Overview

Experience the major visitor centres of North Islands, from Auckland, the City of Sails, to Napier, the art deco capital of New Zealand, and Rotorua in between for authentic Maori culture.

Spend a night in the wine growing town of Martinborough and then 2 nights in Wellington, New Zealand's vibrant capital city. If you are looking to discover the regions with plenty of time, this 10 Day Auckland to Wellington Highlights Self Drive tour offers great value.

Auckland - Rotorua - Napier - Martinborough - Wellington

 

Map of 10 Day Auckland to Wellington Highlights Self Drive
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View itinerary for day 10
Arrive in Auckland
Explore Auckland City
Auckland to Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Rotorua to Napier
Explore Napier and the Hawke's Bay
Napier to Martinborough
Martinborough to Wellington City
Wellington City
Depart Wellington

Day 1

Arrive in Auckland

Day 2

Explore Auckland City

Day 3

Auckland to Rotorua

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 220 kms

Day 4

Explore Rotorua

Day 5

Rotorua to Napier

Travel Time: 2 hrs 25 mins

Distance: 210 kms

Day 6

Explore Napier and the Hawke's Bay

Day 7

Napier to Martinborough

Travel Time: 3 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 271 kms

Day 8

Martinborough to Wellington City

Travel Time: 1 hr

Distance: 73 kms

Day 9

Wellington City

Day 10

Depart Wellington

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.

Stay 2 nights in Auckland

Collect your rental car 
 
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. Spend time in the Viaduct Harbour - try your hand at sailing an America’s Cup yacht - or take the ferry to nearby Waiheke Island for a gourmet food and wine experience.

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour 

 

Stay 2 nights in 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES:
Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter 
Rotorua Forest Canopy Tours 
Te Po - Indigenous Evening Experience 

This drive will take you through the thermal region just south of Rotorua. Home to a plethora of unique geothermal attractions including boiling mud pits, natural hot springs and steaming geysers, this area is a must do before you move on to Napier. Notable attractions are Wai-O-Tapu, Waimangu and Craters of the Moon.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twilight Odyssey Progressive Wine and Dinner Tour 

Stay 2 nights in Napier

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. For the truly enthused, ride along on a Grape Escape winery tour to make the most of the local yield. Those into architecture can hop aboard a 1930’s car and take in the city’s prominent Art Deco landmarks. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Gannet Safaris  
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Half day Hawke's Bay Wine 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.

As you drive south, a visit to historic Greytown is a must do. Take in the the restored Victorian buildings and make time for a cup of tea at one of its quaint cafes. Leaving state highway 2 you will cross over the Ruamahanga River into Martinborough wine country - your destination for the day.  

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Martinborough Half Day Wine Tour 

Stay 1 night in Martinborough

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.

At one kilometre squared, the city centre (easily traversed on foot) has an international feel and is peppered with underground art shows, alleyway cafes and New York style delis. 

Stay 2 nights in 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.

 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour

 

Choose to explore more of Wellington's sights before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Day 1, Arrive in Auckland

Arrive in Auckland

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.

Stay 2 nights in Auckland

Day 2, Explore Auckland City

Explore Auckland City
Collect your rental car 
 
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. Spend time in the Viaduct Harbour - try your hand at sailing an America’s Cup yacht - or take the ferry to nearby Waiheke Island for a gourmet food and wine experience.

Day 3, Auckland to Rotorua

Auckland to Rotorua

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 220 kms

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour 

 

Stay 2 nights in Rotorua

Day 4, 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES:
Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter 
Rotorua Forest Canopy Tours 
Te Po - Indigenous Evening Experience 

Day 5, 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. Home to a plethora of unique geothermal attractions including boiling mud pits, natural hot springs and steaming geysers, this area is a must do before you move on to Napier. Notable attractions are Wai-O-Tapu, Waimangu and Craters of the Moon.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twilight Odyssey Progressive Wine and Dinner Tour 

Stay 2 nights in Napier

Day 6, Explore Napier and the Hawke's Bay

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. For the truly enthused, ride along on a Grape Escape winery tour to make the most of the local yield. Those into architecture can hop aboard a 1930’s car and take in the city’s prominent Art Deco landmarks. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Gannet Safaris  
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Half day Hawke's Bay Wine tour 

Day 7, 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.

As you drive south, a visit to historic Greytown is a must do. Take in the the restored Victorian buildings and make time for a cup of tea at one of its quaint cafes. Leaving state highway 2 you will cross over the Ruamahanga River into Martinborough wine country - your destination for the day.  

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Martinborough Half Day Wine Tour 

Stay 1 night in Martinborough

Day 8, Martinborough to Wellington City

Martinborough to Wellington City

Travel Time: 1 hr

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.

At one kilometre squared, the city centre (easily traversed on foot) has an international feel and is peppered with underground art shows, alleyway cafes and New York style delis. 

Stay 2 nights in Wellington

Day 9, 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.

 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour 
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour

 

Day 10, Depart Wellington

Depart Wellington

Choose to explore more of Wellington's sights before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per Person

 Twin/Double
Motel Accommodation from NZ$2,127 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.

Payment

  • Deposit: 10% of the package cost or NZ$250 per person (whichever is the greater) at time 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:

9 nights accommodation

  • 2 Nights Auckland
  • 2 Nights Rotorua
  • 2 Nights Napier
  • 1 Night Martinborough
  • 2 Nights Wellington

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

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.

Itineraries

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

Hobbiton Movie Set Tours

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.

Half Day Wine Tour, Martinborough

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 Napier

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.

Half day Hawke's Bay Wine tour

The Grape Escape Half day wine tour visits some of the Hawke's Bay's famous wineries and is designed for casual imbibers and wine aficionados. Meet like - minded people and share an appreciation of Hawke's Bay's fantastic wines. Taste great wines made with passion and learn of the areas unique growing conditions. Take home great tasting wines and memories. Visit 4 - 5 local wineries and taste Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and much more. Also try some of New Zealand's finest cheeses matched with wine. Walk amongst the vines and learn about Terroir.

Twilight Odyssey Progressive Wine and Dinner Tour

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 and 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 - perhaps some of Napier's top waterfront nightspots.

Explore Rotorua

Forest Canopy Tours

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.

Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter

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.

Te Po - Indigenous Evening Experience

Enjoy an in depth experience of the customs and traditions of Māori, with a traditional pōwhiri (Māori welcoming ceremony), a warrior's challenge and a full kapa haka (Māori performing arts) concert. Feeding guests is regarded by Māori as an honour and a sign of a tribe's mana (standing), so a sumptuous banquet is provided during the evening. This banquet combines contemporary cuisine with a traditional hangi (earth-cooked oven meal). Following dessert, you will be transported to enjoy the spectacular lighting of the Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. Guests can wander around the illuminated natural attractions, including our world famous Pohutu geyser, while enjoying more Māori-inspired delicacies and a hot drink.

Explore Wellington

Middle Earth Film Locations Half Day Tour

On this half-day tour explore key Lord of the Rings filming locations all within an hour of central Wellington. Highlights include the outskirts of the Shire, the Gardens of Isengard, the River Anduin and the sites of Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith. Stroll where the hobbits raced to the Buckleberry Ferry and see where the infamous 'get off the road' scene was shot. You'll also stop and overlook the site of the Dunharrow Rohirrim encampment.

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.

Highlights

Auckland - Rotorua - Napier - Martinborough - Wellington

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10 Day Auckland to Wellington Highlights Self Drive

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