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Drink in revitalising New Zealand at your own pace on a self-drive voyage between five North Island destinations, before a beach fling in Bali - includes all flights, airport transfers, car hire in New Zealand, and breakfast in Bali
Relative to its size, there's hardly a soul around in lush New Zealand, leaving vast swathes of pristine nature to be roamed in peace. Take your pick of barely trodden beaches, rich rainforest, volcanic lakes and refreshing cities, where every corner is infused with the fascinating Māori culture. This sensational self-drive tour reveals the country's North Island from toe to top, beginning in the hilly harbourside capital of Wellington. Pick up your hire car downtown, and get under the skin of this bite-sized, culture-crammed city while enjoying all the luxury of your sleek five-star base right by the Parliament buildings and the Wellington Botanic Gardens.
You'll then motor around four hours north to Napier, a seaport city with sigh-worthy Art Deco architecture that's been wonderfully preserved since the 1930s. In the midst of Hawke's Bay, New Zealand's oldest and second largest wine region, this is the place to start sipping. Your multi-awarded hotel sits on Ahuriri's waterfront just north of the city centre, among boutiques, galleries, restaurants and bars and a walk from the beach.
Next, you'll drive almost three hours to Rotorua, an incredible geothermal hub of mud pools and hot springs in the Pacific Rim of Fire. Your elegant hotel here has its own energising mineral pool to use, when you're not out bathing in the area's thermal water hotspots. You'll also have time to get to know Māori history and customs in one of the nearby villages if you choose (by tour only).
Another three hours northeast places you on the rainforest-cloaked Coromandel Peninsula, a land of outdoor sports and invigorating clean air. After a night in your well-equipped, eco-friendly motel a short walk from the beach, you'll set off on your final long-distance drive to waterside Auckland, often rated as the city offering the best quality of life on the planet. Your reassuring five-star Pullman hotel places you in the heart of this urban treat, near Albert Park and the inspirational Auckland Art Gallery.
Finally, you'll jet over to Bali - the swoon-worthy Indonesian island that ticks the boxes for sugar-white beaches, dazzling Indian Ocean water, and a spiritual culture. It’s no surprise that The Tanjung Benoa Beach Resort, your fabulous abode on the Tanjung Benoa peninsula in Bali’s Nusa Dua, is paradise for sun-seekers who like their beach relaxation peppered with luxury. Spend your days enjoying top-to-toe pampering at the spa, working out at the gym, and divvying up your time between two outdoor pools: Celepok with its classic Bale Bengong pavilions and swim-up bar, or TAO Lagoon that faces towards the beach. There’s also a rather wonderful selection of dining options, from Thai to Asian and Indian.
Zipping your way up New Zealand's North Island by car, stopping at rated hotels along the way
Sipping Hawke's Bay wine in Napier before restorative mud baths in Rotorua
Rounding things off with a burst of Indonesian island hedonism on a Bali beach
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