Day 1: We will collect you from various accommodation providers, and or other collection points along the way this a.m. to begin your journey. Today we travel south to Ngatea, where we will stop for am tea and you will be able to wander around the water gardens. We continue on through the beautiful Karangahake Gorge, following the Ohinemuri River to Waihi. New Zealand’s largest gold mining town. We shall stop and show you the open cast pit which is operating today. We continue through the warm fertile countryside of Katikati, where a large amount of orcharding is carried out. In particular kiwifruit and avocados. As we drive through the town you will be able to admire the numerous murals painted along the buildings in the main street. These murals tell the story of old time Katikati and its influential people in its history. This is a spectacular scenic route and is named the Pacific Coast Highway. From Katikati we travel along the highway to Tauranga which borders the edge of the Tauranga Harbour arriving in Tauranga just in time for lunch where a local restaurant will indulge you with local cuisine and service.
After lunch you will experience New Zealands best keep secret - Mount Maunganui. For those who wish you may take a leisurely stroll around the foot of the Mount which overlooks the entrance to the beautiful harbour. For those who do not wish to walk, the shops are interesting, but a rest on the beach is just as inviting, while you watch the boats coming and going. We continue in the afternoon to Rotorua, passing through another large horticultural Kiwifruit region called Te Puke. From here we travel inland to Rotorua the thermal playground of New Zealand. Rotorua is by far the most popular and the most commercialized tourist destination in the North Island. It has the most energetic thermal activity anywhere in the entire country. From bubbling mud, gurgling hot springs, gushing geysers, but with this comes a distinct smell of sulphur. Rotorua is extremely distinctive. Along with this is our Maori Culture at its best. A New Zealand destination not to miss. You may have a little time this afternoon to rest before we take you out in the evening for a traditional Maori feast and Cultural experience. This is a truly awesome experience. You may now rest and prepare yourself for another full day tomorrow.
Day 2: This a.m. will begin with a ride out to the Blue and Green lakes in a “Duck”. This is an original WW11 amphibian. We will climb on board our “Duck” and the driver will waddle out to the lakes and then he will take his “Duck” into the lake for a swim, with us on board. This is so authentic and not to mention a little nostalgic toward all those who fought in this war for our freedom today. Ducks proved to be a valuable asset for transporting the US troops and supplies to the hard to reach areas because they could operate both on land and water. Rotorua is blessed to have 2 such “Ducks” operating in and around the city. Another great experience of this journey you are on.
From here we will ride the Skyline gondola up Mount Ngongataha for some fabulous panoramic views of Rotorua city and lake, where you can enjoy a coffee and or lunch. For those who are into adrenaline and adventure, you can ride the chair lift and luge back down the path, alternatively some of you may prefer to visit Rainbow Springs Complex, and view the gallons of crystal clear spring water which bubbles up, along with our Rainbow and Brown trout, and other species of native bird life and of course, not to be missed is our national Kiwi. Rainbow Springs also has a cafe for lunch. The choices are yours to make. In the afternoon we will visit the World Famous Agrodome and live sheep show. This will be a firsthand experience of New Zealand agriculture. You will see 19 different breeds of sheep, watch sheep shearing, see how the dogs work at rounding them up, how to milk a cow by hand, feed a lamb with a bottle and experience a sheep auction. Audience participation is an essential part of the show.
From here we must venture forth as we have to get to Taupo by evening and view the outstanding Huka Falls.These spectacular falls are a beautiful aqua colour, and a measure of approx 300’000 litres of water per second fall over this great narrow waterfall gorge. Truly awesome. The rest of the day is yours to rest and admire the beauty of Lake Taupo, New Zealands largest lake back dropped by the awe inspiring volcano - Mount Tongariro. The Taupo region has a plethora of activities available from trout fishing, bungee jumping, skydiving, prawn fishing, kayaking, jetboating, swimming, golf, gliding, cycling, walking, arts and culture and the list goes on. Another fabulous place to visit. Enjoy
Day 3: This morning we depart Taupo and travel to Waitomo. Maori meaning Wai (water) and tomo (hole or shaft). This area boasts various tomos throughout the countryside. These tomos drop down abruptly into an underground cave system and waterways. There are more than 300 mapped caves in the area. These limestone caves have provided for us an exceptional tourist attraction. Our most famous is the Glow Worm Cave. This cave is a huge cave with the usual assortments of stalactites and stalagmites – until you step aboard your little boat and swing off onto the underground river. As your eyes grow accustomed to the dark, you will see a Milky Way of little lights surrounding you. These are the little glow worms. This boat ride is like magic and eventually you emerge from the dark into the light and back out to the real world. A total fantasy adventure.
After this wee adventure we will enjoy some lunch and make our way back to Auckland via Hamilton the heart and soul of rural New Zealand. Iconic pastoral landscapes of grazing cattle, sheep, deer, and thoroughbred horses unfold around every bend in the road. The areas prosperity is the gift of the mighty Waikato River which flows from Lake Taupo 420kms to Port Waikato on the west coast. It is of little wonder that Peter Jackson chose a farm in the Waikato to recreate the rustic Hobbiton village for his film Lord of the Rings trilogy. We will bid you farewell and trust you have had an enjoyable, enlightening, informative, fun experience.
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