14 Days North Island Volcanoes & Beaches
14 Days | North Island
Dramatic, ancient volcanoes contrast with tranquil beaches during this leisurely drive traversing some of the North Island's most enticing destinations.
(01 Oct 2017 - 30 Apr 2018)
NZ$1680 per person
(01 May - 30 Sep 2017)
NZ$1440 per person
- 6 nights gold & 4 nights blue motel and 3 nights silver hotel accommodation
- 13 days' small rental car hire
- welcome voucher wallet & driving maps
- expert itinerary planning & booking service
- 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST)
- Prices are per person, share twin/double room and in NZ$
From the cultural vibe of sparkling Wellington, the Taranaki region dominated by its distinctive volcanic cone, centre piece of the Egmont National Park, the triple peaks of the Tongariro National Park to the languid beaches of the enchanting Bay of Islands, this itinerary offers scenic highlights at every turn.
Day 1 - Arrive Wellington, pick up rental car on arrival. Kia ora, welcome to Wellington, New Zealand's Capital City and home to creators, thinkers, dreamers, doers and lovers of life. Discover New Zealand's stories in interactive museums, be inspired in the theatres and galleries and fulfill your retail dreams with new wares and tasty treats from the boutiques and markets. The vibrant waterfront, Mt Victoria, Te Papa, Weta Workshop, the Cable Car and weekend markets all combine to make Wellington an unmissable experience.
Day 2 - Drive Wellington - Whanganui (approx 2 hour 40 min) Follow the Kapiti coast, via the seaside towns of Pukerua Bay, Paekakariki and Waikanae to Foxton and further on to Whanganui (also known as Wanganui). This is one of New Zealand's most interesting and distinctive places to visit with a rich cultural heritage and vibrant arts scene. Whanganui's abundance of natural attributes, unspoilt native forest, temperate climate and stunning west coast beaches attracts visitors all year round.
Day 3 - Drive Whanganui - New Plymouth (approx 2 hour 10 min) As the road heads west from Whanganui, interesting townships pop up regularly. Keep an eye out for small museums and quirky art shops. The rural centre of Hawera is home to New Zealand’s largest milk factory and an interactive dairy farming attraction. At Hawera follow the ‘Surf Highway’ around Cape Egmont for a beach view all the way. The dramatic volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki encircled by the Egmont National Park, dominates the horizon as New Plymouth approaches. With its eclectic mix of diverse cultures and contemporary style, New Plymouth is a seaside city and bustling port fast becoming a lifestyle destination for big-city escapees.
Day 4 - In New Plymouth at leisure. The city of New Plymouth is known for its sunny climate, art galleries and beautiful parks. It is also New Zealand’s ‘oil town’, with offshore rigs extracting natural gas and oil. The conical shape of Mount Taranaki provides a dramatic backdrop to the city, a constant reminder that the hiking trails of Egmont National Park are just a short drive away. Down at the New Plymouth waterfront you’ll find Puke Ariki, a wonderful museum and heritage centre. At any time of the year, Pukekura Park is a place to relax and enjoy nature; it has a children’s zoo and bush walks. You may also like to stroll along the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway, a 10km promenade with stunning views. Expect good shopping and an impressive selection of restaurants.
Day 5 - Drive New Plymouth - Tongariro National Park (approx 3 hour 30 min) Enjoy the last views of the mythical mountain, Mt Taranaki and set your compass to the volcanic grandeur of the Tongariro National Park. From Stratford join the "Forgotten World Highway" (SH43) to Taumarunui. Built on colonial bridle paths formed in the late 19th century, this is a highly memorable driving journey. It wriggles its way over four mountain saddles, through an eerie one-lane tunnel and along a sinuous river gorge. On the way you will pass through Whangamomona is a small village full of character – it declared itself a republic in 1989, and you can pick up a passport from the local hotel. The town is surrounded by beautiful wilderness areas, perfect for a hike. From Taumarunui travel to Tongariro National Park dominated by Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro, the volcanic plateau's rugged landscape is truly awesome.
Day 6 - In Tongariro National Park at leisure Home to the volcanoes of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, a day of leisure in the Tongariro National Park offers dramatic volcanic vistas and outstanding hiking opportunities, including the world renowned Tongariro Crossing (full day) and Taranaki Falls (2 hours). Savour the raw beauty of this high volcanic plateau.
Day 7 - Drive Tongariro - Rotorua (approx 2 hour 5 min) The Great Lake Taupo region is undoubtedly one of the world's most unique and picturesque areas, with its dramatic natural landscapes. It is a region of contrasts that boasts ancient forests, thermal water features, volcanoes and the largest freshwater lake in Australasia. The landscape lends itself to all kinds of activities, many of them centred on and around Lake Taupo. From the high adrenalin rush of tandem skydiving and bungy jumping, to world class trout fishing and scenic cruises. Rotorua is New Zealand's coolest hot spot with experiences on offer for adventure seekers and those just looking to chill out. With 18 lakes, geothermal reserves and a rich Maori culture, Rotorua is one of New Zealand's most diverse destinations.
Day 8 - In Rotorua at leisure. Make the most of Rotorua's many activities and attractions. Adventurous mountain bike trails and cycle ways, thrilling river jet boating, 4WD outback trips, take to the forest canopy by zip line, scenic helicopter flights over Mt Tarawera and neighbouring lakes. The cultural side of Rotorua offers you traditional and modern Maori performances, hangi feasts and insights into genuine Maori maraes (meeting houses). Self guided and guided tours of geothermal reserves including Te Puia, Waiotapu and Waimangu Valley. The award winning Polynesian Spa is one of the many offerings of spa therapies, so make the most of Rotorua's geo thermal region.
Day 9 - Drive Rotorua - Hamilton (approx 1 hour 30 min) Travel through rural countryside of the Rotorua region and through quirky Tirau, with its expansive corrugated iron artworks that are hard to miss. Then on through the tree lined farmlands of Waikato, to the vibrant city of Hamilton which sits on the banks of the majestic Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river. This city is relatively young but boasts a university, research institutes, galleries, The Hamilton Zoo and the beautiful Hamilton Gardens. Its energy is reflected in its people and iconic events including the National Agricultural field days, Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival and Balloons over Waikato.
Day 10 - Drive Hamilton - Whangarei (approx 3 hour 30 min) From Hamilton on the mighty Waikato River, across the fertile farmlands of the Waikato region and the Bombay Hills to the city lights of Auckland. Crossing the spectacular Auckland Harbour Bridge, leave Auckland behind and then its beaches galore as you travel north. First is Orewa en route to historic Warkworth town and from there either follow the main road to Whangarei or divert along the coast road via Mangawhai Heads. Whangarei is a subtropical city on the edge of a beautiful harbour. At the Quayside Town Basin complex you'll find stylish cafes and restaurants, as well as museums, art galleries and shops. Be sure to visit Whangarei Falls, often called the ‘most photogenic waterfall in New Zealand’. Drive further to Whangarei Heads and the Bream Head Scenic Reserve for outstanding walks and panoramic coastal and harbour views.
Day 11 - Drive Whangarei - Paihia (approx 1 hour 10 min) From Whangarei its rolling farmland to Kawakawa, world famous for the "Hundertwasser" public toilets, and then on to the beautiful Bay of Islands and the seaside resort town of Paihia. As one of New Zealand's most popular summer destinations, the unbelievable natural beauty and 144 islands makes for an idyllic aquatic playground.
Day 12 - In Paihia at leisure. The main township located of the beautiful Bay of Islands offers superb sweeping beaches and a wide range of recreational activities. Your choice to relax on one of the golden sand beaches or take a dolphin watch nature cruise, a scenic boat trip to Cape Brett and the 'Hole in the Rock' or short ferry to historic Russell. Swimming with the dolphins, kayaking and sailing are also right here!
Day 13 - Drive Paihia - Auckland (approx 3 hour 10 min) Drive to Auckland via Whangarei, with its Town Basin marina popular with international yachties and surrounded by art galleries. Gardens and parks flourish here in Whangarei's mild climate and Whangarei Falls Scenic Reserve is worth time. Perhaps take a side trip to the Tutukaka coast where the road winds through native bush, pase white sandy beaches, harbours and estuaries. South of Warkworth, enjoy the beachside towns of Waiwera and Orewa on the Hibiscus Coast before reaching Auckland.
Alternatively, travel via Kaikohe to the Hokianga Harbour on the west coast, driving south through the Waipoua Forest and Trounson Kauri Park to Dargaville and then on to Auckland's city centre.
Day 14 - Depart Auckland, drop off rental car at airport. You have the day at leisure until you make your way to Auckland International Airport for your departure flight.
This North Island KiwiCombo road trip itinerary can be travelled in reverse and can be modified to suit your individual requirements. Suggested activities are a guideline to some of the special and unique experiences offered in each region but are optional and not included in the KiwiCombo Pass. However we can make reservations for you, just ask!