This self-drive itinerary hits the highlights of New Zealand's North Island with a wide array of activities and landscapes. Along the way, you'll explore Auckland's best neighborhoods, sip pours from local wineries, go swimming and kayaking, and take part in Rotorua's geothermal treatments and Maori culture—all within the span of a week.
Once Upon a Trip
As in country experts, our services ensure your vacation exceeds all your expectations.
We create tailor-made New Zealand tours. We know this country, these regions, and accommodations in a way that the internet won't allow you to. We specialize in custom New Zealand and South Pacific Island itineraries.
Our philosophy is to listen to your vacation dream and then using our first-hand experience of living and traveling all corners of New Zealand, to design the trip of a lifetime specifically for you. No two customers are alike so no two New Zealand vacations we create are alike.
Featured trips & expertise
This action-packed itinerary dives into New Zealand's South and North Islands for a wide variety of landscapes and attractions. Kicking off in the adrenaline capital of the world, you'll kayak through the Milford Sound, explore the scenic capital (Wellington), take part in Rotorua's geothermal treatments, tour Hobbiton, and finish the adventure in the cosmopolitan city of Auckland.
Travel through New Zealand's beautiful South Island, getting to know its cultural hotspots, famous landscapes and public gardens, and sprawling vineyards along the way. Over 12 days, you'll enjoy the cafes and fine art of Nelson, spend two days sipping wine in Marlborough, hike near beautiful Lake Wakanda and the famous Milford Sound, and more.
From Auckland to Taupo National Park, this six-day itinerary presents the highlights of the North Island's diverse and dramatic landscapes. You'll trek amid emerald lakes and ancient volcanoes, explore The Shire from Lord of the Rings, and discover the sacred thermal waters of Wai-O-Tapu.
Explore the beauty of New Zealand's North Island, from the foodie's haven of Wellington to stunning Tongariro National Park. This seven-day tour starts in Wellington and ends in Auckland, with a variety of local activities including hiking, visiting Lord of the Rings' filming locations, touring wine country, and spotting local wildlife.
This 12-day tour features a perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. Explore New Zealand's cities, mountain landscapes, native bush, and beaches. Begin in Wellington working your way through parks and vineyards to Christchurch and to the mountains and fjords of Mount Cook and Milford Sound, ending your stay in Queenstown.
Recent Trip Reviews for Once Upon a Trip
A short adventure from auckland nz, New Zealand - Apr 20 - Apr 26, 2019
We traveled a lot and It was our first time to try a self guided tour. It’s an amazing experience since we have our time and choices to maneuver which places we like and explore. It’s an adventure that time is not pressured but it’s laid out for you to venture. As long as your provided SIM card is activated then everything is easy. Our best unforgettable adventure is the hike to Mt Tarawera by kaitiaki adventure which was arranged by Kimkim and the thermal spa . Breakfast was substantial... read more
Trip to new zealand, New Zealand - Feb 21 - Mar 9, 2019
Everyone we interacted with from the beginning of our trip planning to wrapping up was excellent. Valentin helped us build the perfect trip and patiently answered all of our questions along the way. Each and every bed & breakfast owner was extremely professional, welcoming, and helpful and we also found KimKim's partner company in NZ to be well-regarded. This trip was the perfect way to view the beautiful country of New Zealand and so much of what it has to offer. At one point, we had in our... read more
New zealand, New Zealand - Jan 31 - Feb 16, 2019
Valentin gave us an itinerary that well suited our needs. We were able to cover a lot of territory in a relatively short stay. All of our reservations and arrangements went according to plan. A highlight in the South Island was the cruise on Milford Sound, but the overall scenery was very beautiful. We appreciated that city accommodations were on the edge of town to avoid city driving. In the North Island we especially enjoyed the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Hobbiton and also a day trip we took took to Waipu. Again the scenery was absolutely beautiful all along the way.
Dream cycle trip, New Zealand - Jan 4 - Jan 20, 2019
Overall I enjoyed a really cool holiday. My highlights were definitely the cycling days, and particularly doing the Twin Coast Trail. It was brilliant to have the shuttle services and flexibility around accommodation for that as well as for the Haureki Trail. While I also enjoyed cycling Waiheke Island, the cycle hire place was less helpful which limited the cycling I felt confident to do.
The walking aspects of my trip were good - certainly the Park Run events were great, but the other... read more
Sightseeing south island, New Zealand - Dec 28 - Jan 9, 2019
Christchurch accommodation was awesome. All accommodation was clean and comfortable. Really helpful at the Geraldine place. Loved the Vintners retreat as well.
Great trip Kimkim a big thank you
Memories , New Zealand - Dec 17 - Dec 22, 2018
Kelly and Valentin both did an amazing job, all our accommodation was first class, loved the wineries tour although that was probably because we were only 4 people , Ken our driver was great.
Quiglayshan vacation, Fiji - Jul 13 - Jul 27, 2018
Wonderfully planned and stress-free trip! Every connection was seemless and timely. Ben was amazing keeping in touch during one unexpected change. We especially liked our quad bike adventure & guide, diving at Kuata with Brad, and with Semi and Epi at barefoot manta. Saki was an amazing host at manta.
When we were ready to leave manta the money hadn’t been paid by Kimkim, but the manager Lauren said, “no worries... they always pay. We’lol sort it out” and they let us leave without $$ in... read more