New Zealand North Island Getaway

Experience gorgeous scenery, Maori culture, food and wine, and plenty of unique adventures on this New Zealand North Island Getaway!

From $2,249
per person
10 days
Airfare additional cost
Based on
2 travelers

This New Zealand North Island Getaway was planned for 2 friends from Boston. They wanted a little bit of everything: gorgeous scenery, Maori culture, food and wine, and of course outdoor adventures.

We started their New Zealand North Island Getaway in Auckland for a couple nights so they could take in New Zealand’s largest city and meet some of the locals. Then they made the scenic (and adventurous!) drive up to the Bay of Islands for some much needed relaxation. Here, they enjoyed some easy hikes with gorgeous views, as well as fabulous food and wine.

From the Bay of Islands, they drove to the Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel is renowned for its pristine beaches, misty forests, incredible scenery, and laid-back vibe. They had an amazing kayaking tour out to the famous Cathedral Cove, and they also got to visit  the unique Hot Water Beach—a place where you can dig in the sand on the beach and make your own sandy hot tub!  

Next for their New Zealand North Island Getaway, they drove down to Rotorua, a geothermal wonderland steeped in Maori history. They got a taste of Maori culture with a guided tour of Te Puia, learning about ancient legends, traditional handicrafts, and even a Maori cultural performance. They also took a helicopter ride to an active marine volcano and were able to hike around on the otherworldly surface.

They completed their New Zealand North Island Getaway with a trip to the Waitomo Caves, where they went black water tubing on an underground river underneath a canopy of blue glowworms. Then they drove back to Auckland to catch their flight home. It was a perfect getaway for these 2 friends, and they had the chance to experience a true taste of the North Island of New Zealand!

Day 1 – 2
Welcome to Auckland! Upon arrival, take a shared transfer to your accommodations at Stamford Plaza Hotel. Located in the heart of Auckland’s central business district, you’ll be just a short stroll from the waterfront, Queen Street and Wynyard Quarter, and the main transport hub. Explore Auckland like a local from your hotel base and enjoy the sights and sounds of the energetic urban area, all within walking distance. See world-class concerts at Vector Arena, spend a day shopping at Britomart, eat your way along the waterfront at exciting bars and restaurants, or catch the ferry to explore Waiheke Island for the day.
Stamford Plaza Hotel

Day 3 – 4
Collect your rental car and continue your New Zealand North Island adventure. From Auckland, make your way to the Bay of Islands, a subtropical micro-region known for its stunning beauty and Maori history. This seaside paradise is perfect for beach and water activities. Your fabulous resort is located within the historical Waitangi Treaty grounds, surrounded by native bush and the beautiful Bay of Islands Harbour. Explore the interactive museum at the treaty grounds to learn about the local history, go swimming or sea kayaking, and enjoy delicious New Zealand food and wine while gazing out over the harbor.
4-star hotel in Bay of Islands

Day 5
This morning, your New Zealand North Island road trip continues! Begin the day by making your way to the Coromandel Peninsula. Be sure to take your time and enjoy the sights along the way. When you arrive at your destination, your accommodations await at a cozy motor lodge. Within easy walking distance of the beach and shops, this is the perfect destination to relax and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere that makes this accommodation so special. Settle in and enjoy the next 2 nights here.
4-star lodge in the Coromandel Peninsula

Day 6
Today brings you the opportunity to explore Cathedral Cove on a half-day adventure! The Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve opens up a sea kayaking paradise full of beaches, islands, and rock gardens that are just waiting to be explored. Paddle through sea caves, interact with the local marine life, and discover the thrill of kayak sailing with the wind on your back. To top it off, you’ll land at Cathedral Cove, where you will be treated to cappuccinos and hot chocolates on the beach!
4-star lodge in the Coromandel Peninsula

Day 7
Rise and shine! It’s time to continue your  journey. Drive down to Rotorua, a geothermal wonderland and a sacred place for New Zealand’s Maori people. You can visit the natural geothermal parks to see volcanoes, geysers, mud pools, and hot springs, and perhaps finish off with a relaxing dip in the hot pools of Polynesian Spa.
4-star hotel in Rotorua

Day 8
Today, enjoy a personal encounter with New Zealand’s Maori people, culture, and place at Te Puia. Your Te Puia experience begins at the main entrance, where 12 monumental carvings reach skyward, representing 12 celestial guardians. Discover stories of New Zealand’s ancestors’ arrival and settlement in Rotorua, and learn about the Maori culture. Explore the 60-hectare valley, home to more than 500 geothermal phenomena, including the world-famous Pohutu Geyser and jumping mud pools. Te Puia is also home to the New Zealand National Carving and Weaving Schools. Watch the master carvers and weavers and their students preserving the traditions of their Maori ancestors. Pikirangi Village will give you a rare glimpse of pre-European Maori society, with houses made from punga trees, pataka (food storage houses), and a collection of cooking tools. Experience the Powhiri performance, a unique custom used traditionally to challenge a visiting party and find out their intentions.

After your Maori cultural tour, it’s time for an epic adventure! Fly to and land on New Zealand’s only permanently active volcano: White Island. Hop in a helicopter and fly to this unique, otherwordly island. Fly over the volcano, enjoying aerial views of the active crater before landing on this lunar-like surface. Embark upon a leisurely, guided tour of the island’s crater floor to view active steam vents, hot streams, vibrant sulphur formations, and the steaming crater.
4-star hotel in Rotorua

Day 9
Start today off driving over to Waitomo, where an exciting tour of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves awaits! Ride a rubber inner tube down a lazy underground river. Work your way through tight squeezes, take leaps of faith over cascading underground waterfalls, and float serenely down river as you enjoy the glowworm show on the vaulted limestone galleries up above. Then, enjoy a guided tour of the Ruakuri Cave. Marvel at the winding passageways, vast echoing caverns, deep crevices, and distant thunder of subterranean waterfalls. Afterwards, make your way back to Auckland, where you’ll spend your last evening in New Zealand.
Stamford Plaza Hotel

Day 10
This morning marks the end of your New Zealand North Island adventure. Make your way to the airport, drop off your rental car, and catch your flight to begin your journey home.

  • 3 nights Stamford Plaza Hotel, Auckland
  • 2 nights Bay of Islands
  • 2 nights Coromandel Peninsula
  • 2 nights Rotorua
  • 8 days rental car
  • Cathedral Cove Kayak Tours – Half-day sea kayaking tour of Cathedral Cove
  • Guided tour of Te Puia and Maori cultural performance
  • Helicopter ride and tour of a volcanic island
  • Blackwater tubing in Waitomo Glowworm Caves
  • Guided tour of Ruakuri Cave
  • Airport transfer in Auckland

The drive up to the Coromandel is an amazing coastal drive. I suggest taking the long way around the top. Be prepared to drive slowly, as the road hugs the mountainous rocks on the right side and the bay on the left. It’ll give you white knuckles, both driver and passengers, but that’s what makes New Zealand so great. An adventure around every corner!
–Doug, Down Under Endeavours