The walking holiday of a lifetime!
Explore the very best of the North Island’s diverse and visually spectacular regions in comfort and style.
From the majestic mountains of Tongariro, to the lush forests of Waikaremoana, to the dramatic coastlines of Coromandel.
Be awed by the scenery, and spoilt by delightful accommodation, meals and wine – It doesn’t get any better than this!
7-12 Day Tour
12 days / 11 nights
An average level of fitness. Walk 12kms, Bike 25kms. Well formed tracks and roads with average incline.
Matamata / Rotorua to Coromandel
3 - 4 hours
We’ll pick you up from Rotorua at approx. 8:30am, or Matamata at 9:30am. Warm up with a walk to the top of Wairere Falls the falls are 153m in height, and view the verdant Waikato basin from two lookouts over hanging the thunderous waterfall.
As we continue north, enjoy views out over the mussel farms of the Hauraki Gulf from one of New Zealand’s classic coastal drives, the Coromandel west coast. Drive further up the Coromandel Peninsula in the late afternoon to reach your lovely accommodation, and watch the sunset from the verandah with a glass of wine or ice cold brew.
Accommodation: Coromandel Lodge – (L,D)
Walking time: 3-4 hours
The Legendary Coromandel Coastal Walkway
If there’s one walk in New Zealand that has it all, it’s this one – the incredible Coromandel Coastal Walkway. After a short drive north from Coromandel township we’ll arrive at the trail head and begin our walk at Stony Bay, a picture perfect isolated beach flanked by green hills and white sand.
This historic trail follows an old bridle path once used by gold miners who populated the Coromandel region in colonial times. Tracing the north eastern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula, we walk through native bush and over high cliff tops with views of Great Barrier Island, Cuvier Island and the Mercury Islands.
We’ll have a picnic lunch at beautiful Poley Bay (a great spot for a swim if you’re keen!) before returning to Stony Bay.
Accommodation: Coromandel Lodge – (B,L,D)
Walking time: 6 hours
6 - 7 hours
After a delicious fresh breakfast we head south to the start of the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail, also known as The Pinnacles.
We’ll make our way up through kauri, rimu and kahikatea forests to the Pinnacles that are perched high above the forest canopy.
The 360 degree views of bush, mountains and 2 coastlines are simply off the charts, and well worth the effort up the steep trail – don’t forget your camera! The Kauaeranga Valley is home to forest bird such as tui, bellbird, tomtit, grey warbler, shining cuckoo, north island brown kiwi and kaka, so keep your eyes peeled here as many of them are frequent visitors on the trail.
If the Pinnacles isn’t your style and you would prefer a more relaxing day you have the option of staying in and exploring Coromandel Township. Highlights include the Driving Creek Railway, local artisan workshops, short walks, cafes, and culture. Take the time to relax in paradise.
A fabulous day is topped off with a celebratory meal at one of Coromandel town’s fine restaurants.
Accommodation: Coromandel Lodgel- (B,L,D)
Walking time: 6-7 hours..
Epic East Coast
2 - 3 hours
Travel east around the Peninsula towards Whitianga. Walk to the golden sand beaches and azure green waters of one of the top 20 best beaches in the world, New Chums Beach (this walk is dependant on the tides). Relax and absorb the natural beauty amidst the bird and marine life that thrives within this precious ecosystem.
Enjoy a short, scenic ferry ride across the Whitianga harbour and a relaxing stroll up to Shakespeares Cliff overlooking Mercury Bay and the beach where Captain Cook set foot on kiwi soil. Stop for a refreshing lunch looking out over the marine reserve and take the well-graded track down to the iconic Cathedral Cove, a natural volcanic archway – a must-see of the Coromandel!
Continuing around the east coast we’ll complete a loop of the Coromandel Peninsula, then drop you at a 4.5 star Hotel in Rotorua, Tonight you will enjoy 3-course Taste Indigenous New Zealand dinner.
Accommodation: Rotorua Hotel – (B,L,D)
Walking time: 2-3 hours
After a cooked breakfast at your Rotorua Hotel we’ll pick you up and head east, past Mount Tarawera and into the heart of Te Urewera.
Our first stop is the Whirinaki Forest, where we’ll walk through one of New Zealand’s most pristine Podocarp forests with towering trees including giant totara, kahikatea, rimu and matai. Keep an eye out for kaka (a large forest parrot) & whio (blue duck) along the way.
This walking trail also skirts the moss-lined Whirinaki River canyon and waterfall – one of the most picturesque rivers in New Zealand. Don’t forget your camera!
We then journey deeper into the remote Te Urewera to reach Lake Waikaremoana, where we’ll settle in at our cozy lodge with pre-dinner drinks and nibbles on the lake shore.
Accommodation: Lakeside Chalets – (B,L,D)
Walking time: 3-4 hours.
3 - 7 hours
This morning we’ll walk to the spectacular Panekire Bluffs that are a highlight of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk.
As we climb higher we’ll see the lush podocarp forest change into cloud forest with trees covered in eerie hanging moss. Arriving at the Panekire Bluffs, we’ll be greeted with jaw-dropping views over Lake Waikaremoana and Te Urewera.
There are not many better places in the world to sit back, relax and have lunch!
There’s an option to continue walking higher for a further 2 hours to reach the highest point of the Great Walk track to get views over not only the Lake, but out to the Pacific Coast.
Walking time: 3-7 hours.
3 - 5 hours
This morning we explore a very special area – the pristine Lake Waikareiti, which lies a further 300 metres in elevation above Lake Waikaremoana.
Free of aquatic weeds and motorised boats, this picture perfect lake has astonishingly clear water and is blissfully peaceful!
The Department of Conservation have worked tirelessly for years to eradicate this area of introduced predators, allowing native birds here to thrive!
Later, we’ll return to Waikaremoana where there’s an option to walk to a dazzling fresh-water spring, or a walk through dense fern forest to explore the Onepoto Caves.
Accommodation: Lakeside Chalets- (B,L,D)
Walking time: 3-5 hours.
Lake Waikaremoana to Rotorua
2 - 4 hours
After breakfast we depart the lodge to walk another section of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Track.
This stunning forest and lakeside trail traverses from a secluded arm of the lake across a peninsula, home to a Kiwi Recovery Program and some gorgeous native forest.
After a lakeside picnic lunch we return to Rotorua, stopping for a soak in an amazing natural hot spring under a canopy of native trees.
Tonight you will dine in one of Rotorua’s finest restaurants.
Walking time: 2-4 hours
Rest Day, Travel to Tongariro
The Park Hotel
This morning you have free time to explore Rotorua, or sleep in! There’s no shortage of adventurous or relaxing activities in this town. From indulging in a spa treatment to zip-lining high above native forest there’s a little something for everyone here.
At 1:30pm we’ll pick you up from your Rotorua Hotel and head south through the North Island’s heartland of geothermal activity, passing Lake Taupo. 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!
Accommodation: The Park Hotel – (B,D)
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
7 - 8 hours
Walk 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.
Accommodation: The Park Hotel – (B,L,D) Walking time: 7-8 hours.
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. .
Accommodation: The Park Hotel – (B,L,D)
Walking time: approx. 5 hours
Today we explore the lower flanks of Mt Ruapehu with a walk from Whakapapa Village through alpine meadows and pretty beech forest to Taranaki Falls. Tumbling 20 metres over the edge of an old lava flow, this waterfall packs a real punch, sending spray right across the boulder-ringed pool at the bottom. If you’re game, it’s possible to walk all the way around behind the curtain of the waterfall – time to put a jacket on!
Then hike around the glistening Lake Rotopounamu, which is nestled in the side of Mt. Pihanga, an old volcanic mountain and totally fringed with lush forest. Walking Legends support Project Tongariro, an eco-trust that are working to restore the native birdlife to this special area.
After lunch, we’ll begin the short journey north to Taupo and on to Rotorua. You can choose to be dropped off in Taupo or Rotorua, or National Park if you are travelling further south. Either way, you’ll be forever changed after the awesome walks and great times you’ll have had with us in the North Island!
Walking time: 3-4 hours – (B,L)
A variety of boutique and character lodges & hotels, from 3-4 star, have been chosen for location & atmosphere. Rooms are twin-share with good beds & linen.
All lodges have ensuite bathrooms and are in picturesque settings.
In addition the trip includes 2 nights in a studio room at a 4.5 star Hotel in Rotorua.
All dinners are included: 2-course Kiwi style meals, with plenty of fresh veges, salads, and dessert. You can purchase drinks during dinner. Breakfasts have cooked and continental options, and packed lunches are made fresh daily. We also provide plenty of snacks on the trail. The trip also includes 2 breakfasts while you are staying at the Rotorua hotel, and dinner in one of Rotorua’s top fine-dining restaurants.
This is a lodge-based tour so we’ll return to our walk lodges each night. You’re welcome to bring a suitcase, we have plenty of space. All you’ll carry on the track is a day pack with your lunch, water, raincoat, hat, sunscreen and camera.
To ensure maximum safety for all, our guides are certified first aiders and fully qualified drivers. Tuatara Tours operate under a Safety and Risk Management Plan which is regularly audited and approved by a qualified and independent auditor.