21 days in North Island Itinerary

21 days in North Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock North Island trip builder

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Route & dates

21 days in North Island Itinerary

Start: Melbourne
Fly + Drive:  9​h 45​min
1
Hastings
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
2
Whakapapa
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
3
Rotorua
— 5 nights
Drive:  2​h
4
Waitomo Caves
— 2 nights
Drive + Fly:  5​h 15​min
5
Kaitaia
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
6
Paihia
— 5 nights
Fly:  8​h 30​min
End: Melbourne

2
nights
Hastings

Hastings ©
Hastings is a New Zealand city and is one of the two major urban areas in Hawke's Bay, on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Kick off your visit on the 23rd (Mon): indulge your taste buds at Food & Drink, then make a trip to Marine Parade, and then explore and take pictures at Te Mata Peak. On the 24th (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: learn about winemaking at Mission Estate Winery, then take some stellar pictures from Bluff Hill Lookout, and then identify plant and animal life at Cape Kidnappers.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, read our Hastings road trip tool .

Melbourne, Australia to Hastings is an approximately 10-hour combination of flight and car. You can also drive. The time zone difference moving from Australian Eastern Standard Time (Victoria) to New Zealand Standard Time is 2 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) early enough to travel to Whakapapa.

Things to do in Hastings

Parks Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Napier, Cape Kidnappers
Find places to stay Sep 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Te Mata Peak ©
Te Mata Peak
Cape Kidnappers ©
Cape Kidnappers
Wine Tours & Tastings

4
nights
Whakapapa

Whakapapa ©
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Mount Ruapehu and Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Step off the beaten path and head to Taranaki Falls and Ridge Track.

To find reviews and more tourist information, refer to the Whakapapa online travel planner .

Traveling by car from Hastings to Whakapapa takes 3.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Sat) so you can travel to Rotorua.

Things to do in Whakapapa

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Tongariro National Park
Find places to stay Sep 24 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Taranaki Falls ©
Taranaki Falls
Mount Ruapehu ©
Mount Ruapehu
Tongariro Alpine Crossing ©
Tongariro Alpine Crossing

5
nights
Rotorua

Rotorua ©
Surrounded by lakes and featuring impressive areas of geothermal landscape, the city of Rotorua offers an otherwordly landscape and a welcoming, peaceful environment, with the culture of the native Maori people very much in the foreground.
Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Volcanic Hills Winery and Buried Village of Te Wairoa. Visiting Waimangu Volcanic Valley and Mt Maunganui Main Beach will get you outdoors. Change things up with these side-trips from Rotorua: Huka Falls Walkway (in Taupo), Tauranga (Virtual Reality Experience & Spas) and Mount Maunganui Base Track (in Mount Maunganui). There's lots more to do: push the limits with an extreme tour, witness a stunning natural landmark at Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, look for all kinds of wild species at Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Waiotapu Boardwalk/ Mud Pool.

For other places to visit, maps, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Rotorua road trip planner.

Traveling by car from Whakapapa to Rotorua takes 2.5 hours. September in Rotorua sees daily highs of 19°C and lows of 10°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Thu) early enough to drive to Waitomo Caves.

Things to do in Rotorua

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Tauranga, Huka Falls Walkway, Waiotapu Boardwalk/ Mud Pool, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave
Find places to stay Sep 28 — Oct 3:
Highlights from your plan
Mt Maunganui Main Beach ©
Mt Maunganui Main Beach
River Rafting & Tubing
Waimangu Volcanic Valley ©
Waimangu Volcanic Valley

2
nights
Waitomo Caves

Waitomo Caves ©
Head deep beneath the surface of the earth at Waitomo Caves, a village and cave system that draws both extreme sports enthusiasts and those wanting something a little more relaxed.
On the 4th (Fri), head outdoors with Waitomo Clay Birds, explore the fascinating underground world of Caveworld, Head underground at Waitomo Glowworm Caves, then explore the fascinating underground world of Ruakuri Cave, and finally trek along Ruakuri Walk. On the next day, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, then take in the views from Mangapohue Natural Bridge Walk, then take in the dramatic scenery at Marokopa Falls Walk, and finally explore the fascinating underground world of Piripiri Cave Walk.

For where to stay, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Waitomo Caves trip itinerary builder tool .

Traveling by car from Rotorua to Waitomo Caves takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Sat) early enough to travel to Kaitaia.

Things to do in Waitomo Caves

Outdoors Parks Nature
Find places to stay Oct 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Caveworld ©
Caveworld
Ruakuri Walk ©
Ruakuri Walk
Ruakuri Cave
Ruakuri Cave

2
nights
Kaitaia

Kaitaia ©
Kaitaia is a town in the Far North District of New Zealand, at the base of the Aupouri Peninsula, about 160 km northwest of Whangarei. Kick off your visit on the 6th (Sun): enjoy the sand and surf at Taupo Bay and then enjoy the sand and surf at Matai Bay. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: kick back and relax at Taipa Beach, tour the pleasant surroundings at Ninety Mile Beach, and then kick back and relax at Rarawa Beach.

For maps, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Kaitaia trip planner .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Waitomo Caves to Kaitaia. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Mon) early enough to drive to Paihia.

Things to do in Kaitaia

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trips

Taupo Bay Beach, Matai Bay, Taipa Beach
Find places to stay Oct 5 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Ninety Mile Beach ©
Ninety Mile Beach
Matai Bay
Matai Bay
Rarawa Beach ©
Rarawa Beach

5
nights
Paihia

The main tourist town in the Bay of Islands area, Paihia gives visitors a good range of accommodations, a convenient town center, long sandy beaches, and interesting architecture.
Do some cultural sightseeing at Christ Church and Flagstaff Hill Historic Reserve. Visiting Paihia Harbour and Tane Mahuta Walk will get you outdoors. Explore Paihia's surroundings by going to Russell (Dolphin & Whale Watching & Pompallier Mission and Printery), The Kauri Museum (in Matakohe) and Whangarei Falls (in Whangarei). There's still lots to do: discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, admire the landmark architecture of The Stone Store & Kemp House - Kerikeri Mission Station, take in the dramatic natural features at Waro Limestone Scenic Reserve Walk, and surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour.

To see where to stay, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, read our Paihia trip planner .

You can drive from Kaitaia to Paihia in 1.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sat) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Paihia

Wildlife Outdoors Parks

Side Trips

Russell, Kerikeri, Tane Mahuta Walk, Waro Limestone Scenic Reserve Walk, Whangarei Falls
Find places to stay Oct 7 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Paihia Harbour ©
Paihia Harbour
Dolphin & Whale Watching

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