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Explore New Zealand's North Island 14-day Small Group Tour
According to Māori mythology, the North and South Islands of New Zealand arose through the actions of the demigod Māui. Māui and his brothers were fishing from their canoe (the South Island) when he caught a great fish and pulled it from the sea. While he was not looking his brothers fought over the fish and chopped it up. This great fish became the North Island and thus a Māori name for the North Island is Te Ika-a-Māui ("The Fish of Māui").The mountains and valleys are believed to have been formed as a result of Māui's brothers' hacking at the fish.
No promises for a fishing expedition, but there are plenty of other interesting and exciting things to see and do on this 14-day small group tour exploring the North Island. Active volcanoes, rugged mountains, lush forests, steep gorges, island sanctuaries, immense culture and history offer the visitor an authentic experience.
From the far north where New Zealand’s political history began, journey through landscapes that blend magnificent beaches, sprawling farmlands and geothermal wonders, with the rich Māori culture waiting to be discovered in many parts of the North Island.
Slow Tours offer a number of other Small Group Tours in the Australia Pacific Region
Auckland The City of Sails (1 hour driving time)
Activities: Arrive at Auckland with airport pick up for the group. Guided city tour of the highlights of downtown Auckland including Viaduct, Mt Eden, Sky Tower and a coastal drive via Bastian Point to Mission Bay. Partly walking tour available weather/time permitting Optional: Auckland War Memorial Museum
Waiheke Island Explore the “Island of Wine”. (1 hour driving time)
Activities: Sealink to Waiheke Island Wine Tour – Take the Sealink Ferry to Waiheke Island and experience three of the most iconic Waiheke vineyards - Mudbrick, Cable Bay and Te Motu. Enjoy panoramic views and sip your way through the island's many varietals, while learning about the mild micro-climate that allows vines to thrive. Includes tastings at each location and a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of the wine-making process at Cable Bay Vineyards. Optional: Free time to explore on Waiheke Island after the tour and/or Auckland by night
Waitangi Treaty Grounds Return trip to the Bay of Islands and Waitangi Treaty Grounds. (6 hours driving time)
Activities: Full day round trip tour to the Bay of Islands including Paihia, Waitangi Treaty Grounds - Includes Waitangi Day Pass with informative guided tour around Waitangi Treaty Grounds with a local guide and a high-energy, entertaining Māori cultural performance plus full access to New Zealand’s most important historic site, heritage buildings, bush walks and spectacular Bay of Islands views.
Auckland to Tongariro National Park (via Hamilton) Hamilton “City of the Future” and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves (4.5 hours driving time)
Activities: Hamilton Gardens self-guided tour of the cultural meaning and context of gardens over the past 4,000 years Waitomo Caves guided glow worm caves tour - Known as one of New Zealand’s best natural attractions, take a boat ride through the glow worm grotto, marvel at thousands of magical glowworms and become part of over 130 years of cultural and natural history.
Tongariro National Park Explore Tongariro National Park – A land of legend where adventure awaits (1 hour driving time)
Activities: Taranaki Falls loop track walk (2 hours return from the Chateau) Mt Ruapehu Gondola and Dinner Experience - Experience an evening on the mountain like no other with a ride on the Sky Waka gondola to The Pinnacles restaurant at the award-winning Knoll Ridge Chalet. With floor-to-ceiling windows for a memorable dining experience with a stunning view of the spectacular landscape.
Tongariro National Park to Wellington SH1 and the Desert Road (4.5 hour driving time)
Activities: Traverse the Desert Road and visit the Waiouru Army Museum - Once the army's largest base, Waiouru lies at the southern end of the Desert Road – a naturally dramatic stretch of the highway. Southward Car Museum - an automobile museum housing a collection of over 400 vehicles, as well as three aircraft which are the personal work of Sir Len Southward, a pioneering marine engineering and speed enthusiast with his wife Vera.
Wellington The Coolest Little Capital (1 hour driving time)
Activities: Private From Cave to Coast City Highlights Tour - An exciting 5-hour guided highlights tour of Wellywood, coastal Wellington and the central city highlights of Wellington. Tour includes Mt Victoria Lookout, Weta Workshop Weta Cave visit, Brooklyn Wind Turbine, The Botanical Gardens, Parliament Buildings and the Cable Car. Optional: Free time explore the downtown Wellington city or Te Papa Museum of New Zealand visit to the Gallipolli: The Scale of Our War exhibit Weta Workshop Tours
Wairarapa Pinot Noir Country (3.5 hours driving time)
Activities: Private Wine and Wild Coast Tour - This amazing tour takes in a variety of stunning landscapes and amazing local foodie experiences including Rivendell film site at Kaitoke, a visit to C’est Cheese, Schoc, vineyard lunch and the epic Cape Palliser including the fur seals colony and lighthouse.
Hawkes Bay Hello Hawke’s Bay (3 hours driving time)
Activities: Mission Estate Winery – wine tasting and set menu 2 course lunch at New Zealand’s oldest winery dating back to 1851. Art Deco Guided Walk of Napier - Discover the fascinating story of Napier’s heritage on this easy walking tour. The original town of Napier was levelled by a dramatic and devastating earthquake in 1931 but was completely rebuilt within a remarkable two year period in the contemporary style of the times: Art Deco. The city is now recognised as the most complete Art Deco city in the world.
Napier to Rotorua via Lake Taupo Drive inland from Napier, past Lake Taupo to the bubbling mudpools of Rotorua (2.5 hours driving time)
Activities: Huka Falls scenic walk along the banks of the Waikato River, or simply explore the many lookout points at Huka Falls, one of the most visited natural attractions in New Zealand Polynesian Spa - Immerse yourself in New Zealand’s original geothermal bathing experience the Pavilion Pools. Relax and rejuvenate in this area reserved for adults and young adults 12 and over with calming hot pools, a beautiful reflexology walk and a deep pool to allow for a swim. Tamaki Maori Village evening experience with hangi dinner. Embark on a Māori cultural experience to the ancient forest village at Tawa-ngāhere-pā – where the land, the people and the spirit come to life.
Rotorua Explore the varied natural beauty of Rotorua from a geothermal wonderland to the expanse of the Redwood Forest (1 hours driving time)
Activities: Wai-o-Tapu Geothermal Park is a spectacular showcase of New Zealand’s most colourful and unique geothermal elements sculpted by thousands of years of volcanic activity and includes the Lady Knox Geyser presentation. Skyline - Jump onboard an eight-seater Gondola cabin and experience spectacular views of Lake Rotorua, the city and steaming geothermal vistas with a buffet lunch at the Stratosphere restaurant. Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest - The history and culture surrounding the Whakarewarewa Forest, the variety of outdoor recreational opportunities, diverse range of exotic tree species, mix of native undergrowth, panoramic views, and proximity to lakes, thermal areas and the city centre have made The Redwoods & Whakarewarewa Forest one of Rotorua’s most spectacular natural assets and one of the city’s greatest treasures. Optional: Redwoods Treewalk
Rotorua to Coromandel via Hobbiton Movie magic (3.5 hours driving time)
Activities: Hon Movie Set Tour and Lunch - In the heart of New Zealand, you can step into the lush pastures of the Shire with a guided tour of Hobbiton, as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.
Coromandel Town The magic of the natural world in the Coromandel (2.5 hours driving time)
Activities: Driving Creek Railway - The Driving Creek Railway climbs 2.7km from the Base Station at 55 metres above sea level to EyeFull Tower at 167 metres above sea level, a total climb of 115 metres. With an average gradient of 1-in-24.1 (1 vertical metre for every 24.1 metre of length) the Driving Creek Railway is New Zealand’s steepest railway. Hot Water Beach - find hot water bubbling through the golden sand. Often rated as one of the world's most renowned beaches - this is one experience that should be on your bucket list. A truly unique Kiwi experience that every New Zealander should experience at least once in their lifetime! – THIS IS TIDE DEPENDANT Cathedral Cove - There are several scenic tracks on land adjacent to the reserve, including the 2hr return walk to Cathedral Cove Track, which gives access to Gemstone Bay, Mares Leg and Cathedral Cove.
Coromandel to Auckland Return to Auckland (2.5 hours driving time)
Meals: Breakfast. Optional: Free time to explore downtown Auckland city (flight time dependant)
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