• Pricing From $12,995 pp
  • Single Supplement $1,200
  • From Auckland
  • Duration 11 Days
  • Max Group Size 20
  • Activity Level Moderate
Download Itinerary

Spend 11 days exploring the North Island of New Zealand by vintage DC3 aircraft which is regarded as one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made. The aircraft is ideal for air touring and aerial sightseeing with generous windows that offer excellent outside viewing and photo opportunities. This incredible programme includes visiting towns such as Tauranga, Lake Taupo, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Greytown and Gisborne. You will experience spectacular aerial flightseeing over the Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and Wairapa regions.   

Partake in incredible Māori cultural experiences at the Mataatua in Whakatane and step back in time on board New Zealand’s only functioning coal paddle steamer in Wanganui.  Enjoy a full day touring to the remarkable White Island to explore New Zealand’s only active marine volcano.  Enjoy the comfort of stylish accommodation and exceptional cuisine throughout. Join us for this incredible DC3 adventure!  

Hightlights

  • Travel by DC3 aircraft around the North Island of New Zealand with a professional crew of two pilots and a flight attendant
  • Incredible Māori cultural experiences at the Mataatua in Whakatane
  • Experience spectacular aerial flightseeing over the North Island of New Zealand including the Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and Wairapa regions
  • Experience an eco-adventure to White Island - New Zealand’s only active marine volcano
  • Explore the picturesque towns of Tauranga, Lake Taupo, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Greytown, Martinborough & Gisborne
  • Stay in stylish accommodation throughout including the luxurious 5 star Cordis Auckland
  • All touring, transfers and meals included
  • Escorted throughout by a dedicated Journey Director

Tour Departures

Tour Code DC1900
Departs 3 Mar 2019
Returns 13 Mar 2019
Price From $12,995 pp
Single Supplement $1,200
Day 1: Arrive Auckland

Today your journey begins in Auckland rated the third most liveable city in the world, a place where vibrant urban style and spectacular landscapes go hand in hand. Transfer to your luxury 5 star accommodation, Cordis Auckland, which is ideally located within easy reach of the city’s museums, galleries and thriving retail scene. Meet your Journey Director and fellow travellers at a welcome dinner this evening. 

Overnight: Cordis Auckland or similar 

Day 2: Auckland - Tauranga

After breakfast we fly to Tauranga, a beautiful city resting on the sandy shores of the Bay of Plenty. Named by Captain James Cook, the Bay of Plenty is acclaimed for its fertile land and ideal growing conditions. Today we sample delicious produce during lunch at an award-winning winery. 

Today we also visit the Elms – Te Papa Tauranga, one of New Zealand’s oldest heritage sites, a place of early contact between Māori and Pākehā (white settlers). Here we explore the expansive grounds and enjoy a guided tour of the historic house and library gaining a rare glimpse into the past of this now bustling city. 

Overnight: Trinity Wharf or similar

Day 3: Tauranga - Taupo - New Plymouth

Today we fly to beautiful Lake Taupo and learn about the volcanic history and Maori mythology surrounding this spectacular natural formation, Australasia’s largest lake. Created nearly two thousand years ago by a volcanic eruption so big it darkened the skies in Europe and China, today Lake Taupo is a tranquil and picturesque town in the centre of the North Island. We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before flying on to New Plymouth. Known for its sunny climate, art galleries and beautiful parks, New Plymouth is also famed for its majestic views of towering Mount Taranaki. 

Overnight: Millennium New Plymouth       

Day 4: New Plymouth

Today we explore Taranaki, the coastal and mountainous region on the western side of New Zealand’s North Island. A landscape that is dominated by Mount Taranaki, its namesake volcano, it lies within the rainforested Egmont National Park. We will explore the striking and dramatic mountain scenery and learn about the Taranaki Land Wars of the 1800s and the remarkable passive resistance movement. 

Overnight: Millennium New Plymouth 

Day 5: New Plymouth - Whanganui - Palmerston North

Pukekura Park is a famed green space in New Plymouth, a place to relax and enjoy nature with lakes and formal gardens that grow rhododendrons and king ferns. We transfer on to Whanganui and a chance to step back in time. Cruising aboard the iconic Waimarie Paddle Steamer. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most authentic ways to experience Whanganui River’s scenery and history, as you cruise on board New Zealand’s only authentic coal-fired paddle steamer. We reboard the DC3 for our flight to Palmerston North located in the Manawatu Plains. 

Overnight: Copthorne Hotel Palmerston North 

Day 6: Palmerston North - Masterton

This morning explore Palmerston North, which offers the sophistication and diversity of a major city featuring heritage collections, art galleries and urban street art hand in hand with a colourful array of cafés and restaurants. We transfer to Masterton, the largest town in the Wairarapa region. 

Overnight: Copthorne Hotel Solway Park or similar 

Day 7: Masterton - Gisborne

After breakfast, explore historic Greytown, New Zealand’s first planned inland town which is home to excellent examples of Victorian colonial architecture that line the main street. 

We next explore Martinborough. Packed with colonial charm, the area features over 20 wineries not far from the quaint village square. We lunch today in a local Wairapa vineyard to sample this world famous produce. Later, we fly on to Gisborne. 

Overnight: Portside Hotel or similar 

Day 8: Gisborne - Whakatane

As the centre of the spectacular East Coast surrounded by contrasts of rugged mountain ranges, undulating rivers, the vast Pacific Ocean and the Poverty Bay plains, Gisborne is one of the best and most scenic cities in New Zealand. We explore the town before transfering to Whakatane, the “Sunshine Capital” of New Zealand which is considered to be the artistic and cultural hub of the district. 

Overnight: Tuscany Villas or similar 

Day 9: Whakatane

This morning we depart for an eco-adventure to the ‘other-worldly’ White Island – New Zealand’s only active marine volcano! Discover an ever-evolving landscape of fumeroles, lava bombs, crystals, bubbling mud and the steaming acid lake. 

Overnight: Tuscany Villas or similar 

Day 10: Whakatane - Auckland

This morning we will enjoy a cultural experience and learn the amazing story of Mataatua Wharenui, before being welcomed on to the marae and into the sacred house by way of the ancient ritual of pōwhiri. Marvel at the intricacy of the carved representations of the great chiefs of Ngāti Awa, before two of the most famous traditions of the tribe are brought to life in Hiko: Legends Carved in Light – the award winning Mataatua visitor experience. Enjoy our final flight this afternoon on board the DC3 as we transfer to Auckland and return to the Cordis Auckland. The afternoon is at leisure before a final farewell dinner this evening. 

Overnight: Cordis Auckland or similar 

Day 11: Depart Auckland

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your homeward flight. Take away fond memories of an incredible DC3 journey throughout the spectacular North Island of New Zealand.


About Aircruising

An Aircruise with Bill Peach Journeys is the perfect way to explore these hard to reach destinations in the style, speed, and comfort of your own private aircraft. The formula is simple – travelling by private aircraft means that we can land directly in each location ensuring time on the ground is spent discovering each region.

Fully Inclusive

When you travel on an Aircruise everything is included and arranged before you even leave home.  This means not only does your holiday include accommodation, dining, and all excursions but every single one of these elements is the finest in its class.  Throughout the journey, you will have a Journey Director on hand to look after you every step of the way.

Mode of Transport

This journey will be operated by a 30 seat DC3 aircraft.  The aircraft is operated by two pilots. The cabin has comfortable seats and legroom. This aircraft is operated by experienced pilots, a flight attendant and accompanied by a Journey Director. To ensure a variety of viewing for everyone, we change seat allocation each day. This journey has a combination of transport modes; we will be using air-conditioned coaches, 4WD vehicles, boats and jet boats for this journey.

Coaches

The coaches that we use for the ground component of this journey are fully air-conditioned.

Level of fitness required: Moderate

This journey is designed for those looking to venture off the beaten track. You must be able to walk up to 1km unaided and will not need any foreseen assistance throughout the journey. We strongly urge you to consider the fitness rating before selecting your preferred journey, in respect for your fellow travellers. Bill Peach Journeys reserves the right to refuse travel to any client whose fitness level is below the recommended rating.

We strongly urge you to consider the fitness rating before selecting your preferred journey, in respect for your fellow travellers. Bill Peach Journeys reserves the right to refuse travel to any client whose fitness level is below the recommended rating.

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance to cover you against such things as personal illness or accident, cancellation, loss of baggage etc. Please make sure you carry a copy of your Travel Insurance policy with you at all times.

Terms and Conditions

Please refer to the T&C’s for more information. Terms & Conditions (PDF)

About The DC3

ZK-AWP was built in 1945 at Oklahoma City, USA. With a wing span of 95 feet, an overall length of 64.5 feet and a height of almost 15 feet and powered by two Pratt and Whitney R – 1830 – 92 engines with 1250 bhp each it was ideally suited to military service, operating comfortably into unpaved elds of 1000 metres or sometimes less, carrying a standard load of three tons and featuring a range of 1200 nautical miles.

ZK-AWP left its “birthplace” at Oklahoma City, USA on Saturday the 21st of April 1945 – the day the Red Army over ran the German High Command in Berlin – and ew to Hamilton, New Zealand. From 13 May 1945 the aircraft became RNZAF Dakota NZ3543 and was assigned to 41 Squadron RNZAF from 21 July of that year, 1945 until 1952. e aircraft was engaged in ferrying servicemen home to New Zealand – in this role the RNZAF operated their C – 47’s as far as Japan.

On 30 June 1952 the aircraft was handed over as NZ3543 at Whenuapai to New Zealand National Airways Corporation where it spent many years on passenger routes. Over the next 48 years the aircraft operated in various capacities, as a passenger aircraft in Samoa, a crop duster in the South Island and then as a charter aircraft. In 2004 at the request of none other than the Crown Prince of Tonga (later King George V) it left Christchurch to work in the Kingdom of Tonga and ew domestic routes until 23 October 2006 when it was bought by another company.

It was very lucky to survive the violent riots that broke out in the Tongan capital of Nuku’alofa and subseqently spent the next 3 years gathering dust in a hangar. e aircraft was purchased by our partners in New Zealand – Air Chathams – who undertook extensive work to return the aircraft to airworthiness in 2010 and it continued on as a passenger service in Tonga. e aircraft was then own “home” to New Zealand in December 2013. e aircraft, now 70 years later, remains in commercial service and a very important part of Kiwi history. It is today, the only surviving RNZAF World War II veteran aircraft still in frontline service detail.