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The historical Waitangi Visitor Centre and Treaty House marks the site of the original treaty signing in 1840 between the Maori people and the British Empire. This is the heart of New Zealand’s historical beginnings, with audio-visual displays, an important Marae (Maori meeting house) which is probably the most visited by the Maori today, the beautifully restored Treaty House, and a Waka (Maori war canoe).
After your visit and if you have time, take the ferry across to Russell, a quaint little village which was once the capital of New Zealand!
Start your tour at the Waterfront where you can find the extremely informative Maritime Museum - begin with the Maori migration across the seas, step back in time on board a European immigrant's ship, then appreciate New Zealand's proud yachting history including the Whitbread Round the World race and of course the America's Cup. Kelly Tarlton was the inventor of the undersea walkway where you can view the fish from below without getting wet - the Antarctic Encounter and Penguin Encounter are worth stopping here on their own. Admire the panoramic view, climb the mast, bungee jump from the tower or just have lunch in the revolving restaurant.
It may be a little early to stop at the historic pub, but if you drive a further 3kms down this side road there is an excellent café at the cheese making factory called the Art of Cheese, where you can also see the cheese makers at work.
ll the way down to Queenstown in the south, driving just over 4000 kilometres in 28 days.
From Auckland you first take the circular route north to the Bay of Islands and Waipoua Forest, then drive south via the awesome Coromandel Peninsula to Whakatane, Rotorua and Taupo to take in a little Maori culture and enjoy the volcanic area.
The bus will eventually bring you back to the Waterfront where you could head to the Ferry Building to take a ferry to Devonport.
Wander up the dormant volcanic cone North Head for awesome views of the city and our youngest dormant volcano Rangitoto Island.