Stunning headlands, remote country, empty bays and coves, and bush clad peaks. These scenic delights, intertwined with adventure and cultural experiences, make this part of New Zealand a must to visit!
Join us on this week long tour exploring the raw beauty of the East Cape. Take time to discover the hidden gems that Maori and early Europeans found so majestic they would call this area home.
We experience the many highlights of the region ranging from an authentic cultural experience at Mataatua - The House That Came Home, to the natural beauty and adventure from the comfort of a self driven rail-cart at Awakeri Rail Adventures. Be amazed at the National Arboretum with over 131 hectares of incredible exotic and native trees and shrubs, and relax in your comfortable coach seat as you soak up the views along the enchanting Pacific Coast highway.
Combined with staying in great locations, fabulous local award winning cuisine and friendly company this is a tour not to be missed.
Depart Whanganui Racecourse at 8.30am and travel north up SH4 to the National Park Village for morning tea at the Station Cafe. From here, we continue through the National Park taking in the wonderful sights with a comfort stop en route before reaching Taupo. Here you are given some free time to get yourself some lunch, and to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and shops.
As we continue north, our route this afternoon sees us divert off the main highway and travel around the right-hand side of Mount Tarawera and up the western side of Te Urewera National Park.
We arrive into Whakatane to our fantastic accommodation, centrally located, where we stay for the next two nights. There is plenty of time to unwind before our first group dinner together at one of the highly rated restaurants in town.
Accommodation: Tuscany Villas Boutique Hotel
This morning you have the chance to go on a spectacular scenic flight (optional activity) with many great options, such as flying around the continuously active volcano of White Island, which includes Whale Island and Ohope Beach. Other options are Mt Tarawera, including Waimangu Volcanic Valley and the East Cape Lighthouse. Please note the flights are an extra optional activity at your own expense. Please see the information sheet for more details.
If you prefer, you can choose to have a relaxed start to the day before we all meet mid-morning and head out to discover the extraordinary story of the house that has travelled through time. We embrace the culture and learn the story of Mataatua- The House That Came Home, when we visit New Zealand’s only repatriated and most travelled Maori meeting house.
We then board the coach and head out to a great local cafe for lunch before we experience one of the top attractions Whakatane has to offer. With Awakeri Rail Adventures you will travel along a piece of New Zealand's rich rail history and experience the natural beauty and adventure from the comfort of a rail-cart, cleverly adapted to be self-driven along the rail tracks. Your adventure starts from Awakeri travelling at a leisurely 20 kilometres per hour and there are 4 bridges, numerous cuttings, and bush scenes along the track to enjoy. Upon our return to base, we have some afternoon tea before heading back to our hotel.
Again, you will be given some free time to explore town if you wish before heading out for another great group dinner.
Accommodation: Tuscany Villas Boutique Hotel
After breakfast we say goodbye to Whakatane and head east to check out Ohope beach which has been voted New Zealand’s most loved beach. Continue around the picturesque Ohiwa Harbour before reaching the long, undeveloped beaches at Waiotahi and Tirohanga. We then hit the enchanting SH35 – the Pacific Coast Highway. With numerous clear rivers descending from bush-clad hillsides as we follow the rocky coastline from bay to bay, this drive will be one to remember.
After our leisurely scenic morning drive, we arrive at Te Kaha Beach Resort where we take in the magnificent views while enjoying a delicious group lunch.
This afternoon, we follow the coast towards the most eastern point and visit the exceptional Manuka World. Here we learn about the pioneers of Manuka Oil who have been exporting this product for over 25 years. Our tour consists of a brief history of this area, a walk around the facility, an explanation on the harvesting and extraction, followed by a presentation and honey tasting. You will have time to explore the shop or grab yourself a cuppa in the relaxed outdoor setting, before reaching our accommodation, which is where we dine tonight at the onsite restaurant.
Accommodation: Hicks Bay Motel
A relaxed start to the day before we head down the coast. First stop is in Te Araroa to see the giant Pohutukawa tree (Te Waha o Rerekohu) reputed to be the oldest and largest in New Zealand. Then it is off to view Saint Mary's Church in Tikitiki, one of the finest Maori churches in New Zealand.
As we navigate our way south, we hope to view the majestic Mount Hikurangi, the highest non-volcanic peak in the North Island and the first place to see the sun. For lunch today, we are sitting on the water's edge of the Pacific Ocean, looking over beautiful Tokomaru Bay at the Te Puka Tavern.
After lunch, we continue the stunning scenic drive to Tolaga Bay to see New Zealand's longest wharf. The afternoon see’s us enjoy a classic boat ride in the Poverty Bay Harbour. We board the MV Takitimu which is believed to be the oldest pilot vessel in New Zealand still able to be operated. She is also notable for the amount of original fixtures and fittings that have survived. After, it is just a short drive into Gisborne and to our great accommodation for the next two nights.
Accommodation: Emerald Hotel Gisborne
After breakfast we step off the beaten track as we head out to experience real, rural New Zealand in action as we visit the hill country sheep and beef farm of Waipura Station.
Our hosts will give their personal insights into what life is like on this fourth generation family-run farm. Complete with history of the Station, shearing explanation and demonstration, information about the wool industry and the opportunity to get up close with the animals and equipment. We will enjoy a classic kiwi morning tea in the woolshed while being entertained by a mustering demonstration on horseback.
After this very memorable morning with this great family, we board the coach and head out through the picturesque Ngatapa Valley to the National Arboretum of New Zealand.
Eastwoodhill was founded in 1910 and encompasses 131 hectares of exotic and native trees, shrubs and climber plantings. We have a transported guided Jeep tour which is the best way to discover new and amazing facts about the National Arboretum and the 25,000 plants and trees it contains. Lunch today will be set amongst this magnificent setting and you will have your own time to explore before heading back into town.
You will have the chance to look through town and visit the award winning Tairawhiti Museum if you choose or simply relax for the rest of the afternoon. We meet back for another fabulous group dinner before resting our heads for the night.
Accommodation: Emerald Hotel Gisborne
Today we say farewell to the Pacific Highway and follow SH2 through the Waioeka Gorge Scenic Reserve north to Opotiki. The highway follows a route carved by rivers through steep forested hills surrounded by great scenery. You have time to wander and view the murals, created by over 100 young people from 12 schools, that Opotiki is now famous for before having lunch.
This afternoon, we travel the scenic SH30 into Rotorua passing some of the great lakes this district is renowned for. We will have a quick city tour showing the highlights of Rotorua before arriving at our great accommodationwhe you will have some time to prepare for our final group dinner.
As always, we make the last dinner on tour a special one as we head to Skyline Rotorua to dine amongst the stars atop Mount Ngongotaha. Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar is home to some of New Zealand’s best award-winning cuisine while the panoramic view of Lake Rotorua is a sight to behold. After this great evening we head back to rest our heads for the evening.
Accommodation: Best Western Braeside Rotorua
A relaxed start to the morning before we make our way south with our first stop to view the majestic Lady Knox Geyser. It's then just a short drive to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland to view the spectacular showcase of New Zealand’s most colourful and unique geothermal elements sculpted by thousands of years of volcanic activity.
We then continue south for an excellent lunch stop in Acacia Bay, which was voted Lonely Planet's number one cafe pick for the Central North Island and one of the top 10 places to visit in New Zealand. L’Arté Café and Gallery are both set in a magical, art filled garden, complete with an outside mosaic living room.
It's then the final leg as we make our way through the Central Plateau with a last refreshment stop in Taihape before reaching Whanganui.
After years in the broadcasting industry, Jase hung up his headphones to run Take It Easy Tours. This has meant he can still pick up the microphone to inform travellers and encourage friendly banter while on tour.
There is limited availability for this tour. Please contact us to find out more.
Having a good night's rest after a day out touring is very important so we personally choose all of our accommodation. Generally, four star accommodation when available - with all the comforts you need for a relaxed night.
Please just let us know in advance and we will sort everything for you. Chefs are used to all sorts now when it comes to diet so as long as we know - we’ll have you covered.
We strongly recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. It just puts your mind at ease. Remember to make sure you are covered for and loss of personal possessions, sickness, accidents or travel delays. Feel free to ask us for any tips to make this quick and easy for you.
Yes, it would be our pleasure. We can arrange for you to be picked up and returned to your front door at the conclusion of any tour.
Our buses are quality touring coaches that are very comfortable and fully air conditioned. They range in size from 19-28 seats ensuring that we can easily access all those secret spots off the beaten track. All vehicles are regularly serviced as your safety is our priority.
Coaches and luggage trailers are always locked and secure but we recommended you take any valuables with you when staying overnight.
Cancellation charges do apply so again we recommend travel insurance. Our cancellation policy is clearly outlined for each tour so make sure you cast your eye over it and please feel free to ask any questions.
We are called Take it Easy for a reason as we like to do just that. Do as much or as little as you like - after all it's your holiday! However, there is walking and various activities on each tour that require various levels of fitness. Please check with us if you are unsure about anything and relax knowing that there's always another option for you if you would rather miss out on any activity. We always have a back up plan.
Yes, you can earn airpoints with Take It Easy Tours when we are using Air New Zealand flights. All you need to do is get in contact with us and let us know your airpoints number for each time you wish to earn points.
Get in touch with our friendly staff