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New Zealand North Island 7-day explorer tour

Day 1

Arrival day to Auckland

Haere Mai and Welcome to Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), the largest city in New Zealand and home to over 2 million people. The magic of Auckland is in it’s diversity from culture to the environment. There are over 44 volcanoes in the area and 2 harbours, which explains why Auckland is known locally as the ‘City of Sails’.

Take the afternoon or early evening to explore after you make your way to Neusto Hotel in central Auckland.

Arrival: Anytime

Accommodation: Nesuto Hotel or similar

Day 2

Auckland to Rotorua

This morning we’ll be leaving Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) and heading for the Rotorua region. Our first stop today is the Okere Falls. The falls lie on the Kaituna River which has cultural significance to the local iwi (tribes) in the area. Currently, the River is used for tourism, specifically white water rafting and sledging. We’ll stop by the Falls and see if we can spot some brave rafters going over the falls in their raft.

Next, we’ll continue on, skirting around the edge of Lake Rotorua to a lookout point where we’ll have a view of the infamous Mount Tarawera, once the home of the renowned pink and white terraces before a violent eruption destroyed them in 1886. This evening we’ll arrive in Rotorua township and check into our hotel, enjoy a delicious dinner together and then settle in for a luxurious night’s sleep at the Distinction Rotorua.

Accommodation: Distinction Rotorua or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3

Free Day in Rotorua

Known as the North Island’s geothermal hot spot and hub for all the very best adventure activities, Rotorua is definitely one of the best places to explore… even if your nostrils tell you otherwise! There is so much to see and experience here and you have a full free day to see as much as you like.

If you want to see some geothermal activity for free, we recommend taking a walk around Kuirau Park to see boiling mud pools and steaming lakes.

You can book a multitude of tours via your Tour Guide and with options such as white water rafting, ziplining through the trees, relaxing at the Polynesian Spa and taking a Gondola up to see the amazing Rotorua Skyline you truly are spoilt for choice.

Visit: Rotorua

Accommodation: Distinction Rotorua or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4

Rotorua to Lake Aniwhenua to Taupo

This morning we venture off the beaten track to the shores of Lake Aniwhenua in Murupara. Kohutapu Lodge is owned by a local Maori family who is passionate, not only about showcasing their Maori tribal heritage but also about making a difference in the local area.

Murupara is an impoverished community that has been transformed for the better through tourism and commercial development. Through community-driven initiatives and a clear vision to provide more opportunities for the local youth, Kohutapu Lodge has paved the way for change in the area.

Begin the experience with a guided tour of the sacred Maori rock carvings before arriving at the Lodge to witness the preparation of ground cooked hangi and tasting it for yourself!

After lunch, we’ll depart for the lush, green Whirinaki rainforest for a guided tour along the Rongoa trail. Spot native endangered birds and ancient medicinal plants, and learn more about the history of the forest, including the myths and legends before enjoying a hot kawakawa tea in the forest and a final karakia.

This evening, our destination is Taupo. First, we’ll stop at the spectacular Huka Falls to see more than 22,000 litres of water per second thundering into the Waikato River. Then we’ll continue on to our hotel, the fabulous Hilton Taupo, a 19th-century building that combines Victorian charm with modern decor. The resort-style hotel houses a tennis court, a fitness centre and swimming pools.

Visit:: Murupara, Whirinaki, Taupo

Accommodation: Hilton Taupo or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Hangi Lunch + Dessert

Activity: Kohutapu Lodge Tribal Tour, Whirinaki Rainforest Tour

Day 5

Taupo to Napier

After a delicious breakfast, it’s time to leave Taupo and travel along the Napier-Taupo Highway to what is widely regarded as the ‘Tuscany of the Southern Pacific’.

The stunning Hawke’s Bay region boasts some of the best wineries around and a visit here would not be complete without a trip to Church Road Winery. Established in 1897, the team at Church Road were the first in New Zealand to craft an exceptional Bordeaux-style Red Wine.

After a wine tasting, you’ll sit down for lunch in the magnificent Tom McDonald cellar to enjoy an afternoon of delicious food and exceptional wines and soak up the ambience and heritage of this historic building. Later, it’s an easy drive into the beautiful coastal town of Napier.

Known for its perfectly preserved Art Deco facades, Napier is often referred to as a 1930’s film set. You have the option to stroll along the tree-lined promenade this evening and sample some fresh seafood from one of the many restaurants.

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Te Pania or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Visit: Church Road Winery

Day 6

Napier to Wellington

Today it’s time to leave the Art Deco capital and journey down to Wellington, our sparkling capital city, where modern business style blends with a cultured, bohemian spirit.

On the way, we’ll stop in Greytown, Wairarapa’s oldest town, for a spot of lunch. A picturesque village with restored Victorian buildings, Greytown is a charming place to stop, refuel and do some boutique window shopping before we continue our journey to Wellington.

With a population of fewer than 200,000 people, there is no capital city on earth that marries relaxed and refined better than Wellington. The afternoon is free but we highly recommend a visit to our national museum Te Papa and your entrance fee is included. This evening is yours to explore Wellington.

Visit: Wairarapa, Wellington

Accommodation: Novotel Wellington or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

Activity: Te Papa

Day 7

Depart Wellington

Enjoy breakfast at leisure before checking out of your hotel. Whether you’re travelling home or decide to stay in Wellington for a few extra days, we hope you leave with many happy memories of your trip with us.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Explore the North Island in 7 days, 6 nights. This small-group tour combines New Zealand highlights with incredible lesser-known destinations will leave you in awe of New Zealand’s spectacular landscapes, heritage and culture, impressing even the most discerning traveller, and creating plenty of memories and stories to share for years to come.

Discover some of New Zealand’s best-kept secrets on this 7-day Northern Explorer Tour. As well as those must-see bucket-list destinations. You’ll have the chance to learn more about Maori culture at Lake Aniwhenua, experience life on a high country farm at Blue Duck Station and sample some magnificent wines in Napier – just to name a few things.

Travelers worldwide still have fond memories and still share stories of their Kirra Tour. We have been creating memorable New Zealand experiences since 1968. Our passion for this country is displayed through our unique itineraries.

 

  • Lake Aniwhenua Cultural Experience
  • Whirinaki Rainforest Tour
  • Huka Falls
  • Lunch at Church Road Winery
  • Coastal Pacific Train Experience
  • Abel Tasman National Park Vista Cruise

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Includes

  • Tour Guide
  • Small Group Tour – Max 24
  • Luxury Coach
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • 6 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 1 Dinner

Northern Explorer (Twin Share)

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If you are a group of 4 or more people, we can help you tailor your trip. We’ll take care of all the practicalities and make sure all the details are taken care of. 

All groups have a personal travel consultant with a 24/7 emergency phone.

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