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Great Northern Land

Starting with a relaxing break on Waiheke Island, you'll explore the boutique wineries on this balmy haven. You then journey south for a Coromandel Wilderness Adventure, Maori culture in Rotorua and the majestic mountains of Tongariro National Park as you hike the renowned Tongariro Crossing.

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About this NZ Road Trip

Self Drive - North Island

This suggested tour costs from NZD$4,451 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Auckland

10 days/9 nights

Boutique lodges & hotels

 Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible

 Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation, unlimited kms, airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers

 Viewed 6 times in the last 7 days

price pp from
NZD$4,451
based on twin share
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Detailed itinerary for this New Zealand Road Trip

Day 1 - Welcome to Auckland

Great Northern Land - Day 1
Private transfer Auckland airport to your accommodation

On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your Auckland accommodation.

Itinerary information by APP & in country support

Access to our exclusive New Zealand Touring APP. The APP includes your full itinerary and reservation details, all available online and offline as well as lots of other great information such as restaurant guides, weather forecasts and local activity suggestions. Instant itinerary updates and changes are available and it's easy to keep in touch with us. The App is free and easy to download on your mobile using Android or IOS.
You also have access to our free call number and after-hours service if you require support while on tour.

Welcome to Auckland City

Auckland, New Zealand's self-proclaimed "City of Sails" is the country's largest metro area. Resting between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, this urban paradise has something for everyone. Surrounded by native bush, rainforests and an abundance of beaches, Auckland is a playground for both the city savvy and those with an eye for adventure. Explore the central museums and galleries on foot, or take a drive through one of over 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Harbour Dinner Cruise with Explore

This unique on-water dining experience is not to be missed while you're in Auckland. Enjoy smooth sailing on the Waitemata Harbour - then watch this photogenic city come alive with twinkling lights. Enjoy your meal as you sail around the beautiful Auckland Harbour taking in the view as the sun slowly sets. You'll be treated to canapes and a drink as you set off towards Westhaven Marina. Choose between dining in the downstairs cabin or on deck to take in the iconic sights of the Auckland Harbour. To finish the evening off, savour your dessert course as you leisurely sail back to Auckland's vibrant Viaduct Harbour.

Your accommodation: Hotel Grand Windsor M Gallery by Sofitel

Located right on Queen Street the Grand Windsor Hotel Auckland is boutique and stylish property with an ideal location to enjoy and explore the vibrant heart of the 'City of Sails'.

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Day 2 - Take the scenic ferry to Waiheke Island where you'll enjoy a boutique wine tour

Great Northern Land - Day 2
Fullers Ferry Auckland to Waiheke Island

Take a scenic approximately 40-minute cruise through the Hauraki Gulf between the Auckland down town ferry terminal and Matiatia Wharf on Waiheke Island.

The Essence of Waiheke Wine Tour

Known as ‘New Zealand’s Island of Wine’, Waiheke has become home to a dedicated group of award-winning wine producers. With a unique micro-climate and the winemakers’ philosophy of “small is beautiful”, Waiheke has produced some of New Zealand’s most prestigious wines.
On this tour, you will visit three of Waiheke’s top vineyards and sample a range of their wines. Along the way enjoy a commentated scenic drive, learning about the Island’s history, geography, people and culture from your knowledgeable local guide.
After your wine tasting experience sit back, relax and finish the day with a lunch and a glass of Waiheke wine or beer at a local favourite.

Fullers Ferry Waiheke Island to Auckland

Take a scenic approximately 40-minute cruise through the Hauraki Gulf between Matiatia Wharf on Waiheke Island and the Auckland downtown ferry terminal.

Your accommodation: Hotel Grand Windsor M Gallery by Sofitel

Located right on Queen Street the Grand Windsor Hotel Auckland is boutique and stylish property with an ideal location to enjoy and explore the vibrant heart of the 'City of Sails'.

Meals included: Breakfast

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Day 3 - Travel through to the Coromandel Peninsula, if time allows stop at the quirky Driving Creek Railway

Great Northern Land - Day 3
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 SUV's.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Auckland to Pauanui

Leaving Auckland you will travel through rolling green Waikato countryside and across the fertile Hauraki Plains. Your drive will take you near the Firth of Thames, a haven for wildlife, in particular, the shorebirds at Miranda. Arriving into the historic gold town of Thames you then cross the Southern Coromandel Ranges and onto the scenic east coast of the peninsula, littered with white sandy beaches.
If you prefer the scenic route, head north from Thames up to the Coromandel Township, following Highway 25 around the peninsula past Kuaotunu and Whitianga, with a stop at Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove.
Your destination of Pauanui meaning big Paua in Maori, lies at the mouth of the Tairua River on its south bank, directly opposite the larger town of Tairua.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour

Driving Creek Railway and Potteries has become a Coromandel icon. The dream of Barry Brickell was to establish a pottery workshop on his land. Using a railway he would have access to the clay on the land and the pine kiln fuel. Over the next 15 years the railway developed until in 1990 it was finally licensed to carry fare paying passengers and ever since thousands of visitors have made the trip to Coromandel to experience this unique attraction. The 1 hour return train trip on the innovatively designed trains takes you through replanted native kauri forest and includes 2 spirals, 3 short tunnels, 5 reversing points and several large viaducts as it climbs up to the mountain-top terminus. The pottery is still producing and you can watch the artists at work as well as purchase items.

Your accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort

Puka Park Resort is situated on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula. Nestled amongst 25 acres of New Zealand's most beautiful native bush this prestigious hideaway offers luxury and seclusion at its best.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 151 kms / 94 miles : 1.9 hours

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Day 4 - Explore the Coromandel Peninsula wilderness

Great Northern Land - Day 4
Kiwi Dundee Wilderness Adventure day walk

Ideal for those who enjoy walking and photography. This day will take you into tranquil and remote pristine rainforest surrounded by giant rock faces, rugged volcanic peaks, ancient Kauri, Rimu and Rata trees. Wonder at the world's largest tree ferns, crystal clear rivers and rock pools. Visit historic gold caves, home to sparkling glowworms. Enjoy the fascinating history and learn about the flora and fauna within this magnificent forest. You experienced guided ensures you enjoy the region to the fullest and also carries your picnic lunch. This is a moderately challenging walk over some uneven surfaces.

Your accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort

Puka Park Resort is situated on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula. Nestled amongst 25 acres of New Zealand's most beautiful native bush this prestigious hideaway offers luxury and seclusion at its best.

Meals included: Breakfast

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Day 5 - Travel along the Bay of Plenty before turning inland towards the lakes of Rotorua

Great Northern Land - Day 5
Pauanui to Rotorua via Tauranga

Leaving Pauanui, head south to New Zealand's surfing mecca. In addition to lazing on the beach or surfing, Whangamata offers big game fishing, walking and mountain biking in native and exotic forests. Continuing on to Tauranga you will arrive into the harbourside city in the Bay of Plenty region. It hosts historic buildings like the Elms Mission Station, an 1847 Georgian-style home. A bridge over the harbour connects Tauranga to Mount Maunganui, a beach town with hot saltwater pools and an extinct namesake volcano with winding walking paths. Finally, you will arrive into the City of Rotorua. The regions geothermal activity becomes evident as you see steam rising from the roadside and surrounding hills. Considered the cultural centre for the Maori people, Rotorua is the ideal place to gain an insight into the history and culture. Visit the local museum located in the government gardens or the nearby Ohinemutu Village, the original site of the first Maori settlers in the area or enjoy a traditional Maori "Hangi" meal and a cultural performance. Of course, Rotorua is also a great place to enjoy many other activities including, fishing, 4WD trips, relaxing spa treatments, mountain biking, walking and hiking plus helicopter and float plane trips.

Your accommodation: Peppers on the Point

Peppers on the Point is a beautiful lodge accommodation in a stunning location and offering panoramic views. It also offers gourmet New Zealand food and wine, as well as a range of on site activities from pampering massage, fly fishing from the private beach, water sports, tennis, gym and boating and is only 10 minutes from the heart of Rotorua City.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 191 kms / 118 miles : 2.9 hours

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Day 6 - Explore the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua, this evening visit Mitai Maori Village

Great Northern Land - Day 6
Explore Rotorua

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. Geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to one of the Maori Villages should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.
Spike your adrenaline at Velocity Valley Adventure Park on stomach-dropping attractions such as static skydiving, or a giant swing reaching 130 km per hour. Alternatively, head up the Rotorua Gondola for soaring lake views, and ride the luge at night for an extra thrill.
Fans of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit should drive to nearby Matamata and experience the actual movie set ‘Hobbiton’. Make the most of your time in Rotorua with an excursion through the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, one of the area’s most colourful volcanic attractions.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Volcanic Air Mount Tarawera & Orakei Korako Thermal Explorer by Helicopter

Combine the thrill of landing on Mount Tarawera with a flight that includes spectacular aerial views of Rotorua's stunning crater lakes, the renowned Tarawera Falls and the vibrant Waimangu and Wai-O-Tapu geothermal reserves.
Leaving Wai-O-Tapu, descend to follow the Waikato River to the hidden valley of Orakei Korako. Once landed, you will ferry across the river and begin your land-based tour. Experience hot springs, gushing geysers and the natural beauty of this geothermal wonderland. Your return flight takes in views of farmland and the Paeroa mountain range before flying over Rotorua City and returning to the lakefront pier.

Mitai Maori Village

An evening at Mitai will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. Marvel at the beautiful bush setting and see warriors in traditional dress who paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream while trout and eels swim beneath the surface. Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal and round your evening off with a spectacular cultural performance that tells the story of the Maori people, their past, carvings, and ta Moko -Tattoo art. Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat and be amazed by the spine tingling Haka finale. Truly an experience to remember.

Your accommodation: Peppers on the Point

Peppers on the Point is a beautiful lodge accommodation in a stunning location and offering panoramic views. It also offers gourmet New Zealand food and wine, as well as a range of on site activities from pampering massage, fly fishing from the private beach, water sports, tennis, gym and boating and is only 10 minutes from the heart of Rotorua City.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day 7 - It's a short drive to Lake Taupo, then follow the lake edge towards Tongariro National Park

Great Northern Land - Day 7
Rotorua to Whakapapa Village

Today you'll drive from Rotorua to Tongariro National Park along the thermal highway. Pass through Taupo and be sure to check out the Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland or Waimangu Volcanic Valley - both well worth a visit if you can spare the time. Visit the Huka Falls, New Zealand's largest volume of water or take in the boiling mud pools and steam vents as you wander the nearby geothermal reserve, Craters of the Moon.

Continue on to the township of Turangi, known as one of the world's best trout fishing locations before emerging out into Tongariro National Park.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hukafalls 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: Bayview Chateau Tongariro

Bayview Chateau Tongariro, nestled at the foot of Mount Ruapehu, was completed in 1929 and still retains many of its original features. It is one of New Zealand's few hotels located in a World Heritage Park and offers the most prestigious accommodation in the region.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 168 kms / 104 miles : 2.0 hours

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Day 8 - Take on one of the world's greatest 1 day walks, the Tongariro Crossing

Great Northern Land - Day 8
Private Guided Tongariro Alpine Crossing with Adrift

For the exclusive guided trips you'll be provided with a really personal, informative and friendly day you will never forget. This trip is tailored so that group sizes are small, your guides are well informed and are able to provide you with an amazing experience. Your guide will also 'work behind the scenes' constantly assessing the weather and track conditions, timing for your Ketetahi personalised transport pick-up at the end of your hike, and other little details that will maximise your enjoyment. They can also tailor the trip to accommodate different fitness levels and know a few tricks about avoiding weather exposed or crowded areas.

Your accommodation: Bayview Chateau Tongariro

Bayview Chateau Tongariro, nestled at the foot of Mount Ruapehu, was completed in 1929 and still retains many of its original features. It is one of New Zealand's few hotels located in a World Heritage Park and offers the most prestigious accommodation in the region.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

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Day 9 - Travel north to Waitomo and explore the underworld labyrinth

Great Northern Land - Day 9
Whakapapa Village to Waitomo

Head through National Park and across rich rolling farmland to the limestone regions of Waitomo and the famous Waitomo Caves complex.

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

Explore a 30 million year old cave network spread across three levels. You'll travel deep underground through the limestone caves viewing stalactites and stalagmites as well as hearing about the caves historical and geological significance. You'll then hop into a boat and glide silently through the glow worm grotto - a galaxy of tiny living lights.

Your accommodation: Kamahi Cottage

Kamahi Cottage is a luxury country cottage, farm stay and self-contained 5 Star Bed & Breakfast just 30 minutes from Waitomo Caves. Ideal as an intimate romantic retreat or weekend getaway, it’s peaceful and private with stunning views. The setting is a large and lovely country garden on a typical New Zealand sheep and cattle farm.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 151 kms / 94 miles : 1.8 hours

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Day 10 - Return to Auckland, where you can explore further before departing for home

Great Northern Land - Day 10
Waitomo to Auckland City

The lush farmland of the Waikato and the limestone hills of the Waitomo region provide some great scenery as you head north. Visit the Otorohanga Kiwi House en route for a great look at some of New Zealand's native birds in particular our famous flightless namesake.

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: 202 kms / 125 miles : 2.5 hours

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