Best of the North
Independent tour (bus & coach) from Auckland to Auckland
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information
Thrifty Tours

Best of the North

Explore the best of the North Island. Cruise the sheltered waters of the Bay of Islands, visit the top of the country at Cape Reinga, explore ancient limestone caves, discover a pre-European Maori Village and enjoy a drink at the Green Dragon Inn after your tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set.

Tour summary and feature

Independent tour (bus & coach)

This suggested tour costs from NZD$1,795 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Auckland

5 days/4 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 15 times in the last 7 days

Tour at a glance

At a glance - Best of the North

Day 1: Head north to Bay of Islands, Visit Waitangi and enjoy a cruise to the Hole in the Rock. Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands

Day 2: Visit the top of New Zealand on a Cape Reinga day tour. Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands

Day 3: Today return through Auckland and onto the city of Rotorua. Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Day 4: Travel to Waitomo Caves and then onto Rotorua, visit Tamaki Maori Village this evening. Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Day 5: Explore Rotorua's highlights then onto Hobbiton Movie set. After your LOTR experience return to Auckland City.

Tour full itinerary

Detailed itinerary: 5 day tour starting in Auckland

Day 1 - Head north to Bay of Islands, Visit Waitangi and enjoy a cruise to the Hole in the Rock

Best of the North - Day 1
Auckland to Paihia including Waitangi Tour and Hole in the Rock Cruise with GreatSights (Includes Lunch)

Starting in Auckland, travel north to the Bay of Islands. After arriving in Paihia, visit neighbouring Waitangi for a guided tour of the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds where in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Māori and the British Crown. 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, you'll board the Dolphin Seeker. Enjoy the large outdoor viewing decks and keep a look out for dolphins, whales and other marine life, and enjoy a tasty picnic lunch during your cruise. Cruise past the Cape Brett Lighthouse, before arriving at the majestic Hole in the Rock. Admire the rock walls towering above you as the skipper navigates right through the narrow space (conditions permitting) before heading back into the inner islands of the Bay.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands

Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands is located within the Waitangi Treaty grounds, surrounded by native bush and the beautiful Bay of Islands Harbour.

Day 2 - Visit the top of New Zealand on a Cape Reinga day tour

Best of the North - Day 2
Cape Reinga - Scenic Coach Tour via Ninety Mile Beach with Fullers GreatSights

As you travel north, enjoy a taste of New Zealand's varying and beautiful landscape: the rolling hills of Northland's rural countryside, breath-taking coastal views and native forest. Drive along the shores of Ninety Mile Beach as the waves crash beside the custom-built coach. Feel the sand between your toes as you help your driver guide dig for shellfish (conditions permitting). Your off-road journey continues up Te Paki Stream, stopping at the massive sand dunes where you can experience the thrills and spills of sand surfing. Visit the Puketi Kauri Forest and get up close to ancient and majestic giant kauri trees and native bush. Stroll along an elevated walkway as these graceful giants surround you, and learn about conservation efforts to preserve the forest today. Visit Cape Reinga and hear the stories of this significant site where, according to Māori legend, spirits depart on their journey home to Hawaiki. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views, visit the iconic lighthouse, and see the point where the Tasman Sea and the mighty Pacific Ocean come crashing together. During your Cape Reinga tour, you'll also experience another Kiwi icon: a lunch of delicious fish and chips at the historic Wagener Museum at Houhora. Your journey home will be equally enjoyable as your tour guide's combination of local insight, extensive historical knowledge and a fantastic sense of humour create an unforgettable adventure.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands

Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands is located within the Waitangi Treaty grounds, surrounded by native bush and the beautiful Bay of Islands Harbour.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Today return through Auckland and onto the city of Rotorua

Best of the North - Day 3
Paihia to Rotorua by Intercity Coach

Your journey will take you past scenic native forests and sub-tropical bush, before crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge to arrive into the spectacular city scene of Auckland. Continue south into the rich farmland of the Waikato and onto the cultural heart of the North Island and Rotorua City.

Rotorua Intercity Depot to Rotorua Accommodation

You will be collected from Intercity Depot and transferred to your accommodation.
Please note that this is a shared transfer, there may be 2-3 extra stops along the way.

Your accommodation: Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Millennium Hotel is Rotorua's largest 4-star deluxe hotel. Perfectly situated in the heart of the city overlooking Lake Rotorua. Five levels of accommodation offer guests a wide variety of scenic views.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4 - Travel to Waitomo Caves and then onto Rotorua, visit Tamaki Maori Village this evening

Best of the North - Day 4
Waitomo Glowworm Caves from Rotorua with GreatSights

Experience stunning scenery above and below ground on a sightseeing day tour from Rotorua to the fascinating Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Leaving Rotorua in the morning, travel through lush farmland, enjoying commentary from your local driver guide, who will point out sites of interest like Fitzgerald Glade, where trees have formed a tunnel of natural greenery arching over the road. On arrival in the small town of Waitomo in the King Country, take a 45-minute guided tour through the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, which were discovered in 1887 and are now one of New Zealand's most popular tourist attractions. See vaulted caverns, stalactites and stalagmites and hear how these limestone formations were created over millions of years. Your tour ends with a boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto, a subterranean cavern illuminated by the lights of thousands of tiny glowworms. After your Waitomo Caves tour retrace your steps and return to Rotorua, arriving in the early afternoon.

Tamaki Maori Village Cultural Tour and Hangi Dinner

Journey back in time to a Pre-European lifestyle experience of customs and traditions. Enjoy the night's festivities with the people of Tamaki Maori Village as you are treated to a banquet of succulent foods cooked the traditional Maori way. Rediscover the Maori village as it comes alive to the sound and activities of tribal songs, dances, myths and legends and browse throughout the largest after hour's tribal marketplace in Rotorua. Includes dinner.

Your accommodation: Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Millennium Hotel is Rotorua's largest 4-star deluxe hotel. Perfectly situated in the heart of the city overlooking Lake Rotorua. Five levels of accommodation offer guests a wide variety of scenic views.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5 - Explore Rotorua's highlights then onto Hobbiton Movie set. After your LOTR experience return to Auckland City

Best of the North - Day 5
Rotorua to Auckland including Rotorua Sights and Hobbiton Movie Set with GreatSights

Your full-day tour begins with a morning sightseeing tour around three of Rotorua's iconic visitor attractions. Visit the cultural centre at Te Puia and gain an insight into Māori traditions and ways of life, before entering a geothermal wonderland of impressive geysers and boiling mud pools. Then see New Zealand's agricultural industry in action with a sheep-shearing display and sheep dog trials at the Agrodome, and explore Rainbow Springs, a nature park which showcases native flora and fauna including the famous New Zealand kiwi. Following these Rotorua highlights, enjoy a scenic drive across the Kaimai Ranges to the Hobbiton Movie Set - a picturesque 1,250 acre farm near Matamata where scenes from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies were filmed. Take a guided tour and learn how this working farm was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth. Your guide will show you Hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, the Mill and many other structures from the movies. After your Hobbiton Movie Set tour, continue your journey to Auckland with GreatSights.

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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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