Visit the many scenic wonders of New Zealand's North Island

Explore New Zealand's heartland from the secluded beaches of the coast to the volcanic craters of the central plateau. Travel from Auckland in the north to Christchurch in the south on a journey that is bound to captivate. And if it's adventure you're after, you've come to the right place. Sea kayaking and snorkelling in the Bay of Islands, black-water rafting in Waitomo, bungee and jet boating in Taupo, as well as mountain biking and kayaking in Nelson - the options are endless. This all-encompassing tour of New Zealand's North Island is bound to captivate all travellers.

Auckland, New Zealand
Christchurch, New Zealand
New Zealand
Explorer, Wildlife
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 12
Group size
Min 1 Max 15
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


  • Discover Waitomo's limestone caves
  • See Rotorua's geysers
  • Visit the spectacular Huka Falls
  • Be inspired by the majesty of Mt Ruapehu
  • Take a wander through Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Bushwalk in Abel Tasman National Park
  • Spot sperm whales and dolphins in Kaikoura


Kia-ora! Welcome to New Zealand.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6.00PM on Day 1.

Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

New Zealand's largest city with a population of just over one million people. There is a distinct Pacific flavour to the 'City of Sails' and this can be seen in the streets and the local markets. The vibrant waterfront region, built to its current state for the America's Cup sailing challenges, is now a well-frequented local bar and restaurant hub. If you have extra time you might like to take a day trip to one of the many outer islands found in the Hauraki Gulf. This trip doesn't spend much time in Auckland so we recommend you arrive a few days prior so you can explore.
We leave Auckland and drive north through fantastic scenery towards New Zealand's winterless north. There are beautiful beaches and unspoiled places to explore. The next day we have a host of available activities including kayaking, a boat trip to the islands or just relaxing Visit the village of Russell for a look into NZ´s past.

Notes: Total driving time is around four hours (approximately 225kms).
Today we have a range of available activities including kayaking, a boat trip to the islands or just taking it easy and relaxing. You can also visit the village of Russell for a look into NZ´s interesting past.
We have an early start and make our way south to Waitomo via Auckland. We cross the harbour bridge and get a great view of the city of sails. Here we stop for lunch and then carry on through to Waitomo which is famous for its limestone caves, glow worms and black water rafting.

Notes: Total driving time is around six and a half hours (approximately 420kms).
Today we have some great choices, maybe a boat trip and walk through the glow worm caves or black water rafting. This is an unforgettable trip involving hiking and descending an underground river floating on an inner tube. The sights are fantastic and this will be one of your highlights. After lunch we head to Rotorua, see geysers and boiling mud pools in an amazing display of mother earth's power. We check in to our lodging and you have the option of a Maori Hangi dinner and concert for afterwards.

Notes: Total driving time is around two hours (approximately 140kms).
We drive around an hour south to Taupo. Taupo is the home of extreme sports on the North Island. On the way we visit the spectacular Huka Falls. Here you can bungy jump, jet boat or just relax by the world's biggest crater lake. We then drive on to Mt Ruapehu to be ready for our next day's activities.

There are several options for the next day. Many will want to hike the famous Tongariro Crossing track. A good day hike which is known as the best of its kind in New Zealand. This hike has spectacular views of the volcanic plateau and lakes. There are many short, easy hikes in the park, all accessible for people of all fitness levels and many with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

Notes: Total driving time is around two and a half hours (approximately 180kms).
Today you have the option of walking the Tongariro crossing. This is a full day hike and people should have a decent level of fitness. It is considered NZ´s best one day hike and has fantastic views. For those not doing the hike there are lower altitude bush walks available from the Motel.
We leave the National Park and head through the central north island to the capital city; Wellington. Here you may visit the fantastic Te Papa Tongarewa museum, the museum of New Zealand. The museum holds many Maori cultural artifacts, and is home to the remains of the worlds largest specimen of colossal squid. Captured in 2007, it weighs in around 495kg. We spend some time today exploring Te Papa Tongarewa museum. In our free time perhaps jump in the cable car to the Botanic Gardens for spectacular views of Wellington city and harbour.

Notes: Total driving time is around four and a half hours (approximately 330kms).
We cross to the South island on the inter island ferry and enjoy the fantastic scenery of the Marlborough Sound. We have a huge variety of activities to choose from including kayaking, boating, sailing in the Abel Tasman National Park, mountain biking or just relaxing in town or on the beach. Nelson is very picturesque and is a delight to visit.

Notes: Total driving time is around two hours (approximately 130kms).
Today you can visit the Abel Tasman National Park (optional). Bushwalking tracks among these gorgeous inlets and coves are just begging to be explored and the boat ride in Water Taxi is spectacular. Have plenty of space left on your memory card as photo opportunities abound.
Leaving Nelson we head to the beautiful coastline of Kaikoura where many adventures await us. Take a boat trip out to see the whales. Experience being close to some of the largest creatures in the world. For those who wish there are plane or helicopter flights to view the whales. Kaikoura is famous for its seafood and marine life with much to see and do.

Notes: Total driving time is around four hours (approximately 240kms).
We have the morning in Kaikoura where you could take part in a swim with the dolphins.

We continue to Christchurch where this trip concludes at approx 6PM. Please take this into consideration when booking any onward flights.

Notes: Total driving time is around three hours (approximately 160kms).
View trip notes to read full itinerary


8 breakfasts, 2 dinners
Ferry, Van
Lodge (11 nights)
Included activities
  • Waitomo - Caves Entrance
  • Rotorua - Te Puia Maori Art & Cultural Centre
  • Wellington - Te Papa Museum
  • Scenic Cruise via Queen Charlotte Sounds
  • Kaikoura Seal Colony


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Important notes

1. Tour commences in Auckland with group meeting on day 1 at 6:00pm and finishes on arrival in Christchurch on day 12 at approx 6PM. Please take this into consideration when booking any onward flights. We recommend you book accommodation in advance and extend your stay. 2. A single supplement is available on this trip. 3. Trip runs in reverse, see tour code PTOA. 4. Allow NZD 470 for meals not included.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Our New Zealand North Island Explorer (ex Auckland) trips score an average of 4.44 out of 5 based on 9 reviews in the last year.

New Zealand North Island Explorer (ex Auckland) , March 2016

New Zealand North Island Explorer (ex Auckland) , March 2016