7 Great Days – Central North Island Highlights!

New Zealand Self-Drive Tour from Auckland to Auckland

Season 2023/2024

One of the most fascinating New Zealand Self Drive Tours 4.8/5

Visiting the Central Plateau North Island Highlights of New Zealand


Experience the famous Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, a Maori cultural performance in an authentic Maori Village peppered with a traditional Hangi dinner, see Geysers and take a thrilling Jetboat ride to the Huka Falls. Enjoy stunning views of the volcanoes and explore the vibrant City of Sails – Auckland.

This self drive tour is an awesome week in New Zealand to explore some of the major highlights of the North Island. After experiencing the included, iconic activities you will rest in pre-booked accommodations at the end of each great day.

  • We recommend to book optional activities in advance to avoid unnecessary stress and to secure a place at the often highly demanded activities.

Explore the diversity of this extraordinary country on a fantastic route with stunning experiences. This tour package can be customized to suit your requirements precisely. All our self drive tours can also be booked with a chauffeur/tour guide as a private tour option! Please let us know your special requests.

p.P. in Double Room or Twin Share from:

2,845.00 NZD

  • *) Please note:
    • All Prices in New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
    • incl. 15% GST (New Zealand Goods & Services Tax)
    • Daily Departures
  • Tour Options/Upgrades:
    • Upgrade/Downgrade Options: 3-5+ Star Hotels/Motels, Boutique Lodges, Luxury Retreats, Rental Category, Activities, Tour extensions etc.
New Zealand Tours Sepcialist Tour Operator DMC
New Zealand Tourism Board certified specialist

Please look at our other New Zealand self-drive tours and if you can’t find the right tour – no problem! Get in touch here! We are happy to offer you the perfect New Zealand holiday.

Behind this website are real people who want to share their enthusiasm and expertise for this country. You enjoy your New Zealand holiday, we take care of the rest.
Get in touch with us!
  • Stunning and proven New Zealand itineraries

    Accommodations and meals | Activities package: All admissions, tours and activities marked as such in the tour itinerary | Detailed driving information, road maps, route book, and more.

  • Extras for your individual New Zealand Tour holiday

    Numerous additional options and individual tips possible | Tour price options (upgrade/downgrade) possible in Standard, Superior and Luxury categories (3-5 star hotels/motels, boutique lodges, rental car category, tour extension, etc.) | Personal "Meet & Greet" service possible (private shuttle/transport airport, city hotel, cruise terminal, etc.)

  • Rental car incl. all inclusive Insurance with GPS

    All-Inclusive rental insurance or with variable excess | GPS navigation | airport/ferry handling fees | unlimited mileage | additional drivers

  • Ideal prices thanks to daily currency conversion

    Perfect for you: We offer our tours in NZD$  (New Zealand Dollar). Experience has shown that this is often more favourable for our guests during the booking period than a fixed price in your local currency, which may include possible currency fluctuations at the time of travel.
    All prices in New Zealand Dollar (NZD) incl. 15% GST (New Zealand Goods and Services Tax) and incl. all taxes applicable in New Zealand.

  • 24-hours Support while you are in New Zealand

    Details on how you can reach us at any time during your New Zealand holiday - in your time zone - can be found in the travel documentation.

Included within this package

  • Accommodation: for 6 nights staying in Motels

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  • Rental car hire:
      • included as specified for the duration of the tour package
      • Rental car insurance: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible
      • unlimited kms
      • airport terminal fees
      • additional drivers
  • Tour pack:

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    • Includes:
      • Skytower Auckland Orbit 360 Dinner
      • Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
      • Redwoods Treewalk at Night
      • Te Puia Maori Experience
      • Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
      • Waitomo Glowworm Caves Tour
      • Aranui Caves Combo
    • Optional:
      • Mitai Maori Village
      • Kiwi Hatchery
      • Rotorua Original Canopy Tours
      • Hukafalls Jet Boat Ride
      • Volcanic Air Scenic Flight by Floatplane
      • Agrodome Sheep Shearing & Sheep Dog  Show
      • we suggest you more experiences...
  • While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support

Quick overview:

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  • Day 4: Rotorua to Taupo
  • Day 5: Taupo to Waitomo via Tongariro National Park
  • Day 6: Waitomo to Auckland City
  • Day 7: Depart Auckland today, Farewell from New Zealand

Additional Information:


  • Before you travel to New Zealand - New Zealand travel tips - Good to know!
  • You can travel Auckland-Christchurch or Christchurch-Auckland.
  • This tour package can be customized to suit your requirements precisely!
  • Please let us know your special request or if you want to stay a bit longer. We will tailor your holiday.
  • Bookings are essential even if the tours are operating daily. Please send us your dates for reservations.

We all know Terms and Conditions are really boring.


These are no exception. We fell asleep two times while we wrote them!

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BUT - we need them so that there is no misunderstanding if you decide to change or cancel anything. If you transact through this website then we will give you every chance to read these. Any quotes and bookings undertaken are done so on the understanding that you have read and agree to these terms. Please read here  our Terms & Conditions for payment options and cancellation policy.
We play fair and we know we play with people who play fair!

  • Our tours incl. all tax, fees and admissions
  • All prices are displayed/charged in NZ$ and may vary in your home currency depending on currency conversion rates.
  • This tour price is based on 2 people sharing one room and may vary depending on type of accommodation (Motel, Boutique Lodges, 3-5 Star Hotels). Of course, we can provide more options in type of car, accommodation, also in route and duration of your tour.


Tour Details:

The following summary lists driving information for each major driving day of your itinerary. Times and distances are based on ideal conditions  without stops. Plan to take longer than the times listed below to allow time to explore and enjoy some stops.

Day 1

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  • Welcome to Auckland City
  • Your tour documentation pack and support
  • Fullers Auckland Harbour Cruise – suggested activity

Auckland, New Zealand’s self-proclaimed ‘City of Sails’ is the country’s largest metro area. Resting between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, this urban paradise has something for everyone. Surrounded by native bush, rainforests and an abundance of beaches, Auckland is a playground for both the city savvy and those with an eye for adventure. Explore the central city museums and galleries on foot, or take a drive through one of over 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.

Day 2


  • Auckland to Rotorua
  • Driving distance and time for this leg,  220 kms / 136 miles: 2.6 hours

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Auckland to Rotorua: The drive south from Auckland takes you past the Bombay Hills and into the rolling farmland and rich dairy pastures of the Waikato. The Bombay Hills mark the outer boundary of greater Auckland area and it’s here you turn inland to central Waikato. You’ll soon go through the town of Matamata where you can visit the fully intact Hobbiton film set used in the shooting of the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Continuing on, you’ll pass several small farming communities before telltale signs of steam and other geothermal activity signal your arrival into Rotorua.


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Marvel at the beautiful bush setting and see warriors in traditional dress who paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream while trout and eels swim beneath the surface. Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal and round your evening off with a spectacular cultural performance that tells the story of the Maori people, their past, carvings, and ta Moko -Tattoo art. Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat and be amazed by the spine tingling Haka finale. Truly an experience to remember.

Day 3

  • Explore Rotorua

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  • Rotorua Canopy Tours: The Original Canopy Tour – suggested activity
  • Sheep Shearing &  Sheep Dog Show
  • Kiwi Hatcheryr – suggested activity
  • Orakei Korako Hidden Valley with Volcanic Air Safaris by floatplane – suggested activity

Explore Rotorua: Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. But geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, Rotorua is the perfect place to immerse yourself in our local culture. Spend a evening at Mitai Maori Village for a hangi dinner and Maori performance. Book in for some relaxation at the Polynesian Spa and choose between a mud wrap, coconut oil massage or private mineral pool soak – or perhaps just get them all!

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Land in a helicopter on White Island, New Zealand’s most active volcano and traverse the crater for a once-in-a-lifetime hike. Those in need of an adrenaline rush, should spend time at Agroventures Adventure Park static skydiving, bungy jumping, and ‘swooping’ on the giant swing. For a calmer day out, head up the Skyline Gondola for awe-inspiring views of the lake.

While you’re there, grab a night luge pass for an extra thrill.  Round off your Rotorua stay at the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and see the multicolored hot springs, geysers and boiling, mud pools.

Day 4

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  • Rotorua to Taupo
  • Driving distance and time for this leg,  75 kms / 47 miles: 0.8 hours

Rotorua to Taupo: Today drive through the heart of the Central North Island volcanic plateau.

Visit the thermal regions Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Waimangu Volcanic Valley before arriving into the town of Taupo, which sits on New Zealand’s largest lake – Lake Taupo – a volcanic caldera formed following a massive eruption in the year 186. Just north are the Huka Falls and a short detour to view is highly recommended. Get up close to the spray with a thrilling jet boat ride or see the nearby Craters of the Moon geothermal reserve with its great walking tracks around boiling pools and steaming vents.

Taupo is a lively place with many shops, bars and cafes all catering for the traveller and visitor. A whole host of activities can be undertaken here such as bungy jumping, sky diving, fishing for trout in the lake and rivers, kayaking, sailing, horse riding and walking and hiking to name a few.

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The excitement continues right up to the base of the foaming Huka Falls, where you get a spectacular water level view to New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction. Nothing compares to watching 220,000 litres per second tumbling over the cliff face towards you.

The water from the mighty Huka Falls runs down the Waikato River through a series of Hydro Power Stations. You’ll get a view of the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station in the comfort of a powerful Chevrolet V8 jet boat. This unique Power Station uses underground geothermal activity to produce hot steamy water. The Waikato Rivers beautiful environment is varied and unique and is New Zealand’s longest river flowing north from our largest lake – Lake Taupō.

Day 5

  • Taupo to Waitomo via Tongariro National Park

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  • INCLUDED – Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and Aranui Cave Tour
  • Driving distance and time for this leg,  233 kms / 145 miles: 2.9 hours

Taupo to Waitomo via Tongariro National Park: Skirting Lake Taupo you arrive into the trout fishing capital of New Zealand, Turangi before heading into Tongariro National Park and its famous peaks.  Rich farmland of the King Country accompanies you to the limestone region of Waitomo.

INCLUDED – Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and Aranui Cave tour: For over 100 years Waitomo Glow-worm Caves have attracted people from all over the world to this subterranean wonderland. An ancient underground labyrinth of limestone caves, grottos, amazing stalactites and stalagmites.

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INCLUDED – Waitomo Glow-Worm Caves: Formed over 30 million years ago there are two levels to the Waitomo Glow-Worm Caves which are 16 metres apart. The upper level is dry and includes the entrance to the cave, the Catacombs and the Organ Loft. The lower level consists of stream passages and the Cathedral. As you glide quietly beneath the lights of thousands of glow-worms, it is only the gentle sound of dripping water that reminds you that you are deep underground and not beneath a star filled sky.

INCLUDED – Aranui Cave: Located in Ruakuri Scenic Reserve, Aranui is a dry cave. There is only one entrance to Aranui and without a river flowing through, it houses very little life past the entrance. However, just inside the entrance is a colony of cave wetas. Aranui is famous for its beautiful arrays of stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones and unusual formations.

Day 6

  • Waitomo to Auckland City

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  • Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb – suggested activity
  • Driving distance and time for this leg,  178 kms / 110 miles: 2.1 hours

Waitomo to Auckland City: The lush farmland of the Waikato and the limestone hills of the Waitomo region provide some great scenery as you head north. Visit the Otorohanga Kiwi House en route for a great look at some of New Zealand’s native birds in particular our famous flightless namesake.

Day 7

  • Auckland day trips holidays new zealand self drive tours day tour one tree hill auckland private airport transfer day tripDepart Auckland today
  • Farewell from New Zealand
  • Driving distance and time for this leg,  25 kms / 16 miles: 0.4 hours

Depart Auckland today: Explore more of vibrant Auckland City before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey. Please remember: Fill up your car with fuel before returning it to the rental car depot at the airport.Farewell from New Zealand. Thank you for visiting our beautiful country!

Get in touch for your unforgettable New Zealand holiday. That’s what we are here for. Behind this website are real people who are at your disposal with expertise and passion for this extraordinary place in the world. We know where to go as we live here – and we are looking forward to sharing our hidden gems with you.

Enjoy the Holiday of a lifetime