Shore Excursion: Small Group Bay of Islands Highlights Tour with Glowworm Caves
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Shore Excursion: Small Group Bay of Islands Highlights Tour with Glowworm Caves
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Shore Excursion: Small Group Bay of Islands Highlights Tour with Glowworm Caves

6 h
Small Group
About this activity
Departing from Waitangi Wharf (where the tenders arrive), our first destination is the Kawiti Glowworm Caves where a local Maori guide will lead you through underground caverns to see the glow worms and tell you how the caves came to be formed. The magic of these amazing insects will blow you away.

Then, a short drive to Kawakawa, location of the world famous "Hundertwasser Toilets" one of the few public toilets seen as an international work of art, designed by the expatriate Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Next to the historic "Te Waimate Mission House". Built in 1832, it is the only survivor of three missions founded in 1830 by the Church Missionary Society and is a simple Georgian building, the Mission Society's first farm, and forerunner of modern agriculture in New Zealand.

After a short introduction by the volunteer guide, you are free to explore the Mission House, Church and Churchyard, then wander the extensive grounds with magnificent trees.

For lunch (your cost) we have reserved tables at a local cafe (also part of a garden centre) which offers a wide range of light lunch options.

A short drive after lunch to the Makana Chocolate factory to sample their hand made chocolates and time to visit the adjacent wood crafts shop and exhibition.

Passing through Kerikeri, we stop at the Kerikeri Inlet, where the river meets the sea. This is the location of the original Mission Station which was established here in 1819. There are two significant buildings, "The Stone Store" built in 1832, originally used as a Missionary Society warehouse and the adjacent "Kemp House", New Zealand's oldest building completed in 1821/22 by missionary carpenters and Maori sawyers. Kemp House was a family home of simple, Georgian design. It has changed little over time, despite bearing witness to many historically significant events.

Our last stop is at the Haruru Falls, a breathtaking waterfall, its name meaning "Big Noise".

Please note, on some dates we may use larger 22 seat mini-coaches and also change the order of the itinerary.
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  • Small-group tour with friendly local guide.
  • Transportation by comfortable, air-conditioned minibus.
  • Entry to historic Waimate Mission Station.
  • Visit to the famous Hundertwasser toilets
  • Visit Haruru Waterfall.
  • Tasting at Makana Chocolates.
  • Entry to Kawiti Caves
Not included
  • Food and drinks, however, you can buy your own at the lunch stop in Kerikeri where you will have reserved seating.
  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • This tour is not suitable for users of mobility scooters or wheelchairs as there is limited storage capacity on the minibus.
  • Please note there is limited storage capacity on the minibus for pushchairs or strollers. You must notify us at the time of booking if you are bringing any item that requires storage.
  • Please note on rare occasions we may be required to substitute a different vehicle onto this tour which has 22 seats.
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travelers
Maureen N
5 | 2018-02-23

A fun tour with a lot of worthwhile stops. Each stop was different and we didnt spend a lot of time driving from place to place. Glowworm Cave was amazing to see. All good!

Penny K
3 | 2018-02-21

The description and pictures of excursion looked better than what we actually saw. Tour guide, Felicity was great. Would not recommend this tour.

4 | 2018-02-18

Off to a bad start when a 10 minute wait - grace period, for other passengers that never showed up, turned into a 35 minute delay of the tour start for all others. This caused shortening of some stops and also delayed our ship boarding time. Other than that issue, the tour was good. The guide was a nice man. Keeping his cool when some passengers were hostile towards him for the waiting.

5 | 2018-02-12

I am glad we did this tour. Having just a few hours in port during our cruise, we would have never seen this much of the area on our own. The Glowworm Caves were really interesting. We visited some historic sites and tasted chocolates. Terry, our guide, was funny and knowledgeable. A good way of seeing the countryside.

Laura V
1 | 2018-01-27

This was the most disappointing trip that I have ever booked through Viator. It claims to be a small group tour but there were 4 smaller buses 22 on our bus alone. in the group so there were more people touring from this company than a regular coach much for the small group experience! Although the driver was trying to be accommodating to those travelers that did not have New Zealand currency by stopping at a bank, we ended up chasing the rest of the buses all day. When we arrived at the place for lunch, one of the restaurants said there was at least 35-40 minutes wait for food We only had an hour at the stop. and the other place ran out of food because there were too many people. I ordered food and before they could bring it out, they sold it to someone else. No apology or substitution offered and there wasn't time to wait in the line again. This was not the tour company's fault directly but they knew how many people were coming on their buses and they should have notified the restaurants in advance or not booked so many tours. Fortunately I wasn't that hungry but I didn't have anything to eat on the trip because none of the other stops had food. The time that we did have at the stops was rushed because we made the initial unplanned stop for currency. With the exception of the glow worm site, we were dropped off with no map or clear details of where we were. One stop said that there was someone who would give a tour but she was too busy with others and later apologized for not being available. We showed up late for our scheduled tour of the glow worms and had to wait 45 minutes for the next available show. We wrote the day off midway through the trip which is a shame because we had traveled so far and may not make it back to New Zealand. I have booked numerous tours through Viator without any qualms because I have never been disappointed. I let the tour company know what happened on our tour and included my email allowing them the chance to respond. I have heard nothing from them so I feel that it is imperative that Viator knows this company is not concerned about the quality of their was all about the quantity of tours that day.

5 | 2018-01-03

My grandaughter and I spent a most enjoyable day in and around Bay of Isles we were met by a lovely tour guide Jill who made us feel welcome and as there were only 4 persons on tour in a mimi van we had a relaxed day enjoyable lunch which was not included in price but was very inexpensive and as I am Coeliac and often find it hard to get gluten free I had several choices .We were taken to Chocolate Factory a must for chocoholics like myself loaded up with chocolate and toffees we then wennt next door to wooden shop which had lots of wonderful gifts to buy.Saw 2nd oldest church and mission house in New Zealand with wonderful host who gave us a intrduction as to life of the missionaries and Maori in the early days of settlement .Then onto the Glow worm caves for a wonderful Moari welcome and informative tour of the caves.All in all I would highly recommend this tour.

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