Overview

Embark on a 21 Day Ultimate North Island Self Drive tour and discover the best that North Island has to offer, including iconic destinations like the of Bay of Islands and Rotorua. You will have time to experience some off-the-beaten path attractions like Cape Palliser and the breathtaking Taranaki coastline. 

Some of the highlights to look forward to in this journey are the scenic and serene beach communities of the Bay of Islands and, the locals' favourite, Coromandel Peninsula; the wine growing areas of Wairarapa near Martinborough, and Hawkes Bay; the authentic Maori culture of Rotorua, and the buzzing cities of Auckland and Wellington.

Itineraries

All itineraries can be amended or combined with other itineraries. Flights can be included from Australia if required. Please advise amendments when requesting a quote.

Auckland - Bay of Islands - Matakana Coast - Coromandel Peninsula - Rotorua - Hawkes Bay - Martinborough - Wellington - Tongariro National Park - Waitomo Caves - Auckland

Map of 21 Day Ultimate North Island Self Drive
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Arrive in Auckland
Explore Auckland City
Auckland to Russell, Bay of Islands
Explore the Bay of Islands
Cape Reinga Scenic Aeroplane Flight and Guided Tour
Bay of Islands to Matakana Coast via Waipoua
Matakana Coast to Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula
Whitianga to Tairua
Tairua to Rotorua
Discover Rotorua
Rotorua to Napier
Discover Hawkes Bay
Napier to Martinborough
Explore Cape Palliser and the South Coast
Martinborough to Wellington City
Wellington City
Wellington to Tongariro National Park
Around Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park to Waitomo
Waitomo to Auckland City
Depart Auckland

Day 1

Arrive in Auckland

Day 2

Explore Auckland City

Day 3

Auckland to Russell, Bay of Islands

Travel Time: 3 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 230 kms

Day 4

Explore the Bay of Islands

Day 5

Cape Reinga Scenic Aeroplane Flight and Guided Tour

Day 6

Bay of Islands to Matakana Coast via Waipoua

Travel Time: 3 hrs 25 mins

Distance: 264 kms

Day 7

Matakana Coast to Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula

Travel Time: 4 hrs 10mins

Distance: 295 kms

Day 8

Whitianga to Tairua

Travel Time: 1 hr

Distance: 56 kms

Day 9

Tairua to Rotorua

Travel Time: 2 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 183 kms

Day 10

Discover Rotorua

Day 11

Rotorua to Napier

Travel Time: 2 hrs 25 mins

Distance: 210 kms

Day 12

Discover Hawkes Bay

Day 13

Napier to Martinborough

Travel Time: 3 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 271 kms

Day 14

Explore Cape Palliser and the South Coast

Day 15

Martinborough to Wellington City

Travel Time: 1hr

Distance: 73 kms

Day 16

Wellington City

Day 17

Wellington to Tongariro National Park

Travel Time: 4 hrs

Distance: 322 kms

Day 18

Around Tongariro National Park

Day 19

Tongariro National Park to Waitomo

Travel Time: 1hr 50 mins

Distance: 151 kms

Day 20

Waitomo to Auckland City

Travel Time: 1 hr 10 mins

Distance: 178 kms

Day 21

Depart Auckland

Personal meet and greet, and private transfer to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation.

Welcome to Auckland City

Auckland, New Zealand’s self-proclaimed ‘City of Sails’ is the country’s largest metro area. Resting between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, this urban paradise has something for everyone. Surrounded by native bush, rainforests and an abundance of beaches, Auckland is a playground for both the city savvy and those with an eye for adventure. Explore the central museums and galleries on foot, or take a drive through one of over 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.

Stay 2 nights in Auckland

Perched on the edge of a large natural harbour, New Zealand's ‘City of Sails’ offers the best of both worlds. Sandy beaches, native bush and lush rainforests give way to a vibrant urban culture, humming with life.

Americas Cup Yacht Sailing

The America's Cup is the ultimate yachting regatta - and the world's oldest and most prestigious sporting trophy. Usually reserved for billionaires and professional yachties, you now have the opportunity to partake in this elite sport. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - The TasteBud Tour - Auckland Food Tou

The drive from Auckland to the Bay of Islands normally takes around three and a half hours - but plan to take a little longer for there are many things to see along the way. Stretch your legs in Puhoi, New Zealand’s only Bohemian settlement.  Go through Warkworth and Whangarei and see the world famous hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa. Arriving into Russell via the Opua Ferry, you'll be greeted by lush bush-clad hillsides dropping to golden sandy beaches.

Stay 3 nights Bay of Islands

Commonly known as the ‘winterless north’ New Zealand’s Bay of Islands is made up of over 140 subtropical atolls. Renowned for its untouched beaches, abundant marine life and idyllic climate, this tropical paradise ticks all the boxes. Spend some time on a remote stretch of beach, or cool off during a ‘swim with dolphins’ ocean safari.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Sail the R Tucker Thompson tall ship

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Dolphin Eco Encounter

Today experience the beauty of the North from both air and land. Take a spectacular scenic flight to Cape Reinga over Whangaroa Harbour and the Rangaunu Harbour as well as Coopers Beach, Doubtless Bay and Ninety Mile Beach. The tour also includes a visit to the Cape Reinga lighthouse, and the option to slide down giant sand dunes on sleds.

Heading west from the Bay of Islands you leave the Pacific Ocean and soon and arrive into the Hokianga and the wilder seas of the Tasman. 

The route now heads south and into the Waipoua Forest, home to the massive Kauri trees. 

Heading back across country the Matakohe Kauri Museum is an award winning museum and has extensive displays of the regions logging, farming and social history. As you leave the Kaipara Harbour behind you'll head east to the seaside destination Mangawhai, home to beautiful beaches, vineyards and olive groves.

Stay 1 night Northland Matakana Coast (Mangawhai, Matakana, Dargaville)

Matakana Coast to Coromandel Township and Kuaotunu

Leaving the idyllic Mangawhai region behind you head south on State Highway 1 back towards Auckland, the city of sails. 

Once you leave the city boundaries the landscape changes to rolling lush farmland. 

Arriving into the old gold town of Thames follow the scenic route north to Coromandel Township along the Pohutukawa Coast (part of the Pacific Coast Highway). This is one of the most spectacular drives in the region and not to be missed.

About 3 kilometres north is Driving Creek Railway, a narrow gauge track that can take you into the heart of the Coromandel and its regenerating kauri forest. From Coromandel you head east to the small holiday settlement of Kuaotunu.

Included: Driving Creek Railway & Potteries

Stay 1 night Whitianga

Heading down the east coast you pass through the town of Whitianga and from here you can take the small foot ferry over to Cooks Beach and Flaxmill Bay. A little further south is the famous Hot Water Beach and the holiday town of Hahei.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga

Stay 1 night Tairua

Today you’ll be leaving the Coromandel Peninsula and passing through the town of Whangamata. Continue on through the Bay of Plenty and the portside city of Tauranga. Your driving route now takes you along the Pyes Pa Road to Rotorua.

If Lord of the Rings is your thing take a detour along State Highway 29 to Matamata, home to the fictional Tolkien village, Hobbiton. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Orakei Korako Hidden Valley with Volcanic Air Safaris by floatplane

Stay 2 nights in Rotorua

Te Puia - Maori Experience and Lunch and Cultural Performance

Begin this unique cultural experience by viewing a traditional performance in the Maree, a Maori meeting house. Listen to beautiful harmonies, see the seductive poi dance and experience the powerful Haka - a fearsome Maori war challenge. You will then choose from a variety of meats and vegetables for your Steambox lunch.

This drive will take you through the thermal region just south of Rotorua. 

Continue on to Taupo and marvel at the lake - a giant crater formed following a volcanic eruption in the year 180 CE.

Leaving Taupo, follow the road as it climbs the rugged Ahimanawa Range before descending back down the Pacific Coast to art deco Napier.

Stay 2 nights Napier

Cape Kidnappers Gannet Beach Adventures

On this unique four hour eco-adventure you will get to experience one of the largest and most accessible mainland gannet colonies in the world. 

Explore Napier and the Hawke's Bay

With is mediterranean climate and Art Deco style, Hawke's Bay is an attractive holiday prospect. As the nation's first winemaking region, a visit to one of its 30 wineries is a must.  Those into architecture can hop aboard a 1930’s car and take in the city’s prominent Art Deco landmarks.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Napier Whirlwind Tour

As you leave the rolling countryside of the Hawke's Bay you'll be greeted with some of the country's richest dairy farmland in the Manawatu Gorge. Continue on through the Wairarapa region and stop in the Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre, where you can see some of New Zealand native animals.

As you drive south, a visit to historic Greytown is a must do.  Leaving state highway 2 you will cross over the Ruamahanga River into Martinborough wine country - your destination for the day. 

Stay 2 nights Martinborough

Cape Palliser and the South Coast

Just around 45 minutes south of the town of Martinborough will bring you to one of the most spectacular coastlines in the country. Rocky shores and tiny settlements feature as you head towards the magnificent views from the Cape Palliser lighthouse.

Heading back towards Martinborough a detour to the Lake Ferry Hotel and some local seafood is highly recommended.

Today you will cross the Rimutaka Ranges as you make your way to New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. Often compared to Melbourne, Wellington is vibrant cultural hub. Home to the nation’s centre of government. Legislation happens in the aptly named ‘Beehive,’ an executive wing attached to the Houses of Parliament.

Stay 2 nights Wellington

Wellington, home to New Zealand’s centre of government has a largely cosmopolitan feel. Often referred to as ‘mini-Melbourne’, this (self described) windy city is a melting pot of art, culture, food and fashion. Quirky laneway bars, underground art shows, and hipster eateries make up its inner city vibe, while a host of sandy beaches outside the urban bustle bring a cheerful holiday feel.

The drive from Wellington to Tongariro takes you via the Kapiti Coast and the seaside towns of Plimmerton, Paekakariki and Paraparaumu are worth a short detour.

Skirting Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand’s three world heritage sites, and clouds permitting you can see the 2,500 metre peak of the still volcanically active Mt. Ruapehu. 

Stay 2 nights Whakapapa Village

Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane

Take a scenic flight over New Zealand’s oldest National Park and world heritage site for a spectacular view of this unique volcanic landscape. 

Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park 

There are a plethora of walks in and around Whakapapa Village and Tongariro National Park. From short 15 minute hikes to longer 5 hour treks, there is something for every level of fitness.

Head through National Park and across rich rolling farmland to the limestone regions of Waitomo and the famous Waitomo Caves complex.

Stay 1 night Waitomo

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

Explore a 30 million year old cave network spread across three levels. You’ll travel deep underground through the limestone caves viewing stalactites and stalagmites as well as and hearing about the caves historical and geological significance. 

Waitomo to Auckland City

The lush farmland of the Waikato and the limestone hills of the Waitomo region provide some great scenery as you head north. Visit the Otorohanga Kiwi House en route for a great look at some of New Zealand's native birds in particular our famous flightless namesake.

Stay 1 night Auckland

Explore more of vibrant Auckland city before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Day 1, Arrive in Auckland

Arrive in Auckland

Personal meet and greet, and private transfer to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation.

Welcome to Auckland City

Auckland, New Zealand’s self-proclaimed ‘City of Sails’ is the country’s largest metro area. Resting between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, this urban paradise has something for everyone. Surrounded by native bush, rainforests and an abundance of beaches, Auckland is a playground for both the city savvy and those with an eye for adventure. Explore the central museums and galleries on foot, or take a drive through one of over 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.

Stay 2 nights in Auckland

Day 2, Explore Auckland City

Explore Auckland City

Perched on the edge of a large natural harbour, New Zealand's ‘City of Sails’ offers the best of both worlds. Sandy beaches, native bush and lush rainforests give way to a vibrant urban culture, humming with life.

Americas Cup Yacht Sailing

The America's Cup is the ultimate yachting regatta - and the world's oldest and most prestigious sporting trophy. Usually reserved for billionaires and professional yachties, you now have the opportunity to partake in this elite sport. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - The TasteBud Tour - Auckland Food Tou

Day 3, Auckland to Russell, Bay of Islands

Auckland to Russell, Bay of Islands

Travel Time: 3 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 230 kms

The drive from Auckland to the Bay of Islands normally takes around three and a half hours - but plan to take a little longer for there are many things to see along the way. Stretch your legs in Puhoi, New Zealand’s only Bohemian settlement.  Go through Warkworth and Whangarei and see the world famous hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa. Arriving into Russell via the Opua Ferry, you'll be greeted by lush bush-clad hillsides dropping to golden sandy beaches.

Stay 3 nights Bay of Islands

Day 4, Explore the Bay of Islands

Explore the Bay of Islands

Commonly known as the ‘winterless north’ New Zealand’s Bay of Islands is made up of over 140 subtropical atolls. Renowned for its untouched beaches, abundant marine life and idyllic climate, this tropical paradise ticks all the boxes. Spend some time on a remote stretch of beach, or cool off during a ‘swim with dolphins’ ocean safari.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Sail the R Tucker Thompson tall ship

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Dolphin Eco Encounter

Day 5, Cape Reinga Scenic Aeroplane Flight and Guided Tour

Cape Reinga Scenic Aeroplane Flight and Guided Tour

Today experience the beauty of the North from both air and land. Take a spectacular scenic flight to Cape Reinga over Whangaroa Harbour and the Rangaunu Harbour as well as Coopers Beach, Doubtless Bay and Ninety Mile Beach. The tour also includes a visit to the Cape Reinga lighthouse, and the option to slide down giant sand dunes on sleds.

Day 6, Bay of Islands to Matakana Coast via Waipoua

Bay of Islands to Matakana Coast via Waipoua

Travel Time: 3 hrs 25 mins

Distance: 264 kms

Heading west from the Bay of Islands you leave the Pacific Ocean and soon and arrive into the Hokianga and the wilder seas of the Tasman. 

The route now heads south and into the Waipoua Forest, home to the massive Kauri trees. 

Heading back across country the Matakohe Kauri Museum is an award winning museum and has extensive displays of the regions logging, farming and social history. As you leave the Kaipara Harbour behind you'll head east to the seaside destination Mangawhai, home to beautiful beaches, vineyards and olive groves.

Stay 1 night Northland Matakana Coast (Mangawhai, Matakana, Dargaville)

Day 7, Matakana Coast to Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula

Matakana Coast to Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula

Travel Time: 4 hrs 10mins

Distance: 295 kms

Matakana Coast to Coromandel Township and Kuaotunu

Leaving the idyllic Mangawhai region behind you head south on State Highway 1 back towards Auckland, the city of sails. 

Once you leave the city boundaries the landscape changes to rolling lush farmland. 

Arriving into the old gold town of Thames follow the scenic route north to Coromandel Township along the Pohutukawa Coast (part of the Pacific Coast Highway). This is one of the most spectacular drives in the region and not to be missed.

About 3 kilometres north is Driving Creek Railway, a narrow gauge track that can take you into the heart of the Coromandel and its regenerating kauri forest. From Coromandel you head east to the small holiday settlement of Kuaotunu.

Included: Driving Creek Railway & Potteries

Stay 1 night Whitianga

Day 8, Whitianga to Tairua

Whitianga to Tairua

Travel Time: 1 hr

Distance: 56 kms

Heading down the east coast you pass through the town of Whitianga and from here you can take the small foot ferry over to Cooks Beach and Flaxmill Bay. A little further south is the famous Hot Water Beach and the holiday town of Hahei.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga

Stay 1 night Tairua

Day 9, Tairua to Rotorua

Tairua to Rotorua

Travel Time: 2 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 183 kms

Today you’ll be leaving the Coromandel Peninsula and passing through the town of Whangamata. Continue on through the Bay of Plenty and the portside city of Tauranga. Your driving route now takes you along the Pyes Pa Road to Rotorua.

If Lord of the Rings is your thing take a detour along State Highway 29 to Matamata, home to the fictional Tolkien village, Hobbiton. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Orakei Korako Hidden Valley with Volcanic Air Safaris by floatplane

Stay 2 nights in Rotorua

Day 10, Discover Rotorua

Discover Rotorua

Te Puia - Maori Experience and Lunch and Cultural Performance

Begin this unique cultural experience by viewing a traditional performance in the Maree, a Maori meeting house. Listen to beautiful harmonies, see the seductive poi dance and experience the powerful Haka - a fearsome Maori war challenge. You will then choose from a variety of meats and vegetables for your Steambox lunch.

Day 11, Rotorua to Napier

Rotorua to Napier

Travel Time: 2 hrs 25 mins

Distance: 210 kms

This drive will take you through the thermal region just south of Rotorua. 

Continue on to Taupo and marvel at the lake - a giant crater formed following a volcanic eruption in the year 180 CE.

Leaving Taupo, follow the road as it climbs the rugged Ahimanawa Range before descending back down the Pacific Coast to art deco Napier.

Stay 2 nights Napier

Day 12, Discover Hawkes Bay

Discover Hawkes Bay

Cape Kidnappers Gannet Beach Adventures

On this unique four hour eco-adventure you will get to experience one of the largest and most accessible mainland gannet colonies in the world. 

Explore Napier and the Hawke's Bay

With is mediterranean climate and Art Deco style, Hawke's Bay is an attractive holiday prospect. As the nation's first winemaking region, a visit to one of its 30 wineries is a must.  Those into architecture can hop aboard a 1930’s car and take in the city’s prominent Art Deco landmarks.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Napier Whirlwind Tour

Day 13, Napier to Martinborough

Napier to Martinborough

Travel Time: 3 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 271 kms

As you leave the rolling countryside of the Hawke's Bay you'll be greeted with some of the country's richest dairy farmland in the Manawatu Gorge. Continue on through the Wairarapa region and stop in the Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre, where you can see some of New Zealand native animals.

As you drive south, a visit to historic Greytown is a must do.  Leaving state highway 2 you will cross over the Ruamahanga River into Martinborough wine country - your destination for the day. 

Stay 2 nights Martinborough

Day 14, Explore Cape Palliser and the South Coast

Explore Cape Palliser and the South Coast

Cape Palliser and the South Coast

Just around 45 minutes south of the town of Martinborough will bring you to one of the most spectacular coastlines in the country. Rocky shores and tiny settlements feature as you head towards the magnificent views from the Cape Palliser lighthouse.

Heading back towards Martinborough a detour to the Lake Ferry Hotel and some local seafood is highly recommended.

Day 15, Martinborough to Wellington City

Martinborough to Wellington City

Travel Time: 1hr

Distance: 73 kms

Today you will cross the Rimutaka Ranges as you make your way to New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. Often compared to Melbourne, Wellington is vibrant cultural hub. Home to the nation’s centre of government. Legislation happens in the aptly named ‘Beehive,’ an executive wing attached to the Houses of Parliament.

Stay 2 nights Wellington

Day 16, Wellington City

Wellington City

Wellington, home to New Zealand’s centre of government has a largely cosmopolitan feel. Often referred to as ‘mini-Melbourne’, this (self described) windy city is a melting pot of art, culture, food and fashion. Quirky laneway bars, underground art shows, and hipster eateries make up its inner city vibe, while a host of sandy beaches outside the urban bustle bring a cheerful holiday feel.

Day 17, Wellington to Tongariro National Park

Wellington to Tongariro National Park

Travel Time: 4 hrs

Distance: 322 kms

The drive from Wellington to Tongariro takes you via the Kapiti Coast and the seaside towns of Plimmerton, Paekakariki and Paraparaumu are worth a short detour.

Skirting Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand’s three world heritage sites, and clouds permitting you can see the 2,500 metre peak of the still volcanically active Mt. Ruapehu. 

Stay 2 nights Whakapapa Village

Day 18, Around Tongariro National Park

Around Tongariro National Park
Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane

Take a scenic flight over New Zealand’s oldest National Park and world heritage site for a spectacular view of this unique volcanic landscape. 

Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park 

There are a plethora of walks in and around Whakapapa Village and Tongariro National Park. From short 15 minute hikes to longer 5 hour treks, there is something for every level of fitness.

Day 19, Tongariro National Park to Waitomo

Tongariro National Park to Waitomo

Travel Time: 1hr 50 mins

Distance: 151 kms

Head through National Park and across rich rolling farmland to the limestone regions of Waitomo and the famous Waitomo Caves complex.

Stay 1 night Waitomo

Day 20, Waitomo to Auckland City

Waitomo to Auckland City

Travel Time: 1 hr 10 mins

Distance: 178 kms

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

Explore a 30 million year old cave network spread across three levels. You’ll travel deep underground through the limestone caves viewing stalactites and stalagmites as well as and hearing about the caves historical and geological significance. 

Waitomo to Auckland City

The lush farmland of the Waikato and the limestone hills of the Waitomo region provide some great scenery as you head north. Visit the Otorohanga Kiwi House en route for a great look at some of New Zealand's native birds in particular our famous flightless namesake.

Stay 1 night Auckland

Day 21, Depart Auckland

Depart Auckland

Explore more of vibrant Auckland city before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per person

 Twin/Double
Boutique Hotels & Lodges From NZ$6,987 per person

* PLEASE NOTE*

Price is based on two adults sharing a rental car and accommodation (twin/double-share).

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.

Payment

  • Deposit: 20% of the package cost or NZ$250 per person (whichever is the greater) at time of booking
  • Full Payment: 45 Days before travel
  • Airfares (if applicable): Paid in full at the time of 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:

Accommodation for 20 nights staying in boutique lodges & hotels

  • 2 Nights Auckland
  • 3 Nights Bay of Islands
  • 1 Night Matakana Coast
  • 2 Nights Coromandel Peninsula (Whitianga and Tairua)
  • 2 Nights Rotorua
  • 2 Nights Hawkes Bay (Napier)
  • 2 Nights Martinborough
  • 2 Nights Wellington
  • 2 Nights Tongariro National Park
  • 1 Night Waitomo
  • 1 Night Auckland

Rental car hire

  • Rental car insurance: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible.
  • Rental car: GPS navigation unlimited kms, airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers

Private airport transfers

1 dinner, all breakfasts

Cape Reinga Fly and Drive Tour

Sail an Americas Cup Yacht

Te Puia Steambox Interactive Lunch & Cultural Performance

Driving Creek Train ride

Tongariro Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight

Twilight Odyssey Progressive Dinner and Winery Tour

Cape Kidnappers Gannet Beach Adventures

Zealandia Wildife Sanctuary Night Tour

Options

Travel Insurance

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Airfares

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

Explore Whitianga

Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga

Explore the volcanic coastline with its many caves, blowholes and golden beaches all from the comfort and safety of an ex coastguard 28 ft cruiser. Departing from Whitianga Wharf journey past the towering Shakespeare's Cliffs and historic Cooks Beach. Visit Cathedral Cove and the islands in the marine reserve. There is also a chance to swim with the abundant fish in the reserve (on board snorkel gear provided - dont forget your swimsuit and towel). For those who prefer to stay dry an underwater camera relays images to an onboard TV.

Explore Rotorua

Orakei Korako Hidden Valley by floatplane

On this spectacular scenic flight you'll take a floatplane over the Crater Lakes District and the volcanic rift of Mt Tarawera. You’ll then continue south via the Waimangu and Waiotapu Thermal Park to land in the Hidden Valley of Orakei Korako. Transfer by boat across the lake to explore the hot springs, gushing geysers and natural beauty of this geothermal wonderland before rejoining your aircraft for the return trip to Rotorua.

Explore Hawke's Bay

Napier Whirlwind Tour

This 2 1/2 hour tour takes in all the history, from early settlement, through to the huge 1931 earthquake and the rebuilding of the City to the Art Deco Capital of the World to what it is today. You also visit the historic area of Ahuriri, National Tobacco Building and the famous Mission Estate Winery. As you return to Napier City, you will also tour an Art Deco Housing Estate. Experience many stops for photos from lookouts to famous landmarks etc. This is a compact tour, it is really for those that are spending the one night here in Napier and still wish to see the City highlights.

Explore Martinborough

Martinborough Half Day Wine Tour

Visit wonderful vineyards such as Te Kairangi Wines, Tirohana Estate, Cabbage Tree Vineyard and Martinborough Vineyard on this half day tour of the premium wine region of Martinborough. Taste the wines, learn about the development of the region, its people and characters from knowledgeable guides.

Explore Wellington

Walking Gourmet Food Tour 

With your knowledgeable and entertaining Zest Guide, explore Wellington’s foodie quarters and some of their favourite food places on this delicious introduction to the culinary capital.  Visit a boutique coffee roastery and café.  Enjoy tastings at Wellington’s best specialist food places including trying regional cheeses, honey, chocolates and much more, tasting at every stop. Savour a delicious, light tasting lunch with matched New Zealand wines at award winning Wellington restaurant, Logan Brown.  During the tour, your guide can also introduce you to many other aspects of the Capital, ranging from iconic city architecture, sculptures and fantastic places to shop and eat.  Walking time is approximately 1 hour, at a casual wandering pace spread over 4 hours.

 

Highlights

Auckland - Bay of Islands - Matakana Coast - Coromandel Peninsula - Rotorua - Hawkes Bay - Martinborough - Wellington - Tongariro National Park - Waitomo Caves - Auckland

Cape Reinga Fly and Drive

Today experience the beauty of the North from both air and land. Take a spectacular scenic flight to Cape Reinga over Whangaroa Harbour and the Rangaunu Harbour as well as Coopers Beach, Doubtless Bay and Ninety Mile Beach. The tour also includes a visit to the Cape Reinga lighthouse, and the option to slide down giant sand dunes on sleds.

Americas Cup Yacht Sailing

The America's Cup is the ultimate yachting regatta - and the world's oldest and most prestigious sporting trophy. Usually reserved for billionaires and professional yachties, you now have the opportunity to partake in this elite sport. During your two hour sailing adventure you’ll become part of the crew. Either take the helm, try your arm strength on the grinders or simply sit back and enjoy the action as you tack and gybe your way across the harbour. No experience is required for this trip, however children under 10 years are not recommended.

Te Puia Maori Experience and Lunch

Begin this unique cultural experience by viewing a traditional performance in the Maree, a Maori meeting house. Listen to beautiful harmonies, see the seductive poi dance and experience the powerful Haka - a fearsome Maori war challenge. You will then choose from a variety of meats and vegetables for your Steambox lunch.

Driving Creek Railway and Potteries

Driving Creek Railway and Potteries has become a Coromandel icon. The dream of Barry Brickell was to establish a pottery workshop on his land. Using a railway he would have access to the clay on the land and the pine kiln fuel. Over the next 15 years the railway developed until in 1990 it was finally licensed to carry fare paying passengers and ever since thousands of visitors have made the trip to Coromandel to experience this unique attraction. 

Tongariro Scenic Flight by Aeroplane

Take a scenic flight over New Zealand’s oldest National Park and world heritage site for a spectacular view of this unique volcanic landscape. See all three volcanoes  - Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu as well as the iconic Emerald Lakes, the Blue Lake and the Tama lake. Climbing to 10,000 ft, you'll also view the active Mt Ruapehu crater lake, and spot some of the landscapes used in the making of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Hawkes Bay Twilight Odyssey

Take a scenic drive through the wine growing district, participate in an interactive wine tasting at Sileni Estate or Vidal Estate, indulge in gourmet platters with top local produce, champagne sunset on Te Mata Peak (sunset in summer & overlooking the glimmering lights of the twin cities in winter), main meal at Vidal Estate, Sileni Estate or Craggy Range wineries, visit New Zealand's oldest winery, the Mission Estate, for dessert and coffee, finish with being dropped off at a location of your choice

Cape Kidnappers Gannet Beach Safari

On this unique four hour eco-adventure you will get to experience one of the largest and most accessible mainland gannet colonies in the world. You’ll be pulled on a trailer from the back of a vintage tractor along the beach to the Black Reef Colony - where you’ll have the chance to see the birds in their natural habitat. 

Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour

Taking a night tour of Zealandia wildlife eco-sanctuary is an unforgettable experience and one that comes highly recommended. A conservation success and safe haven for some of New Zealand's rarest native animals, Zealandia is home to many remarkable species of birds, reptiles and insects living wild within a beautiful 225 hectare (one square mile) valley – just 10 minutes from the central city.

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21 Day Ultimate North Island Self Drive

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