After your travel in Australia, discover New Zealand's exotic Bay of Islands—a historical crossroads of European and Maori cultures and a unique subtropical ecosystem. In this archipelago of nearly 150 islands, revel in the pristine natural environment and stunning coastal scenery as we cruise along crystal-clear turquoise waters, keeping watch for whales, dolphins, marlins, and penguins.
- It's Included:
- Airfare from Welddngton to Auckland
- Accommodations for 1 night in Auckland and 3 nights in the Bay of Islands
- 6 meals—4 breakfasts and 2 dinners
- 3 small group activities
- Services of an expert OAT Trip Leader
- NEW for 2015: Gratuities for local guides, drivers, and luggage porters
- All transfers
After a light breakfast, we fly to Auckland, New Zealand, as our Ultimate Australia adventure comes to a close. Your Trip Leader travels with you to Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island and transfers with you to the Bay of Islands. You arrive in Warkworth for an included tour of Parry Kauri Park, where you’ll explore the native bush and 800-year-old kauri evergreen trees. Enjoy time at leisure until late afternoon, where you can relax from your trip and explore the subtropical environs. From our hotel you can take a short stroll to the beach, and a brief walk will take you to the town center of Paihia.
This evening, enjoy a Welcome Dinner at our hotel.
After a leisurely breakfast, enjoy leisure time and lunch on your own. In mid-afternoon, we explore the beauty of the Bay of Islands aboard a catamaran. Weather permitting, we make a passage through the naturally sculpted Hole in the Rock. We may spot local marine wildlife including dolphins, which inhabit these waters year-round, as well as seals, penguins, and even whales.
Our cruise will end at the peninsula town of Russell, New Zealand's first capital. Russell, a community with early ties to Europe, boasts many historic buildings such as Christ Church, which is the oldest church in New Zealand. We enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before our return trip on the ferry.
After breakfast, we take a short ride to the Waitangi Treaty House and tour this historic site. The house was originally built as a simple four-room cottage in 1834 but has been restored and altered several times since then. It was here that representatives of the British Crown and many leading Maori chiefs of the North and South islands signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The Treaty is seen as the founding document that transformed the homeland the Maori called Aotearoa into the nation of New Zealand. The Treaty Grounds include period homes and a war canoe so large it is capable of carrying more than 80 warriors.
We return to the hotel in time for you to have lunch on your own. You have the afternoon free to continue exploring this delightful seaside area. You can choose to visit a museum, browse a bookstore, or just savor the quiet nature of a local walk. Outdoor activities include kayaking, snorkeling, golf, and swimming in the surf on one of the spectacular beaches. You can also follow one of the many enticing walking trails that lead you to views that will encourage you to linger.
Dinner is on your own tonight.
Today we'll depart the Bay of Islands for Auckland, and spend the night at an Auckland hotel.
After a breakfast, we transfer to Auckland for our flight home.