Whale Rider Country

from £1937
excluding flights *
13 nights Year round


Discover one of New Zealand's lesser-travelled regions on this fly drive holiday following the Pacific Coast Highway around the East Cape of the North Island visiting the locations where 'Whale Rider' was filmed. Over 14-days you'll also visit Rotorua, Wellington before heading to the South Island and the whale-watching capital Kaikoura en route to Christchurch.


  • See Rotorua's boiling pools, geysers and deep-rooted Maori culture
  • Option to visit volcanic White Island by boat and see bird and marine life
  • Explore the East Cape coastline, and a Walk with the Ancestors Maori guided tour
  • Soak up the Art Deco architecture of Napier
  • Sample some of New Zealand's world class wines in Hawke's Bay
  • Join a whale watching boat trip in Kaikoura

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • 10 breakfasts
  • Walk with the Ancestors tour at Waimarama
  • Whale Watch tour
  • Meet and Greet on arrival
  • Car rental throughout
  • Unlimited kilometres

Full description

This 14-day itinerary explores the Eastland region, steeped in over 1000 years of Maori heritage. It remains one of the country's least visited areas, and also one of the most genuine, and those who do venture to this eastern-most point of New Zealand are rarely disappointed.

Witi Ihimaera's novel 'The Whale Rider' is the touching and ultimately uplifting story of tradition, Maori legend and a young girl's quest to gain the understanding and acceptance of her grandfather. The film version provided audiences with a taste of Maori culture and demonstrated that there is far more to New Zealand than just some of the finest scenery in the world.

In Eastland you will find Maori settlements, churches and Maraes. You will also have the opportunity to talk with local people at a homestay, and visit Whangara, the setting for both the book and film. The itinerary also features the heartland of New Zealand's Maori culture at Rotorua, and the whale-watching capital, Kaikoura. These tie in nicely with the themes of the film and provide a contrast against the cosmopolitan cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

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Prices & Dates *

Airfares start from around £825 per person and are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.

From prices per person based on 2 sharing a room with private bathroom, including car hire

Departure Duration Car Category Twin Price (pp)
Year round 13 nights Toyota Corolla Hatch (or similar) £1,937

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • 10 breakfasts
  • White Island tour
  • Half-day Walk with the Ancestors tour at Waimarama
  • Half-day Whale Watch tour
  • Car rental throughout (Toyota Corolla Hatch or similar)
  • Unlimited kilometres
  • Vehicle insurance subject to an insurance excess
  • Interislander ferry crossing
  • Meet and greet and private transfer on arrival
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Arrive in Auckland

You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel in the city centre for an overnight stay.
Overnight: Heritage Auckland Hotel.

Day 2: Auckland - Rotorua (234 km)

Collect your rental vehicle this morning and take a leisurely drive through the lush farming country of the Waikato to Rotorua for a two-night stay. We recommend a detour en route to the fabulous glow-worm caves at Waitomo.
Overnight: Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel. Breakfast included

Day 3: Exploring Rotorua

You have a full day free to explore New Zealand's best known geothermal area, with its geysers, volcanoes, lakes and Maori culture. This evening you may like to enjoy a traditional Maori feast or 'hangi' (at additional cost).
Overnight: Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel. Breakfast included

Day 4: Rotorua - Whakatane (85 km)

Today make your way to the coastal town of Whakatane, located in the Bay of Plenty.
Overnight: White Island Rendezvous. Breakfast included

Day 5: Whakatane

Today your White Island Tour includes a comfortable 80 minute boat journey out to the island in a purpose built launch and a two hour exploration of New Zealand’s only active marine volcano with experienced guides. At any time during the day there is the opportunity to view bird and marine life.
Overnight: White Island Rendezvous.

Day 6: Whakatane - Gisborne (185 km)

Today make your way to historic Gisborne via State Highway 2. Captain Cook first set foot on New Zealand soil here in 1769 and you might like to visit The Cook Landing Site memorial which offers sensational views out across Poverty Bay. Alternatively you may like to drive the longer, scenic route along the coast via the East Cape which will take approximately 6 hours. This region boasts some of the most spectacular coastal scenery on the North Island.
Overnight: Knapdale Eco Lodge.

Day 7: Gisborne

Don't miss New Zealand's longest pier at Tolaga Bay and the Maori settlement of Whangara where the film Whale Rider was shot.
Overnight: Knapdale Eco Lodge. Breakfast included

Day 8: Gisborne - Napier (216 km)

Journey south to the magnificent wine-producing region of Hawke's Bay. The city of Napier is renowned for its Art Deco architecture and it is well worth enjoying a guided tour of the city during your stay.
Overnight: McHardy Lodge. Breakfast included

Day 9: Napier

A day at leisure to explore this delightful region and its pristine beaches, superb wineries, Maori heritage and arts and crafts. An 2 hour "Walk with the Ancestors" guided Maori tour is included today.
Overnight: McHardy Lodge. Breakfast included

Day 10: Napier - Wellington (334 km)

Travel through sheep farming country to the capital city of Wellington for a two-night stay.
Overnight: QT Museum Hotel. Breakfast included

Day 11: Wellington

This vibrant capital city has a wealth of activities on offer, from food and walking tours to culture and heritage, wildlife and Lord of the Rings adventures. A visit to New Zealand's National Museum, Te Papa, is highly recommended.
Overnight: Museum Art Hotel. Breakfast included

Day 12: Wellington - Picton - Kaikoura (157 km)

Return your rental vehicle at the ferry terminal depot before boarding the Interislander ferry across the scenic Cook Strait. On arrival in Picton collect another rental vehicle and drive to the seaside township of Kaikoura.
Overnight: Manakau Lodge. Breakfast included

Day 13: Kaikoura

Enjoy a Whale watch excursion today. Every Whale Watch tour is a unique experience and the sightings vary. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents. A typical Whale Watch tour may encounter New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. Depending on the season you may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales, and Southern Right Whales. Orcas and Hector's dolphins are common sightings.
Overnight: Manakau Lodge. Breakfast included

Day 14: Kaikoura - Christchurch (183 km)

Drive to Christchurch today and return rental vehicle to the airport depot prior to your departure.

Heritage Auckland

New Zealand

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

Located a few minutes from the city centre this Green Globe accredited hotel has 467 luxurious rooms, suites and studios.

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Manakau Lodge, Kaikoura

New Zealand

Grade: Superior

Type: Luxury Lodge

Manakau Lodge is home to four purpose-built, supremely comfortable guest rooms all of which include king size beds, deep cushioned armchairs, a writing desk and modern bathroom.

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QT Museum Hotel, Wellington

New Zealand

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

This elegant, 160-room hotel is only a short walk to the city's vibrant Courtenay Quarter.

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The Regent of Rotorua, Rotorua

Grade: Deluxe

Type: Unique And Boutique

Escape ordinary in Regent of Rotorua, a designer Boutique Hotel offering stylish luxury accommodation, restaurant,…

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