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This will be a Discovery Tour for some of you, and maybe a trip of nostalgia for others, we will have some fun and lots of laughter, we will dine well, we will shop just a little, and you will return home having had a wonderful experience.
Depart Tauranga and travel to Taupo. We will make a stop at the Lava Glass cafe for morning tea.
Continuing onwards through the Wairakei thermal valley towards Napier.
We will make a brief stop to view the Waipunga Falls enroute, then continue past Eskdale wine country before arriving onto the coastline at Bayview. We follow the coastal road through Ahuriri, past the port and onto Marine Parade.
Stopping at Drift Café for lunch and enjoy the view.
Departing Napier, we drive through Clive, through Hastings to Waipawa, to Waipukarau – Norsewood and ending todays journey in Dannevirke. Well-known for its Scandinavian heritage, which dates to 1872 when 21 Danish and Norwegian families arrived to settle the district. Images of Viking warriors are found throughout the town. These signs play on warlike Viking stereotypes which have little connection with the 19th-century immigrants who came to clear the bush and establish farms.
There is a heated pool complex just 5 mins walk from our accommodation.
Overnight – Destinations Motor lodge in Dannevirke
We depart Dannevirke this morning with a big agenda of places to visit today:
Pahiatua – Driving into Pahiatua you will be greeted by large tree-lined gardens which split the road into north bound and south bound lanes; these beautiful town gardens occupy land originally set aside for a railway that was instead constructed west of the town. At the northern end of Pahiatua is the unique sight of a replica World War II Harvard Plane that has been converted into a children’s slide and is one of the many activities in the children’s playground.
Mt Bruce wildlife centre Pūkaha – discover wildlife in harmony with nature and don’t let the Kaka steal your morning tea.
Carterton is the arts hub of the Wairarapa, home to authors, illustrators, and painters. Visit Heart of Arts, an arts, culture and heritage hub showcasing local artists.
Greytown – This shopping gem, has beautifully restored Victorian wooden buildings that house stylish and interesting specialty stores, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. This will make a great lunch stop.
Featherston – for all you train enthusiasts we will visit – Fell locomotive museum.
Then it on to Lake ferry – a sleepy beach village on the shores of Lake Onoke where it empties into rugged Palliser Bay. Travel past the Whatarangi Bluff.
To Ngawi – If you love quirky beachside settlements, you will love Ngawi.
Ngawi has more tractors per head of population than anywhere else in the world. These trusty old machines haul the fishing boats in and out of the wild waves of Cook Strait – quite a sight! Ngawi had its heyday as a processing centre for crayfish (rock lobster) in the 1980s. Now it is a rugged retreat for local holidaymakers and keen fishermen.
Cape Palliser lighthouse -A grand old lady of a lighthouse has stood on the cliffs here since 1897 – and she is still shining strong. Climb the 253 steps to see her up close. And spare a thought for the early lighthouse keepers who had to haul oil and kerosene cans up a dirt track before the steps went in!
The Cape is also home to the North Island’s largest fur seal colony.
Wow – this is a big day with lots to see and discover, now it’s back to Martinborough to eat & sleep.
Overnight – The Martinborough Hotel – Martinborough
Stonehenge Aotearoa. – Built on the same scale as Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in England. Stonehenge Aotearoa is a modern observatory that connects people with their sky and the cycles of nature: solstices, equinoxes, Matariki observances and is the perfect stargazing tool at night. Because the observatory was created to incorporate ancient Egyptian, Babylonian and Indus Valley astronomy, Polynesian navigation, and Celtic and Maori star lore it is also an archeoastronomy site. Archeoastronomy looks at how people in the past have understood the phenomena in the sky and how they used these phenomena and what role the sky played in their cultures. The stones welcome people of all cultures, beliefs, faiths and religions. From that perspective, Stonehenge Aotearoa is also a window into the past, where the visitor can rediscover the knowledge of their ancestors.
Masterton – stop at Queen Elizabeth park – Queen Elizabeth Park is one of the best family parks in New Zealand. Kids just love it! We can take a walk around the park’s beautiful trees, walk over the swing bridge to visit the deer and feed the ducks. If you are more adventurist, you can have a go on the flying fox. Sadly, the miniature train does not operate during the week, so no rides for us.
Next up is a visit to the Woolshed Museum tour to learn all about the history of shearing. Masterton is home of the annual Golden Shears events – sadly Covid 19 raised its head again in 2021 and so it was cancelled. Masterton has a lot of big events which means it has a vast array of excellent cafes for your lunch opportunity.
Alfredton –is a farming community. It is located to the southeast of Eketahuna . Alfredton has a school, a church, a 9-hole golf course, community domain and a community hall.
The town is named after Prince Alfred, who was the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria.
Tui Brewery – You can get a Tui anywhere in New Zealand, but there is only one place you can experience it all, Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka. It’s their Holy Grail, the home of all things Tui. In the Brewery, you`ll discover; His Tui museum, the Tui HQ Kitchen offering a great selection for your Puku, the Tui shop where you can pick up a souvenir of your trip, the iconic Tui Tower. And of course, a warm welcome at the bar, where you can taste a fine selection of our beers, or if our timing is right a tour around the Tui Brewery brewhouse.
From here sit back & relax as we have a long journey to Turangi, passing through Woodville, Cheltenham, Vinegar Hill, back onto Highway 1. Through to Waiouru where we take a short break before continuing across the dessert road to Turangi.
Turangi – This town sits on the banks of the Tongariro River, which is world famous for its rainbow trout, so tonight we opt to stay in a trout fisherman’s lodge. The heart of the lodge has comfortable lounges, open fires and trout fishing trophies of the past adorning the walls. The true atmosphere of the Lodge is best experienced in front of an open fire over a superb meal carefully prepared by their own chefs.
Overnight at Turangi – Tongariro Lodge
You can sleep in a little this morning as we get closer to home – we don’t have so many kilometres to travel today. Peruse Turangi before we depart for Taupo.
On arrival we will take a relaxing boat trip aboard The Ernest Kemp, the Māori Rock Carvings Cruise Specialists. One of the world’s largest freshwater volcanic craters, Lake Taupō is home to the famous Māori Rock Carvings, only accessible by boat. With comfortable seating inside and out, be sure to have your camera ready, and enjoy this piece of spiritual and cultural significance of the lake on our replica steamboat.
After enjoying a fantastic lake cruise, it is off to Cobb & Co for lunch, before we depart on the last leg of your journey homeward to Tauranga.
Research has proven that a good vacation will lower stress, raise happiness, and ultimately contribute to improved health and wellbeing for the average holiday goer.
So, I encourage you to take a mini break away and we will endeavour to deliver you back to your front door feeling happy, relaxed and well rested having enjoyed some wonderful fellowship.
Arriving back home with your memory bank filled with new treasures.