New Zealand's North Island in Classic Style

Auckland, Bay of Islands & Northland, Coromandel & Waikato, Hawkes Bay

Duration: 14 nights

Price: From £5,200 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, private transfers, car hire and taxes

We’ve handpicked the very best of the North Island for a memorable luxury self-drive holiday in New Zealand, featuring plenty of variety – there’s simply everything here, from exciting waterfront cities to historic gems and natural wonders such as beautiful islands, ancient forests, gushing geysers and bubbling mud pools.
Perfect forThose who want to explore the highlights of the North Island in the best possible style, with the flexibility of a self-drive tour.
In the knowExtending your stay in the North Island to visit New Zealand’s vibrant capital, Wellington, or the beautiful Lake Taupo, which sits in the heart of the North Island. Or why not hop across to the South Island to experience more spectacular scenery, including pristine glaciers?

Best for

  • Couples
  • Landscapes & Scenery
  • Beach
  • First-timers

All Exsus Travel holidays are tailor-made

All itineraries on our website are designed as a starting point. Tell us your budget/wishlist/preferred length of stay and we'll help you select the best hotels and experiences, so your holiday is totally personalised.

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Itinerary details


2 nightsAUCKLAND

Your classic New Zealand adventure begins in Auckland, where you’ll find world-class galleries and restaurants, chic boutiques and a pretty waterfront, where you’ll see why Auckland is called the ‘City of Sails’. Take a ferry to the Rangitoto volcano or the arty enclave of Waiheke Island, which is also home to boutique wineries and beautiful beaches.   Your hotel is the stylish Sofitel, a luxurious retreat overlooking Waitemata Harbour. Head to the Viaduct for a glass of wine or a gourmet meal as you take in the views.
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3 nightsHAWKE’S BAY

Your next stop is the beautiful wine region of Hawke’s Bay – a perfect spot to sample some award-winning local vintages – and with three nights here, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy them! This is one of New Zealand’s top wine producing regions, and has some of the oldest vineyards in the country. As well as wine, this is also a fantastic spot for food, and many of the vineyards have some excellent restaurants too – we love Black Barn Vineyards. Tantalise your tastebuds further at the farmer’s markets, and work all that food and wine off with a scenic trek or some horse riding along the beach. Your base here is the regal McHardy Lodge on Napier Hill, which offers lovely views over the mountains and the Pacific Ocean. This is also a perfect base for exploring the beautiful Art Deco architecture of Napier.
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Rotorua, New Zealand

2 nightsROTORUA

You’ll smell Rotorua before you get there – but don’t worry, you won’t notice the eggy smell after a while. This unique city sits on a geothermal hotspot, and is home to giant geysers and pools of bubbling mud that will make you feel like you’ve been dropped into an alien landscape. Around Rotorua, you’ll find several stunning lakes, and adrenaline addicts will enjoy the luge or a skydive. The city also has a thriving Maori culture – visit a Marae (a distinctively-decorated meeting house), watch a performance of the traditional haka, made famous by the All Blacks, and enjoy a hangi, where food is cooked on hot stones in a pit oven beneath the ground, giving it deep, aromatic flavours.  Stay at the boutique Hamurana Lodge just outside the city centre, and after a day’s sightseeing, relax in the idyllic Hamurana Springs nearby, where you can also enjoy a gentle walk around the towering Redwood trees.
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Takatu Lodge - Matakana

2 nightsMATAKANA

You have a chance to imbibe some more local wines (it would be rude not to) in the wine country of Matakana, which has white-sand beaches, scenic walking trails, and a vibrant arts and crafts scene, as well as tempting boutique wineries. Matakana is also known for its food – visit the popular farmers’ markets and boutique food shops, whose tempting displays are guaranteed to leave your delicious. Your hotel, Takatu Lodge, sits on the edge of the Takatu Peninsula, looking out to the sea, and has its own vineyard (of course) – enjoy a private tour!
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2 nightsWAIPOUA

Today, drive on to Waipoua. Waipoua Forest is a bit of a hidden gem, offering beautiful hikes and cycle rides amongst rivers, waterfalls and ancient trees, where you can listen to the songs of rare birds. It is home to Tane Mahuta (Lord of the Forest), the world’s largest Kauri tree, and Te Matua Ngahere (Father of the Forest), the oldest - thought to be around 3,500 years old.  Waipoua Lodge sits on a ridge overlooking the forest, and is an elegant homestead surrounded by 3,000-year-old Kauri trees. Bushwalks start from the end of the pretty gardens, or hop in your car for a scenic drive along New Zealand’s longest drivable beach!
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The Bay of Islands, with its history, culture and natural gems such as sweeping sandy beaches and colourful wildlife, is a must-see on a visit to the North Island. The options are endless here, from swimming, snorkelling, diving and sailing around the pretty Te Ngaere Bay to walks along the peninsula and leisurely picnics on the beach. Visit the historic and charming town of Kerikeri, where you can take a steamboat ride or hike to Rainbow Falls, while those with a sweet tooth will love the chocolate factory. We also recommend a visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document, was signed by the British Crown and Maori chiefs in 1840. See the Treaty House, the elaborate carvings of the Marae and the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe, and find out more in the fascinating museum.  Your hotel, Huntaway Lodge, offers stylish accommodation and panoramic Bay of Islands views, including golden beaches, rocky promontories and the pristine Pacific Ocean.  
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Best time to go

Best time to travel

Good time to travel (but some limitations)

Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

  • Jan
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  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
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