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

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11 Day Northern National Parks Adventure

Auckland to Auckland, 11 days 10 nights self drive tour, staying in Boutique lodges & hotels

11 Day Northern National Parks Adventure
11 Day Northern National Parks Adventure
11 Day Northern National Parks Adventure
11 Day Northern National Parks Adventure

Tour map

Experience the natural beauty of the North Island with this 11 day vacation. Your self drive adventure will take you to marine reserves and underground caverns, as well as two iconic national parks including the spectacular Tongariro National Park. With striking diversity in scenery, the natural wonders of the North Island are waiting to be discovered over these 11 action-packed days.

The approximate total driving distance and time for this itinerary is: 1093 kms / 678 miles, 14.9 hours

You can expect to spend around NZ$158 in fuel cost on this itinerary based on an intermediate sized car.

 

Day 1

Arrive Auckland, transfer to accommodation, 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 - 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

Collect rental car, drive Auckland to Whitianga, Coromandel

Driving distance and time: 207 kms / 129 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.

 

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 Whitianga via Coromandel Township

Auckland to Whitianga via Coromandel Township
Auckland to Whitianga via Coromandel Township
Auckland to Whitianga via Coromandel Township
Auckland to Whitianga via 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.Take a short detour to nearby Miranda (well sign posted)  to see the large flocks of godwits and oystercatchers. Arriving into the old gold mining town of Thames, there are two different routes to the east coast of the Coromandel. Directly over the Coromandel Ranges will deliver you to the coast in a snappy 45 minutes or if you're after more leisurely route, head North to the Coromandel Township along the Pohutukawa Coast (part of the Pacific Coast Highway). This is one of the most spectacular drives in the region and not to be missed. Continue down the coast to arrive in the picturesque town of Whitianga.

Your accommodation - 970 Lonely Bay Lodge

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10:30 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking
970 Lonely Bay Lodge
970 Lonely Bay Lodge
970 Lonely Bay Lodge
970 Lonely Bay Lodge
 

Day 3

A day to relax on the Peninsula, including a cruise to 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 - 970 Lonely Bay Lodge

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 4

Journey down the coast to Tairua, then on to Lake Taupo

Driving distance and time: 295 kms / 183 miles : 4.2 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.

 

Whitianga to Tairua

Whitianga to Tairua
Whitianga to Tairua
Whitianga to Tairua
Whitianga to Tairua

Just south of Whitianga is probably one of the best known locations on the Coromandel Peninsula; is the famous Hot Water Beach and the holiday town of Hahei. Popular with locals and Kiwi holiday makers for decades the beach also attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year who choose their spot in the sand, dig a hole and enjoy the naturally heated waters in the own private hot pool - with of course the best view in the country. If this sounds like you, check the tide times and plan the short detour from the main highway. Also worthy of a detour is Cathedral Cove. This popular walk and is well worth the effort to view the massive limestone formation aptly named on the golden sand beach. Tairua is just a hop down the coast and first stop should be Paku Hill (the extinct volcanic cone) which offers spectacular views over the natural harbour and the Pacific Ocean.

Tairua to Taupo

Tairua to Taupo
Tairua to Taupo
Tairua to Taupo
Tairua to Taupo

Heading south from the Coromandel Peninsula you pass through the seaside town of Whangamata, a popular location for Kiwi holiday makers the town boasts one of the best beaches in the region. The old mining town of Waihi still has an operating open cast gold mine and you can view the workings of the Martha Mine from a vantage point signposted from the town centre. For rail enthusiasts the Goldfields Railway operates passenger trains along a scenic and historic section of track towards Waikino.  The route now takes you into the Bay of Plenty and the port town of Tauranga before you head along the scenic Pyes Pa Road to Rotorua. For Lord of the Rings fans a detour to Matamata is recommended as this is the location of Hobbiton. Continue south and you reach the culture capital of Rotorua also renowned for the fantastic geothermal activity.   The drive from Rotorua to Taupo takes you through volcanic valleys and both Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland and the Waimangu Volcanic Valley are well signposted.  Taupo sits on New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo. Just north of town are the Huka Falls and a short detour to view is highly recommended. The Huka Jet can get you much closer with a thrilling jet boat ride also if you wish. Craters of the Moon, is a nearby geothermal reserve with well formed walking tracks around its many boiling pools and steaming vents.

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.

Your accommodation - Acacia Cliffs Lodge

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

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: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • All rooms non smoking
Acacia Cliffs Lodge
Acacia Cliffs Lodge
Acacia Cliffs Lodge
Acacia Cliffs Lodge
 

Day 5

Skirt the edge of Lake Taupo, travelling along the Desert Road to Waiouru, then Tongariro National Park

Driving distance and time: 187 kms / 116 miles : 2.3 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.

 

Taupo to Whakapapa Village via The Desert Road

Taupo to Whakapapa Village via The Desert Road
Taupo to Whakapapa Village via The Desert Road
Taupo to Whakapapa Village via The Desert Road
Taupo to Whakapapa Village via The Desert Road

Following the lake edge the drive takes you to the township of Turangi, rated as one of the worlds best trout fishing locations. Just on the main road south of the town is the National Trout Centre run by the Department of Conservation. You can explore the process of hatching trout to stock New Zealand's rivers and lakes. Continuing onto the high central plateau you drive what is commonly known as 'the desert road'. Skirting Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand’s three world heritage sites, and clouds permitting you can see the 2,500 metre peak of the still volcanically active Mt. Ruapehu. You might recognise the symmetrical shape of Mt. Ngauruhoe as this was used as the scenery of Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. A little further the military town of Waiouru also hosts the Army Museum, an incredible collection of New Zealand’s military history and a memorial to its servicemen. Tongariro National Park is also a World Heritage Site. 3 active volcanoes form the backbone of this spectacular region. Hiking, fishing, climbing, mountain biking, scenic flights or simply taking a drive to the top of the ski field road at Whakapapa are some of the most popular ways to enjoy the region.

Your accommodation - Ruapehu Country Lodge

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Dinner service available
Ruapehu Country Lodge
Ruapehu Country Lodge
Ruapehu Country Lodge
Ruapehu Country Lodge
 

Day 6

Today you'll take a spectacular flight over Tongariro National Park

Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane

Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane
Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane
Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane
Volcanic Explorer Scenic Flight by Aeroplane

Take a scenic flight over New Zealand's oldest National Park and world heritage site for a spectacular view of this unique volcanic landscape. See all three volcanoes - Mt. Tongariro, Mt. Ngauruhoe and Mt. Ruapehu as well as the iconic Emerald Lakes, the Blue Lake and the Tama lake. Climbing to 10,000 ft, you'll also view the active Mount Ruapehu crater lake, and spot some of the landscapes used in the making of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park

Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park
Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park
Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park
Walking tracks in and around Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park

There are a plethora of walks in and around Whakapapa Village and Tongariro National Park. From short 15 minute hikes to longer 5 hour treks, there is something for every level of fitness. All established tracks are maintained by the Department of Conservation and before heading out on a walk, it is best to check the track conditions and suitability at the local DOC information office in the centre of the village. Below are a selection of the best walks to do:

  1. Whakapapa Nature Walk,15 min loop track
  2. Mounds Walk, 20 min one way
  3. Tawhai Falls, 20 min one way
  4. Ridge Track, 340 min return
  5. Taranaki Falls, 2 hour return
  6. Whakapapanui Walk, 2 hour return
  7. Tupapakurua Falls Track, 5 hour return

Your accommodation - Ruapehu Country Lodge

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 7

Take a day trip to Whanganui National Park, where you'll journey along the river to the Bridge to Nowhere

Driving distance and time: 77 kms / 48 miles : 1.5 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.

 

Ohakune to Pipiriki to Ohakune

Ohakune to Pipiriki to Ohakune
Ohakune to Pipiriki to Ohakune
Ohakune to Pipiriki to Ohakune
Ohakune to Pipiriki to Ohakune

Not far from Ohakune, in the small township of Raetihi where you can detour to Pipiriki which is the jumping off point for exploring the Whanganui River and Bridge to Nowhere.  Whanganui River provides the main access route to Whanganui National Park. Kayaking along the remote and historic river from Pipiriki to Taumarunui takes 5 days so jet boating is the faster option. A number of walks also begin at Pipiriki village. As the area was once extensively cultivated for wheat, you can visit remnants of old mills. At the parks southern extremity the Skyline Track day walk passes through magnificent stands of lowland native forest. One of several mills built last century, the Kawana Mill operated for 50 years. The Mill and its water wheel have now been completely rebuilt and the Miller’s colonial- style cottage has also been restored.

Bridge to Nowhere Jet Boat Tour

Bridge to Nowhere Jet Boat Tour
Bridge to Nowhere Jet Boat Tour
Bridge to Nowhere Jet Boat Tour
Bridge to Nowhere Jet Boat Tour

This return Jet Boat trip takes you into the middle reaches of the Whanganui River. Pristine native bush cloaks the banks and you will see deep gorges covered with ferns, caves, rapids and other unique and amazing scenery. Your guide will share stories of the Awa (Maori for river) with you and show you some of the secrets of this historic and cultural icon. Along the way you will stop at the Mangaio Gorge and the Manganui-O-Te-Au River, home to the endangered Blue Duck. Continuing on deeper into this wilderness area you'll arrive at the Mangapurua Landing. Hear the native tui and bellbirds and catch a glimpse of the woodpigeon. A 40 minute walk through the bush takes you to the historic Bridge to Nowhere - gateway to the Valley of Abandoned Dreams.

Bring a picnic lunch to have at the Bridge, complimented by the tea/coffee and biscuits provided and enjoy tales from your guide of the historic Mangapurua Valley and its pioneering people. A return walk to the boat and trip back down river to Pipiriki completes this unique experience suitable all ages.

Your accommodation - Ruapehu Country Lodge

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 8

From Tongariro head north to the fascinating Waitomo Caves

Driving distance and time: 151 kms / 94 miles : 1.8 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.

 

Whakapapa Village to Waitomo

Whakapapa Village to Waitomo
Whakapapa Village to Waitomo
Whakapapa Village to Waitomo
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.

Your accommodation - Kamahi Cottage

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

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
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking
  • Apartments serviced weekly
Kamahi Cottage
Kamahi Cottage
Kamahi Cottage
Kamahi Cottage
 

Day 9

Explore the caverns and underground caves of Waitomo on this Lost World Adventure

Waitomo Adventures Lost World Epic Tour (7 hours)

Waitomo Adventures Lost World Epic Tour (7 hours)
Waitomo Adventures Lost World Epic Tour (7 hours)
Waitomo Adventures Lost World Epic Tour (7 hours)
Waitomo Adventures Lost World Epic Tour (7 hours)

This is Waitomo's Ultimate Adventure. Abseil 100m into the surreal Lost World. Descend slowly bouncing and turning as the mist filtered light gives unreal qualities to the strange plants and formations. The abseil into the Lost World is at least twice the height of any other cave at Waitomo and the beauty of this iconic cavern is unsurpassed. The descent takes about 30 minutes. Then after lunch take the wet way out! In probably the strangest setting you have ever eaten, you'll head upstream, walking, swimming and climbing through cathedral-size vaults. You'll see waterfalls, ancient whalebones and oyster fossils as well as the magnificent glowworms. Emerge several hours later and enjoy a hot shower and well-earned dinner BBQ meal near the cave before heading back to Waitomo. Includes all drinks and meals.

Your accommodation - Kamahi Cottage

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 10

Today its a short drive back to Auckland with time to explore the City of Sails

Driving distance and time: 178 kms / 110 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.

 

Waitomo to Auckland City

Waitomo to Auckland City
Waitomo to Auckland City
Waitomo to Auckland City
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.

Explore Auckland City

Explore Auckland City
Explore Auckland City
Explore Auckland City
Explore Auckland City

Perched on the edge of a large natural harbour, New Zealand's ‘City of Sails’ offers the best of both worlds. Sandy beaches, native bush and lush rainforests give way to a vibrant urban culture, humming with life. Spend time in the Viaduct Harbour - try your hand at sailing an America’s Cup yacht - or take the ferry to nearby Waiheke Island for a gourmet food and wine experience.

Walk (if you're that way inclined) to the top of Auckland's highest volcano, Mt Eden, and take in soaring views of the gulf. Pack a picnic lunch and lose yourself in one of the 800 regional national parks on offer or grab a book and relax on a deserted beach. Head up the Sky Tower, standing at just over 300m tall (about 1,000 feet) and have a meal in the 360 degree revolving restaurant. Scale the outermost perimeter of the Harbour Bridge - or test your stomach and bungy off both. To end your day, catch a cab to Ponsonby Road and sample some upmarket culinary delights.

Your accommodation - Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 11

Depart Auckland today

Transfer to Auckland airport

Transfer to Auckland airport
Transfer to Auckland airport
Transfer to Auckland airport
Transfer to Auckland airport

You will be collected from your Auckland hotel and transferred to the airport to meet your departing flight.

 
 
price from
NZ$ 5,332.00 pp (small car, low season - details)

This tour includes