North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© NZPocketGuide.com
North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days

North Island Luxury Itinerary: 2 Weeks / 14 Days šŸ· [2023]

© NZPocketGuide.com

14-Day Luxury Itinerary for the North Island

If you only have two weeks to explore New Zealand, you’ve made the right choice to stick to just one of the main islands. Furthermore, you’ve made the right choice by coming here to this North Island luxury itinerary for two weeks to plan an eclectic and premium trip.

Off-shore islands, vineyards, geothermal parks, the Maori culture, vibrant cities and diverse landscapes are covered in this North Island luxury itinerary for 14 days. Plan your luxury North Island vacation using our premium destination, accommodation and activity recommendations. What’s more, we show you how to plan this itinerary the EASY way with First Light Travel – more on that at the bottom of the itinerary.

North Island Luxury Itinerary for 2 Weeks (14 Days): Overview

  • Day 1 ā€“ Auckland Airport to Waiheke Island
  • Day 2 ā€“ Waiheke Island to Whangarei
  • Day 3 ā€“ Whangarei to the Bay of Islands
  • Day 4 ā€“ Explore the Bay of Islands
  • Day 5 ā€“ Bay of Islands to Auckland
  • Day 6 ā€“ Auckland to Rotorua (via Waitomo)
  • Day 7 ā€“ Explore Rotorua
  • Day 8 ā€“ Rotorua to Taupo
  • Day 9 ā€“ Explore Taupo
  • Day 10 ā€“ Taupo to Napier
  • Day 11 ā€“ Napier to Palmerston North
  • Day 12 ā€“ Palmerston North to Wellington
  • Day 13 ā€“ Explore Wellington
  • Day 14 ā€“ Wellington to Auckland

North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days šŸ·© JUCY Group

How to Get Around the North Island in 2 Weeks

This North Island itinerary is best done as a self-drive holiday. It also incorporates a few other transport methods such as ferries and connecting flights. However, if you don’t like the idea of driving yourself, check out the final point. In the meantime, here’s how to get around the North Island in two weeks:

Rental Car or Campervan

This itinerary is best done by driving yourself in a rental vehicle. Use a rental company that has depots in Auckland and Wellington, as you will require a one-way rental. Start your research using The Guide to Renting a Car or The Guide Renting a Campervan in New Zealand.

Helicopter Transfers

Part of this itinerary recommends a helicopter transfer as a quick way to get between Auckland and Waiheke Island. INFLITE/Heletranz offer airport transfers.

Ferries

This itinerary includes a ferry trip between Auckland and Waiheke Island. Learn more in our guide to Public Transport in Auckland.

Domestic Flights

The below itinerary begins in Auckland and ends in Wellington. Both cities have international airports and are well-connected with domestic flights. More on flights can be found in The Guide to Domestic Flights in New Zealand.

Train

Alternative to flying from Wellington back to Auckland, should you need to loop back to Auckland, the Northern Explorer train provides a more scenic (and less polluting) journey. Learn more about taking the train in The Guide to the Train Network in New Zealand.

Escorted Tours

If driving and 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, for instance, offers 12-day tours of the North Island with accommodation, some meals and some activities included. Note that they have their own set itinerary; not the one listed below. Check out more options in The Best 10-12-Day Tours of the North Island.

Finally, if you’re new to the whole road-tripping thing, make sure it runs smoothly following the 10 Ways to Relax on a Road Trip.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© ATEED

Day 1 – Auckland Airport to Waiheke Island

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

Welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand! Because the North Island is far from most places in the world (except, well, the South Island), chances are you’re coming here with a bit of jet lag. With that in mind, this itinerary of the North Island starts with getting over the jet lag with a wine in hand on Waiheke Island.

Either get there the easy way by taking a helicopter transfer to your Waiheke accommodation from Auckland Airport or a taxi then a ferry to Waiheke Island where your accommodation provider will transfer you. Ferry tickets are available on Klook and 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 Experiences on Waiheke Island

For more inspiration, take a look at the 20 Best Things to Do on Waiheke Island.

Luxury Accommodation on Waiheke Island

North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© Unsplash

Day 2 – Waiheke Island to Whangarei

Travel time: 40 minutes ferry then 2 hrs 30 mins 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 car rental delivered to the ferry terminal then hit the road northward to Whangarei.

Luxury Experiences in Whangarei

  • Dive at the famous Poor Knights Islands
  • Test your swing at the stunning Waipu Golf Club
  • Ride on the beaches with Coastal Riding Whangarei Heads
  • Connect with the local culture with a small-group experience with Tu Tika Tours
  • Indulge in fine dining at TopSail, Tonic and more.

Get more details on each experience and more in the 10 Luxury Experiences in Whangarei.

Luxury Accommodation in Whangarei

Discover our top picks in the 5 Best Luxury Accommodations in Whangarei.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© Shaun Jeffers & Paroa Bay Winery - Tourism New Zealand

Day 3 – Whangarei to the Bay of Islands

Travel time: 1 hr 5 mins

A little further north of Whangarei is Paihia and the Bay of Islands – a bay scattered with 144 islands. There are many ways to enjoy this piece of sub-tropical paradise between private cruises and thrilling skydives. Choose your style of experience from the list below. You’ll also have plenty of time to do something else tomorrow.

Luxury Experiences in the Bay of Islands

  • Fly over the Bay of Islands with Salt Air
  • Indulge in a spa day at one of the luxury hotels
  • Skydive from 20,000ft with Skydive Bay of Islands
  • Get a tailored experience of the Bay on a private charter with Sea Shuttle Bay of Islands
  • Have a swing at the Kauri Cliffs Golf Course.

Discover more about each experience in the 10 Luxury Experiences 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: Two Weeks / 14 Days© NZPocketGuide.com

Day 4 – 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, travelling to Cape Reinga, 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 Experiences in the Bay of Islands

Discover more about each experience in the 10 Luxury Experiences in the Bay of Islands or get a different vibe from our 20 Best Things to Do in the Bay of Islands.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© Unsplash

Day 5 – Bay of Islands to Auckland

Travel time: 3 hrs 20 mins (or 4 hrs 50 mins via the east coast)

Do any morning activities you might have missed before setting off directly 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 to learn about the significance of these trees.

You’ll then arrive in Auckland Central 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 with Explore. Find out more about the latter on Viator or Klook.

Luxury Experiences in Auckland

Take a look at the 10 Luxury Experiences in Auckland to find out more about each experience.

Luxury Accommodation in Auckland

Find out more about each accommodation in the 25 Best Luxury Hotels in Auckland.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© NZPocketGuide.com

Day 6 – Auckland to Rotorua (via Waitomo)

Travel time: 2 hrs 30 mins (via Waitomo: 4 hours)

Leave the big city behind for a road trip around the rest of the North Island. While you could drive straight to Rotorua, stopping by the picturesque Hamilton Gardens, we highly recommend taking a detour to Waitomo…

Home of New Zealand’s most famous glowworm caves, Waitomo hides a magnificent subterranean landscape with limestone formations teeming with the blue twinkling of 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 10 Luxury Experiences in Waitomo.

Luxury Experiences in Waitomo

See the 10 Luxury Experiences in Waitomo for elaboration on each experience and more.

Continue on your journey to Rotorua, where 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

For more details on our top recommendations, browse the 20 Best Luxury Accommodations in Rotorua.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© Te Puia - Destination Rotorua

Day 7 – Explore Rotorua

One week into this North Island luxury itinerary for 14 days and you have the entire day to explore Rotorua. Fly onto one of the nearby volcanoes on a helicopter tour with Volcanic Air (more info on Viator and Klook) or gain a greater understanding of the Maori culture of New Zealand on a private Maori tour with Kahukiwi Experiences.

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

Luxury Experiences in Rotorua

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

North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© NZPocketGuide.com

Day 8 – Rotorua to Taupo

Travel time: 1 hour

It might be a short journey from Rotorua to Taupo, but we recommend breaking it up by visiting the lunar landscape of Orakei Korako.

Your final destination is Taupo on the shores of New Zealand’s largest lake. Relax your road trip aches in one of the town’s premium hot pool complexes or check out the town’s eclectic dining scene. We list recommendations in The Luxury Guide to Taupo. You’ll have time to do some more elaborate activities tomorrow. For now, indulge in a couple of nights at Taupo’s most lavish accommodations.

Luxury Accommodation in Taupo

For elaboration on our top recommendations, see the 15 Best Luxury Accommodations in Taupo.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© NZPocketGuide.com

Day 9 – Explore Taupo

There are countless ways to experience Taupo, so you’re sure to find something to suit your style. That style could be relaxing on a private fishing charter catching rainbow trout or jumping out of a perfectly good plane in an adrenaline-fuelled skydive with Taupo Tandem Skydiving. If neither suits, then there’s a lot more on offer as shown in the list below.

Luxury Experiences in Taupo

For more information on each experience and more, be sure to check out the 10 Luxury Experiences in Taupo.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© NZPocketGuide.com

Day 10 – Taupo to Napier

Travel time: 1 hr 50 mins

It’s time to travel over the hill to Napier and the Hawke’s Bay region, famous for its art deco architecture and for being New Zealand’s oldest wine region. Leave yourself enough time in the day to jump onto a premium wine tour, such as with Vines and Views Tours.

For those who prefer to connect with nature, a fantastic experience is witnessing New Zealand’s largest mainland gannet colony and the dramatic cliff formations of Cape Kidnappers. Join Gannet Safaris Overland for either a group or private 4WD tour of this hard-to-reach site.

Luxury Experiences in Napier

Find out more about each experience and its location in the 10 Luxury Experiences in Napier.

Luxury Accommodation in Napier

For more information on our top recommendations, see the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Napier.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© ManawatuNZ.co.nz

Day 11 – Napier to Palmerston North

Travel time: 2 hrs 20 mins

Your North Island journey continues today with a drive down the Hawke’s Bay region through the Manawatu Gorge complete with stunning walks through lush native forest. The main hub of the area is Palmerston North, which is nearby some exciting experiences, like horse trekking in the Ruahine Ranges and kite landboarding at Foxton Beach.

Luxury Experiences in Palmerston North

For elaboration on each experience and more, see the 6 Luxury Experiences in Palmerston North.

Luxury Accommodation in Palmerston North

For more information on our top picks, take a look at the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Palmerston North.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© WellingtonNZ

Day 12 – Palmerston North to Wellington

Travel time: 2 hours

Today’s destination is New Zealand’s coolest little capital, the city of Wellington. There’s something for just about any city-lover here, from the national museum of Te Papa (more info on Viator and Klook) to its whisky bar and craft brewery scene. On the other hand, those who prefer the wilderness will certainly get a sense of it at the Zealandia Ecosanctuary and its special night tours to see kiwi birds. Check out Viator or Klook to find out more about these night tours.

We’ll go through some more things to do in tomorrow’s listing. In the meantime, enjoy a night in the city with one of these premium stays…

Luxury Accommodation in Wellington

Find out more about each accommodation in our 15 Best Luxury Accommodations in Wellington.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© WellingtonNZ

Day 13 – Explore Wellington

You have the whole day to explore more of the capital and tick off some of the below activities from your Wellington bucket list.

Luxury Experiences in Wellington

Find out more about each experience and much more in the 10 Luxury Experiences in Wellington.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days© KiwiRail

Day 14 – Wellington to Auckland

While you can fly out of Wellington Airport to your next destination, we recommend treating yourself to a scenic journey back to Auckland.

The Northern Explorer train takes you across the North Island via the volcanic Central North Island, allowing you to witness the mountains of Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. What’s more, the journey is less polluting than taking a flight back to Auckland.

Goodbye, New Zealand! Next time, visit the South Island by following the South Island Luxury Itinerary: 2 Weeks.

North Island Luxury Itinerary: 2 Weeks / 14 Days šŸ· [2023]© First Light Travel

Plan This Luxury Itinerary with First Light Travel

If you like this North Island luxury itinerary for two weeks but don’t like the hassle of planning everything yourself, then there’s a way to lighten the load. First Light Travel is an online travel agent specialising in luxury itineraries in New Zealand. Plus, using their service is super simple:

  • First, send First Light Travel an enquiry by completing their online form
  • Then, you’ll receive your customised luxury itinerary
  • Review your itinerary and work with your First Light Travel agent on perfecting it
  • Finally, First Light Travel will organise the rest including the bookings.

First Light Travel has access to more than 20,000 travel products, including almost all the tours and accommodations featured on this list (and more). With that and their local expertise here in New Zealand, they will create a well-catered luxury itinerary to meet your needs while also suggesting some dream travel experiences that you may have never heard of. They only work with companies where their past clients have had positive experiences, so you know you’re in good hands.

What’s more, all of the bookings are arranged by First Light Travel, so instead of having to contact each individual accommodation and operator should your travel plans change, any amendments can be done through your FLT agent – easy! Did we mention the service is at no extra cost to you?!

For more information on planning your own New Zealand itinerary, see How to Create the Perfect New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary. Or better yet, jump on firstlighttravel.com and start making your own itinerary there.

More About a North Island Luxury Itinerary for 2 Weeks / 14 Days

That’s the end of our North Island luxury itinerary for 14 days. If this itinerary didn’t take you fancy, see our alternative 14-day itineraries:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Luxury Travel Guide to New Zealand.

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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