14 Day East Meets West

14 Day East Meets West

Currently our only self-drive itinerary that travels down the East of the North Island and back up the West side.

Book and pay your deposit by 30 November 2018 to receive a 5% discount off your tour price for this month

Tour Info

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Auckland to Auckland
Departures: May 2018 to March 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $2302 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 14 Days
Tour Code: gnemw

Inclusions

13 nights accommodation
The Driving Creek Railway
Admission to the Te Puia geothermal region
Te Po - Maori cultural experience with traditional hangi
Guided Art Deco Walk in Napier
Guided tour of Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Travel wallet, comprehensive customised itinerary, bound map book, accommodation & activity vouchers and local travel guides

Conditions

Prices are per person based on twin-share, and are subject to availability. Prices are correct at the time of submission but are subject to change without notice. Valid for travel May 2018 – March 2019. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required at time of booking.

Click here for our full terms and conditions.

Book and pay your deposit by 30 November 2018 to receive a 5% discount off your tour price for this month

Click on the prices below to enquire.

* Prices shown are per person (based on two people travelling).
* 2 Bedroom Motel pricing also available with Exclusive Specials. Please request a quote for prices.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Auckland

Arrive Auckland and collect your rental car before making your way to your accommodation. Auckland, New Zealand’s largest population centre, is poised between two enormous harbours and dotted with extinct volcanic cones.

The region is a fusion of four cities – Auckland, Manukau, North Shore and Waitakere – with cultural elements that span from Polynesia and Asia to the United Kingdom and Eastern Europe. While Auckland acts as a gateway to New Zealand, it’s also a destination in its own right.

Visitors can explore the islands of the Hauraki Gulf by ferry or charter boat, walk the forest tracks of the Waitakere Ranges, follow wine trails and enjoy the relaxing pleasures of urban life by the sea.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Auckland - Coromandel

Make your way south of Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula. Separated from Auckland by the broad Firth of the Thames, The Coromandel comprises a forested backbone of mountains separating the precipitous west coast from the coves and white sand beaches of the east.

One of the highlights of the Pacific Coast Highway, this is a very scenic area that deserves exploration. The Driving Creek Railway is included today.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Coromandel to Rotorua

Today make your way to Rotorua. The city sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so volcanic activity is part of the city’s past and present. The city is also the tribal home of the Te Arawa people, who settled in lakeside geothermal areas more than 600 years ago.

Entertaining in any weather, and at any time of the year, Rotorua promises to keep you captivated with geothermal phenomena and special cultural experiences. Geysers, boiling mud pools, marae stays, hangi feasts, an authentic pre-European Maori village and indulgent spa therapies will provide plenty of content for your emails home.

Rotorua also has a well-developed adventure culture – everything from skydiving to zorbing. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Rotorua

Entrance is included to Te Puia where visitors can learn about the local Maori culture and experience regions unique geothermal wonders. 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. (D)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Rotorua - Napier

Napier’s misfortune in 1931, when it was almost levelled by an earthquake, has led to the city’s world famous point of difference. Today Napier has one of the most outstanding collections of 1930s architecture in the world.

Walking around the city, you’ll see wonderful examples of Art Deco, Spanish Mission and Stripped Classical design. Napier’s other special attractions include the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers and the many vineyards that make good use of the region’s alluvial soils.

On Saturday morning, the Napier farmers’ market is a chance to shop for artisan foods and fresh produce. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Napier

This morning enjoy a guided walk where your guide will bring Napier’s fascinating architecture to life for you as you take an easy stroll through the compact Art Deco Quarter in the vibrant city centre. The afternoon is at leisure.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Napier - Martinborough

On your way south you’ll drive through Waipukurau and Waipawa as well as Dannevirke, a town originally settled by Scandinavians. Spend the day enjoying the clean, green Wairarapa scenery as you drive south.

Carterton is a good place to shop for paua shell souvenirs, while Greytown has many beautiful examples of Victorian architecture and a quaint museum – take yourself on a self-guided walk. At Featherston, which has an interesting locomotive museum, you’ll turn left towards Martinborough – a region famous for it’s wineries and vineyards.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Martinborough - Wellington

Less than 2 hours drive away, Wellington, New Zealand’s Capital beckons. Climb up and over the Rimutaka Range – great views in every direction. Once the mountains are behind you, it’s easy driving for the rest of your journey. You’ll wind through the picturesque Hutt Valley then a fast moving motorway will whisk you towards the city. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Wellington

Today is at your leisure to explore the city, the best way to do this is by foot as it is quite compact and the one-way streets can make driving difficult. Wellington’s visitors come to browse museums, historic places and galleries, including the highly acclaimed National Museum Te Papa.

From a food and wine point of view, the city is truly delectable. Night time entertainment includes professional theatre, live concerts, comedy shows and dance performances.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 10
Wellington - Whanganui

Starting your journey back north today your destination is Whanganui, the picturesque river city with a long history. During the early days of European settlement, it was an important trading centre. The river served as a main highway for the transport of goods and people.

Prominent heritage buildings in the city include the Royal Whanganui Opera House and the Sarjeant Art Gallery. Take time to explore the restored heritage areas, then board the paddle steamer for a memorable river cruise. One of Whanganui’s more unusual visitor attractions is the earthbound elevator that rises to the top of Durie Hill.

The regional museum has a magnificent collection of Lindauer portaits and Maori treasures.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 11
Whanganui - New Plymouth

Heading north towards New Plymouth the skyline is dominated by the mountain from which the region takes it’s name, Mount Taranaki. The city of New Plymouth is known for its sunny climate, art galleries and beautiful parks. It is also New Zealand’s ‘oil town’, with offshore rigs extracting natural gas and oil.

Mount Taranaki provides a dramatic backdrop to the city, while reminding you that the hiking trails of the Egmont National Park are just a short drive away. Down at the New Plymouth waterfront you’ll find Puke Ariki, a wonderful museum and heritage centre that overlooks a six kilometre coastal walkway. At any time of the year, Pukekura Park is a place to relax and enjoy nature.

It has a children’s zoo and bush walks. Expect good shopping and an appetising selection of restaurants.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 12
New Plymouth - Waitomo

The Waitomo Caves district is famous for its subterranean phenomena. Beneath the surface of this limestone region is a series of vast cave systems decorated with speleotherms (stalactites and stalagmites) and glow-worms. Some caves are open to the public, others are best left to the experts.

Black water rafting is an intriguing way to appreciate the underground splendours of Waitomo – you’ll drift along subterranean streams on your own personal raft. Guided abseiling experiences are also available. Other activities in the area include horse riding, quad biking and jet boating. Entrance to the caves is included today.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 13
Waitomo - Auckland

On the final leg of your holiday you’ll return through Hamilton and on to Auckland for your final night’s stay.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 14
Depart Auckland

Please return your rental car to the depot at Auckland airport prior to your departure for your onward flight.

Your choice of accommodation

4.4/5.0

There are 10 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.4 out of 5.

Overall Tour Rating
Value For Money
Accommodation
Tour Pace
Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

4
24/03/2018
Another wonderful NZ holiday - thanks again Mani - tour was great with so many inclusions. Accommodation was good - one exception being New Plymouth - old and very tired. We'll be back!
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5
05/12/2017
Thank you Jo from Relaxing Journeys for organising this holiday for us. Everything went like clockwork right from when we picked up our hire car from Auckland Airport. We were pleased with the itinerary which gave us plenty of time to explore each region and the standard of accommodation was good. It was nice not having to worry about where we would be staying each night as accommodation was fully booked in some areas. We especially enjoyed the included tours at Rotorua, Napier and Waitomo Caves and visiting the places that were suggested on the daily itinerary you provided.
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5
11/01/2017
We have had a wonderful trip with everything going smoothly. Well done Mani and thank you so much.
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4
01/01/2017
In this busy period of the year it's not easy to arrange holidays but you've done it well and when problems occurred you were very helpful.
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Relaxing Journeys Experience
5
23/05/2016
This is my 3rd time with Relaxing Journeys. I like how the tour is set up, so I don't have to worry about hotels and such. I think staying in downtown Auckland on arrival takes away from the experience of the North Island. Also, if coming from the USA, gas is expensive, so if you can, go for an economy car. Mani set it up since I wanted to see the west coast, but didn't have enough days for the traditional east meets west. I highly recommend 2 days in Rotorua. If you like hiking trails, this is the place. Truly enjoyed the redwood forest park. Will go for a fourth time in the future, most likely the South Island and of course with Relaxing Journeys.
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4
16/01/2016
We loved our most recent trip to New Zealand! A great pace, heaps to see and friendly lovely locals. We will be back!
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5
03/02/2015
Thanks! You listened to what we wanted. You offered your wisdom and advice. You were right - indeed you were spot on. We had a fantastic time - thanks very much in large part to all you did for us from cars, airline bookings, lodgings, transfers, excursions, and meal suggestions. The GPS system was a welcomed addition to our tour. Offering narratives of New Zealand history and geography as well as a few laughs with edicts of 'recalculating' in the middle of the very few straight roads in New Zealand and turn right/left here into the bush or beach. Simply put, use the GPS in combination with the fantastic book of maps you provided and its easy (if not curvy) driving.

Russell:
First and foremost the Bellrock Lodge is the place to stay in New Zealand. No better accommodations. No better people. We spent hours one evening drinking wine, eating oysters and sharing stories with Peter and Lorrain. It's A+ nothing better in New Zealand - and top three of places we have stayed any where in the world. Also, dinner on the deck of the Duke of Marlborough is a must. The lamb was excellent, the wine selection outstanding, the view unmatched. Phantom Yacht is a requirement. Bag the other commercial adventures ... go sailing with Rick and Robin. Robin is a fantastic chef. Cook is way too simple of term for her. The plum chutney on the vintage cheese must not be missed. Ask for more, mail me some. Although the weather was a tad rainy that day it did not matter one bit. We swam, we ate, we drank - a lot - we sailed, Rick caught a king fish, we saw dolphins, we hiked to vista on top of an island. Everyone should go. Russell, fantastic way to start the vacation. Well done!

Matakana:
The Matakana Country Lodge is a definite A. Nice folks, nice accommodations, the spa was pleasant, the happy hour wine tasting and conversation all good. In a race between it an Bellrock, however, it finishes second. Again, very nice folks and rooms. The view is wonderful ... but unlike Bellrock where you can walk into town for a drink or dinner. At Matakana you can't. That's the downside.

Raglan:
Ok, best restaurant meals of the trip were at the Shack www.theshackraglan.com. We ate there multiple times and food and service were nothing short of stellar. The town of Raglan is also great for shopping and the fish and chips at the end of the wharf (Raglan Fish) is well worth the jaunt to that end of town. Now, the lodgings? Oceanview. The place is clean. The folks are pleasant. And well that is about it. Unlike every other place we stayed. I don't have to - I don't want to ever go back there. It's a C maybe a C+ at best. Maybe try the Bow Street Studios instead www.bowstreet.co.nz . I know I pushed to go to Raglan and I had a fantastic time surfing. Raglan Surf School gets a big thumbs up. If there was one 'you could have done better' on the trip it was the accommodations in Raglan.

Rotorua:
I have already patted you on the back for 'making' me go to the Waitamo glow worms cave. Here is the pat again. Tell everyone. Go. Its well well worth it. No, I do not intend to send more emails acknowledging my stupidity. This is the second. That's enough. Make some copies. I am moving on. Koura Lodge was another A in lodging. A very nice young couple acting as innkeepers. They upgraded us to the apartment and we had a huge deck, living room (with a billiards table) separate bedroom and full kitchen. Needless to say we spent much time on the deck lounging, having meals and enjoying some down time. As for the Polynesian Spa - make sure you make folks upgrade to the Lake Spa and buy some time in the private lakeside pools. Come on you made me see glow worms - make folks take some relaxing time in the Lake Spa (Only down side there is little kids running around - which doesn't happen in the adult side). Take time for the Aix Spa Therapy treatment - very relaxing! Now we did the Tamaki Maori dinner. It was OK at best. They actually ran out of lamb, and my wife never got a taste despite asking for some. Too bad all gone. Three 'shows', three 'dinners' a night. Its too much. Slow down. Quality not quality. Think Flames of the Forest outside of Port Douglas Australia. We will pay for and enjoy quality. This was McDonalds fast food Maori at best. They need some competition.

Napier:
The Scenic had the second best breakfast of the vacation (behind the Sky City Hotel buffet). It's a B+. Nice location near town and across the street from the beach. The BRILLIANT votes for Napier and Hawkes Bay, however, go to the On Yer Bike winery tour. Its an easy easy 20 km ride with only about 400 m on the road. The rest on gravel roads through the vineyards or on separated limestone paths next to the road. At only one of the five cellar doors we visited were there even other guests there. Relaxing. We stopped. We chatted. We munched on our lunch. All quite nice. Don't miss the Dukkah butter at Salvare Estate. Wow. Wine is good. The Dukkah - never had that stuff before is GREAT. Ashridge had the best wine and folks for chatting. Compliment Phil on his bike maintenance, ice block making and his poster drawing (which compliments are by the way very much deserved) and ok, tell Lauren she doesn't make bad wine either. Well she makes GREAT wine - but she kept agreeing with my wife in an ongoing debate so I favored Phil who agreed with me.

Wellington:
Te Papa. A wonderful few hours spent exploring New Zealand's history, geography, people and native species. Can't recommend the place higher. The Museum Hotel was stellar - an A - location is right across the street from Te Papa. For dinner we'd recommend Chow: Asian influenced small plates a few blocks from the hotel. www.chow.co.nz

Christchurch:
We were surprised at the remaining extent of damage in Christchurch. We had most of our drinks and meals on New Regent Street www.newregentstreet.co.nz and would highly recommend any of the places on the street. Now, yes, I was rooting for Sri Lanka. Andy Haden should never have dove out of the lineout in 1978 at Cardiff Arms Park. I was going to university in Cardiff then and saw it. Not forgotten or forgiven. Yes, its almost 40 years. Yes, I tend to hold a grudge. Yes, New Zealand won that day in Cardiff and at the cricket match in Christchurch. Good on ya. All in good fun.

Auckland:
Sky City gets an A-. The size is its downside. But the buffet breakfast was the best of the trip. Its also centrally located and fairly quiet for its size. The staff were pleasant as well. My recommendation is to tell everyone to take the ferry to Devonport for the afternoon. We did and had an enchanting afternoon and evening, including a good meal outside of Bette's. The next morning we went to the top of the Sky Tower (OK, touristy but fun to get a lay of the land - just as we were leaving - look - there's Devonport!) and then lunched at the Merchants of Venice on the North Wharf. All in all a great way to wrap up the vacation. Finally, a specific shout of thanks and compliments to the driver who picked us up at the airport and drove us back. On time. Clean. Friendly. Informative - but not intrusive. Keep using those folks. Well done!
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4
07/10/2012
This is the second tour we have done with Relaxing Journeys, the other being a 17 day self-drive tour of the South Island earlier in 2012. That tour was a mid-range tour for two people whilst this was a budget tour for two couples. There was a difference in the quality of some of the accomodation but all of the accomodation on this trip was clean and comfortable and more than adequate for its purpose. Some of the accomodation was equivalent in standard to the previous tour. The arrangements, itinerary, car booked and suggested sightseeing was, again, high quality and effortlessly delivered. The included activites were especially appreciated and enjoyed. Overall a most enjoyable time made easier by the excellent service.
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4
19/09/2012
Back in Sydney after our combined East Meets West and Top of the North tours. We enjoyed them very much - New Zealand is green and beautiful (and has interesting weather) and the people were delightful - all pretty much as we had found on previous visits. However, these tours offered a fairly comprehensive dip into the great variety of places and attractions the country has to offer. All the inclusions were excellent, and professionally and enjoyably conducted - and at least as good as advertised (and usually better). It is unfair to pick out some over others as they all deserve a mention but Driving Creek railway, the Waipoua Forest Twilight Tour, and Cape Reinga/90 Mile Beach tours were very special. But so were they all, and the mix of included activities with time for travel and time to make our own choices was very well balanced. Of course, there was never time to do everything. The organisation you provided was impeccable and ran like clockword - there were no issues with the car and all the accommodation was delightful and high standard - again better than we expected. There are no negatives.

Your background information on driving was accurate and some of the mountain roads make for somewhat challenging driving and can make distances seem longer than expected. An enhanced warning about the occasional lack of petrol stations (not just Taupo-Napier) would be worthwhile. I think we were driving on fumes a couple of times. As I said, all the accommodation was excellent - clean, very comfortable , well appointed - usually larger than we expected - and with excellent hosts. The suite we were given at Scenic Hotel in Auckland was outstanding and the hotel brilliantly located. It was here that the one minor issue arose, and that there was a parking charge of $20 a day (total $60). I was rather suprised when we were told about it at the hotel, and that it had not been included in the overall pre-payment, given that we were obviously coming with a car. I just raise the matter, obviously we would pay it one way or another. Thanks for offering and organising such a wonderful trip. Everything about it was very easy - a relaxing journey indeed - and a delight getting to know our neighbours a lot better.
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4
27/12/2010
This was a terriffic Tour. We got to see all the North Island. 17 Days was good but if we had more time abit longer would have been good. I think 2 days in each location would have been great. But what we did in this time was excellent. It was unfortunate on the 2nd last day that we did not see any Whales or Dolfins in Auckland but we did see some Dolfins in the Bay of Islands. The weather was good thoughout the entire holiday which made things nice. We were really happy with the accommodation. Our most favourite place was the Bay of Islands it was great. We are thinking of return at the end of the year to do the South Island. Can you recomed a tour and days for this. Same sort of package driving in the same type of car, and accommodastion. Looking forward to returning!
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14 Day East Meets West
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: gnemw
From (NZD) $2302 per person
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Rating:
10 reviews (4.4/5)

Currently our only self-drive itinerary that travels down the East of the North Island and back up the West side. ... Read More

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14 Day East Meets West
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