Family Fun North Island Tour
7 day North Island Self Drive, from Auckland to Auckland
Breadcrumb
New Zealand tour itinerary name and information

Family Fun North Island Tour

Visit some of the North Island's iconic attractions including the culture and adventure capital of Rotorua.  You'll begin with a journey to the idyllic holiday destination of the Coromandel Peninsula where you'll ride the quirky Driving Creek Railway line before continuing to the beachside village of Whitianga.  Next stop is Rotorua for two nights where there's an exciting day of animal encounters included.  This family friendly tour also visits the magical Hobbiton Village before returning back to Auckland.

Currency selector
Select your currency to view indicative pricing
Tour summary and feature
Itinerary details at a glance

North Island Self Drive

This suggested tour costs from NZD$2,133 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Auckland

7 days/6 nights

Motels

 Rental car included

 Viewed 47 times in the last 7 days

This North Island Self Drive tour idea includes:

- Private Transfer Auckland Airport to Auckland accommodation
Tour at a glance

Day 1: Welcome to Auckland the 'City of Sails'
Accommodation: Sudima Auckland City

Day 2: Collect your car this morning, then travel through to the idyllic beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula
Accommodation: Oceans Resort
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 204 kms / 127 miles : 3.0 hours

Day 3: Head south along the Bay of Plenty before turning inland towards the Maori culture and lakes of Rotorua
Accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 220 kms / 137 miles : 3.4 hours

Day 4: Enjoy a close up encounter with New Zealand farm animals and native wildlife including the rare Kiwi bird
Accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central

Day 5: It's a short drive along the Geothermal Highway to the great Lake Taupo
Accommodation: Beechtree Motel
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 75 kms / 47 miles : 0.8 hours

Day 6: Journey north through rolling Waikato countryside to the magical Hobbiton Village, then return to Auckland
Accommodation: Sudima Auckland City
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 287 kms / 178 miles : 3.4 hours

Day 7: Explore more of Auckland City before departing for your onward journey

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 25 kms / 16 miles : 0.4 hours

Detailed itinerary - day by day
Tour full itinerary
Family Fun North Island Tour - Day 1
Welcome to Auckland

Auckland, New Zealand's self-proclaimed "City of Sails" is the country's largest metro area. Resting between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, this urban paradise has something for everyone. Surrounded by native bush, rainforests and an abundance of beaches, Auckland is a playground for both the city savvy and those with an eye for adventure. Explore the central museums and galleries on foot, or take a drive through one of over 28 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.

Private Transfer Auckland Airport to Auckland Accommodation

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

Your accommodation: Sudima Auckland City

Conveniently located within easy walking distance of Auckland’s bustling shopping, arts, dining and entertainment precincts and opposite the New Zealand International Convention Centre.

Back to top

Family Fun North Island Tour - Day 2
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 Coromandel Township

Leaving the Auckland city boundary you'll go through the rolling hills and lush farmland of the Hauraki Plains, one of New Zealand's largest dairy producing regions. Continue on past the Thames Estuary, a haven for wildlife and shore birds. Pass through historic gold mining town, Thames, where two different routes to the east coast of the Coromandel can be taken. Directly over the Coromandel Ranges or North to the Coromandel Township along the Pohutukawa Coast (part of the Pacific Coast Highway).

Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour

Driving Creek Railway and Potteries has become a Coromandel icon. The dream of Barry Brickell was to establish a pottery workshop on his land. Using a railway he would have access to the clay on the land and the pine kiln fuel. Over the next 15 years the railway developed until in 1990 it was finally licensed to carry fare paying passengers and ever since thousands of visitors have made the trip to Coromandel to experience this unique attraction. The 1 hour return train trip on the innovatively designed trains takes you through replanted native kauri forest and includes 2 spirals, 3 short tunnels, 5 reversing points and several large viaducts as it climbs up to the mountain-top terminus. The pottery is still producing and you can watch the artists at work as well as purchase items.

Coromandel Township to Whitianga

The short drive from Coromandel Township to Whitianga takes you via the scenic coastline of Whangapoua Harbour and the Kuaotuna beach. For beach lovers there are plenty of side roads to often deserted golden sand beaches and bays. Whitianga sits on Mercury Bay on the eastern coast of the Coromandel peninsular, Captain Cook arrived there in 1769 to observe the transit of Mercury and hence the bay was named. This small bustling town once played a major part in the kauri logging industry with over 150 million metres of timber being exported between 1830 and the end of the century. The Whitianga museum, housed in the old dairy factory displays an interesting collection designed to relay engrossing tales of the time. Today the town has a many cafes and craft shops with its income derived mainly from tourists. The summer months bring visitors to enjoy fishing, surfcasting and swimming along the palm fringed beaches. But the largest attraction is probably the big game marlin fishing with many charters available to hunt in the rich waters of the Pacific Ocean. On the other side of the harbour is Australasia's oldest stone wharf from where a passenger ferry takes visitors to the delightful Cooks Beach just a 5 minute walk along the road. Nearby is Buffalo Beach, named after H.M.S. Buffalo, a ship taking convicts and settlers to South Australia that blew aground in 1840.

Your accommodation: Oceans Resort

Only a stone’s throw from the golden sands of Buffalo Beach, you will find the relaxed luxury Whitianga Apartments of Oceans Resort. All apartments have a full kitchen including oven, cook top, microwave as well as their own personal laundry with washing machine and laundry necessities provided.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 204 kms / 127 miles : 3.0 hours

Back to top

Family Fun North Island Tour - Day 3
Whitianga to Rotorua via Tauranga

Heading south from the Coromandel Peninsula you pass through the seaside town of Whangamata, a popular location for Kiwi holidaymakers and home to one of the best beaches in the region. Next, you come to the old mining town of Waihi which still has an operating open cast gold mine (Martha Mine) that can be viewed from a vantage point just above the town centre.
For rail enthusiasts, the Goldfields Railway operates passenger trains along a scenic and historic section of track towards Waikino. The route now takes you into the Bay of Plenty and the port town of Tauranga before you head along the scenic Pyes Pa Road to Rotorua. For Lord of the Rings fans, a detour to Matamata is recommended as this is the location of the Hobbiton film set. Arriving in Rotorua from the north you are welcomed by the spectacular view of the lake.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga

Explore the volcanic coastline with its many caves, blowholes and golden beaches all from the comfort and safety of an ex coastguard 28 ft cruiser. Departing from Whitianga Wharf journey past the towering Shakespeare's Cliffs and historic Cooks Beach. Visit Cathedral Cove and the islands in the marine reserve. There is also a chance to swim with the abundant fish in the reserve (on board snorkel gear provided - don't forget your swimsuit and towel). For those who prefer to stay dry an underwater camera relays images to an onboard TV.

Your accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central

Located in the heart of Rotorua, just a stone’s throw from the restaurant and shopping precinct. Purpose built in 2012, all apartments are equipped with modern fixtures, full cooking and laundry facilities that make Quest Rotorua Central your perfect home away from home.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 220 kms / 137 miles : 3.4 hours

Back to top

Family Fun North Island Tour - Day 4
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.

Agrodome Farm Show and Farm Tour Combo

Set on a 350-acre working sheep and cattle farm with 1200 sheep and 120 beef cattle, the Agrodome gives its visitors a hands-on, live farming experience. The Farm Show stars a cast of talented animals – not just sheep! The remarkable farm dogs will amaze you, as they demonstrate their ability to respond to commands and keep those sheep (and ducks!) in line. Then pop across to the herding area to watch a free live dog trial after the show! Explore the farm and learn the history of New Zealand agriculture on custom designed farm trailers. Along the way, there are fascinating things to learn and a few laughs too! You’ll get to hand-feed and take photos with all sorts of friendly animals, including Romney sheep, cattle, deer, llamas, ostrich, pigs and alpacas. Explore the fruit orchard and olive grove and have the chance to taste natural kiwifruit juice and delicious sweet honey that comes from the farm.

National Kiwi Hatchery Tour

The National Kiwi Hatchery Tour is a special opportunity to gain insight into and view this highly regarded conservation centre. Developed with the visitor experience in mind, the hatchery boasts special viewing opportunities and is hosted by kiwi expert guides who ensure guests leave fully informed and all questions answered. Learn all about New Zealand’s intriguing national icon and the efforts of the kiwi husbandry team, see and discover what it takes to hatch and rare chicks, and if you’re lucky see baby chicks in person!

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Te Puia: Te Rā Daytime Experience

Te Puia welcomes you to explore the magic hidden within Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. Become face-to-face with the majestic Pōhutu Geyser, the largest naturally active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere. Feel the thrill as it erupts, sending plumes of steam into the sky. Then, step into the Kiwi Conservation Centre, for a close-up encounter with this rare native species, a symbol of our nation's unique wildlife. Part of your ticket is donated to support the conservation of the Kiwi in this sanctuary. As you continue through the Te Puia Valley, look upon the dynamic landscape of bubbling mud pools, and steaming vents and feel the power that the land holds. Throughout this, everywhere you look you will see beautifully crafted Māori-made artwork and sculptures, each piece a story carved in wood and stone, adding a layer of cultural depth to the natural beauty. Step into the New Zealand Māori-made artwork and sculptures, each piece a story carved in wood and stone, adding a layer of cultural depth to the natural beauty. The guides are direct descendants of the original tour guides, and you can feel their excitement to show their culture and land. 

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: Quest Rotorua Central

Located in the heart of Rotorua, just a stone’s throw from the restaurant and shopping precinct. Purpose built in 2012, all apartments are equipped with modern fixtures, full cooking and laundry facilities that make Quest Rotorua Central your perfect home away from home.

Back to top

Family Fun North Island Tour - Day 5
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.

Taupo

The town of Taupo sits on New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo and this beautiful and serene body of water is reason enough to visit. The lake is actually a volcanic caldera formed following a massive eruption in the year 186 and is considered to be one of the most massive and violent eruptions known. Overlooking the lake are the cones of long extinct volcanoes, further evidence of the regions fiery past. To the south-west Mt. Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park can be seen. The town itself is a lively place with many shops, bars and cafes all catering for the traveller and visitor.
A whole host of activities can be undertaken here such as bungy jumping, sky diving, fishing for trout in the lake and rivers, kayaking, sailing, horse riding and walking and hiking to name but a few.
Stop in at the quirky L'Arte Cafe and Gallery, home to the famous mosaic outdoor living room and the well-recognised ‘Alice’s Chair’ sculpture.
Just to the north of the town centre is the Wairakei geothermal power station and a little further north is Craters of the Moon, a geothermal wonderland where you can explore colourful sulphurous lakes, bubbling mud pools and hot water geysers from the safety of boardwalks. The nearby Huka Falls are a spectacular sight and a jet boat ride will give you a very exciting ride to view the thundering water from below.

Huka Falls Jet Boat Ride

The Huka Jet is 30 minutes of pure fun and exhilaration, skimming close to cliffs, sliding past trees, feeling the adrenalin of full 360 degree spins. The excitement continues right up to the base of the foaming Huka Falls, where you get a spectacular water level view to New Zealand's most visited natural attraction. Nothing compares to watching 220,000 litres per second tumbling over the cliff face towards you.
The water from the mighty Huka Falls runs down the Waikato River through a series of Hydro Power Stations. You'll get a view of the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station in the comfort of a powerful Chevrolet V8 jet boat. This unique Geothermal Power Station uses underground geothermal activity to produce hot steamy water. The Waikato Rivers beautiful environment is varied and unique and is New Zealand's longest river flowing north from our largest lake, Lake Taupō.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Maori Rock Carving Cruise

Sit back and relax in luxury bean bags on board the yacht Barbary as you enjoy a scenic sail across Lake Taupo to the 10-metre high Maori rock art, only accessible by boat. You're guaranteed amazing photo opportunities as you experience one of life's postcard moments on this Maori tour. Glide across a smooth lake as you soak up the warming sun or go for a swim before you enjoy free light refreshments at the rock carvings. If you're looking for a little more activity you can help hoist the sails or take a turn at the wheel. Taupo's Maori rock carvings may look like the remains of a 1,000-year-old Maori village, but these rock carvings were created in the late 70s by local artists lead by John Randall. Duration of cruise is 2 to 2.5 hours.

Your accommodation: Beechtree Motel

Beechtree Motel offers luxury, modern apartment and motel style accommodation. Just a five minutes stroll to cafes, restaurants and the Taupo lakefront.

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

Back to top

Family Fun North Island Tour - Day 6
Taupo to Matamata

The lush farmland of the Waikato provides some great scenery as you head north.  In the small village of Tirau you can stop and get your photo next to the giant sheep and farm dog which also double as the Tourist Information centre. Once you reach Matamata you are in hobbit country and the route takes you to the town of Matamata where you can still visit the film locations made famous in the Lord of the Rings trilogy at Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours.

Hobbiton Movie Set tour from Shires Rest

Become immersed in the The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films when you visit the actual Hobbiton movie set. Located just outside of Matamata in the heart of the lush Waikato farming region, your tour will begin with a drive through a picturesque sheep farm. You'll then be taken through Hobbit Holes, the Green Dragon Inn, the Mill and the Party Tree while your guide shares behind-the-scenes tales and insight into the making of the films. Spend time wandering through Bagshot Row before being led inside a Hobbit Hole to view the detailed interiors, designed to provide an authentic glimpse into the dwelling of a Hobbit.

Matamata to Auckland

Your drive continues north west crossing the dairy country of the Hauraki Plains before arriving at State Highway 1. The Bombay Hills guide you to Auckland City.

Your accommodation: Sudima Auckland City

Conveniently located within easy walking distance of Auckland’s bustling shopping, arts, dining and entertainment precincts and opposite the New Zealand International Convention Centre.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 287 kms / 178 miles : 3.4 hours

Back to top

Depart Auckland today

Explore more of vibrant Auckland city before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 25 kms / 16 miles : 0.4 hours

Back to top

Tour quick quote rework
Get an Instant Quote or Book this Tour
Family Fun North Island Tour
Step 1:
Step 2: Select preferred car type or size
No pricing loaded - please make sure you have selected a car type or contact us
Step 3: Select number of passengers and room configuration
How many guests are children?
How many guests are children?
Step 4: Add these options

Enter phone number to get a call from a travel planning expert within in 24 hours

Enter email address to receive your instant quote

Tick this box if you do not wish to receive emails about special offers
No pricing loaded - please choose another date or contact us
Your quote for this tour:
Start date:
End date:
Guests:
Rooms:
Car type:
Total cost for ALL guests on this tour package is:
NZD$0
or
This quote is based on vehicles to accommodate your party in the vehicle type. We suggest changing the car type or contacting us for the best options.
The package cost above excludes rental vehicle hire as you are requesting a price for a vehicle outside of our designated season. Please reach out direct for rental vehicle rates.

NOTE: Quotes are subject to the availability of specific accommodations and other inclusions. Our NZ touring experts will contact you if any changes are needed. Costs quoted in currencies other than New Zealand dollars (NZ$) are based on today's exchange rate and are subject to change. Terms and Conditions apply.
If you have chosen to hire a Budget rental car, you may incur a one-way fee if a portion of your hire is under 7 days. Your sales consultant can confirm this on booking.

Remember: we can create this itinerary with any accommodation style or customise it to suit your interests and timeframe.

Contact form
Enquire about this tour

Fields marked * are mandatory

Your contact information
Subscribe to our Regular Newsletter for Inspiring Holiday Ideas
Currency selector
Select your currency to view indicative pricing