This 8 Day North Island adventure has you flying into, and out of Auckland International Airport. It assumes you arrive early on Day One, and leave late on Day Eight. You’ll get to experience a mix of beaches, green Waikato farmland, snorkeling and Maori culture in Rotorua. It wouldn’t be a New Zealand trip if it didn’t include some adventure – so get ready to bungy jump in beautiful Taupo.
FROM: $895 NZD per person (Based on two people)
Tour Direction: Auckland to Auckland
Includes: Diving in Poor Knights, Kayaking in Coromandel, Maori Culture Night in Rotorua, Bungy Jumping in Taupo
Your trip starts with an early arrival into Auckland International Airport (many international flights arrive early – especially from North America). You can expect it to take about 1-2 hours to clear Passport Control and Customs. To help you get over the jet lag and wake up for the day, there are shower facilities in the International Terminal – for $5 you can get a towel, soap and access to the shower – you’ll leave feeling like a million bucks! Or at least better than you did when you got off the ﬂight!
Snorkeling or Diving is the first New Zealand experience you can look forward to, so to set you up for that we suggest you drive as far north as Whangarei (approx 2 – 3 hours). This will allow you to get acclimated to the new time zone, and you’ll be ready for your diving / snorkeling adventure the following day.
Collect your rental car from Auckland Airport and head north.
Up early today for your diving experience or snorkeling experience in the Poor Knights Island.
The Poor Knights offer a huge variety of diving for everyone from ﬁrst timers through to ultra-experienced instructors. The terrain at the Knights is volcanic rock, so there are lots of nooks and crannies, archways, caves and holes to explore. The encrusting life on the walls is legendary and the ﬁsh-life is proliﬁc. As the Islands are in the path of the East Auckland Current which branches off the East Australia Current, we are lucky enough to get some unusual tropical species living in harmony with our resident temperate water ﬁsh. There are several kinds of moray eels, some big crayﬁsh thick schools of ﬁsh and cheeky, curious wrasse to name just a few.
This trip includes two dives (or if you’d prefer, simply snorkeling).
Spend another night in or around Whangarei, before heading towards Hahei and the Cathedral Cove.
We suggest you drive north of Thames, and around the tip of the Peninsula through Coromandel Village. Total drive tim is about 5 hours, so this is very much a ‘driving day’ but will set you up nicely to spend time in the quaint seaside area of Hahei.
On the way, you might consider stopping at the Driving Creek Railway – just north of Coromandel Village.
The Driving Creek Railyway is New Zealand #8 wire mentality at its best. Local Kiwi Barry Brickell spent over 15 years building this narrow gauge (15 inches) railway on his land just outside of Coromandel Village. On the 60 minute ride to the 165 metre summit, the Driving Creek Railway train runs up steep grades, across trestle bridges, along two spirals, and through two tunnels before ﬁnishing at the Eye-full Tower. Along the way, you’ll pass more than 15,000 natives that have been planted by Brickell – including thousands of kauri.
Spend the night in Hahei.
Today, you’ll get to see the incredible Cathedral Cove. Be sure to also check the local tide charts, and be sure to ﬁt in time to visit Hot Water Beach – a bizarre and relaxing experience, where you can dig holes in the beach to sit in naturally hot water.
One great way to see Cathedral Cove is on a Kayak Tour – get out on the water early, and paddle through sea caves, see local marine life and top it off with a cappuccinos or hot chocolates on the beach. Along the way the coastline offers wildlife, stunning bays and fascinating rock formations as the trip heads back towards Hahei Beach. Total trip time is about three hours.
Spend another night relaxing in Hahei, before continuing further south tomorrow to Rotorua.
Today, you’re heading south to Rotorua – drive time is approximately three hours. You’ll arrive early-afternoon to Rotorua. Rotorua’s exploding geysers, boiling mud baths and steaming bodies of water attract thousands of visitors to the region each year.
Maoris settled in the area in the 14th century, and to get up close and personal with the history of the region, we suggest an evening tour at a Maori Village. This is a three hour trip that picks you up from your accommodation and takes you outside of Rotorua to a traditional Maori village where you discover Maori art forms, ancient rituals and traditions, experience traditional song and dance, and then share in a 3 course meal with your Maori hosts.
Spend the night in Rotorua – head out for a few drinks, and see why Rotorua is known often as “Rotovegas.”
If there is anything else you’d like to see in Rotorua, see it this morning – otherwise head further south to the lakeside town of Taupo. Drive time is only about an hour.
Lake Taupo is a stunning little town on a very large, water-filled creater that formed 27,000 years ago in the wake of a massive volcanic blast – one of the largest ever. This lakeside town is a fantastic place to spend a few days – adventure activities or lakeside walks, you’re bound to love Lake Taupo.
Bungy is a New Zealand inspired invention, and we think one should absolutely be on your NZ bucket list. Located in the stunning volcanic Waikato River Valley, Taupo Bungy is considered one of the world’s most spectacular bungy sites, featuring the world’s ﬁrst cantilever platform and New Zealand’s ﬁrst ‘splash cam’. Take the plunge over the Waikato River, and enjoy the rest of the day in Taupo. Be sure to check out the fantastic Huka Falls.
Spend the morning in Taupo. It’s your last day, so celebrate with a breakfast in one of the town’s many lakeside cafes. After you’ve had enough of the lake and mountain views, head back to Auckland where you’ll return your rental car and have the rest of the afternoon and evening to explore Auckland – it’s a three hour drive through green Waikato farmland and rolling hills.
Ideally you have an evening flight today, and you’ll still have the better part of a day to explore Auckland’s many fantastic neighborhoods.
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