East Cape Explorer

from £1998
excluding flights *
13 nights Year round

Overview

Discover one of New Zealand's seldom explored regions on this 14-day self-drive holiday following the Pacific Coast Highway around the East Cape of the North Island. The East Cape reveals a rugged volcanic coastline home to secluded hidden bays and nearby islands and is an area rich in Maori heritage which has not yet been commercialised.

Highlights

  • Explore the best beaches in Mercury Bay on a boat tour
  • See Rotorua's boiling pools, geysers and deep-rooted Maori culture
  • Visit volcanic White Island by boat and see bird and marine life
  • Explore the East Cape coastline, and a Walk with the Ancestors Maori guided tour
  • Soak up the Art Deco architecture of Napier
  • Sample some of New Zealand's world class wines in Hawke's Bay

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • All breakfasts
  • Mercury Bay boat tour
  • Full day White Island boat tour
  • Walk with the Ancestors tour at Waimarama
  • Car rental throughout
  • Unlimited kilometres

Full description

Uncover one of New Zealand’s most authentic and genuine regions and travel mostly away from the main tourist routes without missing key regional highlights. Stay on the Coromandel Peninsula, a region filled with rainforest-clad gorges and Pohutukawa-fringed beaches, before travelling onto the geo-thermal heartland of Rotorua.

Wake early in Gisborne and be one of the first in the world to see the sun rise and spend your time here discovering New Zealand’s early history. The first Maori waka (canoes) to arrive on the East Cape reportedly landed at Titirangi Hill in Gisborne, and Captain Cook became the first European to set foot on New Zealand soil at nearby Kaiti Bay, the significance of these two events is well covered at the Tairawhiti Museum.

This region has also set the scene in many a movie including ‘Prince Caspian - The Chronicles of Narnia’ at the stunning Coromandel Cove and 'The Whale Rider' a touching and uplifting story providing audiences with a taste of Maori culture but also demonstrating that there is far more to New Zealand than just some of the finest scenery in the world.

Enjoy time in Napier, one of New Zealand’s magnificent wine-producing regions and a city renowned for its Art Deco architecture, before travelling to the capital city of Wellington where your journey will end.

 

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Authentic holidays for passionate travellers

Prices & Dates *

Airfares start from around £825 per person and are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.

From prices per person based on 2 sharing a room with private bathroom, including car hire

Departure Duration Car Category Twin Price (pp)
28 Nov - 31 Mar 2019 13 nights Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £2,340
01 Apr - 31 Oct 2019 13 nights Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £1,998
01 Nov - 31 Mar 2020 13 nights Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £2,196

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • All breakfasts
  • 2 hour Mercury Bay boat tour
  • 6 hour White Island boat tour
  • Half-day Walk with the Ancestors tour at Waimarama
  • Car rental throughout (Toyota Corolla Hatch or similar)
  • Unlimited kilometres
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Arrive in Auckland

You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel in the city centre for an overnight stay.
Overnight: Heritage Auckland Hotel, including continental breakfast.

Day 2: Auckland – Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula (193 km)

Collect your rental vehicle this morning and enjoy a leisurely drive to Whitianga, located on the Coromandel Peninsula, a region filled with rainforest-clad gorges and Pohutukawa-fringed beaches, such as those in Mercury Bay. This bay was named by Captain James Cook after he landed on the shores in 1769 to observe a Transit of Mercury.
Overnight: 970 Lonely Bay, including full breakfast.

Day 3: Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula

This morning is free for you to relax and explore this beautiful coastal area. You might like to enjoy an early morning stroll along to Lonely Bay or visit one of the many nearby beaches. This afternoon enjoy a 2-hour boat tour exploring 12 kms of rugged volcanic coastline, nearby islands and stunning beaches including Cooks Beach, Hahei and the wonderful Cathedral Cove where ‘The Chronicles of Narnia & Prince Caspian’ was filmed. Observe an abundance of marine and bird life and witness towering pinnacles, giant blowholes and sea caves.
Overnight: Overnight: 970 Lonely Bay, including full breakfast.

Day 4: Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula – Rotorua (230 km)

Drive south today, either following the coast road via Tauranga or inland via the interesting towns of Paeroa and Te Aroha, towards the active geo-thermal heartland of Rotorua.
Overnight: Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel, including continental breakfast.

Day 5: Exploring Rotorua

You have a full day free to explore New Zealand's best known geothermal area, with its geysers, volcanoes, lakes and Maori culture. This evening you may like to enjoy a traditional Maori feast or 'hangi' (at additional cost).
Overnight: Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel, including continental breakfast.

Day 6: Rotorua - Whakatane (85 km)

Today make your way to the coastal town of Whakatane, located in the Bay of Plenty.
Overnight: White Island Rendezvous, including continental breakfast.

Day 7: Whakatane

Today your White Island Tour includes a comfortable 80 minute boat journey out to the island in a purpose built launch and a two hour exploration of New Zealand’s only active marine volcano with experienced guides. There will be opportunity to view New Zealand’s bird and marine life, including dolphin and whales.
Overnight: White Island Rendezvous, including continental breakfast.

Day 8: Whakatane - Gisborne (185 km)

Today make your way to historic Gisborne via State Highway 2. Captain Cook first set foot on New Zealand soil here in 1769 and you might like to visit The Cook Landing Site memorial which offers sensational views out across Poverty Bay. Alternatively you may like to drive the longer, scenic route along the coast via the East Cape which will take approximately 6 hours. This region boasts some of the most spectacular coastal scenery on the North Island.
Overnight: Knapdale Eco Lodge, including breakfast.

Day 9: Gisborne

Spend today at leisure. Don't miss New Zealand's longest pier at Tolaga Bay and the Maori settlement of Whangara where the film Whale Rider was shot.
Overnight: Knapdale Eco Lodge, including breakfast.

Day 10: Gisborne - Napier (216 km)

Journey south to the magnificent wine-producing region of Hawke's Bay. The city of Napier is renowned for its Art Deco architecture and it is well worth enjoying a guided tour of the city during your stay.
Overnight: McHardy Lodge including breakfast.

Day 11: Napier

A day at leisure to explore this delightful region and its pristine beaches, superb wineries, Maori heritage and arts and crafts. A 2 hour "Walk with the Ancestors" guided Maori tour is included today.
Overnight: McHardy Lodge including breakfast.

Day 12: Napier - Wellington (334 km)

Travel through sheep farming country to the capital city of Wellington for a two-night stay.
Overnight: QT Museum Hotel including breakfast.

Day 13: Wellington

This vibrant capital city has a wealth of activities on offer, from food and walking tours to culture and heritage, wildlife and Lord of the Rings adventures. A visit to New Zealand's National Museum, Te Papa, is highly recommended.
Overnight: QT Museum Hotel including breakfast.

Day 14: Wellington

Return your rental vehicle at the airport depot and depart

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