Day 1: Eco-tour and pioneering history: Morning welcome and briefing before our adventures start – meet your fellow travelers for the first time. We’ll move out from the city over the Auckland Harbour Bridge and head northwards to visit the great Kauris, colossal trees that once covered a large part of New Zealand. We’ll be taken on a Kauri Country Tour where you can dig into a pioneering past on an eco-adventure set in 1,000 acres of private farmland once cloaked in magnificent Kauri trees.
Hear an epic story of forest giants, and tread in the (muddy) footsteps of pioneer kauri bushmen with their 5th generation descendants who bring alive a fascinating part of NZ history. This is followed by a visit to the Matakohe Kauri museum and dinner at our cosy B&B just down the road.
Day 2: Waipoua Forest hike and ferry to Russell: Waipoua Forest makes up the largest tract of Native forest in Northland and contains the biggest population of North Island brown kiwi. We’ll be making a short visit to the Department of Conservation Centre to see how they are preserving the 9105 hectare sanctuary. Then we’ll hike up into the bush on the Yakas track with a picnic lunch on the way.
We’ll be seeing the once seriously exploited Kauri which now find refuge in the Forest. Our day continues with a drive eastwards to the Bay of Islands which has one of the best maritime parks in NZ with the 144 islands and bays, and boasts a sub-tropical climate. This region has a bounty of marine life, including whales, penguins, dolphins and much more. We’ll head to the historic town of Russell, the first capital of NZ, formerly a place of pioneers and whalers.
Day 3: Sailing in the Bay of Islands: Help set and trim the sails as well as swimming with dolphins around the Bay of Islands Marine Reserve. This is a unique location for bottlenose dolphins, as it provides them with abundant food and security for resting and breeding. Our Skipper, Vanessa, captains Carino, the only yacht licensed by Dept of Conservation to swim and play with these amazing creatures.
We will find a suitable calm cove to stop off at, and we’ll have a BBQ lunch on board. Play games and relax on a beach, snorkel, and walk DoC tracks, with spectacular Bay views. Then back to hang out at Jacks Bay – depending on the tide we may gather oysters and other seafood.
Day 4: Waitangi Treaty Grounds where on February 6th, 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed between Maori and the British Crown – of great historical significance to Kiwis and the basis of life in this country today. We’ll see the Treaty House and Te Whare Runanga - fully carved Maori Meeting House, which is representative of all Iwi (regional tribes) in NZ.
Picnic lunch at Paihia followed by a Waka (Maori canoe) voyage, with indigenous tangata whenua (people of the land) as your hosts. Paddle a traditional canoe, as did ancestors of all Maori. This trip is a hands-on opportunity to get involved in Ngpuhi (the local tribe) culture and a fundamental part of Maori tradition. Last night at Jack’s Bay.
Day 5: Twitchers’ Paradise: Ruakaka 2.5hr kayaking and birdwatching in this sheltered estuary teeming with birds – with a local, knowledgeable guide who will identify and explain as you paddle. Despite the isolation and relative small size of New Zealand in the vast expanse of the South Pacific ocean, the birdlife here is amazingly rich. Picnic lunch, then walk in to Waipu Caves and explore a maze of passages with great formations and glow worms. Travel to Waipu to stay at Waihoihoi Lodge nestled in the Brynderwyn Hills, with amazing views over Bream Bay.
Day 6: The Trail Blazer Horse trek: With wonderful coastal views, native bush and the North River to be seen from your trusty steed, riders of all abilities will definitely enjoy this 3.5hr horse trek. Your trek encompasses several trails to suit Northland’s varying weather conditions.
Then a clifftop and boulder-hopping walk to Waipu and the pancake rocks, where gannets gather and nest. You can spend the rest of the day exploring the area from the Lodge – take a stroll, a serious walk, or mountain-bike the trails – it’s up to you.
Day 7: Travel back to Auckland early morning. Farewell, or continuation of your New Zealand Adventures on our Central Adventure, South Island Adventure or Eastern Bay of Plenty Trip.
Dates: 10-16 May
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