The North Island's Road and Vineyard scenery, New Zealand
The North Island's Road and Vineyard scenery, New Zealand
Sights and Scenery in Auckland, North Island
Sights and Scenery in Auckland, North Island
Rotorua Landscapes & Rich Maori Culture
Rotorua Landscapes & Rich Maori Culture
Hawkes Bay, Rotorua, Huka Falls & Napier Art Deco Buildings
Hawkes Bay, Rotorua, Huka Falls & Napier Art Deco Buildings
Wellington City Scenery, North Island
Wellington City Scenery, North Island

North Island Highlights with Northern Explorer Train Self-Drive

8 nights from £2,799 per person Including Flights


This fun and unforgettable trip allows you to see some parts of the North Island that many visitors to this area will bypass, including the stunning west coast. From the thermal hot spots of Rotorua to the vineyards of Hawke’s Bay and the art deco buildings of Napier, this is a breath-taking adventure with some truly wonderful sights along the way. (NZ)


  • Visit the bustling city of Auckland
  • Spend time exploring the geothermal attractions in Rotorua
  • Go wine tasting in Hawke’s Bay
  • Be inspired by the beautiful art deco buildings and rich history of Napier
  • Finish your tour with a scenic train ride from Wellington back to Auckland

Tailor-make this holiday:
Our travel specialist can tailor-make this self-drive itinerary to your requirements, whether you’d like to extend your stay, change a hotel or perhaps you would like an upgraded stay along the way – our experts will be happy to create a tailor-made holiday for you.

Whats included?
  • Car hire throughout
  • Tour pack
  • Flights & Taxes
Why Book with New Zealand Sky?
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  • Great deals on offer for multiple destinations
  • Low deposits
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Day 1


Welcome to Auckland, you will have a personal meet and greet at the airport and transfer to your hotel – the rest of the day can be spent getting to know the city and its many attractions. 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 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.

Overnight: SkyCity Hotel Auckland

Day 2


Collect your selected rental car and begin exploring the sights in this famous 'City of Sails'. Sitting on one of the world’s most beautiful natural harbours, there are some wonderful opportunities to explore the islands of the gulf – Waiheke Island is a popular choice and Rangitoto Island is just a short distance from the city centre. Naturally, for a busy city, there are plenty of shops and restaurants to make the most of, as well as the rainforests and beaches of the Waitakere Ranges. Wine lovers will no doubt want to visit some of the oldest wineries in New Zealand, which can be found in west Auckland.

Overnight: SkyCity Hotel Auckland

Day 3

Auckland – Rotorua (235km)

Drive along State Highway 1 to the dairy farmlands of Waikato, home to New Zealand’s longest river of the same name. This river guides you through Cambridge and Tirau before you arrive into the city of Rotorua – a geothermal wonderland. This area is considered to be the cultural centre of Maori history, with one of the most popular introductions to Maori culture being an evening at Tamaki Maori Village. Here you can enjoy an evening of singing and dancing before indulging with a traditional hangi feast.

Special offer inclusion – Mitai Maori Village

For a truly memorable and authentic introduction to Maori culture, an evening at Mitai is a must. You’ll see warriors in traditional dress, paddle an ancient warrior canoe down the Wai-O-Whiro stream and see glow worms in their natural habitat. You’ll also see a traditionally-cooked hangi meal being lifted from the ground and learn about the Maori heritage, including carvings and ta moko (tattoo art).

Overnight: Millennium Hotel

Day 4


Sitting in the heart of the world’s most volcanically active region, Rotorua is something of a novel destination. There are many geothermal parks and attractions here which are well worth a visit – the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is around 30 minutes from Rotorua where you can explore the bubbling mud pools, geysers and waterfalls. A sombre but interesting attraction is the Buried Village where the village of Te Wairoa was destroyed by the Tarawera eruption. The Agrodome is a fun and lively attractions, where you can tour some of the farms and watch sheep shearing shows which have become incredibly popular with visitors.

Overnight: Millennium Hotel

Day 5

Rotorua – Napier (223km)

Make your way through the thermal regions south of Rotorua, including Waimangu and the Craters of the Moon near Taupo. As you approach Taupo you’ll see signs directing you to Huka Falls which is a spectacular sight. The road from Taupo reaches high onto the plateau crossing the Ahiminawa Range before reaching the Pacific Coast, just north of the art deco city of Napier.

Overnight: Art Deco Masonic Hotel

Day 6

Napier/Hawke’s Bay

Home to some of the best wineries in the country, Hawke’s Bay is a beautiful region and a great place to take part in wine tours where you can sample some of the produce. Napier is a location with a rich history and stunning architecture reminiscent of the art deco era. Take a city tour in a car from the 1930s or visit Cape Kidnappers where you can see one of the few mainland gannet colonies.

Overnight: Art Deco Masonic Hotel

Day 7

Napier – Wellington (334km)

Explore the Manawatu region today as you delve into some of the richest farmland in the country. Passing the Manawatu Gorge, the Wairarapa welcomes you; nearby, Martinborough is home to dozens of boutique wineries. Your route for today takes you over the Rimutaka Range and along the natural harbour that the city of Wellington sits on. Drop off your hire car at the hotel where it will be collected.

Overnight: Copthorne Hotel Oriental Bay

Day 8

Northern Scenic Explorer Train to Auckland

You’ll be collected from your hotel and transferred to Wellington train station for your Overlander scenic train to Auckland. The journey takes you through the heart of the North Island, passing amazing scenery including Mount Ruapehu, the Raurimu Spiral and beautiful river gorges. The train provides panoramic windows or open-air viewing decks to give you the best opportunity for seeing the amazing vistas. Upon arrival into Auckland, you’ll be transferred to your hotel.

Overnight: SkyCity Hotel Auckland

Day 9


Today marks the end of your trip – you’ll be collected from the hotel and transferred to the airport for your departing flight.

What's Included

  • International flights
  • Internal private transfers
  • Hotel accommodation as listed (8 nights)
  • All breakfasts
  • Car hire throughout - including rental car insurance, GPS, airport/ferry terminal fees and additional drivers
  • Tour pack - including detailed driving instructions, maps and guide books
  • Northern Scenic Explorer Train from Wellington to Auckland
  • Mitai Maori Village Concert & buffet dinner


The following excursions are available to book - approximate prices per person in New Zealand dollars:

  • America’s Cup Sailing Experience with Explore $190
  • Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter $65
  • Rotorua Canopy Tour: The Original Canopy Tour $149
  • Twilight Odyssey Progressive Winery Dinner $299
  • Gannet Safaris $88
  • Grape Escape half day Hawke’s Bay wine tour $110
  • Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour $79

Please note these prices are a guide only and can change at any time.

Holly Reid
Book today

Talk to our travel experts for more information and to book or tailor-make your holiday

01342 310 581 Call us 9am-7pm Mon-Fri / 9am-5pm Sat-Sun

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