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Itinerary Summary

DayPlaceHighlightsHotel Options
1 - 2AucklandVolcanic Peaks & Black Sand Beaches, Maori Culture, Food & WineAuckland City Hotel, M Social Auckland
2 - 5Paihia (Bay of Islands)Bay of Islands, Farmers Markets, Adventure SportsAppledore Lodge, The Sanctuary at Bay of Islands
5 - 6Te AraiTe Arai Lodge, Te Arai Lodge
6 - 8RotoruaWellness & Relaxation, Adventure Sports, Te Wairoa VillageThe Regent of Rotorua, Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel
8 - 10NapierArt Deco Buildings, Wine & Food, National AquariumArt Deco Masonic Hotel, The County Hotel
10 - 12WellingtonArt & Culture, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, Mount VictoriaDistinction WLG, Sofitel Wellington

Ideal For

  • Beaches
  • Heritage
  • Wine & Food
Julia Radtke Travel Consultant Enchanting Travels

Talk to us anytime1 888 263 2574

Itinerary Details

Day 1 - 2

International Arrival

You will be transferred from Auckland Airport to your hotel in a private vehicle


1 Night

From volcanic peaks, lush native canopies and black sand beaches, to hip entertainment districts, contemporary art scenes and gourmet experiences, there’s something for everyone in this populous waterfront city, the largest in New Zealand!

Hotel Options
RoomStandard Room
RoomSocial View Room
Day 2 - 5

Make your own way to the Auckland city center and pick up your rental car

Drive yourself from Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands in your rental car (Duration: 3-4 hrs)

Paihia (Bay of Islands)

3 Nights

Paihia, the main tourist town in North Island, is the perfect base for exploring the coves and beaches of the Bay of Islands. It’s beautiful sandy shores call out to sun worshippers, offering stunning views across the bay.

Included Activities

Group Tour: Hole in the Rock Cruise
Welcomed by seabirds on the Paihia wharf, embark on a catamaran cruise across the Bay of Islands, off New Zealand’s northeastern coast. Enjoy native flora and fauna while soaking in seascape vistas of rocky shores and hilly forested islands from the sunny deck. Watch seals basking in the sun, as you circle around the Seal Rock. Hopping between islands, you may be delivering mails and supplies enroute. Sipping on hot beverages from the onboard café, learn about the islands’ inhabitants, and Maori coming of age stories, thanks to informative onboard commentary. Tides permitting, pass through the majestic natural formation of the narrow ‘Hole in the Rock’ at Motukōkako. Stall for photo ops at its Grand Cathedral Cave, and await dripping water drops from the rock ceilings, considered as a good omen in the local culture. Continuing along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula, see the Cape Brett lighthouse nestled amid meadows, and observe other attractions including the Marsden Cross and the volcanic black rocks. (Duration: 3 hrs approx; Time: 0900/0910 hrs; Shared Activity; Fitness level: Easy; Please bring a hat, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes)

Group Tour of Waitangi Treaty Grounds with Waka Experience
The Bay of Islands is home to the Ngapuhi tribe and Taiamai Tours heritage journeys. The interactive Waka experience provides a rare and unique insight into their ancient customs, rituals, and traditions. Meet with local Ngapuhi whose traditional knowledge and storytelling skills are legendary in the Bay of Islands. Their ancient histories and stories are shared with you as you paddle together aboard the 40 ft Waka Taua (Maori War Canoe) on the tidal estuaries of the Waitangi River. Departing from the Waitangi Bridge, the Waka voyages are a perfect combination of eco and interactive cultural experiences. (Duration: 3 hrs; Time: 0900 hrs; An all-inclusive Waitangi Treaty Grounds Day Pass valid for 2 days is included; Fitness level: Easy).

Hotel Options
Appledore Lodge – Opt 1
RoomVictoria Room
RoomSea & Bush view Suit
Day 5 - 6

Drive yourself from Paihia (Bay of Islands) to Te Arai in your rental car (Duration: 2 hrs)

Te Arai

1 Night

Te Arai is located on the east coast of North Island, in the north of Auckland towards Mangawhai, where country roads end at beautiful white sand beaches.

Hotel Options
Te Arai Lodge – Opt 1
RoomBellbird Bunk Room
Te Arai Lodge – Opt 2
RoomKereru Suite
Day 6 - 8

Drive yourself from Te Arai to Rotorua in your rental car (Duration: 4 hrs)


2 Nights

From geothermal wonders at Kuirau Park located within the city center, to fumaroles, bubbling mud pools, and the pastel silica terraces of the Wai o Tapu valley, Rotorua is a haven for wellness enthusiasts.

Included Activities

Group Geothermal Hot Tubs and Maori Life Tour
Explore the wonders of the Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland and Waimangu Volcanic Valley on this day tour of the geothermal activities at Rotorua. After an early breakfast at your hotel, head to the volcanic valley’s boiling mud pools, volcanic fumaroles, and towering geysers that erupt daily in a powerful mist of sulphuric steam and fury. Stop along the way for lunch, before making your way to the Buried Village that was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera back in the 19th century. Dormant now, the panoramic vistas of the volcanic mountain and the volcanic Lake Tarawera is a sight to behold. Visit the Maori Village of Whakarewarewa and learn how the local people have been making the best of their steaming and boiling geothermal land in their daily lives for generations. Return to your hotel after a fascinating day of geological explorations and cultural discovery. (Duration: Full Day; Time: 0800 hrs; Shared Activity; Group size: Max 10 guests; Meal included: Lunch with hot beverages & bottled water; Fitness level: Moderate; Please wear comfortable walking shoes).

Group Maori Art and Culture Experience at Te Po
Witness indigenous art and craftwork up close on this evening tour in Rotorua. Start off from your hotel early in the evening with one of Te Puia’s best known local experts. Begin your tour at local weaving and carving schools where you can see pupils at work under the tutelage of master weavers and carvers. Afterward, you can visit some of the region’s award-winning galleries to see products on display and have each explained to you in as much detail as you wish. Also, visit Kiwi House to view New Zealand’s famous flightless bird from up close! Next on your itinerary is a visit to unique natural wonders in the area, including geysers and mud pools. Relax for a while and then continue on to Te Keketanga-a-Rangi (Heavenly Origins), a beautiful space where twelve carved structures reach skyward. This is where you can truly experience Maori culture and traditions, listening to tales and legends of the past and then gathering at the gateway of the marae or sacred site. Be welcomed in traditional Maori style and witness typical ceremonies such as a warrior’s challenge and a ‘kapa haka’ artistic performance as well. (Duration: Half Day; Shared Activity; Time of Day: 1630 hrs; Travel time to Activity: 30 mins)

Hotel Options
RoomCutie Room
RoomPool View Room
Day 8 - 10

Drive yourself from Rotorua to Napier in your rental car (Duration: 3 hrs)


2 Nights

A peaceful seaside town, Napier stands on Hawke’s Bay by the coast of New Zealand’s North Island. This seaport is best known for its resilient comeback following a devastating earthquake in the 1930s.

Included Activities

Group Tour of Hawke’s Bay
Discover the culture, cuisine, and heritage of picturesque Hawke’s Bay through this customized tour. Saunter past a cluster of diverse art deco buildings that dot the skyline of Napier. Stop by the workshops of innovative artists and browse through their diverse collections of sculptures, pots, and paintings. Interact with pioneering rural agriculturists who specialize in gourmet produce and stroll around the land where they nurture and harvest these fine food products that can be turned into epicurean delights. Indulge your taste buds with the finest of local wines at the prestigious wineries you will drop by. Soak in the essence of this beautiful region to your heart’s content until it is time to return. (Duration: 4 hrs; Shared Activity; Fitness Level: Easy. Town Center timings: 0900 – 1700 hrs)

Hotel Options
RoomArt Deco Studio
The County Hotel – Opt 2
RoomLuxury Room
Day 10 - 12

Drive yourself from Napier to Wellington in your rental car (Duration: 4-5 hrs)


2 Nights

Discover Wellington, a cosmopolitan harbor city brimming with art, culture, entertainment, and natural wonders. Wellington is also home to the protected Matiu/Somes Island reserve, and the Zealandia Ecosanctuary that conserves rare native flora and fauna.

Included Activities

Group Tour of Wellington
Take a tour of incredibly beautiful, wild landscapes and heritage sites in and around Wellington city. Beginning at the rugged South Coast – scarred by earthquakes over the years, this cliff meets ocean scenery is one of the most picturesque in the country! From your vantage, see the entrance to the harbor flanked by towering mountain ranges on South Island in the distance. Quaint little houses cling to these rocky cliffs by the side of motorways winding their way around the island. A little distance, take a cable car ride up the steep Mount Victoria. At the summit, panoramic views of the island, stark landscapes, ocean and distant shores await, apart from a birds eye view of the harbor below. Continue on to the most famous buildings in the vicinity, including the historic Parliament building that sits on a vast tract of lush green lawn. Also explore the Old St. Paul’s cathedral; constructed from timber, it’s a vibrant gathering space for the local community. As your tour winds down, don’t forget to stop and refuel at a quaint coastal cafe or two. (Duration: 4 hrs; Shared Activity; Time of Day: 0900/1330 hrs; Tea and bottled water included)

Personalized Maori Heritage Tour at Te Papa Museum
Explore the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa that overlooks the Wellington waterfront. Through this delightful experience, get an in-depth understanding of New Zealand, its history of human settlements, stunning geographical features, and fascinating native lifestyles. Begin with the interactive backlit floor map of New Zealand, where you can step on to view regional highlights of Māori landscape and see exhibits of the island’s extinct species. Learn about Māori culture from an indigenous perspective and their influence in modern society. Browse through Māori arts, crafts, ships, dresses, and treasures while listening to traditional tribe stories and legends. Marvel at the intricate carvings on an old wharenui of a Māori meeting hall, called the marae, and admire a large pounamu greenstone immersed in a pond. End with a hongi greeting, before returning to your hotel. (Duration: 1 hr; Time: On-demand; Private Activity; Fitness Level: Easy)

Hotel Options
Distinction WLG – Opt 1
RoomStudio Suite
RoomClassic Room

Drive yourself to Wellington airport and drop off your rental car

International Departure

 Price & Inclusions

  • Option 1 From $ 3,690 /person
  • Option 2 From $ 5,290 /person

Prices are in USD and exclude international flights. This trip price is based on low season rates for accommodation and other applicable services, and may change depending on availability, currency fluctuations and number of people traveling together. For high season prices, please contact us with your exact travel dates and preferences.

Price Includes

  • Accommodation & meals as specified in the itinerary
  • Activities & excursions as specified in the itinerary
  • Transportation services as specified in the itinerary
  • Your Trip Coordinator: a 24/7 point of contact supporting you during your trip

Not Included

  • Entrance fees & meals, unless mentioned in the itinerary description
  • Tips & personal expenses
  • Visa & tourism fees
  • Travel, health and cancellation insurance
  • International airfare
Inquire Now
Road Trip: North Island Discovery

12 days $ 3,690 / person

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