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Thrifty Tours

Best of the North

Explore the best of the North Island. Cruise the sheltered waters of the Bay of Islands, visit the top of the country at Cape Reinga, explore ancient limestone caves, discover a pre-European Maori Village and enjoy a drink at the Green Dragon Inn after your tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set.

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Tour summary and feature

New Zealand independent tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$1,734 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Auckland

5 days/4 nights

Motels

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 106 times in the last 7 days

Tour at a glance
Brief itinerary - Best of the North

Day 1: Head north to Bay of Islands, Visit Waitangi and enjoy a cruise to the Hole in the Rock. Accommodation: Casa Bella Motel

Day 2: Visit the top of New Zealand on a Cape Reinga day tour. Accommodation: Casa Bella Motel

Day 3: Today return through Auckland and onto the city of Rotorua. Accommodation: Bella Vista Rotorua

Day 4: Travel to Waitomo Caves and then onto Rotorua, visit Tamaki Maori Village this evening. Accommodation: Bella Vista Rotorua

Day 5: Explore Rotorua's highlights then onto Hobbiton Movie set. After your LOTR experience return to Auckland City.

Detailed itinerary

Tour full itinerary

Day 1 - Head north to Bay of Islands, Visit Waitangi and enjoy a cruise to the Hole in the Rock

Best of the North - Day 1
Auckland to Paihia including Waitangi Tour and Hole in the Rock Cruise with GreatSights (Includes Lunch)

Starting in Auckland, travel north to the Bay of Islands. After arriving in Paihia, visit neighbouring Waitangi for a guided tour of the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds where in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Māori and the British Crown. Explore the original Treaty House, one of New Zealand's oldest and most visited historic homes and the Te Whare Runanga, a fully carved Māori meeting house, which is representative of all iwi in New Zealand. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds offer a truly unique insight into New Zealand's early history.
After returning to Paihia, you'll board the Dolphin Seeker. Enjoy the large outdoor viewing decks and keep a look out for dolphins, whales and other marine life, and enjoy a tasty picnic lunch during your cruise. Cruise past the Cape Brett Lighthouse, before arriving at the majestic Hole in the Rock. Admire the rock walls towering above you as the skipper navigates right through the narrow space (conditions permitting) before heading back into the inner islands of the Bay.

Your accommodation: Casa Bella Motel

The Casa Bella Motel is situated on a quiet Waterfront block and is located near restaurants, shops and the wharf. Facilities include a heated pool, spa and tennis court.

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Day 2 - Visit the top of New Zealand on a Cape Reinga day tour

Best of the North - Day 2
Cape Reinga & Ninety Mile Beach plus lunch with Fullers GreatSights

Journey to the very tip of the North Island and uncover a region of rich Māori tradition along the way on an unforgettable full-day tour. Travel along the sand-swept shore of Ninety Mile Beach in our purpose-built coach. Climb the massive sand dunes at Te Paki Stream and experience the thrill of sand-boarding. In Māori tradition, Cape Reinga or Te Rerenga Wairua is the place where spirits depart on their long journey back to the homeland. Stand at the northernmost point of New Zealand and drink in the panoramic views. As you stand beneath the iconic lighthouse, and watch the Tasman Sea and the mighty Pacific Ocean collide far below, you'll feel the power of this special place. Throughout the day your local driver guide will provide an entertaining and thought-provoking insight into the culture, history and natural wonders of the Far North. Your tour also includes a delicious locally prepared lunch to keep you fuelled throughout the day.

Your accommodation: Casa Bella Motel

The Casa Bella Motel is situated on a quiet Waterfront block and is located near restaurants, shops and the wharf. Facilities include a heated pool, spa and tennis court.

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Day 3 - Today return through Auckland and onto the city of Rotorua

Best of the North - Day 3
Paihia to Rotorua by Intercity Coach

Your journey will take you past scenic native forests and sub-tropical bush, before crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge to arrive into the spectacular city scene of Auckland. Continue south into the rich farmland of the Waikato and onto the cultural heart of the North Island and Rotorua City.

Rotorua Intercity Depot to Rotorua Accommodation

You will be collected from Intercity Depot and transferred to your accommodation.
Please note that this is a shared transfer, there may be 2-3 extra stops along the way.

Your accommodation: Bella Vista Rotorua

Bella Vista Rotorua offers motel accommodation just 10 minutes walk from the city centre and close to the lake front. Modern well-equipped units provide a comfortable stay.

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Day 4 - Travel to Waitomo Caves and then onto Rotorua, visit Tamaki Maori Village this evening

Best of the North - Day 4
Waitomo Glowworm Caves from Rotorua with GreatSights

Experience stunning scenery above and below ground on a sightseeing day tour from Rotorua to the fascinating Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Leaving Rotorua in the morning, travel through lush farmland, enjoying commentary from your local driver guide, who will point out sites of interest like Fitzgerald Glade, where trees have formed a tunnel of natural greenery arching over the road. On arrival in the small town of Waitomo in the King Country, take a 45-minute guided tour through the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, which were discovered in 1887 and are now one of New Zealand's most popular tourist attractions. See vaulted caverns, stalactites and stalagmites and hear how these limestone formations were created over millions of years. Your tour ends with a boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto, a subterranean cavern illuminated by the lights of thousands of tiny glowworms. After your Waitomo Caves tour retrace your steps and return to Rotorua, arriving in the early afternoon.

Tamaki Maori Village Cultural Tour and Hangi Dinner

Journey back in time to a Pre-European lifestyle experience of customs and traditions. Enjoy the night's festivities with the people of Tamaki Maori Village as you are treated to a banquet of succulent foods cooked the traditional Maori way. Rediscover the Maori village as it comes alive to the sound and activities of tribal songs, dances, myths, and legends and browse throughout the largest after hours tribal marketplace in Rotorua. Includes a hangi buffet feast that has cooked slowly underground.

Your accommodation: Bella Vista Rotorua

Bella Vista Rotorua offers motel accommodation just 10 minutes walk from the city centre and close to the lake front. Modern well-equipped units provide a comfortable stay.

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Day 5 - Explore Rotorua's highlights then onto Hobbiton Movie set. After your LOTR experience return to Auckland City

Best of the North - Day 5
Rotorua to Auckland including Rotorua Sights and Hobbiton Movie Set with GreatSights

Your full-day tour begins with a morning sightseeing tour around three of Rotorua's iconic visitor attractions. Visit the cultural centre at Te Puia and gain an insight into Māori traditions and ways of life, before entering a geothermal wonderland of impressive geysers and boiling mud pools. Then see New Zealand's agricultural industry in action with a sheep-shearing display and sheep dog trials at the Agrodome, and explore Rainbow Springs, a nature park which showcases native flora and fauna including the famous New Zealand kiwi. Following these Rotorua highlights, enjoy a scenic drive across the Kaimai Ranges to the Hobbiton Movie Set - a picturesque 1,250 acre farm near Matamata where scenes from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies were filmed. Take a guided tour and learn how this working farm was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth. Your guide will show you Hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, the Mill and many other structures from the movies. After your Hobbiton Movie Set tour, continue your journey to Auckland with GreatSights.

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Oct 26, 2021
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