Experience stunning landscapes and beaches

Northern Explorer

Bay Of Islands

Introducing the spectacular Northern Explorer

With some of the most stunning landscapes and beaches, departing right in the heart of summer, this one will be sure to make your summer a hit!  

The northernmost tip of New Zealand features many stunning attractions with the famous 90 Mile Beach, the legendary Cape Reinga - where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea, and is home to a giant swamp of Kauri trees thousands of years old. 

The whole region is lined with beautiful unspoiled white sandy beaches perfect to swim, snorkel and to take it easy. With so many fantastic tours departing from Paihia (Bay of Islands), you are given a few days of free time to tick off those bucket list options.

Come and join us on the Northern Explorer! Full itinerary details below and optional actives here.

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There is limited availability for this tour.
Please contact us to find out more.

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*Custom departure points available for all tours

What’s included?
8 nights accommodation
All activities stated in itinerary
Comfortable tour coach
Expert tour guide
Delicious meals provided (exclusions apply)
General level of fitness required

Tour highlights


Day 1

Home - Auckland

Home (26th January)

Depart Whanganui Racecourse at 8am and head up the coast to Hawera for a great morning tea stop. We continue up the coast passing through small settlements such as Urenui, over Mount Messenger, through Mokau and onto Piopio for a superb lunch.


We have one last stop for a refreshment break before reaching our great central Auckland accommodation for the night. There is time for some R & R before meeting for our first group dinner of the tour.

Departing from another destination

For those departing from another destination, you will be given your personalised itinerary for you to join the group today. All tickets and details will be provided in your personal information pack, sent prior to travel.

Accommodation: Mecure Auckland

Day 2

Auckland - Paihia (Bay of Islands)

Auckland (27th January)

After breakfast we leave the hussle of the big smoke behind us as we head into Northland. This morning we deviate off SH1 and head out towards Matakana to Auckland’s latest world class experience, Sculptureum. You will be given time to explore this sculpture park which is a world of art, food and wine with three sculpture-filled gardens, six galleries and a vineyard.

Goat Island

It is then just a short drive to Leigh where we have a great lunch lined up before we board the Glass Bottom Boat and tour Goat Island. This fully commentated “around the island” tour will give you a unique perspective into New Zealand’s first marine reserve. Peering through the glass, you stay dry while viewing a thriving underwater ecosystem, teeming with reefs, fish, and other marine life. Above water, Goat Island is the focal point, as are the many species of birds that live in this coastal habitat.

Continuing north, we head into the Town Basin of Whangarei. Here we have the chance to take in the thriving atmosphere as you have some free time to explore the many shops and galleries, and also view one of the largest and most historically significant collections of clocks in the Southern Hemisphere at Claphams Clock Museum. 


If time permits we will view the majestic 26m high classic curtain Whangarei Waterfalls before the final leg into Paihia where we will be based for the next four nights. After you are settled in, we meet for dinner at the great onsite restaurant and enjoy a lovely meal together getting excited about the coming days adventures!

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Paihia

Day 3

Paihia (Bay of Islands)

Paihia (28th January)

Today is day one of your free time to explore this amazing part of the country. There are many great optional activities available, from having a relaxing day in town to travelling along Ninety Mile Beach to the very tip of New Zealand. Please check your optional activity folder for more details. Below are some options:

  • Cape Reinga and 90 mile beach day trip
  • Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise
  • Russell Mini Tour
  • R Tucker tall ship sailing
  • Famous Cream Trip cruise
  • Discover Kerikeri
  • Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island day trip
  • Fishing
  • Sailing
  • Scenic flights

We will be more than happy to assist you in booking any other activities you may wish to do during your time in the magnificent Bay of Islands. 

Tonight, we meet back at the hotel at a predetermined time and have a lovely group dinner together and share stories of our day’s activities.

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Paihia

Day 4

Paihia (Bay of Islands)

Paihia (29th January)

The second free day to enjoy this special region. Again, check your optional activity folder for the great range of activities available, or there may be something else you would like to do. The tour leader will help make any bookings you may choose to do.

Tonight, we meet back at the hotel at a predetermined time and enjoy a good catch up with another great dinner together.

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Paihia

Day 5

Paihia (Bay of Islands)

Paihia (30th January)

A relaxed start to the day before boarding the coach for a local sightseeing day out. Our first stop is just down the road where we visit the award-winning national attraction, Waitangi Treaty Grounds. This morning, we will enjoy an authentic and interactive cultural experience as we have a private guided tour of the grounds. Also there will be some free time to explore the Treaty House, museum and view short films.


We have a great lunch lined up before we travel the back roads which will see us visit Haruru Falls before arriving in Kawakawa. 

As a group, we then take a journey on the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway. This is unique in the world as it is the only working railway where the train travels down the middle of a State Highway and right through the middle of the town. The railway at Kawakawa was the North Island’s first railway to be opened and the first to run a rail passenger service in the North Island. 

You will also have the chance to visit the world famous Hundertwasser toilets, designed especially by the town's famous Austrian resident, Freidensreich Hundertwasser.

Back on the coach, we have a short drive south to Waiomio and visit the Kawiti Glowworm Caves, Northland's ultimate glowworm experience. Our guided tour will follow a wooden boardwalk through a 200 metre limestone cave system. Once inside, you will see thousands of glowworms spread across the ceiling surrounded by breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites.


It is then time to head back to our hotel to get ready for our special group dinner cruise tonight. We will enjoy a leisurely 2½ hour cruise up the Waitangi River to the gorgeous Haruru Falls while enjoying delicious cuisine.  Marvel in the tranquil surroundings with a rich abundance of bird life and historical points of interest, raising a glass to our exceptional time in the Bay of Islands.

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Paihia

Day 6

Paihia - Hokianga

Paihia (31st January)

Today it is time to depart the Bay of Islands and carry on exploring the Far North. We head north to visit one of the region's most fascinating heritage tourism destinations at Butler Point. We will be treated to a great tour which includes the Whaling Museum, one of the most comprehensive private museums of its kind in New Zealand. Also, Butler House, which is a nationally significant heritage building and the gardens which are recognised as a 'Garden of Significance'. 

Karikari Peninsula

After this great visit, we carry on and travel up to the beautiful Karikari Peninsula which is renowned for its amazing white sandy beaches and bays such as popular Maitai Bay.

We have an outstanding lunch organised at New Zealand’s northernmost vineyard and winery, Karikari Estate. Overlooking the rolling coastal land, towards the very top of the far north, we will also enjoy a wine tasting if you wish.


We depart the peninsula and head south west to the Hokianga Harbour, New Zealand’s fourth largest harbour which is home to a large number of indigenous species framed by a unique coastal landscape. We arrive at Kohukohu on the north side and catch the vehicle ferry over the harbour to Rawene, where we continue through to accommodation at Omapere. We will spend two nights at this great 4-star hotel offering spacious accommodation in a lovely location. Tonight we dine at the onsite restaurant enjoying the views of the harbour and sand dunes across the bay.

Accommodation: The Heads Hokianga

Day 7


Hokianga (1st February)

A relaxed start to the day as we wake up in paradise and enjoy another delicious breakfast, before boarding the coach and heading up the harbor with the first stop at Opononi. This picturesque place was made famous in the summer of 1955 and 1956 due to the exploits of a dolphin called Opo. We park up next to the statue of Opo for photo opportunities while taking in the magnificent views.

Hokianga Harbour

We are then collected by Hokianga Express and head out to explore the southern reaches of the harbour. You will also have the chance to explore the giant sand dunes or try your hand at sand boarding. Otherwise you may simply choose to stay on board and enjoy the views.

The next visit for the day is the exceptional new attraction, Footprints of Kupe Experience. This multisensory journey of guided storytelling – through art, taonga (cultural treasures), film, performance, digital interaction and the splendour of Hokianga’s natural surroundings, will definitely impress. 


Back on the coach we head to the relaxed harbourside village of Rawene. First we will enjoy a group lunch, before we are collected by the crew of the Rānui for an informative scenic cruise around the Upper Hokianga Harbour, complete with interesting tales from the skipper about the significant history of this area. You will also have time to explore the village where a visit to Clendon House, the fascinating home of Captain James Reddy Clendon, is a must see. 

After this great day of exploring, it is back to the hotel to enjoy a drink and meal watching the sun set on a fantastic day.

Accommodation: The Heads Hokianga

Day 8

Hokianga - Auckland

Hokianga (2nd February)

The first leg of today will see us head south into the majestic Waipoua Forest, which preserves some of the best examples of kauri forest remaining in New Zealand. We stop and visit the one and only Tana Mahuta “Lord of the Forest” which is a giant Kauri tree estimated to be between 1,250 and 2,500 years. It is the largest kauri known to stand today and a truly spiritual experience.


After being enchanted by this special area we are back on the road passing through Dargaville and onto Matakohe. Here we visit the award-winning Kauri Museum, which tells the story of our pioneering settlers through the lens of the Kauri Industry. We will be greeted with a warm welcome and an introduction to the museum which has many exhibits that tell the story of the pioneering days when early European settlers in the area extracted kauri timber and kauri gum.

We have lunch here before continuing on and reconnecting with SH1 back down and into Auckland. Tonight we stay right on the Viaduct and aim to give you time to explore this lovely area and visit the Maritime museum if you wish.


We have a great final dinner lined up at one of the highly rated restaurants on the Viaduct to sign off this tour in style.

Accommodation: The Sebel Viaduct Harbour

Day 9

Auckland - Home

Auckland (3rd February)

The final day but the fun continues as we board New Zealand's longest running passenger service, the Northern Explorer. This scenic train service running between Auckland and Wellington, will allow you to experience some of the extremes in New Zealand’s scenery, from the fertile farmlands of Waikato to the volcanic peaks of the Central Plateau.

The journey through Tongariro National Park, with its three spectacular volcanic mountains – Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe and Ruapehu – is a highlight, a place of extremes and surprises, where snow-blanketed fields, ancient lava flows and dense beech forests can be seen side by side.


From here, it is not long before you arrive in Palmerston North and disembark the train. Your coach will be ready and waiting to transfer you back to Whanganui and if you are travelling to another location you will be dropped off at the airport to catch your flight home.

*If you are travelling to another destination, your travel arrangements will be made for you in your customised itinerary.

Optional extras

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Meet your tour guides

Jimmy Elliott

Jimmy has a wealth of experience and uses this to ensure all trips with Take It Easy Tours are well organised, informative, diverse and a whole heap of fun.

Jason Granville

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.

Reserve your spot

initial deposit
Payment plans available
per person

There is limited availability for this tour. Please contact us to find out more.

Frequently asked questions

Can I earn Air New Zealanad airpoints on my flights?

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.

Can you collect me from my door?

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.

How about travel insurance?

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.

How active are your tours?

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.

I have some dietary requirements?

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.

What happens if I have to cancel?

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.

What types of transport do we use?

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.

What kind of accommodation do we stay in?

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.

Still have questions?

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