NZ Trails - 5 Day Sweet North Hiking Itinerary



‘Haere Mai’ … welcome to New Zealand. Now you can relax - you are officially on holiday. Everything has been taken care of, we will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation.

Welcome to the New Zealand's North Island, New Zealand's beating cultural heart. A vibrant and diverse landscape made up of active geothermal areas, dormant volcanoes, pristine beaches, immense forests and subterranean wonders. After meeting your guides and fellow travellers in Auckland, we’ll head east to the white sand beaches of the Coromandel coast, a favourite spot for Kiwi’s to holiday.

View Majestic Kauri Trees on the Waiomu Kauri Walk

This afternoon we’ll stretch our legs on a hike to a Kauri Grove. This trail makes its way through native forest to a grove of ancient Kauri trees, which hold a special place in the hearts of New Zealanders.

Hot Water Beach

Nestled on the Coromandel Coast, Hot Water Beach is a hidden Kiwi Gem. If we’re lucky it will be low tide and we’ll be able to dig a small pool which will then fill with warm water, we like to think of it as a DIY spa! After checking out this beautiful beach we’ll travel to our accommodation for the evening in Whitianga, the hub of the magnificent Mercury Bay.

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Whitianga - 1 Night


Kayak Cathedral Cove & Rotorua Māori Feast

This morning we’ll travel the short distance along the Coromandel coastline to Hahei and then get ready to paddle through tantalisingly turquoise waters out to Cathedral Cove. We’ll then make our way down to Rotorua, a rich cultural hub and geothermal wonderland. This evening we’ll enjoy a fascinating introduction to Māori culture, before being treated to a Māori feast cooked in the traditional way. We’ll spend the night here in Rotorua.

Kayak Cathedral Cove

We’ll paddle our way through the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve exploring ancient sea caves and rock gardens along the way. Our destination is Cathedral Cove, accessible only by foot, boat or kayak, this natural rock archway joins two secluded coves shaded by magnificent pohutukawa trees.  

Rotorua Maori Culture

We will visit Te Puia this evening, where we will see the Maori values of manaakitanga (hospitality) and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) on display. We’ll delve into the history of the local Ngati Wahiao tribe and enjoy a hāngi (a traditional Māori feast) together this evening. Tonight, we’ll stay in comfortable accommodation on the shore of Lake Rotorua - it’s a great place for a quick dip at the end of the day!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Rotorua - 1 Night


Rotorua’s Geothermal Wonderland and Redwoods Hike

Set in a ‘land of lakes’, the bubbling mud pools, spewing geysers and rising steam give Rotorua an otherworldly quality. This morning we’ll return to Te Puia to witness the geothermal wonderland that the Te Whakarewarewa valley is famous for. Before travelling south to Taupo, we’ll pop our hiking boots on and walk amongst the jaw-dropping Redwood forest on the outskirts of Rotorua. We’ll be staying in Taupo the next two nights.

Geothermal Wonderland, Redwoods Hike & Huka Falls

Te Whakarewarewa valley is a unique geothermal landscape and home to the Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao people.  Here you can witness New Zealand’s largest geyser, Pōhutu, erupt up to 30 metres into the sky. As well as experiencing plenty of geothermal activity, the morning gives you an opportunity to see Kiwi and learn all about traditional Māori art and craft. Before leaving Rotorua we’ll stop by the Whakarewarewa forest to walk amongst the magnificent Redwoods. It’s an easy walk alongside these gentle giants that originate from California! After travelling south towards Taupo we’ll stop by the legendary Huka Falls and you’ll get to witness first hand the phenomenal power of this 11 metre high waterfall.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Taupo - 2 Nights



Tongariro is New Zealand’s oldest national park and boasts dual World Heritage site status, acknowledged for both its cultural and natural significance. As we make our way across this moonlike landscape dotted with turquoise and emerald lakes, you’ll discover why the Tongariro Crossing is known as New Zealand’s “best day walk”.

Hiking New Zealand's North Island Tongariro Crossing

We’ll make an early start this morning, taking on the 19.4kms of this famous volcanic crossing. Set high on the central plateau amongst three active volcanoes, the scenery is more akin to surrealist art than real life. With red rocks, deep emerald lakes, steam rising from craters, and the unmistakable cone-shaped mountains, it's as if you’ve stepped back in time or possibly onto another planet. It’s a good climb to the top on a well-formed track, and we’ll stop along the way to hear stories about the area from our local guides. Their knowledge of the area and affinity with the land really bring this place to life. We’ve got the whole day to appreciate our environment and enjoy this very special spot.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Waitomo Caves & Finish in Auckland

It may be the last day of your Sweet North trip, but it’ll be one to remember as we explore the hidden depths of Waitomo, marvelling at the limestone formations, crystal tapestries and thousands of glowworms that illuminate the cave system. We’ll then make our way back to Auckland where we’ll say our farewells. If you’re heading down to the South Island to join us on another trip, we’ll help with a smooth transition.

Spellbound Waitomo Caves

The last activity of our trip is a truly magical one! We’ll visit two vastly different caves and learn all about their formation. Stepping onto a raft, you’ll be transported into a unique environment where it seems the night sky is always shining. With glow worms galore you will marvel at the constellations they seem to create! In the next cave you will slowly wander through whilst gazing at these wonderful creatures that are only found here in New Zealand!

Finish in Auckland

After emerging from underground, we’ll enjoy our last lunch together before hitting the road back to Auckland, allowing plenty of time to happily reminisce about the last five days. New friends and wonderful experiences have had their share in creating a tonne of memories to last you all the way home and beyond.

We’re happy to drop you at the airport or at your Auckland accommodation. We recommend that you combine this trip with one of our South Island itineraries to enjoy the complete New Zealand experience. The Sweet North trip works particularly well in conjunction with the Pure South, if you're short on time, or any of our longer South Island trips if you really want to leave no stone unturned.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!



  • 2 Professional local guides
  • Ferry to Waiheke Island
  • Ground Transportation
  • Kiwi-Style Lodging (as per itinerary)
  • Snacks and 13 meals
  • Lake Taupo Sea Kayak
  • Mountain Bike ride at Lake Taupo
  • The Tongariro Crossing
  • Blackwater Rafting in the Waitomo Caves

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