Auckland - Auckland

Fly total time: 8 days

From cycling around sparkling city harbours to kayaking with wildlife - journey your way through the North Island's great outdoors.

  • 8 days/7 nights, self-drive
  • Cycle along a historic railway and under redwood giants
  • See geothermal wonders and dig your own hot pools
  • Go marine wildlife spotting

Download a PDF of this itinerary 
  • Day 1: Auckland

    Drive Fly 0
    Enjoy a relaxed day in the “city of sails” with a cruisy cycle around the bays and a tour of Maungawhau (Mount Eden). Hear stories of this ancient fortress and see the city’s sights from its highest geographical point. Alternatively, blow away the cobwebs with a sail on an America’s Cup yacht and take a walk on the iconic Sky Tower or Auckland’s Harbour Bridge.

    Top tip: Eat out in the trendy Wynyard Quarter, before creating your own masterpiece at Giapo, a gourmet ice cream parlour.

    Recommended activities:

    • Want an even better view of the city? Take to the skies with Auckland Seaplanes, before landing on a white sand beach on one of the many islands in Auckland harbour.
  • Day 2: Auckland - Coromandel

    Drive Fly 2 hours 55 minutes 212 KMS 131 MI
    Auckland - Paeroa (119km / 1 hour 30 minutes)
    Paeroa - Hahei (93km/ 1 hour 25 minutes)

    Pick up your rental car and journey south, where you will join one of New Zealand's most historic cycle trails. Following an old railway, the Hauraki Rail Trail is rich with gold mining history and stunning scenery. Heading back to the coast, discover the wonder of Cathedral Cove by kayak or glass-bottom boat. At nearby Hot Water Beach, dig you own private hot pool using the natural hot springs that bubble up through the sand.

    Top tip: Whitianga is known for scallops, with a festival in September for seafood fans.

    Recommended activities:

    • Visit Hot Water Beach at low tide and bring a shovel (often available at your accommodation)
    • If digging your own seems like too much effort, the Lost Spring in Whitianga offers relaxing hot pools, spa treatments and a poolside cocktail service.
  • Day 3: Coromandel to Tauranga

    Drive Fly 2 hours 15 minutes 152 KMS 94 MI
    Hahei – Tauranga (152km/2 hrs 15mins)

    Your next stop is the sunny city of Tauranga. On a wildlife cruise you can see dolphins, whales, sharks and other marine life in the clear Bay of Plenty waters. Or learn more about this favourite Kiwi holiday spot with a guided tour of Mount Maunganui. Enjoy hearing local Māori legends as you wander from the mountain's base to its summit. As night falls, kayak under the stars into an enchanting glow worm canyon on Lake McLaren. 

    Top tip: Download the Arataki Trails App in Tauranga to hear local Māori legends about your location. More places are added all the time.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 4: Tauranga - Rotorua

    Drive Fly 1 hour 59 KMS 36 MI
    Rotorua sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire and pulses with geothermal activity. It’s also home to impressive forests – walk in the canopy of majestic redwoods before experiencing what lies beneath on a walk through a volcanic valley, home to bubbling mud pools and spouting geysers. Spend the evening soaking in a natural hot pool.

    Recommended activities:

    • Visit the Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua and explore the canopy, or hire mountain bikes and explore the 130km of trails.
    • Visit the youngest geothermal valley and learn about the Pink & White Terraces that were destroyed in the most recent eruption of Mt Tarawera.
    • Relax and soothe aching mucscles in theraputic
      hot pools.
  • Day 5: Rotorua

    Drive Fly 0
    Start your day by mountain biking through the redwood forest, where the loamy trails suit all abilities. Continue the action with some luge runs or bounce down a hillside in a giant inflatable ball. Zorbing and luging were invented here, and both are guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

    Recommended activities:

    • Ride the gondola at Skyline and feel the thrill of the luge back down.
    • Fun for everyone at OGO in a downhill experience.
    • Explore the crater of Mt Tarawera for 360 views of the area.
    • Try paddle boarding along the shores of Rotorua's lakes.
  • Day 6: Rotorua - Taupō

    Drive Fly 1 hour 83 KMS 51 MI
    Further south 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. Look into the past with a cruise around Lake Taupō’s bays, viewing the impressive Māori rock carvings. Then explore the Huka Falls Walkway, a scenic walk along the clear Waikato River to the raging falls.

    Top tip: You won't found trout on a menu, but you can catch your own with a local fishing guide!

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 7: Taupō – Waitomo – Hamilton

    Drive Fly 3 hours 224 KMS 139 MI
    Taupō – Waitomo (151km/2 hours)
    Waitomo – Hamilton (73km/1 hour)

    Drive through farmland and forests before entering the ancient limestone region of Waitomo, where you will discover vast cave systems decorated with glow-worms. Stretch your 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.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 8: Hamilton - Matamata - Auckland

    Drive Fly 2 hours 40 minutes 220 KMS 136 MI
    Hamilton – Matamata (62km/50 min)
    Matamata – Auckland (158km/1 hour 50 min)

    Take a trip to Hobbiton™, where rolling green hills and movie magic surround you. Finish off your tour of the Shire™ with lunch in the Party Marquee or a refreshing ginger beer at the Green Dragon Inn™. Carry on to Auckland at the end of the day to catch your international flight, or spend a night in the city.

    Recommended activities:

    • Visit Hobbiton™ and wander round The Shire™
    • Take a ferry to one of the Hauraki Gulf islands, Rangitoto summit walk is particularly popular with keen walkers.