Travel Package Ideas
- All itineraries here are suggestions to give you an idea of what New Zealand has to offer. They are fully customizable and prices will vary depending on your level of comfort. Our travel advisors are flexible and will design your trip to suit your individual budget and desires.
- All prices are in USD. Per couple, and includes accommodation, rental cars, airport transfers, and some activities.
Full North Island 14+ Days
Art & Museums
The North Island of New Zealand is a captivating destination known for its volcanic landscapes, stunning beaches, and vibrant cities. Auckland, the largest city, offers a mix of urban and natural wonders. Explore the islands of Waiheke, Rangitoto, and Tiritiri Matangi, each with its unique charm and wildlife. Rotorua, a geothermal wonderland, showcases Maori culture and thrilling experiences. Witness geysers, mud pools, and soak in hot mineral spas. Discover the traditional Maori village, Te Puia, and enjoy the interactive experiences at the Agrodome. The Tongariro National Park boasts majestic mountains, including Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngauruhoe. Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, renowned for its dramatic volcanic landscapes. Wellington, the capital city, offers a vibrant arts scene, museums, and the iconic cable car. Visit Zealandia, a wildlife sanctuary, and explore the captivating landscapes of the Wairarapa region. Further north, the Bay of Islands invites you to relax on beautiful beaches and experience water activities. Cruise through the stunning bay, visit historic towns like Russell, and explore the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. The North Island's highlights promise a diverse and unforgettable journey, showcasing the natural wonders and rich cultural heritage of this captivating destination.
Drive: Auckland to Tauranga
Beauty begins once you’ve left the Southern Motorway (Coromandel exit). Through small towns, country and seaside views, the road leads to Paeroa, where you’ll find a giant L&P bottle and antiques and collectibles shops by the dozen. A must-stop is the Karangahake Gorge historic walkway which follows an old railway line complete with dark tunnels and rich gold mining history. Continue to Waihi, ride on the vintage train or visit the Waihi Gold Discovery Center to get a hands-on gold mining experience. Follow SH2 through Katikati, known for the gorgeous murals decorating many of its commercial buildings, and on the busy highway to Tauranga.
Drive Tauranga to Rotorua
This rural route takes you over hills and plantations to the western shores of Lake Rotorua. Stop at Hamurana Springs for an easy walk through towering redwoods and past crystal-clear springs. Continue on SH36 into the Rotorua suburbs.
Alternative Route: out of Tauranga on SH 29A and avoid the SH 2 Eastern Toll Road by following the signs for Te Puke. The scenic drive leads to Te Puke in the heart of Kiwifruit country. Stop off at a working kiwifruit orchard to discover the story of one of the world’s healthiest fruits. Alternatively, take a break in Paengaroa at the Comvita Visitor Centre and cafe. Continue over the Mamaku Range hills before descending to the picturesque Okere Falls. Now, it’s an easy drive beside Lake Rotorua and onto the city.
Drive: Rotorua to Gisborne
Lakes, native bush, pine plantations, rolling hills, and winding river gorge — this drive has it all. You’ll travel on SH 30 through rolling farmland past the Rotorua lakes towards SH 2 at Awakeri. Detour to Whakatane and beautiful Ohope Beach for a swim and snack and fill the gas tank before continuing towards Opotiki. Wind through the Waioeka Gorge alongside sparkling rivers and over high-country farmland. There are plenty of stopping points to admire the breath-taking scenery and learn the area’s fascinating history from the many interpretation boards along the way. Stop for a walk along the historic Tauranga and Manganuku Bridges, then continue to Matawai and Otoko, where the Otoko Walkway follows an old railway line. The final 50km (33 miles) open out to orchards and vineyards before entering New Zealand’s most eastern city
Drive: Gisborne to Napier
Drive through hilly farmland and admire inland and coastal views as State Highway 2 winds its way from Gisborne to Napier. Stop halfway at Wairoa to visit the District Museum with its impressive display of local history. Further on, Lake Tutira wildlife refuge is known for its prolific birdlife and a great place to stretch your legs before the final leg into Napier.
Drive: Napier to Martinborough
Napier and its neighboring region, Wairarapa, are known for their delicious chardonnays, pinot noir and sauvignon blanc wines, so the countryside between them is rich with vineyards, farms and orchards. Hot, dry summers often mean stunning weather for your drive, so plan to stop off at a winery or two on the way. For a wildlife experience, visit the Pukaha National Wildlife Center, home to many native and endangered birds. Refuel in their Kaka Cafe before driving through to Masterton, where the town’s central park has an aviary, aquarium, deer park and more. From there, it’s a short drive to Martinborough, home to boutique vineyards, restaurants and upmarket B&Bs.
Drive: Martinborough to Wellington
Travel 15 minutes straight through wine country to Featherston or take a 45-minute scenic circuit around Lake Wairarapa, where there are plenty of places to chill out and picnic along the shores. Leaving Featherston, the drive becomes a spectacular climb through the Rimutaka Range with its breath-taking views of the wide river valley below. Once the mountains are behind you, it’s an easy drive through the Hutt Valley and onto the motorway to whisk you into Wellington.
Drive: Wellington to New Plymouth
Drive out of Wellington along the motorway and continue on the scenic coastal road along the Kapiti Coast, or leave town via the busy new Northern Corridor via Transmission Gully. Either way, continue on SH 1 to Bulls. Spot all the bull and cow jokes on the town storefronts before you turn onto SH 3 towards Whanganui. Here you can stop for a break at Virginia Lake, take a paddleboat ride along the river or drive straight on to Hawera. Don’t miss the town’s entrancing Tawhiti Museum and Cafe. Leaving Hawera, turn off SH3 and follow the spectacular Surf Highway 45. Enjoy stunning ocean views as you wind around the coast towards Ōpunake with its magnificent beach, excellent cafes and famous fish and chips. Continue through Ōketo and Ōakura into New Plymouth. Alternatively, stay on SH3 at Hawera and continue inland via Stratford. If the weather is clear, you’ll see stunning views of Mt Taranaki and take 30 minutes off the journey.
Drive: New Plymouth to Taupo
You’ll see some spectacular coastal views as you follow SH 3 from New Plymouth to tiny Awakino. Turn inland and pause to explore the old Awakino Tunnel, before continuing on the new bypass to Te Mapara. Follow SH 30 or stay on SH 3 to detour into Te Kuiti and the world-famous Waitomo Glow-worm Caves. Here, take an adventurous break with a guided walk or blackwater rafting tour (book in advance) before driving back to SH 30. Continue through the hilly, rural landscape to Mangakino, a fishing and cycling village on the shores of Lake Maraetai. From there, drive alongside the Kinleith forest plantations to reach Taupo township.
Drive: Taupo to Auckland
Drive through the heart of New Zealand’s timber country towards Putaruru, where you can stretch your legs on the Te Waihou Walkway or visit the Timber Museum and wander around the town’s decorative Water Park. Alternatively, stop a little further on at Cambridge, NZ’s equine capital. Take a tour through working racing stables or visit nearby Lake Karapiro to try its many water activities or get an adrenalin rush with a thrilling Camjet tour to the base of the Karapiro Dam. After Cambridge, it’s a straight but busy drive on SH 1 through Huntly and on to Auckland.