Morning – Pick Up Times to be advised
Tongariro National Park is a spectacular centrepiece to the North Island. This excursion takes us around the prominent volcanoes. Featuring Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.
But let us not forget – Mount Taranaki. Last but not least, is a very interesting mountain.
You will enjoy the outstanding scenic phenomena of the region, along with it’s unique, historical and cultural features. Combine with this one of New Zealands leading light festivals held in the stunning Pukekura park.
This is a tour to please everybody.
This five day break away from the hustle and bustle of city life will see you staying in four different locations, each offering their own new beauty and landscape to admire. We will allow time to relax and enjoy nature, with opportunities to stroll and explore many different walks. This region is known for it’s stark beauty and clarity of water. There is a diversity of alpine plants which flower in the summer months. Hidden amongst the bush are some of our rarer birds like the brown kiwi, tomtit, rifleman and the endangered blue duck which loves the colder, fast flowing streams of this area.
Experience nature and beauty, as well as mans ability to transform these with lights.
Today we depart Tauranga, head South to our first stop at Ngongataha Trout Hatchery. This is one of Rotorua’s best kept secrets. Streams containing wild fish, a natural habitat for spawning and ponds full of monster trout. An aquarium shows off the trout to see up close.
Morning tea is at a café nearby. Leaving Rotorua, we pass by the ever-popular thermal areas. We will take a short stop to view New Zealand’s largest bubbling mud-pool. Then venture past the Ohaaki Power Station with its chimney towering 105mts above the landscape, the only one of its kind in New Zealand.
Then its Taupo for lunch and time to peruse the shops. Departing Taupo, we follow the lake past Turangi and start our climb to the Tongariro National Park to our overnight accommodation. The Chateau Tongariro, with its timeless elegance and fine dining.
If time permits we will drive up to Whakapapa Village and ride the Sky Waka for those that are interested, those that just want to relax, have a dip in the pool or enjoy the atmosphere and take in the absolute beauty of this wonderful building.
We will all dine together this evening in their restaurant.
NB: Sky Waka optional extra – $49.00pp
Accommodation – The Chateau Tongariro
After a beautiful breakfast in the Chateau (one of the best in New Zealand) we head off to Whanganui. We will be leaving the mountains at Tongariro and following the flow of the river to its exit on the West Coast.
For those whom are interested we will stop at Horopito, a small country town 30 mins down the road. Our stop is at a famous car wrecking yard which contains thousands of old vehicles and car parts, spread over six hectares. They are the largest and only vintage car wreckers in Australasia. Internationally known as “Smash Palace” due to featuring in New Zealand movies of the same title and Goodbye Pork Pie. This will be a short stop as we are headed for Whanganui. On arrival you climb aboard and enjoy a 2 hour river cruise as it used to be. Listen to stories and take in the beautiful scenery of the Whanganui River on board New Zealand’s only authentic paddle steamer, Waimarie, built in 1899 and powered by coal.
Lunch is after our cruise, you’ll then have time to explore the wonderful historic buildings and beautiful gardens and parks on offer in this river side city.
Accommodation – The Grand Hotel – Whanganui
This morning, we’re back on board our trusty bus and head up the coast, next stop after crossing the Patea River, we take a left turn off State Highway 3 and head towards the River mouth at Mana Bay, a comfort stop, to stretch the legs and check out the old Wharf that is nearly completely decomposed by the harsh Tasman Sea. Another 30 minutes north we arrive at Tawhiti Museum.
A story of one man’s Unique Heritage creations by artist Nigel Ogle, truly fascinating life size exhibits and smaller scale models, find time to wander around, all displays are designed and built on the premises, which can also be viewed as part of a museum visit. As museums worldwide seek new and original ways of delivering history to their audiences ‘Traders & Whalers’ stepped up to the mark and in typically kiwi style said “We can do that …” and so a partnership between Nigel Ogle’s ‘Tawhiti Museum’ and the South Taranaki District Council was born. This is one museum you must not miss.
This is followed by a novelty lunch at Mr Badgers Country Café, directly opposite the front door of the museum, the themed café is restful, warm, friendly with life size models based around the “Wind in the Willows” characters, positioned around the café, help set the scene. Yummy, home baking is prepared daily on site. After we recharge, we’re on the road again, we drive past the iconic Water Tower built in 1914 standing 54.2 metres high to provide a reservoir of water for firefighting in Hawera. Travelling along Surf Highway 45, the next town we pass through will stimulate your senses, Manaia, The Bread Capital of New Zealand, the smell of freshly baked bread will make us want to stop and buy.
Further on up the highway past all the great surfing spots and quirky little towns, we’ll take to the coast and visit Cape Egmont Lighthouse at Pungarehu, which shone its first light on 1st August 1881 it stands 22 metres high and was de-manned in 1986. With Mt Taranaki/ Mt Egmont as the backdrop for some amazing photos. Another few kilometre’s and we arrive at our destination and luxury accommodation for the next 2 nights, The iconic Devon Hotel. You will be treated to an amazing buffet style dinner in the restaurant on this evening.
Accommodation – The Devon Hotel – New Plymouth
Today is a free day to do as you please, after a hearty breakfast you will have the opportunity to wander, along the Coast line Walkway, a promenade beside the ocean that leads down to the Wind Wand, a kinetic sculpture made of 45 metres of red tubing that bends in the wind and lights up at night or you might like to pop into the Puke Ariki – Heritage and Knowledge Information Centre, the hotel is in close proximity to the CBD and all these features.
Lunch is at your leisure.
In the afternoon you may like to join us on some garden tours around the city or perhaps you might like to enjoy the pool and just relax at the Devon Hotel.
We will assist you to decide what you would like to do.
This evening we all dine together, then we will make our way to Pukekura Park to the wonderful TSB Festival of Lights, a seven-week fantastic light show. Lights are on at 8.30pm until 11pm, so be prepared for a late but inspiring night.
Accommodation – The Devon Hotel – New Plymouth
Take your time to enjoy another scrumptious breakfast. We hop back on the bus and are farewelled by the friendly team at the Devon Hotel. Back on State Highway 3 we make our way north and leave the majestic Mountain behind us. Just an hour’s drive from New Plymouth is, Tongaporutu, the country’s, and possibly the world’s most rapidly – eroding sandstone cliffs. The free standing Three Sisters Rocks, (originally there was four) are now only Two. And the locally famous Elephant Rock which has now lost its trunk are on show and can be walked to along the beach but only at Low Tide.( Which if I have the tide times correct we arrive 1hr before low tide).
Onwards to Mokau, a popular spot for White baiting as it is situated on the Mokau River. Travelling north, we pass through the historic Mt Messenger Tunnel, opened in 1916 was single lane and in 1990 widened to two lanes to allow trucks through.
Your lunch stop will be at the Llama Trekking Farm in Piopio, Sandy will serve us a lovely home baked lunch, then Bob will take us to meet the friendly Llama’s.
All fed and watered we make our way back to Tauranga via Arapuni, sit back, relax, and reflect on the journey and places we have visited in the last few days.
What a great way to end.
This short tour is designed to immerse you into the regions of Aotearoa- New Zealand. Whilst there is quite a bit of travel & sightseeing, we allow some free time, coupled with some great experiences, lovely accommodation, and yummy food.
NB: We only run small group tours – 14 to 20 people