9 Day Northern Deluxe Explorer
9 day North Island self drive starting in Auckland
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information

9 Day Northern Deluxe Explorer

Enjoy a glimpse into the diversity of experience that New Zealand offers. Visit the bustling city of Auckland, relax in the tropical landscapes in the Bay of Islands, and explore the North Islands other-wordly volcanic central plateau. Including a variety of truly memorable activities, marvel at the stunning scenery with a flying tour over Cape Reinga, take a helicopter ride to the marine volcano of White Island, and settle back into some of the country's finest accommodations each evening after you are done with the day's adventures.

Detailed itinerary
See a day by day description including activity & accommodation suggestions for this itinerary.
Tour full itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive Auckland City, transfer to your hotel and rest of day at leisure
9 Day Northern Deluxe Explorer - Day 1
Private Transfer Auckland Airport to Auckland Accommodation

You will be met at the Auckland airport by the driver and transferred to your Auckland accommodation.

Itinerary information by App & in-country support

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

Welcome to Auckland

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: Fable Auckland

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

Meals included: Dinner

Day 2 - Drive from Auckland to Matauri Bay and your destination, Kauri Cliffs Luxury Lodge
9 Day Northern Deluxe Explorer - Day 2
If you are self driving - collect your rental car

We have an extensive range of late model cars and 4WD vehicles from the top suppliers. See the range here or chat with your consultant about special needs or requests.

GPS navigation

Navigating New Zealand can be done easily in two ways. If you have a smartphone, you will be able to connect it to the USB of your rental car and your maps and other apps will display on the screen in the centre console of your vehicle, with the sound coming through the car speakers.
If you don't have a smartphone, chat to us to ensure we book you a car with a portal GPS system. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface, with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions, which announces street names.  The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Auckland to Whangaroa and Matauri Bay

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 the subtropical Bay of Islands region. Continuing north its just a short drive to Whangaroa Harbour and Matauri Bay, your destination for the night.

Your accommodation: Kauri Cliffs

Please note: this accommodation has some closure periods. Please speak to a sales consultant about which dates might work best for you.
Set on 6,000 acres near Matauri Bay, Northland, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs affords spectacular 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean. Cape Brett and the offshore Cavalli Islands are part of the panorama which can be viewed from the verandas, lounge and dining rooms. A championship golf course also graces the lodge.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 255 kms / 158 miles : 3.2 hours

Day 3 - A day to enjoy the exceptional activities available at Kauri Cliffs
9 Day Northern Deluxe Explorer - Day 3
Kauri Cliffs Lodge Experience

Located on 6,000 spectacular acres near Matauri Bay, Northland, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is a secluded oasis. With panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Cape Brett and the Cavalli Islands, guests stay in one of 22 cottage suites, each with their own private porch and open fireplace.

While best known for its world-class golf course, Kauri Cliffs has many other activities on offer including horseback riding, cycling, swimming, sailing, a guided farm tour, and access to it's day spa - nestled within native Totara forest. Discover New Zealand's pristine shores on one of three private beaches or fish and dive in the clear blue waters.

Ranked the number one hotel in the world in 2014 by Conde Nast, Kauri Cliffs is also home to two astroturf tennis courts, an infinity swimming pool, spa and fully equipped fitness centre. Five-star gourmet a la carte dining is available both indoors and on the veranda outside, as well as informal barbecues and lunch hampers.

Your accommodation: Kauri Cliffs

Please note: this accommodation has some closure periods. Please speak to a sales consultant about which dates might work best for you.
Set on 6,000 acres near Matauri Bay, Northland, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs affords spectacular 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean. Cape Brett and the offshore Cavalli Islands are part of the panorama which can be viewed from the verandas, lounge and dining rooms. A championship golf course also graces the lodge.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4 - Explore the Far North from the air
9 Day Northern Deluxe Explorer - Day 4
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: Kauri Cliffs

Please note: this accommodation has some closure periods. Please speak to a sales consultant about which dates might work best for you.
Set on 6,000 acres near Matauri Bay, Northland, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs affords spectacular 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean. Cape Brett and the offshore Cavalli Islands are part of the panorama which can be viewed from the verandas, lounge and dining rooms. A championship golf course also graces the lodge.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5 - Return to Auckland travelling via Paihia in Bay of Islands
9 Day Northern Deluxe Explorer - Day 5
Matauri Bay to Bay of Islands (Paihia)

Today return south through Kerikeri - known for its crafts studios, fruit orchards and artisan products. Home to two of the oldest buildings in the country - Mission House and the Stone Store
(both which encompass materials and artifacts from early european settlers) Kerikeri is a delightful place to learn about New Zealand's early history. Continue on to Paihia, your destination for the night - and great a base from which to explore the Bay of Islands.

Bay of Islands (Paihia) to Auckland via Waipoua Forest

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: Fable Auckland

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

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 381 kms / 236 miles : 4.8 hours

Day 6 - Today cross the lush Waikato farmland to Rotorua and your lakeside accommodation of Solitaire Lodge
9 Day Northern Deluxe Explorer - Day 6
Auckland to Rotorua

The drive south from Auckland takes you past the Bombay Hills and into the rolling farmland and rich dairy pastures of the Waikato. The Bombay Hills mark the outer boundary of greater Auckland area and it's here you turn inland to central Waikato. You’ll soon go through the town of Matamata where you can visit the fully intact Hobbiton film set used in the shooting of the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Continuing on, you’ll pass several small farming communities before telltale signs of steam and other geothermal activity signal your arrival into Rotorua.

Solitaire Lodge

Nestled on the shores of lake Tarawera, Solitaire Lodge offers guests the ideal blend of indulgence and adventure from a picture perfect setting. Luxurious and elegantly appointed with floor to ceiling windows and stunning panoramic views across the lake, guests can choose to relax in front of an open fire with a book from the library, enjoy the bar facilities or take a stroll in the expansive herb garden. Nearby is the Lodge’s private jetty with complimentary use of the lodge’s kayaks, motorised dinghies and trout fishing gear.

Each of the suites are styled for comfort and feature panoramic views of the lake and volcano. Bringing the outdoors in, you are invited unwind and soak up the peace and quiet of this tranquil setting.
 

Your accommodation: Solitaire Lodge

Solitaire Lodge Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s premier luxury lodges, enjoys breathtaking views over Lake Tarawera, with lush natural bush and volcanic landscape backdrop. The subtle design brings the outdoors in, inviting you to unwind and soak up the peace and quiet of this tranquil setting. Minutes from this iconic resort you will discover a multitude of activities.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 220 kms / 136 miles : 2.6 hours

Day 7 - Soak in thermal waters before venturing off for a guided Maori cultural experience
9 Day Northern Deluxe Explorer - Day 7
Solitaire Lodge Tarawera Thermal Springs

Moments from the Lodge you will discover the essence of unspoiled Lake Tarawera. Take a 15 minute private launch excursion to the natural hot springs of Lake Tarawera. Best accessed pre-breakfast, enjoy soaking in thermal waters rising gently through the lake bed as the morning sun filters through native bush.

Kahukiwi Experiences 4WD Guided Culture Tour

Based in the sacred Te Takinga Marae in Rotorua, Kahukiwi Experiences offers a never before seen window into the landscapes, ways of life and heritage of the Ngāti Pikiao tribe. Explore the untouched, sacred land of the Ngāti Pikiao tribe in this intimate 4WD experience. Guided by a local and highly knowledgeable Māori guide, you’ll explore a stunning marae (a communal and social gathering place), landscapes and never-before-seen views that look over Rotorua’s lake district. En route, you’ll learn the myths and legends of local people, rich history and fascinating ways of life.

Your accommodation: Solitaire Lodge

Solitaire Lodge Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s premier luxury lodges, enjoys breathtaking views over Lake Tarawera, with lush natural bush and volcanic landscape backdrop. The subtle design brings the outdoors in, inviting you to unwind and soak up the peace and quiet of this tranquil setting. Minutes from this iconic resort you will discover a multitude of activities.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8 - Take a scenic flight to the surreal volcano of Mt Tarawera, here you'll land and get to explore
9 Day Northern Deluxe Explorer - Day 8
Volcanic Air Mount Tarawera & Orakei Korako Thermal Explorer by Helicopter

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

Your accommodation: Solitaire Lodge

Solitaire Lodge Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s premier luxury lodges, enjoys breathtaking views over Lake Tarawera, with lush natural bush and volcanic landscape backdrop. The subtle design brings the outdoors in, inviting you to unwind and soak up the peace and quiet of this tranquil setting. Minutes from this iconic resort you will discover a multitude of activities.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9 - Today return to Auckland City
9 Day Northern Deluxe Explorer - Day 9
Rotorua to Auckland

The drive from Rotorua to Auckland takes you through the heart of the Waikato and its rich agricultural land. New Zealand's longest river - the Waikato - guides you through the art and craft stores of Tirau and the township of Cambridge. Continue on a little further to arrive in Auckland City, your destination for the night.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 219 kms / 136 miles : 2.6 hours

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Private Guided Tours: For an itinerary similar to this but with a Private driver & Guide please contact us to discuss.