With these tours we present some of our most popular and compelling self-drive itineraries. Experience the benefits of self driving but enjoy the convenience and security of us pre-booking your chosen type of accommodation and rental car. Just enjoy the travelling without having to worry about where you are going to stay.
Any of our itineraries can be modified as well as adding extra days in any of the locations. If you require something completely different, please advise and we will be happy to put something together.
During your trip you can call us anytime to make amendments to your tour, book extra activity or simply ask for some advice. We will be happy to help you anytime of the day or night.
Packages are priced per person based on double occupancy/twin share. Prices do not include international airfare
Plan and Book Ahead
Preplanning and pre-booking your New Zealand vacation before you depart is essential. Limited accommodation in certain areas during the high season could mean that a town’s accommodation can be booked out well in advance. Without pre-booking, you may find that the you pay a higher rate upon check-in or waste a lot of time travelling between accommodation providers trying to find a suitable option.
We know the best places and with our discounted rates you are guaranteed of receiving well chosen accommodation options at the best possible price. Pre-planning will ensure you make the most of your valuable holiday time. Acrossnz is well-versed with all areas of New Zealand and is totally experienced at arranging well planned self drive itineraries. Feel free to ask the advice of Acrossnz when planning your self drive adventure to make sure you maximize your holiday experience.
Book early: New Zealand has very limited availability in the summer months and often books out well in advance. It is recommended to book early to avoid disappointment.
Create Your Own Self Drive Holiday
Along with choosing one of our prearranged itineraries you can construct your own ‘a la carte’ holiday by booking the rental vehicle from this link and selecting your accommodation from our accommodation link. If you choose to book your accommodation through our link we will happily assist with knowledge on your accommodation choices or amendment your itinerary to ensure your holiday is just what you want.
Camper Vans & Motor Homes
Perhaps you prefer to follow one of the itineraries we have created in a Motor Home? Just book the Motor Home with us and we will be happy to provide you for the full itinerary as well as assisting you with camping ground bookings. Click here to choose some of the cheapest options in NZ.
Arrive Auckland - Travel to Bay of Islands - Bay of Islands - Bay of Islands - Travel to Auckland - Travel to Rotorua via Waitomo Caves - Rotorua - Rotorua to Lake Taupo - Tongariro National Park - Travel to Auckland - Depart Auckland
Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest, busiest and most diverse city. Home to almost one third of the country’s population, and the business centre of the nation, it’s not surprising this vibrant metropolis is often mistaken for the country’s capital. Known as the ‘City of Sails’, Auckland is magnificently framed by the stunning waterways, the Hauraki Gulf and Manukau Harbour.
Easily highlights of the city, the harbour and marina are in walking distance of your accommodation. Distinct in its pace, opportunities and multi-cultural influences, Auckland offers many diverse events, attractions and experiences. Auckland is a popular arrival destination for starting your New Zealand holiday, a fantastic place for a city break or a perfect venue for an unforgettable surfing holiday.
Auckland, the “City of Sails”, lies on an extinct volcanic bed and is magnificently framed by geographic wonders – the stunning waterways of the Hauraki Gulf and Manukau Harbour and by native forests. From boats and boutiques, to surfing and socialising, Auckland is a marvellous multi-cultural city that offers so very many diverse events, attractions and experiences and is thus a great place for a city break.
Auckland to Paihia
Driving distance: 219 km / 136 miles
Driving: Approx 3h22m
The excitement of leaving Auckland via the magnificent Harbour Bridge and SH1 is quickly replaced by calm, scenic travelling options. Taking the east coast – take the exit to the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and the Gulf Harbour marina; visit the beach at Orewa; the thermal springs at Waiwera or taste some of the dairy delicacies at Puhoi before heading through native forests and farms – via pretty Warkworth and the Mahurangi River – towards Whangarei.
En route distractions could be the beach Pakiri (great for surfing and horse treks), Kaiwaka if your fondness is for Dutch cheese; or the stunning vistas at Mangawhai Heads, Langs Beach and Waipu Cove. Subtropical Whangarei has a beautiful harbour and all the attractions of a popular small town – fine dining, shopping and gallery options. Before the scenery and allure of the Bay of Islands totally absorbs you, make time to visit Kawakawa for – as improbable as it sounds – the famous public toilet designed by Austrian artist Frederick Hundertwasser!
The winding road via Opua and Paihia now leads to the breath-taking Bay of Islands. Driving along the west coast through Waipoua Forest you’ll come across the magnificent Tane Mahuta, the tallest kauri tree in an area that was once covered in kauri. Hokianga. Exit the forest and you come to the Hokianga Harbour with its huge white sand dunes and quiet beach communities.
When you travel back to Auckland, you should travel north via one coast, and back the other way.
The Bay of Islands lies in the heart of the Northland, 4 hrs north of Auckland, on the coast line; warm, friendly and relentlessly beautiful, the Bay cradles 144 islands ready for exploration. Cruise around the bay and weigh up your options: swim with the dolphins, big game fishing, exploring the Maritime and Historic Park, relaxing in the resort towns of Paihia or Russell, or learning about New Zealand’s early identity at Waitangi.
Paihia is the main township of the bay of Islands (BOI) and demands relaxation – rolling green hills meet sparkling blue waters which in turn lead you to the beautiful beaches. If sun-bathing and café hopping is just too slow, then there’s always sky diving, paragliding, fly trapezing, water or jet skiing and of course – swimming with dolphins (- this is the warmest water in NZ to swim with the dolphins).
Another interesting historic town is Russell, the location of the first permanent European settlement in New Zealand and the one-time capital city (in 1840). Nearby Kerikeri has a similar very early history and historic sites which include Mission House, the oldest wooden structure still standing in New Zealand, and The Stone Store whose construction began 19 April 1832 making it the oldest stone building in the country.
Waitangi is an extremely important place in New Zealand’s history and the Waitangi Meeting House commemorates this. In 1840 a treaty was signed between Maori and the British Crown and the resulting ‘Treaty of Waitangi’ became the founding document of modern day Aotearoa/New Zealand. The Waitangi Meeting House has displays, demonstrations and performances at regular intervals, be sure not to miss the striking waka – a carved wooden Maori war canoe.
Full day relaxing in and around the region.
As described on Day 3, Paihia and surrounds are home to some significant early New Zealand happenings.
Take today to explore and discover what every visitor to this region finds. An absolute treasure trove of goodies from self indulging in numerous activities, to shopping and delicious cafe fare, to learning about the local Maori and Pakeha historical buildings, culture and events.
Or it could be a great opportunity to catch up on some sleep, in readiness for more adventuring.
Paihia to Auckland
Driving distance: 219 km / 136 miles
Driving: Approx 3h22m
You can take a pleasant journey on the main highway to Auckland or you can go via Waipoua Forest on the west coast. This way will take you through the astounding Hokianga Harbour, giant native kauri forest, Kaipara Harbour and fresh water lakes.
Take time to stop and visit the Matakohe Kauri Museum. The museum contains stunning Kauri displays and tells the story of early pioneering days in the region.
Following on towards Auckland you can divert via Orewa, which will take you on a scenic coastal route with some seaside rest stops.
Auckland to Rotorua
Driving distance: 235 km / 146 miles
Driving: Approx 3h21m Travelling south on SH1, the buzz of the city gives way to the more bucolic sights and sounds of the country – farms, market gardens and rivers such as the Waikato. Interests en route include vineyards at Te Kauwhata, the historic battle site at Rangiriri, the coal-mining town (and museum) at Huntly and the thermal springs at Waingaro.
If time is plentiful, the Mormon temple at Temple View is open to visitors and Hamilton offers city delights: fine dining, great shopping, museums and impressive 50+ hectare gardens. SH3 leads towards Te Kuiti where the magnificent Tokanganui-a-noho Marae is worth a peek from the street.
However, easily the big attraction of this area is Waitomo and its series of spectacular limestone caves – let millions of luminescent dots light your way in the glow-worm caves, visit the Aranui caves for their huge multi-coloured stalactites or Ruakuri caves for the intriguing labyrinth of waterfalls and alcoves. Guided tours, cruises and black-water activities are available. The fabulous Ruakuri walkway (next to Aranui cave) follows the Waitomo River for 30 minutes revealing wonderful limestone formations and lush bush life.
Travelling south on SH1, the buzz of the city gives way to the more bucolic sights and sounds of the country – farms, market gardens and rivers. There are many interests en route, both urban and rural, vineyards at Te Kauwhata, the historic battle site at Rangiriri, the coal-mining town (and museum) at Huntly and the thermal springs at Waingaro. If time is plentiful and you’re looking for a diversion, there’s the beach at Raglan, known for its perfect surfing conditions, Maungatautari Ecological Island is 15kms from pretty Cambridge, the Mormon temple at Temple View is open to visitors.
Taking SH5 at Tirau – known for its fascinating animal-shaped corrugated iron buildings and antique shops – the route travels through the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park, over interesting volcanic terrain and leads to Rotorua.
Famed for its geothermal activity, Rotorua is utterly unique – peer into an active volcano and watch the belly of the earth bubble and roar as it leeches sulphurous steam trying to find its way out through thermal pools and geysers.
Steeped in Maori history and culture, and picturesque to boot, Rotorua offers a profusion of opportunities for the long or short-term visitor. The thermal activity in Rotorua is fascinating – as is the local constant companion, the smell of sulphur! There are many geysers to view although the Pohutu Geyser in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley at Te Puia is arguably Rotorua’s favourite geyser known for its 30 metre high steam spurts! Whakarewarewa Thermal Village is where the rich Maori history and culture of the region is detailed through song, dance and storytelling. However there is more to Rotorua than hiss and steam.
A visit wouldn’t be complete without seeing a few of the 16 magnificent lakes in this region – such as Lake Rotorua, Lake Tarawera or the beautiful Green (Rotokakahi) and Blue (Tikitapu) Lakes – perhaps even catch a trout for dinner? Popular water sports are kayaking, jet boating, water skiing, fishing (note that Green Lake is closed to public) and white water rafting (especially at the Kaituna River).
Nearby Mount Tarawera is known for its devastating volcanic eruption of 1886 which, in destroying three whole villages, also buried The Pink and White Terraces, a geological phenomenon considered to be the eighth wonder of the world. Opportunities for families – attractions and actions – abound.
For the adrenaline junkies why not try hurtling downhill in a plastic bubble, racing through space, body flying or bungy jumping 43 metres! But worry not, there’s always horse riding, orienteering and walks through the lovely Whakarewarewa (Redwood) Forest.
Rotorua to Taupo
Driving distance: 76 km / 47 miles
Driving: Approx 1h5m Whether you drive on SH30, then SH1 or follow SH5 south towards Taupo, a riveting journey is guaranteed and our recommended route is via SH5 so can visit Waimangu Geotherrmal Valley and/or Wai O Tapu.
Traversing this active geothermal area, the volcanic terrain is fascinating and has huge geological appeal. En route look out for the tremendous and unique thermal valleys. Wai-O-Tapu has been active for over 150,000 years and has some remarkable features such as the deep cauldron-like craters bubbling frantically with mud and the coloured pools. Waimangu Volcanic Valley is the world’s newest geothermal system and features both a scenic reserve and a wildlife refuge – walks, cruises and bus trips are available.
The more secluded Waikite Valley Thermal Pools are equally worth a diversion. Other interesting places to visit include the hydro power station at Atiamuri and the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station further south. For a natural, perhaps ‘raw’, experience of the pure energy of water, make time to see the stunning Aratiatia rapids and the Huka Falls where water hurtles down at a rate of more than 220, 000 litres per second.
Finally, the glistening harbour announces your arrival at the largest lake in New Zealand, Lake Taupo.
Taupo to Tongariro National Park
Driving distance: 133 km / 83 miles
Driving: Approx 1h56m
Three active volcanoes define the Tongariro National Park and deservedly elicit gasps of awe at the incredible sight of these huge geological beasts expelling lava. The three volcanic peaks are Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe.
The National Park is so naturally spectacular and culturally significant that it has been awarded the rare accolade of dual World Heritage Site status. Covering almost 80 000 hectares, the national park’s scenery is sublime and varied – dry deserts and barren tussocks morph into mountain beech forest and wetlands, it is no wonder this became a favourite filming location for “The Lord of the Rings.”
Tracks and huts are available for fit trampers/walkers especially on the popular walks – the ‘Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk’, the ‘Round the Mountain (i.e. Mount Ruapehu) Track’ and the famous one day track – the ‘Tongariro Alpine Crossing Track’.
Tongariro National Park to Auckland
Driving distance: 358 km / 222 miles
Driving: Approx 5h12m
From your base at Ohakune you will travel to Auckland. This is a lovely scenic route. If possible include a visit to the National Army Museum at Waiouru.
In Tirau you can stop for a few minutes to enjoy the quirky corrugated iron sculptures.
From here you can head to Hamilton for a comfort stop, and then from there to the highways of your destination, Auckland.
Drop you vehicle off at the airport and catch departing flight home.
|Bed & Breakfast
|Permium Wagon AWD
|Full Size 4WD
|8 Seater People Mover
|12 Seater Van
Pricing is based on 2 people. Option of Double Room (1 bed) or Twin Room (2 beds) For single travellers or larger groups vacationing together please contact us for a customized quation to ensure you receive the best price. For different rooming configurations (eg triple share or special needs) please contact us.
Children under 5 travel for free (max 2 excluding certain activities) Children aged 5-14 at time of travel are an added extra (max 2)
10 nights accommodation; 11 days rental vehicle of choice; All Inclusive rate hire including unlimited kilometres, loss damage waiver (LDW, provides Accident Damages Cover which is subject to excesses that can be reduced); airport concession fee recovery; accident excess reduction insurance; local sales tax (GST); Whakarewarewa Village Cultural Experience; Guided tour through Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Aranui Cave
Flights to New Zealand and airport taxes
Prices are in New Zealand dollars and include 15% GST (local sales tax) Click here for an online currency converter to convert prices to your own currency (approximate only)
All prices are based on travel between October 1st through to March 31st. For prices outside these dates, please contact us directly