Overview

From north to south, Te Ika-a-Māui (North Island) boasts breathtaking and unique landscapes, warm and friendly locals, and a wide range of world-class attractions that will surely make your holiday memorable. This 10 Day North Island Escape self drive starts in Auckland, New Zealand and takes you to the subtropical and historical region of Northland.

See ancient kauri trees in Hokianga and join a cruise from Paihia to explore the beautiful Bay of Islands. Enjoy the pristine beaches of Coromandel, home to the famous Cathedral Cove and Hot Water beach. Journey to the central regions of Rotorua and Taupo where you will find plenty of geothermal attractions.

Rotorua is also a wonderful place to immerse yourself in Maori culture by joining a traditional feast (hangi). Visit Napier and explore its Art Deco architecture. A quick stop in Martinborough is a must if you like great food and wine. Your North Island adventure concludes in the capital city of Wellington.

Auckland - Omapere - Bay of Islands - Pauanui - Rotorua - Napier - Wellington

Map of 10 Day North Island Escape Self Drive
View itinerary for day 1
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View itinerary for day 9
View itinerary for day 10
Arrive Auckland
Auckland to Hokianga
Hokianga to Paihia, Bay of Islands
Explore Bay of Islands
Bay of Islands to Coromandel
Coromandel to Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Rotorua to Napier via Taupo
Napier to Wellington via Martinborough
Depart Wellington

Day 1

Arrive Auckland

Day 2

Auckland to Hokianga

Travel Time: 3 hrs 35 mins

Distance: 257 kms

Day 3

Hokianga to Paihia, Bay of Islands

Travel Time: 1 hr 15 mins

Distance: 88 kms

Day 4

Explore Bay of Islands

Day 5

Bay of Islands to Coromandel

Travel Time: 5 hrs

Distance: 377 kms

Day 6

Coromandel to Rotorua

Travel Time: 2 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 191 kms

Day 7

Explore Rotorua

Day 8

Rotorua to Napier via Taupo

Travel Time: 2 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 219 kms

Day 9

Napier to Wellington via Martinborough

Travel Time: 4 hrs 35 mins

Distance: 353 kms

Day 10

Depart Wellington

“Haere Mai”, welcome to New Zealand’s North Island. Your rental car will be ready and waiting, so you can get started on your adventure right away. We recommend visiting the Sky Tower to take in the sprawling city from 220 metres above. For a unique dining experience, you may wish to stay for a meal in the rotating Orbit Restaurant.

Stay 1 night Auckland

Depart Auckland this morning and make your way north. Travel through farmland and forest, Warkworth and Wellsford. Drive across to the west coast and continue north until you reach Omapere in the Hokianga region. Tonight, learn about the Maori history of the Waipoua Forest whilst on your Footprints Waipoua Twilight Encounter. Stand up close to the largest living Kauri trees including the Tane Mahuta known as ‘the Lord of the Forest’.

Stay 1 night Omapere, Hokianga

Today, cross from the west coast to the east coast and arrive at the Bay of Islands, a region that is made up of 144 islands. On arrival into Paihia, spend the afternoon meandering around the little village or visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Tonight, we suggest an entertaining evening aboard Darryl’s Dinner Cruise whilst cruising past the Haruru Falls.

Stay 2 nights Paihia

Take the opportunity to enjoy a boat ride to the Hole in the Rock this morning. Cruise past the islands dotted throughout the bay and keep an eye out for dolphins, whales and other marine life. Excitement grows as you pass through the Hole in the Rock and into the majestic Grand Cathedral Cave. This trip includes a stopover on beautiful Urupukapuka Island, a pest-free recreation reserve with numerous scenic walks and an unspoiled beach.

Today drive around the picturesque Coromandel Peninsula. Along the peninsula there are many places to stop along the way including the famous Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach where you can dig your own hot pools in the sand.

Stay 1 night Pauanui, Coromandel

Today drive around the picturesque Coromandel Peninsula. Along the peninsula there are many places to stop along the way including the famous Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach where you can dig your own hot pools in the sand.

You can also visit the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata on your way to Rotorua.

Stay 2 nights Rotorua

Today is for exploring Rotorua. We suggest a visit to Agrodome for a unique farm experience, ride the gondola up Mt Ngongotaha for extensive views over the city and lake or visit Te Puia with its geysers and bubbling mud pools. This evening enjoy a cultural performance at Mitai Maori Village along with a delicious Hangi meal.

This morning head south to Taupo. We recommend stopping at the Huka Falls to watch the roaring waters rushing through the narrow gorge. Continue on to Napier where you have the afternoon to explore the Art Deco city centre. To see all the sites of interest and learn about the city’s rich history from an experienced guide, take a tour in a vintage car or a 1 ½ hour evening walk.

Stay 1 night Napier

Bid farewell to Napier and head south to our nation’s capital city. You may like to stop for a tour of the Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka or visit one of the local wineries in the Martinborough wine region.

Stay 1 night Wellington

Spend today exploring Wellington until you have to say farewell as you return your rental vehicle to Wellington Airport before boarding your onward flight or return flight home.

Day 1, Arrive Auckland

Arrive Auckland

“Haere Mai”, welcome to New Zealand’s North Island. Your rental car will be ready and waiting, so you can get started on your adventure right away. We recommend visiting the Sky Tower to take in the sprawling city from 220 metres above. For a unique dining experience, you may wish to stay for a meal in the rotating Orbit Restaurant.

Stay 1 night Auckland

Day 2, Auckland to Hokianga

Auckland to Hokianga

Travel Time: 3 hrs 35 mins

Distance: 257 kms

Depart Auckland this morning and make your way north. Travel through farmland and forest, Warkworth and Wellsford. Drive across to the west coast and continue north until you reach Omapere in the Hokianga region. Tonight, learn about the Maori history of the Waipoua Forest whilst on your Footprints Waipoua Twilight Encounter. Stand up close to the largest living Kauri trees including the Tane Mahuta known as ‘the Lord of the Forest’.

Stay 1 night Omapere, Hokianga

Day 3, Hokianga to Paihia, Bay of Islands

Hokianga to Paihia, Bay of Islands

Travel Time: 1 hr 15 mins

Distance: 88 kms

Today, cross from the west coast to the east coast and arrive at the Bay of Islands, a region that is made up of 144 islands. On arrival into Paihia, spend the afternoon meandering around the little village or visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Tonight, we suggest an entertaining evening aboard Darryl’s Dinner Cruise whilst cruising past the Haruru Falls.

Stay 2 nights Paihia

Day 4, Explore Bay of Islands

Explore Bay of Islands

Take the opportunity to enjoy a boat ride to the Hole in the Rock this morning. Cruise past the islands dotted throughout the bay and keep an eye out for dolphins, whales and other marine life. Excitement grows as you pass through the Hole in the Rock and into the majestic Grand Cathedral Cave. This trip includes a stopover on beautiful Urupukapuka Island, a pest-free recreation reserve with numerous scenic walks and an unspoiled beach.

Day 5, Bay of Islands to Coromandel

Bay of Islands to Coromandel

Travel Time: 5 hrs

Distance: 377 kms

Today drive around the picturesque Coromandel Peninsula. Along the peninsula there are many places to stop along the way including the famous Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach where you can dig your own hot pools in the sand.

Stay 1 night Pauanui, Coromandel

Day 6, Coromandel to Rotorua

Coromandel to Rotorua

Travel Time: 2 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 191 kms

Today drive around the picturesque Coromandel Peninsula. Along the peninsula there are many places to stop along the way including the famous Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach where you can dig your own hot pools in the sand.

You can also visit the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata on your way to Rotorua.

Stay 2 nights Rotorua

Day 7, Explore Rotorua

Explore Rotorua

Today is for exploring Rotorua. We suggest a visit to Agrodome for a unique farm experience, ride the gondola up Mt Ngongotaha for extensive views over the city and lake or visit Te Puia with its geysers and bubbling mud pools. This evening enjoy a cultural performance at Mitai Maori Village along with a delicious Hangi meal.

Day 8, Rotorua to Napier via Taupo

Rotorua to Napier via Taupo

Travel Time: 2 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 219 kms

This morning head south to Taupo. We recommend stopping at the Huka Falls to watch the roaring waters rushing through the narrow gorge. Continue on to Napier where you have the afternoon to explore the Art Deco city centre. To see all the sites of interest and learn about the city’s rich history from an experienced guide, take a tour in a vintage car or a 1 ½ hour evening walk.

Stay 1 night Napier

Day 9, Napier to Wellington via Martinborough

Napier to Wellington via Martinborough

Travel Time: 4 hrs 35 mins

Distance: 353 kms

Bid farewell to Napier and head south to our nation’s capital city. You may like to stop for a tour of the Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka or visit one of the local wineries in the Martinborough wine region.

Stay 1 night Wellington

Day 10, Depart Wellington

Depart Wellington

Spend today exploring Wellington until you have to say farewell as you return your rental vehicle to Wellington Airport before boarding your onward flight or return flight home.

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per Person

May to September 2019

 Twin/Double
Standard Accommodation from AU$2,293* per person

 * PLEASE NOTE

Prices are estimates only, and are subject to availability and exchange rates when booking, seasonal or holiday price surcharges (such as Christmas/New Year and Easter); as well as special events that may be on. Please forward a request and we will be happy to forward a quote.

Car Rental

  • Car hire excess fees of up to NZ$3500 + GST applies. This will be imprinted on a credit card upon collecting the vehicle. Excess reduction options are available at an additional cost per day. 
  • Airport/Ferry pick up fee applies in some locations. This must be paid direct in New Zealand. 
  • Car parking fees may apply in some locations.

Payment

  • Deposit: $200 per person within 7 days of booking
  • Full Payment: 60 Days before travel
  • Airfares (if applicable): Paid in full no more than 6 days after booking

Cancellation Charges

  • Cancellation Fees up to 100% can apply after booking. Extra deposits or full payment may be requested to cover these charges prior to booking.
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Includes

Includes:

9 nights accommodation including breakfast

  • 1 night Auckland
  • 1 night Omapere
  • 2 nights Paihia
  • 1 night Pauanui
  • 2 nights Rotorua
  • 1 night Napier
  • 1 night Wellington

10 days car rental (excess applies)

Footprints Waipoua

Cape Brett 'Hole in the Rock' cruise

Tamaki Māori Village evening experience

Te Puia Thermal Reserve

Rotorua Skyline Gondola

Options

Travel Insurance

If you are going overseas, then travel insurance is a necessity. Compare rates and polices online and get a free travel insurance quote.

Accommodation

There is a choice of accommodation available on all packages, which depending on locations, includes motels, 3 star hotels, 4 star hotels, boutique lodges & hotels and luxury lodges and hotels. We are happy to quote on alternate accommodation requests.

Airfares

International flights can be included from Australia for all Australian residents.

Optional Extras

Sky Tower, Auckland

The tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere at 328 metres affords superb views of Auckland City, its two harbours and the volcanic cone of Rangitoto Island. Enjoy a high altitude lunch or snack or if its adventure you're after try a Sky Jump or Sky Walk around New Zealand's Iconic Tower.

Explore Bay of Islands

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

The Waitangi National Trust Treaty Grounds is a unique and fascinating insight into New Zealand's historic past. New Zealand's most significant document, The Treaty of Waitangi, signed here in 1840 between the Maori Chiefs and British Crown, became the basis for life in New Zealand as it is today. See the first Governor of New Zealand’s residence, a Waka – Maori war canoe and relax amongst the beautiful Bay of Islands scenery.

Darryl's Dinner Cruise

Spend a fun and relaxing evening cruise on the calm Waitangi River in the Bay of Islands up to the spectacular Haruru Falls. Along the way enjoy a T-bone steak or a pan fried filleted fish accompanied by gourmet potatoes, fresh salad and french bread. A full bar is available and tea and coffee included.

Agrodome, Rotorua

In the heart of 350 acres of lush farmland, yet only 10 minutes from Rotorua city centre, you'll find New Zealand's Agrodome. For over 40 years, visitors from all over the globe have come to the Agrodome to see the world-famous Farm Show - starring a cast of talented animals. and you! Plus, join the Organic Farm Tour to explore a real working farm, hand-feed loads of friendly animals, and sample delicious kiwifruit juice and honey from the land.

Options:

Sheep Show - A fun-packed hour of entertainment and education for the whole family. Be introduced to 19 breeds of sheep, witness a live sheep shearing demonstration & a fun sheep auction. The farm dogs will amaze you as they demonstrate their ability to respond to commands and keep the sheep & ducks in line!

Organic farm Tour - A guided tour of the farm, animals & the 100% organic fruit orchard. Climb aboard an all-weather, all-terrain vehicle and learn about the farm. You'll get to hand-feed and take photos with all sorts of friendly animals, including Romney sheep, cattle, deer, llamas, ostrich, pigs & alpacas. Explore the organic fruit orchard & taste 100% organic, natural kiwifruit juice, kiwifruit wine & delicious sweet honey.

Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata

The Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tour is a real must-do for every The Lord of the Rings fan travelling through New Zealand, but it really is an interesting and entertaining experience for all. Your guide will explain all about what was needed to create the Hobbiton set and tell stories about what went on during filming. He or she will also happily answer any questions you might have. The Hobbiton movie set has been returned to its natural state after filming was completed. However, hobbit holes and some structures from the film set are still in place.

Highlights

Footprints Waipoua, Hokianga

As night falls, the shiest creatures of the forest awaken and begin to go about their work. You may encounter insects like weta, nocturnal birds, eels, fresh-water lobsters or the magnificent but slightly chilling giant carnivorous 'kauri' snail. Deep in the forest among the towering trees and surrounded by the sounds of the nocturnal creatures awakening, you will meet Te Matua Ngahere - 'The Father of the Forest'. At between 3000 and 4000 years old he is the oldest known kauri tree in the world. Your guide will greet this giant as an old friend. The highlight of the tour will be your meeting with "The Lord of the Forest' - the giant Tane Mahuta!

Cape Brett 'Hole in the Rock' cruise, Bay of Islands

This is the most popular cruise in the Bay of Islands. Travel by luxury catamaran through big game fishing waters to Cape Brett Lighthouse. Next is Matukokako Island and excitement grows as you make passage through the famous “Hole in the Rock” and on to Grand Cathedral Cave. Meander through the inner islands stopping at Otehei Bay for a swim or scenic walk.

From Rotorua

Tamaki Māori Village evening experience

Step back in time and learn about The Chronicles of Uitara tale, pre European time in New Zealand. Your night starts by approaching the Maori forest village where you are met by Maori warriors before being welcomed in to the village. The tribe will share ancient ceremonies of Welcome and Farewell as you watch in amazement as they re-enactment their story. Based on a true story, with real characters and actual events you will finish your night with a delicious Hangi feast. (Includes transport from your hotel).

Te Puia Thermal Reserve

New Zealand's Maori Arts and Crafts Institute Te Puia is located in the beautiful Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. See silica terraces and bubbling mud pools, view the world famous Pohutu Geyser erupting from the ground up to 30 metres high, and view exhibitions, demonstrations by qualified artists in their respective fields of weaving and carving. Spend your time at Te Puia with a guided tour and complete your experience with a Maori Cultural performance.

Book now, pay later No credit card required

10 Day North Island Escape Self Drive

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