12
days

The Self Drive North Island Adventurer

The 12 Day self drive New Zealand North Island adventure tour gets you into some remote and amazing places -- from rafting over the top of the Southern Hemispheres highest commercially rafted waterfall, then gets you underground on an expedition through one of Waitomo's deepest caves. We have also allowed for 3 days sailing the beautiful Bay of Islands, either relax or get fully involved.

3 Day Sailing Expedition, Coromandel Kayaking, Caving Expedition Waitomo, Rafting Rotorua, Moonlight Tongariro Crossing, Bungy.

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Itinerary

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1
Welcome to Auckland

Welcome to Auckland!. Today is a day to relax from your flight as the next three weeks will provide some of the most pristine landscapes and thrilling experiences imaginable. Auckland City is 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 - 1 night

2
SCENIC DRIVE TO THE BAY OF ISLANDS - NEW ZEALAND'S WINTERLESS NORTH

This sub-tropical region has the finest maritime park in New Zealand with 144 islands, secluded bays, and an abundance of marine life including marlin, whales, penguins, dolphins, gannets and many other species. It is one of the most picturesque and popular holiday sites in New Zealand. It combines great fishing, amazing Sailing and other water sports with some of New Zealand's most significant historic sites. One of the most popular attractions is the Hole in the Rock, off Cape Brett. You can take a boating trip through the hole in a huge rock outcrop. Also popular are Dolphin Swimming and diving trips to the sunken Rainbow Warrior Wreck or a round of Golf at Kauri Cliffs.

Approximate Distance: 243 kms | 150 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 40 mins

Accommodation Paihia - 1 night

3-5
3 DAY BAY OF ISLANDS SAILING EXPEDITION

Join the friendly crew and experience the Bay of Islands Maritime Park on a 3 day / 2 night coastal exploration aboard the 72ft sailing yacht. Appreciate the marine environment and the outdoors in a relaxed, down to earth atmosphere. The focus is on a range of outdoor activities which are designed to be fun and to also enable a greater level of interaction with the different maritime habitats. Sail the ocean, walk across towering cliffs, snorkel on stunning reefs, kayak around uninhabited islands and gather your own fresh seafood to experience the Maritime Park‘s rich diversity. Experience the true diversity of the Bay of Islands that include Cape Brett with the Hole in the Rock, the Twin Lagoons at Roberton Islands and the unique and unforgettable Urupukapuka Island

Accommodation Day 3 & 4 - The Sailing Ship Manawanui
​Accommodation Day 5 - Paihia Waterfront Apartments

6
DRIVE TO THE COROMANDEL - BEAUTIFUL BEACHES AND NATIVE BUSH

The Coromandel Peninsula lies east of Auckland, on the other side of the Hauraki Gulf. An impressive, heavily forested mountain range runs right up the middle of this peninsula - it’s bordered on each side by kilometres of spectacular coastline. On the west coast, there’s a never-ending parade of beaches, coves and harbours lined with pohutukawa trees. The eastern side is furnished with an amazing collection of white sand and surf beaches. The past can also be found in the charming colonial architecture and historical buildings preserved in several towns around the region. The coastal nature of the Coromandel makes it a brilliant choice if you like to fish, surf, dive, snorkelling, swim or wander along beaches. For contrast you can head for the hills and hike the trails in the-forest.

Approximate Distance: 403 kms | 250 miles  Total Driving Time: 5 hours 30 mins

Accommodation Hahei - 2 nights

7
KAYAKINg BEAUTIFUL CATHEDRAL COVE

This sea-bound spine of ancient eroded volcanoes protects the placid waters of the ‘City of Sails’. It also serves as a favourite holiday hideaway for busy Aucklanders and a Mecca for visitors seeking peace and solitude. The dramatic unspoilt coastline is the main drawcard, being perfectly suited to sea kayaking. Scenic bays and hidden coves have fascinating rock gardens and golden sand beaches tucked away behind glorious limestone sculptured headlands. Cathedral Cove at Hahei is a ‘Blue Lagoon’ fantasy scene and further south magical thermal springs bubble up through the sand at the beautiful Hot Water Beach. This volcanic coast is stunning. Paddle through amazing sea caves, explore offshore islands, snorkel the marine reserve. When conditions & tides allow, we have the option of paddling spectacular volcanic remains rarely seen by other travellers that are littered with caves, tunnels & blowholes.That is why you will love the Self Drive New Zealand North Island Adventurer, you have the freedom to explore an area as and when you want to.

8
DRIVE TO WAITOMO - CAVING EXPEDITION

The green rolling landscapes of the Waikato region that lies to the south of Auckland form some of the most fertile land in New Zealand, yet this is one region in particular which holds more than just surface appeal… literally. For Waikato also boasts an extensive labyrinth of underground caverns that formed millions of years ago and are now a major tourist attraction. To the south of Hamilton, 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.

The Lost World Caving  – Waitomo

This is Waitomo’s ultimate adventure and it is dramatic! The day starts with a 100 meters abseil (330ft) - the world’s longest commercial caving abseil and it takes at least fifteen odd minutes, to get you into the Lost World – and that is just the beginning! 

Approximate Distance: 222 kms | 138 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours

Accommodation Waitomo - 1 night

9
RAFTING GEOTHERMAL ROTORUA

Rotorua, the heartland of New Zealand, is the host to some of the world’s most incredible forces. Surrounded by the unmistakable smell of sulphur, geysers and clouds of steam magically appear around the city giving it an incredible 'other worldly' feel. Here lives wonders like the Pohutu geyser, which erupts 20 times a day and can spout up to 100 feet. All around this geothermal hotspot there are mud pools that bubble and belch, warm geothermal pools and ponds and hot spring bath’s that create a kaleidoscope of colour.

With a deep-rooted Maori cultural heritage spanning from the 14th century, Rotorua is still considered Maori cultural centre of New Zealand. The first Maori inhabitant’s constructed villages and made use of the thermal areas boiling water. This natural resource successfully aided them in the use of cooking and warmth for houses, eliminating the dependence of fire. Here you can explore the unique culture of New Zealand’s Maori people.

Grade 5 White Water Rafting - The 'Mighty Kaituna River'

The Kaituna River offers the most exhilarating white water rafting in New Zealand and is ranked a grade 4/5. Why? This river begins at the outlet of Lake Rotoiti and the sheer volume of water escaping the lake has created 15 fast and furious rapids - the adrenaline just keeps on pumping until you hit the highest commercially rafted waterfall known, “The Tutea Falls” at 7metres (23ft) - you couldn’t ask for a better finale! The Kaituna River is a pool drop river, which means there is the excitement of the rapids and then time to pull yourself together before tackling the next inevitable set. The rapids are not the only draw card; the flora and exposed geological history provide an equally breathtaking experience as you drift through steep gorges and native bush. With two guides taking care of the more technical aspects (Like steering the boat) you can focus on perhaps the more important aspects (like holding on!). Believe it or not, around 70% of the people trying this have never rafted before - so adventurous beginners are welcome – Yeehaa!!

Approximate Distance: 137 kms | 85 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 50 mins

Accommodation Rotorua - 1 night

10
MOONLIGHT TONGARIRO CROSSING

The 12 mile Tongariro Crossing is considered to the best hike in New Zealand and deservedly so! This hike has you on the top of Red Crater watching the sun rise in unique lighting and with the peaceful, still, quiet moments of the dawn and we usually have the luxury of few other walkers and the place mostly to ourselves. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing starts at the Mangatepopo Valley and the first 2 hours of the trek is an upward gentle gradient to Soda Springs. The track leads up to the Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe saddle and it is steep which is why this section is taken slowly to ensure we all enjoy the spectacle and scenery. At the South Crater we take a break and photos and then we then traverse up the side of Tongariro to the famous Red Crater summit. After taking in the view of the active Red Crater with the Otarere and Rangipo deserts in the background, we descend to the Emerald Lakes for lunch, refreshments and a well-earned break. From here we divert up and over Mt Tongariro to its summit which offers a great photo opportunity of the Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu peaks. Once you are at the top of a mountain, the only way off it is downhill and because the main throng of walkers have already passed through, we take the main track back over Mt Ngauruhoes pyroclastic flows with sunset views of Mt Taranaki, 150 kms away. We are now back at Mangatepopo and the finish … EASY! This is a fully guided small group trip, no previous experience is necessary but you do need to have a good level of fitness to fully enjoy this day. 

Approximate Distance: 185 kms | 115 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 20 mins

Accommodation National Park - 1 night

11
LAKE TAUPO - THE BIGGEST VOLCANIC CRATER IN THE WORLD & BUNGEE

Impressive is the word best used to describe Lake Taupo, after all, it is the biggest volcanic crater in the World! Lake Taupo is set amidst clean, green countryside, spectacular mountain scenery, beautiful native bush and some of the largest pine forests in the Southern Hemisphere. Thermal activity in this region includes natural hot pools and springs, steaming craters and boiling mud pools. Taupo is the North Island adventure equivalent of Queenstown! Visit the Huka Falls look out and the Prawn Farm, take a jet boat down the Waikato river to see the Huka Falls or even better do the full on Rapids Jet experience for a real thrill, partake in the new Zealand craze of Bungy Jumping, Sky Dive from 15,000 ft (cheapest in the world and most of our staff have done it!), take a fast boat around Lake Taupo to view the rock carvings and much more.

Approximate Distance: 100 kms | 62 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 15 mins

​Accommodation Taupo - 1 night

12
Return to Auckland

Taupo Bungy Jump
Taupo Bungy one of New Zealand’s most spectacular bungy sites, is situated 47 metres (154 ft) above the crystal clear waters of the Waikato River. Since commencing operations in 1991, Taupo Bungy has performed in excess of 145,000 jumps, gaining a world-wide reputation for its safety standards and professionalism.

Approximate Distance: 277 kms | 172 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 25 mins

Haere rā and Bon Voyage!
There maybe time for some last minute sightseeing or shopping before making your way for your outbound flight. We know you will love the Self Drive New Zealand North Island Adventurer and our promise was to make your travels in New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible - ensuring that today you leave with a memory card full of photos, and huge smiles when recalling your time in New Zealand! Have a great homeward journey, farewell and hope to see you again soon in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Ready to find out more? Talk to us here in New Zealand about the 'Self Drive New Zealand North Island Adventurer' - We Guarantee it will be the Experience of a Lifetime!