North Island Circuit
Auckland to Auckland
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Thrifty Tours

North Island Circuit

Journey through the heart of the North Island on this tour from Auckland to the capital city of Wellington, and catch the Northern Explorer Scenic Train back to Auckland. Along the way, enjoy such highlights as Waitomo Caves, unique Maori cultural experiences, and the art deco city of Napier.

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Quick Itinerary Details

Independent tour (bus & coach)

This suggested tour costs from NZD$2,095 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Auckland

4 days/3 nights

Motels

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 197 times in the last 7 days

Tour at a glance

Day 1: Auckland to Waitomo Caves and Te Puia to Rotorua
Accommodation: Asure Rotorua International Motor Inn

Day 2: Rotorua to Napier by Intercity coach, then take a whirlwind tour of Art Deco Napier
Accommodation: Bella Vista Napier

Day 3: Free time to explore Napier this morning, then to Wellington by Intercity coach
Accommodation: Quest On Lambton

Day 4: Hop aboard the Northern Explorer and journey back to Auckland

Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
North Island Circuit - Day 1
Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Tour and Te Puia with FlexiTours - Lunch Included

Travel from Auckland and visit Waitomo Caves on the way to Rotorua. This tour covers the most iconic destinations in the Northern island. You will visit Rotorua which is famous both for its thermal activity and its rich Maori Heritage. In addition, you will enjoy guided tour in the world renowned Waitomo Glow worm Caves and geothermal wonderland Te Puia. Your tour will finish in Rotorua.

Te Pā Tū Evening Maori Cultural Experience

New Zealand’s Most Awarded Cultural Attraction, presenting 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: Asure Rotorua International Motor Inn

Beautifully appointed and comfortable motel accommodation just a short drive from central Rotorua - the cultural hub of New Zealand!
Meals included: Lunch, Speciality Dinner
North Island Circuit - Day 2
Rotorua Accommodation to Rotorua Intercity Depot

You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to Rotorua Intercity Coach Depot.

Rotorua to Napier by InterCity Coach

From Rotorua you travel along the geothermal highway and past the edge of the largest man-made radiate pine forest in the world - the Kaingaroa Forest towards Taupō. Your coach travels past Taupō which sits on the shores of New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupō. From Taupō you'll travel over the Ahiminawa Ranges to Napier. Napier has the highest concentrations of Striped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco building styles in the world. The commercial centre was completely rebuilt following a catastrophic earthquake in 1931. Napier is also at the centre of one of the largest and most vibrant wine-producing areas in New Zealand.

Walking tracks in and around Hawkes Bay

There are some excellent walks in and around the Hawkes Bay region. The information below is provided by the Department of Conservation. Listed below are a selection of short walks but check with the Department of Conservation information centre for weather conditions, track suitability and conditions first.

Tangoio Falls Scenic Reserve Tracks
Discover Te Ana or Tangoio Falls on a short, easy walk suitable for kids, or take a longer walk through native bush on the Tangoio Walkway. .
Distance: 2 - 4.4 km one way. Completion Time: 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on which track you choose.

White Pine Bush Scenic Reserve
Experience New Zealand's remaining coastal forest on these short, easy walks that are good for children.
Distance: 1.6 km loop. Completion Time: 40 minutes.

Ahuriri Estuary
View a community of wading birds, fish, mud dwellers and aquatic plant life from the estuary track and boardwalk. Over 70 species of resident and migratory waterbirds use the estuary as a feeding and resting area.
Distance: 2.8 km one way. Completion Time: 1 hour.

Te Mata Park
Te Mata Park has a rich human and geological history, and is home to a range of unique plants and native birds. The park has five different walking options varying in difficulty and distance.
Distance: 1.3 km - 5.4 km. Completion Time: 40 minutes - 1 hours 15 minutes.

Lake Tūtira
There are two main walks at Lake Tūtira, a short walk along the edge of the lake or a longer loop through the reserve. Both offer great views of the lake as well as native and introduced plant species.
Distance: 1.3 km - 5.4 km. Completion Time: 40 minutes - 1 hours 15 minutes.

Cape Kidnappers/Te Kauwae-a-Māui Walking Track
Follow the beach from Clifton to Cape Kidnappers/Te Kauwae-a-Māui alongside cliffs that show fragmented fault and tilt lines, recording the gradual rise of New Zealand. Black Reef is the first gannet nesting site, 7.5 km from Clifton. A 1 km climb takes you from the shelter on the beach to a benched area on the hill where you can view the second colony, and spectacular views of Hawke's Bay.
Distance: 19 km loop. Completion Time: 5 hour return.

Your accommodation: Bella Vista Napier

Bella Vista Motel Napier invites you to experience its friendly service and modern motel units. Located close to shops, restaurants and the renowned Marine Parade with its majestic Norfolk pines.
North Island Circuit - Day 3
Napier Whirlwind Tour

This 2 1/2 hour tour takes in all the history, from early settlement, through to the huge 1931 earthquake and the rebuilding of the City to the Art Deco Capital of the World to what it is today. You also visit the historic area of Ahuriri, National Tobacco Building and the famous Mission Estate Winery. As you return to Napier City, you will also tour an Art Deco Housing Estate. Experience many stops for photos from lookouts to famous landmarks etc. This is a compact tour, it is really for those that are spending the one night here in Napier and still wish to see the City highlights.

Napier Accommodation to Napier Coach Depot

You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to Napier Intercity coach stop.

Napier to Wellington by InterCity Coach

Leaving the 1930's inspired city of Napier you will travel through the countryside of the Hawke's Bay and Manawatu. Travelling along the Kāpiti Coast line into the capital city of Wellington. Wellington sits on a wonderful deep natural harbour and is surrounded by bush clad hills. The city centre itself is quite compact (only around 1 square kilometre) and exploring on foot is relatively easy. You can easily stroll the famous cafes and restaurants within the city and New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, is also close by.

Your accommodation: Quest On Lambton

Quest on Lambton hotel rooms offer a relaxed and comfortable Wellington accommodation experience. Located within walking distance of the Wellington Cable Car, Queens Wharf Events Centre and Victoria University, and minutes from Te Papa Museum of New Zealand, Westpac Trust Stadium and the Botanical Gardens.
North Island Circuit - Day 4
The Northern Explorer Scenic Train: Wellington to Auckland

The Northern Explorer is a journey through the heart of the North Island, travelling between Wellington, New Zealand's arts and culture capital and Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. Along the way you pass the Central North Island ski towns of National Park and Ohakune. You also see fantastic views of New Zealand farmland, the volcanic plateau, Mount Ruapehu, the world famous Raurimu Spiral, and stunning river gorges - all from panoramic windows or open air viewing decks. All carriages feature large panoramic windows giving sweeping views of the magnificent North Island. The Observation Carriage includes a mix of seating including lounge-style seating. The lounge-style seating is arranged at the very rear of this glass-backed carriage enabling you to enjoy a totally unique Northern Explorer experience.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Northern Explorer Scenic Plus Addon - KiwiRail

Feel like luxurious service, exclusive meals, inclusive drinks and priority check in and boarding? The Scenic Plus add-on option is for you. Enjoy per...

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Feel like luxurious service, exclusive meals, inclusive drinks and priority check in and boarding? The Scenic Plus add-on option is for you. Enjoy personal service with panoramic windows, spacious carriages and comfortable seating. The exclusive open-air viewing carriage is available if you feel like capturing the ultimate photo or simply wish to experience the great outdoors whilst travelling through the Southern Alps. Your food is prepared exclusively in a kitchen carriage, with paired drinks and a paddock to plate regionally inspired food menu all your senses will be fully engaged on this journey.

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Jun 27, 2024
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North Island Circuit

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