Join us on a special journey into a corner of the North Island travelling an eastward trail to the remote and primeval forests of Te Urewera to meet local guides and hear their stories. Along the way there are close up wildlife encounters as we explore the stunning coastline famous for surf breaks (and rockets at Mahia), visit eco-sanctuaries and have fun at Awakeri riding the railcarts along the tracks.
$3,290 per person, share twin
$600 single supplement
2 – 8 Oct, 2021
23 – 29 Nov, 2021
22 – 28 Jan, 2022
• All meals
• Entrance fees
• All transport by comfortable, air conditioned coach (maximum of 18 travellers).
• Services of your knowledgeable guide
• Quality accommodation chosen for a “sense of place”
• Domestic Airfares
• Travel Insurance
Heading eastwards across farmlands, through the Karangahake Gorge to Waihi and Tauranga.
In Whakatane at Mataatua Wharenui, the carved ancestral house of the Ngati Awa people, a stunning sound and light show tells the story of how the Wharenui travelled the world for over a century before returning home. We stay two nights at White Island Rendezvous Motel.
At Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tane our guide welcomes us with a karakia and relates the legends of this primeval, podocarp rainforest. We see the Te Ana a Tokowaru rock carvings and, over a hangi dinner with owners Nadine and Karl Toe Toe at Kohutapu Lodge, Lake Aniwhenua, hear how tourism and their lodge brings benefits to the Murupara community.
Atamira Nuku, our Tuhoe guide, meets us at Ruatahuna in the heart of Te Urewera and introduces us to a tasting with Manawa Honey and our lunch hosts at Black House.
Then the road descends through rainforest with glimpses of Lake Waikaremoana. See beautiful Aniwaniwa Falls and stop along the lakefront before continuing to Vista Motor Lodge, Wairoa.
We visit Wairoa’s outstanding Museum and drive out to the Wairoa River mouth and Whakamahia Beach.
Further north we tour Mahia Peninsula, always a magnet for surfers, and now the launching site of Rocket Lab’s space programme. We continue up the Coast to Gisborne to stay two nights at The Senator Inn and Pacific Harbour Inn.
A day to explore Gisborne and its natural and historic places including a guided visit to the reef at Tatapouri Bay and Waikereru Ecosanctuary, an Ark in the Bush. The Ecosanctuary is a haven for rare and endangered species.
We meet our guide at the Tairawhiti Museum and dine out at The Works Restaurant. We stay in Gisborne again this evening.
Leaving Gisborne we head through rugged Waioeka Gorge bound for Awakeri to meet up with Paul and board his rail carts for a scenic ride and picnic lunch along the tracks.
The drive onwards to Rotorua passes Lakes Rotoma, Rotoehu and Rotoiti and we stay at Novotel Rotorua Lakeside Hotel and dine in this evening.
From Rotorua we drive northwards to Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, a mainland ecological island of ancient forest, to meet our guide and walk in the enclosure surrounded by one of the world’s longest pest-proof fences. We return to Auckland through the Waikato farmlands arriving in the late afternoon.
Some great news… while we wait for international borders to re-open, there is no better time to see a bit of our own backyard and help our local communities get back to business.
We’re excited to let you know that we have partnered with MoaTours, one of New Zealand’s leading and most trusted local tour operators since 1971. MoaTours offers a range of small group tours all over New Zealand that we think you’ll love — from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island.
A a family run business just like Tours Direct, MoaTours has great connections and unbeatable local knowledge of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. They also share common values so we know you will be well looked after and have a great experience.
Meeting Nadine and Karl at Kohutapu Lodge with their commitment to the community. With Atamira at Ruatahuna in Te Urewera meeting Tuhoe creating sustainable businesses on ancestral land. And the beauty of Mataatua Wharenui, Whirinaki and Lake Waikaremoana.