POST-CONFERENCE STUDY TOUR — 13 – 16 July
Booking in advance is strongly suggested and waiting-list is on a first-come-first-served basis.
Double or twin share: NZD $1000 | Single accommodation $1230 | based on a minimum of 21 pax
Day 1: Saturday, 13 July – Travelling to Taupō
We journey by coach up the Kapiti Coast and through the Horowhenua, Manawatū and Rangitikei regions with a comfort stop en-route. Our lunch stopover today is in Taihape, fondly known as “New Zealand’s Gumboot Capital.” Following lunch (own cost) we journey through the Desert Road of the Central Plateau on the edge of Tongariro National Park, made up of the three volcanoes: Ruapehu, Tongariro, and Ngauruhoe. Tongariro was New Zealand’s first national park, created following a gifting of the sacred central North Island peaks to the nation in 1887 by Paramount Chief Te Heuheu Tukino. Tongariro became a World Heritage site in 1990 – the highest conservation status able to be bestowed. Places only become a World Heritage site because they represent the best examples of the world’s natural and cultural heritage. We bypass Turangi, a settlement that housed the workforce who built the Tongariro Hydro Electric Power Scheme, before following the shores of Lake Taupō, New Zealand’s largest lake at 616 square kilometres. We arrive mid-afternoon at our Taupō accommodation with views overlooking the lake. There is free time to explore, or alternatively talk to your driver/guide about a group transfer to the natural thermal pools of the De Bretts Taupō Hot Springs for a relaxing bathe (entry at own cost). The hotel has a restaurant on site, however, there is also a wide variety of local restaurants within a short walk.
Day 2: Sunday, 14 July – Travelling to Rotorua
We leave Taupō and travel up through the lush countryside of the Waikato. On a farm in the Matamata countryside we stop to visit “Hobbiton” – the film location of the Shire, as seen in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Here we enjoy a guided tour of the film set, with the chance to view the hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, the Mill and other structures. Our late lunch (own choice and cost) is in Rotorua, the geothermal capital of NZ and a city renowned for its Māori culture. Rotorua’s geothermal field contains 1200 geothermal features which include geysers, hot springs, mud pools and fumaroles, as well as silica terraces and flats. Tonight’s hotel is situated on the shores of the mystical Lake Rotorua, adjacent to the renowned Polynesian Spa, and offers beautiful vistas across the lake. This well-appointed Qualmark 4-star hotel is also just a short stroll from Rotorua’s vibrant CBD. The afternoon is free to enjoy at leisure. This evening you enjoy the 3.5hr Māori Cultural Experience, including dinner and dessert buffet feast. From the moment you are collected from your hotel by your warm and humourous hosts, the Tamaki Māori Village Evening experience promises to be entertaining. On arrival an ancient ceremony of welcome takes place before entering the traditional Māori Village that is set within a stunning 200-year-old native tawa forest.
Day 3: Monday, 15 July – Travelling to Napier
This morning we take a drive out to Lake Tarawera, passing the Te Wairoa village buried in the 1886 Tarawera eruption associated with the destruction of the famous pink and white terraces. We also have time to stop at both the Blue (Tikitapu) and Green (Rotokakahi) Lakes lookout before returning to the Redwoods and Whakarewarewa Forest. An amazing and convenient recreational resource for the community and a draw card for all who enjoy the outdoors, this forest also features the Redwoods Tree walk featuring 23 suspension bridges through 115-year-old redwood trees. We have time here to enjoy at our own leisure and cost. Our next stop is the Huka Falls, the “first Wonder of Taupō”, more than 220,000 litres of water tumble over the cliff face per second, supplying 90 megawatts to the Aratiatia hydroelectric power station. A few hundred metres upstream from the falls, the Waikato River narrows from roughly 100 metres across into a hard rock silica canyon only 15 metres across – transforming this huge volume of water into this dramatic spectacle. Lunch today (own choice and cost) is in the town centre of Taupō with a variety of enticing cafes to choose from. Following lunch we travel over the Taupō -Napier (SH5) Road, an historic coaching route in days gone by, to our final destination Napier. The late afternoon is yours to enjoy. Perhaps a self-guided tour with the Art Deco Trust, or a visit to the cultural home of Hawke’s Bay, MTG Hawke’s Bay; a Museum, Theatre and Gallery combined in one. Found on Marine Parade in the heart of Napier, MTG Hawke’s Bay is a place where people can experience and enjoy exhibitions sharing local, national and international stories. Permanent exhibits include the 1931 earthquake, where objects, archives and a documentary tell the stories about how this disaster impacted the people, townships and the local landscape. Also displayed is the region’s stunning Taonga Māori exhibition, complemented by changing art and social history stories in additional galleries. Our hotel overlooks the Marine Parade with a restaurant on site, however, again there are a variety of good restaurants within walking distance.
Day 4: Tuesday, 16 July – Travelling back to Wellington
Early morning is yours to explore at your leisure before we depart for Wellington. Lunch is en-route at Dannevirke, which as the name suggests was settled by Danes. Dannevirke means “Danes work” and the name is taken from a wall built in the 9th Century in Denmark to stop the invasion of the Saxons. Here though, it referred to the enormous job these early settlers faced in clearing the land they had come to in the heart of the 70 mile bush, which extended from Takapau to Masterton. This afternoon we visit Pukaha Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre, home of Manukura, the world’s only white kiwi in captivity. Also in the nocturnal house is Turua, a North Island brown kiwi. Enjoy a walk through their free-flight aviary where you can experience the bush as it was hundreds of years ago. Enjoy the birds flying around you while viewing home to native birds including the whio (blue duck), pāteke (brown teal), hihi (stitchbird), the North Island kākā (a native parrot), kākāriki (a native parakeet), North Island kōkako, and takahē. There are also juvenile and adult tuatara (a native reptile) and a stream full of longfin eels which are fed daily. There is an on-site restaurant, the Wild Café, which overlooks the takahē enclosure and serves wonderful coffee and meals. We cross the Remutaka Range and arrive back into Wellington early evening.
The Cost of this Tour Includes
• All hotel accommodation
• Full Breakfasts
• All coach travel
• Hobbiton Tour, Matamata – (1.5hrs)
• Tamaki Māori Cultural Experience including meal (3.5hrs)
• Entry into Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre