Luxury Lodges of NZ - North Island Tour Itinerary

View of the lake to one of the North Islands top luxury lodges.

Wellington to Palliser Bay

Welcome to New Zealand's "coolest little capital"!

On arrival, collect your car and start exploring! Wellington is compact, cultured and oozing with charm, so explore at your leisure before setting off to your first luxury lodge in the Wairapapa wine region.
The Museum of New Zealand 'Te Papa' is full of national treasures and sits beside the water in the downtown area of the city centre — well worth a visit. With boutique shopping galore, and gorgeous parks and gardens on your doorstep, you will find much to inspire and entertain you in Wellington.

Wharekauhau Country Estate

A scenic 1.5-hour drive takes you to beautiful Palliser Bay in the Wairapapa wine region. Perched high on a hilltop, the Grand Lodge at Wharekauhau Country Estate will be your luxury base for the next two nights. Settle down for the night in your exquisite cottage suite amid 3000 acres of private forests, pastures, and lakes overlooking the rugged Rimutaka ranges and the endless blue of the Pacific Ocean. Welcome to paradise.

Suggested outings before heading to your lodge.

National Museum - Te Papa Visit Cuba StreetWeta Workshop Tour
Zealandia Wildlife Reserve     

 Wellington Cable Car    

Carter Observatory 

Approximate Distance: 101 km | 63 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 20 mins

Accommodation: Featherston - 2 Nights

Wellington Waterfront

Throw yourself into a yesteryear and enjoy the grandeur and gracious lliving of the Edwardian era, reflected in Wharekauhau Country Estate. The Estate is based on a 5,000 acre (2,225 Hectares) working sheep station overlooking the spectacular Palliser Bay. Guests can choose from a veritable smorgasbord of outdoor activities or simply indulge in splendid luxury, superb local wines and irresistible cuisine. 

Wharekauhau Country Estate


Wharekauhau Country Estate: Leisure and Pleasure

When you can bear to leave your luxurious cottage this morning, Wharekauhau Country Estate will spoil you for choice.

Explore a working sheep station
This working farm estate, dotted with sheep and cattle, is a delight to roam. See sheep shearers in action, watch the working dogs rounding up their flocks, and embrace farm life to the fullest.

Hike and bike to your heart's content
Hiking, Mountain Biking, and ATV quad biking are all on offer, and with so many ancient forests and rugged coastlines to discover, you could pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it.

Sample the region's finest Pinot Noirs
If you'd prefer to explore the wider area, a trip into the Burgundy-esque Martinborough wine region is a must. Home to 35 boutique wineries and a plethora of artisan produce, this is a foodie's dream come true.

Visit a seal colony
For wildlife lovers, a day trip to Cape Palliser rewards you with the largest Brown Fur Seal colony in the Southern Hemisphere. There are magnificent views of the unspoiled landscape from the lighthouse built into the cliff face.

Head home to a sumptuous meal at the Grand Lodge, where chefs take advantage of the farm's own orchards, herbs and vegetable gardens to create culinary delights that are guaranteed to please.

Some suggested activities and outings available on request.

Clay Target Shooting    Cooking Classes           Martinborough Wine Tour
ATV Quad Bikes Cellar Masters Wine Tour
ArcheryRelax in our Day SpaWine Tasting (in House)
Fishing Sea/RiverMountain BikingGolf Wellington
Wharekauhau Quad biking


Palliser Bay to Hawke's Bay

Heading north, today you'll discover the delights of the Hawkes Bay region, famed for its sensational coastal scenery, fine wines and the beautifully preserved Art Deco city of Napier.

Hawke's Bay
Boasting a relaxed country lifestyle, Hawke's Bay is the perfect setting to unwind and forget any everyday cares. You'll be staying in the Hastings District, a sensational place to enjoy the Great New Zealand Outdoors with outstanding beaches, cycling trails, and walking tracks, as well as iconic natural landmarks such as Cape Kidnappers and Te Mata Peak.

Greenhill Lodge
Expect a warm welcome when you arrive at the elegant, gracious Greenhill Lodge historic mansion today. This gorgeous Victorian country estate has played host to English royalty, and with only five rooms, this Hawkes Bay hilltop country retreat offers an intimate family home experience.

Approximate Distance: 265 km | 164 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 15 mins

Accommodation: Hawkes Bay - 2 nights

Wine Country Hawkes Bay
A gracious, elegant and historic homestead - Greenhill is opulent yet a tranquil retreat, situated on a hilltop overlooking lush farm and grazing land. Greenhill provides an authentic and tranquil New Zealand 'country homestead' family home experience. Having hosted English royalty this historic mansion houses five ensuite guest-rooms, most of which open to wide verandas and sensational views over magnificent gardens with pool and gymnasium.
Greenhill Lodge


The Best of the Bay - A Private Tour

The most authentic way to experience Hawke's Bay is to get to know the colourful characters who live here. Today's private, tailored day tour introduces you people and places that are unforgettable.

Private Hawke's Bay Day Tour

This customised Hawke's Bay tour allows you to discover the Bay your way. Here are some of the highlights you may wish to experience:

  • Stroll amongst the celebrated art deco buildings of Napier.
  • Gain a spiritual insight into Maori culture at a beautiful rural coastal settlement, where you'll meet and talk with a Maori elder.
  • Visit creative food producers on their land: taste, touch and smell the tantalising products they make from the deep soils.
  • Taste beautifully crafted local wines at prestigious Hawke's Bay wineries, meeting the personalities involved in making the wines.
  • Be welcomed by fascinating local artists in their studios and view their paintings, sculptures or ceramics.

The tour will be customised to your tastes and will take you on a special journey to find the true essence of this beautiful region.

Beautiful sign or sculpture of the maori culture.


Hawke’s Bay to Rotorua via New Zealand’s Largest Lake

The heartland of New Zealand’s North Island, Rotorua is host to some of the world’s most incredible geothermal forces as it is situated right on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Volcanic activity is a key part of the city’s past and present.

On your journey, today, take time for a picnic lunch on the shores of Great Lake Taupo or explore a geothermal park between Taupo and Rotorua.

Treetops Estate Rotorua

Nestled in 2,500 acres of private native forest and pristine wilderness you'll discover an elegant, rustic lodge waiting to welcome you.
The luxurious Treetops Lodge lies within a secluded forest and game reserve boasting seven trout streams, four lakes and over 70 km of hiking, biking and riding trails. Why not cozy up in front of a warm fire in the Great Room this evening and plan tomorrow's adventures?

Approximate Distance: 224 km | 139 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 47 mins

Accommodation: Rotorua - 3 nights

Lake Taupo

Discover world-class luxury accommodation within your own piece of paradise. Rotorua’s Treetops Lodge is surrounded by New Zealand’s unique forest and thermal wonderland, tescape for a few days and enjoy the onsite experiences including horse riding, hunting, 4wd tour, mountain biking, guided trout fishing can also be arranged, onsite spa or cooking classes. Privacy and comfort are paramount with Lodge Rooms or exceptionally private Villas.

Tree Tops Lodge


Exclusive Cruise on Lake Rotoiti

At Okawa Bay on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotoiti, board "Tiua", a 53ft catamaran for a relaxing sail on the serene lake. Explore the sparkling waters and hidden gems of picturesque Lake Rotoiti and discover beautiful sandy coves, lake edge hot springs and cultural sites. Your skipper and host will recite stories of the lake, it’s history and the local Maori people. Soak in the rejuvenating Manupirua lakeside hot pools. accessible only by boat.

Lake Rotoiti luxury sailing


Treetops Estate & Rotorua at Your Leisure

Would you prefer to go out or stay in today? The choice is yours, and with so many exciting activities available there is no wrong answer.

Treetops Estate: In-house Lodge Experiences
Each day the lodge offers a complimentary Signature Treetops experience on the Estate. These change daily between the Maori Indigenous Food Trail; Estate to Plate or Wilderness Safari; or the Wild Food Cooking School.

Alternatively, there are some fantastic family experiences offered at Treetops, including photography safaris; geocaching hunts; helicopter tours to the nearby live volcano at White Island; luxury treks to spectacular waterfalls; and 4WD safaris.

Rotorua: Getting Out & About
Away from the estate, you could spend your day gaining an appreciation for New Zealand’s Maori culture by visiting a settlement site or living village. There are also a surprising number of geothermal parks, each with their own unique features.

Some suggested activities and outings.

See Geysers & Boiling Mud  Polynesian Hot SpringsWhirinaki Forest Walk
Thermally Active GolfBiking the Mighty ForestsFlight to Volcanic Island
Museum of Art & HistoryEvening Cultural Experience   White Water Rafting
Rotorua Thermal Activity


Rotorua to the Beautiful Bay of Islands

Swap the volcanic Central Plateau for the unspoiled beaches of the North as you fly to the spectacular Bay of Islands and collect another car at the airport.

The Bay of Islands is a stunning 144-island Maritime Park, brimming with secluded bays and an abundance of marine life. Being somewhat sheltered, the area is ideal for yachting, fishing, kayaking, and diving. Rolling countryside, tidal estuaries, mangroves, sparkling and long silvery beaches abound.

Rich in beauty and natural history, it's also an area of considerable historical significance: Maori and European settlers signed the Treaty of Waitangi here, joining them together as one nation. It's often referred to as the birthplace of New Zealand.

The approach to Kauri Cliffs takes you through several kilometres of farmland before you arrive at the cliffs above Matauri Bay: it's like arriving at the edge of the world. At Kauri Cliffs Lodge, perched high above the ocean, you can expect knockout views of the Pacific Ocean, Cape Brett, and the offshore Cavalli Islands during your rejuvenating 4-night stay. Unpack, unwind, and pinch yourself if you need to: this dream location must be seen to be believed.

Approximate Driving Distance: 35 km | 22 miles  Total Driving Time: 30 mins

Accommodation: Bay of Islands - 4 nights

Bay of Islands

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is located on 6000 acres near Matauri Bay. They have a stunning 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean. From the verandas, lounge and dining rooms, you will be able to enjoy views of Cape Brett and the offshore Cavalli Island. 



A Day of Leisure

With so much beauty on your doorstep, you needn't stray far today to discover amazing adventure and outdoor activities to delight you and your travel companions.

For golfers, the world-famous Kauri Cliffs par 72 championship course offers tees to challenge every skill level. Fifteen of the holes overlook the Pacific Ocean: this is a game you won't forget!

Three private beaches stretch the entire length of the property, with something for everyone: rock pools for young explorers, an exquisite bay with a beach made up of pink shells for that romantic picnic, and a revered Northland surf break for the adventurous.

Your hosts at Kauri Cliffs can arrange guided fishing, horse riding, quad biking and heritage walks over the vast estate. For those who prefer to follow the beat of their own drum, mountain bikes are available to explore the property's many farm roads and walking trails. The in-house spa is a great place to soothe any tired muscles after an action-packed day.

If you'd prefer to leave the estate and explore further afield, here are some suggested Bay of Islands activities and outings:

Some suggested activities and outings if you want to get 'Out and About'

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
Amazing picture of two dolphins jumping out of the water.


Cape Reinga Flight and Tour to ‘Lands End'

Fly over magnificent scenery to the very top of New Zealand today, experiencing the magnificent scenery and history of this very special region.

Bay of Islands Scenic Flight
Your 45-minute Cape Reinga scenic flight to Cape Reinga showcases Northlands’ most spectacular harbours and bays, passing across stunning Coopers Beach, Doubtless Bay and of course the famous Ninety Mile Beach. After you land, an air-conditioned minibus will spirit you away on a 2.5-hour tour of New Zealand's Far North.

You'll visit the Cape Reinga lighthouse and see where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean, their waves crashing together. Stroll along the beach at Tapotupotu Bay before heading to the giant sand dunes of Te Paki quicksand stream: "sand surfing" down the dunes is exhilarating fun for all ages!

Your return flight allows a peek at some breathtaking coastal areas only visible from the air or by sea. The dazzling white silica sands of remote Parengarenga Harbour and Great Exhibition Bay are lapped by crystal clear water — you'll want to have your camera ready to capture every postcard-perfect moment.

Scenic Flight Bay of Islands


Classic Day Sail - Explore the Islands and Beaches

Take to the water and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Bay of Islands on a classic single mast yacht.

Sailing in the Bay of Islands

On this full day sailing trip, you will get a real feel for the why the Bay of Islands is so beloved by New Zealanders and visitors alike. Relax and enjoy the sound of the sea lapping against the hull as you sail the sparkling waters of one of the country's richest sailing areas.

With over 150 islands and bays to choose from, you'll spend your day swimming, kayaking, snorkeling and strolling the Bay's secluded white sandy beaches. For lunch, you might opt to drop anchor in the historic seaside town of Russell, or perhaps visit the well-known “Hole in the Rock”.

This is your day so feel free to sit back and relax, or for a real thrill, you can take part in the sailing of this beautiful vessel.

Sailing in the Bay of Islands


Auckland’s Waiheke Island

Leaving the Bay of Islands behind, venture south to Auckland where a short ferry ride transports you to one of New Zealand's favourite getaway spots: Waiheke Island.

Artists and free-spirits mingle with the rich and famous on this blissful island: it's a haven of beautiful beaches, gastronomical treasures and small wineries.

Waiheke Island is to Auckland as the Hamptons are to New York – the former being on a much smaller scale. Home to beautiful beaches and a friendly village atmosphere, Waiheke Island produces outstanding, award-winning wines.

Approximate Distance: 270 km | 167 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 50 mins  Ferry: 40 mins

Accommodation:  Waiheke Island Auckland - 2 nights

Waiheke Island
The Boatshed small luxury hotel on Waiheke Island is just five minutes up the hill from sandy Little Oneroa beach. Its casual and elegant atmosphere works in perfect harmony with its seaside location. The chic, architecturally designed small luxury suites offer panoramic ocean views. All day dining for hotel guests is a wonderful way to make the most of the hotel's beautiful design, architecture, art and the local surrounds.
The boat Shed Waiheke Island


Exclusive Wine and Art Tour - Waiheke Island

Join a local wine aficionado for exclusive behind-the-scenes access to Waiheke's premier wine producers.

Taste the Famous Wines of Waiheke Island
Since the late 1970s, Waiheke's 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. At each vineyard, you'll taste a selection of wines and enjoy an in-depth discussion with the winemaker.

For something a little more tactile, we can arrange a visit to a bronze crafting studio, a cobbler who creates individual pairs of shoes from scratch, a ceramic artist, or a tour of the spectacular sculpture park. As part of your tour, you can opt to break up the day with a scenic walk on one of Waiheke's secluded beaches — a perfect way to round off your North Island vacation.

A man tasting one of the famous wine of Waiheke Island.


Auckland and Homeward Bound

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

Return to Auckland city by ferry and transfer to Auckland Airport to connect with your flight home.

We know you will enjoy this Luxury Lodges Tour and our promise to you 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. 

Ready to find out more? Talk to us here in New Zealand about 'The Luxury Lodges of New Zealand North Island Tour'  - We Guarantee it will be the Holiday of a Lifetime!


Profile picture for user Jess
What Jess says about this tour: When only the best will do - we have researched the ultimate luxury lodgings and activities dotted around the North Island. Guests have plenty of choice from natural hot pools, sailing trips, and scenic flights to wineries, lake cruises and art tours. Perfect for honeymooners and guests who know how to treat themselves!
Enquire Now

Want Your Very Own Custom Itinerary?

We can customise any of our online itineraries or create your own from start to finish

Pricing terms

The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price