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This popular New Zealand North Island itinerary for 7 days packs the best of the island into just one week. Experience highlights such as Hobbiton and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, and visit beaches and geothermal hotspots. The North Island is a place of stunning diversity, all packed within a small region.
This itinerary is perfect for couples, single travellers, and families with children of all ages. Read on for more details on the 7 Day Loop the North Island Package.
Arrive in Auckland – the “City of Sails” and New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is bordered by two stunning harbours. Collect your rental car from the airport, explore the city, then make your way to your accommodation.
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Driving time Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula 191 km / 119 miles, 3 hours
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.
Stay 1 night in Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula.
Driving time Coromandel Peninsula to Tauranga 166 km / 103 miles, 3 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.
Stay 1 night in Tauranga.
Driving time Tauranga to Matamata 52 km / 32 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 Shire’s Rest Café.
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.
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua.
Relax in Rotorua for the day. You might like to take a wander through Rotorua’s public Kuirau Park and discover the steaming, hissing and bubbling geothermal activity.
You also have the option to visit the Redwoods Treewalk, which features 23 suspension bridges through 115-year-old redwood trees, or explore the Government Gardens and Museum, located on the waterfront of Lake Rotorua.
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. 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.
Driving time Rotorua to Waitomo Caves 140 km / 87 miles, 2 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. 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 Hamilton 71 km / 44 miles, 1 hour
After your Waitomo Caves adventure,
Stay 1 night in Hamilton.
Driving time Hamilton to Auckland 124 km / 77 miles, 2 hours
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Drop your rental car off at Auckland Airport and depart Auckland.
One week is the perfect length of time for an introduction to the North Island. This New Zealand self drive package is fully customisable, which means we can tailor the itinerary to suit your preferences. The package outlined above is comfortably paced, with short driving times, and demonstrates what is possible within a 7-day timeframe.
We offer a range of alternative 7-day North Island holiday packages if you are looking for something a bit different.
Contact New Zealand Travel Organiser today to begin planning your unforgettable holiday.