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SELF DRIVE TOURS - North Island Experience Tour

Select a start city to view interesting and valuable advice and information Self drive tours from Auckland - North Island of New Zealand Self drive tours from Christchurch - South Island of New Zealand




South Island Highlights Tour
9 days
Explore the highlights of the South Island in 9 days and some of the best driving in the region.

South Island Experience Tour
13 days
All of the South Island in 13 days spectacular days.


Twin Island Tour
14 days
Christchurch to Auckland via all the most spectacular scenery and driving roads of the South and North Islands in 14 days.

Ultimate Islands Tour
21 days
The best of the best. See all of the best of what New Zealand has to offer!


  • Great accommodation in nice 3.5 to 4 star B&Bs / motels / hotels

  • Google Maps links showing you the exact route to take for each day’s drive

  • Official hard copy road maps of the areas you’ll be passing through

  • A thorough and very detailed itinerary document incorporating:

  • Daily trip sections
    The background to each area
    Places of interest and where to visit

Please note: We don't include the car in the prices as there are so many choices. You can either book your own car or we'd be pleased to do it for you.

Auckland and the North Island of New Zealand
North Island Experience Tour

This exceptional North Island tour has it all - superb coastline and beaches, hot springs and thermals, lakes and mountains, Maori culture, history and Art Deco architecture. It's not all rush and no relaxation though; throw in some of the best dining and wineries in New Zealand and you've got the best tour on the North Island!

12 day tour

NZ$ 2,491 BOOK NOW

Includes: 11 nights accommodation plus:
Includes full day at Lake Taupo

Terms & Conditions for this tour

Stunning coastal scenery (Photo by Andras Kladi)

Auckland - Start your trip in New Zealand's most cosmopolitan city. Stroll through Queen Street, enjoy some of the best dining in New Zealand and cruise magnificent Waitemata Harbour, the 'heart' of the city. You don't have to be a yachtsman to appreciate the City of Sails - but it helps!

Cathedral CoveCoromandel Peninsula - You'll quickly see why New Zealanders flock here on holiday. The serenity attracts 'alternative lifestylers' away from Auckland but the rest come for the North Island's best beaches and coastal scenery. With a backdrop of rugged, green-forested mountains the views over the offshore islands are incredible. What better way to end the day than swim in crystal clear blue water, then dig a hole in the sand at Hot Water Beach and relax in your own sandy hot water spa!

Lake RotoruaRotorua - One of NZ's best known tourist spots, the steaming crevices, mud pools and hot springs lead to healing thermal baths. It's an important cultural centre for the Maori and one of the most accessible to outsiders. The culture is alive in their arts and crafts, architecture and in traditional songs and dance.

Bay of Plenty & Poverty Bay - The highest proportion of sunshine days in the whole of the country makes this one of NZ's best agricultural regions. The beaches are not too shabby either and you can immerse yourself further in Maori culture in a region where the dialect is spoken daily.

Napier - It's famous as one of the best examples of an Art Deco city anywhere in the world but there's so much more! Friendly people, great restaurants, a beautiful marine parade and superb coastal setting is topped by a mild Mediterranean climate. Do you need another reason to visit? OK, how about the famous Hawke's Bay wineries, over 30 of which offer cellar tastings? Or the gourmet culinary delights prepared with the freshest ingredients and handmade with care?

Lake Taupo - The largest lake in New Zealand was created around 25,000 years ago by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in history. Now the self-proclaimed trout fishing capital of the world, you can also enjoy more adventurous activities such as white water rafting, jet boating, bungy jumping or skydiving if luring trout with imitation flies are not your thing. Or simply enjoy the scenery and magnificent Huka Falls.

Mt TongariroMt Tongariro National Park - South of Lake Taupo lies the central plateau and the Kaimanawa Mountains. A drive along the famous 'Desert Road' brings you to Mt Tongariro National Park, NZ's first national park proclaimed in 1887. The three still-active volcanoes tower over the landscape and are an area of spiritual significance for the Maori. The park offers excellent hiking in summer and great skiing in winter. Mt Ruapehu is the highest of the 3 peaks while Mt Tongariro gives the park its name. Mt Ngauruhoe 'starred' as Mt Doom in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy while the park featured as Mordor.

Taranaki - Today you'll hit Surf Highway 45 on your way to one of the lesser-travelled regions of New Zealand. Mt Taranaki's 2,518m high volcanic cone dominates the landscape. New Plymouth is an affluent deep water port and a hub for NZ's offshore oil and gas industry. The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is one of the country's finest and there is an abundance of colonial and Maori historic sights. For nature lovers there's Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Park.

Waikato - Rolling hillsides, green fields and the mighty Waikato River will be your companions today. While the region looks much like England and was cast as the 'Shire' in The Lord of the Rings films it is a stronghold of Maoridom too. You'll have a chance to see the glow-worms in the magical Waitomo Caves or have an adrenaline-fueled underground adventure such as black-water rafting on the subterranean rivers in the cave system, abseiling or rock climbing. You'll overnight in Hamilton which, despite being landlocked in an area known best for farming, is surprisingly sophisticated with some great bars and restaurants and 50 hectares of top-notch botanical gardens on the banks of the Waikato. Cruise the river on an 1870s replica paddlesteamer or take an early morning hot air balloon flight, there's enough to keep you busy!

Bay of Islands - From farming country to subtropical coastline - the contrast couldn't be greater but that's part of what makes the North Island unique! Turquoise water, lovely beaches and some 150 undeveloped islands makes this one of NZ's top tourist areas. You'll find all sorts of aquatic pursuits so be ready to get wet - or out on a boat at least! It's also an area of great historical significance as it was one of the first parts to be settled by migrations from Polynesia and the site of the first permanent European settlement.

Bay of IslandsCape Reinga - The remote far north is wort a visit, with spectacular deserted beaches and that feeling of reaching the end of the world you can only get from the tip of a large landmass. Cape Reinga is also one of the most sacred sites for the Maori.

Kauri Coast - You'll return to Auckland via the undeveloped west coast, visiting the Waipoua Kauri forest on the way. This forest sanctuary with its giant kauri trees is all that remains of the magnificent kauri forests that once covered the entire far north.

Lakeside splendour (Photo by Andras Ikladi)