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Plan an unforgettable holiday with this New Zealand North Island self drive itinerary. The Coast & Culture Package includes accommodation, a rental car, and a range of unforgettable activities. Experience diverse landscapes from Auckland to Wellington. Cruise through the stunning Bay of Islands, join a Maori cultural evening in Rotorua, and fly above Lake Tekapo on a floatplane.
Read on for more details on the 10 Day North Island Coast & Culture Package.
Arrive in Auckland – the “City of Sails” is New Zealand’s largest city and is bordered by two stunning harbours. Collect your rental car from the airport and make your way to your accommodation.
Relax in Auckland today. Your options include visiting the Sky Tower, the Auckland Zoo, or Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World; venturing to one of Auckland’s stunning beaches or West Auckland wineries, or doing a spot of shopping.
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Driving time Auckland to Bay of Islands 219 km / 136 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 Coromandel 388 km / 241 miles, 6 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. Dig your own hot pool at Hot Water Beach, explore the Coromandel Forest Park, or sea kayak the coastline, exploring beaches, volcanic reefs, caves and the world famous Cathedral Cove!
Stay 2 nights in Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula.
You could also make a day trip to one of the nearby towns, such as Coromandel Town, known for its charming mix of Victorian architecture, beaches and forests. While in the area, you could ride the Driving Creek Railway, New Zealand’s only narrow-gauge mountain railway journey, which climbs through regenerating native Kauri forest. Unique pottery sculptures and tile murals line the track, with spectacular views over the Hauraki Gulf from the ‘Eyefull Tower’.
Driving time Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua 252 km / 157 miles, 3 hours
Enjoy the scenic drive to Rotorua, distinguished by Maori culture and geothermal activity!
Visit Rotorua’s Skyline Gondola. The Skyline Rotorua complex is situated just minutes from central Rotorua, high up Mt Ngongotaha. To begin your Skyline Rotorua adventure, take a leisurely uphill gondola ride and enjoy the extensive views over Rotorua and the surrounding lakes and geothermal areas. At the top, enjoy the famous Skyline Buffet and feast on delicious New Zealand fare for lunch, served up with the best views in town! At the top of the gondola you also have the option to add on a thrilling Luge Ride, enjoy nature walks, and visit the Jelly Belly Shop and Volcanic Hills winery and tasting room.
In the evening, enjoy a 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.
Stay 1 night in Rotorua.
Driving time Rotorua to Taupo 76 km / 47 miles, 1 hour
Enjoy a short drive south to Taupo, rich in natural beauty and filled with attractions such as the Huka Falls, incredible bush walks, relaxing boat cruises, bungy jumping and the famous Great Lake Hole-in-One-Golf Challenge.
Experience the area with a Taste of Taupo Scenic Floatplane Flight – highlights include flying over the Craters of the Moon.
Stay 1 night in Taupo.
Driving time Taupo to Napier 142 km / 88 miles, 2 hours
Head to the East Coast and discover Napier, the Art Deco Capital of New Zealand set within the country’s oldest and second largest wine growing region, the Hawke’s Bay, overflowing with award-winning wines. If nature is of interest, add on the Safari Overland to Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony, the world’s largest, most accessible Gannet nesting place.
Stay 1 night in Napier.
Driving time Napier to Wellington 319 km / 198 miles, 4.5 hours
Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, has so much to offer. Set on the edge of a stunning harbour, surrounded by rolling hills, it’s a city rich in culture waiting to be explored. From shopping and picturesque walks to concerts, live theatre, exhibitions, festivals, Te Papa Tongarewa: the Museum of New Zealand and more – Wellington has something for everyone.
Stay 2 nights in Wellington.
Discover Wellington with a half or full-day Wellington or Lord of the Rings Tour.
Relax and enjoy Wellington City for the day. Options include visiting top Wellington attractions such as Te Papa, Weta Workshop, Wellington Cable Car, Mt Victoria Lookout and Wellington Zoo. You may also like to visit Zealandia, located a 10 minute drive from downtown Wellington. Hidden in a suburban valley, this project aims to return a 225 hectare section of bush to its pre-human state. Take a walk and hear the songs of the flourishing native bird population.
You may also like to visit Zealandia, located a 10-minute drive from downtown Wellington. Hidden in a suburban valley, this project aims to return a 225-hectare section of bush to its pre-human state. Take a walk and hear the songs of the flourishing native bird population.
Drop off your rental car at Wellington Airport and depart Wellington.
This North Island self drive holiday package is fully customisable. As you begin planning your holiday, your personal travel consultant will work with you to tailor the itinerary to suit. From activities to destinations, we will ensure your holiday matches exactly what you are looking for.
In addition, we offer a range of alternative 10 day North Island holiday packages for inspiration.
Contact New Zealand Travel Organiser today to begin planning your North Island holiday.
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