Following an increasing number of potential safety incidents on KiwiRail’s Great Journeys of New Zealand scenic rail services, the outdoor viewing carriage on the Northern Explorer only will be closed until further notice while a safety solution is found.
This full day sightseeing tour has it all! Experience magical glowworms and world-famous limestone formations at Waitomo Caves, as well as the rich cultural heritage and geothermal bounty of Rotorua.
Leaving Auckland in the morning, we travel through the lush farmland of the Waikato and King Country regions. Your experienced local driver guide will provide entertaining commentary and point out historical sites of interest including Rangiriri, the location of a major battle in the Maori Land Wars in 1863.
On arrival in the small town of Waitomo, enjoy a 45-minute guided tour through the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves with their amazing stalactites, stalagmites, towering caverns and other rock formations. Formed out of limestone over 30 million years ago, the caves were first discovered in 1887 and are now one of New Zealand's most popular tourist destinations. Your tour finishes with a short but magical boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto – an underground cavern illuminated by the twinkling lights of thousands of tiny glowworms.
Leaving Waitomo, enjoy a delicious picnic style lunch (vegetarian and other dietary options available on request) en route to Rotorua, in the heart of the Central North Island. Visit the Agrodome on the outskirts of Rotorua and take a tour of an organic working farm in all terrain vehicles. Get an insight into farming life in New Zealand as you see sheep-shearers in action and view a livesheep dog trial.
At the conclusion of the Agrodome tour, we make our way to Te Puia, one of New Zealand's foremost cultural venues. At Te Puia's marae (meeting house) you will receive a traditional welcome and be invited to experience a M?ori cultural performance, in which ancient and modern stories are told through song, dance, poi and stick games. You'll gain an understanding of this unique culture and its history and be thoroughly entertained by the talented and charismatic performers.
Next, venture into a landscape unlike any other with a guided tour of the bubbling mudpools and active geysers of the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. See the world-famous Pohutu geyser unleash vapour jets up to 30 metres high. The tour also includes a visit to Te Puia's woodcarving and weaving schools, where apprentices are trained in these traditional skills by master carvers and weavers.
After your full day Waitomo and Rotorua tour, board the coach for the return journey to Auckland. A delicious afternoon snack, including traditional Maori rewana bread, can be enjoyed en route.
Useful info: We recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes and taking a warm jacket for the Waitomo Glowworm Caves guided tour.
Full day tour
Departs and returns Sky City Terminal, Auckland
Waitomo Glowworm Caves guided tour
Agrodome organic farm tour
Maori cultural performance at Te Puia
Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley geothermal tour
Free WiFi available on board