21 Day North Island Explorer Holiday Package
Discover the North Island with this all inclusive self drive North Island tour and holiday package…
North Island Holiday Package Includes:
- 21 Nights in 4 Star Accommodation
- Car Hire: Premium Toyota Corolla Automatic including Full Insurance (0-18 months old)
- Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise
- Bay of Islands Hole in the Rock Cruise
- Dune Rider Day Excursion
- Hahei Explorer Boat Tour to Cathedral Cove
- Scenic Helicopter Flight over Mount Maunganui and Tauranga
- Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
- Te Puia Te Po Maori Evening Experience including Hangi Dinner
- Skyline Gondola and Buffet Dinner Combo Rotorua
- Peek at Lake Taupo Scenic Floatplane Flight
- Overland Safari to Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony
- Waitomo Caves Combo (Waitomo Glowworm Cave and Ruakuri Cave)
Day 1 Arrive Auckland
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, explore the city, then make your way to your accommodation.
Stay 2 nights in Auckland City.
Day 2 Auckland
Relax in the city for the day, exploring attractions such as the Sky Tower, the Auckland Zoo, and Viaduct Harbour, or doing a bit of boutique shopping.
In the evening, enjoy a unique dining experience on Auckland’s magnificent Waitemata Harbour. An on-water dining experience is not to be missed in any harbour city, especially in Auckland, which is defined by its two harbours. Enjoy great sailing and, as the sun sets, watch the night lights of this photogenic city come alive. Your experienced crew will talk about Auckland’s unique features, and there is plenty of opportunity to participate in the sailing or sit back and enjoy the sights. Choose from a set menu served by the crew during the dinner stop at a sheltered mooring. Compliment your meal from the selection of locally produced wine or beer and make a toast to a fantastic holiday!
Day 3 Bay of Islands
Driving time Auckland to Bay of Islands 219 km / 136 miles, 3 hours
Drive to the Bay of Islands, renowned for its 144 Islands and surreal maritime park where you will find an abundance of marine life that includes whales, penguins and dolphins. In the afternoon, relax on one of the many warm, secluded beaches and explore the area.
Stay 3 nights in Paihia, Bay of Islands.
Day 4 Bay of Islands
Today, discover the world famous ‘Hole in the Rock’ on the biggest vessel in the bay and look out for dolphins, whales, birds and other wildlife (lifetime dolphin viewing guarantee). Cruise among the 144 islands and enjoy the stunning scenery and informative commentary about marine mammals, geography and history.
In the afternoon, option to experience Maori culture by visiting Waitangi’s treaty house, gardens and national marae (meeting house).
Day 5 Bay of Islands
Experience the ‘Dune Rider‘ full day tour, which will bring you to the northernmost point of New Zealand via Ninety Mile beach. Includes early morning pick up at your accommodation; coastal cafe morning tea stop before arriving at Gumdiggers park where ancient Kauri forest was buried thousands of years ago (entry fee included); 4WD drive tour along 90 Mile Beach with a stop to wet your feet; breathtaking views that go on forever as you drive along this highway of the North; and a chance to climb the giant sand dunes and toboggan back down. Upon arriving at Cape Reinga, take in the magnificent sweeping views where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet. This is an amazing full-day trip.
Day 6 Coromandel Peninsula
Driving time Bay of Islands to Coromandel Peninsula 406 km / 252 miles, 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.
Day 7 Coromandel Peninsula
Discover the excitement and adventure of the Hahei Explorer boat tour to Cathedral Cove – the most photographed beach in New Zealand. Penguins, seals and dolphins are a big favourite when they take time out of their busy schedules to visit the boat. Visit places only accessible by boat, including coastal islands in the marine reserve and spectacular sea caves. When the tide is right you will be taken inside an amazing blowhole 80 feet high – a truly magical place.
Day 8 Tauranga
Driving time Coromandel Peninsula to Tauranga 170 km / 106 miles, 2.5 hours
The Bay of Plenty is one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in New Zealand. Located along the idyllic Pacific Coast Highway, it offers a great mix of activities, beaches and dining experiences. Tauranga is the main centre, whilst the coastal suburb of Mt Maunganui is the region’s seaside resort.
In the afternoon, join Aerius Helicopters for an amazing scenic helicopter flight! Experience a different view of Mount Maunganui and Tauranga city. This flight will take you along the white sandy coastline to the Mount’s Main Beach. Fly around “The Mount” and over Matakana Island on your way to Tauranga city. Sharks and stingrays are often seen in the shallows during the summer months. This is a great way to see the busy port of Tauranga, along with the beautiful inner harbour. The Kaimai Ranges, Bowentown heads, and Mayor Island are all visible on a clear day.
Stay 2 nights in Tauranga.
Day 9 Tauranga
Driving time Coromandel Peninsula to Tauranga 170 km / 106 miles, 2.5 hours
Relax in the Bay of Plenty for the day. Around Tauranga are hectares of orchards and gardens producing everything from kiwifruit and citrus fruit to avocados. Add to this bounty the local wines and the plentiful fresh seafood and you just know that this is a place where you will dine well. Mount Maunganui, a short distance from Tauranga, has spectacular beaches which are a magnet for surfers all year round and voted New Zealand’s best by TripAdvisor.
Day 10 Hobbiton > Rotorua
Driving time Tauranga to Matamata 48 km / 29 miles, 1 hour
Make your way to Matamata to discover the real Middle-earth on the most picturesque private farmland. Near Matamata, visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. The set has been completely rebuilt and will remain as it was seen in the films. There are spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges from the rolling green hills of the movie set, which is still a working sheep and beef farm. You can relax and soak up the unique atmosphere with a great cup of coffee or a light meal in The Shires Rest Cafe.
Driving time Matamata to Rotorua 68 km / 42 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.
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 2 nights in Rotorua.
Day 11 Rotorua
Relax in Rotorua for the day.
In the evening, enjoy dinner at Rotorua’s most spectacular location – Skyline Restaurant.
Sit back and relax as the views from the gondola unfold on your journey to the Skyline complex. The Skyline Restaurant will then serve you a mouthwatering taste of New Zealand, a buffet of legendary proportions. Feast on mouth-watering fresh soups, salads and seafood specialties such as mussels, queen scallops, sushi and sashimi. Enjoy carvery roasts of beef, lamb or pork with specialty sauces to match, with live cooking from your friendly chefs. The legendary Art of the Grill menu will tempt your taste buds even further, with a selection of fillet steak, prawn and Morten Bay Bugs – all cooked on the grill to your liking. Add to that a range of sumptuous desserts, and you’ve got yourself a unique dining experience not to be missed. Tiered seating guarantees stunning views from every table! After dinner, enjoy the scenic ride back down on the gondola.
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.
Day 12 Taupo
Driving time Rotorua to Taupo 76 km / 47 miles, 1 hour
Enjoy the short drive south to Taupo, rich in natural beauty and filled with attractions such as the Huka Falls, relaxing boat cruises, and bungy jumping.
Enjoy a Peek at the Lake Scenic Floatplane Flight, which takes off from Taupo Bay and continues past Acacia Bay to Rangatira Point, viewing the crystal clear waters of Whakaipo Bay. Climb up through Mapara Valley, view red scoria quarries, then discover the headwaters of the Waikato River. Fly over the Craters of the Moon and over the Borefields of the Wairakei Power Station, followed by a circuit of the Huka Falls, before returning over Taupo to land on the lakefront (20 minutes approx).
Stay 2 nights in Taupo.
Day 13 Taupo
Relax in Taupo for the day. Taupo is a great lake for water-skiing, sailing and kayaking. The Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay, which can only be seen from the water, make for a great boat trip or kayaking excursion. The forests surrounding the lake offer hiking and mountain biking to suit all levels of experience. Just north of Lake Taupo you’ll find New Zealand’s most visited attraction, the magnificent Huka Falls, where more than 220,000 litres of water thunder over the cliff face every second.
Day 14 Napier
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, Hawkes Bay, Napier is surrounded by picturesque vineyards and wineries.
Explore the Napier and Hasting wine region in the afternoon if you wish, and visit vineyards and cellar doors at your leisure.
Stay 2 nights in Napier.
Day 15 Napier
Enjoy the drive along the scenic coast from Napier to Te Awanga, and visit the world’s largest, most accessible gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers. Gannet Safaris has been guiding visitors over Cape Kidnappers for over 35 years. The safaris are the only way to approach within a few feet of these remarkable birds. There is absolutely no walking required. You will travel in comfort in the air conditioned 4 x 4 Mini Coach through Cape Kidnappers Station – traversing riverbeds, broad rolling pastures, stands of native bush, steep gullies and breathtaking inclines. There is a stop on the way at a spectacular cliff top with panoramic views of Hawke Bay right across to the Mahia Peninsula. The amazing geology of the area can also be taken in. The 36km, three hour trip includes commentary by your tour guide / driver on the farming operation at Cape Kidnappers Station and an introduction to the gannets. On arrival at the gannet colony, you can stretch your legs and take in the spectacular scenery from your position at the brink of the cliff’s edge – 100 metres above the ocean. Here your guide will serve you light refreshments whilst you enjoy watching the gannets perform around you.
Day 16 Wellington
Driving time Napier to Wellington 319 km / 198 miles, 4 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.
Day 17 Wellington
Relax and explore Wellington today, with the option to add on a Wellington Lord of the Rings Tour!
Day 18 New Plymouth
Driving time Wellington to New Plymouth 351 km / 218 miles, 4.5 hours
As a popular tourist destination, New Plymouth is well-known for its black sand beaches, which offer some of the best surfing in the country. Other attributes include Mount Taranaki and the Egmont National Park, a Mecca for trampers. In contrast with the outdoors lifestyle, New Plymouth also has an artistic side as it is home to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, NZ’s only contemporary art museum with a permanent collection.
Stay 2 nights in New Plymouth.
Day 19 New Plymouth
Explore New Plymouth’s beaches, famous walkway and unique city.
Day 20 Waitomo Caves > Hamilton
Driving time New Plymouth to Waitomo Caves 180 km / 111 miles, 2.5 hours
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. Ruakuri Cave is home to an innovative spiral entrance, echoing waterfalls, and limestone that flows into delicate shawl-like formations. Nearby, at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, thousands of tiny glowworms cling to the cave ceiling, creating a starry sky within the underground night. You’ll also see a deep limestone shaft and a soaring subterranean cathedral that will leave you speechless.
Driving time Waitomo Caves to Hamilton 73 km / 45 miles, 1 hour
After your Waitomo Caves adventure, 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 cafes, art galleries, and shopping through to an ever-changing calendar of high profile events, Hamilton is a great holiday destination.
Stay 2 nights in Hamilton.
Day 21 Hamilton
Relax in Hamilton for the day, exploring attractions such as the Raglan’s surf coast, Te Aroha Mineral Pools, the chocolate and candy factory, Hamilton Gardens and the weekly markets.
Day 22 Depart Auckland
Driving time Hamilton to Auckland 126 km / 78 miles, 2 hours
Drive back to Auckland at your leisure. Drop your rental car off at Auckland Airport and depart Auckland.