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

Shore Trips and Tours

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Explore the main attractions in the Bay of Islands on this 6-hour, small-group tour with a local guide. Visit the historic Waimate Mission Station, the Kawiti Glowworm Caves, Haruru Waterfall, and more. Your tour will include port pickup and drop-off as well as a chocolate tasting at Makana Chocolates.

What You'll Get

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.

Additional Information

  • 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 experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travelers
  • 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

  • Food and drinks, however, you can buy your own at the lunch stop in Kerikeri where you will have reserved seating.

Departure Point
Traveler pickup is offered
The tour starts at the Waitangi Wharf where the ships tenders bring you to shore. The Shore Trips & Tours staff are waiting by the yacht club opposite the wharf. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the start time to check in. If you have difficulty getting ashore in time please call us so we can inform the guides. Please catch the earliest tender possible. We will not wait longer than 15 minutes and refunds will not be given if you miss the tour.

Bay of Islands (Waitangi Wharf)

Departure Time
9:30 AM

6 hours

Return Details
Returns to original departure point

Voucher Info
You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

The tour identified in this promotion is made available through Viator. Groupon is not affiliated with or sponsored by the Shore Trips and Tours in connection with this deal. Please contact Groupon customer service for all inquiries related to this offer. Inquiries placed to Viator will be directed back to Groupon.

This offer is not eligible for promo codes.

The Fine Print

7-day cancellation rights do not apply; no refunds or exchanges permitted. Voucher valid only for date and time listed; may not be exchanged or redeemed for other dates. Purchaser name and phone number must be provided at checkout; this information will be shared with Viator and the tour operator for purposes of order fulfillment. Groupon promo codes may not be used for this offer. Groupon voucher Terms of Sale do not apply. See the tour operators terms and conditions for this offer here. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised Goods and services.