Overview

Your self drive itinerary starts in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, before driving north to the spectacular Bay Of Islands region. Experience a cruise on the bay before driving south to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua and experiencing the culture. Be amazed by the Art Deco architecture in Napier, and visit Wellington, New Zealand's capital city.

Auckland - Bay of Islands - Rotorua - Napier - Wellington

Map of 8 Day North Island Escape Self Drive
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View itinerary for day 8
Arrive Auckland
Auckland - Bay of Islands
Cape Brett Hole in the Rock Cruise
Bay of Islands - Rotorua
Rotorua
Rotorua - Napier
Napier - Wellington via Martinborough
Depart Wellington

Day 1

Arrive Auckland

Day 2

Auckland - Bay of Islands

Travel Time: 4 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 353 kms

Day 3

Cape Brett Hole in the Rock Cruise

Day 4

Bay of Islands - Rotorua

Travel Time: 5 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 436 kms

Day 5

Rotorua

Day 6

Rotorua - Napier

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 219 kms

Day 7

Napier - Wellington via Martinborough

Travel Time: 4 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 359 kms

Day 8

Depart Wellington

Arrive at Auckland International Airport, where you will pick up your car. The rest of the day is free to explore Auckland's many attractions.You could take a walk down to the Viaduct or try shopping on Queens Street. A trip up Auckland's Skytower is included.

Overnight accommodation in Auckland

After passing through Auckland's northern suburbs, stop at Whangarei along the way. This afternoon is at leisure to explore the Bay Of Islands region. We recommend a visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds or to the historic town of Russell.

Option: Tonight hop on board Darryl's Dinner Cruise for an evening of fun and cruising on the Waitangi River with BBQ dinner included.

Two nights accommodation in Bay of Islands

A full day to enjoy Paihia and the magnificient Bay of Islands. This morning, board a luxury catamaran for the most popular cruise in the Bay of Islands. Relax on one of the region's beaches, or take the ferry across to Russell and take a Russell mini tour - the choice is yours!

Today drive south from Paihia to Auckland, then across the Waikato Plains to Matamata. Here you could vtake a Hobbiton Movie Set Tour, made famous by the Lord of the Rings Films. Afterwards carry on to the geothermal wonders of Rotorua.

Two nights accommodation in Rotorua

Today you are free to explore some of Rotorua's many attractions. Visit the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and see the brilliant colours of the Champagne Pool, and Artist's Palette, as well as the once a day eruption of Lady Knox Geyser. Afterwards you could visit the Agrodome and see a fun, informative sheep show and shearing demonstration; before travelling to town to relax at the Polynesian Spa. 

This evening enjoy a traditional Maori Hangi and concert at Tamaki Village.

Travel across the central plateau via Lake Taupo, stopping at the Huka Falls along the way. Then, continue on to the Hawkes Bay region. Explore Napier, New Zealand's Art Deco capital, with options to join an Art Deco guided walking tour or vintage car tour.

Overnight accommodation in Napier

Spend the morning exploring Napier, perhaps take a half day Hawkes Bay Wine Tour before traveling through Hastings and the rural landscape of Hawke's Bay. Just south of Masterton is the township of Martinborough, where you can taste and purchase exquisite Pinot Noir before continuing on to Wellington, compact, cultured and full of character.

Overnight accommodation in Wellington 

Option:

Spend an extra night in Wellington and do a Full Day Wellington Lord of the Rings Tour; or discover Wellington's Gourmet treats on a Taste Wellington Full Day Tour.

Today you are free to explore Wellington's attractions before catching your flight home.

Day 1, Arrive Auckland

Arrive Auckland

Arrive at Auckland International Airport, where you will pick up your car. The rest of the day is free to explore Auckland's many attractions.You could take a walk down to the Viaduct or try shopping on Queens Street. A trip up Auckland's Skytower is included.

Overnight accommodation in Auckland

Day 2, Auckland - Bay of Islands

Auckland - Bay of Islands

Travel Time: 4 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 353 kms

After passing through Auckland's northern suburbs, stop at Whangarei along the way. This afternoon is at leisure to explore the Bay Of Islands region. We recommend a visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds or to the historic town of Russell.

Option: Tonight hop on board Darryl's Dinner Cruise for an evening of fun and cruising on the Waitangi River with BBQ dinner included.

Two nights accommodation in Bay of Islands

Day 3, Cape Brett Hole in the Rock Cruise

Cape Brett Hole in the Rock Cruise

A full day to enjoy Paihia and the magnificient Bay of Islands. This morning, board a luxury catamaran for the most popular cruise in the Bay of Islands. Relax on one of the region's beaches, or take the ferry across to Russell and take a Russell mini tour - the choice is yours!

Day 4, Bay of Islands - Rotorua

Bay of Islands - Rotorua

Travel Time: 5 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 436 kms

Today drive south from Paihia to Auckland, then across the Waikato Plains to Matamata. Here you could vtake a Hobbiton Movie Set Tour, made famous by the Lord of the Rings Films. Afterwards carry on to the geothermal wonders of Rotorua.

Two nights accommodation in Rotorua

Day 5, Rotorua

Rotorua

Today you are free to explore some of Rotorua's many attractions. Visit the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and see the brilliant colours of the Champagne Pool, and Artist's Palette, as well as the once a day eruption of Lady Knox Geyser. Afterwards you could visit the Agrodome and see a fun, informative sheep show and shearing demonstration; before travelling to town to relax at the Polynesian Spa. 

This evening enjoy a traditional Maori Hangi and concert at Tamaki Village.

Day 6, Rotorua - Napier

Rotorua - Napier

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 219 kms

Travel across the central plateau via Lake Taupo, stopping at the Huka Falls along the way. Then, continue on to the Hawkes Bay region. Explore Napier, New Zealand's Art Deco capital, with options to join an Art Deco guided walking tour or vintage car tour.

Overnight accommodation in Napier

Day 7, Napier - Wellington via Martinborough

Napier - Wellington via Martinborough

Travel Time: 4 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 359 kms

Spend the morning exploring Napier, perhaps take a half day Hawkes Bay Wine Tour before traveling through Hastings and the rural landscape of Hawke's Bay. Just south of Masterton is the township of Martinborough, where you can taste and purchase exquisite Pinot Noir before continuing on to Wellington, compact, cultured and full of character.

Overnight accommodation in Wellington 

Option:

Spend an extra night in Wellington and do a Full Day Wellington Lord of the Rings Tour; or discover Wellington's Gourmet treats on a Taste Wellington Full Day Tour.

Day 8, Depart Wellington

Depart Wellington

Today you are free to explore Wellington's attractions before catching your flight home.

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per person

May to September 2019

 Twin/Double
Standard 3-3.5 Star Accommodation From AU$2,201* 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:

7 nights accommodation

  • 1 Night Auckland
  • 2 Nights Bay of Islands
  • 2 Nights Rotorua
  • 1 Night Napier
  • 1 Night Wellington

7 days car hire (C/CDAR Toyota Corolla or Similar)

Entry to Auckland Skytower

Cape Brett Hole in the Rock Tour

Tamaki Hangi and Concert

Options

Travel Insurance

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

Airfares

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

Optional Extras

Explore the Bay of Islands

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.

Russell Mini Tour

Visit historic Russell and see its beautiful old buildings, museums, craft shops and magnificent beaches. You can take the 'Bay Belle' passenger ferry from Paihia to Russell to begin your one hour tour by coach visiting areas which cannot easily be covered by foot. Get remarkable views of the Bay from Flagstaff Hill and learn about the major sights of Russell, including Pompallier House, Christ's Church and Maritime Park Visitor Centre.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds Entry

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.

Hobbiton Movie Tour, 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 tour starts from The Shires Rest Cafe with a scenic drive through a picturesque 1,250 acre working sheep farm. There are 13,000 sheep and 300 beef cattle on the Alexander family farm. You’ll enjoy the stunning views across to the beautiful Kaimai Ranges. Your experienced and knowledgeable tour guide will escort you through the ten-acre site of where the LOTR movie set used to be.

Explore Napier

Art Deco Vintage Car Tour

See the best of Napier on this superb Art Deco tour by vintage car. This one hour tour will include all of the major Art Deco highlights including a visit to Hawke's Bay Club, National Tobacco Company Building and an Art Deco Home. A local guide will drive you to all the sights and provide in depth information relating to the famous Art Deco architecture that exists in Napier today. These personal tours are operated with a minimum of one person and maximum of three people per vehicle.

Art Deco Walking Tour

Join the 20,000 plus people who take a guided Art Deco Walk each year. Your informative and entertaining guide will bring Napier's fascinating architectural history to life for you as you take an easy stroll through the compact Art Deco Quarter in the vibrant city centre.

Exlpore Rotorua

Agrodome Farm Show

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.

Polynesian Spas Entry

Polynesian Spa is New Zealand’s leading international acclaimed spa, providing a unique thermal spa experience on the shore of Lake Rotorua; with the option of the Lake Spa, where you enjoy lake views and tranquil bathing amongst native flora, in the four hot mineral pools of the deluxe Lake Spa.

Wai-o-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland Entry

A wonderland of stunning geothermal activity, Wai-O-Tapu is located 27km out of Rotorua. The Visitor Centre provides the gateway to New Zealand's most colourful natural volcanic environment. Walk at your own pace as you absorb the unique features of the famous champagne pools, geysers, bubbling mud, steaming ground and volcanic craters. The natural bush setting adds another dimension to the experience, as does the guaranteed daily eruption of the Lady Knox Geyser at 10.15am.

Full Day Lord of the Rings Tour, Wellington

Wellington was the main filming and production location for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, which was shot entirely in New Zealand. On this full day tour visit the film locations used for the Shire, the Gardens of Isengard, the River Anduin, Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith and where the hobbits rached to the ferry and hid from the Nazgul. Be spellbound at the site of Lothlorien - the majestic Fernside Lodge. In 2000 Fernside's lake was transformed into part of Lothlorien, and then to the Gladden fields. Fernside's white bridge remains as a reminder of the bridge of Lothlorien. Explore Rivendell and the riverside spot where Aragorn was washed ashore. Also visit Miramar, home to the production studios and to many of the stars while they were filming and the new Weta Cave with souvenirs and a virtual tour of the Weta Workshop

Highlights

Auckland Sky Tower

Towering over Auckland and standing at 328m tall, the Sky Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere. Travel up in glass-fronted lifts to one of the 3 spectacular viewing platforms, where you can take in views of Auckland City & its twin harbours.

Cape Brett Hole in the Rock Cruise

Cruise by luxury catamaran to Cape Brett Lighthouse, Motukokako Island and then make your passage through the 'Hole in the Rock' followed by Grand Cathedral Cave. Meander through the inner islands stopping at Otehei Bay for a swim or scenic walk.

Tamaki Maori Village Hangi & Concert

Step into a traditional Maori Village set within a Rotorua forest. View & participate in activities including the Haka, poi, warrior training, carving & tattooing, and enjoy a cultural performance before indulging in a hangi feast.

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8 Day North Island Escape Self Drive

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