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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.

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
  • 1 dinner
  • 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
 

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 with lunch - suggested

Harbour Sailing Cruise with lunch
Harbour Sailing Cruise with lunch
Harbour Sailing Cruise with lunch
Harbour Sailing Cruise with lunch

The Pride of Auckland Company operates its fleet of large purpose-built sailboats on the sheltered waters of the Waitemata Harbour. Enjoy the view from the deck of a 50ft sailing monohull yacht. Take in the Auckland landscape as you enjoy your picnic lunch and see the harbour bridge from below as you try your hand steering the helm. Relax and settle in for unforgettable 90 minute experience.

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: 2:30 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.

Hole in the Rock Cruise - suggested

Hole in the Rock Cruise
Hole in the Rock Cruise
Hole in the Rock Cruise
Hole in the Rock Cruise

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. Enjoy a visit to one of the most beautiful islands in the Bay. Here you can enjoy one of the many walks or unwind on the white sandy beach.

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 before travelling down the Kauri Coast

Driving distance and time: 116 kms / 72 miles : 1.6 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 Waipoua Forest

Bay of Islands to Waipoua Forest
Bay of Islands to Waipoua Forest
Bay of Islands to Waipoua Forest
Bay of Islands to Waipoua Forest

Heading west from the Bay of Islands you leave the Pacific Ocean and soon and 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. The route now heads south and into the Waipoua Forest, home to the massive Kauri trees. Make sure you allow time to take one of the short walks that are signposted as you pass through the forest. Not to be missed is the 5 minute loop to view the largest of all the trees Tane Mahuta. 

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: Waipoua Lodge

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Waipoua Lodge
Accommodation: Waipoua Lodge
Accommodation: Waipoua Lodge
Accommodation: Waipoua Lodge

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Includes dinner
  • All rooms non smoking

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

Driving distance and time: 132 kms / 82 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.

Waipoua to Mangawhai

Waipoua to Mangawhai
Waipoua to Mangawhai
Waipoua to Mangawhai
Waipoua to Mangawhai

Continue down the Kauri Coast and across country towards the Matakohe Kauri Museum. This award winning museum has extensive displays of the regions logging, farming and social history.  As you leave the Kaipara Harbour behind you'll head east to the 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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