1. Bay of Islands: Shore Excursion with Kawiti Glowworm Caves
Set off on a 5.5-hour sightseeing tour of the Bay of Islands, often referred to as “the birthplace of New Zealand”. The tour commences at 9:00 AM from the Waitangi Wharf, where the cruise ship's tenders will bring you to shore. The first stop is at the Kawiti Glowworm Caves, where you'll experience this magical glowworm phenomenon on a 1-hour guided tour. From Kawiti, the tour moves onward to Kawakawa, also known as “Train Town”, as the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway runs down the middle of its main street. From this point you will proceed toward Puketi Forest, a 15,000-hectare forest containing magnificent stands of kauri and a rich ecological diversity. The next stop is Kerikeri, also known for its successful horticulture, niche food products, fabulous chocolates, boutique vineyards, art galleries, and crafts. Here, watch the making of chocolate, taste some treats, and do some shopping during a visit to Makana Chocolates. You will see the “The Stone Store”, New Zealand’s oldest building, and the adjacent “Kemp House” (without allotted time for entrance). Heading back to Paihia, stop at the Haruru Falls, a breathtaking waterfall in a horseshoe shape. Departing the Haruru Falls, the final stop is at the Waitangi Look Out Loop, providing stunning views over Waitangi and the Bay of Islands. The tour will either return you to the tenders in Waitangi or drop you to the township of Paihia, should you wish to explore further before catching one of the shuttles back to the tenders.