Cities, Volcanoes and Vineyards Luxury Tour
11 day North Island Self Drive, from Auckland to Auckland
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Cities, Volcanoes and Vineyards Luxury Tour

Explore Central North Island's jewels. You'll be met by your private transfer at Auckland Airport and whisked to meet your ferry to the idyllic Waiheke Island, the perfect spot to recover from a long flight. The essence of Wahike wine tour will introduce you to the delights of this charming island. Returning to Auckland you pick up your car and travel south to Rotorua and Solitaire Lodge. Here you’ll encounter the fascinating Maori culture and enjoy a fabulous day trip to the volcanic Mt Tarawera by helicopter. Next stop is Lake Taupo, where you try your hand at trout fishing. The final stretch of your North Island experience takes you to the Hawkes Bay, New Zealand’s oldest wine region and the impeccable Farm at Cape Kidnappers, here you have time to explore the wineries or play a round of golf or simply relax. You’ll be flown back to Auckland to meet your departing international flight.

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Itinerary details at a glance

North Island Self Drive

This suggested tour costs from NZD$22,504 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Auckland

11 days/10 nights

Luxury Lodges & Hotels

 Rental car included

 Viewed 21 times in the last 7 days

This North Island Self Drive tour idea includes:

- Private transfer Auckland Airport to Fullers Ferry Terminal
- Private Transfer Auckland Airport to Auckland accommodation
- Private Transfer Auckland City Cruise Terminal to Auckland City car depot
- Private Transfer Auckland accommodation to Auckland Airport
Meals included: 10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 10 dinners
Tour at a glance

Day 1: Welcome to New Zealand, you'll be transferred to your Waiheke Island ferry
Accommodation: The Boatshed

Day 2: Explore the boutique vineyards of Waiheke Island
Accommodation: The Boatshed

Day 3: Return to Auckland, then drive to Rotorua and your lakeside retreat at Solitaire Lodge
Accommodation: Solitaire Lodge
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 220 kms / 136 miles : 2.6 hours

Day 4: Discover the unique Maori cuisine and culture, then spend the rest of the day exploring
Accommodation: Solitaire Lodge

Day 5: Take a scenic flight to the surreal volcano Mt Tarawera, here you'll land and get to explore
Accommodation: Solitaire Lodge

Day 6: From Rotorua follow the geothermal highway to Taupo
Accommodation: The Kinloch Manor
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 75 kms / 47 miles : 0.8 hours

Day 7: Try your hand at fishing for trout on New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo
Accommodation: The Kinloch Manor

Day 8: From Taupo head to the Hawkes Bay wine region
Accommodation: Rosewood Cape Kidnappers Hawkes
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 137 kms / 85 miles : 1.7 hours

Day 9: Explore the Hawkes Bay or spend the day golfing at Cape Kidnappers
Accommodation: Rosewood Cape Kidnappers Hawkes

Day 10: Fly from Napier back to Auckland, where you have the rest of the day to explore the City of Sails
Accommodation: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Day 11: Depart for home

Detailed itinerary - day by day
Tour full itinerary
Cities, Volcanoes and Vineyards Luxury Tour - Day 1
Private transfer Auckland Airport to Fullers Ferry Terminal with Tourcorp

A private transfer will meet you on arrival at the airport and transfer you to the Fullers Ferry Terminal.

Fullers Ferry Auckland to Waiheke Island

Take a scenic approximately 45-minute cruise through the Hauraki Gulf between the Auckland down town ferry terminal and Matiatia Wharf on Waiheke Island.

Explore Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is the most visited island in the gulf. A delightful 45 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland will find you standing at Matiatia Wharf set to enjoy a multitude of diverse attractions. The island is home to around 7,000 people but during the summer weekends there can be as many as 35,000 people enjoying the vineyards, restaurants, cafes, arts and the idyllic scenery. Among the two dozen or so vineyards on the island, Mudbrick, Goldwater Estate, Stoneyridge and Te Whau are some of the best known. The beaches are pristine and the countryside provides many interesting walks. Most notable is the trip to Stoney Batter where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Hauraki Gulf. The area also has the remains of gun emplacements and a series of tunnels and chambers, protected by the historic places trust.

Your accommodation: The Boatshed

This chic boutique luxury hotel embodies everything that Waiheke Island is, a relaxed intimate island style luxury hotel. Designer suites, each with panoramic views, are luxurious and spacious; an elegant and contemporary take on the classic seaside retreat.
Meals included: Dinner

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Cities, Volcanoes and Vineyards Luxury Tour - Day 2
Essence of Waiheke Wine Tour with Ananda

Known as ‘New Zealand’s Island of Wine’, Waiheke has become home to a dedicated group of award-winning wine producers. With a unique micro-climate and the winemakers’ philosophy of “small is beautiful”, Waiheke has produced some of New Zealand’s most prestigious wines.
On this tour, you will visit three of Waiheke’s top vineyards and sample a range of their wines. Along the way enjoy a commentated scenic drive, learning about the Island’s history, geography, people and culture from your knowledgeable local guide.
After your wine tasting experience sit back, relax and finish the day with a lunch and a glass of Waiheke wine or beer at a local favourite.

Your accommodation: The Boatshed

This chic boutique luxury hotel embodies everything that Waiheke Island is, a relaxed intimate island style luxury hotel. Designer suites, each with panoramic views, are luxurious and spacious; an elegant and contemporary take on the classic seaside retreat.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Cities, Volcanoes and Vineyards Luxury Tour - Day 3
Fullers Ferry Waiheke Island to Auckland

Take a scenic approximately 45-minute cruise through the Hauraki Gulf between Matiatia Wharf on Waiheke Island and the Auckland downtown ferry terminal.

Private Transfer Auckland City Cruise Terminal to Auckland City car depot with Tourcorp

You will be met at the Auckland Cruise Terminal by the driver and transferred to your Auckland car hire depot.

Choose from our great range of late model rental cars for your driving holiday

Today you’ll take to the road for your New Zealand Self Drive holiday, so take a look through the great selection of late model vehicles available and take your pick.

Auckland to Rotorua

The drive south from Auckland takes you past the Bombay Hills and into the rolling farmland and rich dairy pastures of the Waikato. The Bombay Hills mark the outer boundary of greater Auckland area and it's here you turn inland to central Waikato. You’ll soon go through the town of Matamata where you can visit the fully intact Hobbiton film set used in the shooting of the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Continuing on, you’ll pass several small farming communities before telltale signs of steam and other geothermal activity signal your arrival into Rotorua.

Solitaire Lodge

Nestled on the shores of lake Tarawera, Solitaire Lodge offers guests the ideal blend of indulgence and adventure from a picture perfect setting. Luxurious and elegantly appointed with floor to ceiling windows and stunning panoramic views across the lake, guests can choose to relax in front of an open fire with a book from the library, enjoy the bar facilities or take a stroll in the expansive herb garden. Nearby is the Lodge’s private jetty with complimentary use of the lodge’s kayaks, motorised dinghies and trout fishing gear.
Each of the suites are styled for comfort and feature panoramic views of the lake and volcano. Bringing the outdoors in, you are invited unwind and soak up the peace and quiet of this tranquil setting.
 

Your accommodation: Solitaire Lodge

Solitaire Lodge Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s premier luxury lodges, enjoys breathtaking views over Lake Tarawera, with lush natural bush and volcanic landscape backdrop. The subtle design brings the outdoors in, inviting you to unwind and soak up the peace and quiet of this tranquil setting. Minutes from this iconic resort you will discover a multitude of activities.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 220 kms / 136 miles : 2.6 hours

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Cities, Volcanoes and Vineyards Luxury Tour - Day 4
Te Puia: Te Ra Guided Experience, Cultural Experience and Hangi Buffet Lunch

Embark on a guided tour through the heart of Māori craftsmanship and heritage at the New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute. Explore the renowned schools of greenstone carving, wood carving, and flax weaving, where master artisans and students bring ancient techniques to life. Your journey continues at Rotowhio Pā, a living Māori village, and the Kiwi Conservation Centre, where you'll get a rare glimpse of New Zealand's iconic and endangered Kiwi bird. As you delve into Te Whakarewarewa geothermal valley, marvel at the dramatic landscapes shaped by geothermal activity, including the awe-inspiring Pōhutu Geyser, the largest active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere. After your explorations, indulge in Te Puia's world-famous hāngī buffet lunch, served in Pātaka Kai Restaurant, Bar & Café. Enjoy a delectable array of traditional Māori cuisine, though menus are subject to change to highlight seasonal specialties. The cultural highlight of your visit will take place in the beautifully carved meeting house, Te Aronui a Rua. Here, you’ll be welcomed with a pōhiri (traditional welcome), followed by a captivating cultural performance featuring waiata (song), mōteatea (traditional chant), poi, and the powerful haka. This immersive experience at Te Puia offers a deep connection to Māori culture, artistry, and the natural wonders of New Zealand.

Explore Rotorua

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. Geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to one of the Maori Villages should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.
Spike your adrenaline at Velocity Valley Adventure Park on stomach-dropping attractions such as static skydiving, or a giant swing reaching 130 km per hour. Alternatively, head up the Rotorua Gondola for soaring lake views, and ride the luge at night for an extra thrill.
Fans of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit should drive to nearby Matamata and experience the actual movie set ‘Hobbiton’. Make the most of your time in Rotorua with an excursion through the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, one of the area’s most colourful volcanic attractions.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is a spectacular showcase of New Zealand’s most colourful and unique geothermal elements sculpted by thousands of years of volcanic activity. You are introduced to a uniquely different natural landscape – the key to what you see lies below the surface – one of the most extensive geothermal systems in New Zealand, extending over 18-sq. km. Enjoy viewing unique volcanic features as you walk at your own pace along well-defined tracks. Relax in the first-class Visitor Centre, home to the Gift Shop and Café facilities. Visit the Mud Pool, the largest in New Zealand, it was originally the site of a large mud volcano which was destroyed through erosion in the 1920s. See the history and beauty of the Lady Knox Geyser at 10:15 am every day. Lady Knox Geyser provides a unique opportunity to see an eruption to heights of 10 to 20 metres.

Your accommodation: Solitaire Lodge

Solitaire Lodge Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s premier luxury lodges, enjoys breathtaking views over Lake Tarawera, with lush natural bush and volcanic landscape backdrop. The subtle design brings the outdoors in, inviting you to unwind and soak up the peace and quiet of this tranquil setting. Minutes from this iconic resort you will discover a multitude of activities.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Cities, Volcanoes and Vineyards Luxury Tour - Day 5
Mount Tarawera & Orakei Korako Thermal Explorer by Helicopter

Combine the thrill of landing on Mount Tarawera with a flight that includes spectacular aerial views of Rotorua's stunning crater lakes, the renowned Tarawera Falls and the vibrant Waimangu and Wai-O-Tapu geothermal reserves.
Leaving Wai-O-Tapu, descend to follow the Waikato River to the hidden valley of Orakei Korako. Once landed, you will ferry across the river and begin your land-based tour. Experience hot springs, gushing geysers and the natural beauty of this geothermal wonderland. The return flight takes in views of farmland and the Paeroa mountain range before flying over Rotorua City and returning to the lakefront pier.

Your accommodation: Solitaire Lodge

Solitaire Lodge Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s premier luxury lodges, enjoys breathtaking views over Lake Tarawera, with lush natural bush and volcanic landscape backdrop. The subtle design brings the outdoors in, inviting you to unwind and soak up the peace and quiet of this tranquil setting. Minutes from this iconic resort you will discover a multitude of activities.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Cities, Volcanoes and Vineyards Luxury Tour - Day 6
Rotorua to Taupo

Today drive through the heart of the Central North Island volcanic plateau. Visit the geothermal regions Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Waimangu Volcanic Valley, before arriving into the town of Taupo, which sits on New Zealand's largest lake - Lake Taupo. Just north of the town are the Huka Falls and a short detour to view is highly recommended, as is a visit to the nearby Craters of the Moon geothermal reserve.

Your accommodation: The Kinloch Manor

Set in the tranquil 254ha grounds of the Kinloch Club Golf Course, The Kinloch Manor sits on the shores of Lake Taupo; the scenic hub of the North Island. This luxury lodge presents dramatic framed vistas of the championship golf course and beyond to Lake Taupo.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 75 kms / 47 miles : 0.8 hours

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Cities, Volcanoes and Vineyards Luxury Tour - Day 7
Half Day Lake Taupo Fishing Charter

Fish for Trout on lake Taupo with the experts. Chris Jolly Outdoors have been taking clients fishing in Taupo for more than 30 years. Lake Taupo offers excellent trout fishing all year round; there is no closed season. Most fishing takes the form of trolling either lures or flies. You do not need any experience or fishing gear, your experienced hosts are there to help. Trout averages about 4 pounds and a typical excursion on the Lake will see your crew prepare your catch for a delicious snack either barbequed or sashimi style. You can even have your catch smoked and couriered to your destination in New Zealand at a small cost. Your half day charter includes a 4 hour private charter on stunning Lake Taupo. fishing licences and a delicious luncheon on board with wine and beverages. Try your hand at trout fishing and stop and see the Maori rock carvings - only accessible by water. Swimming is available during the summer months and clay target shooting is available on request if conditions are suitable.

Your accommodation: The Kinloch Manor

Set in the tranquil 254ha grounds of the Kinloch Club Golf Course, The Kinloch Manor sits on the shores of Lake Taupo; the scenic hub of the North Island. This luxury lodge presents dramatic framed vistas of the championship golf course and beyond to Lake Taupo.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Cities, Volcanoes and Vineyards Luxury Tour - Day 8
Taupo to Napier

The road from Taupo climbs high onto the plateau crossing the Ahiminawa Range before arriving onto the Pacific Coast just north of the worlds finest art deco city of Napier.
Napier, the city by the sea, is renowned for its 1930s Art Deco architecture, events such as the Art Deco Weekend in February, stately Norfolk pines, surrounding wineries and local fresh produce. Supported by a Mediterranean climate and over 2,200 hours of sunshine a year this popular year-round destination boasts a vibrant cafe culture amongst the splendour of the Art Deco buildings. Around 30 cafes are within walking distance of the central city area, while Ahuriri, just over Bluff Hill, is home to a further cluster of up market establishments. Marine Parade overlooks the Pacific Ocean and out towards Cape Kidnappers, home to the world's largest mainland gannet colony. A full day can be taken visiting Ocean Spa hot pools and swimming complex, the Hawke's Bay Museum and the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
A landmark of Napier is Bluff Hill, which is home for many Napier residents and provides views of the town,  beaches of Perfume Point and Westshore and out towards Whirinaki. Bluff Hill also overlooks the Port of Napier, one of New Zealand's busiest ports, transporting timber, local fruit and meat products to worldwide destinations.
In 1931, New Zealand's greatest natural disaster struck Hawke's Bay. At 10.47am on Tuesday February 3rd, an earthquake of magnitude Richter 7.8 struck. In a minute and a half, in two separate shocks, the centre of Napier was almost totally destroyed. Fires quickly broke out and reduced to ashes or gutted what the tremors had left standing. Damage in Hastings was also devastating, although the fires were contained. Wairoa and the smaller towns to the south as far as Dannevirke were affected. There were 258 deaths, 162 in Napier, 93 in Hastings and 3 in Wairoa along with many injuries. The reconstruction of Napier and Hastings were costly but the benefit was two modern cities and the Ahuriri Lagoon, or Inner Harbour as it was usually known, was raised over 2 metres, creating the land, which Napier desperately needed to expand.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

With spectacular panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, nestled among 6,000 acres of rugged  coastal farmland, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers offers a multitude of activities within a five-star luxury setting. Offering many comfortable spaces to relax and unwind, including an intimate snug, stylish lounges, outdoor conservatory areas - there is no better way to take in this picturesque landscape.
Choose from a range of leisure facilities such as: a heated infinity pool and jacuzzi, spa treatments with beautiful forest and ocean views, a world class  golf course and clubhouse and a  fully equipped gym, offering yoga, pilates, golf specific fitness and personal training.
The Farm is also home to some of the best trails in the north island, from independent forest walks to ocean stroll or guided farm tours - pack a picnic and set off on an afternoon of outdoor fun. Also on offer are mountain, bikes, quad bikes and horse treks for the more adventurous traveller.

Your accommodation: Rosewood Cape Kidnappers Hawkes

Located in Hawke's Bay, one of New Zealand's most important wine districts, Cape Kidnappers has a rich history. The Farm is a five-star experience set on a 6,000-acre sheep and cattle farm which encompasses land reminiscent of Montana but plunges 800 feet straight into the sea. A championship golf course designed by Tom Doak is just one reason to experience The Farm.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 137 kms / 85 miles : 1.7 hours

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Cities, Volcanoes and Vineyards Luxury Tour - Day 9
Explore Napier and the Hawke's Bay

With its Mediterranean climate and Art Deco style, Hawke's Bay is an attractive holiday prospect. As the nation's first winemaking region, a visit to one of its 30 wineries is a must. A trip to Mission Estate touted as the birthplace of NZ wine can't be missed. For the truly enthused head out on a tour of the vines. Those into Gatsby will enjoy the chance to view prominent Art Deco landmarks on a 1930s Vintage Car Tour. Passengers will spend just over an hour learning about the history of the city's architecture including the Napier Municipal Theatre, one of the top ten Art Deco Buildings in the world. If you're after some fresh air, hire a bike and take your pick of one of over 200km of cycling trails or head on down to one of the many beaches that ring the area. Ocean or Waimarama beach are good choices and both are patrolled by surf lifeguards during the summer. Indulge in some local produce and head out on a cheese, chocolate, honey or orchard tour.

Your accommodation: Rosewood Cape Kidnappers Hawkes

Located in Hawke's Bay, one of New Zealand's most important wine districts, Cape Kidnappers has a rich history. The Farm is a five-star experience set on a 6,000-acre sheep and cattle farm which encompasses land reminiscent of Montana but plunges 800 feet straight into the sea. A championship golf course designed by Tom Doak is just one reason to experience The Farm.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Cities, Volcanoes and Vineyards Luxury Tour - Day 10
Air New Zealand flight Napier to Auckland
Private Transfer Auckland Airport to Auckland Accommodation

You will be met at the Auckland airport by the driver and transferred to your Auckland accommodation.

Explore Auckland City

Surrounding a natural harbour, New Zealand's largest metro area offers the best of both worlds. Sandy beaches, native bush and lush rainforests meld with a lively urban culture. Grab a coffee downtown and watch the sailboats glide from the Viaduct or head harbourside and take the helm of an America's Cup Yacht.
Catch the Quickcat to nearby Waiheke Island for a gourmet food and wine experience. Clear the cobwebs with a little exercise and hike the summit of Mt Eden,  Auckland's highest volcano. Pack a picnic and choose one of 800 regional national parks to explore. If relaxing is more your style, find a good book and head out to a deserted beach. Try Orewa located an hour north of the city or stay a little closer and head to Cheltenham Beach in Devonport.
Make time to ascend the Sky Tower or The Harbour Bridge and spike your adrenaline by bungy jumping off either (or both!). Finish on a high with dinner at one of the many trendy eateries to be found on Ponsonby Road.

Your accommodation: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour is located in the heart of Auckland on the unique and vibrant Viaduct Harbour and close to the new Wynyard Quarter.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Cities, Volcanoes and Vineyards Luxury Tour - Day 11
Private Transfer Auckland accommodation to Auckland Airport with Tourcorp

You will be met at your Auckland accommodation by the driver and transferred to the airport.

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