7 Day North Island Explorer
7 days starting in Wellington
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information

7 Day North Island Explorer

Travel through the heart of the North Island on this 7-day adventure. Begin in Wellington, famous for its vibrant, creative, culture, fuelled by great wine, food, craft beer and coffee. From here you will travel north through rural countryside, Taupo, Rotorua and onto metropolitan Auckland. Highlights on this tour include the Rotorua Canopy tree walk and the Huka Falls Jet.

Tour summary and feature

About this NZ Road Trip

Self Drive - North Island

This suggested tour costs from NZD$1,973 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Wellington, finishes in Auckland

7 days/6 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Rental car included

 Viewed 8 times in the last 7 days

Also included in this package
- Private transfer Wellington airport to your accommodation (IST)
Meals included: 1 dinner
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Tour full itinerary
Detailed itinerary for this New Zealand Road Trip
7 Day North Island Explorer - Day 1
Private transfer Wellington airport to your accommodation

You will be met on arrival at Wellington airport and transferred to your accommodation.

Welcome to Wellington

Wellington City is New Zealand's capital. It sits on a wonderful deep natural harbour and is surrounded by bush clad hills. The city centre itself is quite compact (only around 1 square kilometre) and so exploring on foot is relatively easy. From your city centre accommodation you can easily stroll the cafes and restaurants around Courtenay Place and if you arrive early enough New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, is also close by.

Your accommodation: Hotel Ibis Wellington

Hotel Ibis Wellington is ideally located in Featherston Street in the heart of Wellington City and easy walking distance to Wellington's famous cafe lifestyle.

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7 Day North Island Explorer - Day 2
Collect your rental car

This tour can be priced with any of the rental cars available in our fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige saloons and SUVs.

Wellington to Napier

Leaving Welllington today you will first pass the Wairarapa on the eastern side of the Rimutaka Ranges. A significant contrast to the hills of Wellington, it's rich pastures and boutique vineyards of Martinborough give way to grassy plains and rugged coastal shores. Go through Greytown, home to the largest number of wooden buildings in the country then stop in Masterton, a small farming town known for its Golden Shears competition - where shearers compete for the title of fastest shearer. Continue on to Hawkes Bay and Havelock North before arriving in Napier, the art deco capital of New Zealand.

Your accommodation: Art Deco Masonic Hotel

The Art Deco Masonic Hotel occupies a significant historic building on Napier’s waterfront and has been richly refurbished in keeping with the Art Deco architecture. With its central location and decadent décor, this is the best place to experience what Napier is famous for.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 320 kms / 199 miles : 4.0 hours

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7 Day North Island Explorer - Day 3
Explore Napier and the Hawke's Bay

With its Mediterranean climate and Art Deco style, Hawke's Bay is an attractive holiday prospect. As the nation's first winemaking region, a visit to one of its 30 wineries is a must. A trip to Mission Estate touted as the birthplace of NZ wine can't be missed. For the truly enthused head out on a tour of the vines. Those into Gatsby will enjoy the chance to view prominent Art Deco landmarks on a 1930s Vintage Car Tour. Passengers will spend just over an hour learning about the history of the city's architecture including the Napier Municipal Theatre, one of the top ten Art Deco Buildings in the world. If you're after some fresh air, hire a bike and take your pick of one of over 200km of cycling trails or head on down to one of the many beaches that ring the area. Ocean or Waimarama beach are good choices and both are patrolled by surf lifeguards during the summer. Indulge in some local produce and head out on a cheese, chocolate, honey or orchard tour.

Walking tracks in and around Hawkes Bay

There are some excellent walks in and around the Hawkes Bay region. The information below is provided by the Department of Conservation. Listed below are a selection of short walks but check with the Department of Conservation information centre for weather conditions, track suitability and conditions first.

Tangoio Falls Scenic Reserve Tracks
Discover Te Ana or Tangoio Falls on a short, easy walk suitable for kids, or take a longer walk through native bush on the Tangoio Walkway. .
Distance: 2 - 4.4 km one way. Completion Time: 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on which track you choose.

White Pine Bush Scenic Reserve
Experience New Zealand's remaining coastal forest on these short, easy walks that are good for children.
Distance: 1.6 km loop. Completion Time: 40 minutes.

Ahuriri Estuary
View a community of wading birds, fish, mud dwellers and aquatic plant life from the estuary track and boardwalk. Over 70 species of resident and migratory waterbirds use the estuary as a feeding and resting area.
Distance: 2.8 km one way. Completion Time: 1 hour.

Te Mata Park
Te Mata Park has a rich human and geological history, and is home to a range of unique plants and native birds. The park has five different walking options varying in difficulty and distance.
Distance: 1.3 km - 5.4 km. Completion Time: 40 minutes - 1 hours 15 minutes.

Lake Tūtira
There are two main walks at Lake Tūtira, a short walk along the edge of the lake or a longer loop through the reserve. Both offer great views of the lake as well as native and introduced plant species.
Distance: 1.3 km - 5.4 km. Completion Time: 40 minutes - 1 hours 15 minutes.

Cape Kidnappers/Te Kauwae-a-Māui Walking Track
Follow the beach from Clifton to Cape Kidnappers/Te Kauwae-a-Māui alongside cliffs that show fragmented fault and tilt lines, recording the gradual rise of New Zealand. Black Reef is the first gannet nesting site, 7.5 km from Clifton. A 1 km climb takes you from the shelter on the beach to a benched area on the hill where you can view the second colony, and spectacular views of Hawke's Bay.
Distance: 19 km loop. Completion Time: 5 hour return.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hawkes Bay Wine and Dine Tour with Grape Escape

Experience a fun-filled Grape Escape wine and dine tour in the sun driving through absolutely stunning scenery. Meet like-minded people and share an appreciation of this region's fantastic wine. We visit four to five boutique wineries. Later, we enjoy a light cheese platter on the grounds of Ngatarawa or Sileni, weather dependent. You will taste around 30 different wines along with the main varieties, including Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Viognier, and lesser-known aromatics such as Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer, and Riesling.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Little Penguin Close Encounter with National Aquarium of New Zealand

The National Aquarium of New Zealand stretches along Napier’s Marine Parade.  It's home to a wide range of saltwater, freshwater, and land animal exhibits from New Zealand and around the world. The Aquarium is one of the only places in New Zealand where you can have a Close Encounter with these entertaining little birds. Little Penguins are only found in New Zealand and South Australia. As part of your encounter, you'll also experience what goes on behind the scenes, discovering all about the day-to-day care of these character-filled little birds and taking part in hand-feeding them. Learn about their rescue and rehabilitation and also what you can do to help preserve this special species and their environment. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Native Icons Guided Tour in National Aquarium of New Zealand

The National Aquarium of New Zealand stretches along Napier’s Marine Parade.  It's home to a wide range of saltwater, freshwater, and land animal exhibits from New Zealand and around the world. Native Icon Guided Tour focuses on wonderful native icons including the Kiwi and Tuatara. It gives you the chance to view Kiwi in the wonderful nocturnal house where day turns into night. You will take a close look at Kiwi eggs, and learn about their quirky habits, favorite meals, and more. Tuatara can be tricky to spot - your guide will uncover the mysteries of New Zealand's 'living fossil' and then introduce you to the famous Little Penguins along with some of our other residents.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Triple Chocolate Dipper Tour with the Silky Oak Chocolate Company

A true chocolate indulgence combining chocolate tasting at Silky Oak Chocolate factory shop, entry into the Chocolate "Thru' the Ages" Museum, a Chocolate drink (or tea/coffee), chocolate muffin/ slice, served with liquid chocolate and cream at their Café.  You'll be presented with a bonus take-home gift - chocolate of course! This is chocolate overload for serious chocoholics!

Your accommodation: Art Deco Masonic Hotel

The Art Deco Masonic Hotel occupies a significant historic building on Napier’s waterfront and has been richly refurbished in keeping with the Art Deco architecture. With its central location and decadent décor, this is the best place to experience what Napier is famous for.

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7 Day North Island Explorer - Day 4
Napier to Taupo

Crossing the Ahimanawa Ranges you arrive into the town of Taupo sitting on New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo - a gigantic volcanic caldera formed during one of the world’s largest ever eruptions.  Just north of the Taupo are the Huka Falls and a short detour to view is advised. The Huka Jet can get you much closer with a thrilling jet boat ride. Nearby Craters of the Moon is a geothermal reserve with great walking tracks around its many boiling pools and steaming vents. Taupo is a lively place with many shops, bars and cafes all catering for the traveller and visitor. A whole host of activities can be undertaken here such as bungy jumping, sky diving, fishing for trout in the lake and rivers, kayaking, sailing, horse riding and walking and hiking to name but a few.

Huka Falls 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 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.
The water from the mighty Huka Falls runs down the Waikato River through a series of Hydro Power Stations. You'll get a view of the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station in the comfort of a powerful Chevrolet V8 jet boat. This unique Geothermal Power Station uses underground geothermal activity to produce hot steamy water. The Waikato Rivers beautiful environment is varied and unique and is New Zealand's longest river flowing north from our largest lake, Lake Taupō.

Your accommodation: Millennium Hotel & Resort Manuels Taupo

Millennium Hotel & Resort Manuels Taupo enjoys a magnificent location right on the shores of Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 130 kms / 81 miles : 1.5 hours

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7 Day North Island Explorer - Day 5
Taupo to Rotorua

The drive today takes you through the city of Rotorua, famous for its bubbling mud pools and Maori culture. Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland and the Waimangu Volcanic Valley are well signposted on the highway between the two towns. On Rotorua's lakefront Volcanic Air Safaris offer scenic flights over Mt. Tarawera, an impressive volcanic crater.
The Rotorua Museum and Blue Baths in the Government Gardens offer one of the best displays of any museum in the country. Focussing on local history the eruption of Mt. Tarawera in 1886 is brought to life.

Original Ziplining Experience with Rotorua 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. 

It is important you read and understand the risks associated with this activity. For more information see here.

Your accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua boasts a location that is second-to-none, right on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotorua. Adjacent to the world-famous Polynesian Spa complex and just a short stroll to all the attractions in Rotorua.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 76 kms / 47 miles : 0.9 hours

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7 Day North Island Explorer - Day 6
Rotorua to Auckland

The drive from Rotorua to Auckland takes you through the heart of the Waikato and its rich agricultural land. New Zealand's longest river, the Waikato guides you through the art and craft stores of Tirau and the township of Cambridge. Continue on a little further to arrive in Auckland City, your destination for the night.

Fullers Ferry Auckland to Rangitoto Island return trip

A short 25-minute cruise through the Waitemata Harbour to the Hauraki Gulf delivers you to Rangitoto Island. Rangitoto Island is the largest and youngest of the many volcanoes that make up the Auckland volcanic field. It erupted around 600 years ago, but is extinct now and safe to explore. During your cruise to and from the island enjoy fantastic views of Rangitoto Island and Auckland the 'City of Sails'. On reaching the island you can walk to the summit (1 hour direct) for great views of the Hauraki Gulf and over Waitemata Harbour looking back towards Auckland. There are a number of walking trails to explore this volcanic island, further information can be found at the Department of Conservation website.

Your accommodation: Sudima Auckland City

Conveniently located within easy walking distance of Auckland’s bustling shopping, arts, dining and entertainment precincts and opposite the New Zealand International Convention Centre.
Meals included: Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 219 kms / 136 miles : 2.6 hours

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Depart Auckland today

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

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 25 kms / 16 miles : 0.4 hours

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