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This New Zealand North Island itinerary follows one of the most popular self-drive routes. Experience a wide range of highlights with this all-inclusive holiday package. For example, visit the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
This popular North Island holiday package is perfect for travellers of all ages and offers an excellent introduction to New Zealand.
Read on for more details on the 10 Day Loop the North Island Holiday Package.
Arrive in Auckland – the “City of Sails” is New Zealand’s largest city, set beside two stunning harbours. Collect your rental car from the airport, explore the city, then make your way to your accommodation.
This evening, if you would like to dine with a spectacular view, you can visit the Sky Tower. You are spoilt for choice with three restaurants and cafés up the Sky Tower, including the Orbit 360-degree dining revolving restaurant; The Sugar Club, which is superbly chic and elegant; or the Sky Café, where you can relax with a coffee, cheese board or ice cream. You will have the opportunity to view the city from 328 metres high above street level and take in the beautiful views, up to 80 kilometres in every direction. Spot the key landmarks, including a number of volcanoes and historical locations within the greater Auckland area.
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Driving time Auckland to Bay of Islands 228 km / 142 miles, 4 hours
Drive to the Bay of Islands, renowned for its 144 islands and surreal maritime park, which is filled with an abundance of marine life including whales, penguins and dolphins.
Paihia is the perfect base if you would like to discover the coves and beaches of the Bay of Islands! Paihia is also of historic importance to New Zealand, as this is where the historic Treaty House on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is located, which marks the beginning of New Zealand as a nation. Just west of Paihia is Haruru, where you’ll find an impressive waterfall and a boardwalk.
Stay 2 nights in Paihia, Bay of Islands.
Today, board the premium Discover the Bay Cruise and see for yourself the best of what the Bay of Islands has to offer. Journey to the Hole in the Rock and if weather permits, sail through it. See marine wildlife including Dolphins and stop off at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island to have a swim, go for a walk and relax. This cruise includes a delicious BBQ lunch.
Relax in the Bay of Islands for the rest of the day.
Driving time Bay of Islands to Hamilton 350 km / 218 miles, 5 hours
Journey to Hamilton, New Zealand’s largest inland city, situated on the banks of the Waikato River. As Hamilton is located in the hub of the central North Island, visitors have easy access to iconic attractions such as Raglan’s surf coast and Te Aroha Mineral Pools. For fun, visit the chocolate and candy factory, the Hamilton Gardens, or the weekly markets. From cafés, art galleries, and shopping through to an ever-changing calendar of high profile events, Hamilton is a great holiday destination.
Stay 1 night in Hamilton.
Driving time Hamilton to Waitomo Caves 71 km / 44 miles, 1 hour
Venture to the Waitomo Caves, where you will enjoy the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Ruakuri Caves Combo! Deep underground in the heart of the Waikato are a series of unique caves that will take your breath away. At the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, thousands of tiny glowworms cling to the cave ceiling, creating a starry sky within the underground night. Nearby, the Ruakuri Cave is home to an innovative spiral entrance, echoing waterfalls, and limestone that flows into delicate shawl-like formations.
Driving time Waitomo Caves to Taupo 151 km / 94 miles, 2 hours
Enjoy the drive south to Taupo, rich in natural beauty and filled with attractions such as the Huka Falls, relaxing boat cruises, and bungy jumping.
Stay 1 night in Taupo.
In the morning, enjoy a Peek at the Lake Scenic Floatplane Flight – highlights include flying over Huka Falls and the Craters of the Moon.
Driving time Taupo to Rotorua 82 km / 51 miles, 1 hour
Enjoy the scenic journey to Rotorua, distinguished by Maori culture and geothermal activity. This diverse city will put on a display as you encounter geysers, mud pools, steaming craters and 16 beautiful lakes.
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua.
Today, discover the amazing attractions Rotorua has to offer. Highly recommended activities that you can add to your holiday package include Rotorua’s Skyline Gondola Lunch (you can also add the luge) and the Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Spa.
In the evening, enjoy a traditional Maori Cultural Experience including a Hangi Dinner. Hear stories and learn how Maori traditions live on today. Experience an authentic Maori welcome. Watch a challenge by the Maori warriors, a karanga (call) from the Maori women welcoming you onto the marae, and a whaikorero (welcome speech). Relax and enjoy the beautiful waiata (songs), the world renowned haka (challenge), and the elegant poi dance. Learn Maori customs including Maori musical instruments, haka and poi. The dining experience is a culinary opportunity like no other. Following dessert, you will be transported down into the valley to conclude your evening beside the awe-inspiring Pohutu geyser.
Driving time Rotorua to Coromandel Peninsula 231 km / 143 miles, 3.5 hours
Renowned worldwide as a spectacular holiday destination, with warm white-sand beaches, misty rainforests and wilderness aplenty, the Coromandel is the ideal place to relax and unwind. Relax on the coastline, exploring beaches, volcanic reefs and the world-famous Cathedral Cove!
Stay 2 nights in Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula.
Today, join the Glass Bottom Boat for a unique boat cruise. Depart from the Whitianga Wharf to explore the breathtaking volcanic coastline, including the famous Cathedral Cove. See the stunning Champagne Bay, plus a range of blow holes and sea caves, including Orua’s Sea Cave, the second largest sea cave in New Zealand! See what lies above and below the surface in the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve and be amazed by all the marine life to be seen. You can choose your own level of fun. Either sit back and enjoy the amazing marine life through the glass boat, or take the plunge and snorkel amongst the fish. All equipment supplied and no experience necessary. Blue penguins are a common sight year-round.
Driving time Coromandel to Auckland 191 km / 119 miles, 3 hours
Drive back to Auckland at your leisure. Relax in Auckland for the afternoon or join the crew and enjoy an America’s Cup Sailing experience, a must-do experience where you get a chance to spend 2 hours out on the harbour on an actual America’s Cup yacht!
Stay 1 night in Auckland (city or airport to suit your departure flight).
Drop off your rental car at Auckland Airport and depart Auckland.
This New Zealand North Island itinerary is the perfect starting point as you begin planning your holiday. Most of the highlights of the North Island are located very close to the destinations along this route. For example, you can add top experiences such as:
Contact New Zealand Travel Organiser today to begin planning your North Island holiday.
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