12 Days New Zealand's North Island

There is so much to see and do in New Zealand, that many visitors return to explore our beautiful country. North Island highlights include Maori culture, volcanic & thermal areas, beaches, fine food and vineyards. Hikers and nature lovers can enjoy some of this country's finest national parks in the North Island. View more details on this 12 days North Island Itinerary on Guest New Zealand

12 days north island nz itinerary

Included in this Travel Package:

  • Private Airport Transfer Auckland
  • Compact Rental car with full insurance + GPS with Hertz or Thrifty New Zealand
  • 11 nights accommodation in B&B’s, hotels, lodges and motels (some with breakfast)
  • Half Day Sea kayaking tour Coromandel
  • Tour Ruakuri Cave in Waitomo (2 hrs tour)
  • Maori Hangi Concert + Kiwi House
  • Vineyards Hawkes Bay
  • Tongariro National Park
  • "The Forgotten Highway"
  • Kapiti Coast + drive to Wellington
  • Cost: NZ$2295 per Person (twin share - two people travelling)
  • Any part of this itinerary can be amended to your travel requirements.

Notes on New Zealand climate & seasons:

  • Spring = September until November
  • Summer = December until February
  • Autumn = March until May
  • Winter = June until August
  • See Weather Overview

12 Days North Island Holiday




Itinerary Overview for Self-drive 12 Days North Island

Day 1: Arrive in Auckland

Arrive Auckland. See the America's Cup village, view the city and harbour from the Sky Tower. Take a boat trip to beautiful Waiheke Island or across to Devonport and visit the shops and cafes of Parnell Village.

Day 2: Auckland - Hahei Beach/ Coromandel Peninsula

Drive to the East Coast on the Coromandel Peninsula (160 km,100 miles, 2.5 hours). The Coromandel has beautiful golden beaches, great swimming and bush walks. Explore the beaches to the north, including Hot Water Beach where you can dig your own Spa Pool in the sand, Hahei and Cathedral Cove plus Cooks Beach. From Cooks Beach, drive to Ferry landing and leave your car here.


Day 3: Stay and explore the Coromandels

Take a short ferry ride across to Whitianga to enjoy a good selection of cafes and shopping. Enjoy a walk along Buffalo Beach or join a guided kayaking tour ex Hahei Beach - it's easy and fun!


Day 4: Coromandels to Rotorua

Travel from the Coromandels to Rotorua (160km, 3.5 hours) via Whangamata. Enjoy a 3.8km Ocean Beach with great surf and a relaxed holiday atmosphere. Alternatively,travel via the Waitomo Caves and choose from a number of caving tour options.Travel onto Rotorua and relax in the Thermal baths. Visit the Wai-otapu Thermal Reserve or the Waimangu Volcanic Valley.


Day 5: Stay and explore Rotoroua

Spend the day around the lakeside town of Rotorua. A helicopter trip to an active volcano on White Island, is a highlight! Keen anglers can take a charter boat out on the lake. Walking or cycling in the Whakarewarewa Forest is also recommended. For keen Lord of the Rings fans, join a tour to "Hobbiton" from Rotorua. In the evening enjoy a Hangi Concert with local Maori and experience the cultural aspect of New Zealand.

Day 6: Travel via Lake Taupo to Napier

From Rotoura head south and travel to Lake Taupo. Enjoy a number of sights on the way, including the Huka Falls and Orakei Korakei Thermal Reserve. Have lunch in Taupo and enjoy the stunning surrounds before continuing to Napier which is about 2 hours from Taupo.


Day 7: Explore the Napier + Hawkes Bay region

The Hawkes Bay region is one of the key food and wine regions of New Zealand. Foodie and wine drinkers love the lifestyle, ambience and warm weather the region has to offer. Apart from food and wine tasting, you might like to consider joining an Art Deco Tour in Napier or see the Gannet Colony at Cape Kidnappers.


Day 8: Heading to the Tongariro central plateau

Travel the same route back to Taupo and head into the central plateau of the North Island with its main volcanos - Mt. Ruapehu, Mt. Ngagahoe and Mt. Tongariro. It is a totally different scenery and environment and offers plenty of fantastic photo opportunities.


Day 9: Hiking the Tongariro National Park

Today you'll have a full day to explore the Tongariro National Park. Do shorter walks or approach the famous "Tongariro Crossing" - either on your own (you need transport) or with a local guide. It's a great way to learn more about the natural wonders of the park.

The Tongariro National Park has dual World Heritage status which acknowledges the cultural and spiritual significance of the area as well as the natural one.

Day 10: Travel the "Forgotten Highway"

If you prefer to travel "Off the Beaten Track" then this is the ultimate experience in the North Island! The "Forgotten Highway" runs between Taumarunui and Stratford (Taranaki). The 150 kms (mainly sealed road) has many beautiful rural and scenic sights. Arrive in the western city of New Plymouth in the afternoon.

Day 11: Explore New Plymouth and Taranaki

New Plymouth is famous for it's Gardens as well as the Mt. Taranaki / Egmont National Park. Plus there are great local arts and crafts galleries and a stunning coastal boardwalk.


Day 12: Travel via Kapiti Coast to Wellington

This day's travelling will take you to the rural parts of Taranaki with a number of local stops recommended. In the Kapiti Coast region, stop at the Southward Car Museum, which houses the Southern Hemisphere's largest private car collection numbering over 400, plus other interesting exhibits. Stay in Wellington for a night or extend your time in New Zealand's capital city.


12 days North Island travel itinerary

Travel Combos with New Zealand + Australia + Pacific Islands

New Zealand + Australia


New Zealand + Australia + Fiji Islands

New Zealand + Australia Travel ComboIf you are travelling to New Zealand you might want to combine your holiday with Australia! It's only a 3 hour flight to "OZ" (as we Kiwi's call out neighbour next door). Explore Sydney, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and admire Ayers Rock (Uluru)!

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  New Zealand + Australia + Fiji Islands Travel ComboFor those with a little more time, consider a stop at one of the Pacific Islands as well! We recommend 4-7 days to fully unwind. Relax at the beaches or enjoy the water sports the Fiji Island paradise can offer.

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Tasman, New Zealand