11 Day Picture Perfect North Island Scenic Wonders

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Cathedral Cove Coromandel
Wai-o-Tapu
Waiheke Island Wine
Photo Bay of Islands
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ITINERARY
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11 Day Picture Perfect North Island Scenic Wonders

Explore the very best of the North Island with our luxury New Zealand road trip. From private beaches to luxury lodges, discover our world of sophisticated splendor and incredible scenery with bespoke guided experiences. A relaxing journey, perfect for wine and food lovers set amongst the sparkling coastline of the eastern seaboard of the North Island.

Duration: 11 Days

Starts: Auckland

Finishes: Napier

Drive Journey
  • Dedicated Travel Designer
  • Full In-Country Support
  • Specialist Guides on all selected experiences
  • Full Vehicle Selection
Your Experiences:
  1. Waiheke Island Private Wine Tour
  2. Private Island Cruise Bay of Islands
  3. Wai-o-tapu Geothermal Area
  4. 11 Day Picture Perfect North Island Scenic Wonders
Your Locations:
  1. Waiheke Island – Hauraki Gulf
  2. Bay of Islands, Northland
  3. Cooks Beach, Coromandel Coast
  4. Rotorua
  5. Hawkes Bay
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Day by day tour itinerary

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DAY 1
Waiheke Island

Artists and free-spirits mingle with the rich and famous on blissful Waiheke Island.

Land in 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.

Waiheke Island
DAY 2
Exclusive Wine and Art Tour - Waiheke Island

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

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

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 internationally 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.

Waiheke Island Wine
DAY 3
Fly to the Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is a stunning 144-island Maritime Park, brimming with secluded bays and an abundance of marine life.

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.

 

Bay of Islands
DAY 4
Sailing - Explore the Islands and Remote Beaches

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

On this full-day sailing trip, you will get a real feel for 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 at one of the many small sandy coves or perhaps visit the well-known “Hole in the Rock”.

Sailing the Bay of Islands
DAY 5
The Coromandel Peninsula

The Coromandel is the Favourite place for New Zealander's to holiday.

Today you’ll leave town and drive to a Peninsula lying east of Auckland, separated from our biggest city by the waters 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 miles of spectacular coastline. Take the scenic route around the peninsula for one of the most incredible coastal drive experiences in the country (but take it slowly – the twists and turns will make you dizzy!)

The idyllic seaside village of Hahei sits on the Coromandel Peninsula’s eastern side. You’ve arrived at the secret hideaway where Kiwi families take their holidays. With a safe, sheltered white-sand beach and a resident population of 300, it’s easy to see why Hahei is such a local favourite.

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    2 Nights Stay at 970 Lonely Bay Lodge

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    Approximate Distance: 170 km | 105 miles

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    Total Driving Time: 2 hours 15 mins

Coromandel
DAY 6
Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach

Arguably the Most Beautiful Beach in the World

A Day at the Beach – Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove simply has everything you could possibly want from a beach – sparkling clear blue water, world-class snorkelling, clean white sand, deserted islands you can see from the beach, The massive naturally formed “Cathedral” archway carved out by the sea and wind over thousands of years and other really interesting rock formations; including one that acts as a great jumping platform. There has been no development at all so the beach has remained as it was thousands of years ago. There are native trees and bush behind the beach with a freshwater waterfall to cool you down and provide shelter on a sizzling hot summer’s day.

Getting There: Only accessible by foot, boat or kayak. There is a spectacular 2.5 km (1.6 miles) coastal walk which takes you through to Cathedral Cove, past quintessential Coromandel scenery of pohutukawa trees and white sandy beaches.

Hot Water Beach

Fancy a soak, then head to the beautiful Hot Water Beach only a few minutes away, you will find hot water bubbling through the golden sand. Families, kids, and couples can be seen digging their own spa pool in the sand and relaxing in the natural hot springs – this is one experience that should be on your New Zealand bucket list and a truly unique Kiwi experience.

Cathedral
DAY 7
Rotorua

bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs and fascinating Maori culture

Sitting squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Rotorua’s landscape is unique: arriving here is like landing on the moon!

This is Earth’s crust at its most exciting. Giant geysers rocket into the air and colourful sulphur terraces hiss and boil. But Rotorua is about much more than boiling mud. Boasting ancient forests, pristine lakes and rugged volcanoes, it’s a haven for outdoor and adventure lovers hikers and mountain bikers.

It’s also a great place to immerse yourselves in the history and tikanga (culture) of Maori, the First People of New Zealand.

Wai-o-tapu
DAY 8
Geothermal & Maori Culture

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland & Maori Cultural Evening, Village, Hangi & Music

Wai-O-Tapu

Bernard Shaw: “the closest thing to hell existing on earth”

This is an eerie landscape and once you have see the boiling mud, the roaring geysers of hot boiling water, enormous steaming craters and sink holes and of course the all-consuming offensive sulfuric odour  –  It becomes quite clear you are somewhere resembling Hell! Yet Wai-O-Tapu has become one of the most visited attraction in New Zealand and houses some of the world’s most incredible geothermal forces. Take a walk through and observe the world-famous and multicolored champagne pool, catch the daily eruption of the Lady Knox geyser that spurts out boiling liquid at 10.15 am daily to a height of 20 meters.

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    Approximate Distance: 40 km

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    Total Driving Time: 35 minutes

Maori Heritage
DAY 9
Great Lake Taupo / Napier

Impressive is the word best used to describe Lake Taupo, after all, it is the biggest volcanic crater in the World!

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.

Continue a further 2 hours drive to Hawkes Bay Wine Country, arriving first in the  Napier which was largely rebuilt in 1931 following an earthquake in Art Deco style. You will continue on to the coast at Cape Kidnappers, passing several excellent vineyards including Clearview Estate famed for its powerhouse Reserve Chardonnay.

DAY 10
A Day of Leisure - Hawke's Bay

Nowhere else can you see such a variety of buildings in the styles of the 1930s - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission, and above all Art Deco- the style of the 20th Century

Nowhere else can you see such a variety of buildings in the styles of the 1930s – Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission, and above all Art Deco- the style of the 20th Century – in such a concentrated area.  Napier is the world’s finest example of the Art Deco age and your guide will bring Napier’s fascinating architecture to life for you as you take an easy stroll through the compact Art Deco Quarter in the vibrant city centre.

Take your pick today – explore celebrated vineyards, the supreme Cape Kidnappers golf course, architecture, bird-life and Maori culture.

DAY 11
Your Last Day

A "Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

A “Haere rā” Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

Today check out and travel to Hawkes Bays airport located in Napier. We know you will enjoy this Picture Perfect tour of the North Island. 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.

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    Approximate Distance: 36 km

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    Total Driving Time: 30 minutes

Farewell
Jaimee Boyce - Travel Designer
Jaimee Boyce, OUR ABSOLUTE NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL DESIGNER SAYS: “A relaxing trip for wine and food lovers set amongst the sparkling coastline of the eastern seaboard of the North Island. Highlights include enjoying the vintners paradise on Waiheke Island, sailing in the Bay of Islands and relaxing in unspoilt Coromandel. Rotorua has a deep sense of history both in terms of New Zealand's geothermal uprising within the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' and as a focal point for New Zealands's first peoples and the world of Te Ao Māori (the Māori worldview).”

Ready to find out more? Talk to one of our friendly travel designers about his tour. We guarantee you it will be the experience of a lifetime!

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    11 Day Picture Perfect North Island Scenic Wonders

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