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Northland is idyllic. From white, sandy beaches and sparkling blue sea to the locals’ easy going, laid back lifestyle – it’s got that holiday feeling. As the birthplace of New Zealand, there’s also history to discover. Hear the Maori guides’ legends as you walk in the Waipoua Forest to the giant kauri Tane Mahuta. Visit Waitangi Treaty House and wander the streets of Russell, once a rollicking town and a favourite haunt of whalers and sealers. Watch out for dolphins on the cruise to the Hole in the Rock and eat the best fish and chips in the world at Mangonui.
Prices from £835 per person, based on 2 people sharing a room and include daily breakfast and 1 dinner. Single traveller price from £1125.
Please note, prices quoted are for the tour only and do not include international flights.
Chris has travelled all over this majestic country. He is familiar with no star hidden gems to five star uber luxury resorts, with places ideal for couples as well as the perfect family retreats.
If you have any questions why not send Chris Hawkins a message or contact Chris Hawkins directly on 0844 332 9366
Highlights & Inclusions
Day 1: Auckland - Matakohe - Waipoua Forest - Omapere, Hokianga
We travel north through the wine growing district of Kumeu and Huapai and on to Helensville. From here we skirt the shoreline of the Kaipara Harbour, one of the world’s largest inland tidal estuaries. There are elevated views of the harbour as we travel to Wellsford and on to the Matakohe Kauri Museum, dedicated to the mighty kauri tree, growing to over 50 metres tall with 16 metres girth and living for 2000 years.
North of Dargaville we enter the primeval Forest of Waipoua (translated as water falling at night), the largest kauri forest. Here we plant a kauri with the Te Roroa Maori people, the guardians of the forest.
At twilight we accompany Footprints Waipoua, a group of young Maori dedicated to preserving the traditions and culture of Ngapuhi, the northern Maori tribe, to visit both Tane Mahuta (the God of the forest) 51 metres tall, girth 13.8 metres. This journey will give you a deeper understanding of this unique forest from both an ecological and Maori perspective.
Day 2: Omapere - Matauri Bay - Bay of Islands:
The Hokianga harbour providing shelter from the Tasman Sea has not changed since the time of Kupe, the Polynesian sea captain and navigator who is credited with discovering New Zealand 1000 years ago. From this harbour Kupe sailed for home to Hawaiiki the ancestral homeland of Maori (hence the name Hokianga Nui A Kupe meaning “great returning place of Kupe”).
This morning we cruise out onto the Hokianga Harbour with the MV Hokianga Express. This beautiful waterway is a significant and spiritual place for Maori, something that is made evident to us as we cruise this great harbour. We have a chance to explore the sand dunes and, if you are adventurous, ride a body board down the dunes.
We leave Omapere for the tiny town of Rawene on the southern side of the Hokianga. The vehicle ferry takes us from here to Kohukohu (the place of mist) to the northern side of the inlet. In the afternoon we tour the scenic coastal road to Matauri Bay following the picturesque coastline with views to the Cavalli Islands and the resting place of the Green Peace flagship the Rainbow Warrior.
Kerikeri is a thriving town known for citrus orchards and arts and crafts. We visit the Stone Store and Kemp House, New Zealand's oldest stone building. Our destination is Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. The sparkling blue waters of this maritime park are dotted with islands - paradise for beach lovers and sailors.
Day 3: Cruise the Bay of Islands - Dolphin Swim - tour Russell township
Step on board at Paihia this morning to cruise out to a martime park of 144 islands, Cape Brett and the “ Hole in the Rock” and Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island. The catamaran is purpose built for dolphin viewing and swimming. Encounter these intelligent and playful mammals. Get ready with the provided mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit. Once we find a pod of dolphins, Department of Conservation regulations will determine whether a swim is possible. Swimming is optional.
Your cruise returns to Russell at 1.10pm approximately. The first capital of New Zealand, Russell (Kororareka) has a rollicking 19th century past when it was known as the “hell hole of the South Pacific” and was a favourite haunt of whalers and sealers. The missionaries were there too - building Christ Church, Russell / Te Whare Karakia o Kororareka in 1836 and Pompallier House, the headquarters for the French Catholic mission in 1841.
We drive up to Flagstaff Hill for wide views over the Bay before catching the vehicular ferry to Opua and return to Waitangi.
Day 4: Bay of Islands - Tutukaka Coast - Auckland
We visit Waitangi Treaty House where local Maori signed the Waitangi Treaty with Queen Victoria’s representatives in 1840 – a significant event in New Zealand’s history. From Waitangi’s lawns there are magnificent views out over the Bay of Islands. We tour the Kawiti Glowworm Caves then at Hikurangi we leave civilization behind and head to the coast to the beautiful beaches of Woolleys Bay, Sandy Bay, Whale Bay and Matapouri. From here to Tutukaka, departure point for the Poor Knight Islands to Ngunguru, the city of Whangarei and on over the Brynderwyn hills to Auckland where your tour ends.
Tour Dates available, starting in Auckland:
2013: Apr 22; May 6; Jun 3; Jul 1; Aug 5; Sep 2; Oct 7; Nov 4; Dec 2.
2014: Jan 6, 13, 20, 27; Feb 3, 10, 17, 24; Mar 3, 17; Apr 7.