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Family Fun North Island Tour

6 nights, Auckland to Auckland

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.

Tour map

Included in this New Zealand self drive holiday

The Auckland City Skyline in the day
A hobbits house with a blue door in the Hobbiton Movie Set
A view of the redwoods forest in Rotorua
a Geothermal pool in Rotorua with steam rising off
Tour map
 

Day 1 - Welcome to Auckland the 'City of Sails'

Welcome to Auckland City

Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City
Welcome to Auckland City

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 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.

Personal meet and greet, and private transfer to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. The pack contains everything you need for the duration of your stay. It will include a comprehensive, printed and bound version of your itinerary as well as clear driving instructions and maps for each leg of your journey. It also contains all the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - along with relevant brochures and information. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support - details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.

Accommodation: Waldorf Stadium Apartments

Accommodation type: Apartments

Accommodation: Waldorf Stadium Apartments
Accommodation: Waldorf Stadium Apartments
Accommodation: Waldorf Stadium Apartments
Accommodation: Waldorf Stadium Apartments

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: offsite paid parking NZ$20-NZ$30 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: In room
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
  • Apartments serviced weekly

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Day 2 - Collect your car this morning, then travel through to the idyllic beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula

Driving distance and time: 204 kms / 127 miles : 3.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Collect your rental car

Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. Insurance is included with a small excess or deductible. All airport fees, additional driver fees and unlimited kilometres are also included. To help you navigate your way around New Zealand all rentals also come with GPS. Our range included small compact cars to mid-size saloons to large 4WD and people movers.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Auckland to Coromandel Township

Auckland to Coromandel Township
Auckland to Coromandel Township
Auckland to Coromandel Township
Auckland to Coromandel Township

As you leave the Auckland city boundary the landscape changes to lush farmland. You'll cross the fertile Hauraki Plains - one of New Zealand's largest dairy producing regions. Pass the Thames Estuary - a haven for wildlife and shore birds. Arriving into the old gold mining town of Thames, there are two different routes to the east coast of the Coromandel. Either directly over the Coromandel Ranges or north to Coromandel Township along the Pohutukawa Coast (part of the Pacific Coast Highway).

Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour

Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour
Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour
Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour
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

Coromandel Township to Whitianga
Coromandel Township to Whitianga
Coromandel Township to Whitianga
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.

Accommodation: Oceans Resort

Accommodation type: Apartments

Accommodation: Oceans Resort
Accommodation: Oceans Resort
Accommodation: Oceans Resort
Accommodation: Oceans Resort

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Laundry facilities: In room
  • Swimming pool
  • Childrens playground
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 3 - Head south along the Bay of Plenty before turning inland towards the Maori culture and lakes of Rotorua

Driving distance and time: 220 kms / 137 miles : 3.4 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Whitianga to Rotorua via Tauranga

Whitianga to Rotorua via Tauranga
Whitianga to Rotorua via Tauranga
Whitianga to Rotorua via Tauranga
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 into Rotorua from the north you are welcomed by the spectacular view of the lake.

Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga - suggested

Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga
Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga
Coves, Caves and Coastline Cruise from Whitianga
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 - dont forget your swimsuit and towel). For those who prefer to stay dry an underwater camera relays images to an onboard TV.

Accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central

Accommodation type: Apartments

Accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central
Accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central
Accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central
Accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$10-NZ$15 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: In room
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 4 - Enjoy a close up encounter with New Zealand farm animals and native wildlife including the rare Kiwi bird

Explore Rotorua

Explore Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Explore Rotorua
Explore Rotorua

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. But geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to the Mitai Maori Village should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.
Live on the edge when you hop aboard a helicopter bound for White Island, New Zealand’s most active volcano. Spike your adrenaline at Agroventures on stomach-dropping attractions such as static skydiving, or a giant swing reaching 130 km per hour. Go up the 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

Agrodome Farm Show and Farm Tour Combo
Agrodome Farm Show and Farm Tour Combo
Agrodome Farm Show and Farm Tour Combo
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.

Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter

Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter
Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter
Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter
Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter

At Rainbow Springs you'll have the chance to see some of New Zealand's native flora and fauna within the majestic forests of Rotorua. Wander the beautiful tree-lined park and take in the flourishing bush, ferns, flowers and plants. Come face to face with, and learn more about, New Zealand’s precious wildlife. See the spring-fed pool with rainbow, brown and tiger trout, then visit the on-site aviaries - home to New Zealand species such kea, kaka, tui, kereru and kiwi. The tuatara, known as New Zealand's living dinosaur can also be seen here.
Go behind the scenes with New Zealand's national animal at the purpose built Kiwi Conservation Centre - created solely to try and stop the extinction of this unique species. Here you will gain first hand insight into the conservation efforts being made to increase the numbers of kiwi eggs being hatched and returned to the wild.

Te Puia - Te Rā Daytime Experience - suggested

Te Puia - Te Rā Daytime Experience
Te Puia - Te Rā Daytime Experience
Te Puia - Te Rā Daytime Experience
Te Puia - Te Rā Daytime Experience

Only a short hop from the Rotorua township you'll find Te Puia, known as New Zealand's living Māori cultural experience. Sprawling across 60 hectares of volcanic land, it's home to the world-renowned Pohutu Geyser, a live kiwi enclosure and more than 500 geothermal wonders. Shrouded in a continuous haze of steam, Te Puia has a dramatic and ethereal air.
As you're guided along the wooden walkways, thermal springs and boiling mud pools surround you on either side, while native ferns and flax can be seen in the forest ahead. Te Puia takes pride in keeping Māori traditions and craft alive and it is home to the New Zealand National Carving and Weaving Schools. You'll have the chance to watch these unique craftspeople working as they share their skills with the next generation.

Accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central

Accommodation type: Apartments

Accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central
Accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central
Accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central
Accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central

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Day 5 - It's a short drive along the Geothermal Highway to the great Lake Taupo

Driving distance and time: 75 kms / 47 miles : 0.8 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Rotorua to Taupo

Rotorua to Taupo
Rotorua to Taupo
Rotorua to Taupo
Rotorua to Taupo

Your drive today takes you through the Central North Island volcanic plateau. See thermal hotspots Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Waimangu Volcanic Valley before arriving into the town of Taupo Just north are the Huka Falls and a short detour to view is highly recommended. Go close to the spray with a thrilling jet boat ride or see the nearby Craters of the Moon geothermal reserve with its boiling pools and steaming vents.

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland - suggested

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

This thermal area around 30 kilometres south of Rotorua has many walking tracks to take you through this strange landscape. Bubbling mud pools, simmering waters rising from the depths and colourful sulphurous pools make this a fascinating insight into the geothermal activity that goes on below Rotorua's surface. Lady Knox Geyser can be seen erupting at 10:15am daily, shooting water up to 10 metres into the air. There are 3 well signposted walking tracks and an informative brochure tells you about each feature. A gift shop and cafe are also on site.

Taupo

Taupo
Taupo
Taupo
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. 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.

Hukafalls Jet Boat Ride

Hukafalls Jet Boat Ride
Hukafalls Jet Boat Ride
Hukafalls Jet Boat Ride
Hukafalls 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.

Maori Rock Carving Cruise - suggested

Maori Rock Carving Cruise
Maori Rock Carving Cruise
Maori Rock Carving Cruise
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.

Accommodation: Beechtree Motel

Accommodation type: Motels - premium

Accommodation: Beechtree Motel
Accommodation: Beechtree Motel
Accommodation: Beechtree Motel
Accommodation: Beechtree Motel

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • Childrens playground
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 6 - Journey north through rolling Waikato countryside to the magical Hobbiton Village, then return to Auckland

Driving distance and time: 287 kms / 178 miles : 3.4 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Taupo to Matamata

Taupo to Matamata
Taupo to Matamata
Taupo to Matamata
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

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Today visit the actual Hobbiton movie set from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. In the heart of the Waikato farming region, take a two hour tour through Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill and The Party Tree - all the while hearing behind-the-scenes tales and learning about the making of the films. You'll also have the opportunity to tour a picturesque sheep farm for an insight into New Zealand's most notorious animal resident. 

Matamata to Auckland

Matamata to Auckland
Matamata to Auckland
Matamata to Auckland
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

Accommodation: Waldorf Stadium Apartments

Accommodation type: Apartments

Accommodation: Waldorf Stadium Apartments
Accommodation: Waldorf Stadium Apartments
Accommodation: Waldorf Stadium Apartments
Accommodation: Waldorf Stadium Apartments

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

Driving distance and time: 25 kms / 16 miles : 0.4 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Depart Auckland today

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

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