On arrival in Auckland, ‘The City of Sails’, seat in coach passengers will be met by our local representative and privately transferred to your hotel. Self drive passengers will collect your rental car at the airport and drive to your hotel. Auckland, based around 2 large harbours, is a major city in the north of New Zealand’s North Island. In the centre, the iconic Sky Tower has views of Viaduct Harbour, which is full of superyachts and lined with bars and cafes. Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park, is based around an extinct volcano and home to the formal Wintergardens. Near Downtown, Mission Bay Beach has a seaside promenade. Overnight stay at hotel in Auckland.
Travel north over Auckland’s Harbour Bridge and along the Hibiscus Coast. There is the opportunity to view mighty Kauri Trees enroute. The journey continues, travelling through Whangarei, Northland’s only major city and port, before arriving in the beautiful Bay of Islands. This afternoon enjoy a ‘Hole in the Rock and Cape Brett’ cruise. Finish your cruise in historic Russell and return by local ferry to Paihia at your leisure. Overnight stay at hotel
You might like an optional Cape Reinga & 90 Mile Beach day tour. Admire its wild and untouched beauty and learn about its rich Maori culture and traditions. Immerse yourself in the Puketi Kauri Forest as you walk through 1,000 year old Kauri trees and native bush. Try the sandboarding experience down the massive sand dunes at Te Paki Stream Walk on the vast and stunning Ninety Mile Beach. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds or take time to explore Kerikeri. Tour the historical settlement of Kerkeri. Visit the Stone Store and Mission House, home to New Zealand’s first permanent mission station. Learn about Kerikeri’s history of the Maori and the European settlers. Overnight at Paihia.
After breakfast leave from Paihia and return to Auckland ‘the City of Sails’. Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanted holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping - you’re beginning to get the picture of Auckland. In the Maori language, Auckland is known as Tamaki-Makau-Rau - ‘the maiden with a hundred suitors’. It earned this name because it was a region coveted by many tribes. Auckland’s blend of harbour, islands, Polynesian culture and modern city environment has created a lifestyle ranked amongst the best in the world. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast, depart from Auckland and travel the scenic route south to the Coromandel Peninsula. A jagged expanse of rocky coves, sandy bays and ancient kauri forests, the Coromandel Peninsula is one of New Zealand’s most enchanting and untamed landscapes, curling off the east coast of the North Island into the Hauraki Gulf. The Coromandel is a brilliant combination of the rugged, the magnificent and the most sublimely serene beauty that New Zealand provides. Visit the historic township of Thames, famous for its goldmining in the 1900’s, then continue over the spectacular, semi-tropical bush clad mountains to Pauanui. Overnight stay at hotel in Coromandel.
After breakfast, visit the world famous Hot Water Beach where the hot water bubbles out of the sand so hot it can burn your feet! Take a gentle farmland walk to visit the beautiful Cathedral Cove for a walk or swim (optional boat transfer into Cathedral Cove can be arranged). Afternoon free. You might like to take a tour of the Whitianga Harbour by glass-bottomed boat if time permits. Overnight stay at hotel in Coromandel.
Depart at your leisure this morning for the short coastal drive to Tauranga. Highly recommended is an optional flight to White Island this afternoon, an active volcano situated off the coast of Tauranga (optional activities not included). Included is a nighttime kayaking tour to view glowworms - no experience is required for this wonderful and unique activity! Overnight stay at hotel in Coromandel.
Today travel south through Rotorua and Taupo before heading east to the coast again and on to the ‘Art Deco City’ of Napier. Rebuilt after a 1931 earthquake, the city is known for art deco landmarks like the zigzag-patterned Daily Telegraph Building. Along the tree-lined waterfront promenade the Marine Parade, the Pania of the Reef statue depicting a Maori maiden, is a symbol of the city. Overnight stay at hotel.
Today discover four boutique wineries, with fine handcrafted red & white premium and reserve medal winning wines. Fine-tune your appreciation of New Zealand wine on this afternoon tour of the Hawkes Valley wine region from Napier. Sample regional wines and champagne at the Church Road Winery, then enjoy tours and tastings at the Esk Valley Estate and Mission Estate, New Zealand's oldest winery. After strolling the vineyards of the Linden Estate, end the day with wine, cheese and a panoramic view over Hawkes Bay. Overnight stay at Napier.
Travel through the Manawatu Gorge to Palmerston North, before arriving in the ‘Capital City’ of Wellington. Wellington, a compact city, it encompasses a waterfront promenade, sandy beaches, a working harbour and colourful timber houses on surrounding hills. From Lambton Quay, the iconic red Wellington Cable Car heads to the Wellington Botanic Gardens. Strong winds through the Cook Strait give it the nickname 'Windy Wellington'. Overnight stay at hotel in Wellington.
At leisure today to enjoy the many activities available. Travel along the south coast and into the heart the capital, including the suburb of Thorndon, site of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings and Beehive. Travel by cable car to the summit of Mt Victoria and visit the national Te Papa museum. or Get a behind-the-scenes look at nine ‘The Lord of the Rings’ locations around Wellington and learn about the filming of movies based on the popular books. On a tour of the New Zealand countryside, see re-created scenes of Middle-earth including the Hutt Valley and the Greenbelt, take a forest walk through Tolkien’s Rivendell, and step into Weta Studios for a movie production tour of digital special effects. Overnight stay at hotel in Wellington.
Travel north from Wellington up the Kapiti Coast, through Palmerston North and into Tongariro National Park. This park is dominated by the 3 volcanic mountains - Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngaruahoe and features some of New Zealand's most contrasting landscapes. All three volcanoes are very much alive, with Mount Tongariro erupting as recently as August 2012. But this doesn’t deter people from skiing down the slopes and hiking to the craters – a monitoring system provides early warning of eruptions. Steaming craters, old lava flows and thermal lakes make the walk an unforgettable experience. Overnight stay at resort in National Park.
Today is a free day to enjoy Tongariro National Park. You might like to book the optional Tongariro Crossing guided tour. Often described as one of the best day hikes in New Zealand, experience some of the most scenic and active volcanic areas of the park. The track winds up the Mangatepopo Valley to the saddle between Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. It climbs to the Red Crater, then drops down to the vivid Emerald Lakes. After passing the Blue Lake, the track descends around the northern slope of Tongariro, then descends further in a zig-zag to the Ketetahi Hut. From the hut, the track continues down the mountain through tussock plains, then into the native forest to the end of the track. Overnight stay at resort in National Park.
Depart National Park and continue north around Lake Taupo, through lush Waikato farmland to arrive in Hamilton. The city of Hamilton is located on the banks of the mighty Waikato River, which is best appreciated from one of the scenic riverside walks or boat cruise. The visually stunning Hamilton Gardens are webbed by paths that journey through a gallery of themed gardens from grand Italy to tranquil Asia. Other city highlights include the Waikato Museum and the Hamilton zoo, which provides native birds with enormous freedom in a walk-through free flight aviary. The Zoo also offers visitors face to face encounters with exotic animals. Overnight stay at hotel in Hamilton.
Visit the Hobbiton movie set today before you travel north through the fertile Waikato region and return to Auckland. Experience the real Middle-earth with a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set, featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. Your guided tour starts with a drive through our picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. Take a look at Bag End, where Frodo and Bilbo’s adventures began. Get lost among the hobbit holes and visit the Green Dragon Inn, the mill and the Party Tree. Listen to spell-binding tales of how Hobbiton came to be. Overnight stay at hotel in Hamilton.
After a delicious breakfast. Transfer to the airport for your flight to India. Return home with wonderful memories of your trip.
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