Overview

On this short 9 Day Central Highlights Walking Tour Self Drive in New Zealand, marvel at North Island’s diverse landscapes and natural wonders. Start in the lush forests and white sandy beaches of the dreamy Coromandel Peninsula, then embark on an energetic climb of one of the world’s legendary one day hikes, the world-renowned Tongariro Crossing.

Soak up the view of the spectacular volcanic plateau of the Tongariro National Park, a world heritage area of otherworldly beauty and home to this hike. Wrap up your tour with a fascinating Maori cultural experience in Rotorua and the magical glow worms and limestone caves of Waitomo.

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 - Coromandel Peninsula - Rotorua - Tongariro National Park - Auckland

Map of 9 Day Central Highlights Walking Tour Self Drive
View itinerary for day 1
View itinerary for day 2
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View itinerary for day 8
View itinerary for day 9
Welcome to Auckland City
Auckland to Tairua via Coromandel Township
Kiwi Dundee Wilderness Adventure Day Walk
Tairua to Rotorua via Tauranga
Explore Rotorua
Rotorua to Whakapapa Village
Tongariro Alpine Crossing Private Guided Day Walk
Whakapapa Village to Waitomo to Auckland
Depart Auckland today

Day 1

Welcome to Auckland City

Day 2

Auckland to Tairua via Coromandel Township

Travel Time: 3 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 246 km

Day 3

Kiwi Dundee Wilderness Adventure Day Walk

Day 4

Tairua to Rotorua via Tauranga

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 180 kms

Day 5

Explore Rotorua

Day 6

Rotorua to Whakapapa Village

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 168 kms

Day 7

Tongariro Alpine Crossing Private Guided Day Walk

Day 8

Whakapapa Village to Waitomo to Auckland

Travel Time: 4 hrs

Distance: 329 kms

Day 9

Depart Auckland today

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

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.

Cross the fertile plains of the Hauraki - toward the Thames Estuary, a haven for wildlife and shore birds. Arriving into the historic gold mining town of Thames, choose to follow the scenic route 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. Plan to arrive into Coromandel Township for lunch before heading down the east coast towards popular seaside destinations Whitianga and then Tairua.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Driving Creek Railway & Potteries

Ideal for those who enjoy walking & photography. This day will take you into tranquil & remote pristine rainforest surrounded by giant rock faces, rugged volcanic peaks, ancient Kauri, Rimu and Rata trees. Wonder at the world's largest tree ferns, crystal clear rivers & rock pools. Visit historic gold caves, home to sparkling glowworms. Enjoy the fascinating history and learn about the flora & fauna within this magnificent forest. You experienced guided ensures you enjoy the region to the fullest and also carries your picnic lunch. This is a moderately challenging walk over some uneven surfaces.

Today you’ll be leaving the Coromandel Peninsula and passing through the town of Whangamata, a popular tourist destination for Kiwi holidaymakers and home to one of the best beaches in the region. Stop in Wahi to view its operational open cast gold mine - just follow the signs to a unique vantage point overlooking the Martha Mine. For rail enthusiasts, be sure to take a trip on the Goldfields Railway along its historic and scenic track. 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. As you arrive into Rotorua take in the spectacular lake views along with clouds of steam rising from multiple geysers across the region.

Included: Mitai Maori Village

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. An excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.

Live on the edge when you hop aboard a helicopter bound for White Island, New Zealand’s most active volcano. 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES:

  • Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter
  • Polynesian Spa Thermal Mud Polish & Aix Spa Massage

Today you'll drive from Rotorua to Tongariro National Park along the thermal highway. Pass through Taupo and be sure to check out the Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland or Waimangu Volcanic Valley - both well worth a visit if you can spare the time. Visit the Huka Falls, New Zealand's largest volume of water or take in the boiling mud pools and steam vents as you wander the nearby geothermal reserve, Craters of the Moon.

Continue on to the township of Turangi, known as one of the world's best trout fishing locations before emerging out into Tongariro National Park.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Huka Jet boat ride

Hike New Zealand's best walk, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, with a friendly and caring guide, and experience one of the world's top hikes.  The Tongariro Crossing is a challenging 7-8 hour hike through a rugged and exposed alpine environment – but there is No Hurry! Walk at a relaxed pace and relish the jaw-dropping views, spectacular geology, frequent rest & refreshment breaks, and stories with your genuine Kiwi guide. Your guide carry's a first aid kit, communications, safety equipment and extra refreshments so you don't have to!

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

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.

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 City

Welcome to Auckland City

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

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 Tairua via Coromandel Township

Auckland to Tairua via Coromandel Township

Travel Time: 3 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 246 km

Cross the fertile plains of the Hauraki - toward the Thames Estuary, a haven for wildlife and shore birds. Arriving into the historic gold mining town of Thames, choose to follow the scenic route 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. Plan to arrive into Coromandel Township for lunch before heading down the east coast towards popular seaside destinations Whitianga and then Tairua.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Driving Creek Railway & Potteries

Day 3, Kiwi Dundee Wilderness Adventure Day Walk

Kiwi Dundee Wilderness Adventure Day Walk

Ideal for those who enjoy walking & photography. This day will take you into tranquil & remote pristine rainforest surrounded by giant rock faces, rugged volcanic peaks, ancient Kauri, Rimu and Rata trees. Wonder at the world's largest tree ferns, crystal clear rivers & rock pools. Visit historic gold caves, home to sparkling glowworms. Enjoy the fascinating history and learn about the flora & fauna within this magnificent forest. You experienced guided ensures you enjoy the region to the fullest and also carries your picnic lunch. This is a moderately challenging walk over some uneven surfaces.

Day 4, Tairua to Rotorua via Tauranga

Tairua to Rotorua via Tauranga

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 180 kms

Today you’ll be leaving the Coromandel Peninsula and passing through the town of Whangamata, a popular tourist destination for Kiwi holidaymakers and home to one of the best beaches in the region. Stop in Wahi to view its operational open cast gold mine - just follow the signs to a unique vantage point overlooking the Martha Mine. For rail enthusiasts, be sure to take a trip on the Goldfields Railway along its historic and scenic track. 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. As you arrive into Rotorua take in the spectacular lake views along with clouds of steam rising from multiple geysers across the region.

Included: Mitai Maori Village

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Day 5, 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. An excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.

Live on the edge when you hop aboard a helicopter bound for White Island, New Zealand’s most active volcano. 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES:

  • Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter
  • Polynesian Spa Thermal Mud Polish & Aix Spa Massage

Day 6, Rotorua to Whakapapa Village

Rotorua to Whakapapa Village

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 168 kms

Today you'll drive from Rotorua to Tongariro National Park along the thermal highway. Pass through Taupo and be sure to check out the Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland or Waimangu Volcanic Valley - both well worth a visit if you can spare the time. Visit the Huka Falls, New Zealand's largest volume of water or take in the boiling mud pools and steam vents as you wander the nearby geothermal reserve, Craters of the Moon.

Continue on to the township of Turangi, known as one of the world's best trout fishing locations before emerging out into Tongariro National Park.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Huka Jet boat ride

Day 7, Tongariro Alpine Crossing Private Guided Day Walk

Tongariro Alpine Crossing Private Guided Day Walk

Hike New Zealand's best walk, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, with a friendly and caring guide, and experience one of the world's top hikes.  The Tongariro Crossing is a challenging 7-8 hour hike through a rugged and exposed alpine environment – but there is No Hurry! Walk at a relaxed pace and relish the jaw-dropping views, spectacular geology, frequent rest & refreshment breaks, and stories with your genuine Kiwi guide. Your guide carry's a first aid kit, communications, safety equipment and extra refreshments so you don't have to!

Day 8, Whakapapa Village to Waitomo to Auckland

Whakapapa Village to Waitomo to Auckland

Travel Time: 4 hrs

Distance: 329 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

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.

Day 9, Depart Auckland today

Depart Auckland today

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$3,327 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 8 nights

  • 1 night Auckland
  • 2 nights Coromandel Peninsula
  • 2 nights Rotorua
  • 2 nights Tongariro National Park
  • 1 night Auckland

8 days rental 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.

Private airport transfers

All breakfasts (4-star accommodation only)

Mitai Maori Village Concert & Buffet Dinner

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

Kiwi Dundee nature and coast day tour

Tongariro Crossing Guided Walk

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

Driving Creek Railway & Potteries, Coromandel

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. The 1 hour return train trip on the innovatively designed trains takes you through replanted native kauri forest and includes 2 spirals, 3 short tunnels, 5 reversing points and several large viaducts as it climbs up to the mountain-top terminus. The pottery is still producing and you can watch the artists at work as well as purchase items.

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.

Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter, Rotorua

At Rainbow Springs you’ll have the chance to see some of New Zealand’s native flora and fauna within the majestic forests of Rotorua. Wander the beautiful tree-lined park and take in the flourishing bush, ferns, flowers and plants. See the spring-fed pool with rainbow, brown and tiger trout, then visit the on-site aviaries - home to New Zealand species such kea, kaka, tui, kereru and kiwi. The tuatara, known as New Zealand’s living dinosaur can also be seen here.

Go behind the scenes with New Zealand’s national animal at the purpose built Kiwi Conservation Centre - created solely to try and stop the extinction of this unique species. Here you will gain first hand insight into the conservation efforts being made to increase the numbers of kiwi eggs being hatched and returned to the wild.

Rotorua Forest Canopy Tours, Rotorua

Embark on a three hour adventure through native New Zealand forest. Journey through the beautiful forest canopy via an incredible network of trails, tree platforms, Ziplines and swing bridges. See breathtaking views of the woodland valleys and hills as you fly through tight openings in the trees.

In between the thrill of the ziplines and suspended tree bridges, your guides will share their passion and knowledge for the forest and the conservation challenges to preserve it.

Polynesian Spa Thermal Mud Polish & Aix Spa Massage, Rotorua

Rotorua's Polynesian Spa offers a unique thermal spa experience on the shore of Lake Rotorua. Voted a World Top Ten Spa (medical and thermal spas) by readers of the prestigious Conde Nast Traveller magazine 2004-2007, this is the ultimate in relaxation and regeneration. Begin your spa treatment with a pre-therapy soak in the deluxe lake spa. Enjoy tranquil bathing and lake views in four shallow alkaline rock pools, each with different temperatures (36˚C to 42˚C). Here you are surrounded by revitalising native New Zealand flora, natural rocks, the sound of two waterfalls and a grotto. The pools are filled with soothing alkaline mineral water leaving your skin soft and supple.  You will then be treated to the popular 'mud massage' a signature service of Polynesian Spa. Your therapist will exfoliate your body with the unique Rotorua mud polish to remove dry skin. You'll then rinse off the polish under a warm shower followed by a massage using organic coconut oil while the water is running, leaving your skin feeling soft and hydrated and your body relaxed.  You can then return to the deluxe lake spa for a post treatment soak.

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.

Airfares

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

Highlights

Mitai Maori Village Maori cultural show and dinner, 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 that tells the story of the Maori people, their past, carvings, and ta Moko -Tattoo art. Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat and be amazed by the spine tingling Haka finale. Truly an experience to remember.

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. You’ll then hop into a boat and glide silently through the glowworm grotto - a galaxy of tiny living lights.

Kiwi Dundee Nature & Coast tour, Coromandel

A photographer's dream! A delightful sample of Coromandel Peninsula's natural heritage and scenic beauty. Enjoy the flora & fauna of the semi-tropical rainforest with giant ferns, kauri trees and crystal clear streams. Visit the old historic gold caves sparkling with glowworms and hear the fascinating history of this magic area. Visit stunning coastal scenery with white sand beaches, magnificent cliffs decorated with ancient Pohutukawa trees, old Maori pa sites and offshore islands. A visit to Hot Water Beach [tide permitting]. Lunch is included and will be a delightful picnic or a visit to our favourite café. The Nature and Coast day walk is their most popular walk and is a gentle walk suitable for everyone including children.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing Guided Walk

Hike New Zealand's best walk, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, with a friendly and caring guide and experience one of the world's top hikes. The Tongariro Crossing is a challenging 7-8 hour hike through a rugged and exposed alpine environment – but there is No Hurry! Walk at a relaxed pace and relish the jaw-dropping views, spectacular geology, frequent rest & refreshment breaks, and stories with your genuine Kiwi guide. Your guide carry's a first aid kit, communications, safety equipment and extra refreshments so you don't have to!

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9 Day Central Highlights Walking Tour Self Drive

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