North Island Luxury
11 day North Island self drive starting in Auckland
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North Island Luxury

A wonderful itinerary exploring the highlights of the North Island in comfort and style. The tropical Bay of Islands, the cosmopolitan city of Auckland, the lakes of Rotorua, the wine of Hawke's Bay and, of course, our beautiful capital city of Wellington. Journey across the north at a relaxing pace, staying in stunning accommodations.

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See a day by day description including activities & accommodation suggestions for this itinerary example
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Day 1 - Arrive Auckland City, transfer to your hotel and rest of day at leisure
North Island Luxury - Day 1
Private transfer Auckland airport to your accommodation

On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your Auckland accommodation.

Itinerary information by APP & in country support

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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: Hotel Grand Windsor

Located right on Queen Street the Grand Windsor Hotel Auckland is boutique and stylish property with an ideal location to enjoy and explore the vibrant heart of the 'City of Sails'.
Day 2 - Drive from Auckland to Matauri Bay and your destination, Kauri Cliffs Luxury Lodge
North Island Luxury - 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 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 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

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
North Island Luxury - 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

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 Bay of Island from the air on a private scenic helicopter flight
North Island Luxury - Day 4
Bay of Islands Coastal Discovery Scenic Helicopter Flight

Explore a little more of the coastline surrounding the Bay of Islands region on this 30 minute flight. Fly north via the picturesque Kerikeri Inlet, to the Cavalli Islands, before wandering down the coast over Matauri Bay, Takou Bay, Tapuataehi Bay, Purerua Peninsula and over the inner and outer Bay of Islands before landing back on the Paihia waterfront.

Your accommodation: Kauri Cliffs

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
North Island Luxury - 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: Hotel Grand Windsor

Located right on Queen Street the Grand Windsor Hotel 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

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
North Island Luxury - 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 - Something very different today. Experience the unique Maori culture of Rotorua, including a twist on traditional cuisine
North Island Luxury - Day 7
Te Puia: Te Rā Daytime Experience including Haka and Steambox Lunch

Begin your experience with an 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. Enjoy food that has been cooked using the geothermal energy used for centuries, quite literally, giving you a taste of Māori culture. Since the earliest settlement within Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, the local Māori people have cooked using the steam and hot water naturally available within the thermally active landscape. Steambox utilises a favourite Ngā Whā (Steam vent), which is located in the geothermal area near the famous Pohutu Geyser. You choose what you want to be cooked for your lunch before heading off on a special guided tour of Te Puia. This begins with an interactive session where you learn to weave flax, then a tour of the prestigious carving and weaving schools. Next explore the geothermal valley, the Kiwi house, mud pools and hot springs. You will then see your lunch lifted from the steaming Ngā Whā before you sit down for a delicious picnic lunch on the geyser terrace. The distinctive flavours imparted by this cooking method will surprise and delight you.

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, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 - Drive to Napier and Hawkes Bay via Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake. Visit the remarkable Cape Kidnappers Gannet colony
North Island Luxury - Day 8
Rotorua to Napier

This drive will take you through the thermal region just south of Rotorua. Home to a plethora of unique geothermal attractions including boiling mud pits, natural hot springs and steaming geysers, this area is a must do before you move on to Napier. Notable attractions are Wai-O-Tapu, Waimangu and Craters of the Moon.
Continue on to Taupo and marvel at the lake - a giant crater formed following a volcanic eruption in the year 180 CE. As you approach the city, be sure to stop at Huka Falls to view the spectacular sight of 58,000 gallons (222,000 liters0 of water spilling every second down the narrow 11 meter drop.
For an extra thrill take a jet-boat ride to the base of the falls. Leaving Taupo, follow the road as it climbs the rugged Ahimanawa Range before descending back down the Pacific Coast to art deco Napier.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

With spectacular panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, nestled among 6,000 acres of rugged  coastal farmland, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers offers a multitude of activities within a five-star luxury setting. Offering many comfortable spaces to relax and unwind, including an intimate snug, stylish lounges, outdoor conservatory areas - there is no better way to take in this picturesque landscape.
Choose from a range of leisure facilities such as: a heated infinity pool and jacuzzi, spa treatments with beautiful forest and ocean views, a world class  golf course and clubhouse and a  fully equipped gym, offering yoga, pilates, golf specific fitness and personal training.
The Farm is also home to some of the best trails in the north island, from independent forest walks to ocean stroll or guided farm tours - pack a picnic and set off on an afternoon of outdoor fun. Also on offer are mountain, bikes, quad bikes and horse treks for the more adventurous traveller.

Your accommodation: The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

Located in Hawke's Bay, one of New Zealand's most important wine districts, Cape Kidnappers has a rich history. The Farm is a five-star experience set on a 6,000-acre sheep and cattle farm which encompasses land reminiscent of Montana but plunges 800 feet straight into the sea. A championship golf course designed by Tom Doak is just one reason to experience The Farm.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 210 kms / 131 miles : 2.4 hours

Day 9 - Relax at your wonderful lodge this morning and then embark on a private tour to some of the regions finest vineyards
North Island Luxury - Day 9
Private Luxury Wine Tour including lunch

A tour designed for those who are looking for a more intimate experience of renowned Hawke's Bay wineries. Learn about the local yield and the region's long viticultural history, and indulge in a two course gourmet lunch. Taste classic varieties such as Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris Viognier, Semillon and Riesling. There will also be an opportunity to taste sherry, port and dessert reds.

Your accommodation: The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

Located in Hawke's Bay, one of New Zealand's most important wine districts, Cape Kidnappers has a rich history. The Farm is a five-star experience set on a 6,000-acre sheep and cattle farm which encompasses land reminiscent of Montana but plunges 800 feet straight into the sea. A championship golf course designed by Tom Doak is just one reason to experience The Farm.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10 - Continue your drive south through the Wairarapa to the capital city of Wellington
North Island Luxury - Day 10
Napier to Wellington City via Masterton

The rolling countryside of the Hawke's Bay leads you into some of New Zealand’s richest farmland, located around the Manawatu region. Passing along the Manawatu Gorge the Wairarapa welcomes you. Masterton is home to the golden shears sheep shearing competition while just further south Greytown boasts the largest concentration of historic wooden buildings in the country.

Nearby Martinborough is home to dozens of boutique wineries. The route takes you over the Rimutaka Range and along the magnificent natural harbour that the capital city of Wellington sits upon.

Your accommodation: QT Wellington

The QT Wellington is superbly situated opposite Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand and Wellington's waterfront. The luxury rooms are just a few minutes walk from the cafes restaurants, theatres, galleries and shopping of the vibrant Courtenay Quarter.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 322 kms / 200 miles : 4.1 hours

Day 11 - Explore the city of Wellington before departing New Zealand
North Island Luxury - Day 11
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.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 6 kms / 4 miles : 0.1 hours

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