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 nights Tour departing Auckland, visiting Taumarunui, Whangamomona, Whanganui, Taihape and Napier

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$3190 pp twin
$3790 pp single
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Tour Map

Day 1: Auckland – Rangiriri – Otorohanga – Taumarunui

Crosshills Gardens

Leaving Auckland, we meet a local guide at the Rangiriri Cultural and Heritage Centre for an insight into the 1863 invasion of the Waikato.

Further south we stop for lunch with Debbie and Fraser Robertson at Crosshills Farm. 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: Forgotten World Rail carts – Whangamomona – Taumarunui

Whangamomona Hotel

We transfer to rail carts to travel for 16.5km on a one and half hour trip along the tracks and through five tunnels to Matiere.

Our awaiting coach then takes us deeper into the Forgotten World Highway to Whangamomona for lunch at the hotel. On the way back to Taumarunui we call into Lauren’s Lavender Farm beside the Whanganui River.

What you'll love today
  • Five tunnels to Matiere
  • Lunch at the Whangamomona Hotel on the Forgotten World Highway

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

The Bridge to Nowhere

At Pipiriki we meet our jet boat for an hour’s ride upstream in sublime scenery to the Mangapurua Landing to walk (optional) to the Bridge to Nowhere. Built too late to assist the WW1 servicemen who tried to farm there, it makes a poignant memorial. 

Returning to Pipiriki we drive to Jerusalem and on to Whanganui and the Quality Inn.

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

Day 4: Whanganui – “Waimarie” Paddle Steamer river cruise – Taihape

Paddle Steamer - Waimarie

We visit the Sarjeant Gallery, Waimarie museum and board the paddle steamer for a two-hour lunch cruise on the river.

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 to Taihape and stay at The Aspen Court Motel. We dine at Le Café Telephonique.

What you'll love today
  • Cruising on the coal-fired “Waimarie” Paddle Steamer
  • The Maori carvings and wall panels at St Paul’s Memorial church

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

Springvale Suspension Bridge Napier

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 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 – Hawkes Bay Farmers’ Market

Hawkes Bay Farmers' Market

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

We visit the Hawkes Bay Farmers’ Market in Hastings to check out local produce and artisan specialties and later drive up Bluff Hill for the views and to Otatara Pa Historic Reserve.

What you'll love today
  • Touring Napier's Art Deco architecture with a specialist guide
  • Shopping for produce at the Hawkes Bay Farmers’ Market

Day 7: Napier – Taupo – Wairakei - Auckland

Huka Falls

We drive back northwards, stopping at the Waimungu Falls on the Napier/Taupo Road. We lunch in Taupo and stop to view the Huka Falls and the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station too. We return to Auckland through the Waikato farmlands arriving in the late afternoon.

What you'll love today
  • Seeing two great waterfalls - Waimungu and Huka Falls
  • The panoramic view of the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station

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