Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s City of Sails. Flights can arrive any time prior to 4.00pm; you will be transferred from the airport to your hotel. After check-in, you can explore Auckland. Take a walk down Queen Street, to the main shopping precinct or take a bus (leaves from outside the hotel) down to the Viaduct Harbour and the Auckland Waterfront region. This recently developed area of central Auckland has cafes and restaurants galore. Take a seat in the sunshine, enjoy a glass of one of New Zealand’s famous Sauvignon Blanc’s and watch the maritime activity on Waitemata Harbour. This evening, meet your fellow travelling companions and your AAT Kings Travel Director at a welcome reception back at your hotel.
This morning, depart Auckland City and travel north over the Harbour Bridge past the sprawling suburbs of the North Shore of Auckland. Our travels then take you through Northland’s lush farmland scenery before arriving into the beautiful Bay of Islands. This afternoon discovers the stories, people and events that shaped the past, present and future of Aotearoa New Zealand at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. During your tour you will view the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe, the historic Treaty House and carved Meeting House. Stand on the spot where New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was first signed in 1840. This evening enjoy dinner at your hotel.
Today is a completely free day for you to experience the beauty of the Bay of Islands. Perhaps take a coach trip up to Cape Reinga - the very top of New Zealand via idyllic Ninety Mile Beach. Experience a day of sailing aboard a historic tall ship, enjoy wine tasting on a wine tour of the region, or join a tour of Russell and learn more about the settling of the Bay of Islands. Tonight, you are free to dine as you wish. Your AAT Kings Travel Director will assist you in booking all your optional experiences.
Enjoy a leisurely morning in the Bay of Islands before you travel back to Auckland. Our journey south takes us to Whangarei, the northern-most city in New Zealand, where you can wander around the art galleries and through the marina in the Town Basin. Enjoy a scenic drive through the Rodney District before arriving into Auckland late afternoon.
A city sights tour will start your morning in Auckland. Travel to the Auckland War Memorial Museum for views across Auckland City and the Waitemata Harbour. After leaving Auckland you will follow the meandering trail of the Waikato River to Waitomo Caves. Tour the amazing limestone caverns and sail through the still waters 90 of the sparkling Glow Worm Grotto. From Waitomo to Rotorua you will venture through the King Country region which was at the centre of the New Zealand Wars in the 1860s. On arrival in Rotorua an orientation tour takes in views of Lake Rotorua. Tonight, an evening of culture, history and scrumptious food awaits you at the Tamaki Maori Village. Wander through the ancient forest village and learn about Maori art forms and traditions, followed by a concert featuring local performers. Experience an authentic Maori Hangi meal, steamed underground in the traditional way.
Today is your chance to experience the scenic wonders of the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. You could explore Rainbow Springs Nature Park & The National Kiwi Hatchery, take a ‘behind the scenes’ tour through the working kiwi nursery and hatchery. Visit Te Puia and join a guided tour through the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, home to famous Pohutu Geyser and the bubbling beauty of the mud pools. Later, why not spend a little more time experiencing the thermal wonders, with a soak in the hot mineral waters of the Polynesian Spas? Your AAT Kings Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen optional experiences.
Say Haere Ra (goodbye) to Rotorua this morning and journey out through pine forests and farmland to a little hidden spot, the turquoise torrent of rapids known as Huka Falls. The road ahead unfolds in a broad panorama of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. The stunningly blue fresh water of Lake Taupo is home to some of the best trout fishing in the world. You will then journey south over the Central Plateau, New Zealand’s main volcanic area. In a country of contrasts, perhaps nothing is more striking than the three peaks of Tongariro National Park rising starkly from the surrounding plateau of tussock and near desert. Pass through several small towns along the road to Wellington, each with their own personality and quirks. Probably the quirkiest of all would have to be Taihape… the self-proclaimed gumboot capital of the world. Travel along the Kapiti Coast, the traditional summer playground of the inhabitants of Wellington city. And as you follow the state highway, the Kapiti Coast becomes New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington.
After a city sights tour of Wellington taking in New Zealand’s parliament buildings, and a visit to Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, enjoy some time at leisure. Indulge in Wellington’s renowned coffee culture or take a walk along Lambton Quay - the heart of the central business district of Wellington. You’ll have lunch included today provided by ‘Eat My Lunch’. ‘Eat My Lunch’ is a charity organisation that provides lunch for New Zealand school children who otherwise would be going to school without. By having lunch today, you are giving a lunch to a child in need. Your AAT Kings New Zealand holiday concludes this afternoon. Your flights will need to depart after 2.00pm, and you will be transferred to Wellington Airport.