Auckland and surrounds are so jam-packed with things to do the hardest part of planning your holiday will be deciding what to fit in! For those who want it all from exploring New Zealand’s magnificent landscapes and coastline to taking in some of the local food and wineries this itinerary offers all of this and more!
Depart from Newcastle Airport aboard a Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 at 7:30pm. Before jetting off enjoy dinner in the departures lounge with a selection of Hunter wines and chef-prepared meals from Epicure or Broughton & Bay Bar.
Kia Ora, New Zealand! Arrive in Auckland at 12:25am. Once clearing security and customs, you can find accommodation nearby at Novotel Auckland Airport or Ibis Budget Auckland Airport, or head to Auckland City for a range of accommodation options.
Explore New Zealand’s Northland and western coast with a road trip to Waipoua Forest, the largest native forest in Northland. Just a few minutes from the main road is New Zealand’s largest kauri tree, the Tāne Mahuta. In Māori its name translates to ‘Lord of the Forest’ and it’s easy to see why, with the tree’s first branch appearing 18 metres up!
Next stop is Hokianga Harbour, where the surf and sand offer plenty to do. Kayak or paddle board across the water, or experience the thrill of gliding down the slopes with sandboarding along the sand dunes.
Make your way east to the historically significant Waitangi. Learn about the history of New Zealand through engaging tours, watch a Māori cultural performance in an authentic Meeting House, and enjoy a traditional hangi meal, where meat is cooked underground using heated rocks. You can even paddle in a traditional war canoe with local Māori of the Ngapuhi tribe.
On your way back south to Auckland consider stopping by Whangarei to take a snap of Whangarei Falls, often called the ‘most photogenic waterfall in New Zealand’. Just 30km from Whangarei is Tutukaka Harbour, where you can take a charter boat to one of the world’s top dive spots, the Poor Knights Islands. Encounter fish unique to the area while scuba diving and visit Rikoriko Cave – the world’s largest sea cave.
New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland, has plenty to offer with a range of activities from the cultural to the extreme. Take in the full scope of the city atop New Zealand’s tallest building, the 192m SkyTower. For the truly adventurous, go on a SkyWalk around the tower’s outer ring, giving those brave enough 360 degree views with no handrails! Another monument on the must-see list is Auckland Bridge, where you can bungee jump into the waters below.
Pick up some souvenirs (or just treat yourself to some personal shopping) along Auckland’s shopping districts. In addition the City’s Main Street, head to Ponsoby for hip offerings from New Zealand fashion labels, or indulge in Auckland’s café culture and upmarket retail at Newmarket.
Just 35 minutes from Auckland City is the Hauraki Gulf, a collection of islands Lonely Planet has named the best experience in New Zealand. Choose from a selection of islands and experiences based on your mood – there’s plenty of choice! Waiheke Island not only offers wineries and vineyards surrounded by gorgeous coastlines for wine-lovers, but has a range of activities for thrill-seekers too, including zip-lining and horse-riding. Outdoors-types will love the Great Barrier Island with its numerous forest walking tracks, fishing spots, and the 627 metre high Hirakimata Mountain, giving brave climbers panoramic 360 degree views.
Head south to the Hamilton-Waikato region, just 2 hours from central Auckland. Keen hikers will find plenty of New Zealand’s natural beauty to take in as they transverse the 5km Wairere Falls Track. The track includes a diverse range of natural sights, from native groves and forestry to the 153m Wairere Falls – the highest waterfall on New Zealand’s North Island.
At night, go an adventure with a dusk tour of Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings. Following a guided tour of The Shire, enjoy a banquet feast at The Green Dragon Inn featuring a seasonal menu.
Make your way to Rotorua, where there’s plenty of unique and exhilarating activities on offer. You can try ‘zorbing’ (being thrown down a hill in a giant inflatable ball), swooping at 130km/h, or ‘shweebing’ (racing around a suspended track in a pedal-powered pod).
For a more familiar experience, mountain bike through over 145km of world-class biking tracks, with Rotorua one of six worldwide destinations awarded the most prestigious “gold-level ride centre” status by The International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA).
Rotorua is also home to Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Spa – New Zealand’s most active geothermal reserve and home to the largest hot waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere. Take dip in the mud baths and be pampered with a traditional Māori massage or beauty treatment.
Spend your last day around Lake Taupo, where adrenaline-pumping activities await. Skydive from 15,000 feet and see an impressive coast-to-coast views of the North Island, including the shores of Lake Taupo. For something just a little bit closer to the ground, there’s New Zealand’s highest water touch bungy jump or extreme swinging over the Waikato River.
For something a little more relaxed, take a boat out to the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings, 14 metre high traditional-style cliff carvings surrounded by crystal blue waters. There are also hiking trails for every level across the lake at the World Heritage Tongariro National Park.
Fly or drive to Auckland from Taupo in time for the 5:10pm direct service to Newcastle Airport.
This Auckland-based itinerary is tailor-made for those looking to get the most out of their New Zealand long weekend getaway.EXPLORE
Beyond the natural spectacles if adventure sports and activities press your buttons, this itinerary offers the trip of a lifetimeEXPLORE
Auckland and surrounds are so jam-packed with things to do the hardest part of planning your holiday will be deciding what to fit in!EXPLORE