Northern Express North Island Tour

Northern Express North Island Tour

  • Wellington
  • 2 days
  • Auckland
  • from NZD$255.00
All Flying Kiwi New Zealand tour have guaranteed departures

Flying Kiwi Local's Tip

Brenda - Flying Kiwi General Manager
"Seeing Mt Taranaki appearing on the horizon is quite spectacular, head on a walk or cycle in New Plymouth to get the best views of the mountain"

Northern Express North Island Tour - Overview:

Check out this 2 day Northern Express Tour which starts in Wellington and finishes in Auckland – from the bottom to the top - moving from the capital city to the city of sails! It’s a swift trip however, it appeals to those who want an overnight camping experience.

We go slightly off the beaten track with a scenic route along the Kapiti Coast, Mount Taranaki and rolling farmland of Waikato, and get the chance to meet other like-minded outdoor enthusiasts! We all chip in with cooking and preparation of food so you’ll get a chance to have a laugh and meet new people. You’ll also get two friendly, energetic and knowledgeable guides who share a perfect mix of localised information between them.

You’ll be joining the tour with passengers who have likely been travelling with Flying Kiwi on another trip segment in New Zealand. This makes it perfect for you if you’re in New Zealand for longer and need some honest advice on must do destinations!

Mix your experiences up with glow worm caves and black water rafting, followed by a late picnic lunch before arriving in the big smoke - Auckland! But don’t leave us yet! If you have the time you can always add a Beach It trip around the Bay of Islands to the end of your trip.


The Northern Express trip is a fast way to move between Wellington and Auckland while allowing yourself small but memorable sightseeing experiences along the way. While you start in Wellington and finish in Auckland the next day, if you wish to prolong your stay in Taranaki, and take in a little more of the west coast of the North Island, it’s entirely possible!

Other possibilities are if you find a liking to travelling with us and what we can offer you, you may want to add on a tour extension or two. These following options are always available:

  • Beach It Tour - if you want to escape the city for a few days of fun in the sun then this trip is ideal. We enjoy warm waters, great beaches, superb rides and excellent hikes on this great journey around the winterless North.
  • Grand Traverse Tour - this is a one way adventure, from Auckland, for those who have a little less time but still want to see a sizeable chunk of the country. Highlights include thermal wonders of Rotorua, whale watching, dolphin swimming, Milford Sounds, the adventure capital Queenstown and much more.
  • Northern Light Tour - If your journey begins in Auckland and you’re heading South then jump on. In less than a week you will get to see an amazing range of diversity, enjoy fantastic hikes (including the Tongariro) and see some great thermal wonders. It’s the perfect way to cruise the North Island with plenty of beach action included.

Contact us for more information.


Just because it’s only two days doesn’t mean we skimp on delivering anything less than the best tour options and experiences to you! Here are just a few of the things that you will find included in your Northern Express Tour:

  • Accommodation: We stay at a pretty awesome location in Taranaki - camping in tents which are easy to construct and just as easy to bring down.
  • Food: Meals are included (1 dinner, 1 lunch and 1 breakfast).
  • Hikes: You guides will point you in the direction of the different walks available.

The activities below are additional to your trip cost and can be booked as you travel. They are optional and there are always free alternatives - for prices visit the optional activities page.

  • Blackwater Rafting: explore the unique, glow worm filled, underwater cave systems of Waitomo
  • Waitomo Glowworm tour: Marvel at the light display as you glide silently through the starry wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto

Our activities page above gives more detail on many of the free and optional activities that you might choose to do on your Ultimate Explorer Tour and how it all works while on tour.


Can I extend my trip?

Sure, there are plenty of options to see more of the country before or after your tour. Check out our full loop to get some inspiration or contact us if you would like some advice on doing a few things independently around your trip.

Does this trip run in winter?

No - unfortunately not. For more information on winter tours check out our winter tours page.

For more useful information visit our How It Works page.

  1. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast by the waterfront (own cost) and check out the sights of beautiful Wellington before we hit the road for our 11am departure. We travel up the scenic Kapiti Coast to the Taranaki region – home to wonderful beaches, crashing waves and spectacular Mount Taranaki – a perfectly formed snow-capped peak.

    Wellington is the nation's capital and from Maori legend its earliest name is Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui, meaning ‘the head of Maui's fish’. This relates to the legend when a giant fish was pulled to the surface by Maui, the fish became the North Island. Half way between Wellington and Auckland we find Taranaki.

    • Meals: Dinner
    • Bike Rides: A leisurely coastal ride following the New Plymouth Walkway. Plenty of local artwork and sculptures along the ride to keep an eye out for. If it’s a clear evening, don’t miss this ride as all going well you’ll get to experience an amazing sunset.
    • Walks and Hikes: Walk some of the New Plymouth walkway in the evening from camp to capture some of the best sunsets!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 6 hours
  2. Early departure to the limestone wonderland of Waitomo Caves. The glow-worm (Arachnocampa luminosa) is unique to our shores and thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light through this network of caves. The black water rafting is a totally unique experience – sitting in your rubber ring, your experienced and knowledgeable guides will take you through a maze of underground caves and streams whose ceilings are coated in glow-worms that produce a radiant light to lead you through. There are a range of options to explore the caves, from walks to rafting, dependent upon your adrenalin levels. We take time to enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking farmland before heading to Auckland and a taste of big city life “kiwi style”. Auckland nightlife is second to none and it’s a great chance to join your group for a taste of the harbour bars and restaurants. Camping isn’t feasible in the heart of the country’s largest city so we will be staying in a great hostel with various room options giving you the best access to explore. This is payable locally and we have twin rooms reserved for everyone on board (twin / triple share from $39pp). If you would prefer a private room (from $72 - subject to availability) please contact us prior to your trip. For those that started their loop on the Auckland - Bay of Islands day this will be the last leg of your tour.

    Auckland is bordered by 2 harbours, Waitemata and Manukau and lies at the southern end of the Auckland Peninsula. Auckland is NZs largest city and the main gateway for all elements of commerce, tourism and industry. Although this is the largest urban area its also has great beaches, excellent shopping and the buzzing nightlife and culture you'd hope for in a large city. Auckland is also known as the City of Sails and this has been added to with the America’s Cup event regularly held here.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
    • Bike Rides: If you’re not doing any Waitomo activities, jump on a bike and enjoy a countryside road ride into Waitomo. You’ll be riding through the Waikato District, home to many four legged wooly friends, sheep!
    • Walks and Hikes: Enjoy a trail walk taking you through forest in Waitomo to caves and a lookout overlooking the Waitomo district.
    • Optional Activities: Blackwater rafting, glowworm cave tour
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 4-5 hours

2018-19 and 2019-20 SEASON TOUR PRICES: 

  2018-19 2019-20
Tour price $255     $255    
Single tent upgrade      $10 $10
Sleeping bag hire $20 $20



MonthDeparture Dates
January '19 3rd 12th 21st 30th
February '19   8th 17th 26th
March '19   7th 16th 25th
April '19 3rd 12th    
October '19       23rd
November '19      1st   10th 19th 28th
December '19   7th 16th 25th
 January '20 3rd 12th 21st 30th
 February '20   8th 17th 26th
 March '20   6th 15th 24th
 April '20 2nd  11th    
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