Starting from Auckland, we hit up some great spots and places while we make our way down to New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, through the North’s hottest destinations.
(Note that this tour can also be done from south to north – Wellington to Auckland – if you prefer.)
If you are arriving in Auckland with a few days to spare, we have a great three day tour taking in the Bay of Islands which showcases the Northland region of New Zealand. For some departure dates, you can also extend your tour by two nights and travel with us to the South Island, ending your trip in Christchurch.
Activities can also be purchased on the road – just let your tour guide know. We can’t always guarantee availability when booking on the road, so we suggest pre-booking any activities you especially want to do. As the tour starts early in the morning, you can opt to book accommodation with us the night before the tour – only having to walk downstairs on the day the tour starts makes for a stress free morning.
Accommodation is included on the last night of your tour, but we can also book a few extra nights for you if you would like to extend your stay. The tour price includes dorm share accommodation but if you would prefer your own space you have the option to upgrade to a private room for the duration of your tour.
In this itinerary, you’ll find descriptions of the places you’ll be visiting and the inclusions that you’ll experience. We’ve also provided an example timetable for each day to help give you a sense of what your days on tour may look like. Keep in mind though, that every tour is unique, with each guide bringing their own special flavour to the trip.
Each day also has a list of our favourite Haka Highlights, and the add-on activities and experiences that are available in that location.
- Passionate Kiwi guides
- 6 nights in high-end hostel accommodation, 1 night shared cultural experience* – dorm share, upgrades available
- Small groups, maximum 16
- Orientation tour of every location
- Comfortable bus transport
- Continental breakfast every day
- Traditional Māori hāngī dinner cooked in an underground oven
- Experience a Māori cultural performance
- See Huka Falls the most visited natural attraction in NZ
- Visit Rotorua’s bubbling mud pools
- Experience Coromandel’s stunning Cathedral Cove
- Discover NZ’s most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas
- Journey through multiple National Parks
- Plus many surprise stops on the way
*Please note, for the 1 night shared cultural experience private room upgrades are not available
- Raft the world’s highest commercial waterfall drop, the 7m Tutea Falls
- Explore subterranean rivers and see the famous “glow-worms” on an under-ground rafting trip in Waitomo
- Paddle through amazing sea caves, explore volcanic islands in a Marine Reserve whilst on a sea kayaking trip in Coromandel
- Try “Sledging”, otherwise known as river boarding where you navigate down river rapids on a specially designed body board
- Walk NZ’s most famous day hike around an active volcano, the 19.4km Tongariro Crossing
Day 1: Auckland to Coromandel
Have you noticed that Auckland is pretty hilly? Those aren’t just hills, they are actually 48 volcanic cones! Before we leave town we will walk up one of the most famous ones – Maungawhau, also known as Mount Eden – for 360 degree views of both city and sea.
The Coromandel Peninsula is a paradise of beautiful beaches and misty rainforests. The drive here is epic – the road twists and turns dramatically round the coastline and the ocean gets clearer and more pristine before your eyes. Cameras ready – the views are magnificent! The Coromandel is home to the famous Hot Water Beach – thousands visit each year to dig their own personal hot tub. If the tide times allow, we’ll definitely grab our buckets and spades and get busy!
We arrive in Whitianga with plenty of time for your guide to show you around. Sample the sandy beaches, take a surf lesson with the locals, or simply enjoy the vibes.
Day 2: Coromandel to Waitomo
This morning we’ll walk out together along the cliffs and down to Cathedral Cove (which you might recognize from the Chronicles of Narnia). With perfect beaches and massive rock arches and columns, it’s one of the most popular spots in the Coromandel.
Alternatively, take an optional guided Cathedral Cove kayak trip and check out this stunning coastline from a different angle, accompanied by a local dolphin or two if you’re lucky!
Later today we say goodbye to the east coast and hello to the west as we head for the tiny town of Waitomo. If you can’t wait until tomorrow to meet the resident glow worms, tonight’s optional cavewalking tour is a must. Or kick back with a beer and admire the stars – they put on a great show here when the skies are clear.
Day 3: Waitomo to Murapara
Have you been caving in a place with twinkling glow worms on the ceiling? Now’s your chance!
Daredevils can abseil 100 metres into the caverns on an epic 4-hour caving adventure. Or float along on an underground river on an optional Cave Tubing trip as the glow worms light your way. There are also excellent guided walking tours of the caves available if heights or wet feet aren’t your thing.
This evening is a major tour highlight – we are welcomed to a Māori community for an unmissable cultural performance featuring combat demonstrations, beautiful poi performance, and – of course – the breathtaking haka.
You will also have the privilege of learning a haka or poi dance from local Māori. A traditional hāngī meal, cooked in an earth oven, will fill your puku (belly) to right up.
Day 4: Murapara to Rotorua
While the majority of the North Island is volcanic in some way, Rotorua is exceptional for its geothermal activity. With neon blue and red lakes, steaming rivers, active volcanoes and geysers galore, there are more unique natural wonders to be found in Rotorua than many other places in the world.
On the way to Rotorua, we stop at what really makes the town famous, along with giving it its unique smell: one of several extraordinary geyserlands and thermal parks.
There’s heaps of time to get amongst Rotorua’s diverse attractions while you’re here. We’ll get you started with an orientation tour, taking in sights like the lakefront and the flower-filled Government Gardens.
Lord of the Rings fans, channel your inner hobbit with an optional visit to picturesque Hobbiton – have a ginger beer at the Green Dragon pub for us!
If adrenalin’s your thing, the highest commercial waterfall drop in the world, on the Kaituna River, is begging to be conquered on an exhilarating rafting trip. Or let your guide coax you into thundering down grassy hills in a giant air-cushioned inflatable ball (or OGO) – you won’t regret it!
Day 5: Rotorua to Taupō
This morning there’s time to explore Rotorua or squeeze in any last-minute add-on activities. It’s only a short drive to our next destination, Taupō, and there’s plenty to discover along the way. From mesmerising mud pools to the thundering rapids of the Huka Falls and Aratiatia Dam, your trusty Haka Guide will make sure you don’t miss a thing.
Taupō is a beautiful lakeside town with a stunning mountain backdrop. Lake Taupō is New Zealand’s largest lake – believe it or not, it’s roughly the same size as Singapore!
This place is all about the thrills and spills, and there are plenty of options in store this afternoon. Get your hair wet with a water touch bungy jump, take an unforgettable skydive or a sunset lake cruise for amazing lake and mountain views.
Psst – bring your swimwear today, one of our favourite secret stops is on the cards!
Day 6: Taupo
A full day in Taupō… are you in the mood for peaceful lakeside tranquility or unlimited adrenalin and adventure? Either way, Taupō’s got you covered.
For many, the ultimate adventure on offer here is the hiking (or tramping, as we Kiwis know it). The Tongariro Crossing is among the top 10 full-day walks in the world. This 19.4-kilometre mountain trek boasts emerald green lakes, venting steam, lava flows and craters. You’ll come back grinning from ear to ear before falling into bed and sleeping like a baby.
If you’d prefer to relax, jump on a boat for a sailing trip to view Māori rock carvings. Or head to Spa Park and soak until your fingers are wrinkly. However you choose to spend today we guarantee you won’t forget it.
Day 7: Taupō to Wellington
It’s a big drive from Taupō to Wellington, but there’s some unmissable scenery on offer. Lord of the Rings junkies, you’re in for a treat!
Our journey takes us through Tongariro National Park via the Rangipo Desert (bet you didn’t know New Zealand had one of those!). Some of your favourite Lord of the Rings battle scenes were filmed right here.
The Desert Road boasts incredible views of three active volcanic peaks – Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Ruapehu. You may know Mount Ngauruhoe as Mount Doom, so be sure to snap a Mordor selfie!
We pass through two of the North Island’s quirkier towns – as ever, your Haka Guide has a couple of surprises up their sleeve…
We pull into Wellington in the afternoon, with just enough time for film buffs make a trip to Weta Workshop, where the special effects of Lord of the Rings and Avatar were produced.
New Zealand’s capital is famous for its bars and eateries, and is a paradise for lovers of craft beer – you’ll be spoilt for choice tonight!