Day 1: Arrive Central Plateau
Pick-up from Rotorua central or airport approx 1:30pm, or Taupo 2:30pm.
Arrive in Tongariro National Park and become acquainted with the area and your guide with a short walk. Settle in to your accommodation with a glass of New Zealand wine, while the sun sets over the impressive Tongariro volcanoes.
Relish a delicious New Zealand style restaurant meal while you get to know the other members of your small group. Retire to a cozy bed and hot shower, ready to tackle the world’s best day hike tomorrow - the Tongariro Alpine Crossing!
Day 2: Tongariro Crossing
Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing - known as the best one-day walk in New Zealand and possibly the world. A challenging hike leads through stunning volcanic landscapes, past steaming craters, quirky coloured lakes and impressive dome volcanoes. Fantastic views over central North Island. Fair weather and a good level of fitness are required to undertake this hike.
If conditions allow we will have an early start on the track, so we can enjoy the pre-dawn solitude of the mountains and watch the sunrise over the volcanoes – a truly magical experience!
Lonely Planet recommends a walk amidst the Tongariro Volcanoes as “a life-changing experience not to be missed!” Your guides make this unforgettable hike even more memorable by sharing their local knowledge, setting a relaxed pace, and providing a well-earned celebratory drink and snack at the end of the track.
Return to our lodgings to soak your weary muscles in the hot plunge pool, before having a casual pub dinner with the locals.
Day 3: Mt Ruapehu Hikes
Travel around the southern side of Mt Ruapehu to experience some of New Zealand’s rail history on the Old Coach Road trail. Between 1906 to 1908 the road was used to carry passengers and goods by horse and coach, between two railheads on the main trunk line.
Heritage features on the trail include a unique cobbled road, massive steel viaducts, a curved tunnel, railway bridge remains, and old campsites. The 15km walk takes around 5 hours, and also passes through some beautiful stands of native forest with sweeping views across the district.
If conditions allow we will explore the dramatic, rock-strewn landscapes higher up Mt Ruapehu. At 2797 metres above sea level, the North Island’s highest mountain offers jaw-dropping views over the National Park with various hiking options or catch a chair-lift up to NZ’s highest café. Tonight we enjoy a final celebration dinner in The Chateau’s elegant Ruapehu Restaurant.
Day 3: Rainforests & Waterfalls
After breakfast we pack up and explore more of Tongariro National Park with a walk to the Taranaki Falls. Tumbling 20 metres over the edge of an old lava flow, which erupted from Mt Ruapehu 15,000 years ago, the falls plunge into a boulder-ringed pool. The track passes through an interesting range of alpine meadows and beech forest, with spectacular views of the mountains.
Then hike around the glistening Lake Rotopounamu, which is nestled in the side of an old volanic mountain and totally fringed with lush forest.
Drop off in Taupo approx 4 - 5pm or Rotorua 5 - 6pm
**This tour is run in conjunction with another operator.