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  • North Island SamplerNorth Island Sampler

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North Island Sampler

The North Island of New Zealand is known for lush landscapes, unique wildlife and unparalleled service. Arrive in Auckland to stunning harbors and friendly faces. Spend a day in New Zealand’s biggest city before you hop in the car and put the pedal to the metal. Bound for the Coromandel Peninsula, lush rainforests and remote beaches await to be discovered. Go fishing for some big ones or walk among one of the many coastal walkways. As your drive brings you to Rotorua you can relax in the Whakarewarewa Thermal area, learn about shearing on a traditional sheep farm or check out hundreds of giant rainbow trout at Rainbow Springs. One thing is for sure, adventure and nature are abundant in North Island Sampler, an ideal self-drive excursion through this distinctive country.

Trip Type: Adventure, Wildlife

North Island SamplerNorth Island Sampler

Day By Day

Day 1 – USA to Auckland
Today you will begin your Swain Destinations customized itinerary. Please note, international air has not been included in this package price. 

Day 2 – Cross the International Date Line
Cross the International Date Line, an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth that runs from the North to the South Pole - and defines one calendar day from the next. Crossing the International Date Line adds one day (24 hours) traveling west, and subtracts one day (24 hours) traveling east.

Day 3 – Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand
On arrival into Auckland, you will be met and transferred to your accommodation.

Auckland, ‘City of Sails’, located between two stunning harbors, enjoys a mild year-round climate Auckland is the country's most visited region and largest urban area, offering exciting activities and great shopping.

The city lies across a 7-mile wide volcanic isthmus separating two harbors. The Waitemata to the east opens into the Hauraki Gulf, and to the Pacific Ocean. The Manukau Harbour to the west offers many estuaries and surf beaches and opens to the Tasman Sea.

Auckland Harbour Sailing 
Enjoy the unique Auckland landscape from the water on this peaceful cruise. Feel the wind fill the sails and guide you under the harbor bridge and back past Auckland's landmarks. Engage the friendly local crew, and find out more about Auckland harbor and its great sailing past. Take a rope or steer the helm and help the crew sail this harbor cruising yacht. Sit back in the open cockpit for expansive views of the bustling city from the best view in town. Enjoy the 'City of Sails' as you join the yachts on the harbor and the relaxed pace of harbor sailing.

Starting Accommodation: Rydges Auckland

Day 4 – Auckland Maori Tour
Experience Auckland with a local Maori, who will guide you around this fantastic city and region, providing lots of information about its interesting history, places and people throughout the tour. See this magnificent city with its 48 volcanoes, as well as the amazing West Coast with just a small group of like-minded guests, and a Maori guide as your host throughout the day.

Experience some of New Zealand's finest scenery in the Auckland region and explore some important historic sites and learn more about the fascinating Maori culture and history along the way. Walk on the crater's edge of an ancient volcano and learn about Maori myths and legends that accompany many of the special places you visit. Discover dramatic cliff tops, stormy seas, unique black sand beaches and much more on the famous 'Wild West Coast'. Gain an insider's view into Maori Culture through your Maori guide, see Takarunga (Mount Victoria) in Devonport, where significant Maori chief is buried and see Tamaki Drive, one of the world's most beautiful city drives with sweeping views across the Waitemata Harbour.

Starting Accommodation: Rydges Auckland (L)

Day 5 – Wilderness Experience
Enjoy an afternoon tour of Auckland's largest Regional Park - the Waitakere Ranges. Travel to the Arataki Centre perched high in the Waitakere Ranges where the sweeping decks give breath-taking panoramic views. Head further west and experience the power of the wild and rugged west coast. Feel the black sand beneath your feet as you stroll along some of the most awe-inspiring beaches the world has to offer. Your eco-tour continues in the lush rainforest where you hear native birdsong as you walk the easy bush tracks amongst New Zealand's famous kauri trees and giant tree ferns.

Starting Accommodation: Rydges Auckland

Day 6 – Drive Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula
At your leisure for this delightful 2 hour drive via the main highway south and then east toward and over the Coromandel Ranges.

The Coromandel area has lush green rainforests riddled with groves of majestic Kauri trees - New Zealand’s answer to the California Redwood which put this country on the map with its timber production at the turn of the century. There are many magnificent beaches where you are the only one basking in the sun unless, of course, you are at the very popular Hot Water Beach. Here, natural hot waters fill your personal sand spa just feet from the blue Pacific.

Fishing in the Coromandel offers NZ snapper, kingfish, swordfish, tuna and marlin. If a fishing rod is not for you, you can still get your dinner by gathering clams, mussels or oysters off the rocks. For divers there is a two year old marine reserve to enjoy or you can go outside the reserve to the nearby rocks and dive for scallops, lobsters or abalone. The water offers other activities like kayaking to get a closer view of sea caves and the coastline, and between the months of December and March you can give a try at swimming with the dolphins, truly a euphoric experience!

Starting Accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort

Day 7 – At leisure, Coromandel Peninsula
New Zealander's cherish the coastal hamlet of Coromandel for its rustic tranquility. Sheltered bays, peaceful bush walks and a burgeoning arts community are all within 2 hours drive from Auckland. Once a thriving gold mining town, Coromandel now houses 1,000 residents, 4 pubs and a family of bottlenose dolphins that love company. Explore the scenic delights of the area with the experts from Kiwi Dundee Adventures. Specializing in deluxe soft adventure tours and walks, rest assured you will be guided through some of the most stunning landscapes in the country, from semi-tropical rainforest with giant ferns and crystal clear streams to old historic gold caves sparkling with glowworms.

Starting Accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort (B)

Day 8 – Drive Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua
At your leisure as you drive south toward the famous thermal wonderland of Rotorua – one of New Zealand’s main tourist destinations. It is famous for its thermal wonders of bubbling mud pools and geysers, and as a center for the Maori Culture of New Zealand.

Allow for a 2 to 3 hour drive today. Some of your options for things to see in Rotorua include the Whakarewarewa Thermal area with its boiling mud pools and spouting geysers, the Maori arts and Crafts institute or beautiful rainbow springs where crystal clear pools are home to hundreds of giant rainbow trout. The Rainbow farm has various daily activities of a typical New Zealand farm such as sheep shearing, shepherding with sheep dogs, cow milking and butter churning.

Marae Hangi Dinner & Concert
This tour offers transport to and from a Marae by coach. Tonight is a spiritual experience you will never forget with Marae protocol, entertainment, Maori culture and feasting.

En route to the Marae, the guide explains the protocol to take place. The group on board is prepared for the wero (challenge) and welcome to the Marae. Upon entering the exquisitely carved meeting house, you will hongi (greet - pressing of noses) with your host. The tradition means you are a friend and may consider yourself one of the family. Now sit back and enjoy the culture of the Maori people. See the fierce Haka (war dance), twirling of poi balls, stick games and other entertainment.

From here we move to the Hangi pit to see the traditional Maori method of food preparation before heading into the dining room for a Hangi (feast). After the feast, you are transferred back to your Rotorua accommodation by coach.

Starting Accommodation: Novotel Rotorua Lakeside (B, D)

Day 9 – At leisure, Rotorua
Rotorua provides an abundance of things to do and places to go for travelers of all ages. Rotorua will certainly ensure a wonderful holiday from peaceful tours through to adrenalin-pumping action, in the air, on the lake, river, or land. In fact, there is such a mind-boggling array of wonderful attractions and distractions that you may not even know where to start upon arrival. As a family you could soar high up in the sky and receive a bird's eye view of Rotorua or experience the geothermal Rotorua through its distinctive sights and smells. There of course are more relaxing activities for those searching for a calmer experience and a basket full of free and low cost activities and attractions for those traveling on a budget. Offering culture and history, as well as adventure and thrills, Rotorua is a perfect destination!

Starting Accommodation: Novotel Rotorua Lakeside

Day 10 – Auckland to USA
Allow 3-4 hours leisurely drive (145 miles), but if possible allow some time to take in the sights along the way back to Auckland. Return your rental vehicle at the airport depot before boarding your departure flight to the USA.

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Rydges Auckland
SKYCITY Grand Hotel
Coromandel Peninsula
Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort
Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort
Novotel Rotorua Lakeside
Peppers on the Point


Pricing for this package is on request. Please call a Swain Destinations Specialist to customize this journey.

Terms and Conditions

Prices are per person, twin/double share in USD. All highlighted savings are reflected in the price. Price does not include airfare unless otherwise stated. Travel may be limited to certain days of the week. Hotels and tours remain subject to availability. Cancellation penalties and other booking or alteration restrictions may exist. Please note blackout dates may apply to Christmas, New Year and local special event periods. Pricing may increase over Holiday and special event periods and may not be reflected in price grid. Prices indicated remain subject to change without notice. Prices are not guaranteed until full payment is received and processed. CST #2012413-20 See our full Terms and Conditions: www.swaindestinations.com/terms