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The Winterless North

5 nights, Auckland to Auckland

The Winterless North

Explore the tropical Bay of Islands, the magnificent giant Kauri trees of the Waipoua Forest and the boutique wine region of Matakana, the winterless north is the perfect year round destination. Along the way you'll stay at charming boutique lodges where you can relax in style after each day's adventure.

Tour map

Included in this New Zealand self drive holiday

  • This New Zealand holiday starts at price per person (see details)
  • 6 days / 5 nights from Auckland to Auckland
  • Accommodation is Boutique lodges & hotels (can be customised)
  • A superb range of rental cars to choose from
  • Rental car insurance with full coverage (variable excess/deductible)
  • Unlimited kilometres, GPS navigation, airport and ferry fees
  • Comprehensive tour pack on arrival
  • Can be fully customised to suit you
  • All breakfasts
  • Private airport transfers
Auckland harbour with Rangitoto Island in the background
Golden sand beaches, Northland, New Zealand
Waipoua Luxury Lodge, New Zealand
Dolphins jumping in the ocean near Bay of Islands
Tour map
 

Day 1 - Welcome to Auckland City

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.

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.

Harbour Sailing Cruise including Lunch with Explore - suggested

Harbour Sailing Cruise including Lunch with Explore
Harbour Sailing Cruise including Lunch with Explore
Harbour Sailing Cruise including Lunch with Explore
Harbour Sailing Cruise including Lunch with Explore

Enjoy the City of Sails from the water on a relaxed harbour sailing yacht. This cruise offers a uniquely local experience experiencing the harbour under sail with a small vessel with an intimate and engaging atmosphere. View the stunning city sights while sailing on the inner Waitemata Harbour. Sail where the wind takes us while enjoying Auckland's city highlights; including sailing under the Harbour Bridge and other well-known landmarks along the harbour's edge. The crew's local knowledge will give you the best harbour sailing experience Auckland has to offer. Become the crew and help participate with the sailing experience take the helm while you carve through the water, or if you prefer just sit back and relax above deck.

Accommodation: Great Ponsonby Art Hotel B&B

Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels

Accommodation: Great Ponsonby Art Hotel B&B
Accommodation: Great Ponsonby Art Hotel B&B
Accommodation: Great Ponsonby Art Hotel B&B
Accommodation: Great Ponsonby Art Hotel B&B

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Bar on site
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 2 - Leave Auckland over the harbour bridge, then travel north to the sub-tropical Bay of Islands

Driving distance and time: 230 kms / 143 miles : 3.3 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 Russell, Bay of Islands

Auckland to Russell, Bay of Islands
Auckland to Russell, Bay of Islands
Auckland to Russell, Bay of Islands
Auckland to Russell, Bay of Islands

The drive from Auckland to the Bay of Islands normally takes around three and a half hours - but plan to take a little longer for there are many things to see along the way. Stretch your legs in Puhoi, New Zealand's only Bohemian settlement. Go through Warkworth, and Whangarei and see the world famous hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa. Arriving into Russell via the Opua Ferry, you'll be greeted by lush bush-clad hillsides dropping to golden sandy beaches

Accommodation: Arcadia Lodge, Russell

Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Arcadia Lodge, Russell
Accommodation: Arcadia Lodge, Russell
Accommodation: Arcadia Lodge, Russell
Accommodation: Arcadia Lodge, Russell

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 3 - Discover the history of Waitangi or take a cruise through the island studded bay

Explore the Bay of Islands

Explore the Bay of Islands
Explore the Bay of Islands
Explore the Bay of Islands
Explore the Bay of Islands

Made up of over 140 subtropical atolls, New Zealand's Bay of Islands is commonly known as the ‘winterless north.’ Renowned for its untouched beaches, abundant marine life and idyllic climate this tropical paradise is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Spend some time on a remote stretch of beach, or cool off during a ‘swim with dolphins’ ocean safari. If diving is your thing, take the morning to descend the Rainbow Warrior - The Greenpeace flagship sunk by French saboteurs in 1985. Wander around Russell, a whaling port founded in 1843. Learn about our culture in historic Waitangi, the site where The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the Maori and European settlers dictating the terms by which New Zealand would become a British colony. Before you leave take a travel day to Cape Reinga the very top of the North Island.

Dolphin Cruise to Hole in the Rock with GreatSights - suggested

Dolphin Cruise to Hole in the Rock with GreatSights
Dolphin Cruise to Hole in the Rock with GreatSights
Dolphin Cruise to Hole in the Rock with GreatSights
Dolphin Cruise to Hole in the Rock with GreatSights

Take a glimpse into New Zealand's earliest European history as your luxury catamaran passes by the township of Russell (Kororareka) and many of the historic and culturally significant islands in the Bay, before heading out into open sea. Enjoy the views as you cruise past the Cape Brett Lighthouse, before arriving at the stunning Motukokako Island, home of the majestic Hole in the Rock. As we venture into the dramatic Hole in the Rock (conditions permitting) hold your breath as the skipper navigates through the narrow space and admire the rock walls which soar above you. Watch out for water drops if you are seated on the top deck! Take in the Grand Cathedral Cave before heading back into the sheltered waters of the Bay. Keep an eye out for bottlenose and common dolphins along the way.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds Guided Tour and Cultural Performance - suggested

Waitangi Treaty Grounds Guided Tour and Cultural Performance
Waitangi Treaty Grounds Guided Tour and Cultural Performance
Waitangi Treaty Grounds Guided Tour and Cultural Performance
Waitangi Treaty Grounds Guided Tour and Cultural Performance

Waitangi is one of New Zealand's most historic sites where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the local Maori and the British Government. This two day pass allows you access to the Treaty of Waitangi Grounds and includes admission to the Museum of Waitangi, a guided tour and a Maori Cultural performance. During your guided tour, you'll learn about the history of the treaty and discover the stories and events that shaped New Zealand. The cultural performance inside the carved meeting house includes waiata (singing), poi, a display of Maori weaponry and the haka - a war dance New Zealand is known for.

Accommodation: Arcadia Lodge, Russell

Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Arcadia Lodge, Russell
Accommodation: Arcadia Lodge, Russell
Accommodation: Arcadia Lodge, Russell
Accommodation: Arcadia Lodge, Russell

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Day 4 - Cross Northland following the aqua blue waters of the Hokianga

Driving distance and time: 84 kms / 52 miles : 1.1 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.

Bay of Islands to Hokianga

Bay of Islands to Hokianga
Bay of Islands to Hokianga
Bay of Islands to Hokianga
Bay of Islands to Hokianga

Heading west from the Bay of Islands you leave the Pacific Ocean and travel through the quirky township of Kawakawa, home of the funky Hundertwasser public toilets. Continue through rural Northland and you soon arrive into the Hokianga and the wilder seas of the Tasman. The small townships of Omapere and Opononi have a great seaside feel and the perfect place to stop for an ice cream.

Twilight encounter - suggested

Twilight encounter
Twilight encounter
Twilight encounter
Twilight encounter

Experience the Waipoua Forest at night on this spectacular 4 hour tour. Learn about the rich birdlife and fauna that inhabit the forest, including the carnivorous kauri snail. You'll also get to experience the deep spiritual respect the Maori people have for this place. Your Maori guide will brief you on the protocols for your visit and you once formal greetings have been made you will be allowed to meet the giant Tane Mahuta, or Lord of the Forest - the oldest Kauri tree in the world.

Accommodation: The Heads Luxury Villas

Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: The Heads Luxury Villas
Accommodation: The Heads Luxury Villas
Accommodation: The Heads Luxury Villas
Accommodation: The Heads Luxury Villas

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Swimming pool
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 5 - Cross country along the Kaipara Harbour to the east coast

Driving distance and time: 192 kms / 119 miles : 2.8 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.

Hokianga to Mangawhai

Hokianga to Mangawhai
Hokianga to Mangawhai
Hokianga to Mangawhai
Hokianga to Mangawhai

Leaving the Hokianga Harbour, journey South through rolling farmland and towering native forest before arriving at your seaside destination Mangawhai, home to beautiful beaches, vineyards and olive groves.

Accommodation: Mangawhai Lodge Bed and Breakfast

Accommodation type: Bed & breakfast (B&B)

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Mangawhai Lodge Bed and Breakfast
Accommodation: Mangawhai Lodge Bed and Breakfast
Accommodation: Mangawhai Lodge Bed and Breakfast
Accommodation: Mangawhai Lodge Bed and Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 10-15 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 6 - Travel south to Auckland Airport for your onward journey

Driving distance and time: 122 kms / 76 miles : 1.7 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.

Mangawhai to Auckland Airport

Mangawhai to Auckland Airport
Mangawhai to Auckland Airport
Mangawhai to Auckland Airport
Mangawhai to Auckland Airport

Leaving the idyllic Mangawhai region, head south on State Highway one towards Auckland ‘City of Sails.’ The route takes you through the farming regions of Wellsford and Warkworth where - if time allows - a side trip to Matakana or the Tawharanui Peninsula is well worth the effort. Pass through the suburbs of the North Shore before crossing the harbour bridge into the heart of Auckland City and on to the Auckland Airport.

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