North Island Discovery

Tour highlights

  • Discover Auckland, the city of Sails
  • Marvel at the stunning beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula
  • Check out New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty
  • Visit Gisborne - the first city in the world to greet the sun each morning
  • Wander around the capital city of Wellington
  • Enjoy the scenery at Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand
  • Go on an adventure to Waitomo with its labyrinth of caves
  • Stop off at Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s most northerly point

Days 1 – 10: Auckland to Gisborne

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Days 1 – 4: UK – Auckland 

Welcome to Auckland, the City of Sails. Fly from the UK, arriving in Auckland on day 3 due to the difference in time zones. Unwind after the flight and enjoy this harbour side city. Explore at your leisure, perhaps taking in the views from the top of the Sky tower or maybe a boat trip across the harbour to one of the neighbouring islands.

 

Days 5 – 6: Coromandel Peninsula

Distance: 168 km / 105 miles

Your first destination is the Coromandel Peninsula, a beautiful natural playground with plenty of beaches and coves to explore. Many Kiwis choose to escape the hustle and bustle of city life here, and it's easy to see why. You can dig out your very own hot pool metres from the Pacific Ocean at world-famous Hot Water Beach, or head for Cathedral Cove where a huge arched cavern passes through the headland, joining up two secluded coves. Relax in the cafes and enjoy the art galleries or just taking in the wonderful scenery.

 

Days 7 – 8: Whakatane

Distance: 252 km / 158 miles

The local Māori believe that New Zealand was first discovered more than 1,000 years ago by Tiwakawaka, who settled his people in what is now known at Whakatane, the Bay of Plenty’s sunshine capital.

Close to the coast of Whakatane is Whale Island (Moutohora) which is one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets and is home to a plethora of the countries rare and endangered birds, reptiles, and plants. This island sanctuary is fiercely protected by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation so access to the island is only possible with official tours.

 

Days 9 – 10: Gisborne

Distance: 185 km / 115 miles

Gisborne is the first city in the world to greet the sun each morning but is best known for its excellent selection of food, beer, and wine. It’s also the unofficial ‘Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand’ and has a comprehensive wine trail leading to a number of boutique wineries.

If you have an interest in Māori culture, Gisborne is an essential port of call on your itinerary as many old traditions are still evident in the city.

Days 11 – 19: Napier to Lake Taupo

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Days 11 – 12: Napier

Distance: 214km / 134 miles

Often referred to as the Art Deco capital of the world, Napier is in the Hawke’s Bay region which is famous for its vineyards. Many of these serve gourmet food to accompany their award-winning wines, giving you the opportunity to enjoy some mouth-watering cuisine.

 

Days 13 – 14 Wairarapa

Distance: 154km / 96 miles 

Wairarapa is home to a variety of winemakers and artisan producers who draw their inspiration from the lush local landscapes. The award-winning food and beverages are just the thing to pack for a picnic before heading out to discover Wairarapa's wild coastline.

You’ll be captivated by the historic lighthouse, by the North Island's largest fur seal colony, and breath-taking rock formations, all combined with stunning sea views as far as the eye can see.

 

Days 15 – 16: Wellington

Distance: 219km / 137 miles

Travel to the southern end of the North Island today and the city of Wellington. Explore the country’s capital city with a visit to the Te Papa Museum, the national museum of New Zealand. Or take a trip up Mount Victoria for views out over the city. 

 

Day 17: Whanganui

Distance: 194km / 121 miles

On the road to Wanganui, you’ll see the offshore island of Kapiti, a nature reserve where you can see rare birds and take a tour for a more in-depth visit. Once in Wanganui, take a river cruise on the Steamer Waimarie and visit the interesting museums and the River Market.

 

Days 18 - 19: Lake Taupo

Distance: 226 km / 141 miles

Near Lake Taupo you'll find the Huka Falls, one of New Zealand’s most visited natural sights. Marvel at the power of nature as the mighty Waikato River is forced through a gorge just 15 metres wide. Nearby at the Craters of the Moon, a meandering trail leads you through a slightly surreal and steaming heathland of bubbling pools and crevices.

Further on lies Lake Taupo, a vast volcanic crater, now the largest lake in the country. If you have time head out to see the spectacular Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay, only accessible from the water. Beyond Taupo is the Tongariro National Park and the unmistakable sight of its three volcanic mountains.

Days 20-31: Waitomo to Auckland

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Day 22: Pakiri

Distance: 278km / 174 miles

From Waitomo you’ll head up into the Waikato, real farming country and the dairy heartland of New Zealand. In Hamilton you can see the university, the elegant public gardens and river, while further north you bypass Auckland as you head to Pakiri. From Pakiri you can visit the artisan village of Matakana or take a trip out to Kawau Island

 

Day 23: Dargaville

Distance: 157km / 98 miles

Dargaville is built along the edge of the wide Northern Wairoa River, Māori settlements and marae (meeting places) have been scattered around the area for hundreds of years.

From tonight’s holiday park you can join a guided kiwi walk which will introduce you to the night-time sounds of the Northland Forest (bookings are essential).

 

Days 24 - 25: Cape Reinga

Distance: 231km / 144 miles

Travel to Cape Reinga where the mighty Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea. On a clear day, a white line of foam stretches across the ocean showing where the two bodies of water meet.

The Māori consider this place sacred and believe that it is here that the spirits of the deceased leap into the ocean in order to return to their ancestral land.

 

Days 26 – 27: Paihia

Distance: 144 km / 90 miles

The scenic Bay of Islands is home to 144 islands and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the views. You'll be able to learn more about the history of the region, with nearby Waitangi the location for the signing of the unique treaty between the British and the Maori people in 1840

 

Days 28 – 29: Auckland

Distance: 225km / 141 miles

Auckland is a harbour city, and the locals love nothing more than getting out on the water. You have the opportunity to explore the city at your leisure be it on land or water. A visit to Waiheke Island is a recommended and enjoyable experience that offers spectacular views of the city across the water. The Sky Tower is unmistakable and offers an alternative view of the city.

 

Days 30 – 31: Auckland – UK

Time to bid farewell to the Land of the Big White Cloud, with treasured memories that will last a lifetime.

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