Earth, wind and fire 

The North Island is a living example of New Zealand’s origins, both culturally and geologically. From the cradle of Maori and British colonial life in the Bay of Islands to the living landscape of Rotorua, where the very earth beneath your feet exhales its hot breath, the North Island is rich with experiences. Swim with dolphins or sail on emerald waters plied by early traders, walk beneath dense rainforest canopies, learn ancient Maori traditions, soak in steaming lakeside pools, peer into the belly of a volcano, and other hot stuff.


7 February 2021

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All payment is in NZD. Pricing in other currencies is indicative based on the current exchange rate. Final payment amount is determined by your bank based on the latest conversion.

Single supplement from: NZ$2,230
Price based on double occupancy. Single supplement is a surcharge for single occupancy.

Length10 days | 9 nights
DestinationAuckland to Wellington

Classic Stays
Modern, well-appointed properties that provide a comfortable, convenient base from which to explore. Perfect for the region, they’re typically within easy access to cafes and other amenities.

Premier Stays
Quality lodgings in superb settings, from stylish lakeside lodges to restful alpine retreats. Note that in a few cases, Classic Stays are used on a trip classified overall as Premier to allow access to stunning, remote locations where Premier Stays are not available.

Luxe Stays
Exclusive, indulgent hideaways with exceptional facilities and service. The best in New Zealand (and perhaps the world). Note that in a few cases, Premier Stays are used on a trip classified overall as Luxe to allow access to stunning, remote locations where Luxe Stays are not available.

Special Stays
Some tours feature overnight cruises and multiple-day hikes, with stays in private lodges or Department of Conservation huts, for special wilderness experiences.


You’re comfortable on tracks with gently undulating terrain and can move comfortably and freely. Suitable for families with young children. Note, activity add-ons may change rating.

You enjoy walking/light hiking, can handle a hill or two, and appreciate life-affirming soft adventures that dip a toe outside your comfort zone.

You’ve got a bit of Kiwi in you and are ready to hit the hills and push yourself a little. Some of these trips include multi-day hikes that get you further into the wild. It’s not all Bear Grylls, though. You’re happy to enjoy a rewarding glass of pinot at day’s end.

This is an overall guide. Our trips include a range of activities across the spectrum. Request a Detailed Itinerary for more details on fitness levels needed for individual activities.

StyleSmall Group

Small Group
Scheduled, guided adventures with just the right number of like-minded travellers to share in the laughs and make new friends.

Guided, professionally crafted trips with your own group and your choice of travel dates.

Self Drive
Self-guided, stress-free road trips with all the elements sorted for you. Our professionally crafted itineraries and booking team, your dates and travel companions.

Guided or self-guided, this is your personal New Zealand dream made manifest. A fully customized experience based on your passions, finessed with our professional planning.

Soft Adventure,

Daily Brief

Click on the orange icons to read about lodging along the way (not available on mobile). C=Classic, P=Premier, L=Luxe, S=Special Stays. Note accommodation may vary based on departure date. For hotel links and more information, Request a Detailed Itinerary above.

You’re met in Auckland by your Black Sheep guide for the start of your adventure. It’s a scenic drive from there to the remote and beautiful Bay of Islands. Settle into your lodging and stroll along the beach, unwinding from your overseas journey before our celebratory dinner overlooking the bay.


Set sail to explore the islands of the bay. Sit back and enjoy the sea breeze and the views whilst penguin- and dolphin-spotting, take the helm or climb the rigging. A stop at an island allows you to wash away your jetlag in the blue-green waters of its tranquil bay.


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.


Bid the Bay farewell and return to Auckland, visiting New Zealand’s largest gannet colony on route. A clifftop walking track high above a wild surf beach provides close-up views of the gannets as they court, breed, and nest. Our Auckland hotel is in the heart of downtown, with your evening free to explore this waterfront city.


Head to the Coromandel Peninsula for a guided walk beneath a rainforest canopy of giant tree ferns, learning about the flora, fauna and gold mining history here from an award-winning naturalist. Settle into your seaside retreat just steps from one of the prettiest beaches in New Zealand.


Start the day with a scenic boat tour of the regions stunning volcanic coastline, sea caves and pristine marine reserve. Back on land consider taking a self-guided hike to a remote and beautiful cove guarded by towering sandstone formations. Sit on your balcony as the sun sets and thank yourself for taking this vacation.


Travel to Rotorua and this afternoon, test the healing theories of Rotorua's thermal waters in a lakeside spa. Head out this evening to explore the city's popular dining district.


View the region’s dynamic landscape by air, flying over boiling lakes, hot streams, the yawning crater of Mt Tarawera and more whilst learning about the history, culture and geology of the region. This afternoon, watch students refine their craft at Te Puia, New Zealand's Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.


This morning, fly to Wellington, named the ‘coolest little capital’ in the world by Lonely Planet. The day is free to explore this vibrant, compact city. Visit the excellent national museum; take a tour of Parliament; fossick in charming bookshops; and stroll along the waterfront before we rendezvous for our farewell dinner to celebrate our trip and the new friendships we’ve made.


On this final morning, depending on your flight schedule, you’ll have time to relax and enjoy more city sights before travelling home or to your next destination. We’re confident you’ll leave New Zealand with special memories and plans for your return. After all, there is the South Island yet to see!

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Want to make this itinerary exclusive to your own group? Request As a Private Trip and we can advise pricing based on your dates and the number of travellers in your group.

Trip Inclusions

While Black Sheep prides itself on the intangibles that make our Small Group trips so special, our packages are known for being stuffed with features. Check out what’s included in your Black Sheep adventure below.


All accommodation during your tour

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Full-day sailing cruise
Maori cultural experience
Guided rainforest hike
Coromandel nature cruise
Geothermal valley scenic flight
Lakeside spa entry
Additional guided tours, walks, Te Puia entry, and more

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All breakfasts
5 lunches
4 dinners with NZ wine sampling
Onboard snacks & beverages

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Tour vehicle with professional driver/guide
Rotorua to Wellington flight
Airport transfers within tour dates
All baggage transport within tour

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Services of a doting Black Sheep guide
Background support from Black Sheep HQ
Flight assistance available

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Stainless steel water bottle & holder
NZ map & travel journal
Use of walking sticks, neck pillows, onboard library, and more
A few surprises

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North Island Experience
Small Group