This is a 13 day self-drive itinerary that travels the North Island of New Zealand, starting and finishing in Auckland.
On arrival at Auckland airport, you will be personally met by our representative and transferred in an executive sedan to your accommodation. The ‘City of Sails’ is New Zealand’s largest and most vibrant, offering an exciting array of cosmopolitan experiences.
Built on an isthmus of 48 volcanoes, Auckland’s fertile valleys and islands are home to award-winning wineries. Family attractions abound and the city has plenty of adrenaline for adventure lovers. Indulge in Auckland’s shopping, nightlife and unrivalled cuisine.
Take delivery of your rental car this morning before you depart Auckland and enjoy a leisurely drive on The Pacific Coast Highway. Traversing the spectacular East Coast of the North Island, the Pacific Coast Highway is classed as one of the great touring routes in the world.
Linking the Coromandel with Auckland, The Pacific Coast Highway travels through a unique region where land and sea intermingle. Depart on the Driving Creek Railway in innovatively designed trains that travel over viaducts (including the unique, double decker), 2 spirals, 3 reverses, tunnels and enjoy a magnificent view from the ridge-top terminus.
Here a talk is given about local history, ecology and activities including the potteries. The train also passes through a native Kauri Forest replanting project. After your train ride, continue across the main divide to your accommodation for tonight.
The Coromandel Peninsula is an unspoilt haven and you may choose to enjoy the stunning beaches of Cathedral Cove and Hahei or dig your own spa pool using the thermal waters in the sand at Hot Water Beach, which is only a 30 minute drive from your hotel.
We highly recommend a guided tour with local expert and personality, ‘Kiwi Dundee’. You will visit old historic gold caves, home to sparkling glow-worms. Enjoy the fascinating history and learn about the flora & fauna within this magnificent forest. Enjoy a picnic lunch by the river or up in the mountains.
Head south today along the East Coast of the North Island. You can stop at the less populous beach of Whiritoa before visiting the gold mining town of Waihi. Continue past Tauranga through some great gorges and old native forests before arriving in the tourist city of Rotorua.
We’ve left today free for you to enjoy walking in The Redwoods. Located a few kilometres out of the city, The Redwoods adjoins the larger Whakarewarewa Forest. There are various sign-posted tracks all starting through the beautiful Redwood Grove under magnificent Californian Coastal Redwoods.
Or to explore Rotorua by visiting the Agrodome or take a gondola ride to the top of Mt Ngongotaha for spectacular views of Rotorua. Later this afternoon visit Te Puia geothermal area to view the boiling mudpools and cascading Pohutu geyser that make Rotorua famous as New Zealand’s thermal city.
This evening experience Te Po, Te Puia’s cultural experience. It is a feast of cultural storytelling, entertainment and Maori kai (indigenous food). After a formal Maori welcome, relax and enjoy a performance including the beautiful songs, haka and poi dance. After dinner you will be transported by people movers to enjoy the spectacular lighting of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley and hot chocolate.
This morning depart Rotorua and head to Wai-O-Tapu. Walk at your own pace and marvel at the reserve’s unique features that include the world famous Champagne Pool, geysers, bubbling mud, steaming ground, expansive vistas, huge volcanic craters and sinter terrace formations.
Nearby stop again to visit the mighty Huka Falls on the Waikato River before reaching Taupo on the shores of Lake Taupo. Here you can relax in a thermal hot pool, take a cruise on the lake or simply explore the area further. This a trout fishing area. Continue on to Napier, one of the world’s finest Art Deco cities.
You have the morning to relax or explore Napier at your leisure. Get to know Napier on the Guided Art Deco Walk, recounting the city’s fiery destruction in 1931 and its subsequent rebuild.
Hawke’s Bay has also become well known as a leading food and wine region in New Zealand, so we have booked you in for a wine tour this afternoon. Meet like – minded people and share an appreciation of Hawke’s Bay’s fantastic wines.
The city boasts many fine museums, libraries, art galleries and theatres. There are a number of parks in a greenbelt around the city and you can explore the dining, shopping, entertainment and nightlife is centred on Courtney Place. New Zealand’s only working cable car provides panoramic views over the harbour and city and a visit to Te Papa, the national museum, is highly recommended.
Travel north along the Kapiti Coast on State Highway 1 and through the prosperous farming regions of Horowhenua, Manawatu and Rangitikei to Tongariro National Park. The park is centred around the volcanoes of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. The park is only one of a handful of sites in the world that has dual World Heritage status in recognition of both its natural and cultural values.
Take the day to relax and explore the area at your own pace. Fly fishing, thermal pools and a visit to the Tongariro National Trout Centre are some of the choices on offer.
Optional Upgrade – Tongariro National Park Crossing Guided Trek – The Tongariro Crossing Track is often regarded as New Zealand’s most popular one day walk. Experience active volcanoes, mountain springs, lava flows, emerald lakes and stunning views – a once in a lifetime experience so remember your camera! This walk also includes a picnic lunch. A reasonable level of fitness is required. This is an optional upgrade (ask when enquiring).
Sadly, your holiday is at an end and you leave your car at the rental depot located at the airport today for your onward flight. Here, we bid you a fond farewell and hope you leave with many happy memories of your stay in Aotearoa, New Zealand.