Your Visit to New Zealand

For a visitor,  travel in any country is all about Information, and this page is here to assist your planning. And of course the very best idea is to ask the locals. Your Hertage Inns Hosts will be only too happy to ensure you enjoy all that New Zealand and there location in particular has to offer …………


Here are some suggested itineraries depending on how much time you have available.  To see each Island properly would take weeks!  Other than the main centres, there are lots of places off the beaten track that are well worth the effort to see.  Away from the crowds you will find areas of stunning beauty, coastal havens and warm, friendly locals.

If time is limited, we recommend you follow our ‘whistle-stop’ tour options but if you have the time, consider the other options – shown in red.




Whistle Stop: self drive Auckland, Rotorua, Napier, Wellington


  1. Arrive from long haul flight in Auckland.

Depending on your arrival time, you will need at least one night’s accommodation in Auckland, the City of Sails to recover from jet leg!  There are a number of standard hotels/motels close to the airport so if all you want is a bed for the night, these are good options.  If you decide to go ‘downtown’ beware that the traffic can get pretty bad at rush hour times.


Things to do downtown – check out the relaxed dining options and bars around the waterfront, wonder down Queen Street, the main shopping area, if you have time, take a ferry over to Davenport , go up Sky Tower and take in the views and maybe have a flutter in the casino.


Things not to do: DO NOT GO TO BED until evening however tired you feel, this way you get up next morning NZ time not being jetlagged.


Optional trip to Bay of Islands, Keri Keri, 240km, 3 hours

Time permitting; the Bay of Islands is worth the drive!  Stunning coastal scenery, fruit orchards and arty places!  Driving over the Harbour Bridge north of Auckland on state highway 1, make your way toward Whangarai – lots of cafes and interesting shops to explore around the harbour.  You may also want to stop off at Matokona en-route, another pretty town to wonder through (and some good wineries to stop at too!)


Staying at the Bed of Roses in Keri Keri you can visit the birthplace of the Treaty of Waitangi or go for a cruise around the Bay of Island, a little further afield you can drive out to TaneMahuta (God of the Forest) or up to 90-mile beach at the top of the North Island.  There are numerous other beaches and harbours around Northland that are all beautiful.


Optional trip to Coromandel, Whitianga, 190km, 2½  hours

The Coromandel is another area of stunning coastal scenery. A specific attraction is Hot Water Beach – dig a hole in the sand and it fills with warm water!  There is also the history of the area to discover – the gold mining past.

Stay at Villa Toscana in Whitianga.


       2.    Drive Auckland to Rotorua, 216km 2h 30mmins (from airport) (or from Whitianga, 233km, 3 hrs)

If you have overnighted near the airport you will already by the right side of the city to head south.  You want State Highway 27.  This road takes you past Matamata – where Hobbiton is based – a unique visitor experience that shows you the Shire used in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies!. Tours leave from the i-site approx. every 45 mins.  Tours last 3 hours so allow for this.  Leaving Matamata it is only an hour until you reach Rotorua.


Things to do in Rotorua.  So many hot pools and geysers to see and all are fascinating!  There is also an array of adventure sport options from bungy to parachuting to zorbing and ziplines!  For the less adventurous there is also Maori cultural shows and the Polynesian hot pools.  Be prepared for the sulphur smell in Rotorua – it can be quite strong and often, silver jewellery tarnishes!


There is an abundance of accommodation in Rotorua from motels, hotels to luxury lodges so you are bound to find something suitable as a base.


Options from Rotorua you can either head south toward Wellington or travel East to Hawkes Bay


       3.   From Rotorua to Hawkes Bay – Napier and Havelock North, 221km to Napier, 2 hours 20mins or 2 hours 40 mins to Havelock North

If you have time, the Hawkes Bay region provides an opportunity to visit some wonderful wineries as well as check-out the Art Deco architecture of Napier.  Both Napier and Havelock North have an array of wineries worth visiting as well as fabulous restaurants.   The numerous fruit stalls sell the locally grown apples, peaches, plums and berries – well worth buying!

Stay at Breckenridge Lodge in Napier or Hillington or Ensleigh Cottages in Havelock North


      4.    Rotorua or Napier/Havelock North to Masterton, 226 km 2 hours 40 mins

Only 90mins from Wellington this is an ideal stop-off if you want to avoid staying in Wellington city before heading to the South Island ferry!  Many tourists make the mistake of driving through or around the Wairarapa region. The region is off-the tourist track but features some beautiful scenery – both coastal and hill.  For wine lovers there are many boutique wineries to explore and there are a range of attractions such as the Vintage Aviation Collection, Stone Henge Aotearoa and Pukaha Mount Bruce – home of the rare white kiwi birds.


Stay at the Summit Lodge in Gladstone, just outside of Masterton for a rural B&B experience.


From Gladstone you can either drive straight to the South Island Ferry terminal or you can choose to have a night or 2 in Wellington.


      5.   Wairarapa to Wellington, 100km, 1 hour 30mins

Leaving Gladstone you pass the quant towns of Carterton and Greytown before driving over the Rimutaka Hill Road.  Stop at the top, if the weather is good for great views back over the Wairarapa as well as out toward Wellington.  The ferry terminals are easy to find when you exit the highway.  Alternatively, book yourselves into one of the many down-town Wellington hotels and explore this wonderful city.  Great shopping around Lambton Quay and Cuba Street and reputedly more cafes and restaurants per capita than New York!  Go up the cable car to the Botanic Gardens, explore Te Papa or go for a drive around the harbour and up to the Mt Victoria Lookout.

Stay at Edgewater Lodge


The map shows Heritage Inns Members. Use your hosts advise to “Flesh Out” up journey with the special things they know. Clicking on the map markers will take you to the Hosts web pages. Use the map “zoom” for closer detail.
The Map Title will link to more information

North Island




Taupo Rotorua

Hawkes Bay

Wellington / Wairarapa