5. From Auckland: 3-day Highlights of North Island Tour
Day 1: Explore the awe-inspiring Waitomo Glowworm Caves with the spectacular limestone formations and the amazing boat trip through the Glowworm Grotto. Journey to Middle-earth and marvel at the enchanting Hobbiton Movie Set, a picturesque, highly-elevated 1250-acre farm with spectacular panoramic views as you soak up the idyllic setting with the 44 Hobbit holes where The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit Movie Trilogies were filmed. Be fascinated as the magical world of Hobbiton comes to life; see and take photos in front of your favourite places: the Hobbit Holes, the Shire, the Green Dragon Inn.
Continue to Rotorua to the World Famous Te Puia, home to remarkable geothermal features, including the famous Pōhutu geyser as well as rich layers of Māori culture. There are lush nature trails teeming with native bird life and you will even find New Zealand iconic native flightless bird, the Kiwi, on site. Throughout the day, marvel at the stunning scenery en route as we journey off the motorways into the real hinterland of New Zealand.
Day 2: This is the most comprehensive 8-hour Auckland tour available and showcases the spectacular beauty, history, culture, fauna and flora of Auckland. We venture further afield into the stunning countryside of Auckland with its rugged West Coast and black sand beaches and take you off the beaten track so you can see the real Auckland. Marvel at the stunning attractions and unspoiled scenery of Auckland.
Day 3: On your final day we travel north over the Auckland Harbour Bridge with our destination, the Bay of Islands. Marvel at the spectacular and ever-changing rural and coastal scenery and sub-tropical bush as we head initially to Pahia. You will then embark on a 3-hour cultural journey of discovery through New Zealand’s most important historic site, The Waitangi Treaty Grounds, New Zealand’s first historic landmark. This will start with a guided tour of the expansive Treaty Grounds and discover the amazing stories, people and events that shaped the past, present and future of New Zealand. This will then be followed by a live Maori cultural performance with an authentic, high-energy concert inside the beautifully carved meeting house that will leave you spellbound. Experience waiata (songs), learn about traditional weaponry and witness New Zealand’s famous haka (war dance). Explore the museum with its stunning collection of taonga ((treasured objects), the carving studios and take a bushwalk and experience the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe.
Then after your lunch, you’ll board the high-speed catamaran, Dolphin Seeker, with its large viewing windows as you cruise past numerous islands in the Bay. Keep a lookout for the dolphins, whales and other marine life as you head past Cape Brett Lighthouse before arriving at the simply majestic Hole in The Rock. If conditions permit your skipper will navigate you through the narrow space before returning to Paihia for your return journey to Auckland.