Welcome to NZ globe trotters. Time to meet your wolf-pack and start salivating over the overflowing banquet of adventure we have up for grabs here in the land of the 'long white cloud'. We'll cross Aucklands Harbour Bridge admiring the 'City of Sails' habour before starting our journey north to Paihia.We'll waste no time exploring what this country is famed for - unfathomable nature. Ancient Kauri trees that stand up to 50 metres high and hold over 1000-years of history will delight a walk through the reserve of Parry Kauri Park. -Walk through native Kauri ForestOn arrival to the Bay of Island we're starting off with a dose of Kiwi history on a guided tour at Waitangi Treaty grounds where in 1840 New Zealand officially became a nation of two communities. And because we like to give you that something extra, how about a free admission at the Treaty museum, in case you seek a bit more detail on Kiwi history.
Whether it's parasailing or a fast boat ride - today's (idyllic) list of optionals reads like a who's who of adventure. This area is filled with natural beauty and is sure to inspire your inner wild child. Make the most of the Free Time Add-On experiences on offer - tomorrow we head back to the big city vibes.
This morning we'll tuck into breakfast supplied by the Eat My Lunch - every meal purchases a lunch which is delivered to schools for kids in need.Then, feeling full, salty and sun-kissed we wave goodbye to Paihia & sashay our way back down NZ in the direction of Auckland. We'll say sad goodbyes, but there are always more adventures around the corner.
Laters Auckland! 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, on route to Hobbiton Village. That's right, it wouldn't be a complete experience without a stop at the "Shire".When you catch your first whiff of that .. 'unusual' sulphur smell, you'll know we've arrived in Rotorua. Famed for its spurting geysers, boiling mud pools & hot springs, gondola and speeding luge rides, Rotorua is a natural wonderland, and then some. Tonight the culture will sky rocket with a traditional Maori hāngi dinner & dance performance, and perhaps best of all, the chance to get involved in the world-famous HAKA. Tongues at the ready peeps.
The day is yours to roam free in this geothermal paradise. Soak in a hot spring, go white water rafting or hike up a volcano. The options are limitless and the decisions are yours. If you're travelling after October 2020, we recommend the Rotorua Dawn Canopy Tour, exclusive to Contiki, where you'll watch the sun rise, eat some breakfast and drink coffee up in the towering trees as the birds make start their morning calls. Then, you'll get to soar 1200m through the forest on the ultimate zipline adventure.
Our Rotorua adventures are (almost) at an end, but not before we stop by the Rainbow Springs Nature Park, where you’ll get the chance to learn about New Zealand's national bird, kiwis. Like nice surprises? Here’s one for you - your included entrance fee goes towards the kiwi rehabilitation project, a Contiki sponsored initiative. Plus, as part of the project Treadright sponsors an incubator to hatch eggs, so every year we get naming rights to two new baby kiwis. Cute, huh?220,000 litres (that's 58 000 gallons) of water gush over Huka Falls per second. Just let that sink in for a minute. Wild, right? Even wilder still is the Hukafalls Jet experience - a thrilling ride that will get you experiencing the full force of the falls and leave you with even more of a taste for adventure. A good thing really, given Lake Taupo is on the horizon.Volcanic peak views & trout fishing will seamlessly slip us into quaint lake life. But don't be fooled by the seemingly still scenery - a bungy jump or skydive are both on the menu if that adrenaline itch needs scratching.
We drive through the central plateau to the southern end of the Tongariro National Park, Ohakune is known as the aprés ski capital of the North Island. Today you have the option to go mountain biking along one of NZ's most picturesque track, "the Old Coach Rd".Tonight we stay in a heritage listed building built in 1913 which is now a vibrant modern ski lodge, located at the base of a volcano, Mt Ruapehu with views unlike any other you've seen.
These landscapes are unique and the sights will leave you breathless. On route to the windy capital Wellington where we'll show you the sights of this city.As much as we've been loving the nature time, the change of scenery to New Zealand's well-cultured capital will prove an utter delights. After an orientation through the narrow streets of Wellington a night on the town will be on the cards, plus an optional dinner to start the night off as we mean to go on.
The day is yours to explore Wellington! In the early evening we'll head to a local cafe and try the famed flat white coffee in its city of origin (sorry Australians). Then you'll have a free afternoon, or (from Oct 2020) we'll meet Parris Quinn our 2019 changemaker, and try some of her Heart Parcels brownies. Heart Parcels is a charity that Parris started to ensure Wellington's homeless have enough food to eat. Buy a delicious brownie here and the proceeds go straight towards feeding people living on the streets of Wellington. If it's a Monday night, you're welcome to join Paris as she hands out donations. It's inspiring stuff.
So long north island! Today we're making tracks for your southern brother, darting across the Tasman via the Inter-Island ferry. Our first port of call on the South Island will be Picton, the gateway to wine country. Sauv blanc, anyone? Our next drive takes us through Marlborough’s wine country along the rugged east coast. Arriving in Kaikoura will see us amongst a seaside settlement known for whales & dolphins, so the camera needs to be on 110% charge as we roll around the coast. We'll stop at a seal colony, where you'll struggle not to break into a collective 'cuuuute' as you watch these guys sunning themselves on the rocks.Arriving into Christchurch marks the end of our adventure (sob). Our time together has been nothing short of perfect, so don't leave it too long before coming back to hang with us for Contiki 2.0.