- This small-group guided tour of the North Island will visit Coromandel, Rotorua, TaupōTaupō, and Wellington, with the option to visit Hobbiton, and the Tongariro Crossing along the way.
- As with all our tours, we do include a few 'must-do' events including a Māori cultural night and traditional Māori hāngī dinner cooked in an underground oven.
- You’ll see a massive range of optional activities available to add to your tour, from bungy jumping and white water rafting to canopy forest zipline tours and scenic flights. None of these are compulsory; just add the ones you want.
- Accommodation is included on the last night of your tour, but we can also book a few extra nights for you if you would like to extend your stay.
- Orientation tours
- Comfortable transport
- Continental breakfast every day
- High-end hostel accommodation
- Local guide
- Stunning walk to the spectacular arched cavern of Coromandel’s Cathedral Cove.
- Learn a haka and learn to weave flax with a local iwi (tribe).
- Visit Te Puia - a local cultural centre - to learn more about traditional Māori culture and discover Rotorua’s geothermal wonders.
- See kiwi birds up close and personal.
- Eat a traditional Māori hāngī meal cooked in an underground oven.
- Follow your nose to Rotorua’s bubbling mud pools.
- Discover what makes Huka Falls the most visited natural attraction in NZ.
- Check out the views from Matairangi/Mount Victoria, Wellington.
- Fall in love with Wellington’s cafe and craft beer culture.
- Plus many surprise stops along the way.
Day 1 : Auckland to Coromandel
Leaving the big smoke behind, we head to the Coromandel Peninsula, a veritable paradise of beautiful beaches and misty rainforests. The drive here is epic – the road twists and turns dramatically round the coastline and the ocean gets clearer and more pristine before your eyes. Cameras ready – the views are magnificent! The Coromandel is home to the famous Hot Water Beach – thousands visit each year to dig their own personal hot tub. If the tide times allow, we’ll definitely grab our buckets and spades and get busy! We arrive in the Coromandel with plenty of time for your guide to show you around. Sample the sandy beaches or simply enjoy the vibes.
Day 2 : Coromandel to Rotorua
This morning walk along the cliffs and down to Cathedral Cove (which you might recognize from the Chronicles of Narnia). With perfect beaches and massive rock arches and columns, it’s one of the most popular spots in the Coromandel. Alternatively, take an optional guided Cathedral Cove kayak trip and check out this stunning coastline from a different angle, accompanied by a local dolphin or two if you’re lucky! Later this afternoon we head towards Rotorua (or Rotovegas as it is locally known). En route, we’ll visit Matamata - best known for being the home of Hobbiton. For Lord of the Rings fans, a visit to Hobbiton Movie Set is an absolute must-do. On a fully guided tour of the 12 acre Middle-earth set you will see Hobbit Holes, the Mill, and even enjoy a drink at the Green Dragon Inn! If hobbits aren’t your thing there are plenty of scenic short walks to enjoy Matamata’s lush green rolling hills. While the majority of the North Island is volcanic in some way, Rotorua is exceptional for its geothermal activity. With neon blue and red lakes, steaming rivers, active volcanoes and geysers galore, there are more unique natural wonders to be found in Rotorua than many other places in the world. For tours starting from 1 September 2023, Hobbiton will be an included activity.
Day 3 : Rotorua
Today is a free day to explore Rotorua and its surrounding area. Talk to your guide for the best free things to see and do in the neighbourhood (Kuirau Park’s steaming and hissing mud pools are a great option). There are also a number of optional activities you can choose from: If adrenaline is your thing, the highest commercial waterfall drop in the world, on the Kaituna River, is begging to be conquered on an exhilarating rafting trip. Perhaps you’d like to try thundering down grassy hills in a giant air-cushioned inflatable ball (aka ZORB)? Alternatively head deep into one of New Zealand’s most ancient forests and let the fun begin on a 3- hour eco canopy adventure. Experience over 600 meters of ziplines and swing bridges, plus about the native wildlife and ecology as you zipline from tree to tree. Or take a guided kayak trip across scenic Lake Rotoiti to the spectacular Manupirua Springs Hot Pools, which are only accessible by boat. Have a leisurely soak while your guide cooks an appetising Kiwi BBQ Dinner. After dinner enjoy a sunset paddle across the lake and a visit to the glow worm caves. However you spend today - be sure to get a good night’s sleep as there are more Rotorua adventures tomorrow!
Day 4 : Rotorua to Murupara
This morning we visit Te Puia Māori Village. Here you’ll learn more about Māori history and culture, come face to face with the Pohutu Geyser, see jumping mud pools and get up close and personal with kiwi birds. Later this afternoon we head to Kohutapu Lodge in Murupara - a living Māori village - where you will experience a tribal tour by a village elder. Here you’ll also have a chance to learn the world-famous haka dance, and weave your own dinner plate using flax (a type of plant). Tonight’s dinner is a traditional hāngi meal. Cooked in an underground earth oven you can expect tender meat and delicious vegetables infused with a smoky, earthy fragrance – it will fill your puku (belly) right up! The best part about spending the evening at Kohutapu Lodge? The majority of proceeds from this activity go back to the local community.
Day 5 : Murupara to Taupō
It’s only a short drive to our next destination, Taupō, and there’s plenty to discover along the way. From mesmerising mud pools to the thundering rapids of the Huka Falls and Aratiatia Dam, your trusty Haka Guide will make sure you don’t miss a thing. Taupō is a beautiful lakeside town with a stunning mountain backdrop. Lake Taupō is New Zealand’s largest lake – believe it or not, it’s roughly the same size as Singapore! This place is all about the thrills and spills, and there are plenty of options in store this afternoon. Get your hair wet with a water touch bungy jump, take an unforgettable skydive or a sunset lake cruise for amazing lake and mountain views.
Day 6 : Taupō
A full day in Taupō... are you in the mood for peaceful lakeside tranquillity or unlimited adrenaline and adventure? Either way, Taupō’s got you covered. For many, the ultimate adventure on offer here is the hiking (or tramping, as we Kiwis know it). New Zealand’s most famous day hike is also in the area. The 19.4 km Tongariro Crossing is an alpine crossing around Tongariro, one of the country’s most famous and most beautiful volcanoes. It’s a serious leg workout, but it’s worth every minute for the incredible views and landscape. Turquoise and green lakes greet you at the top, along with vistas that stretch all the way to the coast. If you’re looking for a thrill, we suggest skydiving over the lake or bungy jumping over New Zealand’s longest river (and, for the really brave, getting dunked in). There are heaps of other activities on offer such as cruising the lake to see Māori rock carvings, hiking along the shores and even the chance to soak in some of the local geothermal pools.
Day 7 : Taupō to Wellington
It’s a big drive from Taupō to Wellington, but there’s some unmissable scenery on offer. We drive along the Desert Road that divides the Rangipo Desert (an area with poor vegetation because of bad soil conditions and drying winds). The climate is harsh and in winter it is not unusual to see snow. However, the biggest attractions on this road are that of Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe, the volcano better known as Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings. On the other side of the road is the lesser noticed Kaimanawa Range, home to a breed of wild horses that can be spotted on rare occasions. We pull into Wellington in the afternoon, with just enough time for film buffs make a trip to Weta Workshop, where the special effects of Lord of the Rings and Avatar were produced. New Zealand’s capital is famous for its bars and eateries, and is a paradise for lovers of craft beer – you’ll be spoilt for choice tonight! The tour officially finishes at 8pm today in Wellington, but your accommodation tonight is included.
Pickup: 8am at the accommodation on Day 1
What to Bring:
The tour price includes dorm share accommodation but if you would prefer your own space you have the option to upgrade to a private room for the duration of your tour. Private room upgrade for the entire tour - $649.
Please note: private room upgrades are not available for one night on this tour: the cultural experience at Kohutapu Lodge in Murupara.
Activities can also be purchased on the road – just let your tour guide know. We can't always guarantee availability when booking on the road, so we suggest pre-booking any activities you especially want to do.
As the tour starts early in the morning, you can opt to book accommodation in Auckland with us the night before the tour – only having to walk downstairs on the day the tour starts makes for a stress-free morning!