On our women's getaway we take in the highlights of the incredible towns of Rotorua and Cambridge. Hobbiton, Zealong Tea Plantation, Orakei Korako Geothermal Valley, High Tea at The Chateau and much more!
Reconnect with nature and see some NI highlights!
Day 1 Cambridge
Arrive Cambridge anytime this morning (complimentary transfer from Hamilton Airport available). Our base for the next few days is the charming town of Cambridge, known for its trees and champions and recently voted NZ's "Most Beautiful Large Town". Afternoon orientation of the town including a stroll down Cambridge's own walk of fame -it's not quite Hollywood but you never know which famous Kiwi you might spot! We will also visit the Velodrome for an exclusive behind the scenes look at New Zealand's high performance cycling. Later this afternoon will be a visit to "Middle Earth". Even if you're not a 'Lord of the Rings' fan, a visit to Hobbitonis a truly amazing experience. Stroll through the lush pastures of "The Shire" on a guided movie-set tour, past Hobbit Holes, the Mill and on to the world-famous Green Dragon Inn for a well-earned beverage followed by a banquet feast fit for a Hobbit! The tables will be heaving with traditional Hobbit fare. At the end of the evening, take your hand-held lantern and stroll back along the Shire's paths seeing the village in a different light with chimneys smoking and lanterns glowing in the darkness. Just magic!
Day 2 Cambridge
This morning we'll visit Zealong Tea Plantation. Who would have thought in the middle of the Waikato you'd find an award-winning tea plantation! It all started with a camellia tree apparently. Our guide will lead us along the tea trail to learn how tea is picked and processed. We'll then learn the art of tea appreciation followed by a delightful high tea. Enjoy the afternoon roaming through the popular Hamilton Gardens. The Gardens tell the story of gardening through different civilizations and time, and showcase a wonderful collection of plants and architecture. You will be astounded that Hamilton has such a fabulous internationally renowned treasure. From the Gardens we'll walk along the Waikato Riverto view the unique bridges, memorial gardens and riverfront homes.
Day 3 Cambridge
Free morning to explore Cambridge at your leisure. If you hit the shops you can expect a good variety of options including antiques, quality womens wear boutiques, funky second-hand clothing, lifestyle and homeware. Just a short drive from Cambridge, is the Maungatautari Ecological Sanctuary where we will spend an informative few hours on an afternoon guided roam through the forest. Surrounded by the world's longest pest-proof fence, this ancient forest offers a sanctuary for populations of many of New Zealand's most endangered species -from birds to bats, frogs to reptiles, tuatara to giant weta. Continue on to Arapuni for a walk over the Arapuni swing bridge and afternoon tea beside the Waikato River. A Gloworm Kayak adventure is planned for late afternoon where we board kayaks for an easy paddle along the southern edge of Lake Karapiro. Enjoy the twilight & silence of being on the water as the day draws to an end. As night arrives over the lake, paddle slowly up the Pokaiwhenua Stream and through the canyon carved out by water over many hundreds of years. Native ferns & trees drape over you, bird life is all around. When darkness falls we float silently back downstream, being guided by the glow worms on either side sparkling like Christmas lights.
Day 4 Rotorua
Early start to make the most of the day with a gorgeous walk along the rural Te Waihou Walkway to the internationally acclaimed Blue Spring. The water here is so pure and supplies around 70% of NZ's bottled water.On arrival in Rotorua, we'll visit the St Faith's Anglican Church where faith, art & culture meet and have a guided tour of the richly decorated church and surrounding village and marae. We'll then roam around the Government Gardens past beautiful formal gardens and several very old trees including a multi-trunked Japanese fir and an unusual Californian weeping redwood. This area is also where you will see elaborate architecture including the Elizabethan Tudor style mansion which now houses the museum and the ornate Mediterranean style Blue Baths. Later this afternoon let the serenity of the majestic Whakarewarewa Forest wash over you. Shinrin-yokuis a Japanese practice of bathing in the forest atmosphere and taking in the surrounds through your senses. The sounds and scent of the trees and sunlight playing through the leaves help you to relax and ease any stress. Towering Redwoods and other exotic trees stand tall over a mix of native undergrowth and we'll spend an hour or so strolling along the tracks and soaking up the atmosphere of this renowned forest. As dusk falls we have a magical night walk through the treetops on eco-suspended bridges and platforms. If you thought the forest was enchanting in daylight, wait until you see it in the dark lit up by David Trubridge designed lanterns!
Day 5 Rotorua
This morning enjoy a walk around pretty Lake Tikitapu aka the Blue Lake before driving past Rotokakahi (the Green Lake) and on to Te Wairoa Museum. The eighth wonder of the world once graced this area -the Pink & White Terraces were certainly world-famous and widely visited up until June 1886 when Mount Tarawera erupted and totally obliviated the landscape. The Museum is extremely interesting, and we will spend a good amount of time here taking in the exhibits, walking through the archaeological site and learning about the history and legendary locals.Afternoon free. There is so much to do here! Perhaps have a spa treatment at the Polynesian Spa, a swim in the hot pools, ziplining in the forest, the 3-D Museum, gondola & luging, admiring the city gardens..... the choice is yours.
Day 6 Waikato River -Taupo
We depart Rotorua this morning for Taupo, enroute stopping off inthe pretty Waikite Valley for a soak in the thermal pools. In the afternoon, we visit an active geothermal area. Orakei Korakoaka "The Hidden Valley" is NZ's largest geothermal area with more than 250 hot springs and geysers. Time to explore the area by foot and soak up the sultry atmosphere.
Day 7 Taupo -Tongariro National Park
Start your day with a walk along the Waikato River, past the famous Huka Lodge to Huka Falls. Enjoy brunch at L'Arte Caf?? and a visit to their whimsical gardens and awesome gallery. Purchases will no doubt be made! Enjoy a scenic drive around Lake Taupo and on to Tongariro National Park where we check in to The Chateau for a 2-night stay. Step back to genteel times with a High Tea experience servedin the opulent Ruapehu Lounge at The Chateau.
Day 8 Tongariro National Park
This morning (weather permitting / optional at own cost) we ride the Sky Wakagondola, with floor to ceiling, 360 degrees views. Journey up the mountain, over waterfalls and ancient lava flows and take in the majestic scenery of Mt Ruapehu and it's neighbouring volcanoes, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. Once at the top we'll walk from the top of the Sky Waka (2,020m) to the Skyline Ridge(2,300m) for breathtaking views of Mt Ngauruhoe, Lake Taupo & beyond. You will have the choice of returning down the mountain either by Sky Waka or walking the Waterfall Trackback down to base.After a day of filling your lungs with fresh mountain air and exercise, you will definitely enjoy your included dinner tonight as we celebrate a memorable tour.
Day 9 Northern Explorer Train
Late this morning you will be transferred to National Park Train Station in time to board the Northern Explorer train for your scenic journey across the southern edge of the Central Plateau, the Raurimu Spiraland through the picturesque King Country. Your tour ends at the train station in either Hamilton or Auckland.
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