Overview

The North Island brims with extraordinary diversity, and this 8 Day Volcanic Centre Self Drive tour takes you through the centre of it. Find out what makes Rotorua New Zealand’s cultural centre, and marvel at its volcanic history with a helicopter trip to the White Island volcano smouldering with thick white plume.

Enjoy the sights of New Zealand’s largest lake, Taupo, then take a walk in the otherworldly landscape of Tongariro National Park, North Island’s world heritage area. Round out the tour with a tour of the magnificent Aranui Caves and the enchanting Glow Worm Caves in Waitomo before returning to Auckland.

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 - Rotorua - Taupo - Tongariro National Park - Waitomo - Auckland

Map of 8 Day Volcanic Centre Self Drive
View itinerary for day 1
View itinerary for day 2
View itinerary for day 3
View itinerary for day 4
View itinerary for day 5
View itinerary for day 6
View itinerary for day 7
View itinerary for day 8
Welcome to Auckland
Auckland to Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Rotorua to Taupo
Taupo to Whakapapa Village via The Desert Road
Whakapapa Village to Waitomo
Waitomo to Auckland City
Depart Auckland

Day 1

Welcome to Auckland

Day 2

Auckland to Rotorua

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 220 kms

Day 3

Explore Rotorua

Day 4

Rotorua to Taupo

Travel Time: 1 hr

Distance: 75 kms

Day 5

Taupo to Whakapapa Village via The Desert Road

Travel Time: 2 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 187 kms

Day 6

Whakapapa Village to Waitomo

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 151 kms

Day 7

Waitomo to Auckland City

Travel Time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 178 kms

Day 8

Depart Auckland

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

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives.

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.

Collect your car rental.

The drive south from Auckland takes you past the Bombay Hills and into the rolling farmland and rich dairy pastures of the Waikato. The Bombay Hills mark the outer boundary of greater Auckland area and it's here you turn inland to central Waikato. You’ll soon go through the town of Matamata where you can visit the fully intact Hobbiton film set used in the shooting of the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Continuing on, you’ll pass several small farming communities before telltale signs of steam and other geothermal activity signal your arrival into Rotorua.

Included: Mitai Maori Village

An evening at Mitai will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. But geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to the Mitai Maori Village should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.

Spike your adrenaline at Agroventures on stomach-dropping attractions such as static skydiving, or a giant swing reaching 130 km per hour. Go up the Gondola for soaring lake views, and ride the luge at night for an extra thrill. Make the most of your time in Rotorua with an excursion through the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, one of the area’s most colourful volcanic attractions.

Included: White Island Helicopter tour with Volcanic Air Safaris

Today take an exhilarating helicopter flight north over Hell’s Gate Thermal Valley to active volcano, White Island.

Today drive through the heart of the Central North Island volcanic plateau. Visit the geothermal regions Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Waimangu Volcanic Valley, before arriving into the town of Taupo, which sits on New Zealand's largest lake - Lake Taupo. Just north of the town are the Huka Falls and a short detour to view is highly recommended, as is a visit to the nearby Craters of the Moon geothermal reserve.

Included: Huka Jet boat ride
The Huka Jet is 30 minutes of pure fun and exhilaration, skimming close to cliffs, sliding past trees, feeling the adrenalin of our full 360 degree spins. 

Following the lake edge the drive takes you to Turangi, rated as one of the worlds best trout fishing locations. Visit the National Trout Centre, where you can explore the process of hatching trout to stock New Zealand's rivers and lakes.

Continuing on you drive what is commonly known as 'the desert road'. Skirting Tongariro National Park, you can see the 2,500 metre peak of the still volcanically active Mt. Ruapehu. You might recognise the symmetrical shape of Mt. Ngauruhoe (Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy). A little further the military town of Waiouru hosts the Army Museum, an incredible collection of New Zealand’s military history.

Tongariro National Park is also a World Heritage Site. 3 active volcanoes form the backbone of this spectacular region. Hiking, fishing, climbing, mountain biking, scenic flights or simply taking a drive to the top of the ski field road at Whakapapa are some of the most popular ways to enjoy the region.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane

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

Included: Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and Aranui Cave tour

For over 100 years Waitomo Glow-worm Caves have attracted people from all over the world to this subterranean wonderland. An ancient underground labyrinth of limestone caves and grottos, and amazing stalactites and stalagmites.

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Taste of Waiheke Vineyard Tour 

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

Day 1, Welcome to Auckland

Welcome to Auckland

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

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives.

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.

Day 2, Auckland to Rotorua

Auckland to Rotorua

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 220 kms

Collect your car rental.

The drive south from Auckland takes you past the Bombay Hills and into the rolling farmland and rich dairy pastures of the Waikato. The Bombay Hills mark the outer boundary of greater Auckland area and it's here you turn inland to central Waikato. You’ll soon go through the town of Matamata where you can visit the fully intact Hobbiton film set used in the shooting of the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Continuing on, you’ll pass several small farming communities before telltale signs of steam and other geothermal activity signal your arrival into Rotorua.

Included: Mitai Maori Village

An evening at Mitai will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Day 3, Explore Rotorua

Explore Rotorua

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. But geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to the Mitai Maori Village should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.

Spike your adrenaline at Agroventures on stomach-dropping attractions such as static skydiving, or a giant swing reaching 130 km per hour. Go up the Gondola for soaring lake views, and ride the luge at night for an extra thrill. Make the most of your time in Rotorua with an excursion through the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, one of the area’s most colourful volcanic attractions.

Included: White Island Helicopter tour with Volcanic Air Safaris

Today take an exhilarating helicopter flight north over Hell’s Gate Thermal Valley to active volcano, White Island.

Day 4, Rotorua to Taupo

Rotorua to Taupo

Travel Time: 1 hr

Distance: 75 kms

Today drive through the heart of the Central North Island volcanic plateau. Visit the geothermal regions Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Waimangu Volcanic Valley, before arriving into the town of Taupo, which sits on New Zealand's largest lake - Lake Taupo. Just north of the town are the Huka Falls and a short detour to view is highly recommended, as is a visit to the nearby Craters of the Moon geothermal reserve.

Included: Huka Jet boat ride
The Huka Jet is 30 minutes of pure fun and exhilaration, skimming close to cliffs, sliding past trees, feeling the adrenalin of our full 360 degree spins. 

Day 5, Taupo to Whakapapa Village via The Desert Road

Taupo to Whakapapa Village via The Desert Road

Travel Time: 2 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 187 kms

Following the lake edge the drive takes you to Turangi, rated as one of the worlds best trout fishing locations. Visit the National Trout Centre, where you can explore the process of hatching trout to stock New Zealand's rivers and lakes.

Continuing on you drive what is commonly known as 'the desert road'. Skirting Tongariro National Park, you can see the 2,500 metre peak of the still volcanically active Mt. Ruapehu. You might recognise the symmetrical shape of Mt. Ngauruhoe (Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy). A little further the military town of Waiouru hosts the Army Museum, an incredible collection of New Zealand’s military history.

Tongariro National Park is also a World Heritage Site. 3 active volcanoes form the backbone of this spectacular region. Hiking, fishing, climbing, mountain biking, scenic flights or simply taking a drive to the top of the ski field road at Whakapapa are some of the most popular ways to enjoy the region.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane

Day 6, Whakapapa Village to Waitomo

Whakapapa Village to Waitomo

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 151 kms

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

Included: Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and Aranui Cave tour

For over 100 years Waitomo Glow-worm Caves have attracted people from all over the world to this subterranean wonderland. An ancient underground labyrinth of limestone caves and grottos, and amazing stalactites and stalagmites.

Day 7, Waitomo to Auckland City

Waitomo to Auckland City

Travel Time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 178 kms

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Taste of Waiheke Vineyard Tour 

Day 8, 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
4-Star Accommodation from NZ$3,367 per person
3-Star Accommodation from NZ$3,140 per person
Motel Accommodation from NZ$2,889 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:

7 nights accommodation

  • 1 Night Auckland
  • 2 Nights Rotorua
  • 1 Night Taupo
  • 1 Night Tongariro National Park
  • 1 Night Waitomo
  • 1 Night Auckland

7 days car hire

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

Mitai Maori Village Concert & Buffet Dinner

Helicopter tour to White Island

Waitomo Glow Worm and Aranui CavesHuka Falls Jet Boat Tour

All Breakfasts (4-Star accommodation only)

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.

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 resident

Optional Extras

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour, Rotorua

Become immersed in The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films when you visit the actual Hobbiton movie set. Located just outside of Matamata - in the heart the lush Waikato farming region, your two hour tour will begin with a drive through a picturesque sheep farm. You'll then be taken through Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill and the Party Tree while your guide shares behind-the-scenes tales and insight into the making of the films.

Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane, Tongariro

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.

Taste of Waiheke Vineyard Tour, Auckland

Depart from the Auckland Ferry Terminal and enjoy a scenic cruise through the Hauraki Gulf to Waiheke Island. On arrival you'll be greeted and directed to your coach for the day. Your first stop is Stonyridge Vineyard, where you'll wander the ivy clad buildings, sample award-winning wines and enjoy a sumptuous light lunch. You then depart for Rangihoua Estate, which introduces you to Waiheke’s olive growing industry (includes olive oil tasting). A stop at Wild on Waiheke offers optional beer tasting as well as wine, and the chance to sample home grown preserves and chutneys. Your tour is concluded with final tastings at the beautiful Mudbrick Vineyard before returning to the ferry terminal.

Highlights

Mitai Maori Village, Rotorua

An evening at Mitai will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. Marvel at the beautiful bush setting and paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream while trout and eels swim beneath the surface. See warriors in traditional dress and glowworms in their natural habitat. Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal and round your evening off with a spectacular cultural performance.

White Island Helicopter tour with Volcanic Air Safaris

Today take an exhilarating helicopter flight north over Hell’s Gate Thermal Valley to active volcano, White Island. Land inside the crater and enjoy an hour long guided tour. See the main erupting crater, active steam vents known as 'fumaroles', hot streams and vibrant sulphur formations. You’ll also be able to view the remains of the old sulphur mine and see the deposits left behind.

Huka Jet boat ride, Taupo

The Huka Jet is 30 minutes of pure fun and exhilaration, skimming close to cliffs, sliding past trees, feeling the adrenalin of our full 360 degree spins. The excitement continues right up to the base of the foaming Huka Falls, where you get a spectacular water level view to New Zealand's most visited natural attraction. Nothing compares to watching 220,000 litres per second tumbling over the cliff face towards you.

The water from the mighty Huka Falls runs down the Waikato River through a series of Hydro Power Stations. You'll get a view of the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station in the comfort of our powerful Chevrolet V8 jet boats. This unique Geothermal Power Station uses underground geothermal activity to produce hot steamy water. The Waikato Rivers beautiful environment is varied and unique and is New Zealand's longest river flowing north from our largest lake - Lake Taupo.

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and Aranui Cave tour

For over 100 years Waitomo Glow-worm Caves have attracted people from all over the world to this subterranean wonderland. An ancient underground labyrinth of limestone caves and grottos, and amazing stalactites and stalagmites.

Waitomo Glow-worm Caves

Formed over 30 million years ago there are two levels to the Waitomo Glow-worm Caves which are 16 metres apart. The upper level is dry and includes the entrance to the cave, the Catacombs and the Organ Loft. The lower level consists of stream passages and the Cathedral. As you glide quietly beneath the lights of thousands of glow-worms, it is only the gentle sound of dripping water that reminds you that you are deep underground and not beneath a star filled sky.

Aranui Cave, Waitomo

Located in Ruakuri Scenic Reserve, Aranui is a dry cave. There is only one entrance to Aranui and without a river flowing through, it houses very little life past the entrance. However, just inside the entrance is a colony of cave wetas. Aranui is famous for its beautiful arrays of stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones and unusual formations.

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8 Day Volcanic Centre Self Drive

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