Day 1: Meet at Pier 3 - Downtown Auckland City no later than 8.30 am to board your ferry at 9 am.
The ferry ride takes approx 2 hours across the Hauraki Gulf. An incredible piece of water. It is the marine gateway to Auckland and stretches between the Waitemata Harbour and the Coromandel Peninsula. This sheltered stretch of water is studded with over 50 islands. We will make a quick stop at Waiheke Island en-route to collect passengers. This island is described as the most magical part of Auckland to experience. This island boasts beautiful white sandy secluded beaches, native forest reserves, cafes, vineyards, olive groves, and art studios. Waiheke truly is a slice of heaven. A favorite place for weddings, honeymoons and romantic or peaceful getaway retreats. While we cross the gulf you will usually encounter the friendly local dolphins which delight in dancing around the boat and riding the bow wave. A moment which touches your soul every time. I never tire of watching these fascinating creatures.
The ferry will take us to Hannaford’s wharf in Te Kouma Harbour where we will be collected by our coach and transported into Coromandel. You will now be able to wander about the quaint little township of Coromandel. This is a step back in time. Coromandel was back in the 1800’s a force which Auckland had to reckon with, due to gold, kauri and granite mining, but today it is a quaint fishing village, which relies on tourism. The Coromandel Peninsula is seeped with pioneering history, fabulous remote beaches and rugged native bush and walkways like no other area in New Zealand and the fishing is to die for. You can find yourself some lunch in one of the many local cafes and then we continue on to Driving Creek Railway and Potteries. Here you will board the train which will take you through replanted native Kauri forest which includes 2 spirals, 3 short tunnels, 5 reversing points and several large viaducts as it climbs its way up the mountain top terminus. Called the Eyeful Tower, this handsome new building offers great panoramic views out over the island studded Hauraki Gulf with the forested valley and mountains behind. You are also able to tour the pottery complex and the craft shop.
After this much excitement you are to climb back onto your coach and we will take you over the hill to beautiful Whitianga. Whitianga being the seaside town at the base of Mercury Bay. The rest of the evening is yours. Wander the beach or just rest and prepare yourself for another full day tomorrow. Accommodation – Auckland to Coromandel ferry crossing and train excursion inclusive.
Day 2: Today we discover Mercury Bay, an area of the Coromandel Peninsula which has stunning beaches, azure blue waters, white sands, bush clad hills, and a deep water safe anchorage for boats. This a.m. you are going to catch the ferry across the harbor from Whitianga to Ferry Landing one of the oldest stone wharfs’ to exist in New Zealand. This is about a 5 min ride only. From here you can walk to Front Beach, and then for the more fit you can walk on to Flaxmill Bay. A 10 min walk from here takes you down to Lonely Bay, or onto Cooks Beach. From here we continue on our journey to Hahei and again for the fit we will walk down to Cathedral Cove. A magnificent scenic walking track. Cathedral Cove is a unique icon of the Coromandel.
Continuing south we visit Hot Water Beach, where you can dig a hole in the sand and bathe in hot water on the edge of the sea (tide times permitting) . Creating your own hot pool. The hot springs surface on the sand two hours either side of the low tide. This whole area was discovered and named by Captain Cook back in 1769.
From here we continue our journey of the Coromandel Peninsula through to Whangamata, but stopping off at Tairua and Pauanui on the way. Magic little seaside villages for you to explore and get acquainted with the locals. This evening in Whangamata we will indulge you with a meal of local cuisine combined with a European flair thrown in. This is another of New Zealands hidden treasures. Accommodation, Ferry ride, Dinner and Breakfast inclusive.
Day 3: This a.m. we farewell Whangamata, and travel South to Waihi. The Gold town of New Zealand. Here we indulge you with viewing an opencast gold mining pit, along with some of the pioneering history that went before us. We continue along the Ohinemuri River through the scenic Karangahake Gorge to Paeroa. Home of the famous drink L & P. (Lemon & Paeroa). Then onto Ngatea, where we will stop and wander around the Ngatea Water Gardens after enjoying your lunch. Maybe even take in the gemstone factory if time permits. Then unfortunately it is time to return you back to Auckland and bid you farewell.
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