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Northern Explorer
Northern Explorer Leaving National Park Southbound
Auckland skyline
Northern Explorer, Mount Ruapehu
Cable car, Wellington
Napier Aerial View
Rotorua
Doors to Hobbiton Holes, Movie set, New Zealand

North Island Track & Trail

7 day Self Drive & Rail – from £955

An exciting journey of discovery around New Zealand’s volcanic North Island, combining a classic Wellington to Auckland self drive with the comfort and breathtaking scenery of the Northern Explorer rail experience.

Highlights:
  • Travel the length of North Island on the scenic Northern Explorer train
  • Explore the city of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital
  • Sample some of the wines of Hawkes Bay
  • Witness the majestic peaks of Tongariro National Park
  • Experience the thermal wonders of Rotorua

Your Itinerary

Expand All

Your North Island Track & Trail self drive can be personalised by adding extra nights or even extra places along the way. It can also be completed in either direction.

Auckland skyline

Day 1 – Auckland

Spend time in Auckland today before for your North Island rail adventure. The main shopping area…

Spend time in Auckland today before for your North Island rail adventure. The main shopping area around Queen Street leads down to the lively bars and restaurants along the Waterfront.

For a panoramic view of this harbourside city, ascend the Sky Tower, once the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere, or hike to the summit of Eden Hill, the remnant of a prehistoric volcano within the city.

    Skycity Auckland

Auckland skyline
Northern Explorer, Mount Ruapehu

Day 2 – Northern Explorer to Wellington

Board the Northern Explorer today for one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world….

Board the Northern Explorer today for one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. Leaving the City of Sails behind, you will travel through the wide Waikato Plains, home to the Hobbiton film set. Then, as it meets the Southern Plateau, the train will climb over 450 feet through the astonishing Raurimu Spiral, an engineering masterpiece opened in 1908.

Traversing the Tongariro National Park, the peaks of several volcanoes come into view before the line soars over several deep ravines on a series of 30 to 80 metre tall majestic viaducts.

The Northern Explorer then descends through the narrow gorges of the Rangitikei River and over several more elegant bridges to the Kapiti Coast. There follows some spectacular ocean views before your late afternoon arrival into Wellington.

    Auckland > Wellington | 648 kms by rail

    Travelodge Wellington, 2 nights

Northern Explorer, Mount Ruapehu
Cable car, Wellington

Day 3 – Wellington

Enjoy a full day exploring the delightful city of Wellington, New Zealand’s much loved capital. For a…

Enjoy a full day exploring the delightful city of Wellington, New Zealand’s much loved capital.

For a great view of the harbour and mountains beyond, take the cable car to the pretty Wellington Botanical Gardens. Down below, be sure to visit the world class Te Papa Museum, which tell the history of New Zealand. Or Simply chill out around trendy Cuba Street, home to street artists, historic buildings and plenty of cosy cafés and bars.

Cable car, Wellington
Napier Aerial View

Day 4 – Napier & Hawkes Bay

Collect your car this morning for a leisurely drive through mountains, rolling hills, farms and wineries…

Collect your car this morning for a leisurely drive through mountains, rolling hills, farms and wineries towards the Pacific coast. You will pass through historic Greytown, with many 19th Century heritage buildings along its main street, and many other country towns and villages along the way.

Your overnight stay is in Napier on New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay. This fascinating art deco town was substantially rebuilt in the 1930s after a powerful earthquake. There are superb vineyards and beaches in the area.

    Wellington > Napier | 325 kms

    Scenic Hotel Te Pania

Napier Aerial View
Rotorua

Day 5 & 6 – Taupo & Rotorua

Drive inland from Napier through mountain forests and hillside pastures to the beautiful lakeside resort of…

Drive inland from Napier through mountain forests and hillside pastures to the beautiful lakeside resort of Taupo. Close by are the spectacular Huka Falls and the thermal phenomena of Hells Gate, before arriving in Rotorua for a two night stay.

The popular waterside town of Rotorua is the centre of New Zealand’s geothermal region and there is plenty to explore, from steaming crevasses and mud pools to sulphur strings and geysers. There is also an excellent Maori village and culture centre.

    Napier > Rotorua | 220 kms

    Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua

Rotorua
Doors to Hobbiton Holes, Movie set, New Zealand

Day 7 – Hobbiton & Auckland

The eastern route to Auckland is the most scenic, passing through the attractive town of Matamata,…

The eastern route to Auckland is the most scenic, passing through the attractive town of Matamata, where fans of the Lord of the Rings can tour the Hobbiton filmset. A hiking trail near the town leads to the spectacular Wairere Falls, the highest in New Zealand.

Cross the fertile farmland of the Waikato Plain again to complete your circular Road and Rail trip in Auckland. Return your car here or talk to your FREEDOM consultant if you would like to extend your trip with stays in the Coromandel Peninsula or Bay of Islands.

    Rotorua > Auckland | 225 kms
Doors to Hobbiton Holes, Movie set, New Zealand

Your Itinerary

Your North Island Track & Trail self drive can be personalised by adding extra nights or even extra places along the way. It can also be completed in either direction.

Day 1

|

Auckland

Spend time in Auckland today before for your North Island rail adventure. The main shopping area around Queen Street leads down to the lively bars and restaurants along the Waterfront.

For a panoramic view of this harbourside city, ascend the Sky Tower, once the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere, or hike to the summit of Eden Hill, the remnant of a prehistoric volcano within the city.

    Skycity Auckland

Auckland skyline

Day 2

|

Northern Explorer to Wellington

Board the Northern Explorer today for one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. Leaving the City of Sails behind, you will travel through the wide Waikato Plains, home to the Hobbiton film set. Then, as it meets the Southern Plateau, the train will climb over 450 feet through the astonishing Raurimu Spiral, an engineering masterpiece opened in 1908.

Traversing the Tongariro National Park, the peaks of several volcanoes come into view before the line soars over several deep ravines on a series of 30 to 80 metre tall majestic viaducts.

The Northern Explorer then descends through the narrow gorges of the Rangitikei River and over several more elegant bridges to the Kapiti Coast. There follows some spectacular ocean views before your late afternoon arrival into Wellington.

    Auckland > Wellington | 648 kms by rail

    Travelodge Wellington, 2 nights

Northern Explorer, Mount Ruapehu

Day 3

|

Wellington

Enjoy a full day exploring the delightful city of Wellington, New Zealand’s much loved capital.

For a great view of the harbour and mountains beyond, take the cable car to the pretty Wellington Botanical Gardens. Down below, be sure to visit the world class Te Papa Museum, which tell the history of New Zealand. Or Simply chill out around trendy Cuba Street, home to street artists, historic buildings and plenty of cosy cafés and bars.

Cable car, Wellington

Day 4

|

Napier & Hawkes Bay

Collect your car this morning for a leisurely drive through mountains, rolling hills, farms and wineries towards the Pacific coast. You will pass through historic Greytown, with many 19th Century heritage buildings along its main street, and many other country towns and villages along the way.

Your overnight stay is in Napier on New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay. This fascinating art deco town was substantially rebuilt in the 1930s after a powerful earthquake. There are superb vineyards and beaches in the area.

    Wellington > Napier | 325 kms

    Scenic Hotel Te Pania

Napier Aerial View

Day 5 & 6

|

Taupo & Rotorua

Drive inland from Napier through mountain forests and hillside pastures to the beautiful lakeside resort of Taupo. Close by are the spectacular Huka Falls and the thermal phenomena of Hells Gate, before arriving in Rotorua for a two night stay.

The popular waterside town of Rotorua is the centre of New Zealand’s geothermal region and there is plenty to explore, from steaming crevasses and mud pools to sulphur strings and geysers. There is also an excellent Maori village and culture centre.

    Napier > Rotorua | 220 kms

    Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua

Rotorua

Day 7

|

Hobbiton & Auckland

The eastern route to Auckland is the most scenic, passing through the attractive town of Matamata, where fans of the Lord of the Rings can tour the Hobbiton filmset. A hiking trail near the town leads to the spectacular Wairere Falls, the highest in New Zealand.

Cross the fertile farmland of the Waikato Plain again to complete your circular Road and Rail trip in Auckland. Return your car here or talk to your FREEDOM consultant if you would like to extend your trip with stays in the Coromandel Peninsula or Bay of Islands.

    Rotorua > Auckland | 225 kms
Doors to Hobbiton Holes, Movie set, New Zealand

Your Rail & Self Drive Includes

6 nights hotel accommodation
4 days car hire, with unlimited kilometres
Northern Explorer rail journey

Flights & More

Ask your FREEDOM Consultant to include Economy, Premium or Business Class flights for a complete ABTA and ATOL protected package.

They can also add extra nights and experiences in places you choose, to create the exact holiday you are looking for. Popular options include:

  • An upgrade to deluxe hotels
  • Extra nights in Auckland, Wellington or other places on the way
  • A stay in the beautiful Bay of Islands

Next Step

Please get in touch with our New Zealand Experts to start planning your holiday. You’ll have a single point of contact from your first enquiry through booking.

North Island Track & Trail

7 day Self Drive & Rail – from £955

All prices are per person, based on two people sharing a double or twin room, and include pre-booked accommodation, air-conditioned car and unlimited kilometres. Hotels specified are subject to availability and may be substituted by one of a similar or higher standard. Seasonal supplements may apply.

Map

North Island Track & Trail, Rail & Self Drive Holiday, Route Map

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