Journey on a unique island adventure, combining silky sands with Kiwi culture. Begin your itinerary in the Cook Islands. A tiny chain of only 15 islands, the Cook Islands offer the ultimate escape from the civilized world. Spend one night in Rarotonga before making your way to Aitutaki for some rest and relaxation in paradise. After your fill of R&R, head to New Zealand, where culture embraces you. Learn about the Maori people, while seeing the beautiful, ever-changing landscapes or New Zealand's North Island. This sea and land itinerary combines the best of both worlds.
Trip Type: Adventure, Cultural, Food & Wine, Sun & Sand
Day By Day
Day 1 – Arrive in Rarotonga
Welcome to Rarotonga. Upon arrival, walk towards the baggage area to meet your driver who will take you directly to your accommodations.Starting Accommodation:
Day 2 – Rarotonga at Leisure
Rarotonga is a lush, beautiful place, fringed with beaches and crowned with mountains at its center. There are 2 concentric roads that ring the island, and most of Rarotonga's attractions are on or near one of them. Situated on the western coast, Arorangi was the first mission-built village on the island. Boasting precipitous peaks and steep valleys similar to those of Tahiti, the capital island Rarotonga offers you a slice of heaven without the hype. Hire a motor scooter and buzz past snow white beaches on the Ara Tapu road or weave your way through fields of paw paw on the older inland road. Shop for popular souvenirs like wooden carvings of the well-endowed fisherman god 'Tangaroa,' or take a class in Maori medicine on a Cultural Village Tour.Starting Accommodation:
Day 3 – Rarotonga to Aitutaki
Takeoff to Aitutaki and continue on the next stage of your adventure.Starting Accommodation:
Day 4 – At leisure, Aitutaki
With its varicolored lagoon and rolling plains, it is easy to see why Aitutaki is called the 'Bora Bora of the Cook Islands.' Although similar to Bora Bora in appearance, Aitutaki has a personality all of its own. Reminders of old Polynesia hide around every corner. That is not to say that Aitutaki doesn't have its fair share of modern day pleasures, a stroll through Arutanga village will assure you of this, but shopping will be the last thing on your mind when you have an entire beach to yourself and can doze off listening to the wind in the trees.Starting Accommodation:
Day 5 – At leisure, Aitutaki
The Aitutaki Lagoon is a major highlight of any trip to the Cook Islands. It boasts the most vivid lagoon colors and is dotted with other uninhabited isles. As many parts of the lagoon are marine reserves, the schools of fish here are abundant and truly a sight to behold in crystal clarity. Fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, diving and windsurfing...the lagoon is the perfect place for it all.Starting Accommodation:
Day 6 – At leisure, Aitutaki
Spend the day enjoying your resort in Aitutaki - a magnificent remote island in a world of its own. A triangular shaped atoll rising 13,000 feet from the floor of the Pacific Ocean, its spectacular location home to Pacific Resort Aitutaki, the Cook Islands' only luxury resort. Pacific Resort is nestled into seventeen acres of tropical forest and half a mile of white sand beach.
The resort's main dining option is the perfect platform to view an amazing Pacific sunset. A variety of dishes utilize an abundance of local seafood, tropical fruits and garden fresh vegetables. After spending a morning exploring the Aitutaki Lagoon by snorkel, kayak, pedal boat or lagoon tour, the café and bar located on the pool deck is the perfect spot to lounge under an umbrella and enjoy a lunch or a light snack. Guests may also take the opportunity to indulge in an array of soothing spa treatments designed to harmonize mind, body and spirit.Starting Accommodation:
Day 7 – Rarotonga to Auckland
Takeoff to Auckland and continue on the next stage of your adventure.
Day 8 – Cross the International Date Line
Cross the International Date Line, an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth that runs from the North to the South Pole - and defines one calendar day from the next. Crossing the International Date Line adds one day (24 hours) traveling west, and subtracts one day (24 hours) traveling east.Starting Accommodation:
Day 9 – Wilderness Experience - Half Day
Enjoy an afternoon tour of Auckland's largest Regional Park - the Waitakere Ranges. Travel to the Arataki Centre perched high in the Waitakere Ranges where the sweeping decks give breathtaking panoramic views. Head further west and experience the power of the wild and rugged west coast. Feel the black sand beneath your feet as you stroll along some of the most awe-inspiring beaches the world has to offer. Your eco-tour continues in the lush rain-forest where you hear native bird song as you walk the easy bush tracks among New Zealand's famous kauri trees and giant tree ferns. Tour departs Auckland in the afternoon, light refreshments are provided.Starting Accommodation:
Day 10 – Drive Auckland to The Coromandel Peninsula
Collecting your rental car and begin the drive from Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula.
To the east of Auckland lies one of New Zealand's best-kept vacation destination secrets, The Coromandel Peninsula. Rustic and relaxed, beach and bush, the Coromandel lies to one side of the well-beaten path of mainstream tourism. A spectacular coastline and beaches beckon, the bush-clad volcanic hills catch the eye, but it's the lifestyle of the region that most find to be irresistible. A sense of relaxation and reflection permeates. The arts; crafts community is vibrant and contrasts with the solid Kiwi farmer, forester and fisherman of the peninsula and plains. Over 40% of the Peninsula is nowadays protected, whether it is Forest Park or Marine Reserve. Dozens of walking tracks cover the hills and coast. Many small tour operators use the area for activities from kauri forest treks to swimming with dolphins. From Auckland, take the Route 1 motorway south. At Pokeno, take Route 2 to Route 25, and then route 25A. Allow for a two-hour drive from Auckland to the Pauanui area, and up to three hours if traveling further to Whitianga.Starting Accommodation:
Day 11 – Coromandel at Leisure
The Coromandel is everything that a big city isn't; with a mountainous interior cloaked in native rain forest and more than 250 miles of dazzling white sand beaches, it is rustic, unspoiled and relaxed. Activities and attractions are plentiful, from fishing and diving to hiking and cycling. You might choose skydiving in Whitianga or a guided sea kayak tour around the coast. For the more adventurous, there's Sleeping God Canyon, a 300m vertical descent down a set of waterfalls. You could wander among the coolness of the pristine bush; The Coromandel is a walker's paradise. Explore the relics from the area's gold mining heritage, follow the Karangahake Gorge and Coromandel Coastal Walkway, hike the Pinnacles or hop on a bicycle and cycle the Hauraki Rail Trail. Or simply sit and relax in a warm bubbling pool at Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own spa two hours either side of low tide. Don't miss the spectacular Cathedral Cove, the jewel of a protected marine reserve.Starting Accommodation:
Day 12 – Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua and Marae Hangi and Concert - Journey Of Ages
Begin your journey to Rotorua, New Zealand's cultural capital on the shores of Lake Rotorua, through the rich horticultural region of the Bay of Plenty. The time and distance to drive today will depend on your start location within the Coromandel. From the Whitianga area, you will need to allow 3.5 to 4 hours to drive 145 miles, and from the Pauanui area, allow 2.5 to 3 hours to drive 120 miles, with extra time if you plan to make stops along the way. In Rotorua you may stand on active volcanoes and massive craters and see boiling mud pools, exploding geysers, a traditional Maori village buried by volcanic ash and the sacred green and blue lakes, as well as experience traditional Maori culture and entertainment.Marae Hangi & Concert - Journey Of Ages
Experience the warmth of the Maori people during an evening of ceremonial rituals, powerful cultural performance, storytelling and hangi feasting. This Twilight Cultural Tour offers transport to and from a Marae by coach. En route to the Marae, the guide explains the protocol to take place. The group on board is prepared for the wero (challenge) and powhiri (ancient ceremony of welcome) before you will be invited into the Pre-European Maori village nestled within the native Tawa forest. Enter the living village, as it comes alive with the sights, sounds and activity of days gone by, including facial tattooing, weaving, carving and demonstrations on how food was cooked and preserved many years ago. At the heart of the Village, enter the ancestral Meeting House and relax as the families entertain you with a powerful Cultural performance, including action songs, poi, stick games and the famous 'haka' - Maori War Dance. The sharing of food is an important part of Maori custom - join in the traditional hangi buffet feast, followed by New Zealand dessert. The evening draws to an end with the Poroporoaki - the official closing ceremony, before you are safely transferred back to your Rotorua accommodation by motor-coach.Starting Accommodation:
Novotel Rotorua Lakeside Meals:
Day 13 – Half Day Eco Thermal Park Tour and The Ultimate Canopy Tour
Depart accommodations for this small-group half-day tour of Rotorua's most natural and popular geothermal parks. Today's tour will visit Wai O Tapu and Waimangu Volcanic Valley. The two parks offer a variety of thermal activity: at Wai-o-tapu, the colorful hot springs are the key features along with the famous Lady Knox geyser. At Waimangu Volcanic valley, the guide will explain the Mt Tarawera eruption that blew open this now spectacular, bush covered geothermal park. The local naturalist guide will explain the volcanic processes of Rotorua and New Zealand while you have the opportunity to view the volcanoes, geysers, New Zealand's largest boiling mud pool, and hot springs.
The Ultimate Canopy Tour is higher, longer and more spectacular than the award winning Original Canopy Tour. This journey takes you deep into untouched New Zealand forest. Not for the faint of heart, this experience is a step up in adventure level and features a controlled descent, swing bridges, cliff walk and spiral staircase. Your amazing kiwi guides will lead your small group on a personal and unforgettable adventure. They are highly trained to keep you safe, make you smile, teach you amazing things and create memories that last you a lifetime.Starting Accommodation:
Novotel Rotorua Lakeside
Day 14 – Depart Rotorua
This morning you will transfer from your hotel to Rotorua Airport.
Package Level: Superior
|Pricing for this package is on request. Please call a Swain Destinations Specialist to customize this journey.|
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Prices are per person, twin/double share in USD. All highlighted savings are reflected in the price. Price does not include airfare unless otherwise stated. Travel may be limited to certain days of the week. Hotels and tours remain subject to availability. Cancellation penalties and other booking or alteration restrictions may exist. Please note blackout dates may apply to Christmas, New Year and local special event periods. Pricing may increase over Holiday and special event periods and may not be reflected in price grid. Prices indicated remain subject to change without notice. Prices are not guaranteed until full payment is received and processed. CST #2012413-20 See our full Terms and Conditions: www.swaindestinations.com/terms