We follow rail, river and walking tracks, once the lifeblood of the Central North Island. Ride rail carts and cruise the Whanganui River by jet boat up to the landing to the Bridge to Nowhere. Then the delights of Hawkes Bay await, reached via the historic “Gentle Annie” route.

7 days / 6 night Tour departing Auckland with stays in Taumarunui, Whanganui, Taihape & Napier plus of course the Whanganui River and Forgotten World Highway

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Tour Price

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$2990.00 pp twin
$3390.00 pp single
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Tour Map

Day 1: Auckland – Rangiriri – Otorohanga – Taumarunui

Visitors walking at Rangiriri

Leaving Auckland, we meet a local guide at the Rangiriri Cultural and Heritage Centre to gain an insight into the 1863 invasion of the Waikato. With our guide we visit the Rangiriri battle field and the Rongo Maraeroa commemorative site and carvings.

Further south we stop for lunch with Debbie and Fraser Robertson at Crosshills Farm near Otorohanga. Later in the day we reach Taumarunui, where we stay and dine in at the Forgotten World Motel for two evenings.

What you'll love today
  • Meeting our guide at the Rangiriri Cultural and Heritage Centre 
  • Lunch with Debbie and Fraser Robertson at Crosshills Farm 

Day 2:Taumarunui - Forgotten World Rail carts – Whangamomona – Taumarunui

Riding the Forgotten World Railcarts

We call into Lauren’s Lavender Farm beside the Whanganui River then drive deep into the Forgotten World Highway to Whangamomona for lunch at the hotel. Stroll along the street and get acquainted with the history of this pioneer town and its "Republic" days.
 

Then your adventure on the tracks begins. Climb on the rail carts to travel from Whangamomona through the bushclad Tangarakau Gorge and on to Tokirima where your coach awaits to return to Taumarunui.

 

What you'll love today
  • Lunch at the Whangamomona Hotel on the Forgotten World Highway
  • Ride the rail cart tracks from Whangamomona to Tokirima

Day 3: Taumarunui – Pipiriki – Whanganui River – The Bridge to Nowhere – Whanganui

MoaTours Guide & Guests at the Bridge to Nowhere on the Whanganui River

At Pipiriki we meet our jet boat for an hour’s ride upstream in sublime scenery to the Mangapurua Landing. Depending on your level of fitness either walk with your guide to The Bridge to Nowhere (40 minutes one way) or explore further upstream on the jet boat. The Bridge makes a poignant memorial to the WW1 servicemen who tried to farm there.

Returning downstream to Pipiriki we drive alongside the river to Jerusalem and on to Whanganui and the Aotea Motor Lodge. 

What you'll love today
  • Jet boating at the Whanganui River 
  • Walking to the Bridge to Nowhere
Accommodation

Day 4: Whanganui sightseeing – Taihape

River views of Whanganui River & City

We get to know the town - meeting Lisa at the Whanganui Regional Museum to hear her stories of the early history then go behind the scenes with the curator at the Sarjeant Art Gallery.. 

Nearby at Putiki a local guide tells the stories of the intricate Maori carvings and wall panels of St Paul’s Memorial church. Then, turning eastward, we drive inland to Taihape and stay at The Aspen Court Motel. 

What you'll love today
  • Hear the guides' stories at Whanganui museum and Sargeant gallery 
  • The renowned Maori carvings and wall panels at St Paul’s Memorial church

Day 5: Taihape – “Gentle Annie” road – Havlock North – Napier

Walking on the Springvale Suspension Bridge on the Gentle Annie Road, Central North Island

From Taihape we cross the Central Plateau to explore the Inland Patea Heritage Trail along the “Gentle Annie” travelled by the early Maori and stockmen.

There are historic sites, expansive views, a suspension bridge across the Rangitikei River and the largest sheep stations in the North Island. We lunch at Birdwood Gallery near Havelock North and stay two nights at Scenic Te Pania on the Napier waterfront.

What you'll love today
  • Exploring the “Gentle Annie” route and its heritage
  • Arriving at Napier on the East Coast 

Day 6: Napier sightseeing – Art Deco touring – gannet colony, Cape Kidnappers

Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony visitors

An Art Deco guide joins our coach as we tour to the National Tobacco Company building and Marewa, the surburb built in Art Deco style after the 1931 earthquake.

With a nature guide we enjoy a special experience - a private three-hour overland safari along private farm roads to get close-up to the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers. Later in the day we drive up Bluff Hill for the views.

What you'll love today
  • Touring Napier's Art Deco architecture with a specialist guide
  • Taking a private farm road to see the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers

Day 7: Napier – Taupo – Tamahere - Auckland

The House and Garden at Moondance Manor in Waikato

Leaving Napier after breakfast we drive back northwards to Taupo and continue on to Tamahere stopping for lunch with Stephen and Jeanette Williams at Moondance Manor set in stunning gardens beside the Waikato River. 

We return to Auckland through the Waikato farmlands arriving in the late afternoon.

What you'll love today
  • The rugged landscape views from the Napier to Taupo road
  • Lunch  and a guided garden tour at Moondance Manor 

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