11 Day Great New Zealand Touring Route
11 Day Great New Zealand Touring Route
The Great New Zealand Touring Route provides you with the opportunity to experience everything from sandy beaches to snow capped mountains, geothermal areas, spectacular rain forests, fascinating Maori culture, adventure activities, kiwi fruit orchards and award winning vineyards along the way.
|Tour Type:||Self Drive Tours|
|From:||Auckland to Auckland|
|Departures:||Jan 2020 - March 2021|
|Price:||From (NZD) $2010 per person|
|Tour Operator:||Relaxing Journeys|
|10 nights accommodation|
|Rental vehicle of your choice|
|The Driving Creek Railway|
|Guided Art Deco Walk in Napier|
|Admission to the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal region|
|Te Po - Maori cultural experience with traditional hangi|
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 January 2020 – March 2021. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $250 per person is required at time of booking.
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* 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.
Day by Day Tour Itinerary
Welcome to Auckland! Once you’ve moved through customs and collected your baggage, it’s time to sign for your rental car and check-in at your accommodation. You’ve landed on the doorstep of New Zealand’s largest city, an idyllic setting overlooking the forested Waitakere Ranges, the sheltered Manukau Harbour and the island-studded Hauraki Gulf to the north.
No wonder over a million people choose to live here! Beautiful beaches and dreamy offshore islands are just half an hour from the city. In fact, the sea is so much a part of the place that an unusually high number of people own their own boats, giving the city its moniker of the ‘City of Sails’.
Today, travel south to the Coromandel Peninsula, a beautiful rugged area fringed with dozens of excellent beaches that separate the Pacific Ocean from the Hauraki Gulf. Many Kiwis choose the Coromandel to escape the hustle and hype of city life, providing a home haven for many artists who seek a slow-paced lifestyle.
A visit to the quaint town is highly recommended as passes to ride the Driving Creek Railway is included. The railway is a 1 hour return journey travelling through regenerating and replanted native Kauri forest. Unique pottery sculptures and tile murals line the track with spectacular views over the Hauraki Gulf from the ‘Eyefull Tower’.
Today heading south along the coast to Tauranga takes you through the southern regions of the Coromandel into the Bay of Plenty. Tauranga is the largest city in the Bay of Plenty and one of the fastest growing population centres in the country. Downtown Tauranga has several historically significant areas to view during a scenic walk around the area.
The Strand waterfront area has undergone a major redevelopment in the past few years, and is home to a number of cafés, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs. Tauranga’s harbour is in evidence almost everywhere you go, providing the urban area with an attractive waterfront setting. Fishing, sailing, diving and dolphin tours are easy to arrange, or check out one of the local beauty spots – McLaren Falls or the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park.
Further along the coast lies Whakatane, one of the sunniest towns in New Zealand and the main centre for the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Just off shore is White Island, a spectacular active volcano that can be visited by launch or helicopter. Guided tours of the island necessitate a gas mask and hard hat.
Whakatane is also known for its fishing – more yellow fin tuna are caught here than anywhere else in the country. Other Whakatane attractions include the museum, an observatory and Maori historical sites. The Nga Tapuwae o Toi walkway leads to pa sites, native forest and seabird colonies. Dolphin tours, which can include swimming encounters, run all year.
The drive today to Gisborne if you choose to take the most direct route along State Highway 2 is approximately 3 hours.
If however, you are feeling more adventurous you can also take State Highway 35 and drive around the East Cape which has some very stunning scenery and isn’t visited by many tourists. The drive this way will take you approximately 5 hours.
Gisborne is the first city in the world to greet the sun each morning, and it has a reputation for great food, wine and surf beaches. As the unofficial ‘Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand’, Gisborne has a comprehensive wine trail leading to boutique wineries. Several operators offer custom tours tailored for individuals or groups, to spare you the problem of driving.
Kaiti Beach is the site of Captain Cook’s first landing in New Zealand (9 October 1769); nearby is the picturesque Te Poho O Rawiri Marae. If you’re interested in Maori culture, Gisborne is an essential port of call on your itinerary – old traditions are still evident in many parts of the city.
Further along the coast lies Napier which was rebuilt after being almost levelled in 1931 by an earthquake and this 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 mornings, the Napier farmers’ market is a chance to shop for artisan foods and fresh produce. (2 nights)
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 your leisure to explore the Hawkes Bay area. Hawke’s Bay is home to New Zealand’s oldest operating winery. You can tour the region on your own, guided by the Hawke’s Bay food and wine trail maps and discover over 30 wineries open for wine tasting. Many also offer alfresco and restaurant dining for a bite to eat.
If you prefer not to drive, cycle from one winery to the next along one of the three Hawke’s Bay Trails on a hired mountain bike.
Heading north again until you reach the lakeside town of Taupo, the beautiful Lake is actually a huge volcano with a fiery history. Its most recent eruption, in 181 AD, was large enough to change the sky as far away as Europe and China.
According to Maori legend, the lake is the pulsating heart of Maui’s fish (New Zealand’s North Island). The lakeside town of Taupo provides a base for visitors who love to fish for trout, ski Mount Ruapehu and explore the local geothermal phenomena.
Popular Taupo experiences include Huka Falls, geothermal walks, a prawn farm, lake cruises and guided kayak expeditions to see the rock carvings at Mine Bay. Most Taupo accommodation comes complete with a naturally heated spa pool.
Entrance to Wai-O-Tapu is included today. Visitors can walk at their own pace and absorb the unique features including the world famous champagne pool, geysers, bubbling mud, steaming ground, expansive vistas, huge volcanic craters and terrace formations.
The natural bush setting adds another dimension to the experience as does the guaranteed daily eruption of the Lady Knox Geyser at 10.15am. 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.
On the final leg of your holiday you’ll head north through lush Waikato farmland, perhaps via Waitomo Caves to the Glowworm Caves, on your way to Auckland. Waitomo’s most compelling subterranean delights. In any one sightseeing tour, your guide will bring you up close to shimmering glow-worms, elaborate cave formations, underground rivers, myths, legends and sacred Maori sites.
Continue through Hamilton and onwards to the market garden area of Pukekohe before arriving at Auckland.
Sadly your holiday ends today. Return your rental car to the depot at Auckland Airport prior to your departure flight.
There are 7 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.6 out of 5.
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The Great New Zealand Touring Route provides you with the opportunity to experience everything from sandy beaches to snow capped mountains, geothermal... Read More
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