Small group tour of New Zealand's North Island
Escorted 13 day small group tour of the East coast of New Zealand’s North island. Off the beaten track, for like minded people curious about history, culture, wine and landscapes. Your tour director and local guides share their knowledge with you the traveller on this New Zealand tour for senior travellers.
From $9,536 NZD
- 1. Reach the east cape (Tairawhitu), to learn about Maori as you journey through the Hawkes Bay.
- 2. Spend time immersed in the Art deco city of Napier.
- 3. Learn about leading New Zealand wines of Chardonnay in Gisborne & Pinot Noir in Martinborough during your visit.
- 4. Visit and learn about the worlds largest colony of Gannets on the the coast.
|17 January 2022 |
Ends 29 January 2022 • 13 days
|14 February 2022 |
Ends 26 February 2022 • 13 days
|06 March 2022 |
Ends 18 March 2022 • 13 days
|07 March 2022 |
Ends 19 March 2022 • 13 days
|15 August 2022 |
Ends 27 August 2022 • 13 days
|12 September 2022 |
Ends 24 September 2022 • 13 days
|10 October 2022 |
Ends 22 October 2022 • 13 days
|14 November 2022 |
Ends 26 November 2022 • 13 days
|16 January 2023 |
Ends 28 January 2023 • 13 days
|13 February 2023 |
Ends 25 February 2023 • 13 days
|14 August 2023 |
Ends 26 August 2023 • 13 days
|11 September 2023 |
Ends 23 September 2023 • 13 days
|09 October 2023 |
Ends 21 October 2023 • 13 days
|13 November 2023 |
Ends 25 November 2023 • 13 days
Small Group Tour of New Zealand's North island
Odyssey offers easy, convenient, and relaxed escorted small group tours across New Zealand. We explore the North island of New Zealand's fairy-tale natural beauty, and its World Heritage Sites, and world famous cities, all with some truly spectacular scenery along the way. This and more is all waiting to be explored on one of Odyssey’s small group tours of New Zealand designed for the senior traveller, and led by experienced, and enthusiastic like minded people.
Odyssey Traveller is pleased to introduce our new small group tour of New Zealand, focusing on the beautiful North Island. Our tour is for up to 15 people, typically mature and senior travellers joining as a couple or as solo traveller. This program will guide travellers through the history, Maori culture, and landscapes of the North Island of New Zealand. Our itinerary gets off the beaten track, following the east coast of the North Island from Auckland to Wellington.
For many visitors, the South Island gets all the attention, with the big tourist draws of Franz Josef Glacier, Milford Sound, Queenstown and historic Christchurch. But dig deeper and you'll find that New Zealand's North Island has as much to offer, including the beautiful Bay of Islands, Poor Knights Island, White Island, and Waiheke Island, the bird sancturary of Tiritiri Matangi, the Art Deco of Hawke's Bay, alpine Tongariro, and the glow worm caves in the Waitomo Caves complex.
The arrival of Europeans - mostly British settlers - in New Zealand set in motion a startling and ultimately largely successful co-existence with the Maori people, that will be the focus of this tour of New Zealand.
Both Maori traditional owners and new settlers had to come to terms with the fiercely disparate environments and climates found through New Zealand, from the subtropical north to the alpine south. This is the route we will follow on this tour, heading from Auckland on a journey through the Coromandel Peninsula, then tracking south through the Bay of Plenty to Tairawhitu (The East Cape), rich in Maori culture and travel experiences. From Gisborne through Hawkes Bay and the Wairarapa, grape vines dominate the landscape. We will enjoy several wine tasting experiences, focusing on the different regions of grape that we travel through. The area is also home to several beautiful national park(s). Finally, our North Island road trip arrives in Wellington, New Zealand's capital city.
On our small group tour of New Zealand:
New Zealand (Maori: Aotearoa) is an island country with a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi) in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most southernmost countries in the world, about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia. The country has two main islands: the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu), and about 600 smaller islands.
Our 13-day small group tour of New Zealand's North Island is the best guided tour of the island's east coast, designed especially for mature and senior travellers. In Auckland, you join your tour guide and after a welcome dinner, the adventure begins the following morning with a trip on the fast ferry, past the island of Waiheke, to the town of Coromandel. From here, we are collected in our coach and our guided tour begins.
This small group tour will be accompanied by an Odyssey tour guide and are joined by expert local guides who will impart their knowledge about the places we will visit. Odyssey conducts educational tours designed for small groups of mature and senior travellers, focusing on history, culture, wildlife and other areas of particular interest where the trip is taking place. A small group tour is typically between 6 to 12 people. The cost of an Odyssey Traveller guided tour is inclusive of all entrances (unless otherwise indicated), tipping, and majority of the meals throughout the trip.
This particular tour has periods of free time built into the itinerary, allowing you explore each destination at your own pace, and choose from a variety of available activities. This way, we make sure that there is something to enjoy for every kind of traveller.
Articles about New Zealand published by Odyssey Traveller:
- Questions about New Zealand
- Foundations for democracy in New Zealand: 900s - 1945
- Definitive Guide to Auckland, New Zealand
For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.
External articles to assist you on your visit to New Zealand:
Day 1 : Auckland
Accommodation: Auckland TBA
We meet in Auckland, introducing ourselves and enjoying a welcome guide with our tour leader.
Day 2: Auckland - Coromandel- Whitianga
Accommodation: Whitianga. TBC
Today we head to the Auckland ferry terminal to take the 2 hour journey across the Hauraki gulf to the small township of Coromandel on the Coromandel Peninsula. We meet the coach here which we take us on the rest of for the remainder of our journey through the National park pausing to explore and for photo stops, before taking the short trip across the Coromandel peninsula to seaside town of Whitianga where we are based this evening.
Day 3: Whitianga - Tauranga
Accommodation: Tauranga TBC
Today the group follows down the east coast of the North Island from the rugged bush clad hills of the Coromandel ranges till we reach the small holiday township of Tairua and dairy farms begin to appear as part of the landscape. We pause in the town of Waihi. Waihi is the home of the richest gold mine in New Zealand – still in operation today. We spend time in the Waihi Gold Discovery Centre to understand the history of the beginning of this regions history with gold that began in 1838.
From Waihi we continue our journey on to the city of Tauranga where we end the trip for the day.
Day 4 : Tauranga - Hicks bay
Today this small group tour of New Zealand continue its journey along the east coast of the North Island, past traditional summer holiday destinations such as Whakatane and Opotiki. For the next few days Maori culture and a local tour guidewill provide the travel experiences, of each day tour, as well as the itinerary and our journey around this remote part of the North Island. The scenery is the bush covered hills of the National park and the Sea.
After Opotiki the road hugs the coast, we are off the beaten track now for most guided tour operators and we are about to join a part of New Zealand where Tangata Whenau , the stewardship of the land and local Maori communities protect the history and traditions as we reach Tairawhitu (East cape) the coast on one side and the National park dominates on the other side of the raod. Tairawhiti is the place where Maori believe that the first Polynesian canoes landed. Tairawhitu is the most Eastern part of of the North Island and of New Zealand. Mt Hikuraingi is, the place in New Zealand to see the sunrise first each day. James Cook made his first landfall here and it is where Maori and European first encountered each other. It is also where Mt Hikurangi is, the place in New Zealand where you can see the sun first each day. We end today’s journey at Hicks bay.
Group meal tonight
Day 5: Hick's bay - Gisborne
Accommodation: Gisborne TBA
Today our day trip takes us to the tiny coastal settlement of Te Araroa to give a series of travel experiences that maybe very moving today. It is here you will find Te Waha-o-Rerekohu, New Zealand’s oldest and largest pohutukawa tree. It’s around 600 years old, and stands proudly in the grounds of the local school.
Te Araroa is also the birthplace of Sir Apirana Ngata, who made it his life’s goal to uplift the Maori race spiritually, culturally and economically.
After Te Araroa we then continue further off the beaten track on a 22km, mostly unsealed, no-exit road that takes this small group to the most Easterly point on mainland New Zealand. The historic East Cape lighthouse stands 154 metres above sea level and is accessed by a walking track of some 700 steps – worth it for the views at the top.
The road to the lighthouse clings to the coastline, and there are numerous sandy beaches just metres away.
We head back out to the highway and carry on south to stop again at Saint Mary’s Church in Tikitiki. This is one of the finest Māori churches in New Zealand. It was built in 1924 and consecrated in 1926 as a memorial to the soldiers of Ngāti Porou who died in World War I. For Maori culture this is a significant site and requires a lot of respect from any visitor. A visit to this part of New Zealand is very different to the commercial travel experiences of Rotorua.
The decoration of the church displays a meeting of two cultures. The structure is typically European, but the extensively carved and decorated interior is typically Māori.
Sir Apirana Ngata was the mastermind behind the spectacular interior design. In the 1920s he began a personal crusade to revive the dying art and craft skills within Ngati Porou and Māoridom in general. Saint Mary’s was one of his first initiatives.
The church was carved by local Ngāti Porou carvers; Ngāti Porou weavers completed the tukutuku (woven panels). The ornate pulpit was a koha (gift) to the church by Te Arawa tribe. The memorial board in the church lists names of soldiers from the area who lost their lives in the world wars. On the east wall is a memorial to Sir Apirana Ngata.
From St Mary’s church we travel on down the coast to Gisborne, gateway to Hawke’s bay where we stay for 2 nights.
Day 6: Gisborne
Accommodation: Gisborne TBA
In Gisborne we meet with our local guide to share with us a visit Kaiti Beach. This is the site of Captain Cook’s first landing in New Zealand (9 October 1769) and nearby is picturesque Te Poho O Rawiri Marae.
If you’re interested in Māori culture, Gisborne is an essential port of call on your itinerary – old traditions are still evident in many parts of the city. Oral history records Titirangi (Kaiti) Hill as the point of arrival for the migratory waka (canoe), Horouta, which brought the first Māori to the area.
There is the option of the Te Urunga -Tu – Sunrise experience on the highest peak above Gisborne. Arriving at “Te Takapau-o-Maui”. A sacred site with nine Maori carvings that depict the stories of Maui, the Polynesian adventurer, famous for his legendary deeds. Visitors will learn about Maui and his stories, be part of a profound sunrise experience, witness spectacular views as the sun rises, and gain insight into the local region.
In the afternoon we visit two of the leading wineries who produce Chardonnay for which this part of New Zealand is famous for.
Day 7: Napier
Accommodation: Napier TBA
Today as stated in the itinerary we journey South again, this time onto the world’s great Art-deco city of Napier. We pause at least twice on our journey to Napier. Your tour guide will explain about the first stop, a detour to New Zealand equivalent of NASA’s Cape Canaveral though on a smaller scale. Kiwi ingenuity is often all around you in New Zealand. The decision/opportunity to launch satellites from Nuhaka just after the Mahia peninsula, is one of the more interesting concepts. Moving towards 100 launches we will stop to view, if something is scheduled to launch at Rocketlab.
We take a break from the day trip in Wairoa. Travelleers can explore the local museum, it is under the “RED awning”… perhaps have an early lunch or pick up lunch for when we break somewhere nice on the road. We travel on towards Napier arriving in the afternoon.
Day 8: Napier
Accommodation: Napier TBA.
Napier is unique and is regarded as one of the world’s great art deco cities. Street after street of stunning and beautifully-restored Art Deco buildings have made Napier famous as one of the most complete collections of Art Deco buildings in the world. In 1931 a massive earthquake rocked Hawke’s Bay for more than three minutes, killing nearly 260 and destroying the commercial centre of Napier.
Rebuilding began almost immediately, and new buildings reflected the architectural styles of the times – Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco. Napier is often referred to as a 1930s film set, and one of the best ways to enjoy the streetscape is on a guided walk which we undertake with a local tour guide as part of a private day tour.
In the afternoon we will head out to world’s largest Gannet colony in the national park, before a wine tasting late in the afternoon. Wineries and vineyards are dotted throughout the Hawke’s bay, although Gimblett Gravels and Ngatarawa Triangle are two of its most famous wine producing sub-regions. These regions produce a large portion of the Bordeaux blend reds that Hawke’s bay is revered for. Owing to its geographical diversity, Hawke’s bay is also capable of producing a number of other varietals to a high standard, including Chardonnay and today we will undertake a tasting at one the recognised wineries.
Day 9: Napier- Martinborough
Accommodation: Martinborough TBC
This small group tour of New Zealand will travel on from Napier through the Wairapa region of the North Island to Martinborough arriving early afternoon. We have organised a guided walking tour with a local tour guide of Martinborough and a wine tasting before a group meal.
Day 10: Martinborough
Accommodation: Martinborough TBA
Today we travel to Masterton to visit the town, and our day tour includes the Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History. The museum marked its 50th anniversary in 2019 with a major exhibition, public programmes, and a publication available for purchase. Currently, Aratoi hosts between 25-30 exhibitions annually, delivers a free education programme to thousands of students, runs public programmes and a live performance series, and operates a museum shop.
The Aratoi collection remains the only public collection of art works in Wairarapa.
In the afternoon we visit two of Martinborough’s some 20 wineries to be found locally. Some of New Zealand’s best pinot noir comes from the town’s predominately family-owned vineyards.
Day 11: Wellington
Accommodation: Wellington TBA
Today we travel to New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. After a lunch time arrival, a hotel check in the group has an afternoon at their leisure.
Day 12: Wellington
Accommodation: Wellington TBA
Wellington has been the nation’s capital since 1856. We will enjoy a guided tour in this beautiful city on foot with a local guide. We take the Wellington Cable Car, New Zealand’s only running funicular railway. This ride will take you from the heart of the city to a lookout that will give you a view of Wellington. You can walk through the Botanic Garden, and visit the historic Pioneer Cemetery established in the 19th century.
The tour of Wellington finishes in the Waterfront precinct close to the National Museum of New Zealand “Te papa”. We have tickets for entry into the Museum, the remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure.
Group Farewell Dinner
Day 13: Wellington
This small group tour of New Zealand journey down the East coast of the north Island concludes after breakfast.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 12 nights accommodation.
- 13 breakfasts, 7 dinners.
- Transport by modern and comfortable coach.
- Entrances and sightseeing as specified.
- Services of Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
- Detailed Preparatory Information.
What’s not included in our Tour
- Return international airfares and departure taxes.
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls and laundry.
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, moderate walking on uneven surfaces between 3 - 5 kilometers per day. Suitable for most fitness levels
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Reading List Download PDF
History and Traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand Prior to 1840
Excerpt from History and Traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand Prior to 1840
This history is much longer than perhaps suits the ordinary reader indeed, it is over a hundred pages more than was originally contemplated. But the amount of information collected will prove of interest to those living in the localities mentioned in after times; and it could never be collected again, for the old men who gave it have now passed on to Te Hono-i-wairua.
To others than members of the Polynesian Society it is right to say that the book has been published in the Society's Journal by instalments - it would otherwise never have appeared on account of the expense - and that the number of maps in it is due to the liberality of the Government, who had them drawn and printed at their expense.
About the Publisher
Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com
This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
By Stephenson Percy SmithAmazon
New Zealand: People, Places and Events that Shaped the History of New Zealand
New Zealand is a country that has forever been admired for its beautiful landscapes – a wilderness that barely seems to be touched by humans. The populated areas are surrounded by forests, plains, rocky mountains – even beaches. All of this gives New Zealand that heavenly vibe.
However, the place we admire today has been heavily affected by its history. People who wanted to farm the land versus people who wanted to keep the land the way it is. A land that, despite the wars it had been through, has managed to hang on to its beauty.
Packed with colonization, war and expansion, the history of New Zealand is something everyone should know and study in this day and age.
By James BoyleAmazon
The Penguin History of New Zealand
New Zealand was the last country in the world to be discovered and settled by humankind. It was also the first to introduce full democracy. Between those events, and in the century that followed, the movements and conflicts of human history have been played out more intensively and more rapidly in New Zealand than anywhere else on Earth.
The Penguin History of New Zealand tells that story in all its colour and drama. The narrative that emerges is an inclusive one about men and women, Maori and Pakeha. It shows that British motives in colonising New Zealand were essentially humane; and that Maori, far from being passive victims of a 'fatal impact', coped heroically with colonisation and survived by selectively accepting and adapting what Western technology and culture had to offer.
By Michael KingAmazon
Pounamu Pounamu is classic Ihimaera. First published om 1972, it was immediately endorsed by Maori and Pakeha alike for its original stories that showed how important Maori identity is for all New Zealanders. As Katherine Mansfield did in her first collection In a German Pension (1911), and Janet Frame in The Lagoon (1951), Witi Ihimaera explores in Pounamu Pounamu what it is like to be a New Zealander - but from a Maori perspective. The seeds of Ihimaera's later works are first introduced in this ground-breaking collection: The Whale Rider in his story 'The Whale', The Rope of Man in 'Tangi', and the character of Simeon form Bulibasha, King of the Gypsies in 'One Summer Morning'; and the themes of aroha (love), whanaungatanga (kinship) and manaakitanga (supporting each other), which are so intergral to Ihimaera's work.
By Witi IhimaeraAmazon
Do They Speak English Down There?
Read how one family transformed a fantasy into reality when they traded in their San Diego lifestyle to move to rural New Zealand along with the challenges it presented adapting to a new culture. From duct tape to #8 wire, its been one helluva journey.
By Susan C. TunneyAmazon