11
days

Northern Delights (also suitable for children)

Explore the Islands of the upper North Island, swim in seas surrounded by  golden sand beaches, soak up the culture and the native wildlife. This trip is suitable for couples as well as families with young children.

Waiheke Island Tour, Beautiful Beaches, Cruise & Dolphins Bay of Islands, Glow Worm Caves, Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland, Rainbow Springs Nature Reserve, Maori Cultural Evening, Hobbiton Movie Set Tour.

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Itinerary

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1
Welcome to Auckland

Welcome to Auckland, situated amongst a cluster of extinct volcanic cones, next to a large harbour that bustles with life, both on water and on land. The Auckland isthmus straddles a slim piece of land with coastline facing both the Pacific Ocean, and, on the wild West Coast, the Tasman Sea. 
 

After checking into your hotel,relax, take a stroll around our beautiful city, explore the highly acclaimed Waterfront Restaurant Quarter or choose one of the many activities available to give a more in depth understanding of Auckland and the surrounding area.

Some Activities and Sightseeing Options Available are:

Explore Waiheke Island Island Kayaking Adventure America’s Cup Sailing
Auckland's Sky Tower Relax on the Beach Rangitoto Island Cruise & Walk
West Coast Wine Tour Whale and Dolphin Safari Muriwai Surf Beach

Accommodation Auckland - 2 nights

2
Wine on Waiheke

Just 35 minutes by ferry from Auckland, across the beautiful Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island is a tranquil paradise. Since the late 1970's Waiheke Islands benign climate has seen the growth of a flourishing wine industry. A "small is beautiful" philosophy yields low quantities of extremely high quality fruit, which is made into international award-winning wines. Visit three of the Islands finest vineyards for tasting and enjoy a commentated scenic tour of the Island by one of our knowledgeable, local guides. Included is a two hour lunch stop (lunch is additional cost) at a a village or beach-side cafe. Extend your stay at the completion of the tour as the ferry keeps running until 10pm.

3
Collect rental car and head to the Bay of Islands

A subtropical wonderland of secluded bays, islands and history, the Bay of Islands is a coastal paradise. Get out on the water with a boat cruise or sailing charter and spot dolphins and whales frolicking in the water before seeing the Hole in the Rock, just off Cape Brett, up close. Stroll the streets of Russell, New Zealand’s first capital, and soak up its whaling and pioneering past. Learn about the birth of New Zealand in Waitangi, where the treaty that made New Zealand a British colony was signed. The compelling mix of early New Zealand heritage and coastal beauty makes the Bay of Islands an unforgettable destination to experience first-hand. For divers, the Rainbow Warrior Wreck – sunk just off Matauri Bay – is a riot of colour; jewel-hued anenomes in pink, purple and yellow stick to the rails and schools of fish call the wreck home. Also offering world-class fishing and the opportunity to swim with dolphins, the Bay of Islands is a must-do for lovers of perfect beaches and pristine coastline.  

Approximate Distance: 243 kms | 151 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 40 mins

Accommodation Pahia - 3 nights

4
Discover the Bay - Dolphin Watching

Discover the must see Bay highlights from iconic landmarks to abundant wildlife, home to 144 islands.  Soak up the stories of the Bay as your engaging crew captivate you with tales of local characters and cultural mythology.  Power through the cavernous Hole in the Rock and marvel at the impressive size of what nature has created. Spot dolphins frolicking in the warm waters with birdlife, seals and more. Learn about the importance of taking care of this national maritime park.

5
Day of Leisure in the Bay

Russell, formerly known as Kororareka, in the whaling days this calm haven used to be known as "The Hell-hole of the Pacific". At the foundation of New Zealand as a colony, Russell was named capital, before the title was moved to Auckland a year later. Today Russell is a quiet little town, home of New Zealand's oldest surviving church, built in 1835, where settlers took refuge during the 1845 sacking of the town. Bullet holes were left in the walls as a reminder of these times. Russell is accessible via a regular foot or vehicle passenger service. A great beach for swimming can be found at Long Beach.

Excursions available in the Bay of Islands:

Historical Island Cruise Diving Rainbow Warrior 4WD Adventure Cape Reinga
Sailing the Islands Dolphin Swimming Giant Kauri Forest Walk
Cultural Tour of Waitangi Golf at Kauri Cliffs Sea Kayaking the Bay

 

6
DRIVE SOUTH TO THE UNDERGROUND LABYRINTHS OF WAITOMO

The drive south of Auckland takes you through the green rolling hills of the Waikato farming region. Just past Hamilton is the small and pleasant town of Waitomo is the focal point of the region’s subterranean wonders. The caves at Waitomo are one of New Zealand's most commanding wonders – a celebration of nature's work over the last one hundred thousand years. There are hundreds of miles of labyrinthine caves, glow-worms, under ground lakes, stalactites and stalagmites, and all manner of limestone crustaceans - a lost world waiting to be discovered. Above ground, the area around Waitomo is also popular for horse riding and bush walking.

Approximate Distance: 424 kms | 264 miles  Total Driving Time: 5 hours 45 mins

Accommodation Waitomo - 1 night

7
WILL THE UNDERGROUND LABYRINTH LEAVE YOU SPELLBOUND

Take part in the small group personalized Spellbound tour that allows you to spend 40 minutes under glow worms. This tour is one of the most unhurried glow worm tours in New Zealand, with plenty of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness - intensifying the effect of thousands of softly shining glow worms. After the journey it is a two hour drive to Taupo. Lake Taupo is set amidst rolling green countryside and spectacular mountain scenery. Similar in size to Singapore, Lake Taupo the lake is surrounded by some of the largest pine forests in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Approximate Distance: 149 kms | 93 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 50 mins

Accommodation Taupo - 1 night

8
Discover Rotorua the Geothermal Ring of Fire

Sitting squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire - Rotorua is a geothermal spectacular. At the midway point between Rotorua and Taupo - stop at the  New Zealand's most colourful volcanic area at Wai-o-tapu. Enjoy unique volcanic features while walking well defined trails at your own pace, the earths crust at its most exciting and accessible, the smell of sulphur and sight of steaming vents invade the senses.  But Rotorua is more than boiling mud, there are ancient forests set amongst prisitine lakes, and the area is steeped in the history and tikanga (culture) of Maori, the First People of New Zealand. 

Recommended excursions in and around Rotorua:

See Geysers & Boiling Mud Polynesian Hot Springs Whirinaki Forest Walk
Thermally Active Golf Biking the Mighty Forests Flight to Volcanic Island
Museum of Art & History Evening Cultural Experience White Water Rafting

Approximate Distance: 85 kms | 53 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 10 mins

Accommodation Rotorua - 2 nights

9
Rainbow Springs and Mitai Cultural Evening including dinner

Wander the tree lined pathways at Rainbow Springs, enjoying the tranquility of the crystal clear mineral water that flows throughout the park from subterranean springs. See live kiwi foraging for food in a closely simulated natural enivronment. Families will enjoy the park environment surrounded by sheep donkeys, pigs, chickens, wallabies and ducks. In the evening,at Mitai will give you an authentic introduction to Maori culture leaving you amazed and in awe. Enter the world of Mitai. Be enthralled by the natural bush setting, see warriors in traditional dress paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream, and see glow worms in their natural habitat. Marvel at the crystal clear water full of eels and trout, flowing directly from the earth at the sacred Fairy Spring, and see your traditionally cooked hangi meal being lifted from the ground. During our cultural performance, you’ll learn about our past, carvings and ta moko (tattoo art).  Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat, coupled with the grace and beauty of the poi dance. You’ll be amazed by the spine tingling haka finale. The Mitai family is proud to have created a sacred and spiritual place that offers you an indigenous cultural experience like no other.

10
Hobbiton Movie Set tour and return to Auckland

An exciting day awaits this morning. Journey to the emerald pastures and rolling hills of The Shire, where Hobbiton was brought to life on a private farm in Matamata. This idyllic village blurs the line between fantasy and reality. Set to the scale of a 3ft Hobbit you’ll feel like you’ve walked into a magical world of smoking chimneys, bluebells, and the Green Dragon Inn. Visit Bag End as well as the other 43 Hobbit Holes on this fully guided 2.5hr Hobbiton tour. Learn about the production of the movies – how did they make Gandalf appear so tall? Why was this exact site chosen to build Hobbiton? The passion and knowledge gleaned from your guide brings this authentic Middle-earth experience to life.

Approximate Distance: 225 kms | 140 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 50 mins

Accommodation Auckland - 1 night

11
Return to Auckland & HOMEWARD BOUND

Haere rā and Bon Voyage!

We are sure you will enjoy the Northern Delights and our promise is to make your travels through New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible - ensuring that today you leave with a memory card full of photos, and huge smiles on your faces when recalling your time in New Zealand! Have a great homeward journey, farewell and hope to see you again soon in Aotearoa, New Zealand.