White-sand beaches, volcano-sculpted landscapes, the very vibrant Maori culture, unique architecture and award-winning wines - the experiences on offer in New Zealand’s North Island are as varied as its incredible landscapes.
This journey is designed to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
Some of the highlights included are:
- Kayak along the beautiful beaches and sea caves of Cathedral Cove
- Sample some of New Zealand’s finest vintages in Martinborough
- Watch the sunset with a glass of wine in Tongariro National Park
- Have a drink in The Green Dragon on a tour of the Hobbiton movie set
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- Indirect international flights
- 15 nights in 4-5* hotels & hand picked accommodation
- 11 days' car hire
- Hole in the Rock Cruise
- Cathedral Cove kayaking
- Hobbiton Movie Set tours
- Tongariro Sunset Guided Walk
- Classic Afternoon wine tour in Napier
Need to know+
- Arrives: Auckland Airport (AKL)
- Time difference: GMT+13
- Visa requirements: British passport holders do not require a visa
- Language: English and Maori
- Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)
- Flying time from UK: around 27 hours
- Plug type: 3-prong flat blade plug
- Voltage: 240 volts/50 cycles
Fly from UK to Auckland
On arrival to Auckland, collect your hire car from the airport and make your way to your hotel. Once you’ve settled in, get out and explore this sensational city. Explore uptown Auckland on foot and appreciate the area’s rich heritage, take a scenic boat ride around the harbour and ascend the Sky Tower for the best views in town. While you’re here catch the ferry to beautiful Waiheke Island where you’ll find independent boutiques, galleries and wineries as well as sandy beaches and emerald waters. The evening can be spent in one of Auckland’s fantastic restaurants overlooking Viaduct Harbour.
Look up at the giant kauri trees in Hokianga, a rural haven great for getting away from it all among the rock formations, forests and streams. It’s natural wonders galore here – take a look at the giant Koutu Boulders, smooth rocky spheres up to three metres wide, or check out the nearby sand dunes. For a touch of culture head to the Mangungu Mission House, where the Treaty of Waitangi, declaring British sovereignty over New Zealand, was signed by Maori chiefs on 6th February 1840.
Bay of Islands
Head on to Paihia, the gateway to the beautiful Bay of Islands, a collection of almost 150 islets dotted among glittering turquoise waters. While you’re here, you’ll set sail on a Hole in the Rock Cruise, included as part of your Journey. Experience natural wonders and stunning scenery on this voyage of discovery and view the iconic Hole in the Rock on Motukokako Island, and don’t forget to keep a look out for wild dolphins splashing in the waves.
Say goodbye to Auckland and drive south to the Coromandel Peninsula. Renowned for its natural beauty, rural farmland and pristine golden beaches, Coromandel is blessed with numerous natural hideaways and idyllic spots. Later on, take to the seas for a fun half day’s kayaking on the clear blue waters, paddling through the sea caves to Cathedral Cove for a cappuccino on the beach as part of your Cathedral Cove Classic tour.
Drive to the unique geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. Sitting within the Pacific Rim of Fire, Rotorua boasts bubbling mud pools, clouds of steam and natural hot springs, perfect for a relaxing soak. The city is also the centre of Maori culture in New Zealand so take the opportunity to learn more about the traditions and way of life of the Maori people. While you’re in town, you’ll take part in a Hobbiton Movie Set tour, visiting the set from the Lord of the Rings and taking look inside a real Hobbit hole.
With incredible views across to the volcanoes of nearby Tongariro National Park, the town of Lake Taupo is truly breath-taking. The lake itself was created nearly two thousand years ago by a huge volcanic explosion and its sheer size makes it more like an inland sea than a lake. Lake Taupo is a great spot to try water-skiing, sailing and kayaking while the surrounding forests offer numerous hiking and mountain bike trails. In the evening, set off on a two hour Sunset Walk in Tongariro National Park on a gentle track on Mt Ruapehu. On reaching the ridge, watch the sunset with a glass of New Zealand’s finest wines.
Napier is located in the lush region of Hawke’s Bay, one of New Zealand’s warmest and driest areas, which produces some of the country’s best wines. In the afternoon, follow Hawke’s Bay food and wine trail and discover numerous wineries on your Classic Afternoon wine tour, which also includes a cheeseboard. The next day, visit the traditional farmers market in Hastings and enjoy the beautifully preserved art-deco architecture in Napier.
Located at the heart of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, Martinborough boasts excellent restaurants and spectacular local wines. From the picturesque village square you can walk to 30 nearby vineyards, making a fantastic walking-wine trail. Many of the wineries are open year-round for tastings and many have cafes or restaurants serving local food to match your wine preferences. Your charming accommodation here is found right in the heart of Martinborough.
New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington is your last stop. Situated beside a beautiful harbour and surrounded by impressive green hills, this capital city is known for its art, heritage and culture. Take a stroll along Oriental Parade to admire the waterfront, continue up Mount Victoria to enjoy panoramic views over the city or explore the walking trails in the surrounding hills.
Depart Wellington and return to the UK
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