Overview

North Island boasts of incredible diversity, and this 7 Day Central North Island Explorer Self Drive tour from Auckland will take you through the heart of this region. See why Coromandel Peninsula is a locals' favourite, and experience for yourself as you explore the marine reserve of Cathedral Cove.

Engage in a genuine cultural experience at Rainbow Springs and Mitai Maori Village in Rotorua, where you'll enjoy a full day of exploration of its thermal wonders. Add to the thrill an adrenaline-fuelled Jet Boat ride at Huka Falls in New Zealand's largest lake, Taupo. Then cap off your adventure with a magical underground journey through the Glow Worm Caves of Waitomo before heading back to Auckland.

Auckland - Coromandel Peninsula - Rotorua - Taupo - Auckland

Map of 7 Day Central North Island Explorer Self Drive
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View itinerary for day 2
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View itinerary for day 7
Auckland City
Auckland to Whitianga via Coromandel Township
Whitianga to Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Rotorua to Taupo
Taupo to Waitomo via Tongariro National Park
Depart Auckland

Day 1

Auckland City

Day 2

Auckland to Whitianga via Coromandel Township

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 207 kms

Day 3

Whitianga to Rotorua

Travel Time: 3hrs 25mins

Distance: 221 kms

Day 4

Explore Rotorua

Day 5

Rotorua to Taupo

Travel Time: 50mins

Distance: 75 kms

Day 6

Taupo to Waitomo via Tongariro National Park

Travel Time: 5hrs

Distance: 411 kms

Day 7

Depart 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. 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Harbour Dinner Cruise Sailing Experience 

Stay overnight in Auckland

Collect your rental car 

Auckland to Whitianga via Coromandel Township 

As you leave the Auckland city boundary the landscape changes to lush farmland. You'll cross the fertile Hauraki Plains - one of New Zealand's largest dairy producing regions. 

Arriving into the old gold mining town of Thames, there are two different routes to the east coast of the Coromandel. Directly over the Coromandel Ranges will deliver you to the coast in a snappy 45 minutes or if you're after more leisurely route, head North to the Coromandel Township along the Pohutukawa Coast (part of the Pacific Coast Highway). Continue down the coast to arrive in the picturesque town of Whitianga.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Driving Creek Railway & Potteries 

Stay overnight in Whitianga

Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga 

Explore the volcanic coastline with its many caves, blowholes and golden beaches all from the comfort and safety of an ex coastguard 28 ft cruiser. 

Whitianga to Rotorua 

Heading south from the Coromandel Peninsula you pass through the seaside town of Whangamata - a popular location for Kiwi holidaymakers and home to one of the best beaches in the region.  Next you come to the old mining town of Waihi.

Arriving into Rotorua from the north you are welcomed by the spectacular view of the lake.

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.

Mitai Maori Village and Rainbow Springs Beauty By Night combo 

An evening at Mitai will give you an authentic introduction to Maori culture leaving you amazed and in awe. 

You'll also enjoy a fully guided tour of Rainbow Springs under lights including a walk through the Kiwi enclosure and bird aviaries. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Rotorua Forest Canopy Tours 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Rotorua 

Today drive through the heart of the Central North Island volcanic plateau. Just north of Lake Taupo are the Huka Falls.

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. 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.

Stay overnight in Taupo

Skirting Lake Taupo you arrive into the trout fishing capital of New Zealand, Turangi before heading into Tongariro National Park and its famous peaks. Rich farmland of the King Country accompanies you to the limestone region of Waitomo.

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves 

Explore a 30 million year old cave network spread across three levels. 

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. 

Stay overnight in Auckland

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

Day 1, Auckland City

Auckland City

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. 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Harbour Dinner Cruise Sailing Experience 

Stay overnight in Auckland

Day 2, Auckland to Whitianga via Coromandel Township

Auckland to Whitianga via Coromandel Township

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 207 kms

Collect your rental car 

Auckland to Whitianga via Coromandel Township 

As you leave the Auckland city boundary the landscape changes to lush farmland. You'll cross the fertile Hauraki Plains - one of New Zealand's largest dairy producing regions. 

Arriving into the old gold mining town of Thames, there are two different routes to the east coast of the Coromandel. Directly over the Coromandel Ranges will deliver you to the coast in a snappy 45 minutes or if you're after more leisurely route, head North to the Coromandel Township along the Pohutukawa Coast (part of the Pacific Coast Highway). Continue down the coast to arrive in the picturesque town of Whitianga.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Driving Creek Railway & Potteries 

Stay overnight in Whitianga

Day 3, Whitianga to Rotorua

Whitianga to Rotorua

Travel Time: 3hrs 25mins

Distance: 221 kms

Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga 

Explore the volcanic coastline with its many caves, blowholes and golden beaches all from the comfort and safety of an ex coastguard 28 ft cruiser. 

Whitianga to Rotorua 

Heading south from the Coromandel Peninsula you pass through the seaside town of Whangamata - a popular location for Kiwi holidaymakers and home to one of the best beaches in the region.  Next you come to the old mining town of Waihi.

Arriving into Rotorua from the north you are welcomed by the spectacular view of the lake.

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.

Mitai Maori Village and Rainbow Springs Beauty By Night combo 

An evening at Mitai will give you an authentic introduction to Maori culture leaving you amazed and in awe. 

You'll also enjoy a fully guided tour of Rainbow Springs under lights including a walk through the Kiwi enclosure and bird aviaries. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Rotorua Forest Canopy Tours 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Rotorua 

Day 5, Rotorua to Taupo

Rotorua to Taupo

Travel Time: 50mins

Distance: 75 kms

Today drive through the heart of the Central North Island volcanic plateau. Just north of Lake Taupo are the Huka Falls.

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. 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.

Stay overnight in Taupo

Day 6, Taupo to Waitomo via Tongariro National Park

Taupo to Waitomo via Tongariro National Park

Travel Time: 5hrs

Distance: 411 kms

Skirting Lake Taupo you arrive into the trout fishing capital of New Zealand, Turangi before heading into Tongariro National Park and its famous peaks. Rich farmland of the King Country accompanies you to the limestone region of Waitomo.

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves 

Explore a 30 million year old cave network spread across three levels. 

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. 

Stay overnight in Auckland

Day 7, 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
Motel Accommodation from NZ$1,851 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:

6 nights accommodation

  • 1 Night Auckland
  • 1 Night Coromandel Peninsula
  • 2 Nights Rotorua
  • 1 Night Taupo
  • 1 Night Auckland

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

Mitai Maori Village and Rainbow Springs Beauty by Night Combo

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

Cathedral Cove Cruise

Huka Falls Jet Boat Tour

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

Harbour Dinner Cruise Sailing Experience, Auckland

This unique on-water dining experience is not to be missed while you're in Auckland. Enjoy smooth sailing on the Waitemata Harbour - then watch this photogenic city come alive with twinkling lights. Your experienced crew will talk about Auckland's highlights and there will opportunity try your hand at steering.

At our sheltered mooring you'll be served delicious New Zealand fare - choose from a delectable three course menu catered for by Snapdragon, a renowned Viaduct Restaurant.

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.

From Rotorua

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Discover the real Middle-earth when you take this two hour guided tour of Hobbiton. Beginning with a drive through a picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm, you'll experience stunning views over the Kaimai Ranges. You'll then be escorted through the 12 acre movie set learning memorable anecdotes about the shooting of the films. You'll see Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill and The Party Tree, as well as learning how this piece of Waikato farmland was turned into the Shire.

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.

Highlights

Mitai Maori Village and Rainbow Springs Beauty by Night Combo, Rotorua

An evening at Mitai will give you an authentic introduction to Maori culture leaving you amazed and in awe. Be enthralled by the natural bush setting, see warriors in traditional dress, paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream, and don't miss your only opportunity in the Rotorua area to see glow worms in their natural habitat. Marvel at the crystal clear water full of eels and trout, flowing directly from the earth at the sacred Fairy Spring. See your traditionally cooked hangi meal being lifted from the ground. During the cultural performance, you'll learn about maori history, carvings and ta moko (tattoo art). Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat, coupled with the grace and beauty of the poi dance. You'll be amazed by the spine tingling haka finale. The Mitai family is proud to have created a sacred and spiritual place that offers you an indigenous cultural experience like no other. You'll also enjoy a fully guided tour of Rainbow Springs under lights including a walk through the Kiwi enclosure and bird aviaries.

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 glow worm grotto - a galaxy of tiny living lights.

Cathedral Cove Cruise, Coromandel

Explore the volcanic coastline with its many caves, blowholes and golden beaches all from the comfort and safety of an ex coastguard 28 ft cruiser. Departing from Whitianga Wharf journey past the towering Shakespeare's Cliffs and historic Cooks Beach. Visit Cathedral Cove and the islands in the marine reserve. There is also a chance to swim with the abundant fish in the reserve (on board snorkel gear provided - dont forget your swimsuit and towel). For those who prefer to stay dry an underwater camera relays images to an onboard TV.

Huka Falls Jet Boat Tour, 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.

 

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7 Day Central North Island Explorer Self Drive

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