Enjoy the rare opportunity to view one of the few mainland gannet bird colonies in the world, followed by a tour of a working farm, where you'll be treated to a hearty barbecue lunch.
Leaving the pier, you'll begin driving west, deep into the countryside, and then take an extraordinarily scenic route to the coast. Eventually, you will find yourself at the beautiful, black-sand Muriwai Beach where you will have a stop. This dramatic location is part of a park that was established in 1906 and a cliff-side overlook offers a literal bird's-eye view of the only gannet colony in the region.
Thousands of gannets nest at Muriwai Beach, and you may observe them diving into the Tasman Sea for fish or greeting each other in an elaborate ritual. Mature gannets boast white plumage with black wing tips. The younger birds remain dark brown for the first year of their lives, until turning completely white by age five. It's fascinating to see how they interact in pairs and en masse as a colony.
Continuing on, you'll drive to Haumoana, a wonderful working farm on the Kaipara Peninsula. After a traditional barbecue lunch that includes local beers and wines, you'll sit in on a sheep-shearing demonstration and watch highly trained dogs skillfully herd the sheep just by following their master's hand movements and whistle commands. Llamas are also raised on the farm and you may see them grazing in the pastures. After an enjoyable visit of just over two hours, which includes a bit of free time, you'll re-board your coach and travel back to the pier in Auckland.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 1/2 hours of easy to moderate walking/standing over mostly flat surfaces; however, there is a gravel path to negotiate at Muriwai Beach. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate, casual clothing that should include a wind/waterproof jacket; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Guest must be at least 21 years of age to be served any alcoholic beverages. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.