This is a 5 day guided adventure tour that travels the North Island of New Zealand, starting in Auckland and finishing in Wellington.
We leave Auckland at 8am and drive south towards the Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel as locals call it, is a popular holiday spot for us Kiwi’s and it’s not hard to see why. With stunning white sandy beaches, dense fern forests and a rich history of both Maori and European settlement, the Coromandel Peninsula is the perfect place to start your trip.
We’ll stop for lunch in the seaside town of Tairua before continuing on to Hahei Beach – the gateway to Cathedral Cove. You can either go for a walk along the coastline or take to the water on one of the best sea kayak activities in the country. Cathedral Cove has a limestone archway that featured as the gateway to Narnia in the movie ‘Prince Caspian’ and is a great place to take a dip in the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. Our camp this evening is very close to another iconic location, Hot Water Beach, so named because there is a unique geothermal reservoir of hot water under the sand. At low tide, we’ll grab our shovels and head down to dig our very own hot pools in the sand – the perfect way to start off our adventure.
This morning after breakfast, we’ll drive down to the historic gold mining town of Waihi, home to an awesome beach and ‘Martha’s Mine’, an actual working gold mine. Afterwards, we’ll continue on our journey to Rotorua, a geothermal wonderland.
There are heaps of optional activities in Rotorua and something for everyone. If you’re interested in adventure, go for the award winning Canopy Tours eco zipline tour, or go white water rafting down the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall. If you’d prefer to relax, go for a healing soak at the Polynesia spa, or if you’d like to explore the natural geothermal features of the area, there’s plenty of walks where you can see the activity for free. For a cultural immersion experience, we recommend heading to the incredible Mitai Maori Village where you’ll learn about Maori culture, experience the breathtaking Haka and feast on a traditional Hangi meal. There’s a lot to pack into one day but we promise it will leave you wanting more.
We begin the day with a drive to visit a natural hot spring, wake up with a nice soak in the geothermally heated water and listen to the calming sounds of nature – the perfect way to start the day. Our next stop on the way into Taupo is the mighty Huka Falls, an impressive waterfall found along the Waikato river. This is also our drop off point for those wanting to go white water rafting or skydiving. If you’re not doing these activities there’s a great walk or a bike ride into the city along the river’s edge – be sure to stop off at the natural hot spring along the way or get an adrenaline buzz from the Taupo bungy which is conveniently located on your way into town. You’ll have some time in Taupo to grab some lunch and check out New Zealand’s largest lake, Lake Taupo, before we make our way to Tongariro National Park, where we’ll be spending the night.
Voted one of the best day hikes in the world, today’s 19.4km walk takes in some of New Zealand’s most impressive and diverse landscapes. The challenging Tongariro Alpine Crossing hike covers a small section of the country’s oldest national park and dual UNESCO world heritage area, the Tongariro National Park. On a fine day you’ll be able to see Mt Ruapehu, the North Island’s highest peak which stands at a towering 2797 metres. You’ll also be able to see Mt Ngauruhoe, which featured in Lord of the Rings as Mount Doom.
If you’d prefer not to do this hike, your guide will take you to see some lesser known but equally stunning views and offer up some cycle options for our bikers. When everyone is back together after the hike we’ll start making our way to our camp, situated along the Kapiti Coast.
This morning it’s a short drive to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city where your tour ends. We’ll arrive before 9am and you can spend your day exploring the Te Papa Museum, Weta Workshop and the Botanical Gardens. The capital is also home to the Beehive, our government building, as well as great shopping areas and a thriving café culture to explore – Wellington is renowned for serving NZ’s best cup of coffee.