You'll see it all in this amazing week-long North Island holiday. Volcanoes, beautiful beaches, glow worm caves, bubbling mud pools, Lord of the Rings locations and rich forests... and that's just the start! Join this captivating tour and learn all about the Maori culture and legends.
Day 1: Auckland to Coromandel
After breakfast, we kick off the tour in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. Have you noticed that it’s 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.
Then, it's onto the Coromandel Peninsula, 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 here. If the tide times allow, we’ll definitely grab our buckets and spades and get busy!
Later, travel on to Whitianga where you'll arrive in 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 Rotorua
Lets get beachy! This morning, walk along the cliffs and down to Cathedral Cove (which you might recognise 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 this afternoonm, we head towards Rotorua; en route, we’ll visit Matamata – best known for being the home of Hobbiton.
For Lord of the Rings fans, a visit to Hobbiton Movie Set is an absolute must-do. On a fully guided tour of the 12 acre Middle-earth set you will see Hobbit Holes, the Mill, and even enjoy a drink at the Green Dragon Inn!
If hobbits aren’t your thing, there are plenty of scenic short walks to enjoy Matamata’s lush green rolling hills.
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.
Day 4: Rotorua to Murapara
This morning, we visit Te Puia Maori Village. Here, you’ll learn more about M?ori history and culture, come face to face with the Pohutu Geyser, see jumping mud pools and get up close and personal with kiwi birds.
Later this afternoon, we head to Kohutapu Lodge in Murupara – a living M?ori village - where you will experience a tribal tour by a village elder. Here, you’ll also have a chance to learn the world-famous haka dance, and weave your own dinner plate using flax (a type of plant).
Tonight’s dinner is a traditional h?ngi meal. Cooked in an underground earth oven, you can expect tender meat and delicious vegetables infused with a smoky, earthy fragrance – it will fill your puku (belly) right up!
The best part about spending the evening at Kohutapu Lodge? The majority of proceeds from this activity go back to the local community.
Day 5: Murupara to Taupo
It’s only a short drive to our next destination, Taupo, 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.
Taupo is a beautiful lakeside town with a stunning mountain backdrop. Lake Taupo 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 Taupo... are you in the mood for peaceful lakeside tranquillity or unlimited adrenaline and adventure? Either way, Taupo’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 Maori 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: Taupo to Wellington
It’s a big drive from Taupo 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!