• Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Trip Includes
  • Trip Excludes
  • Booking
  • Reviews
  • FAQ
  • Costs & Discounts

Stories, places discovered, explored and it’s not a boring school trip. Heritage is what happened, and, of course, a bit of scandal. Most of all it’s fun. A great place to find out stuff about yesterday is Northland’s narrative of human occupation. We promise no homework, just lots of hidden corners of Aotearoa’s NZ history for us to find out about. Heritage byways is a magical journey for anyone who wants to find out more.

An evocative nineteenth century battlefield, the trudge of early coal miners and their harsh working conditions, the industrial origins of a fascinating garden or the narrative of hot springs, over a thousand years providing warmth and healing for the local inhabitants are just a few of the places explored together.


Max 20 people


Highlights of the day

  • The Kauri Museum
  • Waipu Museum
  • Quarry Gardens

Departs Auckland 8.30 am. We board our coach to start our northern expedition!

Today, you'll cross Auckland's Harbour Bridge and travel along the Hibiscus Coast, stopping at The Kauri Museum (Matakohe) for an insight into the pioneering history of the region.

Quick but delicious "Classic Kiwi" lunch before we are heading to Waipu.

Come and discover how one thousand Gaelic speaking emigrants from the western highlands of Scotland escaped the notorious Highland Clearances and eventually arrived in “the virtual paradise” of Waipu.

Heading towards Whangarei, enjoy views and our fantastic storyteller Guide along the way of the beautiful Northland East Coast. Arriving at our hotel to freshen up we join an orientation tour of Whangarei finding heritage gems to ponder over.  For guests fascinated with time there is the option of clocks ticking and time passing.


Highlights of the day

  • Waro Limestone Scenic Reserve
  • Hikurangi Historical Museum
  • Reyburn House Art Gallery
  • Heritage Walk
  • Evening Talk

Our slogan for today: There are plenty of reasons to love Whangarei.

Whangarei is full of charm with its rich variety of historic buildings, art galleries and cafes, as well as stunning water views.

After our breakfast, we visit Waro Limestone Scenic Reserve and walk around spectacular limestone formations finding snippets of history along the grassed track.

On the way back to Whangarei we visit Hikurangi Museum. We travel back in time to when Hikurangi was a thriving mining town and get lost in the lives of the early settlers. It’s the perfect place to pop in and experience local heritage.

A highlight is an industrial quarry site now reimaged as a stunning garden with sculptural interpretations of Whangarei’s story. Perhaps you indulge in lunch at the adjoining Quail Cafe (not included in the tour programme).

After lunch near Town Basin (excluded), we pop into Reyburn House. Welcome to the home of the Northland Society of Arts. The society owns and operates out of Reyburn House, a category two historic listing and the oldest pioneer settlers house in Whangarei. Nearby is Riverside Art Studio, where various art classes are held.

Dinner and Evening Talk

A chance to chat to new friends while we share dinner together (included in tour programme) while your guide joins you for the evening. An evening talk about Aotearoa New Zealand and its past will spark a good-natured conversation with our tour guide. Let's share our historical knowledge and stories with each other.


Highlights of the day

  • Ruapekapeka Pa
  • Kawakawa King Theatre Art Gallery
  • Hundertwasser Public Toilets
  • Russell Heritage Walk
  • Afternoon Tea / Russell
  • Waitangi (optional)

Heritage on steroids today. A significant military site tells us stories about the nineteenth century Land Wars. The history of Ruapekapeka is entwined with that of the Treaty of Waitangi, a living document which continues to shape New Zealand society. Then we travel into the present and visit a stunning collection of Maori art and artisans at King Theatre Art Gallery. Kawakawa is home to Hundertwasser Public Toilets. It is one of the few toilet blocks on Planet Earth seen both as an international work of art and a tourist attraction in its own right.

A short break for lunch (not included in tour programme) and revived we catch the ferry to explore traces of the hell hole of the Pacific. Today Russell is a carefully crafted visitor experience with beautifully restored heritage buildings backdropped by the spectacular Bay of Islands coastline. It’s a pleasure to indulge in afternoon tea in the earliest documented hotel (liquor licence) with an opportunity for further self guided exploration of Russell before departing back to Pahia mid afternoon.

The balance of the day is free time. Your guide will offer tips for the day.


Highlights of the day

  • Kororipo Heritage Park
  • The Stone Store
  • Te Waimate Mission
  • Traditional Wellness Hot Springs

A scenic drive brings you to Kororipo Heritage Park - steeped in history, this is culturally and historically one of the most important sites in Aotearoa New Zealand. The nineteenth century witnessed cultural interaction from reciprocal trading relationships profiting both parties to armed conflict about land ownership and the rights of the traditional owners. Te Waimate Mission - New Zealand’s second oldest building narrates a story of missionary activities interlaced with farming and architecture nineteenth century practices.

Another treat is an introduction to a traditional wellness hot springs now a restored modern spa with a great story to tell about the people who are the area’s custodians. It will definitely be hard to leave.


Highlights of the day

  • Whananaki Footbridge
  • Pottery Workshop
  • Frying Pan Lookout
  • Scow Landing
  • Whangarei Falls
  • Wilson Cement Works

Our journey back to Auckland is packed with places to explore. We start with a brisk walk along the longest footbridge in the Southern Hemisphere. Then a chance for a great photo moment at Frying Pan Lookout with its sweeping views of the Poor Knights to Mt Manaia.

One of the highlights of the day is visiting a pottery workshop, where you can meet 2 amazing award winning potters and you also have a chance to try your skills.

A quiet river tributary Scow Landing has a story to tell us and then sheer sheets of water make another photo moment. Whangarei Falls is a must for memory moments.

Industrial heritage is a hallmark of Aotearoa NZ archeological sites and Wilson Cement Works will not disappoint. The first portland cement manufacturing works in the southern hemisphere, Wilson's Cement Company, was established near the town in 1884. It closed its doors in 1928 during the depression years. The ruins still remain and the mine is now a popular local fresh water swimming hole.

A farewell in Auckland early evening with promises to meet again.

  • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Whangarei / Distinctions Hotel
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation / Heritage Sea Spray Suites 
  • Daily Breakfast
  • Two 3-course Dinner
  • 2 Light “Kiwi Style” Lunch
  • Entry Fee of The Kauri Museum Matakohe, Waipu Museum, Quarry Gardens or Claphams National Clock Museum, Hikurangi Historical Museum, Reyburn House Art Gallery, Duke Hotel Marlborough Afternoon Tea, Te Waimate Mission, Ngawha Hot Springs, pottery workshop
  • Commentaries provided by your experienced escort, drivers and local guides
  • Comfortable air-conditioned coaches with panoramic windows
  • Tax included
  • Airfare to and from tour departure/arrival
  • Travel/cancellation insurance (highly recommended, please contact us for a quote)
  • Entry visa if needed
  • Accommodation not as listed in the itinerary
  • Sightseeing / activities not listed in the itinerary 
  • Waitangi, Pompallier Mission and Printery Entry Fee
  • Meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as room service, internet charge, laundry, drink, fax, telephone call, optional activities, etc
  • Gratuities, tips to guides, drivers, bellboys, etc.
  • Optional day tours during free time
  • Pricing Name
    Group (Min-Max)
  • Pricing Name Tour base price
    Start Wednesday January 27, 2021
    End Wednesday January 27, 2021
    1 - 20 Pax
  1. :

    absolutely amazing experience

  2. :

    I found the discussion about the lives of people in Hirungi fascinating. It was very special listening to Ngawha Hot Springs custodians tell the stories about the importance of the area. Then there was a footbridge for schoolchildren. A great tour packed with details.

    • :

      Thanks and look forward to welcoming Cheryl on our next heritage tour

  3. :

    Heritage Byways Northland tour had lots of variety from recent stuff to obvious like Pahia. Every day was different. I felt the tour guide made an effort to make us all feel part of the group. He found out what we were interested in and flagged places accordingly.
    Very well organized

    • :

      Thanks for your comments, it is very rewarding when our guests had a great time

Add a review

Our Escorted Tours are limited to a maximum of 25 tour members but due to high.

Because of the way we organize our tours, and the way we travel, we tend to attract friendlier, more flexible and fun-loving people for our tours, giving our tours a congenial atmosphere. If you are interested in learning about Japan, its culture, people and want to have fun at the same time, you will fit right in.

Travelers must be at least 18 years-of-age to travel unaccompanied by an adult. We recommend that children be at least 12 years of age. Our tours are heavy on “adult things” (art, history, architecture, etc.) that kids often find boring. Our tours allow flexibility, so squeezing in activities for younger children is possible but can still be overwhelming.

The accommodation on our tours is based on twin share. If you’d prefer to have your own room, please select the single supplement option in the online booking form. The single supplement fee is for the whole trip, not per night. This will ensure you have a room to yourself. If you’re happy to share, you will be placed in a twin room with another adventure-buddy of the same gender in separate beds. If we can’t find anyone to share your room with, you have to pay for the single supplement.
We only share basic information about your adventure-buddy, but if you both agree you can keep in touch before the tour starts.
NOTE: Paihia 2 nights - all the 1-bedrooms have 1 large bed in the bedroom. If there are twins required, it would have to be with the fold-out sofa-bed in the lounge.

Walking tours are an important part of the itinerary and a good standard of health is required with the ability to walk on uneven surfaces and negotiate stairs.
(we provide personalized itineraries and private tours throughout New Zealand and Australia where one or more person has a physical or learning disability, is a slow walker or simply may need that bit of extra support along the way)

All the hotels on our escorted tours to New Zealand are carefully selected by our Directors to ensure they meet their exacting standards. Over the decades they’ve worked in the travel industry, they’ve come to understand precisely which hotel elements work best for your holiday. Location and consistent high standards are paramount. So, throughout your touring holiday in New Zealand, rest assured that we aim to provide top accommodation. And it does not cost the earth.

For optional programs you must apply and pay 45 days prior to departure. It is often no longer possible to apply after we start the tour but please contact us for more details.

All of our tours excluding airfares.

Passengers are allowed one max 20kg suitcase/backpack and one day bag, as there are strict weight restrictions on our buses.

Due to extremely strict time slots for entry into attractions, we recommend you show up 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Our groups depart precisely at the scheduled tour start time. If you show up late or cannot find the meeting point, for any reason, refund requests are not honored per policy. For most tours, it is not logistically possible to join the group after it has started but please contact us if you have any questions.

Please visit Metservice.com for a long term weather forecast.

Yes we like to know about anything that needs consideration on your tour, such as ability to walk up stairs, etc. Once you have booked, you will receive a form requesting details of any medical conditions that may be relevant to your tour experience. This allows us to make any necessary arrangements.


On our website you can find all of our current offers, so you’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for a bargain! Visit our website regularly and you will never miss out any deals or sign up for our newsletter here!


A non-refundable deposit of  NZD 500 per person will secure a place on this trip.

Final payment to be made by DATE (60 days prior to departure).

Itinerary and costs subject to change, airline and fuel charges and currency fluctuations prior to final payment.