North Island Luxury Itinerary: One Week / 7 Days
North Island Luxury Itinerary: One Week / 7 Days

North Island Luxury Itinerary: One Week / 7 Days 🍷

© ATEED

7-Day Luxury Itinerary for the North Island

You’ll only begin to scratch the surface of what New Zealand has to offer by spending just a week on the North Island. If you don’t have the luxury of time, however, you might as well make that week one of luxury. This North Island luxury itinerary for one week will help you do just that through premium experiences and accommodations.

Indulge in the boutique wineries of Waiheke Island, travel to the sub-tropical shores of the Bay of Islands, and witness geothermal wonders in Rotorua. This North Island luxury itinerary for 7 days has it all.

Plan your North Island luxury vacation starting with this eclectic itinerary.

How to Get Around the North Island in One Week

This 7-day North Island itinerary is best done as a self-drive vacation, which also incorporates a few other transport methods such as ferries and connecting flights. If you don’t like the idea of driving yourself, however, skip to the last point.

  • Rental car or campervan – Use a rental company that has depots in Auckland and Rotorua, as you will require a one-way rental. Start your research using The Guide to Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand, as well as The Best Car Rental Companies in Auckland. If you prefer to travel by motorhome, check out The Best Premium Campervan Rentals in New Zealand.
  • Helicopter transfers – Use a helicopter for a quick and luxurious way to get between Auckland and Waiheke Island. Inflite and Heletranz both offer airport transfers.
  • Ferries – Getting back from Waiheke Island, we recommend taking the ferry, which you can learn more about in our guide to Public Transport in Auckland.
  • Domestic flights – The below itinerary begins in Auckland and ends in Rotorua. Both cities are well connected with domestic flights.
  • Escorted tours – If driving and/or organising your own trip is something you’d rather leave to the professionals, then consider taking an escorted tour of the North Island. Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Trafalgar and APT, for instance, offers 5 to 7-day tours of the North Island with accommodation, some meals and some activities included. Note that they will follow their own set itinerary; not the one listed below. Check out more options in The Best 7-Day Tours of the North Island.

Finally, if you’re new to big road trips, be sure to check out 10 Ways to Relax on a Road Trip for advice.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: One Week / 7 Days© Unsplash

Day 1 – Auckland Airport to Waiheke Island

Travel time: 40 minutes drive then 40 minutes ferry or 15 minutes helicopter flight

Welcome to Te Ika-a-Maui, otherwise known as the North Island of New Zealand! Because New Zealand is far from almost everywhere else in the world, chances are you’re coming here with a bit of jet lag. With that in mind, this one-week itinerary of the North Island starts with getting over the jet lag on Waiheke Island. Either get there the quick way by taking a helicopter transfer or the more affordable way via taxi then a ferry to the island where you’ll catch your accommodation transfer. Ferry tickets are available on KKday.

Relax with some of the luxury experiences on Waiheke Island, from winery-hopping tours to spa retreats within luxury lodges. Get a good night’s rest before heading back to the mainland tomorrow.

Luxury Activities on Waiheke Island

For more inspiration, take a look at the 9 Glorious Things to Do on Waiheke Island.

Luxury Accommodation on Waiheke Island

North Island Luxury Itinerary: One Week / 7 Days© Shaun Jeffers & Paroa Bay Winery - Tourism New Zealand

Day 2 – Waiheke Island to the Bay of Islands

Travel time: 40 minutes ferry then 3h30mins drive

After some rejuvenation on Waiheke Island, it’s time to take a scenic ferry trip through the Hauraki Gulf to Auckland Central. There, you can get your rental car delivered to the ferry terminal then hit the road northward to the Bay of Islands.

Once you get to the bay scattered with 144 islands, there are many ways to enjoy it between private cruises and thrilling skydives. Choose your preferred experience from the list below. You’ll have plenty of time to do something else tomorrow as well.

Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands

  • Take a scenic flight over the Bay of Islands (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
  • Indulge in a spa day at one of the luxury hotels
  • Skydive from 20,000ft and land on the beach (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
  • Get a tailored experience of the Bay on a private charter (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
  • Tee off at the acclaimed Kauri Cliffs Golf Course.

Discover more about each experience in the 8 Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands.

Luxury Accommodation in the Bay of Islands

For more information on our top picks, see the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in the Bay of Islands.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: One Week / 7 Days© NZPocketGuide.com

Day 3 – Explore the Bay of Islands

Experience the Bay of Islands your way, whether it’s a day trip to one of the stunning golf courses like Kauri Cliffs or simply kicking back with gorgeous views at your accommodation.

If there’s nothing listed from yesterday that takes your fancy, how about the following?

Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands

Discover more about each experience in the 8 Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: One Week / 7 Days© Unsplash

Day 4 – Bay of Islands to Auckland

Travel time: 3h20mins (or 4h50mins via the east coast)

Do any morning activity you might have missed before setting off the quick way to Auckland following State Highway 1. Alternatively, take the scenic route via Omapere and the Kauri Coast, which allows you to stop at natural marvels such as the largest kauri tree in New Zealand, Tane Mahuta, as well as the Kauri Museum for a private tour. Find out more about tours on Viator and Tripadvisor.

You’ll then arrive in Auckland Central where you will get to experience New Zealand’s largest city. Why not dine in the revolving restaurant atop the Sky Tower or inspire yourself at the Auckland Art Gallery? Those feeling more adventurous can experience the speed of an America’s Cup Yacht at the Waitemata Harbour. Find out more about the latter on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook.

Luxury Activities in Auckland

  • See the city from spectacular heights in a helicopter or seaplane tour (more details on Viator and Tripadvisor)
  • Rejuvenate with an indulgent spa treatment
  • Hit the water on an America’s Cup Yacht (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
  • Try your luck at the vibrant SkyCity Casino
  • Discover Auckland’s historical and cultural sites on a Maori tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

See our 10 Luxury Activities in Auckland for more information about each experience.

Luxury Accommodation in Auckland

Find out more about each accommodation in the 10 Best Luxury Hotels in Auckland.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: One Week / 7 Days© Shaun Jeffers - THL

Day 5 – Auckland to Rotorua (via Waitomo)

Travel time: 2h30mins (via Waitomo: 4 hours)

Leave the big city behind for a road trip around the rest of the North Island. Although you could drive straight to Rotorua, stopping by the picturesque Hamilton Gardens (more info on Klook, Viator and Tripadvisor), we recommend taking a wee bit of a detour to Waitomo

Home of New Zealand’s most famous glowworm caves, Waitomo is a subterranean wonderland with magnificent limestone formations decorated with the blue twinkling lights of the glowworms. There are many ways to experience the caves, from private caving tours to boat tours. Compare your options in the 8 Best Waitomo Cave Tours and the 9 Luxury Activities in Waitomo.

Luxury Activities in Waitomo

  • Delve on an exclusive private tour of Waitomo’s caves (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
  • Abseil, float and scramble through the caves (on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday)
  • Hike the uncrowded trails of the Waitomo Great Walk
  • Relax with a spa treatment at Waitomo Adventures
  • Fish for rainbow and brown trout with Waitomo Boutique Lodge.

For elaboration on each experience and more, see the 9 Luxury Activities in Waitomo.

Continue on your journey to Rotorua, which we will elaborate on things to do in tomorrow’s listing. For now, check-in at one of the premium accommodations in Rotorua.

Luxury Accommodation in Rotorua

Browse the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Rotorua for elaboration on our top recommendations.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: One Week / 7 Days© NZPocketGuide.com

Day 6 – Explore Rotorua

You have the entire day to explore Rotorua along with its geothermal wonders, surrounding volcanic landscapes and Maori culture. Fly onto one of the nearby volcanoes on a unique helicopter tour with Volcanic Air (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook) or gain a greater understanding of the Maori culture on a private tour with Kahukiwi Experiences (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

After the day’s adventure, retreat to your accommodation or book a table to do some fine dining “New Zealand style” at Mokoia Restaurant (at the Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort) or Regent Room (at the Regent of Rotorua).

Luxury Activities in Rotorua

  • Visit Rotorua’s geothermal and volcanic highlights with Elite Adventures Rotorua Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
  • Fly and land on the Mt Tarawera volcano with Volcanic Air (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
  • Enjoy an authentic Maori tour with Kahukiwi Experiences (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
  • Drive the 4WD challenges at Off Road NZ (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
  • See one of the most stunning and off-the-beaten-track forests with Foris Eco-Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

For more details on each experience, as well as other ideas, check out the 10 Luxury Activities in Rotorua.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: One Week / 7 Days© Unsplash

Day 7 – Rotorua to Auckland

Travel time: 12-minute drive then 45-minutes flight or 2h40mins drive

Squeeze in any last hot pool sessions, geothermal walks, Maori tours, mountain biking or meal you can before your flight back to Auckland International Airport. Remember to give yourself plenty of time to return your rental vehicle at Rotorua Airport, which is just a short drive from the city centre.

Alternatively, Auckland International Airport is a 2h40min drive from Rotorua, allowing you to return your rental vehicle to the Auckland Airport depot. One route takes you via Matamata, should you be interested in touring the Hobbiton Movie Set (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook or KKday).

Goodbye, New Zealand. Next time, stay for longer using the North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days.

Author

Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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