Discover the exotic Bay of Islands: the historical crossroads of European and Maori cultures. Explore one of New Zealand’s most unique ecosystems in this subtropical archipelago of nearly 150 islands. Revel in the pristine natural environment and stunning coastal scenery as we travel along crystal-clear turquoise waters, keeping watch for whales, dolphins, marlins, and penguins.
- It's Included:
- Accommodations for 3 nights in the Bay of Islands at the First-Class Copthorne Hotel and Resort or similar, and 1 night in the First-Class Jet Park Airport Hotel or similar
- 7 meals—4 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 2 dinners
- 3 included tours: Parry Kauri Park, Hole in the Rock Cruise, Waitangi Treaty Grounds
- Exclusive services of a Grand Circle Program Director
- NEW for 2015: Gratuities on this extension are now included for local guides and motorcoach drivers
- All transfers
Your Program Director from your Australia & New Zealand tour travels with you from Auckland to Paihia. You travel through Orewa and stop at Parry Kauri Park, where you will explore the native bush and 800-year-old kauri evergreen trees. Enjoy lunch on your own en route, then arrive at the Bay of Islands.
This evening, you’ll take an orientation walk around your hotel, then gather together for a Welcome Dinner.
After a leisurely breakfast, travel by motorcoach our hotel to the wharf. Today you explore the beauty of the Bay of Islands aboard a catamaran. Weather permitting, you will make a passage through the naturally sculpted Hole in the Rock. You may spot local marine wildlife including dolphins, which inhabit these waters year-round, as well as seals, penguins, and even whales.
You have the remainder of your afternoon and evening at leisure to explore.
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, perhaps at one of the many cafes. 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.
Enjoy an included dinner at a local restaurant this evening.
Today we'll depart the Bay of Islands for Auckland, enjoying an included lunch along the way, and spend the night at an Auckland airport hotel.
This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight home via Sydney or Brisbane.