8 day Upper North Island Adventure
Independent tour (bus & coach) from Auckland to Auckland
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information
Thrifty Tours

8 day Upper North Island Adventure

This 8 day tour is great for people who wish to experience as much as they can in the upper North Island. Learn about New Zealand's history, cruise around the Bay of Islands, travel to Rotorua via Hobbiton village and experience New Zealand's geothermal capital before returning to Auckland via Waitomo Caves.

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Tour summary and feature

Independent tour (bus & coach)

This suggested tour costs from NZD$3,425 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Auckland

8 days/7 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 110 times in the last 7 days

Tour at a glance

Day 1: Arrive into Auckland today and transfer to your accommodation. Accommodation: Heritage Hotel Auckland

Day 2: Auckland to Paihia inc Waitangi and Russell. Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

Day 3: Travel to the top of New Zealand, Cape Reinga. Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

Day 4: Cruise the Bay of Islands, then return to Auckland. Accommodation: Heritage Hotel Auckland

Day 5: Auckland to Rotorua including Hobbiton Village and this evening a Maori cultural dinner at Tamaki. Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Day 6: This morning enjoy a scenic flight over a land shaped by volcanic activity. Accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Day 7: Rotorua to Auckland via Waitomo Caves. Accommodation: Heritage Hotel Auckland

Day 8: Depart Auckland today - Transfer to the airport.

Tour full itinerary

Detailed itinerary: 8 day tour starting in Auckland

Day 1 - Arrive into Auckland today and transfer to your accommodation
8 day Upper North Island Adventure - Day 1
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Private Transfer Auckland Airport to Auckland Accommodation

You will be met at the Auckland airport by the driver and transferred to your Auckland accommodation.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Harbour Dinner Cruise with Explore

This unique on-water dining experience is not to be missed while you're in Auckland. Enjoy smooth sailing on the Waitemata Harbour - then watch this p...

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This unique on-water dining experience is not to be missed while you're in Auckland. Enjoy smooth sailing on the Waitemata Harbour - then watch this photogenic city come alive with twinkling lights. Enjoy your meal as you sail around the beautiful Auckland Harbour taking in the view as the sun slowly sets. You'll be treated to canapes and a drink as you set off towards Westhaven Marina. Choose between dining in the downstairs cabin or on deck to take in the iconic sights of the Auckland Harbour. To finish the evening off, savour your dessert course as you leisurely sail back to Auckland's vibrant Viaduct Harbour.

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Your accommodation: Heritage Hotel Auckland

The Heritage Auckland Hotel commands an elevated position in the centre of the city. With two distinctive accommodation wings - The Hotel reflects the traditional style of the building's famous past, while The Tower is a contemporary design.
Day 2 - Auckland to Paihia inc Waitangi and Russell
8 day Upper North Island Adventure - Day 2
Auckland to Paihia including Waitangi and Russell with GreatSights (Includes Lunch)

Starting in Auckland early, travel north to the Bay of Islands. After arriving in Paihia, visit neighbouring Waitangi for a guided tour of the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Explore the original Treaty House, one of New Zealand's oldest and most visited historic homes and the Te Whare Runanga, a fully carved Māori meeting house, which is representative of all iwi in New Zealand. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds offer a truly unique insight into New Zealand's early history.
After returning to Paihia, take a short ferry ride across the harbour to Russell. From here you will enjoy the Russell Mini Tour by coach. Learn about the features that make Russell so significant in New Zealand's history, and visits areas which cannot be easily covered on foot, like Flagstaff Hill (Te Maiki), which offers stunning 360-degree views of the whole Bay of Islands. After your tour ends you'll have time to wander the township before returning to Paihia. This tour includes a delicious picnic lunch pack.

Your accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

The Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia is located on the waterfront only 100 metres from Paihia wharf and township. All rooms are air-conditioned and hotel facilities include restaurant, swimming pool, spa pool and sauna.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3 - Travel to the top of New Zealand, Cape Reinga
8 day Upper North Island Adventure - Day 3
Cape Reinga & Ninety Mile Beach plus lunch with Fullers GreatSights

Journey to the very tip of the North Island and uncover a region of rich Māori tradition along the way on an unforgettable full-day tour. Travel along the sand-swept shore of Ninety Mile Beach in our purpose-built coach. Climb the massive sand dunes at Te Paki Stream and experience the thrill of sand-boarding. In Māori tradition, Cape Reinga or Te Rerenga Wairua is the place where spirits depart on their long journey back to the homeland. Stand at the northernmost point of New Zealand and drink in the panoramic views. As you stand beneath the iconic lighthouse, and watch the Tasman Sea and the mighty Pacific Ocean collide far below, you'll feel the power of this special place. Throughout the day your local driver guide will provide an entertaining and thought-provoking insight into the culture, history and natural wonders of the Far North. Your tour also includes a delicious locally prepared lunch to keep you fuelled throughout the day.

Your accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

The Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia is located on the waterfront only 100 metres from Paihia wharf and township. All rooms are air-conditioned and hotel facilities include restaurant, swimming pool, spa pool and sauna.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4 - Cruise the Bay of Islands, then return to Auckland
8 day Upper North Island Adventure - Day 4
Hole in the Rock Cruise with Fullers GreatSights

Board your cruise and take in the stunning views as you glide out through the islands and along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse keeps watch over and Piercy Island/Motukōkako, or as it is popularly known the ‘Hole in the Rock’. According to Māori legend, local warriors used to paddle through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof above were a good omen. If conditions permit, your skipper will expertly guide the ship through the narrow space. Keep an eye out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales and other marine life during your cruise, and have your camera ready as you get up close to the action. The purpose-built catamaran is licensed by DOC (the Department of Conservation) for dolphin viewing and the crew have years of experience locating dolphins in these waters. Dolphin Seeker has indoor and outdoor seating available, and the largest outdoor viewing decks in the Bay of Islands.

Paihia to Auckland by InterCity Coach

Leaving the magical Bay of Islands behind you head south on State Highway 1 back towards Auckland, the city of sails, the route takes you through Kawakawa, affectionately known as 'train town'. The farming regions of Wellsford and Warkworth accompany you the rest of the journey before passing through the suburbs of the North Shore and crossing the harbour bridge and into the heart of Auckland City.

Your accommodation: Heritage Hotel Auckland

The Heritage Auckland Hotel commands an elevated position in the centre of the city. With two distinctive accommodation wings - The Hotel reflects the traditional style of the building's famous past, while The Tower is a contemporary design.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5 - Auckland to Rotorua including Hobbiton Village and this evening a Maori cultural dinner at Tamaki
8 day Upper North Island Adventure - Day 5
Auckland to Rotorua via Hobbiton Movie Set

Departing from Auckland city, this is a wonderful way to get to Rotorua and include a magical journey through Middle-earth to the Hobbiton Movie Set from "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" films. Travel south from Auckland over the Bombay Hills to the rich farmland of the Waikato region. Journey through the heritage town of Cambridge where tree-lined streets add to the English-style atmosphere. On arrival at Shire's Rest you embark on your Hobbiton movie set tour where you will see 44 hobbit holes, the Mill and double arch bridge, the party tree and visit the Green Dragon Inn (where a complimentary beer, cider or ginger ale is included). At this stunning location you can take a photo at the door of Bilbo's house, Bag End, looking out over the whole of Hobbiton to the hills in the distance. At the end of your Hobbiton movie set tour you will travel on to Rotorua.

Te Pā Tū Evening Maori Cultural Experience

New Zealand’s Most Awarded Cultural Attraction, Tamaki Māori Village presents TE PĀ TŪ. Feast on song, drama, tradition, and divine seasonal kai (cuisine) within the forest Pā (village) –blanketed by towering Tawa trees, blazing bonfires, and a forest-formed amphitheatre. Te Pā Tū shares Māori history, traditions, and cultural aspirations across 4-hours of celebration and feasting. These events change with each season of the maramataka, the Māori lunar calendar. 

Your accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua boasts a location that is second-to-none, right on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotorua. Adjacent to the world-famous Polynesian Spa complex and just a short stroll to all the attractions in Rotorua.

Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

Day 6 - This morning enjoy a scenic flight over a land shaped by volcanic activity
8 day Upper North Island Adventure - Day 6
Explore Rotorua

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. Geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to one of the Maori Villages should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.
Spike your adrenaline at Velocity Valley Adventure Park on stomach-dropping attractions such as static skydiving, or a giant swing reaching 130 km per hour. Alternatively, head up the Rotorua 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.

Volcanic Air Safaris Mt. Tarawera & Waimangu Thermal Valley Scenic Flight by Floatplane

Fly over the site of the largest eruption in New Zealand’s living memory, Mount Tarawera, and gain an appreciation of how the 1886 eruption changed this stunning landscape. From Mount Tarawera to the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, view the eruption trail and surrounding Lakes district whilst enjoying informed commentary from your experienced local pilot/guide, all combined with the thrill of taking off and landing on water at the Rotorua City Lakefront.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Polynesian Spa Deluxe Lake Spa

Rotorua's Polynesian Spa offers a unique thermal spa experience on the shore of Lake Rotorua. You'll enjoy tranquil bathing and lake views in four sha...

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Rotorua's Polynesian Spa offers a unique thermal spa experience on the shore of Lake Rotorua. You'll enjoy tranquil bathing and lake views in four shallow alkaline rock pools, each with different temperatures (36˚C to 42˚C). Here you are surrounded by revitalising native New Zealand flora, natural rocks, the sound of two waterfalls and a grotto. The pools are filled with soothing alkaline mineral water leaving your skin soft and supple. Relax in the outdoor relaxation area overlooking the four hot mineral pools and Lake Rotorua, here you can further unwind on the five geothermally heated recliners set in the stunning backdrop of New Zealand's lush and natural greenery. A large indoor relaxation lounge also overlooks Lake Rotorua, whereas a Lake Spa guest, you are welcome to move from the pools to the lounge once dried off and return to bathe in the Lake Spa pools as you wish. The Lake Spa is a unique thermal pool environment, where the atmosphere changes from day to night, and from winter steam to summer sparkle.

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Your accommodation: Sudima Lake Rotorua

Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua boasts a location that is second-to-none, right on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotorua. Adjacent to the world-famous Polynesian Spa complex and just a short stroll to all the attractions in Rotorua.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7 - Rotorua to Auckland via Waitomo Caves
8 day Upper North Island Adventure - Day 7
Rotorua to Auckland including Waitomo Caves with GreatSights (Includes Picnic Lunch)

Enjoy this tour from Rotorua to Auckland including a guided tour of the fascinating Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Leaving Rotorua in the morning you travel through lush farmland including the intriguing Fitzgerald Glade where the roadside trees arch overhead to form a tunnel of natural greenery. On arrival in the small town of Waitomo enjoy a guided tour through the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves with their amazing stalactites, stalagmites and other limestone formations. You finish the tour with a silent boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto - a subterranean cavern lit up by the lights of thousands of tiny glowworms. At the conclusion of the Glowworm Cave tour we take a break at the magnificent Waitomo Caves visitor complex and enjoy a delicious picnic lunch. You continue this afternoon by driving to Auckland, through the beautiful King Country and Waikato regions.

Your accommodation: Heritage Hotel Auckland

The Heritage Auckland Hotel commands an elevated position in the centre of the city. With two distinctive accommodation wings - The Hotel reflects the traditional style of the building's famous past, while The Tower is a contemporary design.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8 - Depart Auckland today - Transfer to the airport
8 day Upper North Island Adventure - Day 8
Private Transfer Auckland Accommodation to Auckland Airport

You will be met at your Auckland accommodation by the driver and transferred to the airport.

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Remember - we can create this itinerary with any style of accommodation or customise to suit your interests and timeframe. Just contact us here.

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May 29, 2022
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