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

Auckland to Wellington, 13 days 12 nights self drive tour, staying in Boutique lodges & hotels

Natural North Island
Natural North Island
Natural North Island
Natural North Island

Tour map

New Zealand's North Island offers a wonderfully diverse range of landscapes to explore, along with some pretty special wildlife. This 13 day itinerary will let you experience all the natural wonders of the north. Explore rainforests right on Auckland's doorstep, visit wildlife sanctuaries, and see some of the largest and oldest trees in the world. You'll be amazed at the natural beauty the North Island has to offer you, and you'll enjoy beautiful hotel and lodge accommodations at the end of each day, with time to relax and explore further at your leisure.

The approximate total driving distance and time for this itinerary is: 1349 kms / 837 miles, 17.5 hours

You can expect to spend around NZ$195 in fuel cost on this itinerary based on an intermediate sized car.

 

Day 1

Arrive into Auckland City, 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

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 - Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

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$35-NZ$45 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
 

Day 2

Explore West Auckland's beaches and ranges with Bush and Beach

Coast and Rainforest Full Day Tour with Bush and Beach

Coast and Rainforest Full Day Tour with Bush and Beach
Coast and Rainforest Full Day Tour with Bush and Beach
Coast and Rainforest Full Day Tour with Bush and Beach
Coast and Rainforest Full Day Tour with Bush and Beach

Your full day excursion takes you first to the Arataki Visitor Centre - gateway to the Waitakere Ranges and a short drive from Auckland Central. Enjoy panoramic views - extending from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean - as you absorb the area's history and admire the magnificent traditional Maori carvings. Walk the regenerating rainforest where your experienced guide will detail local flora and fauna. Take in the giant tree ferns, bubbling streams and cascading waterfalls before venturing onto a wild west coast beach. Enjoy a picnic lunch before your eco-tour ends in an area of untamed original rainforest. Here, mature 1,000 year old kauri trees have developed separately from the rest of the world for millions of years and this part of the rainforest is particularly rich in bird life due to a successful programme to eradicate pests.

Your accommodation - Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 3

Today cruise to the island wildlife sanctuary of Tiritiri Matangi, where birds reign supreme.

Tiritiri Matangi Island Wildlife Discovery including guided walk

Tiritiri Matangi Island Wildlife Discovery including guided walk
Tiritiri Matangi Island Wildlife Discovery including guided walk
Tiritiri Matangi Island Wildlife Discovery including guided walk
Tiritiri Matangi Island Wildlife Discovery including guided walk

Situated in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf only a 75 minute ferry trip from Auckland is Tiritiri Matangi Island. One of the world’s most successful volunteer conservation projects, it has been re-vegetated with over 300,000 native trees as well as several different species of endangered birds and reptiles. Tiritiri Matangi meaning ‘tossed by wind’ is an open scientific reserve managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) in partnership with the Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi.

It’s ‘open sanctuary’ status allows for 150 ferry visitors daily - from Wednesday to Sunday. Here you have the opportunity to see first hand some of New Zealand’s rarest inhabitants in a natural and protected environment. There are numerous walking tracks throughout the island which vary in length and fitness. Forested walking tracks are well established with custom built boardwalks paving the way through coastal bush. Other tracks include a pathway skirting the perimeter of the island and several roads traversing the interior. The Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi are enthusiastic about sharing the wealth of knowledge they have accumulated. You'll join a 1.5 hour guided experience and learn about the endangered bird life, natural surrounds, revegetation and history of Tiritiri Matangi. Your guide will highlight the best spots to see wildlife on the island, and will help you to identify the bird calls and sounds which echo through the trees. You’ll also be taken up to the visitor centre to view its informative exhibits. Your lunchtime and afternoon will then be free for you to wander the island.

Your accommodation - Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 4

Collect your car this morning and head to the Kauri Coast and the 'big trees'. This evening enjoy a twilight encounter

Driving distance and time: 221 kms / 137 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.

 

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 to Waipoua Forest

Auckland to Waipoua Forest
Auckland to Waipoua Forest
Auckland to Waipoua Forest
Auckland to Waipoua Forest

The drive north to Waipoua Forest and the Kauri Coast takes you along the remote West Coast of the North Island and around one of the world's largest natural harbours, the Kaipara Harbour. The region was worked by immigrant Dalmatians who toiled to make a living from the gum fields. A visit to the Kauri Museum at Matakohe tells the story of their hardships and pioneering spirit and of the remarkable impact this tree had on the region and the wider world - and is a must do. You'll have plenty of opportunity to stop along this spectacular route, so be sure to leave time for sightseeing.

Twilight Encounter

Twilight Encounter
Twilight Encounter
Twilight Encounter
Twilight Encounter

Experience the Waipoua Forest at night on this spectacular 4 hour tour. Learn about the rich birdlife and fauna that inhabit the forest, including the carnivorous kauri snail. You'll also get to experience the deep spiritual respect the Maori people have for this place. Your Maori guide will brief you on the protocols for your visit and you once formal greetings have been made you will be allowed to meet the giant Tane Mahuta, or Lord of the Forest - the oldest Kauri tree in the world.

Your accommodation - Waipoua Lodge

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Includes dinner
  • All rooms non smoking
Waipoua Lodge
Waipoua Lodge
Waipoua Lodge
Waipoua Lodge
 

Day 5

A short drive from the west coast to the east and the peaceful township of Russell

Driving distance and time: 135 kms / 84 miles : 2.2 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.

 

Waipoua to Russell, Bay of Islands

Waipoua to Russell, Bay of Islands
Waipoua to Russell, Bay of Islands
Waipoua to Russell, Bay of Islands
Waipoua to Russell, Bay of Islands

From Waipoua Forest continue north to the Hokianga Harbour and the historic townships of Omapere and Opononi. A short detour to Rawene (signposted) is worthwhile to view the wooden buildings on the harbour. Crossing from the West Coast to the East you soon arrive to the subtropical Bay of Islands. Kerikeri, famous for its crafts and fruit orchards is the largest township in the region and is also home to some fine historic buildings. Paihia sitting on the western side of the harbour is a busy little tourist town while Russell on the eastern side offers a more tranquil escape.

Your accommodation - Arcadia Lodge, Russell

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking
Arcadia Lodge, Russell
Arcadia Lodge, Russell
Arcadia Lodge, Russell
Arcadia Lodge, Russell
 

Day 6

An amazing trip today. take to the air to see Northlands amazing beauty and then once landed tour Cape Reinga and return to Bay of Islands by road

Cape Reinga Scenic Aeroplane Flight and Guided Tour

Cape Reinga Scenic Aeroplane Flight and Guided Tour
Cape Reinga Scenic Aeroplane Flight and Guided Tour
Cape Reinga Scenic Aeroplane Flight and Guided Tour
Cape Reinga Scenic Aeroplane Flight and Guided Tour

Today experience the beauty of the North from both air and land. Take a spectacular scenic flight to Cape Reinga over Whangaroa Harbour and the Rangaunu Harbour as well as Coopers Beach, Doubtless Bay and Ninety Mile Beach. The tour also includes a visit to the Cape Reinga lighthouse, and the option to slide down giant sand dunes on sleds.

Your accommodation - Arcadia Lodge, Russell

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 7

Return to Auckland today through Whangarei and the Hibuscus Coast

Driving distance and time: 220 kms / 137 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.

 

Bay of Islands to Auckland

Bay of Islands to Auckland
Bay of Islands to Auckland
Bay of Islands to Auckland
Bay of Islands to Auckland

Today leave the Bay of Islands behind as you head south towards Auckland, City of Sails. You'll go through Kawakawa, famous for its unique Hundertwasser toilets, before passing the port-side town of Whangarei. Continue on through Warkworth and take a side trip to Matakana, renowned for its beaches and boutique vineyards. As you near the outskirts of Auckland, stop for a breather in Puhoi, New Zealand's only Bohemian settlement, before passing through the North Shore and into the heart of Auckland City.

Your accommodation - Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

 

Day 8

Today you head south to Waitomo to visit the famous Glow Worm Caves

Driving distance and time: 178 kms / 111 miles : 2.1 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.

 

Auckland to the caves of Waitomo

Auckland to the caves of Waitomo
Auckland to the caves of Waitomo
Auckland to the caves of Waitomo
Auckland to the caves of Waitomo

The drive south from Auckland takes you into the rolling farmland and rich dairy pastures of the Waikato - before arriving in the limestone hills of the Waitomo countryside, home to a huge underground network of caves.

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
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 and 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

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 30 mins +
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Dinner service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking
  • Apartments serviced weekly
Kamahi Cottage
Kamahi Cottage
Kamahi Cottage
Kamahi Cottage
 

Day 9

Drive Waitomo to Rotorua. This afternoon take a floatplane to Orakei Korako Hidden Valley thermal region

Driving distance and time: 139 kms / 86 miles : 1.9 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.

 

Waitomo to Rotorua

Waitomo to Rotorua
Waitomo to Rotorua
Waitomo to Rotorua
Waitomo to Rotorua

Today cross the lush farmland of the Waikato as you make your way inland to Rotorua. Pass through several small farming towns such as Otorohanga and Putaruru, before the region’s geothermal activity signals your arrival into the city of Rotorua.

Orakei Korako Hidden Valley with Volcanic Air Safaris by floatplane

Orakei Korako Hidden Valley with Volcanic Air Safaris by floatplane
Orakei Korako Hidden Valley with Volcanic Air Safaris by floatplane
Orakei Korako Hidden Valley with Volcanic Air Safaris by floatplane
Orakei Korako Hidden Valley with Volcanic Air Safaris by floatplane

On this spectacular scenic flight you'll take a floatplane over the Crater Lakes District and the volcanic rift of Mt Tarawera. You'll then continue south via the Waimangu and Waiotapu Thermal Park to land in the Hidden Valley of Orakei Korako. Transfer by boat across the lake to explore the hot springs, gushing geysers and natural beauty of this geothermal wonderland before rejoining your aircraft for the return trip to Rotorua.

Your accommodation - Peppers on the Point

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Please note: Check in is ONLY between 2-5pm unless otherwise arranged
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Dinner service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre
Peppers on the Point
Peppers on the Point
Peppers on the Point
Peppers on the Point
 

Day 10

Visit the Kiwi recovery programme at Rainbow Springs this morning, explore at leisure this afternoon

Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter

Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter
Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter
Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter
Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter

At Rainbow Springs you'll have the chance to see some of New Zealand's native flora and fauna within the majestic forests of Rotorua. Wander the beautiful tree-lined park and take in the flourishing bush, ferns, flowers and plants. Come face to face with, and learn more about, New Zealand’s precious wildlife. See the spring-fed pool with rainbow, brown and tiger trout, then visit the on-site aviaries - home to New Zealand species such kea, kaka, tui, kereru and kiwi. The tuatara, known as New Zealand's living dinosaur can also be seen here.Go behind the scenes with New Zealand's national animal at the purpose built Kiwi Conservation Centre - created solely to try and stop the extinction of this unique species. Here you will gain first hand insight into the conservation efforts being made to increase the numbers of kiwi eggs being hatched and returned to the wild.

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.

Your accommodation - Peppers on the Point

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 11

Drive through heartland New Zealand to the 'coolest little capital in the world', Wellington

Driving distance and time: 452 kms / 280 miles : 5.6 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 Wellington

Rotorua to Wellington
Rotorua to Wellington
Rotorua to Wellington
Rotorua to Wellington

The drive from Rotorua to Wellington takes you via the township of Taupo home to New Zealand’s largest lake. Following the lakeshore South you’ll pass Turani and then ascend the central plateau onto the high country Rangipo Desert. Skirting the edge of Tongariro National Park, you’ll reach the military town of Waiouru before descending through rich farmland and the rural towns of Taihape And Mangaweka. Follow the coast through Paraparaumu, Paekakariki and Plimmerton to arrive at your destination, Wellington.

Your accommodation - Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$20-NZ$30 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel
Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel
Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel
Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel
 

Day 12

Explore Wellington city at leisure and this evening visit a wildlife sanctuary

Wellington

Wellington
Wellington
Wellington
Wellington

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.

Take a turn on the boardwalk en-route to Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum or catch a historic cable car from Lambton Quay and soak up the city sights. Wander the boutiques on Cuba St and check out the aptly named ‘Beehive’ off Parliament House.

Play hobbit for day and book a tour through Weta Workshop, the Oscar Award winning design studio for Lord Of The Rings. If eating is your thing, drive an hour out of town to Martinborough and experience some of the region's best food and wine. For those interested in New Zealand's native species, a trip to Zealandia is a must - the world's first fully fenced eco-sanctuary. Then kick off your evening in style - search ‘Metro Eats’ to choose from a plethora of the city’s best restaurants to dine.  

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 - Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 13

Your final day in 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.

 
 
price from
NZ$ 5,833.00 pp (small car, low season - details)

This tour includes