Fine Tours New Zealand
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Call us FREE in New Zealand on 1855 277 3818

Similar itineraries

Behind The Scenes in New Zealand

14 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Queenstown
Accommodation style: Hotel 3 star

8 day Northern Family Fun Break

8 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Auckland
Accommodation style: Motels

13 day Southern Family Adventure

13 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Motels

 

16 Day North Island Family Adventure

Auckland to Wellington, 16 days 15 nights self drive tour, staying in Apartments

16 Day North Island Family Adventure
16 Day North Island Family Adventure
16 Day North Island Family Adventure
16 Day North Island Family Adventure

Tour map

Travel the length of the North Island, enjoying an amazing range of fun activities and attractions along the way. Begin with a climb to the top of Auckland Harbour Bridge, then it's on to swimming with dolphins in the Bay of Islands, snorkeling in the Coromandel, and stopping for a visit to Hobbiton village. Spend a day rafting on the Rangitikei River as part of your Maori experience, and finish up in the capital city of Wellington, where you'll enjoy a twilight adventure in Zealandia, Wellington's amazing urban wildlife ecosanctuary.

The approximate total driving distance and time for this itinerary is: 1756 kms / 1089 miles, 22.4 hours

You can expect to spend around NZ$253 in fuel cost on this itinerary based on an intermediate sized car.

 

Day 1

Arrive Auckland, transfer to your accommodation and rest of day at leisure

Personal meet and greet, and private transfer to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. The pack contains everything you need for the duration of your stay. It will include a comprehensive, printed and bound version of your itinerary as well as clear driving instructions and maps for each leg of your journey. It also contains all the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - along with relevant brochures and information. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support - details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.

Welcome to Auckland City

Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City
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.

Your accommodation - SkyCity Hotel Auckland

Style: Hotel 4 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$30-NZ$35 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
SkyCity Hotel Auckland
SkyCity Hotel Auckland
SkyCity Hotel Auckland
SkyCity Hotel Auckland
 

Day 2

Explore Auckland and take in the views from atop the Auckland Harbour Bridge, then a thrilling Jet Boat Ride

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday.  You can choose from an extensive range of late model cars and 4WD vehicles, from Europcar, Budget or Hertz.

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 Harbour Bridge Climb

Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb
Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb
Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb
Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb

This spectacular AJ Hackett walking tour is the only bridge climb in New Zealand and the ultimate way to experience the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge. All walkways are custom engineered and gentle sloping archways mean this activity is suitable for all ages. As you're guided to the top you'll be greeted with a 360 degree, panoramic view of the sparkling Waitemata harbour. See the best of the city from above and learn all about the secrets of the bridge!

Auckland Jet Boat Tour

Auckland Jet Boat Tour
Auckland Jet Boat Tour
Auckland Jet Boat Tour
Auckland Jet Boat Tour

Enjoy a ride on Auckland’s only Twin V8 Boat on the Waitemata Harbour seeing many of Auckland’s iconic landmarks including the Sky Tower, Harbour Bridge, Chelsea Sugar Works, Rangitoto Island & Hauraki Gulf.

Once leaving Auckland Viaduct the pace changes rapidly. Your experienced Jet Boat Skipper will whisk you into the Hauraki Gulf for views of historic Devonport and North Head. Be sure to take advantage of some local information and photo opportunities as you cross to the other side of the Harbour. Prepare yourself to race past Bean Rock towards the Rangitoto Volcano with a few spins and high-powered stops around Okahu Bay on the way.

The ride lasts approximately 30 minutes. When time is limited, what better way to experience Auckland, better known as the city of sails, than from the water in an action packed adventure.

Your accommodation - SkyCity Hotel Auckland

Style: Hotel 4 star

 

Day 3

Drive North to the tropical Bay of Islands

Driving distance and time: 226 kms / 140 miles : 2.9 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands

Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands
Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands
Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands
Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands

The trip from Auckland to the Bay Of Islands takes around 3.5 hours but give yourself some leeway for stops and sightseeing. As you go through Puhoi, take in the bohemian atmosphere of this historical township. Stop for a breath of fresh salty air in Whangarei and take another break at Kawakawa - home to the world famous Hundertwasser toilets. Enjoy the native bush surrounds and marvel at the endless golden beaches as you arrive into central Bay Of The Islands, Paihia.

Your accommodation - Sea Spray Suites

Style: Motels - premium

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking
Sea Spray Suites
Sea Spray Suites
Sea Spray Suites
Sea Spray Suites
 

Day 4

Explore Bay of Islands including a chance to swim with the dolphins

Explore the Bay of Islands

Explore the Bay of Islands
Explore the Bay of Islands
Explore the Bay of Islands
Explore the Bay of Islands

Commonly known as the ‘winterless north’ New Zealand’s Bay of Islands is made up of over 140 subtropical atolls. Renowned for its untouched beaches, abundant marine life and idyllic climate, this tropical paradise ticks all the boxes. Spend some time on a remote stretch of beach, or cool off during a ‘swim with dolphins’ ocean safari. If diving is your thing, take the morning to descend the Rainbow Warrior - The Greenpeace flagship sunk by French saboteurs in 1985. Wander around Russell, a whaling port founded in 1843. Learn about our culture in historic Waitangi, the site where The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the Maori and European settlers dictating the terms by which New Zealand would become a British colony. Take a travel day to Cape Reinga, the very top of the North Island.

Dolphin Eco Encounter

Dolphin Eco Encounter
Dolphin Eco Encounter
Dolphin Eco Encounter
Dolphin Eco Encounter

Dolphins are fascinating creatures, and in the Bay of Islands we are blessed with their presence all year round. This eco cruise gives you the chance to get into the water and swim with dolphins as they play in their natural environment (conditions permitting). You'll also cruise the many secluded islands of the Bay and gain an insight into this historically significant region. This intimate half-day cruise seeks out the many playful dolphins within the sheltered waters of the Bay You will look out for bottlenose and common dolphins, baleen whales, orca, seals, fish, penguins and other sea and bird life. The experienced crew have specialist knowledge of dolphin behaviour - join them in searching for those tell-tale splashes from our purpose-built dolphin watching boat Tutunui.

Your accommodation - Sea Spray Suites

Style: Motels - premium

 

Day 5

Return to Auckland travelling via Waipoua Forest and the 'big trees'

Driving distance and time: 343 kms / 213 miles : 4.4 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Bay of Islands via Waipoua Forest to Auckland

Bay of Islands via Waipoua Forest to Auckland
Bay of Islands via Waipoua Forest to Auckland
Bay of Islands via Waipoua Forest to Auckland
Bay of Islands via Waipoua Forest to Auckland

Today you will leave the Bay of Islands for a scenic return trip to Auckland. Head west, leaving the Pacific Ocean for the wilder seas of the Tasman and Hokianga. Go through the small townships of Omapere and Opononi, each with a great seaside feel.

Your route now goes south through Waipoua Forest, home to the largest and oldest Kauri trees in the country. Make sure you allow time for several of the signposted short walks as you pass - not to be missed is the five minute loop to view the largest of all the trees -Tane Mahuta.

As you make your way back down the country you’ll pass the Matakohe Kauri Museum with extensive displays on the region’s logging, farming and social history. Continuing on, go through Warkworth and the bohemian settlement of Puhoi before crossing the harbour bridge to arrive in Auckland city.

Your accommodation - SkyCity Hotel Auckland

Style: Hotel 4 star

 

Day 6

Head to the Coromandel Peninsula and Whitianga with a stop at Driving Creek Railway on the way

Driving distance and time: 204 kms / 127 miles : 3.0 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Auckland to Coromandel Township

Auckland to Coromandel Township
Auckland to Coromandel Township
Auckland to Coromandel Township
Auckland to Coromandel Township

As you leave the Auckland city boundary the landscape changes to lush farmland. You'll cross the fertile Hauraki Plains - one of New Zealand's largest dairy producing regions. Pass the Thames Estuary - a haven for wildlife and shore birds. Arriving into the old gold mining town of Thames, there are two different routes to the east coast of the Coromandel. Either directly over the Coromandel Ranges or north to Coromandel Township along the Pohutukawa Coast (part of the Pacific Coast Highway).

Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour

Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour
Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour
Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour
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.

Coromandel Township to Whitianga

Coromandel Township to Whitianga
Coromandel Township to Whitianga
Coromandel Township to Whitianga
Coromandel Township to Whitianga

The short drive from Coromandel Township to Whitianga takes you via the scenic coastline of Whangapoua Harbour and the Kuaotuna beach. For beach lovers there are plenty of side roads to often deserted golden sand beaches and bays. Whitianga sits on Mercury Bay on the eastern coast of the Coromandel peninsular, Captain Cook arrived there in 1769 to observe the transit of Mercury and hence the bay was named. This small bustling town once played a major part in the kauri logging industry with over 150 million metres of timber being exported between 1830 and the end of the century. The Whitianga museum, housed in the old dairy factory displays an interesting collection designed to relay engrossing tales of the time. Today the town has a many cafes and craft shops with its income derived mainly from tourists. The summer months bring visitors to enjoy fishing, surfcasting and swimming along the palm fringed beaches. But the largest attraction is probably the big game marlin fishing with many charters available to hunt in the rich waters of the Pacific Ocean. On the other side of the harbour is Australasia's oldest stone wharf from where a passenger ferry takes visitors to the delightful Cooks Beach just a 5 minute walk along the road. Nearby is Buffalo Beach, named after H.M.S. Buffalo, a ship taking convicts and settlers to South Australia that blew aground in 1840.

Your accommodation - Oceans Resort

Style: Apartments

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Laundry facilities: In room
  • Swimming pool
  • Childrens playground
  • All rooms non smoking
Oceans Resort
Oceans Resort
Oceans Resort
Oceans Resort
 

Day 7

Explore the Coromandel Peninsula and Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve

Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga

Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga
Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga
Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga
Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga

Explore the volcanic coastline with its many caves, blowholes and golden beaches all from the comfort and safety of an ex coastguard 28 ft cruiser. Departing from Whitianga Wharf journey past the towering Shakespeare's Cliffs and historic Cooks Beach. Visit Cathedral Cove and the islands in the marine reserve. There is also a chance to swim with the abundant fish in the reserve (on board snorkel gear provided - dont forget your swimsuit and towel). For those who prefer to stay dry an underwater camera relays images to an onboard TV.

Your accommodation - Oceans Resort

Style: Apartments

 

Day 8

Today head to Rotorua stopping at Hobbiton on the way!

Driving distance and time: 221 kms / 137 miles : 2.9 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Whitianga to Matamata

Whitianga to Matamata
Whitianga to Matamata
Whitianga to Matamata
Whitianga to Matamata

Head south along the Peninsula, passing the idyllic seaside communities of Hahei, Hotwater Beach and Tairua before turning inland.   Continuing south you’ll pass through Paeroa, the home of New Zealand’s iconic soft drink L&P, keep an eye out for the giant bottle.  Next is the beautiful Edwardian spa town of Te Aroha "The Mountain of Love" is famous for sparkling hot mineral spas and the world's only hot soda water geyser.  Once you reach Matamata you are in hobbit country and the route takes you to the town of Matamata where you can visit the film locations made famous in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies at Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours.

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Become immersed in The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films when you visit the actual Hobbiton movie set. Located just outside of Matamata - in the heart of the lush Waikato farming region, your two hour tour will begin with a drive through a picturesque sheep farm. You'll then be taken through Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill and the Party Tree while your guide shares behind-the-scenes tales and fascinating insight into the making of the films.

Matamata to Rotorua

Matamata to Rotorua
Matamata to Rotorua
Matamata to Rotorua
Matamata to Rotorua

Just south of Matamata is the township of Tirau, home to the largest tin sheep and sheepdog, but it also offers a surprising number of bric a brac, art, craft and antique stores if you feel like browsing. Arriving 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. The Rotorua Museum located in the government gardens is outstanding and its displays and presentations focus on the local Maori tribes and the major events through history that have affected them. Dominating the display is the devastating volcanic eruption of Mt. Tarawera in 1886 but also of great interest is the Maori battalion display which portrays stories of this once feared military unit. Nearby Ohinemutu Village is the original site of the first Maori settlers in the area and despite its now modern surroundings and buildings you can still gain a sense of what the original village was like. The magnificent meeting house and historic carvings along with the unique 'Tudor-style' St Faiths Church feature in many visitors photo albums. One of the most popular introductions to the Maori Culture is through an evening at Mitai Maori Village where you can enjoy performances and demonstrations followed by a traditionally cooked hangi meal. 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 - Quest Rotorua Central

Style: Apartments

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$10-NZ$15 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: In room
  • All rooms non smoking
Quest Rotorua Central
Quest Rotorua Central
Quest Rotorua Central
Quest Rotorua Central
 

Day 9

Visit Te Puia for an introduction to Maori culture, then fly through the trees on a forest zipline tour

Explore Rotorua

Explore Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Explore Rotorua

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. But geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to the Mitai Maori Village should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.Live on the edge when you hop aboard a helicopter bound for White Island, New Zealand’s most active volcano. Spike your adrenaline at Agroventures on stomach-dropping attractions such as static skydiving, or a giant swing reaching 130 km per hour. Go up the 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 colorful volcanic attractions.

Te Puia - Te Rā Day Pass and Cultural Performance Combo

Te Puia - Te Rā Day Pass and Cultural Performance Combo
Te Puia - Te Rā Day Pass and Cultural Performance Combo
Te Puia - Te Rā Day Pass and Cultural Performance Combo
Te Puia - Te Rā Day Pass and Cultural Performance Combo

A visit to Rotorua would not be complete without visiting Te Puia the premier Māori Arts and Cultural centre. You will still be able to explore the geothermal valley and famous Rotorua mud pools & geysers, get close to the rare New Zealand kiwi bird, and be enriched by Māori Arts, Crafts, Culture & History; all included in the Te Rā Day Pass. The highlight of the day is experiencing the fascinating Māori culture first hand. Te Puia is charged with keeping Māori traditions, crafts and art alive - to achieve this it is home to the New Zealand National Carving and Weaving Schools. You can watch these unique crafts-people as they share their skills with the next generation. To complete your experience, enjoy the unforgettable traditional performance. With a spine-tingling ceremonial welcoming, and stunning Kapa Haka cultural show which features traditional ancestral storytelling, song & dance, with the opportunity to join in hands on activity, for a more enlightening Māori cultural experience.

Rotorua Canopy Tours: The Original Canopy Tour

Rotorua Canopy Tours: The Original Canopy Tour
Rotorua Canopy Tours: The Original Canopy Tour
Rotorua Canopy Tours: The Original Canopy Tour
Rotorua Canopy Tours: The Original Canopy Tour

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. 

Your accommodation - Quest Rotorua Central

Style: Apartments

 

Day 10

Cross to Taupo, take a jet boat ride o the Huka Jet and then onto Waitomo Caves

Driving distance and time: 308 kms / 191 miles : 3.7 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Rotorua to Taupo

Rotorua to Taupo
Rotorua to Taupo
Rotorua to Taupo
Rotorua to Taupo

Today drive through the heart of the Central North Island volcanic plateau. Visit the geothermal regions Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Waimangu Volcanic Valley, before arriving into the town of Taupo, which sits on New Zealand's largest lake - Lake Taupo. Just north of the town are the Huka Falls and a short detour to view is highly recommended, as is a visit to the nearby Craters of the Moon geothermal reserve.

Hukafalls Jet Boat Ride

Hukafalls Jet Boat Ride
Hukafalls Jet Boat Ride
Hukafalls Jet Boat Ride
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.

Taupo to Waitomo via Tongariro National Park

Taupo to Waitomo via Tongariro National Park
Taupo to Waitomo via Tongariro National Park
Taupo to Waitomo via Tongariro National Park
Taupo to Waitomo via Tongariro National Park

Skirting Lake Taupo you arrive into the trout fishing capital of New Zealand, Turangi before heading into Tongariro National Park and its famous peaks.  Rich farmland of the King Country accompanies you to the limestone region of Waitomo.

Your accommodation - Palm Court Motel Otorohanga

Style: Motels - economy

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: On site paid access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • All rooms non smoking
Palm Court Motel Otorohanga
Palm Court Motel Otorohanga
Palm Court Motel Otorohanga
Palm Court Motel Otorohanga
 

Day 11

A day in Waitomo to explore the fascinating caves

Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Ruakuri Cave Combo

Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Ruakuri Cave Combo
Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Ruakuri Cave Combo
Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Ruakuri Cave Combo
Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Ruakuri Cave Combo

Enjoy Waitomo's longest guided walking tour along 1.6km of cave passages of Ruakuri where you can marvel at the interesting formations in this living work of nature. The tour offers a comprehensive experience due to its size and diversity. Winding passageways, vast echoing caverns, deep crevices and the distant thunder of subterranean waterfalls bring a different energy and character to Ruakuri. The cave is home to an innovative spiral entrance, echoing waterfalls, and limestone that flow into delicate shawl-like formations. Be led along narrow corridors and across low-lit walkways suspended high above the river, sometimes glimpsing the black water rafters on the Huhunui River below. Combine this with the Waitomo Glowworm Caves where thousands of tiny glow worms cling to the cave ceiling and create a starry sky within the underground night.  The Waitomo glowworm, Arachnocampa luminosa, is unique to New Zealand. Thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light as expert guides provide informative commentary on the Caves' historical and geological significance. You'll also see a deep limestone shaft and a soaring subterranean cathedral that will leave you speechless.

Your accommodation - Palm Court Motel Otorohanga

Style: Motels - economy

 

Day 12

Head south today across the central plateau to Tarata Fishaway for a great family adventure

Driving distance and time: 227 kms / 141 miles : 2.7 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Waitomo to Taihape

Waitomo to Taihape
Waitomo to Taihape
Waitomo to Taihape
Waitomo to Taihape

From Waitomo your route takes you south through Te Kuiti and onto Taumarunui, once a thriving railway town. Further south and you skirt the western edge of Tongariro National Park, a World Heritage Site. Clouds permitting the volcanic peaks provide some great scenic photography opportunities. Join State Highway 1 at Waiouru which is home to the National Army Museum and Memorial. A visit here is highly worthwhile with the displays detailing the history of New Zealand's armed forces. A memorial which broadcasts the name of each and every fallen kiwi soldier is a superb and fitting tribute. Continue south through the valleys and farmland of the central plateau to Taihape affectionately known as the 'Gumboot Capital'

Tarata Fishaway Lodge

Tarata Fishaway Lodge
Tarata Fishaway Lodge
Tarata Fishaway Lodge
Tarata Fishaway Lodge

Tarata Fishaway Lodge is set in a remarkable location with views of the Rangitikei River and the Ruahine Ranges towering above.   Choose from four unique and very private, fully self-contained retreats.  These are the ideal choice for guests seeking to relax, fish or just to unwind. Tarata Fishaway Lodge offers something special for everyone. 

Onsite activities – enquire for pricing.

Scenic rafting - Departing from Tarata, rafting through gentle rapids, crystal clear waters, vertical gorges and unbelievable scenery of the Rangitikei River. Rafting under the Bungy bridge to visit a secret waterfall. Stop for Picnic lunch and swim. Float quietly through Middle Earth, scenes from the movie Lord of the Rings. Suitable for all ages.

Farm animal fun – Tarata are always looking for help to collect the eggs, feed the chickens, pigs, deer, goats, cow, dogs, rabbits, possums, sheep, llama, alpaca and turtles.  In spring there might be the opportunity to help bottle feed the orphan lambs.

Farm adventures -4WD tour, spotlight safari, lama and alpaca walks, bush walks, clay bird shooting, mini golf with a difference and ‘magic carpet rides’.

Guided Fishing - Raft Fishing with your guide. Raft to secluded pools and runs on the magnificent Rangitikei River. Some of New Zealand's best trout fishing only accessible by raft.  On foot fishing with your guide also available.  Multi-day fishing trips also available with all camping gear and food provided.

Family campouts – combine the scenic rafting with an overnight New Zealand camping experience.  All camping gear and food provided.

Your accommodation - Tarata Fishaway

Style: Bed & breakfast (B&B)

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Breakfast service available
  • Dinner service available
  • Swimming pool
Tarata Fishaway
Tarata Fishaway
Tarata Fishaway
Tarata Fishaway
 

Day 13

Today you get to raft the river as well as enjoy the superb surroundings at the lodge

Tarata Fishaway Rafting

Tarata Fishaway Rafting
Tarata Fishaway Rafting
Tarata Fishaway Rafting
Tarata Fishaway Rafting

Tarata Fishaway Lodge is set in a remarkable location with views of the Rangitikei River and the Ruahine Ranges towering above.   The rafting trip departs from Tarata, rafting through gentle rapids, crystal clear waters, vertical gorges and unbelievable scenery of the Rangitikei River. You'll raft under the Bungy bridge to visit a secret waterfall, stop for picnic lunch and swim and float quietly through Middle Earth, scenes from the movie Lord of the Rings. Suitable for all ages.

Your accommodation - Tarata Fishaway

Style: Bed & breakfast (B&B)

 

Day 14

Your journey continues south to the capital city of Wellington

Driving distance and time: 225 kms / 140 miles : 2.8 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Taihape to Wellington

Taihape  to Wellington
Taihape  to Wellington
Taihape  to Wellington
Taihape  to Wellington

Heading south from  Taihape, you will pass through the townships of Mangaweka and Bulls before arriving on the Kapiti Coast. The coastal seaside towns of Paraparaumu, Paekakariki and Plimmerton are worth a short detour before arriving into the capital city of Wellington. Plan to take most of the day for this drive. 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 - CityLife Wellington

Style: Apartments

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$20-NZ$30 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: In room
  • Gym/fitness centre
CityLife Wellington
CityLife Wellington
CityLife Wellington
CityLife Wellington
 

Day 15

A full day to explore Wellington City at leisure and this evening meet our native wildlife at Zealandia

Wellington City

Wellington City
Wellington City
Wellington City
Wellington City

Wellington, home to New Zealand’s centre of government has a largely cosmopolitan feel. Often referred to as ‘mini-Melbourne’, this (self described) windy city is a melting pot of art, culture, food and fashion. Quirky laneway bars, underground art shows, and hipster eateries make up its inner city vibe, while a host of sandy beaches outside the urban bustle bring a cheerful holiday feel.

Head to Te Papa Museum for a history lesson and a ticket to one of its many international exhibitions or jump aboard the Wellington Cable Car at Lambton Quay - the only running funicular railway in the country. For those with an eye for boutique fashion wander through Cuba St to sample some of the city's best vintage stores. Break for coffee at a hipster cafe and be sure to snap a pic outside the ‘Beehive,’ New Zealand’s parliamentary debate chamber.

Go behind the scenes at Weta Workshop, the Oscar Award Winning design studio behind Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit, and Avatar. We recommend a 45 minute guided tour through both the Workshop and Weta Cave. If you're a foodie at heart, a two hour round trip to Martinborough is a must do. Take your time as you wind through spectacular wine country, and be sure to stop in at Martinborough Wines or Ata Rangi Martinborough. For a educational day out, learn about New Zealand's native species at Zealandia - the world's first fully fenced eco-sanctuary and home to over 40 types of endangered and native birds.

Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour

Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour
Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour
Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour
Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour

Taking a night tour of Zealandia wildlife eco-sanctuary is an unforgettable experience and one that comes highly recommended. A conservation success and safe haven for some of New Zealand's rarest native animals, Zealandia is home to many remarkable species of birds, reptiles and insects living wild within a beautiful 225 hectare (one square mile) valley - just 10 minutes from the central city. Your tour begins with an interactive exhibition before you walk through the gates of Zealandia predator-exclusion fence into the sanctuary. Your guide will then lead you on a torch-light walk through the native New Zealand bush. Possible sights include Kiwi foraging on the forest floor, tuatara hunting for food, glowworms shining, tiny Maud Island frogs in their enclosure, pateke (brown teal) ducks feeding at night and kaka (parrots) coming in to roost. Zealandia is one of the best places to see kiwi in the wild. Over 100 of these nocturnal birds live freely in their natural environment inside the safety of the sanctuary valley - so your chances of seeing one is very good.

Your accommodation - CityLife Wellington

Style: Apartments

 

Day 16

Depart Wellington

Driving distance and time: 6 kms / 4 miles : 0.1 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Depart Wellington today

Choose to explore more of Wellington's sights before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.