AUCKLAND – ROTORUA 1-2KM (1.4 MI) 2 HOURS HIKING
Meet your North Island guide and the rest of the group in the Heritage Hotel foyer at 7am before driving south through the classic patchwork green farming country alongside the Waikato River. Arriving at the Waitomo Caves area descend into the vaulted galleries of the Ruakuri Cave with its limestone formations and crystals. Be captivated by the thousands of tiny glowworms that cling to the cave ceiling and mimic a starlit night sky. Later we emerge into the sunshine and wander on a loop trail through an outstanding limestone canyon. We arrive in the volcanically active area of Rotorua late afternoon. Rotorua is also the centre of Maori cultural tourism in New Zealand and tonight we enjoy an Evening Meal and Cultural Performance.
(Lunch and Dinner)
Accommodation Rotorua - 1 night
ROTORUA LAKES – LAKE TAUPO 8KM (4.2 MI) 5 HOURS HIKING
Hike alongside the beautifully clear Lake Tarawera, enjoying the shade that towering tree ferns and ignimbrite cliffs offer. Plop into the water to cool off at any one of the tiny pumice beaches as you wait for the others to catch up. There are astonishing views all along this trail, giving glimpses of how expansive this massive wilderness of forest, lakes and volcanoes really is. In the afternoon we explore some of the amazing thermal areas located a little south of Rotorua. Wander along boardwalks that connect pools of bubbling mud, mineral-tainted hot pools and plumes of rising steam as you wonder at this unique area. Grab a cuppa before we drive toward the lakeside town of Taupo. At Huka Falls feel the power as the huge Waikato River gets pinched through a narrow rock corridor. Our accommodation is at the southern end of this stunning lake. Relax with a drink and enjoy the views.
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Accommodation: Lake Taupo (or similar standard) - 1 night
TONGARIRO 8KM (4.2 MI) 2-4 HOURS HIKING
We drive around Lake Taupo’s shores to New Zealand’s first national park – Tongariro. Take a leisurely morning walk through stunning forest around the slopes of Mt Pihanga and to the mystical Lake Rotopounamu (Lake of Greenstone). The next two nights are spent in a lodge on the edge of the park, providing a great opportunity for you to explore the area at your leisure. Join the guide this afternoon for a great walk to Taranaki Falls, cascading 20 metres (65 ft) over a 15,000 year-old lava flow. Enjoy dinner with the group in the comfort of the lodge.
(Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)
Accommodation: Tongariro - 2 night
TONGARIRO 23KM (14.5 MI) 6-8 HOURS HIKING
Join the guide today for a full days walking on the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, regarded as one of the best day walks in the world. The track is extremely well built and even a novice hiker will enjoy the gradual ascent up to the top of Mt Tongariro. Your guide will set a pace that lets you stop and admire the views of the Red Crater, Emerald Lakes and steaming vents that make this hike so iconic. It will all be worth it when you celebrate at dinner with a bottle of fine New Zealand wine. Those who prefer a more restful day can find plenty to do at the village: Soda Springs walk, Taranaki Falls walk, or simply drink coffee and view the great exhibits at the Park Visitor Centre. Enjoy your second night in this alpine village.
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
SPEND YOUR LAST DAY IN WELLINGTON - OUR COOL LITTLE CAPITAL
Rest your legs this morning as we drive south through rolling hill country to the capital city of Wellington. The rest of the afternoon is yours, so take your time as you stroll along the fabulous waterfront and through the busy streets of this buzzing wee city. Absorb some of New Zealand’s history in the national museum - Te Papa, explore the waterfront or simply get lost admiring the heritage houses along one of the many improbably steep streets. Nowhere is very far in Wellington. You are spoilt for choice for places to dine this evening, so take your pick.
Suggested outings in and around Wellington.
|National Museum - Te Papa||Visit Cuba Street||Weta Workshop Tour|
|Zealandia Wildlife Reserve||Carter Observatory|
- Waitomo glowworm caves
- Maori cultural performance and Hangi
- New Zealand's best geothermal activity - Rotorua
- Cross spectacular volcanic terrain - Tongariro National Park
- Day hikes and excellent ensuite accommodation
- A roomy minibus
- A knowledgeable guide
- Almost all meals
- First aid kit
- Drinking water
- Safety equipment
- Up to 4-5 hours of physical activity per day
- At times carrying a backpack of 4-5kgs (8-10 lbs)
- Tracks generally in good condition
- Altitude gains of up to 600m (2000ft) on harder days
- No hiking experience necessary
*The full (optional) Tongariro Alpine Crossing on day 4 takes 6-8 hours and has an altitude gain of 750m
This tour uses a range of hotels and quality lodges chosen for their good standards and wonderful locations. All rooms have ensuite bathrooms. Some lodges have units with two bedrooms per unit. Rooms are twin share or doubles. If you are travelling on your own you will be given a twin share room with a fellow traveller of the same gender. Single supplements are available on this tour.
This tour has been created for those that appreciate a high standard of accommodation after a good day of hiking.
Almost all of the meals are included on this tour, but when staying in the cities we let you do your own thing and try some of the excellent local restaurants (see Additional Costs section). Breakfast is usually (but not always) continental-style in the lodges and hotels. There are plenty of opportunities to graze the local cafes if you would prefer to explore in the morning. The lunches we prepare ourselves are often on the run in picnic areas or on trails. Our guides usually set out lunch food for you and you simply help yourself. We provide healthy and wholesome food and include a lot of fresh produce. It is part of our philosophy to get everyone involved so there is a pretty good chance you may find yourself wielding a sharp knife or pushing the tea trolley around at lunchtime. Our customised trailers have a fold down table and cooking area that is perfect for preparing picnics at all those secret places we will take you. Included dinners are frequently in lodge restaurants (either set menu or a la carte), or in a restaurant in the town but occasionally somewhere out of the ordinary!
All activities outlined in the itinerary are included in the trip price.
Meals out: One evening meal is not included (Wellington). The typical cost for a restaurant main course in New Zealand is about $28.