4 - 17 Jan
22 Mar - 4 April
3 - 16 May
Day 1: Tiki-Tour of Auckland, City of Sails, with three harbours, two mountain ranges, 48 volcanic cones and more than 50 islands. Today includes viewing dormant None Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) and Mt. Eden (Maungawhau).
Day 2: Wine tasting West Auckland, Kumeu Wine Region. The oldest and best established wine area of 80 vineyards clustered around the city. We visit 3 separate wineries, sampling the products of a new, vibrant and respected wine industry.
Day 3: Coromandel Capers. Travel south-eastwards up the west coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. Lunch at Raupara Water Gardens with waterfall walk. On to Coromandel Town and the Driving Creek Pottery and Railway.
Day 4: Rough Ride and High Jinx on the High-Ropes: Drive unsealed Road 309 to the East side of the Peninsula. Stop at the High-Zone Ropes Course - a very safe but thrilling set of climbing activities. On to Tairua where we’ll be staying at the water’s edge of the inland harbour.
Day 5: Sea-kayaking from Hahei Beach to Cathedral Cove and beyond, through the Hahei Marine Reserve, past idyllic coves and islands. Visit Hot Water Beach and walk up Paku Mountain.
Day 6: Gorge Walk and Gold Country Train: Traveling through to Waihi, walk between towering hills and alongside the Ohinemuri River in the Karangahake Gorge. Waikino Station for lunch then a look at the Martha open-cast mine. Catch the historic Goldfield steam train into Waihi. Then eastwards to Whakatane.
Day 7: White Island Marine Volcano Expedition. One of the most exciting natural experiences in NZ. Taking a 1.5hr boat ride out to the active marine volcano. Land on the island, with gas mask, hard hat and experienced guides. Walk Nga Toi Tapuwae (‘in the footsteps of Toi’) route along cliffs back to our beachfront accommodation.
Day 8: Jet boating and Hot Springs On the Motu River past rural Opotiki we’ll have all the thrills in an NZ designed, high-speed jet boat through the last significant area of untracked bush in the North Island. The most interesting, untouristy jetboating in NZ.
...and cultural exchange at a Maori Marae: Traditional welcome on to a Maori Marae, your guide Lyn’s tribal meeting place. A great cultural exchange and a very moving, memorable event.
Day 9: Mountain-biking & Geo-thermal exploration: Guided mountain-bike trek in the Whakarewarewa Forest on single tracks and trails. Then off to a Geo-thermal reserve to explore gushing geysers, hot springs and boiling mudpools. Stop to see Huka Falls, and walk alongside the river to Taupo and NZ's largest lake.
Day 10: Maori discovery of the mountain. Maori guardians of this area will guide us either on horses or quadbikes, explaining the history and significance of Mt Tongariro to their people. Afternoon visit the hot pools for a soak at Tokaanu. Take a walk along the river, chill out at the Lodge.
Day 11: Tongariro National Park World Heritage site. Visit the Whakapapa Dept of Conservation centre to learn about the geology of New Zealand, and walk along tracks in the shadow of volcanoes Tongariro, Ngaruhoe and Ruapehu, which last erupted in 1996.
Day 12: Whitewater Rafting: The Gorge section of the Rangitikei River is North Island’s premier one day grade 5 Whitewater Rafting trip, combining rugged beauty with some of the country’s most exciting rapids. This is one of many Lord of the Rings locations you’ll come across on this trip.
Day 13: Blackwater Rafting: Venture into the depths of Ruakiri Cave, floating with backsides wedged in inner-tubes through a unique underground river system, past stalactites and stalagmites and a marvelous display of glow-worms.
Day 14: Drive back to Auckland for a farewell to our fellow travelers, and we’ll send you on your way.
Fitness rating: moderate
Available: 17Feb - 2Mar and 20 Apr - 3 May
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