Overview

From the colourful sights and sounds of Auckland to the creative southernmost capital of the world, Wellington, this 9 Day Northern Sensations self drive in New Zealand will guarantee that you will have a satisfying action-packed week!

From Auckland, visit the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata on your way to Rotorua. Discover hidden lakes, distant volcanoes, and local geothermal activity while you enjoy a scenic helicopter flight above Rotorua. Enjoy a traditional Maori feast (hangi) and learn more about their culture.

Your next destination is Hawke’s Bay, home to New Zealand’s oldest wineries. Spend some time exploring Napier, one of the world’s finest Art Deco cities. You final stop is Wellington, renowned for its culture, heritage, and arts. Don’t forget to visit the Te Papa National Museum and hop on the famous Cable Car.

Auckland - Waiheke Island - Rotorua - Napier - Wellington

Map of 9 Day Northern Sensations Self Drive
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View itinerary for day 9
Arrive Auckland
Waiheke Island
Auckland to Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Rotorua to Napier
Explore Hawke's Bay
Napier to Wellington
Explore Wellington
Depart Wellington

Day 1

Arrive Auckland

Day 2

Waiheke Island

Day 3

Auckland to Rotorua

Travel Time: 2 hrs 45 mins

Distance: 228 kms

Day 4

Explore Rotorua

Day 5

Rotorua to Napier

Travel Time: 2 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 220 kms

Day 6

Explore Hawke's Bay

Day 7

Napier to Wellington

Travel Time: 4 hrs 5 mins

Distance: 322 kms

Day 8

Explore Wellington

Day 9

Depart Wellington

On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your downtown city hotel. The rest of today is at leisure to enjoy New Zealand’s 'City of Sails'. Take a stroll around the Viaduct Harbour or visit the Auckland Sky Tower, providing amazing 360-degree views.

Stay 2 nights Auckland

After a leisurely start to the day, a short ferry ride will take you to Waiheke Island, a haven for vineyards, olive groves, art galleries and sandy beaches. Your trip to paradise begins with a warm greeting as you step off the ferry where jaw-dropping vistas await. Learn about local Maori history and island life before enjoying some of Waiheke's award winning wineries. Take time for a relaxed lunch before boarding your ferry back to Auckland.

Collect your rental car this morning and travel south to Matamata, home to the famous Hobbiton Movie Set. Situated on private farmland, you’ll be treated to a fun and interesting guided tour before continuing on to the geothermal city of Rotorua.

Spend 2 nights Rotorua

Today’s highlight is a helicopter flight over Rotorua and beyond the crater rim. Enjoy spectacular views of the hidden lakes district, distant volcanoes and local geothermal activity in this captivating overview of this stunning area. Later today, travel past the Blue and Green Lakes to the famous buried village of Te Wairoa. This evening, visit Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve and be treated to a traditional Maori Hangi (feast) and cultural performance.

Leave Rotorua this morning and travel south to Lake Taupo. Stop to view the mighty Huka Falls and Wairakei Geothermal project, then take time to wander around the popular lakeside resort of Taupo. Continue on to Napier, one of the world’s finest Art Deco cities. Here, your local guide will bring this fascinating architecture to life on your walk around the town this afternoon.

Stay 2 nights Napier

Widely regarded as the ‘Tuscany of the South Pacific’, this region boasts some of New Zealand’s best and oldest wineries. Enjoy a free day to experience some of the many optional activities available or simply relax and enjoy your surroundings.

Travel this morning through the rural heartland of the Wairarapa region enroute to Wellington, the nation’s capital. On arrival, enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore this vibrant city.

Stay 2 nights Wellington

Recently named the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ by Lonely Planet, Wellington is nestled between a sparkling harbour and rolling green hills and is renowned for its arts, heritage, culture and native beauty. A visit to Te Papa National Museum, a ride on the famous Cable Car or a visit to Weta Workshop is highly recommended. If you like action-packed adventure activities, Wellington has it all along with beautiful walks around the harbour and surrounding hills.

It's time to head home today. Drop your rental car at Wellington Airport in time for your return flight home.

Day 1, Arrive Auckland

Arrive Auckland

On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your downtown city hotel. The rest of today is at leisure to enjoy New Zealand’s 'City of Sails'. Take a stroll around the Viaduct Harbour or visit the Auckland Sky Tower, providing amazing 360-degree views.

Stay 2 nights Auckland

Day 2, Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

After a leisurely start to the day, a short ferry ride will take you to Waiheke Island, a haven for vineyards, olive groves, art galleries and sandy beaches. Your trip to paradise begins with a warm greeting as you step off the ferry where jaw-dropping vistas await. Learn about local Maori history and island life before enjoying some of Waiheke's award winning wineries. Take time for a relaxed lunch before boarding your ferry back to Auckland.

Day 3, Auckland to Rotorua

Auckland to Rotorua

Travel Time: 2 hrs 45 mins

Distance: 228 kms

Collect your rental car this morning and travel south to Matamata, home to the famous Hobbiton Movie Set. Situated on private farmland, you’ll be treated to a fun and interesting guided tour before continuing on to the geothermal city of Rotorua.

Spend 2 nights Rotorua

Day 4, Explore Rotorua

Explore Rotorua

Today’s highlight is a helicopter flight over Rotorua and beyond the crater rim. Enjoy spectacular views of the hidden lakes district, distant volcanoes and local geothermal activity in this captivating overview of this stunning area. Later today, travel past the Blue and Green Lakes to the famous buried village of Te Wairoa. This evening, visit Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve and be treated to a traditional Maori Hangi (feast) and cultural performance.

Day 5, Rotorua to Napier

Rotorua to Napier

Travel Time: 2 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 220 kms

Leave Rotorua this morning and travel south to Lake Taupo. Stop to view the mighty Huka Falls and Wairakei Geothermal project, then take time to wander around the popular lakeside resort of Taupo. Continue on to Napier, one of the world’s finest Art Deco cities. Here, your local guide will bring this fascinating architecture to life on your walk around the town this afternoon.

Stay 2 nights Napier

Day 6, Explore Hawke's Bay

Explore Hawke's Bay

Widely regarded as the ‘Tuscany of the South Pacific’, this region boasts some of New Zealand’s best and oldest wineries. Enjoy a free day to experience some of the many optional activities available or simply relax and enjoy your surroundings.

Day 7, Napier to Wellington

Napier to Wellington

Travel Time: 4 hrs 5 mins

Distance: 322 kms

Travel this morning through the rural heartland of the Wairarapa region enroute to Wellington, the nation’s capital. On arrival, enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore this vibrant city.

Stay 2 nights Wellington

Day 8, Explore Wellington

Explore Wellington

Recently named the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ by Lonely Planet, Wellington is nestled between a sparkling harbour and rolling green hills and is renowned for its arts, heritage, culture and native beauty. A visit to Te Papa National Museum, a ride on the famous Cable Car or a visit to Weta Workshop is highly recommended. If you like action-packed adventure activities, Wellington has it all along with beautiful walks around the harbour and surrounding hills.

Day 9, Depart Wellington

Depart Wellington

It's time to head home today. Drop your rental car at Wellington Airport in time for your return flight home.

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per Person

May to September 2019

 Twin/Double
Standard 3-3.5 Star Accommodation from AU$2,020* 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:

8 nights accommodation

  • 2 nights Auckland
  • 2 nights Rotorua
  • 2 nights Napier
  • 2 nights Wellington

9 days car rental (excess applies)

Private airport transfer on arrival into Auckland

Waiheke Island Wine Tasting Tour

Hobbiton movie set tour

Rotorua Volcanic Air Safari

Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve

Traditional Maori Hangi and Cultural Experience

Guided Art Deco Tour Napier

Options

Itineraries

All itineraries can be amended or combined with other itineraries. Please advise amendments when requesting a quote.

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 residents.

Optional Extras

Explore Auckland

Auckland Sky Tower Entry

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 Napier/Hawke's Bay

Gannet Safaris

Drive along the scenic coast from Napier to Te Awanga and join Gannet Safaris Overland and the world’s largest, most accessible gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers. Gannet Safaris has been guiding visitors over Cape Kidnappers for over 35 years and their safaris are the only way to be driven right to within a few feet of these remarkable birds. You will travel in comfort in air conditioned 4 x 4 wheeled vehicles, through Cape Kidnappers Station - traversing riverbeds, broad rolling pastures, through stands of native bush, steep gullies and breath-taking inclines. There is a stop on the way at a spectacular cliff top with panoramic views of Hawke Bay right across to Mahia peninsular. The 36km, three hour trip includes a commentary by your tour guide / driver on the farming operation on Cape Kidnappers Station and an introduction to the gannets. On arrival at the gannets you can stretch your legs and take in the scenery from your position at the brink of the cliffs edge - 100 metres above the ocean. Here your driver / guide will serve you refreshments whilst you enjoy watching the gannets perform around you.

Twilight Wine and Gourmet Odyssey

A taste of rural New Zealand when you visit a boutique brewery in Hastings, visit the wine growing district, participate in an interactive wine tasting at Sileni Estate, indulge in gourmet platters with top local produce, champagne sunset on Te Mata Peak. Dinner is held at Vidal estate or Craggy range, then moving onto experience New Zealand's oldest winery for desert.

Explore Wellington

Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour

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.

Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour

A must do for anyone visiting Wellington, the award winning ZEALANDIA experience will make you feel as though you have gone back in time to what New Zealand may have been like 1000 years ago. A unique eco-attraction, ZEALANDIA's world renowned conservation movement and New Zealand's incredible natural history are brought to life with state-of-the-art indoor interactive displays. Marvel at the weird and wonderful creatures that once walked the earth featured in the exhibition or roam through the beautiful 550 acre eco-sanctuary to view some of New Zealand's rarest birds, reptiles and insects in the wild.

In the evening join a two and half hour guided tour by torchlight as the bush comes alive with birdsong not heard for centuries. At night, as darkness descends over the valley, some of ZEALANDIA's most treasured residents head out to hunt, like spotted kiwi, tuatara, and morepork

Introducing Te Papa Guided Tour

These guided tours are an ideal introduction to New Zealand's National Museum. Te Papa will show you the country's past, present and future, so you can explore the land and its people. In 20 galleries explore the oceans, the land and its wildlife; learn of the Maori people, the more recent settlement and diversity of its people, its arts and visual culture. As you will discover this is no ordinary museum with many interactive displays.

Highlights

Auckland - Waiheke Island - Rotorua - Napier - Wellington

Waiheke Island Wine Tour

Join us for a full day exploration of Waiheke's boutique wine industry including a scenic tour of the Island with time for photographs of the stunning vistas along with visits to three vineyards on the Island. With an experienced local Island guide giving you an insight into the local wine industry and how unique Waiheke's climate is for growing grapes and more recently Olives.

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

On beautiful private farmland, you can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit film trilogies in a fascinating guided tour. See Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn and other structures & gardens built for the films.

Volcanic Air Crater Lakes Flight

Take helicopter flight over Rotorua and beyond the crater rim. Enjoy spectacular views of the hidden lakes district, distant volcanoes and local geothermal activity in this captivating overview of this stunning area.

Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, Maori Hangi & Cultural Experience

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, you will finish your night with a delicious Hangi feast. 

Guided Art Deco Tour, Napier

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.  

Book now, pay later No credit card required

9 Day Northern Sensations Self Drive

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