Full of the major sights in the Bay of Islands, this small group tour gives you plenty of stops and photo opportunities. Visit the historic Waimate Mission Station (entry included), Haruru Waterfall, Kerikeri Stone Store, Makana Chocolates, Paihia waterfront, New Zealand's oldest oak tree and pear tree, and more. Tea/coffee and cakes included.
Our tour departs from Waitangi Wharf where the tenders arrive. First stop is the Haruru Falls, a breathtaking waterfall, its name meaning "Big Noise". Next we head inland through farmland to the historic "Te Waimate Mission House". Built in 1832, it is the only survivor of three missions founded in 1830 by the Church Missionary Society and is a simple Georgian building, the Mission Society's first farm, and forerunner of modern agriculture in New Zealand. After a short introduction by the volunteer guide, you are free to explore the Mission House, Church and Churchyard, then wander the extensive grounds with magnificent trees. The Mission Station is also where we usually take our morning tea/coffee and cake refreshments, though on some days we may visit a local cafe instead. The region is also known for its successful horticulture and niche food products, so our next visit is to the Makana Chocolate factory to sample their hand made chocolates. There is time to visit the adjacent wood crafts shop and exhibition as well. Heading through the township of Kerikeri, our final stop is at the Kerikeri Inlet, where the river meets the sea and is the location of the original Mission Station which was established here in 1819. There are two significant buildings to see here, "The Stone Store" built in 1832, originally used as a Missionary Society warehouse. Over the ensuing years the building was reutilised as a trading post, library, barracks and boys' school. Adjacent is "Kemp House", New Zealand's oldest building completed in 1821/22 by missionary carpenters and Maori sawyers. Kemp House was a family home of simple, Georgian design. It has changed little over time, despite bearing witness to many historically significant events. There is time for you to explore this very historic part of the Bay of Islands before we head back to Waitangi. We can drop you in Paihia for sightseeing or shopping (free shuttle back to the tender wharf), or at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, ($50 entry fee) - New Zealand's most important historic site, just a short walk back to the wharf to catch the tender to your ship. Please note on some dates we may use larger 22 seat mini-coaches and also change the order of the itinerary.