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Days: 5 days
Grade: B
(no outdoor experience required just reasonable fitness)
Start/Finish: 8.00 am, pick up zone outside Sky City, 20m from Sky Tower base, corner Victoria and Federal Streets, Auckland
4:00pm (approx.) Auckland.
Departs:

Prices:

Period 1st Jul 16 - 30th Jun 18
  Adult NZD $1,210.00
  Child NZD $1,000.00

Itinerary

DAY
1

Auckland to Bay of Islands

1km/1 hour hiking

Depart Auckland and follow the east coast northwards. A quick stop to supplement supplies for the next 5 days and a cafe stop for anyone who missed breakfast. We make a short deviation to a limestone cave with one of the best glow worm spectacles in the country, before following crazy coastal back roads to Elliott's Bay. We set up camp just above the beach, at a private campsite. If the weather is wet we bed down in the onsite 'marae' (Maori meeting house) instead. Red-tinged pohutukawa trees (New Zealand Christmas trees) cover hidden coves and swimming beaches here. Explore this lovely coastline or swim. If the sea conditions are calm there is excellent snorkelling here. (Includes lunch and dinner)

NOTE: We stop at a cafe at 9:00am if you need to grab some breakfast. Useful things to have in your daypack are: headlamp/torch/water shoes (small cave to explore at lunch time), a pair of shorts, sandals, swimsuit, camera, wallet.

DAY
2

Bay of Islands

9km/6 hours hiking

Tumble out of sleeping bags and leap into the sea. Refreshed, break camp and hike northwards. Climb up through regenerating native bush to the ridge tops and look down on hidden sandy coves and rocky headlands. Catching your breath, gaze out across the bright blue Pacific Ocean. We pass huge steel pots amid the ruins of the old whaling station. These stations are a sad reminder of the many humpback and southern right whales which were once hunted here. Many of New Zealand’s first European settlers came for the sealing and whaling rather than our beautiful natural environment! Lunch at a cute cove of turquoise water, with secret beaches and funky palm trees. Descend from Pukehuia – at 345m, it is the highest hill and best viewpoint in the Bay of Islands. The track ends at a perfect bush-fringed bay of lapping water and moored yachts. Wash away the sweat from our exertion in the clear water. It is a short drive to the historic township of Russell where we take the ferry across to Paihia, the main tourist centre of the Bay of Islands. We stop briefly before driving north to our campsite at Tauranga Bay and its welcome hot showers. (Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)

DAY
3

Whangaroa Kayaking to Cape Reinga

7km/4 hours kayaking

Highly recommended guided kayaking ($95). Using a mix of single and double sea kayaks we launch off the Whangaroa harbour beach and kayak along this beautiful bush-fringed coastline. Red volcanic headlands, island outcrops, and sandy beaches lead us to a sheltered arm of Whangaroa Harbour. Either climb up an old volcanic plug (Dukes Nose) for wonderful views or explore by kayak the mangrove forests at the end of the inlet. Lunch when we return followed by an afternoon drive up to the top of the cape. See Ninety Mile Beach, and Te Paki’s massive looming sand dunes. Jump out and impress each other with antics on our sandboards. We continue onwards, setting up a late camp at a beautiful sandy cove next to Cape Reinga. (Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)

DAY
4

Cape Reinga to Kauri forests

2km/2 hours hiking

Explore Photo Sphere

This morning we have the option of a cliff-top walk (or a drive) to the edge of the world at Cape Reinga where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea. In the afternoon we leave the Far North and begin the journey southwards, passing through Kaitaia and then across the Hokianga on a car ferry. Here we pause for a fish & chip dinner on the beach before driving the final 40 min to the Waipoua Forest. Seeing New Zealand’s biggest kauri tree Tane Mahuta will make you feel humble. We settle into our cabins then drive 20 min to our night-time kiwi walk. A population of the endangered North Island brown kiwi, whose numbers are sadly dwindling each year, is resident in a neighbouring reserve where they are well nurtured and protected (from predators). With a bit of patience and cunning we might stumble into a kiwi or two (or they might stumble into us). Great fun and a very rare thing to see kiwi in their natural environment. (Includes breakfast and lunch)

DAY
5

Kauri Forests

2km/1 hour hiking

This morning we walk the Trounson Kauri Reserve trail to bask in the shadows of these huge trees. An intensively managed mainland conservation ‘island’, surrounded by a sea of farmland, Trounson is one of the best kauri forests in the country and provides refuge for many threatened species. We arrive in Auckland at approximately 4:00pm. (Includes breakfast and lunch)

Meals that are included in the trip price are detailed above.

Notes: Because of the adventurous nature of these trips we require a ratio of at least 1 adult per 3 children. The kayaking is in the stunning Whangaroa Harbour rather than open coast, and as we mainly use double kayaks it's generally suitable for youngsters.

As this trip is subject to tide times and sea or storm surge conditions, activities may unfold in a different order than stated above. In particular, tides may favour us beach driving on a different day. Your vehicle has snorkelling gear, boogie/sandboards, and a barbecue.

Grading & Fitness

Grade: B
Average of 4-5 hrs physical activity per day; up to 6 hours.
At times carrying small backpack of 4-5kgs.
Tracks generally in good condition.
Altitude gains of up to 600m on harder days.
No hiking experience necessary.
Reasonable standard of fitness required
Some energetic sections and climbs, but includes lots of time for relaxation and other activities.

What to Take

New Zealand's weather is very changeable so you need to be prepared for any eventuality. Thankfully, it's warmer up north so thermal underwear and warm hats become an option rather than a necessity. However, you still need to take the essential items listed below.

Essential Items:

  • hiking boots or shoes
  • small day pack
  • raincoat (gore-tex or similar)
  • warm fleece/wool jersey (not cotton)
  • shorts or lightweight hiking trousers (preferably quick-dry)
  • long sleeve shirt (for sun protection)
  • 3 pairs of socks 
  • sunhat and sunglasses (and warm hat Mar- Nov) 
  • polypro/thermal underwear – top & bottom (optional Dec to Feb)
  • drink bottle (1 litre)
  • spare lightweight shoes or sandals
  • insect repellent and sunscreen 
  • casual clothing for travel and evenings
  • togs (swimming costume)
  • towel (lightweight towels are great)
  • gloves/mittens (optional Dec to Feb)

 

Optional items (but highly recommended): 
Walking poles, camera and rain trousers

We supply:
First aid kit, drinking water, safety equipment and maps.

Luggage
There is an allowance of one large pack, bag or suitcase plus one day pack.

Equipment Hire
We have high quality hiking equipment which you can hire for our Hiking Tours. Please arrange hire gear when you book. Requests for a hire equipment must be made at lease 5 days before the departure date.


 

  Hire gear

5-7 day trip (NZ$)

  Backpack (60 litres)

$30

  Sleeping bag

$20

  Fleece jacket

$20

  Thermal top and bottom

$20

  Raincoat

$20

  Full set (all of above)

$90

  Gaiters

$20

  Walking pole (each)

$20

 

 

 

Transport

We travel in a 10 or 12 seat minibus, towing a trailer with camp equipment and luggage. We use a mix of 2-Wheel-Drive and 4-Wheel-Drive vehicles depending on the trip and the time of year. All vehicles have a stereo and we carry a range of natural history reference books. We average 2-3 hours driving per We travel on a range of roads, from sealed highways to dusty, windy, bouncy tracks. We can stop whenever you want to take photos or check out the strange locals! We try not to drive too much, but occasionally we might do a 4-5-hour drive.

Food

Everybody is involved with the preparation and cooking of meals: barbecues, salads, pancakes, curries, pasta, stir-fries etc. Vegetarian meals are no problem. For all specific dietary requirements we ask that you notify us prior to departure. That way we can ensure we are catering correctly for your needs. There is always a lot of hiking food - muesli bars, chocolate, biscuits fruit and dried fruit. The vehicles carry a full range of cooking equipment including gas burners, woks, frying pans and billies.

Accommodation

The trip uses a range of accommodation from camping to basic cabins. We generally camp if the weather is fine so you get to enjoy the outdoors more. In less pleasant weather your guide will arrange accommodation for the group. Note that the accommodation and food costs are included in the price of this trip.

Camping. We camp as much as we can in Department of Conservation campsites, and in established campgrounds with showers. We provide 2-person tents for you to sleep in and closed-cell-foam sleeping mats. We frequently have a small campfire. If you require a tent to yourself please let us know in advance.

Additional Costs

Optional activities: sea kayaking (NZ$95*) and fish & chips on night 4.
Optional activities are paid for during the trip.
*Prices are correct at time of publishing.

Guides & Safety

An excellent guide can make the difference between a trip of a lifetime and just an ordinary trip. That is why we work hard to make sure we hire the best guides. Our handpicked professionals come from a range of backgrounds. Each has extensive outdoor and hiking experience and a passion for New Zealand’s wild and beautiful backcountry. Our guides will ensure that your time with us is truly inspiring, a huge amount of fun and safe. All guides are trained in Mountain Safety First Aid.

Please be gentle with your guide - good guides are hard to find! 

guides banner3

 

Chai Pyle is the current Hiking NZ record holder for diverse work experience. Nepal rescue Kayaker/trainer to YMCA kids instructor to dementia carer to apple picker to adventure photographer to corporate caterer to coffee barista to semi professional wheelbarrow racer. Hopefully not all these skills are used on Chai’s trips. Chai is pretty interested in sustainability - permaculture practice and healthy sustainable self-sufficient ways

Linda Pugh somehow finds time to work for us in between her hectic schedule of sea kayaking and tramping. She rates the 142 day 'Te Araroa trail' as one of her best trips.  In 'all' her spare time Linda and her husband run a craft sheepskin and possum products outfitter business. Linda is a superb camp cook - ask her about the famous cinnamon apple fritters!

Dave Murphy has spent a lot of time overseas honing his wilderness skills. He has recently come back to New Zealand after hiking the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails. Dave’s geology degree (including years of geology experience in Asia and Australia) and his solid understanding of environment bring a wonderful depth of wisdom to his trips. But more importantly Dave holds the current Hiking NZ pancake distance record. 

Graham Frith as had a lifetime of teaching, instructing and guiding and continues to take the odd hiking trip for us. Graham (a.k.a "Grum") has spent the last two and a half years cycling around the whole planet raising awareness for prostate cancer. Grum also teaches wilderness first aid and risk management and is an avid mountain biker.

John Williamson has a BSc and has ridden a horse across Mongolia. It made enough of an impression on him (the Mongolian adventure not the BSc) that he set up a horse trekking business in Mongolia over ten years ago. He now combines guiding in New Zealand with the treks in Mongolia during the New Zealand winters. John is often complimented for his stylish retro hiking attire and usually takes out the “most stylish guide” award. 

Eigill Wahlberg don’t be fooled by the exotic name, this guy is a true kiwi bushman if there ever was one! Eigill has spent most of his working life in the backcountry of New Zealand. A lot of this time has been spent working for the Department of Conservation as a ranger, a hut warden and in pest control. Three years in the army gave him superb marching skills - and occasionally you might hear him muttering to himself “left, right, left right…”. He is a great cook and has been known to bake a cake over the campfire! 

guides banner 4

 

Justin Cowan doesn’t just talk conservation, he’s written a thesis on it (biodiversity and sustainable development). Previously with Department of Conservation Justin also ran international conservation volunteer projects before we snaffled him. On quizz night you  want this guy on your team - and don’t make the mistake of thinking he only talks environment! His sport / history  and general knowledge also go the distance. As do his long legs.

Kath Watzig pretty much lives off her land in the Far North and her home is a beautiful wee mud-brick house she built herself. Amongst a myriad of other things, Kath is very active in Northland conservation groups and a keen sea kayaker - her energy seems boundless. Kath is more convincing than a politician’s PR company and has more grit than the Lake Waikaremoana road - basically she is a legend.

Simon O’Donnell is an experienced climber, kayaker, mountaineer and bushman with many years professional instructing under his belt - from rafting to climbing to hiking. Now back studying in the winter, Simon joins us for the summer guiding seasons.

Rory Hart has well and truly earned his “hiking badge”. Rory clocked up about 2900 kms when he walked the Te Araroa Trail over the summer of 2014-2015, a long distance hike which spans the length of New Zealand. He took a couple of weeks off before heading to America and walking 4300 kms on the Pacific Crest Trail from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada. A geologist by trade, Rory has an amazing knowledge and understanding of glaciers and spent several weeks camping on New Zealand's Tasman Glacier while researching for his thesis, followed by a six week stint camping on the grounding line of the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Despite the long periods of enforced solitude, Rory does like people and is a great fun guide to be around!

Malcolm O’Neill has a BSc in physical geography. He co-authored the guidebook Classic New Zealand  Adventures, which involved lots of fun all over the country. Malcolm’s interests include mountain biking, travel, skiing/boarding, photography, making furniture and jumping into rivers. Malcolm does more business stuff than guiding these days as he is a director of Hiking New Zealand, but he can still be found getting his hands dirty!

Daniel Murphy studied something years ago at university but can no longer remember what it was! From agricultural roots he worked on farms and in the rural service industry before adventures and travel lured him overseas into the tourism industry. Hiking, mountain biking and day dreaming about great adventures are his main hobbies. Dan is the Operations Manager and a director for Hiking New Zealand. Dan is either a fantastic liar, or has had the oddest things possible happen to him - be sure to probe him for stories.

Other guides may be used during peak periods.

Questions

Does everyone get involved with camp duties?
Everyone is fully involved with the running of the safari, from collecting firewood, to setting up camp and cooking meals. You are expected to do your share of work, this is a great learning opportunity for the children. If you are not a great cook, don’t worry - your guide and other people in the group will help you.

What do I do with my valuables (passport, airline tickets, money, etc.) while hiking?
Keep them with you in your hiking pack. You can pack all those things in plastic bags to keep them dry and keep them with you while hiking.

I have specific dietary requirements - is that a problem??
Vegetarians, gluten free and dairy free hikers join our trips regularly. Please let us know in advance as meals take more planning. Everyone takes a turn in meal preparations, if you have complex dietary requirements you may need to be involved more frequently. It is advisable to join the trip with some of your own food items if you are worried. Once you are on the trip the guide may ask you to join him/her when they go food shopping. Preparing meals for several different dietary requirements in the wilderness with limited facilities can be challenging but with your help we can make it work.

What is the weather going to be like?
New Zealand experiences very changeable weather however in the far north temperatures don't vary that much from summer (typically max 26) to winter (typically max 15). We get rain in both summer and winter. However it is best to be prepared for the worst conditions you are likely to expect - see the ‘What to Take’ section. A good waterproof raincoat is important. A thermal under a raincoat is probably the most clothing you will need to wear when actually hiking - even in winter. The tail end of some of the tropical cyclones do splatter out over northland in summer occasionally bringing short periods of intense rain. Strong sun however is usually what we dress for up north.

Who is in my group?
A small group (maximum 11 people). This tour has been designed for family groups or child and caregivers and is open to children over the age of 8. Everyone shares an enthusiasm for outdoor adventure and an appreciation of nature.

What if I can'’t keep up with the rest of the group?
The group hikes together, stopping often for snacks and a good lunch. All activities/hikes are optional if you feel like having some time out.

Can I charge my camera/phone/laptop, etc. while on safari?
About two or three times per safari you stay at places that have electricity so you will be able to recharge batteries. If you have a vehicle adapter, bring it along as there is always an opportunity to charge items from the vehicle (12 volt).

Can I do laundry on safari?
Yes, at least once, usually half way through the safari. It is recommended that you bring items that are quick drying and plenty of spare pairs of socks and underwear, since you will most likely have to line-dry clothing.

Booking Conditions

Payment:

For bookings four or more months in advance of the departure a 25% deposit can be paid with the remainder due 65 days prior to your trip.
For bookings within four months of the departure, full payment is required.


Cancellations:

More than 20 days prior to departure – 80% refund of full ticket price.
20 to 10 days prior to departure – 50% refund of full ticket price.
Less than 10 days prior to departure – NO REFUND. 

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend that you have travel insurance. You will be asked to fill out a disclaimer before you begin a Hiking Safari. You must follow the instructions of your guide at all times. World Nomads Travel Insurance provides online quotes.

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