Cultural Tourism North Island

  • Cultural Tourism North Island

Cultural Tourism North Island - campervan road trips

From the mystical Waipoua forest to the heart of Maori tourism experiences, Rotorua – learn about the history that forms the foundations of Aotearoa New Zealand.

To follow this campervan driving itinerary, pick up and return your vehicle at our Auckland branch. Visit maui campervan hire Auckland for more details.

driving routeoverviewyour drivingitinerary

Top of the North – Tail of the Fish

Start: Auckland
Finish: Auckland
Duration: 5 days
Highlights:

  • The beautiful Hokianga Harbour
  • Waitangi, the birthplace of our nation
  • Historic Russell
  • Seaside horse riding that takes in the trails of the ancestors at Pakiri Beach

Central North Island

Start: Rotorua
Finish: Taupo
Duration: 4 days
Highlights:

  • Rotorua, probably New Zealand’s best know region when it comes to all things Maori
  • Te Wairoa Buried Village & the Pink and White Terraces destroyed during the Mt Tarawera eruption of 1886
  • White water rafting on the Kaituna River
  • Fishing on Lake Rotoiti
  • Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake

Lower North Island

Start: Wellington
Finish: Wellington
Duration: 5 days
Highlights:

  • National Museum – Te Papa
  • Kapiti Coast, Paraparaumu Beach and well worth the trip to Kapiti Island
  • The Whanganui River, stretching 291 kms is majestic, eerie and has an amazing history
  • Mt Taranaki and New Plymouth
  • The Surf Highway through the surfing towns of Oakura, Opunake and Patea

Top of the North – Tail of the Fish

Day 1
Pick up your maui motorhome at the Auckland airport and head north to the beautiful Hokianga Harbour into the region known as the Tail of the Fish of Maui. Experience the mystical Kauri forest with Footprints Waipoua this evening before retiring seaside in Omapere.

Day 2
Drive to Waitangi, the birthplace of our nation. A wander through the Waitangi National Trust Treaty Grounds will inform you about New Zealand and set the foundation for your visit through Aotearoa New Zealand.

After this experience, take a waka ride with Waka Taiamai Tours up the Waitangi River and learn about the early trading between the entrepreneurial Maori or the day and the European settlers. Don’t miss the re-enactment of the story of the Treaty Of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document, through the theatrical production of offer by Culture North.

Day 3
Take the ferry at Opua over to Russell. Take a tour with Fernz Eco Tours where you’ll get a real inside view of this historic part of Northland. A meal at the Orongo Bay Homestead beckons for that taste of the best of New Zealand (note that bookings are essential).

Day 4
Head South towards Auckland, stopping at the Tuatara Gallery in Whangarei. If horse riding is your thing, you’ll enjoy the seaside horse riding experience that takes in the trails of the ancestors, offered at Pakiri Beach Horsetreks, just out from Wellsford.

Day 5
Back in Auckland (Tamaki Makaurau) you can shop to your hearts content for that special reminder of your visit to Aotearoa New Zealand at the Kura Gallery near the Viaduct basin. Or perhaps take a day trip out to the fabulous West Coast Beaches with your hosts from the award winning Potiki Adventures.

Central North Island

Day 1
Rotorua offers an extensive range of Maori tourism experiences and is probably New Zealand’s best know region when it comes to all things Maori. Mokoia Island, in the middle of Lake Rotorua is the setting for one of the greatest Maori love stories you’ll hear, that of Hinemoa and Tutanekai. So you have plenty of opportunity to fill your days and to hear all about it.

Start with a day trip through history with a visit to the Te Wairoa Buried Village, an early Maori settlement located across the lake from the famed Pink and White Terraces destroyed during the Mt Tarawera eruption of 1886. To fully appreciate this event, follow that up with a visit to the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village where the descendants of those survivors live today. During your visit, taste some sweet corn cooked for you in a nearby thermal pool – delicious!

Day 2
If adventure is your game, today the Kaituna River beckons, with a rafting trip with Kaitiaki Adventures. Or perhaps a fishing trip on Lake Rotoiti with Mana Adventures where the infamous challenge beckons – but even if you don’t catch a fish, the day on the lake is sure to replenish your spirit. This evening, take another type of waka ride with the Tamaki Brothers out to their Tamaki Maori Village and enjoy their hospitality.

Day 3
You can’t leave Rotorua without visiting Te Puia, a centre for the retention of Maori arts and crafts. Visit the local Raukura Gallery on Fenton St for some of the best local art and crafts on offer, or take a drive out to the Rainbow Springs and Farm and see our large Rainbow Trout in a bush walk. Next door in the evening, enjoy Maori culture at its best with Mitai, a night full of culture, food and wonder is guaranteed.

Day 4
Drive to Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake and home to the Tuwharetoa people. Located just north of the town, you can blow out those cobwebs with a ride on the Hukafalls Jet to the foot of the Huka Falls. Across the road at the Wairakei Terraces you can be inspired by a replica of the Pink and White Terraces, or enjoy an evening cultural concert and meal here.

Lower North Island

Day 1
Collect your maui motorhome and enjoy some of the local sites of New Zealand’s capital city Wellington, or Te Upoko o te Ika (the Head of the Fish of Maui) to Maori. Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city and home to our National Museum – Te Papa Tongarewa, that gives a bi-cultural perspective on our country. The Kura Gallery in Allen St, near Courtney Place offers a great selections of arts and crafts from some of our best Maori artists. In the afternoon, take a visit to Maori Treasures in nearby Lower Hutt and learn how to craft and weave the Maori way.

Day 2
X-Rides are located a short distance from the city of Porirua, just north of Wellington and offer an interesting historical Maori perspective on this part of the country from the back of a motorised scooters. Take a break at the Tihei Café, at Lindale en route to the Kapiti Coast. Kapiti Island is a short boat ride from Paraparaumu Beach and well worth the trip. Stay at the Kapiti Island Lodge and enjoy a tour of this very special bird sanctuary.

Day 3
Drive through to Wanganui this morning. Wanganui’s focal point is its river, the longest navigatable river in New Zealand – the Whanganui River, stretching 291 kms from Mount Tongariro in the Central Plateau to Taranaki. You need to visit here to understand this amazing story. There’s no better way than to hook up with the Whanganui River Jet Boat Tours for an adventure up the river that you won’t ever forget! This river is majestic, eerie and has an amazing history - just waiting to be explored by you.

Day 4
A short two hour drive from Wanganui, the region of Taranaki with its impressive mountain welcomes you. Mt Taranaki and its surrounds was the site of many of the early land based fracas between Maori and the European settlers and is one of those deeply mysterious places that entices you to explore further. Taranaki Tours can give you those special insights that only locals know, and you’ll be amazed what you learn. The Puke Ariki (place of chiefs) Museum is located in the heart of New Plymouth and is well worth a visit while you’re there.

Day 5
Head back to Wellington via the Surf Highway through the surfing towns of Oakura, Opunake and through the town of Patea. Patea is located southeast of Hawera is the military settlement of Patea established in the 1860s, which played an important part in the land wars. It is now a dairy and sheep-farming region. There is a 17m long concrete model of the Aotea tribal canoe, made in 1933 to commemorate the ancestors of the Maori tribe who once lived in this area.