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Debbie D. United States of ...
This was one of our highlights of our 3 week trip. The tour guides took VERY good care of us and provided personal service-- even asked if we had any interest in stopping at a local artisan shop- which we did! The had towels for our wet feet after giving us time to eat a yummy lunch on the beach and explore the beach area. They provided drinks and snacks as well along the way. They split our group up by ability for our hikes tramps and both were VERY knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the areas. They provided adequate time for picture taking and getting our fill of each area. Highly recommended tour!
Nice way to get out of the city, to the western shore! We met our driver/guide Rob right across from the cruise port. He had already picked up 4 American women from hotels. We drove in a very comfortable, clean van.
We left the city of Auckland and headed towards the west coast, the Tasman Sea. We stopped first at the visitors center for the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. From here we could see both coasts, the Pacific and the Tasman Sea. There were very nice displays about the local flora and fauna as well as showing / explaining the lumbering business that denuded the rainforest that is now regrown. Then we continued on to Karekare, taking a short hike to a very high cascading waterfall. From there we walked on a sandy path to the beach where scenes from The Piano wer shot in 1993. The black sand is from the volcano and the sparkles in the sand are titanium. Rob said the steel used to make Hyundai cars comes from the North Island of NZ. Back to the van, there were picnic tables and we had lunch: delicious sandwiches Rob had picked up at a small local store, juice or water, and a Danish. There were about a dozen ducks looking for handouts of bread and providing some entertainment.
After lunch we drove to a high viewpoint of Piha, the famous surfing beach. Homes were tucked into/onto the very steep mountainside below us. We continued on a ways before stopping for a very nice hike through the rainforest seeing 1000 year old trees, the Kauri, and other interesting trees and plants. We finished with a beverage break and then headed back to the city to drop us off at the ship. Highly recommended way to spend a single day in Auckland!
Wonderful tour around Auckland. Our guide was fantastic and very knowledgeable. We saw some beautiful beaches and rainforest. Lovely small group. Amazing trip
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