New Zealand's North Island Adventure (Southbound)
From 16/12/2023 to 01/06/2025
A little piece of paradise awaits on the Coromandel Peninsula – dig your own natural hot tub on Hot Water Beach and check out the much-photographed Cathedral Cove.
Experience the geothermal delights of Rotorua, watch New Zealand’s largest geyser erupt and observe adorable kiwis in a nocturnal house at a conservation centre.
Head to a Maori village where profits from your visit are fed back into the community, learn the haka and Maori weaving before tucking into a traditional hangi dinner.
Chill out next to New Zealand’s largest lake in Taupo.
Whether you fancy bungy-jumping, sky diving, kayaking or relaxing, Taupo has something for you.
With a local leader at the wheel, every journey will be one to remember, broken up with stops in scenic spots well off the tourist trail.
Breakfasts Included: 7.
Dinners Included: 1.
Multi-share hostel with shared facilities (7 nights).
Age: min 15.
Group Size: 6 - 16.
Coromandel Peninsula - Hot Water Beach.
Rotorua - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour.
Coromandel Peninsula - Cathedral Cove.
Murupara - Hangi Dinner.
Rotorua - Pohutu Geyser.
Rotorua - Visit Te Puia Maori Village.
Murupara - Learn to Weave Flax.
Murupara - Learn the Haka.
Murupara - Village Tour with Maori Elder.
Tongariro National Park - Scenic Drive.
Wellington - Mount Victoria Lookout.
Itinerary / more information
1 - Auckland Welcome to the North Island! Your adventure begins in Auckland where you'll meet up with your local leader and new travel buddies for an 8am welcome meeting and included breakfast. You won't hang around in the city for long - after your meeting, get on the road and travel towards the Coromandel Peninsula. This super scenic drive sets the tone for the rest of your journey, as you cruise down the coastline past views of glittering water and white sands. The Coromandel Peninsula is known for its lush rainforests and gorgeous beaches, but there's one that tops them all! Hot Water Beach is made famous by the warm waters that run beneath its sand, meaning all you need to do to make your own hot tub is dig a hole. If the tide times line up with your visit, take advantage of this unusual phenomenon and relax in a natural hot tub. The rest of the day is yours to chill out on the beach or enjoy the cool little town.
2 - Rotorua Take a deeper dive into the inspiring landscapes of the Coromandel Peninsula with a walk along the clifftops and down to Cathedral Cove, one of the region's most beautiful and photogenic spots - the rock arches, columns and pristine beaches are a truly impressive sight. While here you may like to take the chance to explore the coastline on a guided kayaking tour - if you do, be sure to keep an eye out for dolphins swimming alongside the boat! In the afternoon, head to the rolling green hills of Matamata where 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. Continue to the special town of Rotorua, known for its incredible geothermal activity and Maori culture.
3 - Rotorua There's so much to see and do in Rotorua, so today is free to discover it all. Have a chat to your local leader for tips on how to get the most out of your day here. You may like to take an unforgettable stroll through Kuirau Park, surrounded by bubbling and boiling mud pools. If you feel like getting your heart racing, the Kaituna River is one of the world's top white water rafting destinations. Choose to head deep into one of New Zealand's most ancient forests for an exhilarating eco canopy adventure, learning about the native wildlife and ecology as you zipline from tree to tree. Or take a guided kayak trip where you'll enjoy a fun-filled evening of hot pools (which are only accessible by boat), BBQ dinner and paddling through magical glow worm caves.
4 - Murupara Start the day with a visit to the Te Puia Maori Village, where you'll get firsthand insight into Maori culture. You'll also have the chance to see Pohutu, New Zealand's largest geyser, in action - this is a sight that will blow you away! A visit to the kiwi conservation centre will allow you to observe this endearing nocturnal bird as it behaves at night. This afternoon, travel to the Kohutapu Lodge in Murupara - the majority of proceeds from the activities you take part in here are fed back into the local community. You'll be greeted by a Maori elder who will show you around the Ngati Manawa Tribal Lands while sharing the history and culture of this tribe. Meet with other members of the village and learn a famous haka war dance, then weave a plate for tonight's dinner out of flax plants. Dinner tonight is one for the books - tuck into a traditional hangi meal, cooked underground to create a delicious, earthy flavour.
5 - Taupo Hit the road this morning and head to Taupo, but not before making some interesting stops along the way. Check out simmering mud pools, the rushing waters of the Huka Falls and the impressive Aratiatia Dam and rapids. Arrive in Taupo, nestled into the shores of Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake. With calm waters fringed by mountains, this is one of the prettiest spots in the country. If you're after an adrenaline rush, you're in the right place! The afternoon is yours to try out bungy jumping or skydiving, or you may prefer to take it easy with a peaceful sunset lake cruise.
6 - Taupo The day is yours to enjoy all Taupo has to offer. Chill out lakeside to soak in the inspiring views, or get active and take on one of the awesome hiking trails in the area. If you're feeling extra adventurous, the Tongariro Crossing in the nearby Tongariro National Park is considered one of the best one-day walks in the world (but it's not for the faint hearted!). Carved into the cliff faces surrounding Lake Taupo you'll find 14-metre-tall Maori artwork that can only be accessed on a boat trip. Want to relax and unwind? A visit to the natural hot pools at Otumuheke Stream is a must! However you decide to spend the day, it's sure to be one to remember.
7 - Wellington Get ready for a long drive from Taupo to Wellington with views so incredible you'll wish the drive was longer! Weave through the barren landscapes of the Rangipo Desert and pass through Tongariro National Park. Look out for the volcanic peaks of Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe, the latter of which was used as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Your local leader will ensure your journey is broken up with plenty of interesting and photo-worthy stops. Arrive into Wellington, New Zealand's cool and creative capital city. There should be time for a visit to Weta Workshop, the special effects studio famous for its work on Lord of the Rings, King Kong and Avatar. Celebrated for its amazing food and craft beer scene, Welly is the perfect place to grab dinner and a drink with your group.
8 - Wellington Your North Island adventure wraps up this morning. Keen to see more of Wellington? Get in touch ahead of time and we'd be happy to arrange additional accommodation (subject to availability).
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