Clear your schedule for New Zealand NOW – from Auckland to Waitomo and everything in between. Cross the Harbour Bridge, create your own kayaking adventure, swim with the dolphins and see the ‘Hole in the Rock’ while fast boating through the islands! Glimpse real glowworms while black water rafting the Waitomo Caves. Plus, for you culture vultures, trek through the native Kauri Forest and take in the Tribal Lands of Nga Puhi Maori. You’ll have a day to chill out in the thermal pools of Rotorua too!
|Accommodations:|| Hotel, Lodge
as per itinerary
|Meals:|| , Breakfast, Dinner, Breakfast
as per itinerary
|Sightseeing:||North Island, including Paihia, Waitomo, Auckland & Rotorua|
|Transportation:||Modern, air-conditioned coach|
Fly over the international date line on your way to New Zealand.
Arrive in Auckland & check into the Mercure Hotel Auckland. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore! Meet your fellow travelers & Tour Manager this evening.
Kia Ora! Meet up with your Contiki Crew in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. Surrounded by volcanoes, islands and a stunning harbour, you’ll soon understand why this is the “City of Sails” and was once home to the America’s Cup. This morning we’ll crossing the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge & take in the full-blown vistas of the harbour, Rangitoto, and other neighbouring volcanic islands on the way. With a stop at Parry Kauri Park, there’s time to walk through this famous reserve and see many of New Zealand’s ancient Kauri (a native tree). Some of the Kauri are 50m high and over 1000 years old. The final stop today is the small coastal town of Paihia. It’s the gateway to the Bay of Islands, one of New Zealand’s photogenic natural playgrounds. Your Tour Manager will point out the colonial style Treaty House at Waitangi. This is where modern-era New Zealand was born when the British Crown and Maori signed a treaty in 1840. You’ll also find out about local Maori culture as you check out the Nga Puhi tribal lands. Tonight, get to know the other Contiki travellers, Tour Manager and Driver over a typical ‘Kiwi’ dinner – fish 'n' chips – where you can eat outdoors under the night sky if the weather is good. After dinner, head out to a local music venue in Paihia with the group.
With a full free day here, you’ll really get to enjoy the laid-back, natural beauty of the Bay of Islands. Chill out, or choose from loads of activities on offer here. There’s a catamaran cruise where you can stop off at remote islands, swim and feast on a tasty BBQ lunch. If you’re lucky, you’ll even spot some dolphins. Or you could use your free time to head off with some friends to learn about New Zealand’s settler history. Jump on a ferry out to New Zealand’s former capital, the pretty township of Russell. Grab an ice-cream, relax in its cute cafés and walk past some of the town’s historic cottages. We also offer you the option of a day trip to Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s most northern point where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean merge. Our Local Guide can tell you all about the Maori beliefs associated with this site. Then it’s off to the sand dunes of Ninety Mile beach and a drive through the Northland Region. Lastly, for the adrenaline-junkies, there’s a chance to go parasailing – perfect for getting views of the awesome surrounding bay scenery.
With our beach fix complete, it’s time to say goodbye to the paradise of Paihia & head back to the ‘City of Sails’, Auckland! On arrival, your expert Tour Manager will get you in the know with all the details you need to know (and more) on the country’s largest city. In the city, it’s time for new views, literally...you’ll get the guaranteed best views of Auckland with an included trip up the iconic Sky Tower. As the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest building, standing at 328m with views up to 80km into the distance including the Hauraki Gulf & Manukau harbour & volcanic landscape, mean you’re right where you need to be. Take in the views, walk on the glass platform (if you’re game) & frame up some shots as you soak up the scene. Back at ground level, Auckland by night goes off, so with that in mind we’ve gotten you a VIP pass at one of our favourite nightspots so you can start the night out right. Later, you could keep it moving – try K Road for some alternative vibes, Ponsonby hot spots like The Ponsonby Social Club, Chapel Bar or the Long Room for some cool beats & equally cool people, or Parnell for a taste of the true Auckland by night.
Today we drive through the lush farmlands of Waikato – an area that produces many of New Zealand’s best rugby players for the All Blacks. On the way we'll stop off for an included visit at Otorohanga's Kiwi House to check out New Zealand's national bird. This shy creature only comes out at night - the nocturnal enclosures at the Kiwi House mean you're guaranteed to see one. If you're lucky you'll also get to spot a tuatara - a true 'living fossil' reptile that pre-dates the dinosaurs! Next up is Waitomo and the Waitomo Caves. Famous for their incredible limestone formations and glowworms, the caves are a stunning subterranean world. You’ll see the Glowworm Grotto, where the cave roof is covered with twinkling insects. For adventure, you can head deeper into the caves in an optional activity and see them either on foot or by tubing down an underground river. Tonight, it’s a true Kiwi BBQ dinner and a visit to a typical country pub. Kick back with your friends and some of the locals. Maybe try out the local beer – it’s good!
This morning, we stop at the Agrodome farm show for an interactive introduction into farming and agriculture, which is New Zealand’s main industry. You’ll see sheep-shearing and watch an impressive sheepdog demo. These dogs are highly-trained and skilled at controlling livestock. For some crazy ‘Kiwi ingenuity’, try our zorbing optional. It’s an activity where you get inside a huge plastic ball and roll down a 200m hill, either by yourself or with a friend. Later, we pull into Rotorua, famous for its spurting geysers, boiling mud pools, hot springs and ‘interesting’ sulfur smell. Rotorua is an important hub of Maori culture. To recognise this, we have an optional authentic cultural experience, complete with a fantastic Maori hāngi dinner and traditional dance concert. Some of the foods you can try from the hāngi are sweet potato and chicken cooked on hot rocks in an underground pit – just as they have been for centuries. Listen to stories, songs and chants while learning about ancient Maori mythology and beliefs.
This morning, get an insider look at New Zealand’s unique Maori culture & history as we tour Rotorua’s famous Ohinemutu Village with our expert local guide. You’ll learn all about the history of the Maori people, their customs & traditions, plus have the opportunity to ask questions & learn as much as possible about this amazing spot – it’s the perfect way to get in the know. With the rest of the day free to explore the way you want, you can advantage of the city's awesome thermal environment & treat yourself to a spa treatment or massage. Our tip: With so much buzz around the amazing thermal mud treatments found here, we love picking up some products to take home as a gift (or for ourselves!). There are loads of other ways to spend your time too if adrenalin is more your thing, like getting views of the city from a gondola, then speeding down a hill on a luge, or getting a splash as you raft the Kaituna River – the options for things to keep you busy in Rotorua are endless. Or, if chilling out is more of what you’re into, then or hit up a café for a flat white coffee or make tracks to the shops for a spending spree. Tonight's your last night on tour so make it one to remember!
Jump on board a transfer coach this morning and cruise back through the Waikato countryside to Auckland. Please note: This transfer from Rotorua to Auckland is not operated by Contiki, but by a third party operator.
Say a final farewell to your new friends as your trip ends this morning after breakfast.
All these highlights along with city sightseeing are included in your tour price!