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Emerald Lakes, Tongariro National Park

New Zealand's North Island self-drive tour

16 days from $8,390pp

Emerald Lakes, Tongariro National Park
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Tour highlights

  • Visit the native rainforest and black sand beaches just outside of Auckland.

  • Experience a traditional Māori cultural performance and hangi dinner.

  • Take in rugged volcanic landscapes of the Tongariro National Park by foot.

  • View a subterranean cavern lit up by the lights of thousands of glow-worms.

Price includes:

  • Activities and excursions as detailed
  • Fully insured vehicle rental
  • All accommodation
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Ask us if you would also like us to arrange your international flights at our preferred rates.

  • Arriving in Auckland, you’ll be welcomed by one of our representatives and driven in a private vehicle to your centrally located city accommodation. You’ll have the rest of the day to settle in and either explore the city or relax at your accommodation. We suggest visiting the Auckland War Memorial Museum to learn about the history of New Zealand, or venture to the Sky Tower and take in the 360-degree views of the city.

  • Today you’ll be collected from your accommodation and begin a private tour of the city. Some attractions you’re likely to visit include historic mansions and One Tree Hill, before heading to the west coast to experience the temperate rainforest and black sand beaches. You’ll be dropped back at your accommodation late in the afternoon and have the evening in the city. We recommend visiting the night markets that have a selection of snacks and delicacies to choose from.

  • You’ll take a taxi this morning to collect your hire car from the central depot and begin the drive to the Coromandel Peninsula. Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind for the beaches and relaxed atmosphere of this area. Once at your accommodation, you’ll have the rest of the day to relax or visit the nearby beach.

  • This morning, head out to explore the coastline of the Coromandel Peninsula by foot with your experienced guide learning about the history, flora, and fauna of the area. View areas such as historic gold-mining caves sparkling with glowworms, ancient Māori pa sites, and Hot Water Beach if the tide permits. Relax in your accommodation at the end of a busy day.

  • After breakfast, you’ll leave the Coromandel and head toward the geothermal area of Rotorua, with its boiling pools, mud baths, and lush forests that provide a different environment on your tour of the North Island. After checking in to your accommodation, you’ll learn about New Zealand’s flightless bird, the kiwi, and its conservation story.

  • You have the day to explore Rotorua. We recommend visiting Waimangu Volcanic Valley, the youngest geothermal valley, and walking through the native vegetation and sites such as Frying Pan Lake or taking a walk in the Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest. This evening, immerse yourself in Māori culture as you witness a traditional performance, listen to music, and taste a three-course hangi dinner.

  • Today is free to explore Rotorua further, relax at one of the spas, or venture further into Taupo. Here you can appreciate the green countryside, spectacular mountain scenery and native bush, or experience the exhilarating Huka Falls jetboat.

  • Make your way south toward Napier and Hawke’s Bay, where you’ll stay for the next three nights. We suggest relaxing at your accommodation for the rest of the day or visiting the gannet colony.

  • Experience a guided classic car tour today where you’ll learn about the earthquake that destroyed Napier in the 1930s and how the city rebuilt itself to reflect the architecture of the time. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore the surrounding vineyards or take a cultural tour.

  • Visit award-winning wineries today on a full day's tour around Hawke’s Bay. You’ll have the opportunity to sample the region’s varietals, as well as learn about the wine-making process.

  • Venture inland again as you drive toward the volcanic interior of the North Island, Tongariro National Park, where the three peaks of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu await. Spend the rest of your day at your accommodation in preparation for tomorrow.

  • You’ll experience the Tongariro Crossing today with your small group. Your guide will take you across the stark and spectacular volcanic terrain of Mount Tongariro, where you’ll have the chance to view steaming vents and hot springs, old lava flows, and views across the landscape.

  • After a leisurely morning, make your way to New Plymouth. Follow the winding road northeast and experience the landscape change from an open tussock-covered plateau below the active volcanoes to forest reserves. Take your time as you travel along the Forgotten World Highway, a designated heritage trail, and spend the rest of your day in your accommodation or strolling around New Plymouth.

  • Spend the day experiencing the contemporary city of New Plymouth with its various art galleries, vivid parks, cafes and restaurants. We recommend walking along the waterfront and visiting Te Rewa Rewa Bridge or Pukekura Park. Alternatively, make your way to Egmont National Park to walk one of the short trails here.

  • You’ll travel north today toward Auckland, stopping at Waitomo Caves along the way. Travel through the lush farmland of Waikato and enter the glowworm caves. You’ll view stalactites, stalagmites, and other limestone formations before finishing the tour with a silent boat ride through the glowworm grotto — a subterranean cavern lit up by the lights of thousands of tiny glowworms. After the tour, continue the drive north to Auckland where you’ll have one final night in New Zealand.

  • Make your way to Auckland Airport today and return your hire car as you join your international flight.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodations, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

Audley specialist Haley
Contact a New Zealand specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to New Zealand will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°F) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Coromandel Peninsula
Tongariro National Park
Taranaki & New Plymouth

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