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5 DAY CLASSIC EASTLAND DC-3 AIR TOUR

Auckland - Rotorua - Whakaari White Island - Gisborne - Napier - Taupo - Auckland

Explore the remarkable Eastland and Bay of Plenty regions of New Zealand’s North Island – from above! Climb aboard your classic DC-3 airliner for a superb new way to see Rotorua, Taupo, White Island volcano, East Cape, Hawkes Bay, Napier and so much more – in an exhilarating, inspiring and oh-so refreshing new way!

Inclusions

* DC-3 airliner flights on 4 tour days (6 flights)
* Rotorua, Gisborne, Napier, Taupo from above
* Exceptional flight-seeing and pre-paid ground attractions
* ‘Yesteryear’ grass runway landing / take off
* Quality 4-star hotels; 2-night Napier stopover (sea-front)
* Hobbiton tour, White Island volcano from above
* Redwood Treewalk, Eastwoodhill Arboretum
* Reef Ecology Tour – feeding stingrays
* Napier sightseeing, including Art Deco and Te Mata Peak
* Church Road Winery tasting
* Lake Taupo cruise to Rock Carvings
* Meals every day: Full breakfast (4), Dinner (4), Lunch (2)
* Luxury coach sightseeing and transfers
* Transfers to and from Ardmore Airport (Auckland area only)
* Fully hosted tour (Tour Director/ Host)

Highlights

* Hobbiton
* White Island volcano from above
* Gisborne Reef Ecology Tour
* Church Road Wine Tasting
* Redwood Treewalk
* Napier Art Deco visits
* Lake Taupo cruise

There are fun grass runway landings and you can even visit the DC-3 cockpit during flight – yes, just like the good old days! Your air tour is accompanied by an experienced Tour Director and your DC-3 crew includes two professional pilots and a flight attendant (or two). Stay in quality 4-star hotels each evening with breakfast and dinner included each day plus some lunches. Enjoy a grand 2-night stopover in Napier (sea-front) plus fabulous overnight stops in Rotorua and Gisborne.

With only 24 guests per tour, this really is small group touring at its very best…

Thrill to the spectacle of White Island volcano by air. Explore the dramatic Eastland coastline from a low altitude flypast, fly over Hawkes Bay and cruise inland at low level to the central volcanic plateau and lovely Lake Taupo – you’ll certainly see this ever changing landscape as never before!

Meanwhile ground sightseeing has been carefully selected to enrich your appreciation of this remarkable part of the country. Visit enchanting Hobbiton, enjoy Rotorua’s newest eco-attraction, walk with stingrays near Gisborne (if you are keen!), see delightful Eastwoodhill Arboretum, cruise on Lake Taupo, view Napier’s famous Art Deco architecture and drive to the top of iconic Te Mata Peak for stunning views of Hawkes Bay. And of course there will be an opportunity or two for some local wine tasting along the way.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Two DC3 Flights & Coach – AUCKLAND to HOBBITON then ROTORUA

Step aboard your classic DC-3 airliner for an exclusive adventure! Take off from Auckland’s Ardmore Airport for a low-level flight across the Hauraki Gulf to reach the Coromandel Peninsula, a bush-clad landscape dominated by ancient volcanoes. Land on the grass at Whitianga Airport and transfer into town to enjoy lunch beside beautiful Buffalo Beach.

Take off after lunch for your second flight of the day. Track south and cross the ranges to reach the verdant pastures of the Waikato region. Land at Matamata Aerodrome (another grass runway) then transfer by coach to picturesque Hobbiton. Enjoy a fascinating guided walk around the enchanting movie set and savour the delights of the pretty shire. Rest a while afterwards with an ale or ginger beer at Hobbiton’s ‘Green Dragon Inn’! Board your luxury coach later and drive over the scenic Mamaku Ranges to your Rotorua hotel.

Distinction Hotel Rotorua (4 star)
Lunch and Dinner included

Day 2 - DC-3 Flight – ROTORUA to WHAKAARI WHITE ISLAND then GISBORNE

Start your morning with an ecological treat just around the corner from your hotel! Redwoods Treewalk is Rotorua’s newest attraction, offering a gentle 30-minute walk along a series of suspension bridges among majestic 100 year old redwoods. 

Board your DC-3 afterwards, take off from Rotorua and fly out from the eastern Bay of Plenty coast towards ‘Te Puia o Whakaari’ (or White Island). The island is effectively the top 321 metres of New Zealand’s only marine volcano. Sadly the volcano erupted suddenly in December 2019 with the loss of 21 lives - visitors who were walking on the island at the time.

See the island from a safe distance with a slow and respectful return flypast. Please note: if you prefer not to fly this sector, you can choose to drive directly to Gisborne instead (by tour coach).

Your DC-3 flight will meet the coast again near Cape Runaway, easternmost point of the Bay of Plenty. Fly past Hicks Bay at low level and track to East Cape before turning south for views of classic Eastland scenery including Tokomaru Bay and Tolaga Bay. Land at Gisborne Airport, one of only three airports in the world with a railway line across the runway! 

Visit ‘Eastwoodhill’ this afternoon – the National Arboretum of NZ. This extensive park boasts an area of 135 hectares with exotic and native plantings including the largest collection of Northern Hemisphere trees in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2004 it was recognised as a Garden of National Significance by the NZ Gardens Trust. Located 30 minutes from Gisborne, Eastwoodhill is one of the region’s most visited attractions. Enjoy your time here today then return to Gisborne and check in to your river-side hotel.

Portside Hotel Gisborne (4 star)
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included

Day 3 - DC-3 Flight – GISBORNE to NAPIER (2-night stay)

A 15 minute drive along the coast will bring you to Tatapouri Beach this morning for your Dive Tatapouri ‘Reef Ecology Tour’ experience. The visit is timed for today’s low tide and you’ll be kitted out with ‘designer waders’ for a fascinating guided tour in the shallows. Let your guide introduce you to local marine life with a chance to meet and feed wild stingrays too – possibly a tour highlight. Feel free to relax by the beach if this activity is a little outside your comfort zone though!

Return to Gisborne via Wainui Beach, celebrated surf spot and site of numerous whale strandings over the years. Hopefully, there will be time to call into intriguing Tairawhiti Museum and Art Gallery on the way back to the airport to meet your DC-3.

Take off from Gisborne Airport this afternoon and head towards Mahia Peninsula, location of the ‘Rocket Lab’ venture. Continue flying along the coast before landing at Hawkes Bay Airport in Napier. A local coach will meet you for a brief city tour. A powerful 7.8 magnitude quake in February 1931 reshaped Napier and the region, sparking a period of substantial reconstruction. The functional Art Deco rebuild style soon became synonymous with modern Napier and is celebrated each February with a major 1930’s themed festival. View the city’s Art Deco highlights en route to your sea-front hotel for a 2-night stay.

Scenic Hotel Te Pania (4 star)
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included

Day 4 - Coach & Leisure – NAPIER SIGHTSEEING & VISITS

Drive south to pretty Havelock North this morning. Ascend local landmark ‘Te Mata Peak’ by coach and stop at the top for extensive and iconic views of Hawkes Bay, the Tukituki River and much more. Return towards Taradale and call into Silky Oaks Chocolates for a tour and a tasting then visit Church Road Winery for an opportunity to sample local wines at one of Napier’s longest established wineries.

Drive back to Napier’s CBD around noon. There will be time for you to find lunch, meander through the inner city or relax as you prefer. Perhaps you may like to investigate Napier’s shopping opportunities! This afternoon is yours to enjoy, relax or explore as you wish. Consider visiting the Sunken Gardens, Sound Shell and Marine Parade walkway. Or check out the excellent Museum. The Napier Aquarium is accessible too – just a pleasant walk away along the foreshore.

Scenic Hotel Te Pania (4 star)
Breakfast and Dinner included

Day 5DC-3 Flights (2) – NAPIER to TAUPO then AUCKLAND

Return to Hawkes Bay Airport this morning to meet your DC-3. Take off and fly inland above scenic vineyards and farmland then the pine forests of Rangitaiki en route to the Central Volcanic Plateau. Soon you will be looking down on Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake by far. Land at Taupo Airport where a coach will be waiting to drive you to the Boat Harbour.

Board a spacious catamaran for a 90 minute Chris Jolly cruise among the secluded bays of our largest lake. Lake Taupo fills a caldera left behind by a massive volcanic eruption and today it is a world-famous trout fishery. The pretty snow-capped mountains of the World Heritage Tongariro National Park form a picturesque backdrop as you cruise out to see the unique Maori Rock Carvings. Return to Taupo Wharf for lunch, leisure time or a lakeside walk.

Board your DC-3 early this afternoon and climb out above Lake Taupo and the forested hills of the Wairakei Thermal Valley. Turn north and fly above mixed forest and farmland to the predominantly dairy country of the Waikato region, then onto Ardmore. Land and disembark for final farewells then board the complimentary shuttles to Auckland Airport or other Auckland City localities.

Breakfast and Dinner included

Departures:

Thursday 14 January 2021

Price

$3,995 per person share twin/double

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Milford-Sound-Scenic-Cruises-Milford-Sov
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