Introduction

Get off the beaten track in the North Island and  discover some of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. As well as those must-see bucket list destinations, you’ll have the chance to learn more about Maori culture at Lake Aniwhenua, experience life on a high country farm at Blue Duck Station and cruise the magnificent Lake Okataina – just to name a few things.

With no more than 24 guests, this small group tour combines the ‘must see’ highlights with many exclusive activities. Stay in quality hotel accommodation and enjoy dining at some of New Zealand’s leading restaurants and wineries.

Our tours will leave you in awe of New Zealand’s spectacular landscapes, heritage and culture, impressing even the most discerning traveller, and creating plenty of memories and stories to share for years to come.

Highlights
  • World class Tour Guide
  • Luxury accommodation
  • Scenic cruise on Lake Tarawera and Lake Okataina
  • Lake Aniwhenua Cultural Experience
  • Whirinaki Rainforest Tour
  • SkyWaka Gondola ticket
  • Blue Duck Station Tour
  • Waitomo Spellbound glowworm tour
  • Raglan Sunset Cruise
  • Bridal Veil Falls walk

What's included

  • Tour Group Size

    Maximum 24 travellers

  • Accommodation

    6 nights quality hotel and boutique accommodation

  • Dining

    6 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches &  4 Dinners

Itinerary

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  • Duration:  7 days & 6 nights
  • Area:  North Island
  • Meals:  6 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • Starts in:  Auckland
  • Ends in:  Auckland

Haere Mai and Welcome! We’ll be departing Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) and heading for the Rotorua region to visit two unique lakes: Lake Tarawera and Lake Okataina.  It’s a short drive to the boat landing at Lake Tarawera. Cruise out on the pristine waters in the shadow of the infamous Mount Tarawera, once home of the renowned pink and white terraces before a violent eruption destroyed them in 1886. Visit Hot Water beach, only accessible by boat or foot, before cruising across the lake where we’ll hike the short track through native bush to Lake Okataina. Here another boat will be waiting for you to embark on a scenic cruise around the secluded lake. Enjoy a picnic lunch onboard and learn more about the area’s history before arriving at the lodge. Settle in before joining the group in the dining room for a wild food extravaganza, an evening meal entirely sourced from local produce.

Stay: Lakes Lodge Okataina

Included Activity: Scenic cruise on Lake Tarawera and Lake Okataina

Meals: Lunch, Dinner

This morning is yours to enjoy breakfast and relax before we venture off the beaten track to the shores of Lake Aniwhenua in Murupara. Kohutapu Lodge is owned by a local Maori family who are passionate, not only about showcasing their Maori tribal heritage, but also about making a difference in the local area. Murupara is an impoverished community that has been transformed for the better through tourism and commercial development. Through community-driven initiatives and a clear vision to provide more opportunities for the local youth, Kohutapu Lodge has paved the way for change in the area. Begin the experience with a guided tour of the sacred Maori rock carvings before arriving at the Lodge to witness the preparation of a ground cooked hangi and tasting it for yourself! After lunch, we’ll depart for the lush, green Whirinaki rainforest for a guided tour along the Rongoa trail. Spot native endangered birds and ancient medicine plants, and learn more about the history of the forest, including the myths and legends before enjoying a hot kawakawa tea in the forest and a final karakia. This evening, we return to Lake Okataina where you’ll have the option to grab dinner (if you still have room after the hangi feast, that is!).

Visit: Murupara, Whirinaki

Stay: Lakes Lodge Okataina

Activity: Kohutapu Lodge Tribal Tour, Whirinaki Rainforest Tour

Meals: Breakfast, Hangi Lunch + Dessert

Today is all about the pacific ring of fire. We’ll see bubbling mud, amazing waterfalls, volcanic lakes, and finish with New Zealand’s highest cafe at 2000 metres above sea level. First stop is Taupo with stops at the Wairakei Steam Field Lookout and the spectacular Huka Falls. Here more than 22,000 litres of water per second thunders into the Waikato river – it’s a must-see! We’ll stop for lunch in Taupo before heading to Tongariro National Park where we’ll visit Mt Ruapehu for a ride up the fabulous SkyWaka Gondola. Witness incredible views of neighbouring volcanoes as you travel over waterfalls and ancient lava flows – a truly unforgettable experience. Finally, we’ll arrive at The Park Hotel where you can get settled in and then join the group for dinner.

Visit: Taupo, Tongariro National Park

Stay: The Park Hotel

Activity: SkyWaka Gondola

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today we head to Blue Duck Station –  a 7,200 acre high country farm situated on the banks of the Whanganui River. Jump on a 4WD farm tour to learn more about the conservation work taking place to preserve the station’s namesake, the Whio Blue Duck, and the unbelievable local history. Deep in the heart of the station you’ll discover the Kaiwhakauka waterfall where you may even be able to spot a rare blue duck in the flesh. The grand finale is the journey up to the ‘Top of the World’, with 360 degree views that will take your breath away. From here you can see the three peaks of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Taranaki and endless miles of verdant native bush. Enjoy a delicious lunch before heading back to Tongariro National Park for the evening.

Visit: Blue Duck Station

Stay: The Park Hotel

Activity: Blue Duck Station Tour

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

En route to the West Coast town of Raglan, we’ll stop off in Waitomo where the main attraction is underground! This is a unique opportunity to see thousands of twinkling glow worms as you take a serene boat journey through the caves. Get up close and personal with these intriguing creatures and be amazed by the sheer number of glimmering lights in the darkness. Upon arrival to Raglan, we’ll get settled at the Raglan Sunset Motel. The evening is yours to relax, grab a tasty dinner and enjoy the stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, inspiring arts or simply a good cup of coffee! Raglan is the ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Visit: Waitomo, Raglan

Stay: Raglan Sunset Motel

Activity: Spellbound Glowworm Tours

Meals: Breakfast

This morning, enjoy breakfast at one of Raglan’s trendy cafes before boarding the coach to explore Raglan’s finest surf breaks. Admire the black sand beaches, huge waves and the skill of the experienced surfers before spending the afternoon exploring the town centre at your own pace. This evening, you’ll set sail on a sunset cruise around the harbour. With over 122kms of coastline, Raglan’s Whaingaroa harbour is a spectacular sight! The Maori name, Whaingaroa means ‘the long pursuit’ and represents the final resting place of the Tainui waka. Sail past ancient limestone rock formations, witness bird and marine life and learn more from the crew about the area’s history. To top it all off, enjoy the freshest fish and chips on board as you cruise along the ocean before heading back to the hotel for a cosy evening in.

Stay: Raglan Sunset Motel

Activity: Sunset Cruise

Optional Activities: Beach & Bush walks, kayaking, surfing

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at an amazing local cafe this morning. It may be the last day of the tour but the adventure isn’t over just yet! We’ll make a stop at Bridal Veil Falls where a short walk through native bush leads to the impressive 55m cascading waterfall. The two viewing platforms at the top, provide stunning vistas and ample photo opportunities of the plunging white falls below. Then it’s back to the City of Sails, our final destination of the tour. We highly recommend experiencing one of the many culinary delights Auckland has to offer for dinner this evening, as well as the vibrant Saturday nightlife. Whether you decide to head home today or to stay in Auckland for a few extra days, we hope you leave with many happy memories of your trip with us.

Visit: Bridal Veil Falls, Auckland

Meals: Breakfast

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Tour Dates

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(*) G = Guaranteed Departure

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