18 Day - Kakariki Tour

The Kakariki Tour offers the perfect mix of exciting excursions and plenty of relaxing free time. Discover spectacular alpine scenery and the warmth of Rotorua’s Maori Culture and have close encounters with rare native wildlife on this unforgettable kiwi holiday.

Day 1 - Arrive in Auckland

On arrival in Auckland, you'll be welcomed and transferred to your waterside accommodation in central Auckland.

Today is a day to explore on your own, central Auckland. Discover our central city shopping district, the various small cafes or exquisite restaurants on the Viaduct Harbour, Wynyard Quarter, Princes Wharf and Britomart Precinct.

For spectacular views over Auckland, head up to the Sky Tower, New Zealand's tallest man-made structure or look into our history at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Day 2 - Auckland - Waipoua Forest - Omapere, Hokianga (B,D)

We travel north through towards our first stop at Muriwai Beach, taking a short walk to view the renowned gannet colony nesting on the cliffs. From here we skirt the shoreline of the Kaipara Harbour, one of the world’s largest inland tidal estuaries. There are elevated views of the harbour as we travel to Wellsford and on to the Matakohe Kauri Museum, dedicated to the mighty kauri tree, growing to over 50 metres tall with 16 metres girth and living for 2000 years. North of Dargaville we enter the primeval Forest of Waipoua (translated as water falling at night), the largest kauri forest. At twilight we accompany Footprints Waipoua, a group of young Maori dedicated to preserving the traditions and culture of Ngapuhi, the northern Maori tribe, to visit both Tane Mahuta (the God of the forest) 51 metres tall, girth 13.8 metres. This journey will give you a deeper understanding of this unique forest from both an ecological and Maori perspective.

One Night Accommodation at Hokianga Copthorne Hotel Resort. This waterfront hotel is located at lovely Omapere on the Hokianga Harbour with stunning views to huge sand dunes across the bay.

Day 3 - Omapere - Bay of Islands (B)

The Hokianga harbour providing shelter from the Tasman Sea has not changed since the time of Kupe, the Polynesian sea captain and navigator who is credited with discovering New Zealand 1000 years ago. From this harbour Kupe sailed for home to Hawaiiki the ancestral homeland of Maori (hence the name Hokianga Nui A Kupe meaning “great returning place of Kupe”). This morning we cruise out onto the Hokianga Harbour.  We have a chance to explore the sand dunes and, if you are adventurous, ride a body board down the dunes. Northland is one of the narrowest spots in the whole North Island, which makes for an easy day from the Hokianga to the Bay of Islands. We are in no rush, so there is time for plenty of stops along the way. Kerikeri is a thriving town known for citrus orchards and arts and crafts. We visit the Stone Store, New Zealand's oldest stone building. Our destination is Paihia in the Bay of Islands. The sparkling blue waters of this maritime park are dotted with islands - paradise for beach lovers and sailors. Our accommodation is close to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, which we will explore on a guided tour.

Two Nights Accommodation at Waitangi Copthorne Hotel Resort. This four star hotel offers uninterrupted Bay views surrounded by 60 acres of subtropical gardens and the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

Day 4 - Cruise the Bay of Islands - Russell Township (B)

Step on board at Paihia this morning to cruise out to a maritime park of 144 islands. It is your choice if you want to go looking for dolphins and swimming (weather and conditions permitting)  or take a relaxed cruise to Cape Brett and the “ Hole in the Rock” . Your fun in the water finishes at Russell, the first capital of New Zealand. It has a rollicking 19th century past when it was known as the “hell hole of the South Pacific” and was a favourite haunt of whalers and sealers. Visit the colonial buildings, walk the waterfront or climb Flagstaff Hill for wide views over the Bay before catching the short ferry back to Paihia.

Day 5 - Bay of Islands - Auckland (B)

Today is another chance to get off the beaten track and we will stop by at the Kawiti Glowworm Caves after leaving the Bay of Island.  They are named after a famous Maori chief of the area and still belong to his family. The Caves are located in the heart of the Waiomio Valley and home to thousands of glow worms as far as the eye can see. Your friendly guide will share is knowledge about the fantastic little glowing creatures and no doubt give you an insight into their fascinating life circle.

In the afternoon we will make our way back to Auckland, where we will stay the night in the heart of the city.

One Night Accommodation at Auckland Sebel Suites. The hotel offers spacious apartment style  accommodation and is located on the Viaduct Harbour in the heart of the action.

Day 6 - Auckland - Rotorua (B)

Today we leave Auckland and head southeast through the lush dairy farmlands of the Waikato. Touring New Zealand's dramatic Karangahake Gorge we take a stroll alongside the Ohinemuri River through native bush to the relics and ruins of this region's gold-mining past. We pass through Te Puke, the Kiwifruit capital of the world, the landscape dotted with kiwifruit orchards before continuing on to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. Along the way, at Okawa Bay, we board "Tiua", a 53ft catamaran for a relaxing sail on serene Lake Rotoiti to secluded coves and natural hote pools reached only by boat - a great way to finish your day.

Two Nights Accomodation at Rotorua  Novotel Lakeside.  The hotel offers beautiful views over the lake and a contemporary modern decor for an enjoyable stay.

Day 7 - Rotorua (B,L)

A leisurely day in this lakeside town at the heart of Maori culture. Enjoy the morning at your own pace, stroll around the lakefront or visit Ohinemutu, one of only two living Maori villages left in New Zealand. The we head over to the famous "Buried Village of Te Wairoa" for a hosted lunch with our friends David and Karen.

After lunch we will take a walk around the village itself and then head over to Kiwi Encounter Rotorua where you will come up close to one of these famous birds and learn about all the effort that goes into ensuring their survival.

Day 8 - Rotorua - Tongariro National Park (B)

Today we visit the surreal, geothermal reserve, Wai-O-Tapu. The bubbling mud pools and incredibly colourful silica terraces are unforgettable.

On the road to Lake Taupo we visit the turbulent Huka Falls where the Waikato River thunders through a narrow chasm. From Taupo there are magnificent views across the lake to the three active volcanoes - Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu (2,797 metres), the highest mountain in the North Island. These mountains of the volcanic plateau are our destination for the nights, the World Heritage Tongariro National Park.

One Night Accommodation at Whakapapa Village, Chateau Tongariro.  The hotel is nearly as iconic a landmark as the mountain itself and embraces the history and tradition of it's surroundings.

Day 9 - National Park - Napier (B)

After breakfast we will make our way into idyllic Hawke's Bay with it's patchwork of orchards, pasture, vineyards and of course the coastline. Our destination for today is Napier, our very own Art Deco city. Napier was rebuilt in this style after an earthquake in 1931. These days it’s also an acclaimed wine region and your guide will introduce you to the premier vineyards before we end the day with a walking guided art deco tour. Your hotel is right on the waterfront.

One Night Accommodation at Te Pania Scenic Hotel. You will enjoy the central waterfront location and the extensive sea views from your hotel room.

Day 10 - Napier - Wellington (B)

Leaving Napier we drive through the countryside of farmland and vineyards then pass through the small farming towns of Norsewood and Dannevirke before heading down the Wairarapa Plains to historic, artsy Greytown. The picturesque main street is lined with antique, craft and gift shops. It is also the centre of the Wairarapa's premium wine growing region. We continue our trip further south to the quirky capital city of Wellington where you can enjoy the city's bustling food and wine scene.

One Night Accommodation at Bolton Hotel in the heart of Wellington's eclectic cafe scene.

Day 11 - Wellington - Nelson (B)

This morning we catch the Interislander ferry  to cruise for three hours across Cook Strait into Tory Channel and up beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton. With our feet firmly planted on “Te Waka a Maui”, the South Island, our first stop is at Forrest vineyard in Marlborough’s premier wine and food region renowned for it's sauvignon blanc.  After wine tasting and lunch we head through the heart of Marlborough towards Nelson, the sunshine capital o New Zealand and gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. Along the way we cross the Pelorus River bridge, scene of the Barrel Run scene from the Hobbit movies. In Nelson relax and unpack and relax, we have reached our home for the next 2 nights.

Two Nights Accommodation at Century Park Motor Lodge.  Located only three minutes away from the centre of town it is an easy walk to the main restaurants and the Cathedral.

Day 12 - Explore Abel Tasman National Park (B)

Today you have a choice of a full scenic cruise or a cruise and walk from Marahau along the stunning Abel Tasman coastline. Abel Tasman National Park is our country's smallest national park. It protects 23,000 hectares of the most natural stretch of easily accessible coastline in New Zealand. The coastline is characterised by islands just offshore, sheltered waters, estuaries and golden, sandy beaches. Lie on a beach or go for a swim if the weather is warm. The park is sheltered from ocean swells, and enjoys a mild climate year round. After your cruise or walk we return to Nelson.

Day 13 - Nelson - Kaikoura (B)

From Nelson we head over to Blenheim and down the spectacular Kaikoura coastline where big seas pound the rocks. Kaikoura is a small town beside the ocean and beneath the towering Kaikoura Ranges and the coastline is home to many marine mammals. Enjoy your free afternoon to explore the peninsula and town on foot or go on one of the local wildlife tours (additional cost).

Day 14 - Kaikoura - Aoraki/Mt Cook (B,L)

The highway continues down the coast and winds inland over the Hunderlee Hills before dropping down to the Canterbury Plains. Our special lunch destination is Akaunui Farm homestead where we enjoy the warm hospitality of Di and Ian Mackenzie, picking up farming tips from Ian and lunching on fresh produce from Di’s bountiful garden. Afterwards, we drive towards Lake Tekapo, one of New Zealand's most photographed spots. The Church of the Good Shepherd and a sculpture celebrating the hard-working high country sheep dog are two irresistible photo stops.

One Night Accommodation at The Hermitage. Spectacular views of Aoraki Mt Cook and the surrounding National Park World Heritage area make this four star plus hotel and its Panorama Room restaurant a stunning destination.

Day 15 - Aoraki/Mt Cook - Queenstown (B)

Perhaps take an early morning stroll in the valley before we head down the mountain rimmed Mackenzie Basin, over the golden grass ranges of Lindis Pass and through the craggy Kawarau Gorge into Queenstown. We ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for a scenic overview of this picturesque resort and adrenalin adventure destination.

Three Nights Accommodation at Queenstown Scenic Suites. The hotel is just above the town with views to Lake Wakatipu and Remarkables Range.

Day 16 - Queenstown - Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown (B)

Today is one of the highlights of your holiday in New Zealand. We travel along the breath taking Milford Road, admiring the glacier-carved valleys, sky-scraping mountain and mirror lakes and making plenty of photo stops along the way. Arriving in Milford Sound we board a boat and cruise the inky blue waters, spotting dolphins, penguins and seals with our onboard nature guide. We return to Queenstown on a scenic flight that showcases the beauty of Fiordland and Central Otago, rounding off an unforgettable day in New Zealand's Great Outdoors.

Day 17 - At Leisure in Queenstown (B)

Take a day to experience the beauty of Queenstown exactly as you want to. Perhaps cruise on the Tss Earnslaw (optional), take a jet boat ride (optional) on the remote and beautiful Dart River in The Lord of the Rings scenery or walk the lakeshore.

Day 18 - Depart Queenstown (B)

Time to say goodbye to your fellow companions.

On your last morning with us, enjoy a leisurely breakfast before being picked up from your hotel to go to the airport for your flight home. If you have time prior to the transfer, catch up on last minute shopping for New Zealand classics such as merino clothing in the boutique Duty Free Stores in Queenstown.




Please take the time to view our “Virtual Tour” for the 15 Kakariki tour or download/print the detailed “Tour Dossier”. Both can be found on the right hand column of this page. Alternatively you can simply contact us. For a comprehensive list of all activities available in each location featured in this tour, please refer to the "Destination Guide" found at the top of this page.

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