Your journey into the 'winterless North' begins as you cross over the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge. Along the way your driver guide will keep you informed and entertained, pointing out sites of interest as you drive through rolling farmland and lush native forest into the Northland region. Take a brief morning tea break in Kaiwaka, your tour continues past Whangarei and through Kawakawa before arriving at the seaside town of Paihia. You'll have the rest of your day at leisure to explore the village and relax.
On arrival in the Bay of Islands visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds for a guided tour of the historic place where in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Māori and the British Crown. Explore the original Treaty House, one of New Zealand's oldest and most visited historic homes and Te Whare Runanga, a fully carved Maori meeting house, which is representative of all iwi in New Zealand. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds offer a truly unique insight into New Zealand's early history. You'll have the rest of your day at leisure to explore Paihia and relax.
As you travel north, enjoy a taste of New Zealand's varying and beautiful landscape: the rolling hills of Northland's rural countryside, breath-taking coastal views and native forest. Drive along the shores of Ninety Mile Beach as the waves crash beside the custom-built coach. Feel the sand between your toes as you help your driver guide dig for shellfish (conditions permitting). Your off-road journey continues up Te Paki Stream, stopping at the massive sand dunes where you can experience the thrills and spills of sand surfing. Visit the Puketi Kauri Forest and get up close to ancient and majestic giant kauri trees and native bush. Stroll along an elevated walkway as these graceful giants surround you, and learn about conservation efforts to preserve the forest today. Visit Cape Reinga and hear the stories of this significant site where, according to Māori legend, spirits depart on their journey home to Hawaiki. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views, visit the iconic lighthouse, and see the point where the Tasman Sea and the mighty Pacific Ocean come crashing together. During your Cape Reinga tour, you'll also experience another Kiwi icon: a lunch of delicious fish and chips at the historic Wagener Museum at Houhora. Your journey home will be equally enjoyable as your tour guide's combination of local insight, extensive historical knowledge and a fantastic sense of humour create an unforgettable adventure.
Board your cruise and take in the stunning views as you glide out through the islands and along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse keeps watch over and Piercy Island/Motukōkako, or as it is popularly known the ‘Hole in the Rock’. According to Māori legend, local warriors used to paddle through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof above were a good omen. If conditions permit, your skipper will expertly guide the ship through the narrow space. Keep an eye out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales and other marine life during your cruise, and have your camera ready as you get up close to the action. The purpose-built catamaran is licensed by DOC (the Department of Conservation) for dolphin viewing and the crew have years of experience locating dolphins in these waters. Dolphin Seeker has indoor and outdoor seating available, and the largest outdoor viewing decks in the Bay of Islands.
Enjoy a relaxing sightseeing tour from Paihia to Auckland. The afternoon departure time allows you to spend a full day in the beautiful Bay of Islands before returning to Auckland. Your local driver guide will point out scenic highlights as you travel through farmland and past native forests. At the end of your journey, enjoy the spectacular views from the Auckland Harbour Bridge as you arrive in Auckland's central city by night.