On the first day of our extension, we'll travel north through the scenic Waioeka Gorge before reaching Opotiki, and the lovely beach town of Ohope. From Whakatane, we'll travel along the Matata Straights before turning inland to arrive at Rotorua.
Before Rotorua, there is an optional rafting excursion. Participants can experience the thrills and spills of the mighty Kaituna River and take on the world-famous Tutea Falls. Standing at 7 meters tall, the falls are the highest commercially rafted waterfall. Together with your expert guide, your team will enjoy an action-packed 50-minute ride through 14 rapids as the river winds its way through a jungle canyon. No prior experience is necessary, as participants will receieve full and comprehensive training beforehand. All you need is a reasonable level of fitness, a sense of fun and adventure, swimwear and a towel.
For guests who do not choose to participate in the rafting, the coach will continue into Rotorua so you can check into the hotel. Due to its unique thermal and volcanic landscape and rich Māori culture, Rotorua is one of Aotearoa New Zealand's most popular destinations. The town forms part of the geologically active "Pacific Ring of Fire," and the bubbling thermal activity just below Earth's crust is evident throughout the city, from natural hot springs to bubbling mud pools.
In the evening, guests will experience the warmth of the Māori people with a night of ceremonial rituals and storytelling. We will enter a replica pre-European Maori village, where we will see the hangi pit opened and then enter the ancestral Meeting House to enjoy a powerful cultural performance featuring tribal songs, myths, legends, and dance, including the vigorous haka. We will also enjoy a hangi buffet dinner, cooked in the traditional way in an earth oven.
After dinner, we'll bid our hosts farewell and return to our accommodation for tonight and the next night, the Distinction Hotel Rotorua.
Meals: Breakfast* and dinner
*Breakfast this day is only included at select hotels (see: inclusions in the 5-day Package)