Arrive in Auckland – the “City of Sails” is New Zealand’s largest city and is bordered by two stunning harbours. Collect your rental car from the airport, explore the city, then make your way to your accommodation.
Relax in Auckland today. Your options include visiting the Sky Tower, the Auckland Zoo, or Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World; venturing to one of Auckland’s stunning beaches or West Auckland wineries, or doing a spot of shopping.
Auckland is a shopaholic’s paradise, with everything from top-end designers to open
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Driving time Auckland to Matamata 159 km / 98 miles , 2 hours
Make your way to Matamata and visit the Hobbiton Movie Set to experience the real Middle-Earth. The bucolic setting for The Shire that featured in Peter Jackson directed films, The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies. The tour includes a drive through the picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. A guide will show you around the 12 acre site recounting fascinating details of how the Hobbiton Film Set was created.
Driving time Matamata to Hamilton 57 km / 35 miles , 1 hour
Follow up Hobbiton tour make your way to Hamilton, New Zealand’s largest inland city, situated on the banks of the Waikato River. With several iconic attractions including the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Raglan’s surf coast and Te Aroha Mineral Pools.
Stay 1 night in Hamilton.
Driving time Hamilton to Waitomo Caves 70 km / 43 miles, 1 hour
Venture to the Waitomo Caves, where you will enjoy the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Ruakuri Caves Combo! Deep underground in the heart of the Waikato are a series of unique caves that will take your breath away. At the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, thousands of tiny glowworms cling to the cave ceiling, creating a starry sky within the underground night. Nearby, the Ruakuri Cave is home to an innovative spiral entrance, echoing waterfalls, and limestone that flows into delicate shawl-like formations.
Driving time Waitomo Caves to Taupo 150 km / 93 miles, 2 hours
After visiting the Waitomo Caves travel onwards to Taupo, rich in natural beauty with attractions such as the Huka Falls.
Stay 2 nights in Taupo.
Included in New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks the well known Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a must do day walk. After getting picked up from your accommodation in Taupo travel to the start of the trail at Mangatepopo Valley. This walk takes you up and over the Mt Tongariro & Mt Ngauruhoe saddle, and past the South Crater and the Red Crater summit with great photo opportunities. Descending to the Emerald Lakes for lunch, refreshment and a well earned break. Continue on up and over Mt Tongariro then it’s down hill from there. A great walk in both summer and winter. Moderate fitness levels required.
Return to Taupo in the afternoon.
Driving time Taupo to Rotorua 80 km / 50 miles, 1.5 hours
Take the leisurely drive from Taupo to Rotorua.
The Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park is Rotorua’s most active geothermal area featuring a walkway lined with unique geothermal wonders and interactive opportunities. Experience the geothermal features with a self-guided map to show you around or join a guided tour of the reserve to learn more about the history, features and uniqueness of the geothermal area.
See bubbling mud pools, steaming craters, mineral pools, learn about New Zealand’s history and culture, and even try Maori weaving and wood carving! After this, the geothermal waters of the Hell’s Gate Sulphur Spa will rejuvenate and refresh you, as you relax and take in the surreal surroundings of the wondrous geothermal landscape.
Explore Rotorua in the afternoon or add on one of the must do activities.
Stay 1 night in Rotorua.
Today you will be picked up from Rotorua and drive through small villages and dense rainforest into the heart of Te Urewera National Park. This is the first day of the Guided Lake Waikaremoana Walk – one of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks. Today you will walk 10.5 km (approximately 4 hrs) through native bush, along the shoreline before arriving at the Waiharuru Hut. This 4 day walk does require a good fitness level where you are able to walk for 4 – 6 hours per day.
*Accommodation for the 3 nights while walking is in a 2 Star Lodge.
Stay 3 nights in 2 Star Lodge Accommodation.
Day two involves some challenging walking, but you will be rewarded with some great views. You’ll be following the lake’s western arm. After lunch take a short boat ride to the Korokoro Falls, before continuing on to the Waiopaoa Hut for the evening. 18.3 km reduced with boat ride (approximately 7 hrs).
Today climb 600 m up the Panekire Bluffs, with breathtaking views. Continuing on through native bush onto Panekire Hut for the night and a glass of wine on the verandah. Walk 7.6 km (approximately 4.5 hrs).
Day four and the final day, watch the sunrise on the beautiful East Coast one of the first places in the world to see the sun. Continue on along the Panekire Ridge, with awesome views and great photo opportunities. Mark the end of this great 4 day walk with a BBQ before travelling back to Rotorua.
Stay 1 night in Rotorua.
Driving time Rotorua to Auckland 230 km / 140 miles, 3.5 hours
Travel back at your leisure to Auckland, explore the city or enjoy your last evening in Auckland with an evening sail and dining cruise aboard a America’s Cup yacht on the harbour, or cruise the expansive Hauraki Gulf to view whales and dolphins.
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Drop your rental car off at Auckland Airport and depart Auckland.
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