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Northern Choice

(Auckland to Wellington - From Oct 2022)

4.5
128 reviews
00:00 / 00:00
Wall of painted fish

The one that brings you north island beauty spots, from geothermal springs to Lord of the Rings

Travel Style

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  • Duration

    10 days

  • Places

    8 places

  • Meals

    9 Breakfasts, 3 Dinners

  • Transport Style

    Coach

  • Group Size

    Average 45 people

  • Team

    Expert Trip Manager, Driver and Local Guides

Auckland, Paihia, Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Mount Ruapehu, Wellington, Whangarei, Huka Falls

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About this trip

Traditional Maori hāngi dinner & dance performance one minute, skyscrapers & city nightlife the next. This is the sort of diversity that will keep you on your toes and round the clock ecstatic on the Northern Choice. The adventure starts from the big smoke of Auckland & concludes in little San Fran of Wellington.

Book With Confidence

  • Only $200 deposit to book

    Reserve your space now with a deposit of only $200, pay the rest 45 days before departure

  • Pay over time, interest free

    Can't pay in full? We've got you covered with our Part Pay Program

  • No booking fee, no change fees

    Change your travel dates or even your trip for free

  • Financing available with UpLift

    Book now, pay later when you're eligible for Uplift

Trip Variation

Customize the itinerary of your trip depending on yours preferences

Compare Trips Variations
  • Auckland to Christchurch - From Oct 2022

    Option 1

    This is the full version of the trip, starting in Auckland and finishing in Christchurch during summer

  • Auckland to Wellington - From Oct 2022

    Option 2

    This trip version is the same length, starting in Auckland and finishing in Wellington in summer

  • Christchurch to Auckland - From Oct 2022

    Option 3

    This is the full version of the trip, starting in Christchurch and finishing in Auckland during summer

  • Wellington to Auckland - From Oct 2022

    Option 4

    This trip version is the same length, but starts in Wellington and finishes in Auckland in summer

Map & Itinerary

  • Start location
  • End location
  • Trip day
  • Via location
  • River route
  • Plane route

DAY 1 - Auckland to Paihia via Whangarei

Auckland

Welcome to the land of the long white cloud: New Zealand! Time to meet your Contiki crew and get ready for the adventures on the horizon. We'll cross Auckland's Harbour Bridge admiring the 'City of Sails' harbour before starting our journey north to Paihia.

Whangarei

But first, a stop off at the stunning yacht marina in Whangarei. Here we'll check out the weird and wonderful Huderwassert art centre, a unique architectural project dedicated to the ecological activist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. After lunch we'll hit the road again onwards to the Bay of Islands.

Paihia

On arrival to the Bay of Island we're starting off with a dose of Kiwi history on a guided tour at Waitangi Treaty grounds where in 1840 New Zealand officially became a nation of two communities. And because we like to give you that something extra, how about a free admission at the Treaty museum, in case you seek a bit more detail on Kiwi history. Tonight we'll feast like the locals as we enjoy a true Kiwiana fish'n'chips as we overlook the glittering Bay of Islands.

DAY 2 - Paihia

Paihia

Whether it's parasailing or a fast boat ride - today's (idyllic) list of optionals reads like a who's who of adventure. This area is filled with natural beauty and is sure to inspire your inner wild child. Make the most of the Free Time Add-On experiences on offer - tomorrow we head back to the big city vibes.

DAY 3 - Paihia to Auckland

Paihia

After breakfast this morning, feeling full, salty and sun-kissed we wave goodbye to Paihia & sashay our way back down NZ in the direction of Auckland.

Auckland

Arriving in Auckland we've got a array of awesome Free-Time Add-Ons to choose from. Adrenaline junkies, get ready for a bungee jump, climb over the iconic harbour bridge or sky jump off the Skywalk. For those who prefer to keep two feet on the ground, why not get your taste buds tingling with a multi-sensory icecream experience at Giapo Chef's Table?

DAY 4 - Auckland to Rotorua

Auckland

Laters Auckland! Today we drive through the lush farmlands of Waikato, an area that produces many of New Zealand's best Rugby players for the All Blacks, on route to Rotorua.

Rotorua

When you catch your first whiff of that .. 'unusual' sulphur smell, you'll know we've arrived in Rotorua. Famed for its spurting geysers, boiling mud pools & hot springs, gondola and speeding luge rides, Rotorua is a natural wonderland, and then some. We'll stop off at the New Zealand Kiwi Hatchery, the largest conservation project for the kiwi bird in the world. Watch these adorable little birds roam around, stand in a human-sized kiwi burrow, and visit the incubation centre, where over 2100 kiwi chicks have been born. Who knows, maybe you'll see a newly-hatched kiwi chick!

Tonight the culture will sky rocket with a traditional Maori hāngi dinner & dance performance, and perhaps best of all, the chance to get involved in the world-famous HAKA. Tongues at the ready peeps.

DAY 5 - Rotorua

Rotorua

The day is yours to roam free in this geothermal paradise. Soak in a hot spring, go white water rafting or hike up a volcano. The options are limitless and the decisions are yours. We recommend the Rotorua Dawn Canopy Tour, exclusive to Contiki, where you'll watch the sun rise, eat some breakfast and drink coffee up in the towering trees as the birds make start their morning calls. Then, you'll get to soar 1200m through the forest on the ultimate zipline adventure.

DAY 6 - Rotorua to Lake Taupo via Huka Falls

Rotorua

Huka Falls

From Rotorua, we make our way to Lake Taupo, but not before a cheeky stop-off at the awesome Huka Falls. 220,000 litres (that's 58 000 gallons) of water gush over Huka Falls per second. Just let that sink in for a minute. Wild, right? Even wilder still is the Hukafalls Jet experience - a thrilling ride that will get you experiencing the full force of the falls and leave you with even more of a taste for adventure. A good thing really, given Lake Taupo is on the horizon.

Lake Taupo

We arrive at Lake Taupo, the largest freshwater lake in Australasia. Volcanic peak views & trout fishing will seamlessly slip us into quaint lake life. But don't be fooled by the seemingly still scenery - a bungee jump or skydive are both on the menu if that adrenaline itch needs scratching. Screen reader support enabled.

DAY 7 - Lake Taupo to Mount Ruapehu

Lake Taupo

We drive through the central plateau to the southern end of  the Tongariro National Park, Ohakune is known as the aprés ski capital of the North Island. 
Today you have the option to go mountain biking along one of NZ's most picturesque track, "the Old Coach Rd". 

Mount Ruapehu

Tonight we stay in a heritage listed building built in 1913 which is now a vibrant modern ski lodge, located at the base of a volcano, Mt Ruapehu with views unlike any other you've seen.

DAY 8 - Mount Ruapehu to Wellington

Mount Ruapehu

These landscapes are unique and the sights will leave you breathless. On route to the windy capital Wellington where we'll show you the sights of this city.

Wellington

As much as we've been loving the nature time, the change of scenery to New Zealand's well-cultured capital will prove an utter delights. After an orientation through the narrow streets of Wellington a night on the town will be on the cards, plus an optional dinner to start the night off as we mean to go on. 

DAY 9 - Wellington

Wellington

The day is yours to explore Wellington! In the early evening we'll head to a local cafe and try the famed flat white coffee in its city of origin (sorry Australians). Then you'll have a free afternoon, or (from Oct 2020) we'll meet Parris Quinn our 2019 changemaker, and try some of her Heart Parcels brownies. Heart Parcels is a charity that Parris started to ensure Wellington's homeless have enough food to eat. Buy a delicious brownie here and the proceeds go straight towards feeding people living on the streets of Wellington. If it's a Monday night, you're welcome to join Paris as she hands out donations. It's inspiring stuff.

DAY 10 - End Wellington

Wellington

Today marks the end of our adventure (sob) as our trip comes to an end after brekkie. NZ - you've been real.

Top Experiences

12 included & 17 free time add-ons available to add later

  • Glide through NZ's Bay of Islands on a Parasailing experience in Paihia

    From NZ$95

    Paihia

  • Take a day trip to Cape Reinga at the very top of New Zealand's North Island

    NZ$117

    Paihia

  • Experience a traditional Maori cultural performance and feast on a ground-smoked hangi dinner

    Included

    Rotorua

Northern Choice (Auckland to Wellington - From Oct 2022)

12 Inclusions

Experiences that are included with your trip

  • Cross Auckland's Harbour Bridge
  • See the 'City of Sails' harbour made famous by the America's Cup
  • Tuck into a true Kiwiana fish'n'chips dinner overlooking the Bay of Islands in Paihia
  • View Huderwassert Art Center
  • Experience a traditional Maori cultural performance and feast on a ground-smoked hangi dinner
  • See (and smell) Rotorua's bubbling geothermic mud pools
  • Visit the New Zealand Kiwi Hatchery at Rainbow Springs near Rotorua and hear about their efforts to save New Zealand's adorable national bird
  • See an active stratovolcano with Mt Ruapehu
  • See more of the sights made famous in the "The Lord of the Rings"
  • Tuck into coffee and cake in one of Wellington's cafes, including a 'Heart parcels' brownie with proceeds going towards supporting the homeless
  • Join our 2019 Changemaker Parris Quinn in handing out 'Heart Parcels' food to Wellington's homeless (from Oct 2020 - selected departures)
  • Check out the cafe & restaurant scene in Wellington, voted the coolest little capital in the world

17 Free Time Add-Ons

Optional experiences that you can choose from and pay for on your trip

  • Take a day trip to Cape Reinga at the very top of New Zealand's North Island NZ$117
  • Carino Day Sailing NZ$130
  • Discover the Bay NZ$149
  • Island Adventure Fast Boat NZ$78
  • Glide through NZ's Bay of Islands on a Parasailing experience in Paihia From NZ$95
  • Auckland Bungy NZ$165
  • Live life on the edge with a climb over Auckland's iconic harbour bridge NZ$130
  • Sky Walk Sky Jump NZ$225
  • Take a walk on the wild side with a Sky Walk around Auckland's 328m high Sky Tower NZ$150
  • Get a multi-sensory icecream extravaganza with a Giapo Chef's Table icecream experience NZ$45
  • Go white water rafting down the crashing Kaituna River NZ$99
  • Hike the unique volcanic landscape of Mt Tarawera, Rotorua NZ$149
  • Explore native rainforest at dawn with breakfast & coffee followed by ziplining on a Contiki Exclusive Rotorua Rainforest Canopy tour NZ$149
  • Cook your kai (food) the traditional way over an active steam vent at Te Puia Maori Village, followed by a guided tour & hands-on weaving experience NZ$84
  • Chris Jolly Dinner & Party Cruise NZ$80
  • Take a leap over the lakeside town of Taupo with a tandem skydive From NZ$299
  • Experience the rush of a Huka Falls Jet boat ride NZ$115

Where You'll Stay

Learn more about the accommodation available on this trip

  • 9 nights

    All accommodation is included on this trip

    8 nights in Hotel, 1 night in Contiki Special Stay

    Throughout your trip you’ll be getting your beauty sleep in comfy beds in cosy multi-share rooms. Your accommodation will always be located in the heart of the action, with communal areas for you and your new best friends to relax and socialise.

128 Reviews

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4.5
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