This Small Group Journey takes in the stunning sights of the North Island starting with a journey to the sparkling waters of the Bay of Islands. Extraordinary Rotorua, with its steaming geysers and hot mud is a must. Further south you’ll visit the Art Deco town of Napier and enjoy the wonderful wines of the Hawke’s Bay region before arriving in Wellington, ‘the coolest little capital in the world’.

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Day 1 Auckland

Haere mai – welcome! We greet you on arrival and take you to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to relax, perhaps taking in the views from the top of the Sky Tower.

M Social, Auckland

Day 2 Auckland to Bay of Islands

We leave by the Harbour Bridge and break our journey at Reed Memorial Park to discover a remnant of ancient Kauri forest from an elevated walkway. The Bay of Islands is the historic birthplace of New Zealand, and at Waitangi we learn of the 1840 Treaty between Maori tribes and British settlers; visit the carved meeting house, the new museum and admire a war canoe (waka). After our visit, we take a ferry to the seaside village of Russell to stay at its oldest hotel.

Duke of Marlborough Hotel, Russell

Day 3 Bay of Islands

Today each traveller has a choice between two excursions:

Discover the Far North – Journey along ‘90 Mile Beach’ to Cape Reinga where the Tasman Sea collides with the Pacific. Includes a visit to Puketi Kauri forest and lunch.

Cruise to the Hole in the Rock – It is common to see dolphins race beside our boat as we cruise towards Cape Brett Lighthouse and (conditions permitting) thread a course through the Hole in the Rock. Return to Russell to meet a guide for an insight into the town’s rip-roaring past!

Duke of Marlborough Hotel, Russell

Journey along 90-mile Beach
take a dolphin and Hole in the Rock cruise

Day 4 Bay of Islands to Auckland

Head south along the coast and arrive in cosmopolitan Auckland for a city tour that takes in panoramic views from Bastion Point, trendy Parnell Village and vibrant Viaduct Harbour, plus impressive Auckland Museum – a treasure-house of Pacific artefacts.

M Social, Auckland

Day 5 Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula

Wave goodbye to the City of Sails as we travel to the Coromandel Peninsula and a scenic drive to Whitianga in Mercury Bay.

Oceans Resort, Whitianga

Day 6 Coromandel Peninsula

A natural paradise! The springs on Hot Water Beach bubble up through the sand so that, if the tide is right, you may dig out your own warm wallow. After, a walk to Cathedral Cove is rewarded by one of the most photogenic spots in New Zealand. We leave by water taxi to Hahei, where our driver waits to take us to Cooks Beach, named after Captain James Cook, and from here you can choose to hop on the ferry back to Whitianga then walk to the hotel, or travel back with our driver.

Oceans Resort, Whitianga

Day 7 Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua

We take the Pacific Coast Highway before turning inland for a bush walk with views over Okere River Falls. Then Rotorua: the epicentre of geothermal activity and Maori heritage! Te Puia is a unique reserve of bubbling mud and spouting geysers and the national centre for Maori arts and crafts. Hospitality (manaakitanga) is a cornerstone of Te Puia’s Maori guardians, so we have a private guide.

Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua

Day 8 Rotorua

Today you have a choice between:

Waimangu Volcanic Valley – the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera was devastating for the land and its people, but created a new valley that is still evolving. Walk beside boiling craters and jewel-coloured lakes; take a boat across Lake Rotomahana and hear the story of Guide Sophia.

Visit Middle Earth – Hobbiton™, the actual set which featured in Sir Peter Jackson’s films is a treat for Tolkien fans. Our guide reveals how this farm became The Shire™ and you can see the Party Tree, visit Bag End and have a pint in the Green Dragon!

This evening we take everyone to a Maori village where we receive a formal welcome (powhiri) including the hongi, the sharing of breath. Delve into Maori culture past and present through storytelling, dance and song, followed by a Hangi (a feast cooked in the natural heat of the earth).

Prince’s Gate Hotel, Rotorua

Visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley
experience Hobbiton™ Movie Set

Day 9 Rotorua to Napier

Journey via Huka Falls and Lake Taupo across volcanic Tongariro National Park to the east coast. From the destruction of an earthquake, seaside Napier rose like a phoenix in the 1930s to become the southern hemisphere’s Miami – an Art Deco jewel.

Our expert-led walking tour reveals how! This is also wine country, and this evening’s treat is dinner at New Zealand’s oldest winery, Mission Estate, where we eat in the restored seminary buildings.

Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier

Day 10 Napier to Wellington

Travel through Hawke’s Bay vineyards and orchards to the capital city. On arrival, see the quirky ‘Beehive’ Parliament building, and from the Kelburn Lookout take a Cable Car back down to visit the world-renowned Te Papa museum, which showcases the shaping of New Zealand, the cultures of its diverse peoples, its wildlife and contemporary culture.

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

Day 11 Depart Wellington

Haere ra – farewell from New Zealand. After breakfast we transfer you to Wellington Airport for your onward journey.

Day 1

M Social, Auckland

Day 2 & 3

Duke of Marlborough Hotel

Day 4

M Social, Auckland

Day 5 & 6

Oceans Resort

Day 7 & 8

Prince’s Gate Hotel

Day 9

Scenic Hotel Te Pania

Day 10

James Cook Chancellor

Tour date Price (£) Single supplement (£) Availability  
25 October – 4 November 2023 3,769 975 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
22 November - 2 December 2023 4,025 1,075 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
24 January – 3 February January 2024 4,025 1,075 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
7 February - 17 February 2024 4,025 1,075 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
21 February - 2 March 2024 4,025 1,075 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now

What’s included?

  • Comfortable touring in 16-seater vehicle
  • Services of our Driver-Guide and, where applicable, Local Experts
  • 10 nights’ accommodation in quality Hotels
  • 10 breakfasts
  • 2 evening meals
  • Sightseeing & entrance fees listed opposite under Experiences Included

Experiences included

  • Entry to Waitangi Treaty Grounds
  • Journey along 90-mile Beach – OR – take a dolphin and Hole in the Rock cruise
  • A scenic cruise from Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula
  • Narrow-gauge railway journey through native Coromandel bush
  • Visit Hot Water Beach and photogenic Cathedral Cove
  • A private guide around a geothermal valley with geysers, mud pools and hot springs
  • Visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley – OR – experience Hobbiton™ Movie Set
  • Delve into Maori life and enjoy a powerful cultural performance and feast
  • Enjoy a wine tasting and evening meal at Mission Estate in Napier
  • Travel on Wellington’s famous Cable Car and visit Te Papa museum

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Colin and Maureen Smith

The Million Dollar cruise on Lake Wakatipu was absolutely brilliant – the guide was very knowledgeable and we would highly recommend this trip.

Our meal on the Mission Estate was one of the best meals of the holiday and the gardens at Hamilton were a real surprise.

But the main highlight has to have been the Milford Mariner overnight cruise – not the best of weather, we couldn’t get out on the kayaks – but a wonderful experience.

Chris and Joyce Brill

Very much enjoyed the superb Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa Museum, Wellington. Loved the jet boat trip on our day out to Arthur’s Pass and the caves at Charleston.

A wonderful holiday!