Wellington, Auckland, Paihia, Mangonui, Kaitaia, National Park, Tongariro National Park
Dates are customizable for private departures.
Handcrafted with a laid-back pace, this luxurious 11-day excursion will showcase the best of the North Island for senior travelers. A vacation to New Zealand’s North Island embraces both the journey and destinations. Spectacular landscapes unfold from train windows, Maori culture enlivens charming destinations, and Pacific bliss rolls along the coast. From charming Wellington to Ninety Mile Beach, you will journey across some of the greatest landscapes on Earth.
Wellington – A Te Papa Maori Welcome
Today, you will land at Wellington’s international airport, where you will be met by a local representative. It will be a very short transfer to your luxurious accommodation in the heart of the city, and you will land on New Zealand’s North Island, which is the home of the Maori. These indigenous people traveled south from the Pacific and made a home here. With a Maori storyteller, you will travel through the ages, listening to the tales of sailors, warriors, and how the Maori repelled early colonial invasions. There will be a passion to the storytelling, and by settling into the history, you will enjoy the best possible welcoming to New Zealand.
Wellington – A Wellington Immersion
Every visitor is told that Wellington is a small capital city, but most do not appreciate how small it is until they arrive. Your local guide will meet you after breakfast to plan your day of activities, and, like most days on your vacation, the focus will be on customization and doing something to suit your mood. The classic experience here is to ride through the heart of Wellington and to stop at museums, cafes, iconic neighborhoods, and shops. You can also board the final remaining Wellington tram between Lambton Quay and Kelburn, which is a five-minute journey that connects you to history while presenting stunning city views.
Wellington – Leisurely Day on Kapiti Island
This morning, you will have a short boat transfer to a small island that best reflects New Zealand’s indigenous nature. While much of the country’s flora and fauna was altered by imported species, Kapiti escaped the change, and it can really seem as if you have stepped back in time. Most of the birds on Kapiti are endangered, and many are now exclusive to the island. You will have the opportunity to learn about them in a small aviary before your guide customizes a morning walk to suit your interests. Kapiti is great because you can walk a very short trail and still develop a great sense of the island’s ecological history. You can also do something more adventurous and see more of the island.
National Park – The Northern Explorer Train
In total, it takes nine hours to reach Auckland, and you will split the journey with a two-night stop at National Park, which is a tiny village that is tucked into a forest that is surrounded by different national parks. You will depart Wellington in the morning and watch the island unfold through the specially designed scenic windows. With 48 hours in National Park, you will be provided with the opportunity to tailor some outdoor activities to your interests. Options for hiking are endless, and this destination is excellent for senior travelers because the trails are so accessible. You can easily explore wilderness areas without needing to spend a long day on the trail or walk more than half a mile.
National Park – Helicopter Tour of White Island
Mt. Tarawera is a Maori icon because it is a volcano of the gods that has erupted many times during the country’s brief history. You will fly around it in a helicopter and admire some incredible views before touching down on the upper slopes. White Island has a similar appeal, and, by using a helicopter, you can fly directly to the most impressive volcanic scenery. Possessing New Zealand’s only active marine volcano, White Island rises above the ocean like a scene from a futuristic movie. After an aerial tour, you will touch down on the edge of the caldera and peer into the rim, where a yellow pool will make it seem like you have landed on Mars. This is a full-day tour and is weather dependent, so the timings will be adjusted in regards to the day.
Auckland – Train Journey Through Tongariro
The train to Auckland departs in the early afternoon, so you will have some free time this morning. As with day four, your guide can lead you to different national parks because there is always another trail or road to try. First, you will cut through Tongariro National Park as the train meanders in the shadow of an ancient volcano. Slowly, you will disappear into a forest before the train ascends through another set of mountains. Closer to Auckland, the hills are small, conical, and speckled white by sheep. While Auckland does have a few attractions, it is not worth an extended stay, especially given how nearby destinations are more relaxed and more suitable for senior travelers. You will be transferred from the station to a hotel in the harbor, where you will find many restaurants and bars along the coastal promenade.
Paihia – Tea in Matakana
This morning, you will venture into the north, where the Pacific surf will dominate the panorama on your privately guided drive toward Omapere. You can continue to explore a traditional farmers’ market before stopping for morning tea in an old-world cafe. After lunch and some relaxing time in Matakana, you will continue to Waipoua, which is a famous forest that is home to the world’s oldest kauri trees. A Maori guide will take over your journey, narrating stories of sacred sites and spiritual importance. Almost every tree has a use here, so it is not just the famous kauri trees that can make an impression. Although it will be a relatively long day as you continue all the way to Paihia, the journey is part of the experience, and you will be spending two nights at a charming spa lodge by the water’s edge.
Paihia – Sailing around the Bay of Islands
Sailing here is a tropical excursion that usually takes place with warm winds and clear, blue skies. A Bay of Islands sailing trip also offers a wide number of places to dock and explore, so today’s journey can be fully customized. You can jump out at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, which is a protected site that marks where the Maori signed an accord with the British. Here, you will listen to the history with a Maori guide before sailing across the channel to Russell, which is a charming European settlement that makes it feel like it is the 19th century. Today can involve more sailing or more stopping, depending on your mood. Whatever you choose, you will feel the allure of an authentic New Zealand journey.
Kaitaia – A Charming Town and Maori Stargazing
Mangonui grew rich in the 19th century, mostly due to its status as a whaling and trading town. Like Matakana, it is a lovely place to go for a slow walk amid history with stops that can include morning tea, a local market, and a variety of craft shops. Your guide will know of a delightful cafe that you can stop by for lunch, and, with today’s relaxed drive, you should arrive in Kaitaia by mid-afternoon. The afternoon will be at your leisure, and you may want to take a stroll around the old village center. Hopefully, the sky will be clear, so you can spend the evening stargazing with a Maori guide.
Kaitaia – 4WD Trip Across Ninety Mile Beach
You will have a final journey to complete your time in New Zealand and will have you riding across the broad sand of Ninety Mile Beach. Waves will crash, and dunes will tumble inland, increasing the sense of wilderness. This beach is virtually 90 miles long, and your journey will feel like a safari, especially when you bump along and do not see another vehicle for an hour. Your adventure on the beach will be complemented by some more laid-back stops before checking out Cape Reinga to admire the place where two bodies of water come together: the blurring colors are an indication of New Zealand’s isolated location. Kauri’s forests and rugged cliffs can also be featured on today’s 4WD safari, but the exact plan is up to you. You will need a 4WD vehicle because some of today’s destinations are inaccessible without one.
Auckland – Departure
Rather than travel back to Auckland, you can fly on a scheduled flight this morning. A representative will greet you at the domestic terminal to assist in transferring you to your international flight.
- Ride the Northern Explorer train across the North Island, which is the most relaxed way to discover the island’s ancient landscapes
- Luxuriate during a relaxing day of cruising through the Bay of Islands on a private yacht
- Indulge in tea in Matakana and wander around the charming town of Mangonui
- Be welcomed to New Zealand with an enchanting and immersive Maori experience at Te Papa
- Discover the old-world charm of Wellington with three nights in the world’s cutest capital
- Helicopter to White Island and Mount Tarawera, which is the most accessible way to explore North Island’s active volcanoes
- Meet the Maori in a forest of Kauri trees and learn how they navigate by the Southern Sky
- Feel wilderness allure during a 4WD excursion across Ninety Mile Beach
- Admire the birds and tranquility of Kapiti Island during a day-trip from Wellington
New Zealand’s North Island has some magnificent destinations. Wellington is possibly the world’s cutest capital city and a place of laid-back rambling and enchanting cafes while Paihia is a symbol of Pacific bliss, where golden beaches and lazy afternoons go hand in hand. The North Island is made memorable by the journeys that you can take. Every mile that you travel will be part of your experience. You will travel the length of the island by train through national parks and ancient forests. You will also cruise around the Pacific on a private yacht and disembark to explore historical settlements and fly to a marine volcano by helicopter to experience hissing hot pools.
This North Island adventure includes many different means of travel, and each one offers time to rest and relax on the move. In some countries, traveling is stressful, tiring, and time-consuming, but in New Zealand, it is the opposite. You can sit back in comfort and watch the island unfold because most of your journeys have flexible timings, so you can customize the departure around your mood and energy. As this journey will provide you with downtime, you can be fully rested when arriving in new destinations. That means more energy for exploring or one that makes your vacation more enjoyable.
Handcrafted for senior travelers, this 11-day North Island tour will lead you all the way from Wellington in the south to Ninety Mile Beach and the country’s northern tip. Three days in Wellington will be a lovely way to begin. Charming cafes can be found on most street corners, and the city feels like a village that is perfect for easing into the vacation and overcoming jet lag. A birdwatching day trip to Kapiti Island will kickstart your natural encounters before you board the Northern Explorer train for a delightful wilderness journey. Nights four and five will be spent in National Park, which is a village amid a forest beneath a volcano.
White Island and Mount Tarawera are active volcanos that are complete with hissing steam, bubbling pools, and surreal colors. A helicopter tour makes them accessible to senior visitors because you do not need to walk up a volcano to discover the brilliance of an active caldera. You will continue by train on day six, meandering to Auckland through national parks and rustic farming pastures. Your North Island vacation will be completed with four days in the country’s far north. This slither of land is packed with ancient forests, intriguing towns, spectacular coastlines, and deserted islands. Four days means that you can really move at your own pace and customize each day to your interests.
Included in your tour will be morning tea in Matakana, the giant Kauri trees of Waipoua Forest, and the serene coastal village of Paihia. A day spent cruising around the Bay of Islands will contrast a 4WD excursion along Ninety Mile Beach. Both these experiences will be privately guided and epitomize a feeling that the journey can be as memorable as the destination. Maori will add their color and culture throughout the trip, including a Te Papa welcoming on your first day in addition to some guided stargazing in the far north. All you need to do is sit back, go with the flow, and admire how New Zealand unfolds.
Zicasso partners with only the best New Zealand travel operators in the industry by vetting each one individually.
$2,745 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.
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