Length: 7 Days
Location: North Island: Auckland, Waiheke Island, Waitomo, Matamata, Rotorua.
Best Months for this Tour: All Year Round
Suggested For: Couples, Families and Friends
Natural Attractions: Volcanoes, Lakes, Geothermal Activity, Glow Worm Caves, Lord of The Rings and Hobbiton Scenery.
New Zealand’s largest city and second capital in our young human history. Auckland is a city you can easily get addicted to, with golden sandy beaches scattering the suburbs along it’s 80km length, a vibrant city, a diverse selection of food and naturally breath-taking surroundings. Auckland puts the best reasons to visit New Zealand on display, it is hard to leave once touching down and definitely worth every second spent. In terms of geography though, Auckland is a very special place, situated on a dormant volcanic field with around 50 volcanic cones, it creates an amazing array of natural surface features such as lagoons, cones, lakes and islands.
- Auckland Sky Tower – New Zealand’s tallest structure at 220 metres, it is the highest point to view all of Auckland and its surrounding’s from.
- Harbour Sailing Cruise – Set sail in Auckland’s magnificent Harbour and take in the sights from a different perspective, enjoy some food from below deck and try your hand at driving the rig.
City Volcano Walks: (All Dormant)
- Mount Eden – The highest natural point in Auckland. It’s a 5 to 10 minute walk to the summit from the carpark. (free entry)
- One Tree Hill Domain – Still grazed by sheep and cattle but situated right in the centre of Auckland, this drive and short walk gives you the feeling that you are out exploring the country side. Once you reach the peak you’ll be greeted with breath-taking views as well. It’s a 5 to 10 minute walk to the summit from the carpark. (free entry)
For the Love of Food:
- The Crab Shack – We recommend having one helping of Red King crab, called, “The King!”, with melted garlic butter and lemon as a snack. It is pricy but very hard to forget.
- Federal Delicatessen – Located in the Sky City complex, The Fed for short has a very cool style and tasty breakfasts, famous NZ Chef, Al Browns’ take on New York Deli Dishes.
- Depot Eatery – Oyster bar….hmmmm. Sorry, what was I saying, that’s right….Oyster Bar.
The Crown Jewel in the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island has pristine beaches, world class wines and fantastic cuisine. Voted one of the world’s Top 20 islands by Conde Nast Traveller in 2016, this easily accessible wonderland is only 45 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Auckland.
- Passenger Ferry: Jump on and relax on your journey to the Crown Jewel of Hauraki, on arrival you can meet up with a small group tour and enjoy the island in luxury while someone else drives, or take advantage of the hop on hop off bus service.
- Vehicle Ferry: Drive your vehicle onto the ferry and then sit back and be whisked away to the island paradise, this way you can self-drive at your own pace, but please remember, someone needs to take one for the team and be the sober driver.
- Ecozip Adventures: Zip, Wine and Dine – It’s all in the name really, zip through the trees with 3 x giant flying fox zip lines and then wine and dine on some of the local flavours that make Waiheke the Crown Jewel of the Hauraki.
- Stony Batter Historic Reserve – With unusual rocky outcrops and extensive tunnels and gun emplacements dating back to WWII, this 1.5 hour walk is a great way to burn off lunch.
For the Love of Food:
- Casita Miro – Spanish Cuisine in a New Zealand environment, it is a beautiful experience paired with amazing food. Be prepared to share though and make a booking in advance.
- Little Oneroa Beach Takeaway – For a more casual dining experience, grab some fresh fish and chips and head to the beach. Take your shoes off and feel the golden sand in your toes while you chow down on some deep-fried goodies. Kiwi style bro.
Road Trip Highlights: Hamilton Gardens, Glow Worm Caves, Arapuni Suspension Bridge, Lake Rotorua
Hamilton: Land locked in the northern section of the North Island, Hamilton enjoys the warm climate of the area and the occasional rain fall that keeps the grass green. Hamilton also boasts the internationally acclaimed Hamilton Gardens, which takes visitors on a walk-through time as you immerse yourself in Garden styles dating back to ancient Egypt and China through to the modern-day gardens. On top of this, Hamilton has a plethora of food options to draw you in.
Waitomo Caves: Delve into the airy glamour of the Limestone caves, aptly named wai (water) and tomo (hole or shaft) by the locals. Across this region are shafts that drop into underground cave systems and streams. The Glow Worms that inhabit these caves will cause you to awe in wonder as soon as the lights go out, and these little fellas are used to it with over 100 years of experience captivating visitors.
- Glow Worms Cave Tour - Take a gentle 30-minute stroll into the caverns below that have been carved out over millions of years as you learn about the history and mother nature’s slow but beautiful process, followed by a 15-minute boat ride as the Glow Worms turn a dark cavern roof into a picture of wonder.
- Arapuni Suspension Bridge – Situated on above the mighty Waikato River, the bridge spans 152 meters over the silent but turbulent waters below. As it sits on the back-country road from Waitomo to Rotorua, after letting the rolling green hills sweep by out the window, it is a great place to break up the trip and stretch the legs.
Let the sulphur rich air fill your lungs as you explore the tourism capital of the North Island. Rotorua has built itself on its ability to provide the most authentic Maori cultural performances available to visitors and Geothermal displays second to none. With the geothermal wonderland at their feet, Maori used the sacred waters for healing purposes after hard skirmishes with neighbouring tribes in the past, and today they use them to share their culture with the world.
- White Island Volcanic Helicopters - Walk to the edge of an active crater lake, over hot streams, past steaming volcanic vents and colourful sulphur formations, before viewing this privately owned volcano’s long abandoned mining ruins. This somewhat lunar experience on New Zealand’s only permanently active offshore volcano is breathtaking and when combined with helicopter flights above our lakes district and the Bay of Plenty is a unique and surreal lifetime experience.
- Skyline Gondola Ride and Buffet Dinner - Conveniently located just minutes from Rotorua's City centre, on the side of Mount Ngongotaha, Skyline Skyrides can carry you to 487 metres above sea level to a fun park environment. Providing panoramic views of Rotorua City, Lake Rotorua and the surrounding area, Skyline Skyrides is an all weather attraction, and is open every day of the year.
- Te Puia Maori Experience - Te Heketanga ā Rangi (heavenly origins) - Your tour begins at the main entrance, where twelve monumental carvings reach skywards, representing twelve celestial guardians. Discover stories of our ancestors' arrival and settlement in Rotorua at the world class exhibition gallery at Te Puia.
- Wai-O-Tapu - A Wonderland of stunning geothermal activity. Visitors can walk at their own pace and absorb the unique features including the world famous champagne pool, geysers, bubbling mud, steaming ground, expansive vistas, huge volcanic craters and sinter terrace formations. The natural bush setting adds another dimension to the experience as does the guaranteed daily eruption of the Lady Knox Geyser at 10.15am
- Hobbiton - Experience the real Middle-Earth with a visit to the Hobbiton™ Movie Set, the bucolic setting for The Shire™ that featured in the Peter Jackson directed films, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.
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