New Zealand Northern Trail (Northbound)
From 22/01/2024 to 03/06/2025
Begin your journey in New Zealand’s creative and cosmopolitan capital, Wellington.
Your local leader will show you the best of the city, including Weta Workshop of Lord of the Rings fame.
Admire the out of this world landscapes of Tongariro National Park, from emerald green lakes to soaring volcanic peaks.
If you’re up for the challenge, tackle the famous Tongariro Crossing.
Discover the diversity of Rotorua, from unbelievable geothermal activity to rich Maori culture.
Visit a Maori village for a hangi dinner and traditional haka performance.
Hang out or hang ten in Raglan, a laidback town and surfing hotspot.
Hop aboard a boat cruise around Raglan to watch the sunset and tuck into a classic Kiwi fish and chips dinner.
Soak up the natural beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula, including a visit to Hot Water Beach, where all you need is a spade to create your own natural hot tub.
Breakfasts Included: 9.
Dinners Included: 2.
Hotel/Motel (9 nights).
Age: min 18.
Group Size: 6 - 16.
Wellington - Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary.
Taupo - Huka Falls.
Rotorua - Redwood Forest Canopy Walk.
Rotorua - Pohutu Geyser.
Rotorua - Hangi Dinner & Haka Dance.
Raglan - Fish & Chips Dinner.
Raglan - Sunset Boat Cruise.
Waitomo - Ruakuri Bush Walk.
Rotorua - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour.
Coromandel Peninsula - Cathedral Cove.
Coromandel Peninsula - Hot Water Beach.
Itinerary / more information
1 - Wellington Welcome to the land of the long white cloud, Aotearoa (New Zealand). Your North Island adventure begins in Wellington, New Zealand's trendy and attractive capital city. Strung between staggering green hills and a delightful harbour, Wellington holds onto a small-town charm despite its capital status. The city is known for its creative and artistic endeavours, making it a real joy to explore. Meet your local leader and new travel buddies at your accommodation at 7:30pm for a welcome meeting, then the rest of the evening is yours. If you'd like to experience Wellington's world-renowned food and craft beer scene, your leader will have tips on the best places to grab a bevvy or a bite to eat.
2 - Wellington Today is all about getting to know windy Wellington, a charming place even on its most blustery days! Kick the day off with an orientation tour with your leader, checking out the bays, central Wellington, the Botanic Gardens and the Parliament Buildings. Next up it's a visit to Zealandia, a groundbreaking conservation project that has successfully reintroduced over 20 species of native wildlife into this area, some of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years. Pay a visit to Weta Workshop, the special effects studio used by Peter Jackson for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. While here you'll have the chance to take an optional tour around the studio to find out how the team here create film magic. This afternoon, you may like to check out Wellington's most famous cultural attraction, Te Papa Museum. Displaying an intriguing combination of New Zealand's history and cultural heritage woven with cutting edge technology and interactive displays, there's something here to entertain everyone. If you'd rather spend the afternoon outdoors, a tour of Kapiti Island offers the chance to spot an abundance of rare and beautiful birds.
3 - Taupo Make the most of your final morning in Wellington - perhaps check out the always-buzzing Cuba street for breakfast or have a wander around the City Gallery. Then it's time to swap the city for the natural wonders of Lake Taupo as you hit the road and head north. This drive is one worth looking out the window for, as the volcanic peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro draw closer. Arrive in Taupo, a bustling town on the shores of a stunning crater lake, and your home for the next two nights.
4 - Taupo A volcanic eruption 70,000 years ago created the magnificent Lake Taupo, which now hosts visitors from around New Zealand and the world, keen to both relax and get their blood pumping with the adventure sports and hikes on offer. With a free day here, you'll have plenty to choose from. If you're a keen hiker, you may like to complete the Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand's most famous day hike. At 19.4km long, the path takes you around a volcano, past lakes, craters and bush. A variety of guided or unguided options are available, but a good level of fitness and appropriate gear for all types of weather are a must for anyone considering tackling the crossing today. There are shorter hikes in the park available or, for the thrill seekers, you might like to go skydiving or bungy jumping.
5 - Rotorua Leave Lake Taupo behind and get back on the road. Stop at the thundering Huka Falls - this forceful, icy blue torrent of water is a must-see! Continue your journey towards Rotorua, known for its Maori heritage, hotbed of geothermal activity and distinctive sulphur smell (you'll get used to it!). To get your first look at Rotorua's impressive scenery, take a treetop walk through an ancient redwood forest over a network of suspension bridges, reaching 12 metres at the highest point.
6 - Rotorua Spend the day discovering the natural and cultural wonders of Rotorua - this unique destination is really like nowhere else in the world. The geothermal activity in the area is second to none - simmering mud pools, dramatic geysers and fluorescent lakes must be seen to be believed. If you've got a head for heights, ziplining through Rotorua's ancient forests is an unbeatable way to take it all in. This evening you'll get a true taste of M?ori culture during a visit to a cultural and geothermal wonderland. Here you'll enjoy a hangi dinner, a traditional meal cooked underground, giving it a delicious earthy flavour. You'll also experience a soul-stirring haka performance.
7 - Waitomo This morning's adventure takes you underground during an optional visit to the Waitomo Caves, a subterranean system of caverns and passageways illuminated by thousands of ethereal glow worms. You may like to join a walking tour to hear the story of the caves' history, geology and connection to Maori mythology. If you'd rather stay on the surface, the Ruakuri Forest walk is a must, cutting through dense rainforest and taking in views of verdant gorges and limestone arches. Tucked into the rolling green hills of Matamata you'll find Hobbiton, the set where part of the Lord of the Rings films were shot. On a fully guided tour of the set you will see Hobbit Holes, the Mill, and even enjoy a drink at the Green Dragon Inn. From here, it's on to Raglan, a chilled-out town with a reputation as New Zealand's top surf spot. Tonight is set to be one to remember - get on the water for a sunset boat cruise around Raglan Harbour, and tuck into a tasty fish and chips feast while you're at it - a true Kiwi experience!
8 - Raglan Raglan is the ideal place to catch some morning waves, whether you're a beginner or a pro. If surfing isn't your thing, the area offers a wealth of awesome activities. Check out creative local cafes, shops and galleries, stretch out on the beach and enjoy the view or head out on a hiking trail to get a better look at the landscape. Continue north in the afternoon towards the Coromandel Peninsula, passing tree-clad hills and dramatic valleys. The journey will be broken up with photo-worthy stops, including a visit to the magical 55-metre cascade of the Bridal Veil Falls.
9 - Coromandel Peninsula Your leader will spend some time showing you around The Coromandel this morning. A land of white sand beaches and lush rainforests, the Coromandel Peninsula feels a world away from where your journey began. Make a stop at Hot Water Beach, named after the famous warm waters found beneath its golden sand. If the tide allows, dig a hole on the beach and enjoy your own natural hot tub - absolute bliss! Later in the day, hit the road for a final time as you travel towards Auckland, New Zealand's biggest, busiest and buzziest city. The journey is a highlight in itself, following the extraordinary coastline and watching clear blue water stream past the window. As always, your leader will have tips on some excellent places to grab a meal in this lively city.
10 - Auckland Say your goodbyes this morning as your North Island adventure comes to an end. If you'd like to spend some more time in Auckland, just get in touch ahead of time and we'd be happy to arrange additional accommodation (subject to availability).
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