NEW ZEALAND’S MAGIC NORTH
Your tour starts and ends with an overnight with breakfast in the North Island’s biggest city, Auckland. Adding on more time here would be a great idea, especially if you have never visited before. This allows for a relaxed beginning and end to the tour after your flight to or from Australia.
Your first stop is at Matakana Village, which was established twenty years ago, to enable local farmers to sell their produce direct to the public. Travel on to Waipu which was settled largely by Scottish Highlanders in the 1850s and visit the UNESCO recognized genealogical museum. Paihia, the hub of the Bay of Islands is our destination. Here we visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, recognizing the Maori people as central to any decision on territorial ownership. This a chance to witness and experience the expression of Maori culture in song, dance and art. Paihia will also provide us with a chance to do individual activities, such as cycling local coastal trails, taking “the Cream Trip”, the best Bay of Islands cruise taking in natural sights, dolphins, and local deliveries, or, sail the Bay of Islands on a fully operational tall ship.
Further north and we visit Kemp House and the famous Stone Store and finish the day at Doubtless Bay, where we will be staying for two nights. We will have a trip to the very top of the North Island and then drive back encountering streams and sand dunes and the beautiful Ninety Mile Beach.
Next day we visit Kohukohu, an historic village nestled on Hokianga Harbour and take a launch cruise. And our final day sees us returning to Auckland through a magnificent Kauri forest.
YOUR TOUR LEADER: Peter Gibbs describes himself as a ‘restless’ soul and this probably explains his life in travel, having visited over 60 countries. Peter was originally drawn to travel in the 80’s when he worked as an overland tour guide on the route from London to Kathmandu. He describes these as exciting journeys going through places like Afghanistan during the Russian invasion, even being in Iran during the rescue of the American hostages.
He eventually settled down when he met his wife Liz on his last overland trip, had three children and then had a career in the travel industry. He was originally an owner of the company Venturetreks and then eventually an owner/manager of The Adventure Travel Company in Auckland. He sold his travel company some years ago and is now semi-retired. Peter is the honorary counsel for Nepal in New Zealand and has a close association with the Hillary family. Peter lives in Northland and is very well travelled both in New Zealand and overseas, he has led many groups around New Zealand and looks forward to sharing the magic of Northland with you.
FRIDAY 04 DECEMBER ARRIVE AUCKLAND
Fly into Auckland. Once flights recommence, you will be given suggested services to take and you will be advised of other tour members with whom you could share a transfer. Check into your hotel and join your tour manager for an orientation walk, talk and dinner this evening. Overnight Auckland. (meal in flight, D)
SATURDAY 05 DECEMBER AUCKLAND – WAIPU – PAHIA
Drive one hour north to beautiful Matakana village. Wander the village square, landscaped open spaces and independent speciality retailers. Our visit will be timed to visit the thriving Matakana farmers market, founded almost twenty years ago on simple premise: local people, selling locally produced food. We will have a couple of hours for a wander through the village and market, grab a coffee, try fresh artisan food and meet the locals.
Driving north our next stop is the small town of Waipu. A gorgeous coastal enclave that become the “Heart Place” to 1,000 Scottish Highlanders who arrived in Waipu in the 1850’s. We will learn the Highlanders story in the UNESCO recognised genealogy museum.
Lunch at leisure in the local cafes or pub in Waipu before continuing our drive north to the hub of the Bay of Islands, Paihia.
Although a “rest stop” would not normally be considered among the daily highlights of a tour, a stop at the Kawakawa public toilets is a can’t miss attraction on the road north. The toilets, designed by the reclusive Austrian/Kiwi artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser are the unusual combination of internationally recognised work of art, tourist attraction and working public facility.
We will check in to the Copthorne Bay of Islands Hotel tonight for a three-night stay. Our hotel is on the waterfront with 60 acres of subtropical gardens and within the Waitangi National Trust Reserve. It is a flat 2km walk from the resort into Paihia township and the resort offers free shuttle buses for guests to explore. Welcome Dinner. (B,D)
SUNDAY 06 DECEMBER PAHIA
After a leisurely breakfast we can walk a few minutes to the entrance of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. This is the historical site of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in February 1840 between the British Crown and Maori chiefs of the North Island. Set in a stunningly beautiful coastal setting, your visit to the Treaty grounds will include a private group experience that encompasses fascinating stories of the events, personalities and sometimes misunderstandings that have shaped New Zealand’s history.
You will experience Maori culture up close, the spine tingling wero (challenge), karanga (welcome call) and of course the haka. A Maori guide will support us and explain everything as we go to get the most out of our visit. We will also visit the carving studio to see carvers in action and have plenty of time to visit the excellent on-site museum to deepen your understanding. Free afternoon and then in the evening we return to the Treaty Grounds to experience a Hangi and concert. (B,D)
MONDAY 07 DECEMBER PAHIA
Today is a free day for you to choose a local activity or just to relax at the resort. (B)
E-bike the Twin Coast Discovery trail – Ride Opua to Kaikohe one way and then get picked up and returned to Opua (this is close to Paihia). The trail is an easy grade and a lovely ride along the marina, mangrove estuaries and through rural farm scenery crossing suspension bridges and tunnels along the way. E bikes make this a very do-able day although we would always recommend that guests have had some e-bike experience.
The Cream Trip: This is the best and most popular day trip out of Paihia – you will be out from 9.30 to approx. 4.30. Options for a pre-booked picnic lunch or there is a café on the island stop.
R Tucker Thompson:
A full day sail on a tall ship. https://tucker.co.nz/sailing-in-the-bay-of- islands/day-sails-on-a-tall-ship/
• Return to Waitangi to explore further.
• There is excellent kayaking off the beach at Paihia and at the Haruru falls
• Haruru Falls walk
• Fishing charter boats are available for any guests who wanted a day out fishing.
• A round of golf at one of the excellent local courses (advance bookings essential)
TUESDAY 08 DECEMBER PAHIA – TAIPA
A guided tour this morning of New Zealand’s oldest building, Kemp House and the famous Stone Store. Settled alongside a lovely riverbank, the Stone store has an interesting and varied history as trading post, library, barracks and boys’ school. Now operating as a museum, it also has a nice gift store with a range of unique New Zealand merchandise. Lunch today will be at New Zealand’s best fish and chip shop at Mangonui. Enjoy freshly caught local fish sitting on the sunny wrap around deck perched over the water.
Drive through farmland before stopping at Win Matthew’s wonderful collection of vintage cars and tractors. A nostalgic wander through a wide selection of vintage cars including Nash, Chevrolet and Singer Roadster models.
Checking in at the Taipa Ramada resort, where we will stay for two nights, the remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure to enjoy the beaches and water of pristine Doubtless Bay.
This evening after dinner we will embark on a two-hour guided bush tour with a local. Have close – up encounters with glow worms, weta and koura (freshwater crayfish) while listening out for the nocturnal sounds of the resident northern brown kiwi. (B,L,D)
WEDNESDAY 09 DECEMBER TAIPA
This morning we journey all the way to the very top of the country to Cape Reinga. This is a spiritual place and in Maori culture is the “leaping off place” for the spirits of the dead. Standing beside a majestic lighthouse standing high above the spot where the Pacific and Tasman oceans meet, you see majestic vistas of the mighty oceans swirling together. After a picnic lunch at a beautiful sandy bay we continue in our specially modified 4 x 4 bus, with comfortable seating and panoramic windows, we traverse streams and sand dunes and travel the magnificent Ninety-mile beach. Driving through Aupouri forest we will keep an eye out for the resident herds of wild horses. (B,L)
THURSDAY 10 DECEMBER TAIPA – HOKIANGA
Drive through farmland and forest this morning to the tiny settlement of Kohukohu, an historic village nestled on the Hokianga Harbour. The village is a lovely coffee stop and home to a number of small artist galleries. We will take a short tour on an historic launch, the Ranui, skippered by a local captain we will cruise the harbour and hear stories of the Hokianga. Arrive at the Copthorne Hokianga, located on the beachfront where we will have magnificent views of the harbour and sand dunes and a free afternoon to wander the beach or relax before a farewell dinner tonight. (B,D)
FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER HOKIANGA – AUCKLAND
After Breakfast, check out of the hotel. A 4 to 5 hour drive today will get us back to Auckland. We drive south through the magnificent old growth of the Waipoua kauri forest.
A short walk off the main road is the “Lord of the forest” Tane Mahuta. Turn the corner of the track and come face to face with New Zealand’s largest known living kauri tree.
Continuing south we will stop at Kai Iwi Lakes, a group of gorgeous freshwater lakes, impossibly blue at their depths, the lakes are rimmed by warm shallow water and pristine white sands. We will take a short stop for pictures, a paddle or a swim.
Our journey takes us to the award winning Matakohe kauri museum. Learn the history of the kauri tree and the importance that its timber and gum had to pioneer New Zealand and marvel at the Taonga gallery, a diverse collection of Maori treasures made from local materials. Continue on to Auckland and to our hotel for an overnight stay. (B)
SATURDAY 12 DECEMBER DEPART AUCKLAND
Check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport to meet your flight home or continue to the South Island or other New Zealand destinations. (B)
GENERAL INFORMATION AND SPECIAL BOOKING CONDITIONS
Land Only per person, twin-share A$3,895
Single Supplement A$1,115
LAND ONLY TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:
• Transport in comfortable air conditioned coaches
• Transfers, touring and entry fees as per itinerary
• Twin share accommodation in comfortable hotels with private facilities
• Meals as indicated in the itinerary
• English speaking local guides
• Services of Tour Leader
• Tour booklet
LAND ONLY TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
• International air travel from Australia to New Zealand
• Airport taxes
• Beverages with meals (excl. tea and coffee at breakfast)
• Meals not listed in the itinerary
• Travel Insurance
• Airport to hotel transfers if not travelling on suggested flights
• Visa requirements of the tour member
• Items of personal nature (phone, laundry etc.)
Please contact Tony for the best fares available at the time of booking.
I’m Interested…How Do I Book?
Fill in the online Booking Form, read and agree with our Terms & Conditions, select your payment option for your deposit of $450.00 per person to Alumni Travel and Submit. Upon receipt of your Booking Form and deposit, you will receive a confirmation of your place in writing.
DEPOSIT AND FINAL PAYMENT:
The deposit is accepted as a first installment of the tour cost and will be fully refunded if the arrangements can not be confirmed or the tour is cancelled by Alumni Travel. Final payment for the tour needs to be received at least 60 days prior to tour departure. An invoice will be sent to you about a fortnight before the final payment becomes due.
CANCELLATION AND REFUNDS:
Any cancellation from the tour needs to be done in writing. The cancellation date will be taken from the day your written cancellation is received by Alumni Travel. Because of the tour cancellation charges imposed by our various suppliers, the following cancellation charges apply, per person:
Over 60 days $100.00 – Administration Fee
59 – 40 days 25% of tour cost
39 – 10 days 50% of tour cost
Within 10 days 100% of tour cost
If a difference occurs between these cancellation conditions and those imposed by our suppliers, then the conditions of the supplier shall apply.
There is no refund before or after travel has commenced or for any unused portion of the tour, either in regard to the standard group arrangements or separate independent arrangements.
CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS:
Any payments by credit card will be subject to a 2% non-refundable Merchant Administration Fee.
It is now standard policy with our company that all our international travellers have some type of international travel insurance, so that you are covered for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise. A comprehensive Insurance brochure is available from Alumni Travel. The insurance brochure contains the terms and conditions under which insurance cover will be offered to you.
ADDITIONAL TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS:
If you would like Alumni Travel to assist you with any additional arrangements pre or post tour, please contact our office for assistance at time of booking. All arrangements need to be finalised at least 30 days prior to your departure.
An administration fee of $30.00 per amendment will be charged for any changes made to any reservation within 30 days prior to your departure. Any additional charges imposed by our suppliers will also be payable.
PASSPORT AND VISAS:
It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure that they possess the necessary travel documentation for the tour, such as a valid passport and any required visas. Your passport should be valid at least 6 months beyond the end of your journey and have two clear pages for each country to be visited in your journey.
In the event that passenger numbers do not reach the minimum number of tour participants (approximately 10, excluding the tour leader) required for the tour, it may be necessary to either surcharge or cancel the tour. If such an event does occur, you will be notified at least 60 days prior to the tour departure.
This tour price has been calculated on the basis of exchange rates and tariffs at time of print and is subject to change up until final payment has been received. At the time of final invoicing (approximately two months prior to the tour departure date), Alumni Travel reserves the right to re-cost the tour based on actual exchange rates. This could mean an increase or decrease to the above listed prices. Should you decide to cancel your arrangements on the basis of a change in the tour price, normal cancellation charges will apply.