Arrive at Auckland Airport on Day 1, transfer to your accommodation and settle in. Travel to Paihia and set off on a cruise in search of playful dolphins and other marine life on Day 2 and return to Auckland on Day 3. Visit the Waitomo Caves on Day 4 to marvel at shimmering glow worms. Set foot on the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie sets on Day 5. Visit Taupo on Day 6 and Napier on Days 7-8 for a fun-filled wine-tasting afternoon. Continue your trip to Wellington on Day 9 with free time to explore the city. Your trip will come to an end on Day 10 with an airport drop-off.
Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 01: Auckland Airport Pick-up
As you arrive at Auckland Airport you will be transferred to your accommodation for check-in. Enjoy the rest of the day to settle in this beautiful city. Overnight in Auckland.
Day 02: Hole in the Rock and Dolphin Viewing Discovery Cruise to Paihia
Travel to Paihia today, where our experienced and knowledgeable crew will welcome you at the wharf to take you on a half-day Bay of Islands cruise in search of dolphins and other marine life. Enjoy the views from your cruise as you journey around the Bay of Islands' 144 islands, right to the end of the Cape Brett Peninsula, to the famous Hole in the Rock on Motukokako Island.
The warm water in the Bay of Islands attracts lots of marine mammals such as common and bottlenose dolphins, whales and other marine life, keep an eye out to be able to observe them during your cruise, and have your camera ready as we get you up close to the action. Then the boat will cruise past the Cape Brett Lighthouse before reaching the amazing Hole in the Rock and her guardian.
According to Māori legend, local warriors used to paddle through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof above were a good omen. If conditions permit, your skipper will expertly guide the ship through the narrow space... and if you get dripped on, consider yourself lucky!
Commentary will be provided throughout the trip where you will learn interesting historical and cultural facts that are significant to the Bay of Islands. Overnight in Paihia.
Day 03: Paihia to Auckland
Travel back to Auckland today and enjoy free time to stroll around the city on your own. Overnight in Auckland.
Day 04: Waitomo Glowworm Experience to Rotorua
Leaving Auckland in the morning we travel through the Waikato and King Country regions, passing by flourishing farmland and picturesque countryside. Your experienced local driver guide will provide entertaining commentary and point out highlights along the way, such as Rangiriri, where in 1863 a major battle was fought between colonial forces and those loyal to the Māori King.
On arrival in the small town of Waitomo, you'll meet your knowledgeable local guide, who will give you a tour of the caves including commentary on their fascinating geological and cultural history. Experience a 45-minute guided tour through the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, a series of limestone caves formed over 30 million years ago. Learn all about stalagmites, stalactites and other intriguing rock formations as you walk through the caverns, and finish the tour with an enchanting boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto, illuminated by thousands of tiny glowworms spread across the ceiling like a blanket of stars. This peaceful and magical experience is hard to beat. You will emerge into a picturesque setting of native New Zealand bush before following a short trail back up to the Waitomo Caves visitor complex.
Here you can take in the views and enjoy lunch (at own expense), before returning to Rotorua. On arrival check-in your new accommodation and overnight.
Day 05: Hobbiton Experience
Today you will make your way to the designated meeting point to be picked up and travel to the Waikato region of New Zealand's North Island, and immerse yourself in the rural Kiwi town of Matamata. Here you will find the famous Hobbiton movie set, known for its dramatic views of picturesque countryside and the Kaimai Ranges, where the award-winning films of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were filmed by Sir Peter Jackson.
Visit this magical movie set and pristine countryside of The Shire, which was created on the grounds of an actual beef and sheep farm. Take a guided tour through beautiful landscapes and hobbit homes where Pippin, Merry, Sam, Frodo and Bilbo came to life. Peek into hobbit holes and explore many of the sets and structures like the Mill and the Green Dragon Inn which were created specifically for these two famous films. Learn about the complex process of transforming farmland into Middle-Earth.
At the end of the tour you will return to Rotorua, you will be dropped-off at the meeting point and have the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Rotorua.
Day 06: Rotorua to Taupo
Today you travel from Rotorua to Taupo (approx 1 hr) where you will have the full day to explore this awesome town on your own. There is no shortage of activities on offer in Taupo, be it an adrenaline rush or the more sedate - there is something for everyone! From the ever popular Bungy to Taupo being internationally known as a mecca for adventure activities like Skydiving to Jet Boating and Scenic Flights to Taupo's AC Baths. Check out Taupo's one and only Starlight Cinema! Overnight in Taupo.
Day 07: Taupo to Napier
Today you will travel to Napier, the main 'port' city of the Hawke's Bay region. Razed by earthquake and fire in 1931, Napier has one of the largest concentrations of Art Deco buildings in the world. Napier has many tourist attractions and travel activities with something to suit all ages, tastes and budgets. From adrenaline-pumping adventure to a relaxing day out, you will never be bored in Napier. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to take advantage of the city and its many activities, and overnight.
Day 08: Hawke's Bay Wine Tour
Today, you will be picked-up from your accommodation to join a fun filled wine tasting afternoon in the sun driving through absolutely stunning scenery. Meet like-minded people and share an appreciation of this region's fantastic wine. We will visit four to five wineries and enjoy a cheese platter in the grounds of Ngatarawa Vineyard beside the lily pond. You will taste around 30 different wines including the main varieties, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Pinot Gris, Viognier and the lesser known aromatics such as Gewurztraminer and Riesling. After the tour you will be dropped-off at your Napier accommodation for overnight.
Day 09: Napier to Wellington
Today you will travel from Napier to the capital of New Zealand, Wellington. This trip takes approximately 5 hours. Overnight in Wellington.
Day 10: Wellington Airport Drop-off
Today is your last day of the trip. Enjoy the morning in Wellington before checking out of your accommodation in time to catch your return airport transfer, where this amazing adventure will come to an end.