This tour offers the best of the North Island, including the rich cultural experiences unique to New Zealand. Here are some of the 10-day tour highlights:
Day 1: Welcome to New Zealand!
- sail on emerald waters to a secluded island bay
- walk beneath giant ferns with award-winning naturalists
- peer into the belly of an active volcano
- explore pristine coastline and sandstone formations on a scenic boat tour
- soak in steaming lakeside thermal pools
- starts in Auckland, finishes in Wellington
- 10 days / 9 nights
- See Dates & Rates for tour schedule and pricing
In Auckland, you're greeted by your Black Sheep guide who whisks you off to the stunning Bay of Islands for the start of your adventure.
Day 2: Set Sail on the Bay - Bay of Islands
Today, set sail to explore the islands of the bay. Sit back and enjoy the sea breeze and the views whilst penguin- and dolphin-spotting, or take a more active role at the helm or climbing the rigging. A stop at an island allows you to wash away your jetlag in the blue-green waters of its tranquil bay. (Note: a dolphin-swimming alternative is available in season.)
Day 3: Coastal Splendour - Bay of Islands
Spend the morning walking beneath giant, ancient kauri trees and along magnificent coastline. This afternoon, a guided tour of the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds and cultural performance provide deeper insight into New Zealand’s Maori and colonial past.
Day 4: Birdlife to Nightlife - To Auckland
Return to Auckland, taking a detour to New Zealand's largest gannet colony, perched above black volcanic sands. Study these birds in their natural habitat before settling into your own nest in the heart of Auckland's vibrant waterfront district.
Day 5: Rainforest Retreat - To the Coromandel
Walk with an award-winning naturalist through the lush, subtropical rainforest of the Coromandel Peninsula. Take an evening stroll from your lodge to one of New Zealand's prettiest beaches. At dinner, wonder how your guide knew that it was your birthday and that your favorite flavor is chocolate.
Day 6: Sea and Sand - The Coromandel
Start the day with a scenic boat tour of the regions stunning volcanic coastline, pristine marine reserve and splendid sea caves. Back on land consider taking a self-guided hike to a remote and beautiful cove guarded by towering sandstone formations, a perfect place to contemplate natures wonders.
Day 7: Maori Culture - Rotorua
Arrive in Rotorua and visit Te Puia, New Zealand's Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, located in the Whakarewarewa geothermal valley. Tour the grounds, visit the kiwi house and watch students at work refining their craft. This afternoon, test the healing theories of Rotorua's thermal waters in a nearby spa. Emerge from the pools and head out this evening to explore the city's popular and diverse dining district.
Day 8: Volcanic Wonders - Rotorua
Boat to White Island and peer into the belly of an active volcano. So this is what Dante was on about. If conditions preclude a White Island visit, take a scenic flight over the giant volcanic crater of Mt Tarawera and visit boiling lakes, turquoise pools, hot streams and other active geothermal features on land.
Day 9: Capital Culture - To Wellington
Fly to New Zealand's picturesque capital city, Wellington, and enjoy a day exploring on your own. Visit Te Papa, the country's extraordinary national museum; tour the city's government buildings; ride the historic cable car to the botanical gardens; or stroll through the galleries and along the busy waterfront--all within an easy walk of your hotel in the heart of the city. We reconvene this evening for our farewell dinner at a favourite Wellington restaurant, where we celebrate our trip and our new friendships.
Day 10: Homeward Bound
Depending on your flight schedule, you'll have time to relax, make final purchases, and enjoy the city's vibrancy before traveling home or to your next destination. We're confident you'll leave New Zealand with special memories and plans for your return.