After your Auckland city pick-up (from all central accommodations and cruise ship ports), you bid farewell to the Pacific Ocean on the East coast. You’ll head through the Auckland suburbs on your way out West, to the Arataki Visitor Centre situated in the Waitakere Ranges. Along the way, you will see these hills in the distance…(these are in fact remnants of ancient volcanoes). The height of these peaks (-400m above sea-level-), force the prevailing Westerly clouds to “dump” their moisture there, causing a micro rainforest environment. The forest is something to behold, and you’ll be right in the thick of it…you’ll truly feel a world away, and yet, you are never anymore than a few miles (-approx 40 minutes-) from the heart of downtown Auckland city! Breathe in the clean, crisp air of the Arataki Bush and Nature reserve. See Auckland’s two harbours, and the surrounding Auckland landscape. PS. Gannets are migratory birds and the colony has no birds between May and August
Later, we meander our way down the Scenic Drive, to our next stop at CraftWorld. There’s a half hour’s break to do some shopping, take complimentary tea/coffee, and use their clean restroom facilities. There’s NO pressure to do shopping at this (or any other stops on our tour)…even if you don’t want to enter the shop! There are other stores you can look at in this shopping complex if you prefer.
Next, it’s off to enjoy a wine-tasting experience at an award-winning winery. You’ll get to try numerous red and white wines (and yes, there’s opportunity to purchase a bottle or two while you are there!). There several wine “regions” in Auckland. Today on our Wilderness Tour we stop in Kumeu.
By this time, we trust you have your appetite ready, because next comes lunch! This is enjoyed at one of the many upmarket cafe/restaurants we have hand picked to deliver our guests a dining “experience”. You’ll get to choose your own meal from the menu (vegetarian dishes included, and if anyone has extra special dietary requirements, then do let us know and we try to cater to our best ability).
After your relaxing lunch break, we travel further westward to Muriwai Beach. This area is steeped in history, (and having seen the forest region that morning, you will really appreciate the stories we will share with you as we approach the coast). Almost at cliff’s edge (well, not really!), you’ll get the impressive view of the Tasman Sea. From this point, you are just 2,000Km from Australia! Usually there are some surfers braving the waters and maybe some para-gliders catching the updrafts. You’ll get your chance to wander down onto the black iron-sand beach later, but firstly we escort you out to meet the wildlife. It’s a gentle walk to viewing decks to see the Takapu (gannets) who make their nests on the shoreline. This group of migratory birds (from Australia) are one of the very few colonies who nest on the mainland, and this has made this particular colony a world-famous site. PS. Gannets are migratory birds and the colony has no birds between May and August!
As your tour draws to a close, and we head back to Auckland – (but not via the Rainforest route!) – you will have enjoyed a fun-filled, commentary-rich day, during your journey of discovery to what lies between the two coasts of Auckland.
This tour can also be a great choice as a Shore Excursion tour, where we can easily adjust the timings to have you arrive for your cruise ship departure.