealand’s once-lucrative whaling industry. We’ll have the opportunity to view the beautiful gardens, historic homestead and the vast collection of Whaling memorabilia which will make for a fascinating morning. Then we head on for some deserved Fish and Chips from the famous Mangonui Fish and Chip Shop. Eat locally caught fish landed at Mangonui Wharf while the ocean waves roll under your feet. From here, we will make a tiki tour back down to the Historical Kerikeri Stone Store and take the time to view this historic location. Home to the remarkable 1832-built Stone Store. Stopping here, we will have time to take the tour, learning about the store’s history and surrounding mission station.
DAY THREE B, L, D
This morning we travel to the stunning golden beaches & coastline of Northland to Cape Reinga. We will be joining another tour company that has intimate local knowledge of the area. This will be a wonderful day out. Highlights include a short stop at the Ancient Kauri Kingdom in Awanui, along 90 Mile Beach, Te Paki stream, giant sand dunes, lunch, Cape Reinga and historical Gumdiggers Park.
DAY FOUR B, L, D
Time for an exploration of the harbour today; we’ll board the Fullers Catamaran, Dolphin Seeker, as we journey to the end of the Cape Brett Peninsula and onto the world-famous “Hole in The Rock”. After our wonderful cruise, we’ll have lunch at the onsite café at Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Whilst here we can take the opportunity to have a guided tour around the grounds and a look around the museum.
DAY FIVE B, L, D
Today we’ll enjoy a more leisurely pace to the day; we’ll have a free morning before catching the ferry over to Russell, where we’ll have a catered lunch at the famous Duke of Marlborough Hotel’. This afternoon we’ll have a mini-tour in a bus around Russell with a local guide. From here, we’ll make our way back on the ferry to Paihia.
DAY SIX B, L D
After breakfast, we say farewell to Paihia and head out for a scenic drive to Opito Bay. From here, we head to the Magic Cottages. Tucked away just outside Kerikeri & the Bay of Islands, Magic Cottages at Takou River are beautiful, luxury retreats on the picturesque Takou River banks. Our hosts here will show us around their beautiful property, enjoy the flourishing birdlife, wander the beautiful riverbank through pasture and native bush, escape the noise and stress of daily life in the enchanted gardens—an extraordinary place. The next stop is Marsden Winery, for a delicious lunch. Over its two-decade history, Marsden Estate has become known for the quality of its authentic cuisine. Fresh produce is sourced from around the region, and the superb local food is served on the terrace, shaded by grapevines, overlooking the lake, gardens and vineyard.
The afternoon meander will take us through Waipapa, arriving at the ferry at Kohukohu on the Hokianga Harbour to transport us across to Rawene for checking in to The Heads (previously known as the Copthorne Hotel and Resort). We’ll be dining at Bryers Room Restaurant in the hotel tonight, where you can indulge your penchant for fresh local seafood from the a la carte menu.
DAY SEVEN B,L, D
Tane Mahutu has stood as a majestic sentinel in the Waipoua Forest for over 1,250 years. Occupying a place in the record books as New Zealand’s largest known living kauri tree, we’ll be stopping this morning to marvel at its towering canopy and massive circumference before moving on to have lunch at the Gumdigger’s Café in Matakohe. The adjacent kauri timber-lined museum presents a fascinating insight into the area’s incredible pioneering industry. Unique to this part of the world and displaying the many shapes, sizes and colours of kauri’s beautiful golden resin, stopping in here is a must. As we make our way back to Auckland, we’ll be carrying the beauty of this cherished region of New Zealand in our hearts and minds, not to mention our cameras. We are overnighting on the North Shore tonight and will be enjoying a delicious dinner at a local pub for our final night together.
DAY EIGHT B
After breakfast, we start our journey home via Hamilton Gardens. We will enjoy a tour of the Mansfield and Surrealist Gardens. The Mansfield Garden represents the early 20th century New Zealand garden described in Katherine Mansfield’s short story ‘The Garden Party’. The Surrealist Gardens are where we will step into a strange world where mysterious dreams have come to life! There is time for some lunch before we make our way home to Tauranga.
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Bay of Islands
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