11 nights self-drive tour
Price from: £2399pp
Auckland 2 nights
Bay of Islands 2 nights
South Auckland 1 night
Coromandel 1 night
Rotorua 2 nights
Tongariro 1 night
Wellington 2 nights
Days 1-2: Fly to Auckland.
Day 3 Auckland: On arrival, collect your hire car and proceed to your hotel. If time allows, step out for a stroll and get your bearings in this lovely city.
Day 4 Auckland: Today is at leisure. Perhaps explore the harbour, enjoy the bird’s eye views from the Sky Tower, get your heart racing with adrenalin activities at SkyWalk or SkyJump, simply stroll around the shops or maybe take a day trip to Waiheke Island to sample local wines.
Day 5 Auckland/Bay of Islands: Leave Auckland behind for the scenic drive up to Paihia in the Bay of Islands. En route, you may wish to stop off and visit Waipoua Kauri Forest and Hokianga Harbour, which has a fascinating history (approx 3½ hours).
Day 6 Bay of Islands: A day at leisure to explore this subtropical micro-region with its stunning natural beauty, myriad of secluded beaches and almost 150 islands. There are also the historic sites of Waitangi, where New Zealand’s treaty was signed and charming Russell, which was the first capital of New Zealand.
Day 7 Bay of Islands/South Auckland: This morning, maybe take a cruise to Cape Brett, viewing dolphins and schools of fish on the way, then after lunch drive to South Auckland, and if time allows take a stroll along Kaioitahi Beach (approx 3¾ hours).
Day 8 South Auckland/Coromandel: Head east to the pristine beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula. With a mountainous interior cloaked in native rainforest and nearly 250 miles of dazzling beaches, the Coromandel is simply stunning (approx 2½ hours).
Day 9 Coromandel/Rotorua: This morning, drive onwards to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua, which sits within the Pacific Rim of Fire. It’s impossible not to be impressed by the erupting geysers and bubbling mud pools; however, Rotorua is also rich in Maori culture and adrenalin junkies will love the city’s range of adventure activities.
Day 10 Rotorua: A day to explore this city which is surrounded by mountains, rivers, native forests and lakes. Watch the famed Pohutu Geyser or, at Hell’s Gate, see the largest hot waterfall in the southern hemisphere and the only geothermal mud baths in New Zealand. If time allows, climb into the forest canopy at the Whakarewarewa Forest with a walk along the Redwood Treewalk or, visit Te Puia to gain an insight into Maori culture and arts.
Day 11 Rotorua/Tongariro: Driving south you will come to Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand, known for its water based activities and which may be a good place to stop for lunch. Travelling on, enter Tongariro National Park, one of only twenty places in the world awarded dual World Heritage status for its nature and culture. There are three volcanoes here plus some of the filming locations for Lord of the Rings (approx 4 hours).
Day 12 Tongariro/Wellington: Take a leisurely drive south to the capital, Wellington, known as the Windy City and recently named “the coolest little capital in the world” by Lonely Planet (approx 5 hours).
Day 13 Wellington: Explore the city today. Options include travelling up Mount Victoria for a fantastic view of the harbour; visiting the Botanical Gardens by cable car; relaxing at Oriental Bay, Wellington’s golden sand inner-city beach; delving into the many art galleries and theatre shows; or go to Te Papa Museum, New Zealand’s national museum and one of the best interactive museum’s in the world.
Day 14 Wellington: Your tour concludes as you drop off your hire car at the airport for your onward journey.
Accommodation: 3* Copthorne Auckland City; 3*Plus Scenic Hotel, Bay of Islands; 4* Castaways Resort, South Auckland; 3* Aotearoa Lodge, Coromandel; 3*Plus Sudima Hotel, Rotorua; 4* Chateau Tongariro; 4* Copthorne Oriental Bay, Wellington.
Meals: Room only.
Tour price: The price shown is based on the best value travel dates in low season and includes international flights, accommodation and 12 days group C car hire.