Leave Auckland for the delights of the Bay of Plenty staying two nights on Lake Rotoiti with a celebratory special Christmas lunch at the hotel. In Tauranga we stay at Trinity Wharf on the harbour’s edge. Special off-the-beaten-track highlights include a cruise on a luxury catamaran on Lake Rotoiti and riding the rail carts at Awakeri.
What Ena loves about this tour:
Catching up with George at the Mine Museum, meeting Rachel at the Waterlily Gardens, setting forth on a rail cart adventure with Paul at Awakeri and sailing with Matt on his catamaran along the shoreline of Lake Rotoiti. It’s the passion of these people and their special places that make this holiday unique.
We depart Auckland for the speciality shops of Cambridge and Tirau before a visit to Wingspan in Paradise Valley, the home of native birds of prey. We then take a little tiki tour of Rotorua to Ohinemutu Maori village, the Museum gardens and Kuirau Park. In the afternoon we head to our hotel on the shores of Lake Rotoiti our home for the next two nights.
We take a leisurely sightseeing tour out past the Green and Blue Lakes to Lake Tarawera before heading back to the hotel for a Christmas lunch.
In the afternoon we drive around Lake Rotorua to ride on the Skyline gondola for views of Lake Rotorua and its steaming geothermal landscape. Later we visit beautiful Hamurana Spring, the deepest freshwater spring in the North Island. We dine in at the hotel this evening.
We stroll down to Okawa Bay on the shores of Lake Rotoiti and board the luxury catamaran “Tiua” to explore the lake, cruising the bays. Returning to Okawa we head towards Tauranga taking a guided tour of a hidden gem, The Elms mission homestead completed in 1847 and surrounded by gardens of National Significance. We dine in at Trinity Wharf on the harbour's edge this evening.
What you'll love today
Private cruise on the luxury catamaran Tiua
Take a guided tour of the Elms historic Mission house in Tauranga
Day 5: Tauranga - Waihi - Karangahake Gorge - Auckland
Leaving Tauranga we travel a pretty back country road which leads to the Waterlily Gardens for lunch and a wander among the waterlily ponds. After lunch we travel through the Karangahake Gorge where rusting machinery is the only sign of its fascinating gold-mining past. At the Victoria Battery local guide George shows us through the Mining Museum’s collections. We return to Auckland over the Hauraki Plains.
What you'll love today
Enjoy lunch and a stroll around the beautiful Waterlily Gardens
Guided visit at the Victoria Battery Museum in the Karangahake Gorge