North Island Food, Art, and Nature Tour
Auckland to Auckland
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Thrifty Tours

North Island Food, Art, and Nature Tour

Your journey begins in Auckland, the City of Sails. Explore the city at your leisure after arrival, or opt for a guided half-day wine tour. The following morning, embark on an adventurous day, journeying to Rotorua via magical Hobbiton and the famous Waitomo Glow Worm Caves. Day three brings you an experience at Mountain Jade, learning about the history and cultural significance of New Zealand Greenstone, before departing for Napier aboard a coach. In Napier, join Hunter Gatherer Tours for a full-day food and wine tour, where you'll taste the very best the region has to offer. The following day sees you off on a coach to New Zealand's capital city of Wellington, where you'll experience the charming Cable Car, as well as a Twilight Tour at Zelanadia Wildlife Ecosanctuary, spotting endemic and native species. On day six, board the famous Northern Explorer Train for a scenic journey through the heart of the North Island back to where it all began in Auckland. Spend the next morning exploring before your private transfer to the airport to depart.

Tour special blurb

**Please Note: Some elements of this tour may only run on certain days of the week. Speak to one of our travel specialists today to find a departure date that works for you.

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Quick Itinerary Details

Independent tour (bus & coach)

This suggested tour costs from NZD$3,195 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Auckland

7 days/6 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 133 times in the last 7 days

Tour Inclusions

- Private Transfer Auckland Hotel to Auckland Airport
- Private transfer Wellington hotel to train station (IST)
- Private Transfer Auckland Train Station to Auckland accommodation
4 breakfasts, 2 lunches
Tour at a glance

Day 1: Welcome to Auckland, City of Sails
Accommodation: Heritage Hotel Auckland

Day 2: Today you'll travel from Auckland to Rotorua, experiencing Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves along the way
Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Day 3: Enjoy the morning in Rotorua, and travel to Hawkes Bay in the afternoon
Accommodation: Swiss-Belboutique Napier

Day 4: Taste your way through the Hawkes Bay region, discover local artists and Kiwi architecture with Hunter Gatherer Tours
Accommodation: Swiss-Belboutique Napier

Day 5: Today, journey to the capital city of Wellington, experience the famous Cable Car, and visit Zealandia
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel Wellington Oriental Bay

Day 6: Hop aboard the famous Northern Explorer Train and journey throught the heart of the North Island to Auckland
Accommodation: Heritage Hotel Auckland

Day 7: Haere rā – Depart from Auckland

Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
North Island Food, Art, and Nature Tour - Day 1
Welcome to Auckland

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 get out onto the water to experience the best views of the city.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Auckland Wine Country Half Day Tour including Lunch with Bush and Beach

Today you'll be leaving the city and heading north-west to Kumeu Wine Country, Auckland's Heritage Wine Region. Enjoy lunch at a contemporary vineyard...

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Today you'll be leaving the city and heading north-west to Kumeu Wine Country, Auckland's Heritage Wine Region. Enjoy lunch at a contemporary vineyard, sample world-renowned wines and marvel at the rugged surf-fringed coastline nearby. Your first stop is award-winning Soljans Estate Winery. Utilising both traditional and modern techniques, Soljans produce varied and richly flavoured wines. Built with sunshine in mind and a distinct Mediterranean-style, the onsite restaurant showcases fresh seasonal produce from around the region.
Continuing on, you'll visit Muriwai Beach home to a Gannet Colony. Situated on the cliffs overlooking the Tasman sea you'll have breathtaking views of the beach and ocean beyond as you observe one of the largest seabirds, the gannet, in their natural environment. Your final tasting is at West Brook Winery, one of New Zealand's oldest. These wines reflect true varietal character and their unique regional origins.

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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.
North Island Food, Art, and Nature Tour - Day 2
Auckland to Rotorua with Hobbiton & Waitomo Glow Worms Tour with FlexiTours - Lunch Included

Travel from Auckland to Hobbiton and the Waitomo Caves on your way to Rotorua. Become immersed in The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films when you visit the actual Hobbiton movie set. On this 2.5 hour tour you will be taken through Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn where you will enjoy a complimentary drink, The Mill and the Party Tree while your guide shares behind-the-scenes tales and fascinating insight into the making of the films.
At Waitomo, explore a 30 million year old cave network spread across three levels. You'll travel deep underground through the limestone caves viewing stalactites and stalagmites as well as hearing about the cave's historical and geological significance. You'll then hop into a boat and glide silently through the glow worm grotto - a galaxy of tiny living lights. Your included lunch is at 'The Homestead'.
From Waitomo, you'll head to Rotorua, your destination for the day.

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: Lunch
North Island Food, Art, and Nature Tour - Day 3
Mountain Jade - Highlights Tour

This 30 minute highlights tour is a rare opportunity to spend time with New Zealand Jade artists. New Zealand Jade known as Greenstone, but more commonly known in New Zealand as Pounamu has a rich history within Maori culture. The expert guide will show you the intricate process of Pounamu carving first hand in the Mountain Jade studio. The local artist will be there to personally demonstrate the carving process and share their stories and knowledge with you. To top off the tour, you will get to select your very own piece of Pounamu and learn to string it yourself so you can take it home.

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Restorative Journey Package with Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa

Luxuriate your senses in a Restorative Journey (Wai Whakaora), a carefully thought-out therapeutic pilgrimage experience as you undertake the benefits...

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Luxuriate your senses in a Restorative Journey (Wai Whakaora), a carefully thought-out therapeutic pilgrimage experience as you undertake the benefits of the natural environment by drawing on the Ngāti Whakaue practices and culture. Throughout the journey, your senses will be awoken through the hot and cold experiences. Begin the session under the waterfall - cleansing your body, before immersing in the Te Ahi Tupua- a sequence of hot and colds. Moving onto the Geothermal pool- relax in the water drawn from the Rachel Spring. Moving on immerse your body in a cold plunge- this will loosen your muscles and decrease inflammation. The final stage of the restorative journey is the Kohu Wai Arik steam room, heated stones allowing you to relax and reflect on the journey you have undertaken.

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Your accommodation: Swiss-Belboutique Napier

Combine your Napier experience with a stay at the premium Art Deco-style hotel at the heart of downtown Napier. Located just a five-minute stroll from Marine Parade – spanning Hawke’s Bay waterfront and home to the Sunken Gardens and National Aquarium of New Zealand.
Meals included: Breakfast
North Island Food, Art, and Nature Tour - Day 4
Classic Food & Wine Tour with Hunter Gatherer Tours

During this tour, you will taste your way through the region, discover local artists, Kiwi architecture, and what makes Hawke’s Bay food and wine unique. You will meet local New Zealanders doing everyday things and have a home-made lunch with the Cheese & Wine Experience.

Your accommodation: Swiss-Belboutique Napier

Combine your Napier experience with a stay at the premium Art Deco-style hotel at the heart of downtown Napier. Located just a five-minute stroll from Marine Parade – spanning Hawke’s Bay waterfront and home to the Sunken Gardens and National Aquarium of New Zealand.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
North Island Food, Art, and Nature Tour - Day 5
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.

Wellington Cable Car

Join locals and visitors alike in a historic trip on the Wellington Cable Car. For over a hundred years passengers have enjoyed the dramatic views of the growing cityscape and the surrounding hills that define Wellington's harbour. This five minute trip to the top of the Kelburn Hill offers a charming escape from the busy city streets. You will enjoy views of the city & harbour Te Whanganui-a-Tara from the indoor or outdoor platforms.
Once at the Kelburn Lookout, you can visit the Cable Car Museum located adjacent to the Kelburn Terminus. It houses the original winding machinery for the cable car system which operated from 1902 until 1978. Take a seat and enjoy a short film about the development of the Cable Car or browse through the gift shop for any last-minute presents! You can also visit the Space Place at Carter Observatory, located two minutes from the top of the Cable Car with multimedia exhibitions and some of New Zealand's most prestigious astronomical artefacts. Enjoy the show in the digital full-done planetarium and explore the Southern skies.
If you have time and feel like stretching your legs, you can choose to walk downhill back to the city through the beautiful Wellington Botanic Garden.

Zealandia Twilight Wildlife Sanctuary Tour

Welcome to the world's first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary - a conservation success and safe haven for some of New Zealand's rarest native animals. Remarkable species of birds, reptiles, insects and more are living wild within a beautiful 225ha (one square mile) valley - just 10 minutes from central Wellington. Around 40 native and endemic species of birds can be found at Zealandia. Kākā - the playful forest parrots - have made an impressive comeback to the area and are lots of fun to watch at their feeder stations. Endangered hihi (stitchbird), tīeke (saddleback), kākāriki and kiwi are flourishing here and the pair of critically threatened takahē are often seen at the wetlands.
Experience Zealandia as it transforms from daylight to twilight during this special guided experience. See birds returning to the sanctuary to settle into their nests, the sight of the evening sky, and hear the changing sounds of birds from day to night. Encounter unique species such as wētā, takahē, tuatara and more. You may even be lucky enough to experience the first sounds of the nocturnal birds as they wake.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Guided Tour of Te Papa The Museum of New Zealand

Beginning over one hundred million years ago, join your guide on a journey through New Zealand's rich history and cultures. Hear stories of our adapti...

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Beginning over one hundred million years ago, join your guide on a journey through New Zealand's rich history and cultures. Hear stories of our adaptive wildlife, the resilience of the Māori people, and artistic interpretations of life in the South Pacific.
Whether you have limited time or here for an extended visit, this tour will give you a great opportunity to understand the vibrant landscapes and cultures you will encounter throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

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Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel Wellington Oriental Bay

Located on Wellington's premier Oriental Parade, overlooking the stunning Wellington Harbour, Copthorne Hotel Wellington Oriental Bay is the perfect base to explore the city. Just 10 minutes away are the city's shopping and entertainment centre. Te Papa Museum, Live Theatre in Courtney Place, and many of the city's finest restaurants and bars are also close by.
Meals included: Breakfast
North Island Food, Art, and Nature Tour - Day 6
Private transfer to Wellington train station

You will be collected from your hotel and transferred to Wellington train station to meet your train.

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.

Private Transfer Auckland Train Station to Auckland accommodation

You will be met at the Auckland Train Station and transferred to your Auckland accommodation.

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
North Island Food, Art, and Nature Tour - Day 7
Private Transfer Auckland Hotel to Auckland Airport

A private transfer will meet you at your accommodation and drive you to the airport.

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