Day 1 Auckland to Paihia
Drive to Paihia in the glittering Bay Of Islands. Optional afternoon activity to explore the BOI on a kayak adventure or join a sailing trip on a catamaran, replica 100-year-old tall ship or more intimate small boat excursion.
Day 2 Paihia To Kaikohe (Cycling: 45km)
Drive to the quaint harbour of Opua to start the Twin Coast Cycle Trail heading off along an estuary edged with mangroves. The gentle trail continues alongside the tracks of a vintage steam railway before ending in the small rural town of Kawakawa, known for the Huntervasser toilets, an artwork adorned with mosaic tiles, sculptures, cobblestone floors and a grassy roof. Continue cycling to Moerewa through rolling farmland and forest with waterfalls and suspension bridges along the way. Finish cycling at Kaikohe and enjoy lunch at the Mint Café, housed in a neo-classical building. Return to Paihia and take the ferry to Russell, New Zealand’s first permanent European settlement. Explore this delightful old whaling town then walk up Flagstaff Hill for stunning views of the Bay Of Islands, Dinner is at the historic Duke of Marlborough Hotel.
Day 3 Moerewa to Omapere via Horoeke (Cycling: 42km)
Return to Moerewa, for a morning visit at the Te Rito Marae to be welcomed by a traditional powhiri followed by traditional story telling over morning tea. Drive to Kaikohe to mount the bikes and climb gently along an old railway corridor to reach a viewpoint 280m above sea level. After passing through a spooky, curved 80m tunnel constructed in 1915, the trail descends to Lake Omapere. The last part of the ride isthrough farmland before descending into the valley by a series of switchbacks. A 1200m-long boardwalk section leads through the mangrove estuary connecting to the Hokianga Harbour where the trail ends in the quaint historical settlement of Horeke. Drive to the coastal town of Omapere for overnight.
Day 4 Omapere to Auckland
Explore the beautiful Hokianga Harbour steeped in fascinating history, both Maori and European. Kayak and paddle boarding are on offer or you can hire a jet ski. After lunch start the drive back to Auckland stopping enroute at Tane Mahuta, also known as 'God of the Forest' estimated to be between 1,250 and 2,500 years old and is the largest known living kauri tree. Continue through the beautiful Waipoua Forest and arrive the city early evening.
The gravel cycle trail is easy, wide and flat for most of the way. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and the ability to bike for a few hours at a time. Maximum elevation is under 300m. Kayaking and paddle boarding can be done by novices.
3 breakfasts & 3 dinners
Departures November to April – see trip notes
Between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, explore wetlands, native forest, rolling farmland and historic townships on the Twin Coast Cycle Trail. The 87km trail follows the path of long-gone railways, logging trams and water races from the mining days, weaving its way through estuaries edged with mangroves, across graceful suspension bridges and rolling farmland.
- Discover the glittering Bay Of Islands by boat or kayak
- Take a ferry to historic Russell and walk up Flagstaff Hill
- Visit Te Rito Marae and learn about NZ’s Maori culture from the local Hapu
- The famous Huntervasser toilets at Kawakawa
- Kayak, paddle board, sail or jet ski in the Paihia and Hokianga harbours
- Visit Tane Mahuta, New Zealand’s largest remaining kauri tree
- Dine at the famous Duke of Marlborough Hotel