Explore the historic Bay of Islands in a luxury, late model Jeep Wrangler with a maximum of 4 passengers in your group. On your private 4.5-hour guided tour you will see historic locations, spectacular waterfalls, panoramic scenery, subtropical rain forests and rural farming areas away from the crowds. You can also extend your tour with 1-hour options of a winery lunch or a visit to the Kawiti Glow Worm Caves. Your tour is adaptable with no fixed schedule, allowing you to stop for photos, ask questions, take your time or relax and talk with your local driver.
If you are arriving off a cruise ship at Waitangi or Paihia, you will be picked up from the tender port at a time that suits, with no need to wait for other groups. If you are staying in Paihia you will be picked up from your accommodation at 10am.
Your day begins with a short drive to a viewpoint above Waitangi for a photo stop overlooking the cruise ship anchorage in the inner Bay of Islands. Next travel along the first of your tour’s unsealed roads to reach the horseshoe-shaped Haruru Falls, with the Jeep’s off-road capabilities providing a safe and comfortable ride.
Continuing northward, visit the Kororipo-Kerikeri Basin, site of the famous Stone Store and early trading between Māori and European settlers. Then visit the stunning Rainbow Falls before travelling past orchards and kiwifruit vines to the subtropical rain forest of Puketi. Here you can get up close and personal with ancient kauri trees. Next travel down another unsealed road, past working farmland, native bush and sweeping rural views.
If you have chosen the Winery Lunch option you will then arrive at one of Northland's premier vineyards where you will be treated to wine tasting and a sumptuous meal.
The next leg of your tour takes you to the quirky town of Kawakawa, famous for its photogenic public toilets designed and built by the Austrian artist Friedrich Hundertwasser. The town also features a historic railway that passes down the centre of the main road. If you are lucky a train may even pass through town and stop traffic.
The Glow Worm option, if you have chosen it, is a short drive south to the famous caves, owned and operated by descendants of the Māori chief Te Ruki Kawiti. There you will be guided on a half-hour walk through one of the few places in the world where you can see thousands of glow worms sparkling overhead like stars in the night.
You then travel along the Kawakawa-Opua road built by US soldiers stationed in Northland during WW2, stopping along the way at a view point for a final panoramic photo opportunity. Your personal Jeep tour finishes back where you started, or you can end your tour at the Paihia wharf and explore the seaside town. On cruise ship days there are free shuttle buses to the tender port, making it easy for you to get back to your ship.