Clear your schedule for New Zealand NOW – from Auckland to Waitomo and everything in between. Cross the Harbour Bridge, create your own kayaking adventure, swim with the dolphins and see the ‘Hole in the Rock’ while fast boating through the islands! Glimpse real glowworms while black water rafting the Waitomo Caves. Plus, for you culture vultures, trek through the native Kauri Forest and take in the Tribal Lands of Nga Puhi Maori. You’ll have a day to chill out in the thermal pools of Rotorua too!
Arrive in Auckland & check into the hotel from 2:00pm. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore! Meet your fellow travellers & Trip Manager this evening.
Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. Surrounded by volcanoes, islands and a stunning harbour, you’ll soon understand why this is the “City of Sails” and was once home to the America’s Cup. This morning we’ll crossing the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge & take in the full-blown vistas of the harbour, Rangitoto, and other neighbouring volcanic islands on the way. With a stop at Parry Kauri Park, there’s time to walk through this famous reserve and see many of New Zealand’s ancient Kauri (a native tree). Some of the Kauri are 50m high and over 1000 years old. The final stop today is the small coastal town of Paihia. It’s the gateway to the Bay of Islands, one of New Zealand’s photogenic natural playgrounds. Your Trip Manager will point out the colonial style Treaty House at Waitangi. This is where modern-era New Zealand was born when the British Crown and Maori signed a treaty in 1840. You’ll also find out about local Maori culture as you check out the Nga Puhi tribal lands. Tonight, get to know the other Contiki travellers, Trip Manager and Driver over a typical ‘Kiwi’ dinner – fish ‘n’ chips – where you can eat outdoors under the night sky if the weather is good. After dinner, head out to a local music venue in Paihia with the group.
With a full free day here, you’ll really get to enjoy the laid-back, natural beauty of the Bay of Islands. Chill out, or choose from loads of activities on offer here. There’s a catamaran cruise where you can stop off at remote islands, swim and feast on a tasty BBQ lunch. If you’re lucky, you’ll even spot some dolphins. Or you could use your free time to head off with some friends to learn about New Zealand’s settler history. Jump on a ferry out to New Zealand’s former capital, the pretty township of Russell. Grab an ice-cream, relax in its cute cafés and walk past some of the town’s historic cottages. We also offer you the option of a day trip to Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s most northern point where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean merge. Our Local Guide can tell you all about the Maori beliefs associated with this site. Then it’s off to the sand dunes of Ninety Mile beach and a drive through the Northland Region. Lastly, for the adrenaline-junkies, there’s a chance to go parasailing – perfect for getting views of the awesome surrounding bay scenery.
With our beach fix complete, it’s time to say goodbye to the paradise of Paihia & head back to the ‘City of Sails’, Auckland! On arrival, your expert Trip Manager will get you in the know with all the details you need to know (and more) on the country’s largest city. In the city, it’s time for new views, literally...you’ll get the guaranteed best views of Auckland with an included trip up the iconic Sky Tower. As the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest building, standing at 328m with views up to 80km into the distance including the Hauraki Gulf & Manukau harbour & volcanic landscape, mean you’re right where you need to be. Take in the views, walk on the glass platform (if you’re game) & frame up some shots as you soak up the scene. Back at ground level, Auckland by night goes off, so with that in mind we’ve gotten you an entry at one of our favourite nightspots so you can start the night out right. Later, you could keep it moving – try K Road for some alternative vibes, Ponsonby hot spots like The Ponsonby Social Club, Chapel Bar or the Long Room for some cool beats & equally cool people, or Parnell for a taste of the true Auckland by night.
Today we drive through the lush farmlands of Waikato – an area that produces many of New Zealand’s best rugby players for the All Blacks. Next up is Waitomo and the Waitomo Caves. Famous for their incredible limestone formations and glowworms, the caves are a stunning subterranean world. For adventure, you can head deeper into the caves in an optional activity and see them either on foot or by tubing down an underground river. Tonight, it’s a true Kiwi BBQ dinner and a visit to a typical country pub. Kick back with your friends and some of the locals. Maybe try out the local beer – it’s good!
For some crazy ‘Kiwi ingenuity’, try our zorbing optional. It’s an activity where you get inside a huge plastic ball and roll down a 200m hill, either by yourself or with a friend. Later, we pull into Rotorua, famous for its spurting geysers, boiling mud pools, hot springs and ‘interesting’ sulfur smell. Rotorua is an important hub of Maori culture. To recognise this, we have an included authentic cultural experience, a fantastic Maori hāngi dinner and traditional dance concert. Some of the foods you can try from the hāngi are sweet potato and chicken cooked on hot rocks in an underground pit – just as they have been for centuries. Listen to stories, songs and chants while learning about ancient Maori mythology and beliefs.
This morning, get an insider look at New Zealand’s unique Maori culture & history as we tour Rotorua’s famous Te Puia Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. You’ll learn all about the history of the Maori people, their customs & traditions, plus have the opportunity to ask questions & learn as much as possible about this amazing spot – it’s the perfect way to get in the know. With the rest of the day free to explore the way you want, you can advantage of the city's awesome thermal environment & treat yourself to a spa treatment or massage. Our tip: With so much buzz around the amazing thermal mud treatments found here, we love picking up some products to take home as a gift (or for ourselves!). There are loads of other ways to spend your time too if adrenalin is more your thing, like getting views of the city from a gondola, then speeding down a hill on a luge, or getting a splash as you raft the Kaituna River – the options for things to keep you busy in Rotorua are endless. Or, if chilling out is more of what you’re into, then or hit up a café for a flat white coffee or make tracks to the shops for a spending spree.
Jump on board a transfer coach this morning and cruise back through the Waikato countryside to Auckland. Please note: This transfer from Rotorua to Auckland is not operated by Contiki, but by a third party operator.
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Trip Name: Sun & Steam (Until Sept 2017)
Duration: 8 Days
From Price: 1089
Trip Code: 160208
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