New Zealand offers a wide range of diverse activities and attractions which you will have the chance to uncover on this off the beaten path adventure. Learn about the rich history, experience the fascinating culture, marvel at the diverse landscapes, and participate in tours and activities catered to your specific tastes. From cosmopolitan city centers to scenic rural exploration, you will enjoy a wide variety of activities as you make your way through this magical country.
Welcome to New Zealand! Upon arrival at the Auckland International Airport, you will proceed through Customs and Immigration to connect with your onward domestic flight to Kerikeri (flight not included). Once you have landed, you will be greeted by a local representative, who will transfer you directly to your hotel in the Bay of Islands. Sit back, relax and enjoy a comfortable start to your adventure in New Zealand! (This service is on a private basis.)
The Bay of Islands encompasses 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula and includes the towns of Opua, Paihia, Russell, Kerikeri, and Waitangi. This region is famous not only for its quiet beaches but also for scenic boat cruises during which you can swim with dolphins, world-class golf courses and some of the best seafood in New Zealand.
After breakfast, you will be met by your private guide for a full-day exploration of the Bay of Islands. You visit the birthplace of New Zealand, Waitangi Treaty Grounds and one of the country’s most significant historic sites. Here, in 1840 the ‘Treaty of Wai tangi’ was signed between the British Crown and more than 500 Maori. During your tour at Waitangi, you learn about Maori culture and the historical events associated with the signing of the treaty.
No trip to the Bay of Islands is complete without being on the water. In the afternoon board a panoramic catamaran cruise in search of dolphins towards Cape Brett Peninsula and the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’ on Motukokako Island. There is also time for some relaxation on picturesque Urupukapuka Island.
Upon return, you continue to the town of Kerikeri which has a long, colorful history. The area was home ground for the fearsome Maori chief Hongi Hika, who terrorized many tribes throughout the North Island in the early 1800s. Today Kerikeri is known for boutique wineries, upmarket shopping galleries, and restaurants. After a long day of exploring you'll return back to the lodge for dinner. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Rotorua via Auckland (flights are not included). Upon arrival, you will be picked up from the airport and transferred directly to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
This evening experience a traditional Maori experience at Mitai Village for an authentic introduction to Maori culture. Mitai Maori Village is nestled in a natural bush setting just outside of Rotorua. Witness the arrival of a ‘waka’, the ancient warrior canoe on the Wai-o-whiro stream. Your Maori guide will explain to you all the secrets to cook a traditional ‘Hangi’ and the traditions of ‘ta moko’, Maori tattoo art. A cultural performance displaying weaponry and combat, coupled with the beauty of the poi dance, and the spine-tingling Haka. A traditional Hangi dinner rounds off an unforgettable evening with the Mitai family. Meet exclusively face to face with the village chief during the evening. (This service is on a group basis.)
Rotorua sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so volcanic activity is part of the city’s past and present. Rotorua is also a geothermal wonderland with bubbling mud pools, clouds of steam and natural hot springs perfect for bathing and relaxing in. The city is also the tribal home of the Te Arawa people who settled in its lakeside geothermal areas more than 600 years ago, and today Rotorua continues to showcase the rich (and well alive-) Maori Heritage.
After checking out of your Rotorua accommodation, you will embark on a short scenic drive to Waimangu volcanic valley, the world’s youngest geothermal system. This eco-experience is set in pristine New Zealand bush and encompasses beautiful Lake Rotomahana. See up close fascinating geothermal features such as steaming volcanic crater lakes as well unique, ecology and rare botany. Take a leisurely boat cruise on Lake Rotomahana, the newest of New Zealand’s larger, naturally formed lakes and is the result of the 1886 Mt. Tarawera eruption which exploded the lake 20 times to its former size. The lake has its own geothermal system with an amazing thermal activity that can only be seen from the boat. Today Lake Rotomahana is an unspoiled natural wilderness area protected from development.
In the afternoon, you leave Rotorua on one of New Zealand’s 10 scenic highways, the ‘Thermal Explorer’ towards Taupo. Stop at one of the many geothermal attractions along the way. After an hour, you reach Taupo which sits on the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake.
During your 2 nights in Taupo, you will be staying at one of the consistently top rated retreats in the world – Huka Lodge where elegant and generous hospitality meets sophistication and style. Huka started in the 1920's attracting guests from around the world and today lures the most discerning travelers seeking one of the world's very best retreats. The Lodge is set on 17 acres of land on the banks of the mighty Waikato River, just some minutes from Taupo and 10 walking minutes from Huka Falls.
Your stay includes country breakfast, pre-dinner drinks with canapes, and a daily changing 5-course gourmet dinner.
Lake Taupo was formed after a giant explosion (believed in 186 AD). The lake is nowadays the world’s largest volcanic crater. Taupo township has become a major vacation destination for locals - and foreign tourists alike. It has been dubbed “Adventure Capital of New Zealand”, mainly for its offerings to those wanting to try bungee - jumping, jet - boating or Skydiving. The mighty Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river, enters a shallow ravine of hard volcanic rock just before Huka Falls. The effect is nature’s large - scale equivalent of a fire hose feeding into a very fine nozzle.
This morning, set off to see and feel Huka Falls from a different perspective - on board a Jetboat! Combining 360-degree spins and passing nature by incredibly close at disorienting speeds before reaching the awe-inspiring majesty of the Huka Falls. Duration: approximately 30 minutes.
This afternoon, you will board your own private charter boat to discover mighty Lake Taupo. You will head to the famous Maori rock carvings and learn about the cultural and volcanic history of Lake Taupo through a knowledgeable local guide. There is the opportunity of experiencing some trout fishing for which Lake Taupo is world renown or lay your hands on clay bird shooting. Freshly fished trout will be prepared by the crew for lunch either cooked or sashimi style. And if you don’t get lucky with those trout, a delicious, freshly cooked lunch will be served either way. After an incredible day out in nature, you'll return back to your comfortable lodge for dinner. (This service is on a private basis.)
After breakfast, you will continue your journey on the "Thermal Explorer" Highway towards Napier. The major entertainment on the road from Taupo to Napier is the fantastic scenery. There’s a bit of everything – rugged hills, beautiful valleys, gentle plains, and huge vistas. If you're up for it we highly recommend making a stop to visit the Tarawera hot springs!
Today you will have the opportunity to be driven in a luxurious 1930s vintage car on a tour through Napier’s famous Art Deco Quarter, historic Port Ahuriri, and a delightfully quaint Art Deco residential suburb. Learn all about the devastating earthquake, the rebuild efforts, and the now protected Art Deco Buildings including the stories behind some of the landmark sites. Duration: approximately 1.5 hours. (This service is on a private basis.)
In the afternoon, drive from Napier towards the highly scenic Cape Kidnappers where ‘The Farm at Cape Kidnappers’ is located. Settle in and enjoy dinner at the lodge.
Hawke’s Bay is a region on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It’s known for its beaches and wineries. Examples of the region’s art deco architecture include the Daily Telegraph Building and Municipal Theatre in Napier, and the Hawke’s Bay Opera House in Hastings. Napier’s National Aquarium of New Zealand has a viewing tunnel for marine life, and shelters endangered local species like kiwis and tuataras.
The Region of Hawke's Bay and Napier is not only famous for its Art Deco architecture but also for a landscape that retains an ‘untouched’ feel. Hawkes Bay is also one of New Zealand’s sunniest and driest regions, making it a leading wine producer, in particular, red wines – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, but also some quite stunning whites.
Join a local Hawkes Bay expert on an intimate, informative private tour through this fascinating part of the North Island and visit some local wineries and take in the breathtaking scenery from Te Mata Peak, where you have a bird’s eye view of the entire region, from the plains to the Pacific Ocean. Our local wine expert is well known and respected in the winemaking community and will be able to connect you with the winemakers and owners of some of the local wineries who will share their stories and passion with you. Duration: approximately 5 hours.
After the tour, you'll return back to the lodge where you'll have time to rest and relax before dinner.
Hawke's Bay is home to the largest mainland gannet colony in the world. Even for those not much into ‘bird watching’ seeing these massive birds with over a 2-meter wingspan soaring above the ruggedly beautiful coastline is truly impressive. The private tour is conducted as a ‘Safari’ in a 4x4 vehicle and expertly guided by an experienced local Maori. Learn about the local Maori legend and discover the largest mainland gannet colony in the world from a position at the brink of the cliff's edge, 100-meters above the ocean. Duration: approximately 3 hours.
In the afternoon continue South on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail towards Martinborough in the Wairarapa Region. Upon arrival at your lodge overlooking the dramatic Palliser Bay. (This service is on a private basis.)
For the next 2 nights, you will be staying at another of New Zealand’s ‘Super Lodges’ – Wharekauhau Country Estate. Overlooking the dramatic Palliser Bay, this luxury lodge is at the heart of one of the most spectacular farms in the world on 5,500 acres of land. Built along the lines of an Edwardian country manner, Wharekauhau consists of a main lodge with a large country kitchen, wood-burning open fireplaces and a spectacular wine cellar. Accommodation is provided in 15 individual Cottage Suites dotted around the main lodge. All rooms offer panoramic vistas over the Pacific Ocean. This is truly a ‘one of a kind’ lodge for those seeking a luxury country escape!
Your stay includes breakfast, pre-dinner drinks with canapes and a daily changing 4-course gourmet dinner.
Palliser Bay is at the southern end of the North Island of New Zealand, to the southeast of Wellington. Inland from the bay is the plain of the Ruamahanga River, which has its outflow in the bay. This river flows through Lake Wairarapa, 10 kilometers from the coast. There are several notable geographical features in the area, including the Putangirua Pinnacles, Kupe's Sail and the Whatarangi Bluff, the erosion of which has had dramatic effects on the coastline.
The best way to get around Martinborough and its wonderful wineries is by bicycle! Bicycles have been pre-arranged for you to embark on an exclusive winery tour with a local wine expert (if you don’t want to cycle yourself, there is a Rickshaw option).
On this 6-hour tour, it is not only about tasting the excellent wines but hearing the stories from the makers! You will visit 3 wineries, carefully selected to ensure you get the most interesting cross-section of producers and wines available. Along the way, you will stop to enjoy a lovely gourmet picnic featuring local deli fare. (This service is on a private basis.)
In the afternoon, on the way back to Wharekauhau Lodge, a short drive brings you to the dramatically scenic Cape Palliser. This area of New Zealand has a rich Maori history of early Maori occupation and heritage sites are part of the fascinating landscape. For the final part of the journey, the road clings to the edge of the coast, providing unstoppable views of Palliser Bay. Climb the 250 steps up to Cape Palliser lighthouse, built-in 1897 and take in the views from the North Island’s southern-most point. On the drive back along the coast, spot the fur seals, the North Island’s largest colony.
After breakfast, you will be met by your driver for your final transfer to Wellington. After the town of Featherston, you'll climb up and over the Rimutaka Range for spectacular views in every direction. After the mountains, you will descend through the picturesque Hutt Valley and continue onto a fast-moving motorway back to New Zealand’s Capital city. Your journey finally ends at the Wellington airport where you will bid farewell to your driver. (This service is on a private basis.)
We wish you safe and happy travels home!
Located on 6,000 acres near Matauri Bay, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is Northland's premier luxury vacation destination. The Lodge affords spectacular 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy exquisite Pacific Rim cuisine prepared by talented chefs while taking in stunning panoramic views of Cape Brett and the offshore Cavalli Islands from the verandas, lounge, card, and dining rooms. Offering 22 guest suites, and a two-bedroom Owner’s Cottage. Every suite offers its own private porch, bedroom with sitting area and open fireplace, walk-in-wardrobe, and ensuite. The cottages are nestled in a native forest overlooking the golf course and the Pacific Ocean. Fish, dive or discover New Zealand’s pristine shorelines, play your best ever round on the property's world-class golf course or indulge in a therapeutic treatment at the full-service luxury spa. Kauri Cliffs is just a 45-minute flight from Auckland and offers a range of facilities that accommodate all luxury vacation requirements.
Surrounded by the sparkling waters of Lake Rotorua, Peppers on the Point is an intimate luxury retreat featuring spectacular views to the historic Mokoia Island. This historic property was a family home until 2004 and now is perfect for a serene and tranquil escape. This stunning retreat offers the perfect base for experiencing New Zealand’s rich culture. Or you can simply relax and enjoy the tranquility of this stunning location from the comfort of our inviting entertainment rooms with open fireplaces. Without leaving the property, you can indulge in a heavenly massage at our onsite spa, try fly fishing from our private beach, enjoy water sports and tennis or even spend your day boating. Peppers on the Point’s dining room is also renowned for serving fabulous New Zealand cuisine accompanied by the finest local and international wines. It is an experience not to be missed. The staff of Peppers on the Point – Lake Rotorua takes great pride in their hospitality, who strive to make their guests stay one to remember for many years to come. Staff are also very knowledgeable of this region of New Zealand, helping you with sightseeing options in the area, or telling of the history of the property or just conversing about the simple things in life.
Enter through the gates of Huka Lodge and immediately begin to leave the real world behind. As you journey the length of the drive and encounter the park-like grounds, a feeling of peace and tranquility begins to gently envelop you. That very first glimpse of the deep turquoise green waters of the Waikato River brings further affirmation of the potential that awaits. Offering elegance and refinement our luxury accommodation in Taupo endears its self to discerning luxury travelers in New Zealand. Choose from 18 Junior Lodge Suites, one Lodge Suite, the four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage and the two-bedroom Alan Pye Cottage – you will luxuriate in an exclusive hospitality experience.
Situated high above the Pacific Ocean with stunning 180 degree views of ocean, pasture-land and golf course, the Lodge at Cape Kidnappers is a place where you can relax, far away from the pressures of every day life and go undisturbed for hours on end; lounge by the infinity-edge pool, soak in the Jacuzzi, enjoy a range of spa treatments in the luxurious spa. If you are seeking adventure, take a picnic basket prepared by resident Chef James and head out on to the property where you'll find 6,000 acres of beautiful countryside waiting to be explored on marked trails for walking and mountain bikes. The cluster of luxury lodge buildings is suggestive of a working farm with each suite offering a bedroom with sitting area, walk-in wardrobe, luxurious bathroom and a private balcony with a beautiful view.
In Maori, Wharekauhau means “place of knowledge”, as it was here where the wise men would come to learn their craft. The name has remained as a testament to the past. Nearly two centuries later, a large sheep station took its place here and finds itself still in activity today. In this farm setting, overlooking the Palliser Bay, the lodge cultivates a refined art de vivre, with a welcoming decor that mixes antiques with natural materials.It is surrounded by vast native gardens where the croquet lawn, flowers, orchard and vegetable garden stand alongside one another, with the latter two supplying the restaurant where a delicious revisited “Kiwi” cuisine is served.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.
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