Auckland, on New Zealand's North Island, is a multi-cultural hub of food, wine, art and culture, with incredible natural wonders on its doorstep. There's plenty to see and do in the heart of the city, but traveling further afield opens the opportunities considerably.
In Tiritiri, experience a stunning protected island paradise thought to be one of the world’s most successful conservation projects. Bird encounters are all but guaranteed on this island, with some 71 different species for you to discover.
Day 1 - Auckland, New Zealand
Arrive in Auckland, where you are met at the airport and transferred to the Hotel Britomart to have the morning to rest and refresh. In the early afternoon, transfer to Villa Maria Vineyard for a wine tasting and lunch. Afterwards, transfer to Auckland and check into the Hotel Britomart where you will spend the next three nights. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure. This evening, meet your fellow travelers for dinner at Auckland’s Sky Tower and take in some of the best views of the city. (L,D)
Day 2 - Auckland: Meet the Locals
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before departing the city for the countryside. To experience a country is to share a meal with the locals. While Auckland may be the largest city in New Zealand, the land around it is some of the most fertile in the country, making it the perfect place to grow vegetables, raise stock, and produce delicious fruit. Meet local farmers, growers, and producers who will introduce you to their day-to-day lives and welcome you to their properties. As you travel from place to place, your guide will collect ingredients to bring back to Vineyard Cottages for our lunch. The owner, Elle, will provide a personal tour of her vineyard and vegetable garden. Elle has also arranged an olive oil tasting from a local grove with some stone oven baked breads. While the grills are on for lunch to be prepared, enjoy the views from the veranda or join in with the preparation of lunch. In the mid-afternoon, transfer back to Auckland and spend the rest of the day at your leisure. (B,L)
Day 3 - Auckland: Conservation at its Best
Depart the city early for Tiritiri. So often we hear stories of the destruction of native wildlife and fauna through the thoughtless actions of mankind. This is not the story for Tiritiri Matangi, a small island lying just off the coast of downtown Auckland in the Hauraki Gulf. Instead ‘Tiri', as it is often fondly referred, is a remarkable conservation story that has seen volunteers and New Zealand’s Department of Conservation join forces to bring this island from the brink of environmental disaster to what you will experience today – an island reforested in native bush and bursting with iconic New Zealand birdlife. When you step onto the island, there will be some 71 species of birds to spot and listen to. These include the enormous, flightless (once thought to be extinct) Takahe, the endangered Kokako, the little spotted Kiwi, and the delightful Korora (little blue penguins). Bird encounters are all but guaranteed. We will visit the original lighthouse, dip our toes into the sea at Hobbs Beach, or appreciate the native forest, which includes one of the country’s hardiest residents, an ancient Pohutukawa tree estimated to have been around for between 800 and 1,000 years. Enjoy a picnic lunch at scenic Hobbs Bay and take the ferry back to Auckland in the late afternoon. In the early evening, meet up with your embarking group for a cocktail and briefing event at the hotel. Dinner is at your leisure this evening. (B,L)
Day 4 - Auckland: City Tour & Embarkation
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and join your fellow travelers for a full day tour of Auckland. A multi-cultural hub of food, music, art and culture, Auckland sprawls over volcanic hills and twin harbors, and is home to both urban adventurers and nature seekers alike. Today you’ll discover Auckland’s Queen Street, Bastion Point with its panoramic views over the city, and other main sights as we make our way through the city. Stop for lunch midday and embark the National Geographic Orion in the late afternoon. (B,L,D)
Costs & What's Included
Three hotel nights in Auckland; meals as indicated; group transfers from/to airports; all sightseeing, tips and service charges.