Wellington - Auckland

Fly total time: 11 days

Experience natural spectacles and unique wildlife encounters on this journey around the North Island. 

AT A GLANCE:

  • 10 nights/11 days 
  • See kiwi birds in their natural habitat 
  • Swim with sharks
  • See bubbling geothermal action 
  • Spot whales, dolphins and seals 

 
  • Day 1 - Wellington

    Drive Fly 0
    Arrive into Wellington International Airport, or transfer from Auckland or Christchurch. Collect your rental car and after check-in, visit Zealandia for a tour at dusk. Zealandia is a world-first conservation attraction, where a unique and natural area is being patiently restored. On your evening tour, see rare and endangered birds including the little spotted kiwi. 

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 2 - Wellington – Kapiti Coast

    Drive Fly 50 minutes 50 KMS 31 MI
    Spend the day touring Kapiti Island, a peaceful island bird sanctuary and one of New Zealand’s most accessible nature reserves. You can expect to see some of the country’s most beautiful and endangered birds up close and personal. Alternatively, explore Wellington’s wild south coast on a 4WD seal-spotting adventure.
     
    Top Tip:
    • Stay on the island with a glamping experience or live it up in luxury at Greenmantle Estate.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 3: Wellington – Wairarapa – Napier

    Drive Fly 3 hours 30 minutes 331 KMS 205 MI
    Wellington – Mount Bruce (125km/1 hour 50 min)
    Mount Bruce – Napier (206 km / 2 hours 32 min)
     
    Journey north over the Remutaka Range, before stopping at Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, home to many endangered bird species. Learn about New Zealand’s efforts to protect and restore native wildlife, flora and fauna and help feed the unique wildlife.

    Top Tip: 

    • Take a short detour to Martinborough, for lunch at one of the town’s many scenic eateries. Stay the night amongst the vines, or continue on to Napier

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 4: Napier – Cape Kidnappers – Napier

    Drive Fly 1 hour 44 KMS 27 MI
    Marvel at the country’s largest display of aquatic life at the National Aquarium, the only place in New Zealand you can free swim with sharks. Take a trip to Cape Kidnappers and witness the spectacular gannet colony. Get within just a few feet of adults and chicks and see them nesting, preening and performing their courtship dance. 

    Top Tip: From May – September there are fewer birds at the gannet colony so time your trip accordingly. 

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 5 - Napier – Taupō

    Drive Fly 1 hour 50 minutes 141 KMS 87 MI
    On the edge of the southern hemisphere’s largest lake, Taupō is an all-seasons holiday hot spot for trout fishing, water activities and numerous outdoor pursuits. Take a thrilling jet boat ride to the raging waters of the Huka Falls. Then relax and look into the past with a cruise around Lake Taupō’s bays, viewing the impressive Māori rock carvings. 

    Top tip: ​The 5km trail from the town centre to Huka Falls offers a scenic walk along the clear Waikato River. Your clients can stop off for a dip in a natural hot creek along the way!

    Recommended activities:

    • Relax on a Maori Rock Carving cruise on Lake Taupō
    • Visit the Huka honey hive to learn about beekeeping and try local Manuka Honey.
    • Get up close to the thundering water at Huka Falls.
    • Try fly fishing in the nearby rivers at Turangi, the trout fishing capital of New Zealand.
    • A river float down the Tongariro River from Turangi, just south of Taupō will offer the chance to see the rare New Zealand Blue Ducks.
  • Day 6 - Taupō – Rotorua

    Drive Fly 1 hour 5 minutes 80 KMS 49 MI
    Rotorua is alive with geothermal activity. Your clients can experience what lies beneath on a nature walk through a volcanic valley, home to bubbling mud pools and spouting geysers. This evening they can enjoy an authentic cultural performance, followed by a sumptuous hāngi (earth oven) dinner and the chance to see a geothermal valley pulsing and bubbling under a starry sky. 

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 7 - Rotorua

    Drive Fly 0
    Zipline through the native forest – a novel way to see New Zealand’s magnificent primeval forests the way the birds do. Soar through the forest along zip lines and hear about how this forest is being restored to a flourishing native eco-system. After lunch, walk on majestic Mount Tarawera with a local guide. With unmatched scenic vistas and 360 panoramic views this experience is ideal for all ages and includes an optional run into the heart of the volcanic crater

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 8: Rotorua – Hamilton

    Drive Fly 1 hour 25 minutes 106 KMS 65 MI
    Drive through the rolling hills of the Waikato, with a stop at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari – an ecological ‘island’ where they will find native wildlife, plants and great walking trails. They can then stretch their legs in Hamilton Gardens – named 2014 International Garden of the Year, the 58 hectares of themed green spaces are a must-see for nature lovers. Guided tours, mobility scooters and bike hire make getting around easy. 

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 9: Hamilton – Waitomo – Auckland

    Drive Fly 3 hours 45 minutes 270 KMS 167 MI
    Hamilton – Waitomo (75 km/ 1 hour) 
    Waitomo – Auckland (195 km/2 hours 45 minutes)

    Visit New Zealand’s only tea plantation, Zealong Tea Estate, and indulge in a delicious high tea experience. Drive through farmland and forests before entering the ancient limestone region of Waitomo, where you will discover vast cave systems decorated with glow-worms. Drive to Auckland, where you will spend the night

    Top tip: See kiwis at their most active at Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park. 
     

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 10: Auckland

    Drive Fly 0
    Your clients can start their day by escaping the hustle and bustle of the city on a whale and dolphin spotting tour.  
    Departing from Auckland’s Viaduct, the boat will take them out on the beautiful Hauraki Gulf Marine Park which is considered one the most biologically and geographically diverse in the world. They can then spend their last afternoon in New Zealand on a gentle cycle around Auckland’s sparkling bays. 

    Top tip: Your clients can climb to the top of a dormant volcano on the Rangitoto Summit Track and experience awesome views of the city.
     

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 11: Depart Auckland

    Drive Fly 0
    Fly out from Auckland International Airport. 

    Top tip: Spend the last night at Novotel Auckland airport to avoid rushing to the airport the next day.

    Recommended activities:

    • For evening flights, Villa Maria vineyard is just 5 minutes from the airport and is a great last day acitvity.