Group Travel New Zealand

Pacific Coast & Thermal Explorer Highways

An East Cape Getaway 15 Day Guided Tour — off the beaten track
Adventure, Food & Wine experience

Best described as boutique and unique, this tour aims to show you the best of our hidden and iconic locations. Departing Auckland and following a more scenic route mostly off the main trunk, we travel south into the very picturesque Waikato region, the heartland of New Zealand agriculture. Continuing East on the Pacific Coast Highway, we meet the pretty Bay of Plenty coastline and follow that around the rugged relatively untouched East Cape. Onwards south we head to Gisborne and then to Napier, the famous art deco capital of the world, which is also one of New Zealand's flourishing wine regions, boasting over 70 wineries.

From here we turn west and drive across the North Island via The Kaweka Forest Park to the Central Plateau and the World Heritage listed Tongariro National Park. Finally turning north via The Thermal Explorer Highway past lake Taupo to the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, we visit Rotorua and ultimately complete our return to Auckland. This is a journey of approximately 2000 km over 15 days. 

We have crafted this exciting tour for only 8 passengers, to ensure you an unforgettably good, authentic experience of New Zealand. Suited to active couples this is an ideal opportunity to invite some friends or family to see New Zealand in  comfort and style.

Your Tour

Route summary and highlights each day

B = Breakfast
L = Lunch
D = Dinner (beverages wines as marked * )
(hrs / min) = actual driving time

Day 1: (D*) Auckland - Matamata  (3 hrs)
Miranda Shorebird Centre
Sculptor Art gallery
Farm Stay
Dinner in the lodge

Day 2:  (BD*) Matamata - Whakatane (2 nights)  (2 hrs)
Hobbiton Movie Set
Maori Cultural Tour
Astronomical Observatory - (optional activity at your cost)
Dinner Ohiwa Fisherman's Wharf

Day 3: (BL) At Whakatane
White Island Marine Volcano Tour
No dinner arrangements - free choice

Day 4: (BLD) Whakatane - Lottin Point (2:45 min)
Jet boat Adventure & picnic lunch
Dinner in the bistro restaurant

Day 5: (BLD) Lottin Point - Tokomaru Bay  (1:50 min)
Manuka Honey factory
East cape Lighthouse Walk
TikiTiki Church Carvings - Cultural interests
Dinner in the hotel

Day 6: (BLD*) Tokomaru Bay - Gisborne (1:20 min)
Tolaga Bay Wharf
Cooks Cove Walk (part way & picnic)
Dinner in the hotel

Day 7: (B) Gisborne - Napier (3 Nights) (2:50 min)
Eastwood Hill Arboretum Tour with Curator
Morere Hot Springs (optional activity at your cost)
No dinner arrangements - free choice

Day 8: (BL) At Napier
Expert guided tour of 4 wineries with share platter also
Complimentary snacks and wine from a private elevated viewing platform
No dinner arrangements - free choice

Day 9: (BD*) At Napier
Art deco City tour with expert guide in a Packard vintage car
Dinner at Mission Estate Winery - New Zealand's oldest winery

Day 10: (BLD*) Napier - Tongariro National Park (3:20 min)
Sightseeing  & picnic lunch Kaweka Forest Park
Sightseeing Mt Ruapehu
Dinner in the hotel - Chateau

Day 11: (BD*) Tongariro National Park - Taupo (2Nights) (1:20 min)
Wilderness cycle trail ride - (cycle upgrades at your cost)
Dinner in the hotel

Day 12: (B) At Taupo
Huka Falls River cruise - complimentary tea & coffee on board
No dinner arrangements - free choice

Day 13: (B) Taupo - Rotorua (2Nights) (1 hr)
Glass blowing demonstration, gallery and glass sculpture garden
Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland & boiling mud pools
Waikite Valley Eco walk - massive volume natural boiling water
No dinner arrangements - free choice

Day 14: (BD) At Rotorua
Farewell drinks in the hotel
Mitai Cultural evening inc. night walk & glow worms
Dinner - Maori hangi

Day 15: (B) Rotorua - Auckland  (4 hrs)
Mt Maunganui -  one of New Zealand's best loved beaches and towns.


  • Double or twin share.
  • All with private facilities
Day 1Luxurious private home with 4 beautiful rooms in the guest wing. This is a farm stay.
Day 2 & 3New self-contained cottage set in its own small village. Walking distance to the Town Centre.
Day 43 star Motel with views out to rugged coastal landscapes and the ocean below. This studio unit, whilst freshly renovated, is best described as more basic style accommodation.
Day 5Spacious two level apartment with views out to the ocean.
Day 64 star Hotel in the City Centre.
Day 7, 8 & 9  A beautiful 4 star Art Deco Boutique Hotel in the city overlooking the bay.
Day 104 star Chateau set under the majestic landscapes of Tongariro National Park and Mt Ruapehu
Day 11 & 124 star resort Hotel with expansive grounds and amenities including geothermal hot pools, cycle trails and 9 hole golf course.
Day 13 & 144 star Boutique Hotel close to City Centre.

All the accommodation is carefully chosen for your enjoyment and comfort regarding location, dining and amenities.


We use late model 12 Seat Mercedes vehicles fully equipped for premium comfort  (only 8 passengers travelling on this tour)

A luggage trailer is also provided for your added comfort.

Meals included

14 breakfasts - Full English or buffet (or continental by choice on the day) served at your accommodation

Picnic style lunches are provided where stated in your itinerary. Picnic lunches cancelled due to weather conditions will be refunded.

9 dinners with wines or other beverages are provided where stated in your itinerary  (D*)


To improve your touring experience, four complimentary mobile phone SIM cards will be provided to the group. This will mean you have immediate use of your phone inside New Zealand. You will have access to unlimited calls and SMS text messaging within New Zealand and Australia only and access to limited 3G/4G mobile data during your 15 day tour. Further information will be provided. 

Important notes

  • Single supplement is not available
  • Rooms are double or twin share
  • Suited for age range 40 - 75
  • Moderate levels of fitness required for cycling and walking. These activities are rated easy to moderate depending on your pace.
  • Some activities may be affected by weather and time schedules.
Departure DateAvailable
Twin Share