North Island self drive tour in New Zealand

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Our partners behind this holiday promote inclusivity on all their trips and across their business and we are all committed to ensuring travellers face no discrimination on any part of the trip they control.
Dietary requirements:
We can cater for vegetarian and vegan diets.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Following New Zealand’s environmentally friendly lead, we want to offer environmentally sustainable tours that care for land, sea and nature, ‘treading lightly and leaving no trace’. This self-drive holiday allows you to explore the beautiful scenery of the North Island by road and on foot, leaving less of a footprint. We have chosen a hire car company in line with the principles we believe in, also supporting the Tiaki promise. This tour can be priced with any of the rental cars available, and if you want to go the extra eco-mile, there's an option to upgrade to a hybrid vehicle.

And as tap water is safe to drink in New Zealand, we urge you take a reusable bottle to refill on your trip, rather than buy plastic bottles from shops which produce waste.

New Zealand excels in protecting and preserving the land, whilst at the same time proudly showing it off to visitors, which is apparent when visiting Waitomo caves on this tour, which is over 30-million years old! Here you can be part of 130 years of cultural and natural history of New Zealand.

For bird lovers there is the chance to visit Miranda Bird Watching Sanctuary to see birds that live nowhere else on earth, as well as migratory birds before departing to Siberian and Alaskan with around 6,000 Lesser Knots and up to 10, 000 Bar Tailed Godwits feeding there in summer months. Other native species seen here are the South Island Pied Oystercatchers, and Wrybills. The conservation area with Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre is owned and operated by the Pukorokoro Miranda Naturalists’ Trust who promote awareness of coastal ecology, its flora and fauna and the ecology of the shorebirds that feed there. As well as facilitating research and education.

New Zealand is abundant with beautiful National Parks which are protected to preserve native wildlife and plant species, and during this trip you will explore the protected volcanic coastline of the Coromandel Peninsula. The Department of Conservation manages the majority of the parks in New Zealand, running programmes to restore species and heritage, and provide opportunities for people to engage with nature. They also manage threats to places and species, including fire, biosecurity and climate change, and offer education on environmental issues and how to travel responsibly through many of its Visitor Centres within its National Parks. On this tour you spend time in the Bay of Plenty region, home to the geothermic Rotorua area where National Parks full of lakes and native forest offer protected conservation habitat for Red deer, Sambar deer, Dama wallaby and goats, as well as regulating pig hunting through the Department of Conservations forestry organisation.
Through DOC we can offer a wealth of information including maps, policies, alerts, weather, track information, safety outdoors, litter guidelines, wildlife protection, and care codes. And any money for entrance fees and DOC guides mean we are supporting the ongoing conservation efforts on research and development ideas, and summer scholarship projects, and native species-specific protection programmes.

There is no better way to learn about the natural area and community than through the people, and New Zealand excels in small, family-run bed and breakfasts and farm accommodations with eco-friendly outlooks. So you can feel the warmth of the Kiwi people as they open their homes and share their passion for their homeland. One property featured in this itinerary, Kamahi Cottage, is a locally owned and operated farmstead which has achieved a Qualmark Gold Award, demonstrating that they operate in an ethical, professional and environmentally sustainable way. They have an environmental policy with a legal covenant to plant over 700 acres of native forest on the family farm. The covenanted land can never be deforested and has been fenced to prevent farm animals eating seedling trees and preventing forest regeneration. The garden at Kamahi is extensively planted with native and exotic species and berried trees to attract New Zealand native nectar feeders (eg. Tui, Bellbirds, and native pigeon). In order to protect the native forests, birds and wildlife they take active control of non-native pests that are a threat.

The Impacts of this Trip

New Zealand is pioneering in recognising its native people and traditions and the Maori cultural heritage is an integral part of New Zealand. We also want to celebrate the traditions of the Maori people, by giving you the opportunity to visit and learn about their culture on this tour with recommendations of craft markets, heritage centres and Maori cultural performances. Enjoy an evening with at the Mitai Maori Village in Rotorua to get an introduction to the indigenous Maori culture, whilst also contributing to the Maori way of life, with all activity fees going directly to support the local Maori community.

We recognise the importance of supporting local cultures through tourism, and are proud to use local companies on the ground which give jobs to people in the area, maintaining the heritage and localised knowledge, as well as supporting families. By using locally owned and operated accommodation, local expert guides, and local producers we can ensure this happens. We also support the Department of Conservation National Parks which provide employment across the country in conservation, research and tourism.

In this self-drive itinerary we recommend stop-offs along the way to eat at locally owned cafes and restaurants and go to local shops. These hidden gems give you the real taste of Kiwi culture, whilst also bringing tourism to small local businesses.


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