Hidden Gems of the North Island
|Resort:||Hidden Gems of the North Island|
|Operator:||Wendy Wu Tours|
Experience some of New Zealand’s North Island lovely hidden gems on one of our exciting new Wendy Wu tours. Start with the capital city’s fascinating Weta studios and tranquil Zealandia ecosanctuary and then travel north by luxury coach to take in the beautiful vistas of Taranaki and New Plymouth. Head over to Tongariro National Park for a scenic mountain ride on the new Sky Waka. An art deco experience in Napier follows, with a visit to one of the wonderful Hawke’s Bay wineries. Explore the stunning and unique Hamilton Gardens, and visit the Zealong Tea Estate. Finish in Auckland with an Asian cooking class at Sachie’s Kitchen. Everything’s included transport, accommodation, meals and a fun sociable group of like-minded travellers, all keen to experience the scenic beauty of New Zealand’s North Island.
Day 1-3: Fly to Wellington
On arrival on Day 3, transfer to your hotel. After a welcome briefing, take a stroll to Courtney Place for a welcome dinner in the dining and entertainment hub of Wellington.
Day 4: Wellington Weta Workshop & Zealandia Ecosanctuary
After breakfast head to Weta Workshop, the award-winning design studio that has created special effects for many blockbuster movies such as Lord of the Rings and Avatar. Our private tour will unlock some of the movie magic! Afterwards it’s a short drive to the tranquil urban forests of Zealandia Ecosanctuary for lunch and some time to enjoy a scenic walk. The Ecosanctuary is home to a huge variety of native birds and you may even spot a tuatara in the wild! Dinner tonight will include a chance to taste some famous Wellington microbrewery beers.
Day 5: Wellington to New Plymouth Foxton Windmill & Tawhiti Museum
Leaving Wellington, travel north along the west coast, stopping for a tour of the iconic Foxton Windmill, a full-size replica traditional 17th century Dutch flour mill. Our next stop will be the amazing Tawhiti Museum, widely acclaimed as the best private museum in the country. The creation of artist Nigel Ogle, the museum uses life size exhibits and minutely-detailed historical dioramas to present our heritage in a series of engaging displays. Enjoy lunch in the museums Wind in the Willows-themed caf and a tour of the museum. Later this afternoon, arrive at our accommodation in New Plymouth with time for a stroll along the impressive waterfront before dinner.
Day 6: New Plymouth Pukeiti Rhododendron Gardens & Len Lye Gallery
After breakfast this morning, take an optional bike ride along the beautiful coastal cycleway to Te Rewa Bridge to meet our coach. If you do not cycle, you can opt for a scenic waterfront walk at the Bridge, a New Plymouth landmark that is reminiscent of a whale skeleton or a breaking wave. Drive to the famous Pukeiti Gardens at the foot of Mt Taranaki, for lunch in the Founders Caf and a tour of the rhododendrons and exotics garden. This afternoon, drive back to New Plymouth to visit the architecturally-stunning Govett-Brewster Gallery, that celebrates the extraordinary work of Len Lye, modernist filmmaker and kinetic artist.
Day 7: New Plymouth to Tongariro National Park
Relax and enjoy a scenic drive through some of the most untouched parts of New Zealand. Our first stop will be for a unique lunch and alpaca experience at Nevelea Alpacas, nestled in the hills of the King Country on the adventure highway. Afterwards continue our scenic drive, with stops at Raurimu Spiral and Taumarunui, to the mountains at the heart of Tongariro National Park. Tonight, we will stay and dine close to the mountains.
Day 8: Tongariro National Park to Taupo
This morning is at leisure before we head up the mountain for lunch. We’ll ascend Mt Ruapehu on the new Sky Waka, New Zealand’s largest gondola, enjoying the panoramic views of our three volcanoes. Lunch will be at the Knoll Ridge Chalet, New Zealand’s highest dining experience. This afternoon head to the National Trout Centre, a fascinating museum, aquarium and hatchery near Turangi. Dinner tonight will be in Taupo.
Day 9: Napier Art Deco Tour & Vineyard Dinner
After breakfast take a scenic drive to Napier to enjoy an Art Deco Highlights Vintage Car Tour. Head to Havelock North for lunch at the picturesque Birdwoods Gallery with time to stroll their sculpture garden and enjoy a browse through their unique store. After checking into your hotel this afternoon, there will be time for a stroll around the pretty town of Havelock North. Dinner tonight will be at a stunning local winery.
Day 10: Napier – Hamilton Huka Falls & Orakei Korako Geothermal Park
This morning, after a scenic drive back to Taupo, take a walk along the magnificent Huka Falls, before heading to one of the best thermal reserves in New Zealand, Orakei Korako. Lunch will be at their lakefront caf, followed by a short boat ride across the lake to explore the thermal park. This afternoon drive to Hamilton for our two night stay.
Day 11: Waikato Hamilton Gardens & Hobbiton
Explore the wonderful themed gardens at the award-winning Hamilton Gardens, including their recently completed surrealist garden. Lunch will be at New Zealand’s premier tea plantation, Zealong Tea Estate in their luxuriously appointed restaurant. This afternoon will visit the ‘enchanting village of Hobbiton’ one of the locations used in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Dinner tonight is back in Hamilton.
Day 12: Auckland Fo Guang Temple & Cooking Lesson
Our last day of touring takes us up to Auckland, where we will stop at the tranquil Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple, located in Flat Bush. Designed in the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty, the temple is one of Auckland’s hidden gems. Head over to Half Moon Bay marina for lunch before we board our ferry to Auckland. After checking into our Auckland hotel, this evening enjoy a farewell dinner that we will all be cooking at Sachie’s Kitchen, famous for their award-winning Asian cooking classes.
Day 13: Depart Auckland
After breakfast, your tour ends, and we will transfer you back to Auckland Airport, if required.