26 February 2017
7 nights fr £1695ppIncludes flights
Make a Hobbit of driving around Lord of the Rings Country
Just like a football match being a game of two halves, touring New Zealand can well be a holiday of two halves . . . one spent on the North Island and one on the South Island, making sure you get the very best of both. And on this great eight day discovery tour of the North Island, which begins in Auckland and ends in the capital city Wellington, you will see lots of the famous places that have made the country so popular with visitors from all over the world.
On arrival at Auckland Airport you will be met by one of our tour representatives and driven to your hotel. Self-drive passengers can then collect their rental car for their exclusive use until the end of the trip. The rest of the day and the evening is free for you to enjoy the magnificent City of Sails. Make sure you visit the waterfront area and enjoy dining at one of the many fine restaurants.
Begin you journey by travelling south past rolling green hills and pastureland to the Waitomo Caves region. Beneath the surface of this ancient limestone region lies a labyrinth of caves and underground rivers. Expert guides provide historical and geographical commentary before you drift silently in a boat under the milky way of millions of glow worms on the cavern roof. Then continue through farmland, lakeland and forest until the distinctive smell of sulphur and constant steam drifts let you know you are in tempestuous, geothermal Rotorua
Today you experience Maori culture at Te Puia and take a tour through a thermal valley full of geysers and bubbling mud pools. Call in at woodcarving and weaving schools and see how these ancient arts are being passed on to a new generation. Explore Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park then see New Zealand's agricultural industry in action at the Agrodome, a working farm where you can watch a sheep shearing display and sheep dog trials. In the evening enjoy a memorable night of culture, song and dance followed by dinner cooked the traditional Maori way on hot stones underground.
A beautiful drive south today via Lake Taupo with the three volcanic mountains of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro dominating the incredible scenery. Enjoy the views as the road changes from forest to rugged mountain ranges and then to fertile vineyards as you continue on to the Hawke’s Bay, known for its gourmet food and world-class wineries. Stop for tastings and tonight try one of the local vintages with dinner.
A full day at leisure to enjoy the delights of Napier. In 1931 a devastating earthquake resulted in the rebuilding of Napier in the style of the times, and it is now considered the Art Deco Capital of the world. Take a city tour or drive around seeing all this iconic architecture and later visit nearby Cape Kidnappers, which is home to the most accessible gannet colony in the world.
A long day on the road today as you say farewell to Napier and begin the 300 mile drive to Wellington. Enjoy the clean, green scenery as you travel to the southern tip of the North Island to stay in New Zealand’s capital city. There is so much to see and do in Wellington and the earlier you get there the more you can cram in.
A full day at leisure. Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between harbour and hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Wellington is noted for its live theatre, art galleries, restaurants and cultural activities. On the waterfront is Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand’s national museum, one of the best interactive museums in the world. The nightlife is great and there are lots of fine restaurants.
Today your wonderful tour of the North Island comes to an end. Possibly time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing before you are picked up at your hotel and driven to the airport. Alternatively, you can decide to stay on in New Zealand and take a ferry across the Cook Straits, pick up another car, and take a tour around the beautiful South Island. New Zealand is a long way away, so while you are there it would be a shame not to make it a holiday of two halves!
Budget fr £976pp
Standard fr £1135pp
Superior fr £1157pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated