Coasts and Culture Tour
- Duration: 7 Days (approx.)
- Location: Auckland, New Zealand
- Product code: Coasts and Culture Tour
The North Island is filled with surprising contrasts: from the idyllic Coromandel coastline where you can soak in a hot pool dug in the sand, venture through a geothermal wonderland of geysers, take a side-trip to Middle Earth-esque countryside, and admire lush rainforests and even a volcanic desert – you’ll be amazed by it all.
This small-group guided tour of the North Island will visit Coromandel, Rotorua, Taupō, and Wellington, with the option to visit Hobbiton, and the Tongariro Crossing along the way.
As with all our tours, we do include a few 'must-do' events including a Māori cultural night and traditional Māori hāngī dinner cooked in an underground oven.
You’ll see a massive range of optional activities available to add to your tour, from bungy jumping and white water rafting to canopy forest zipline tours and scenic flights. None of these are compulsory; just add the ones you want.
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.
WHAT’S INCLUDED ON THIS TOUR
Stunning walk to the spectacular arched cavern of Coromandel’s Cathedral Cove
A guided visit to the filming location of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy, Hobbiton (for tours starting from 1 September 2023)
Learn a haka and learn to weave flax with a local iwi (tribe)
Visit Te Puia - a local cultural centre - to learn more about traditional Māori culture and discover Rotorua’s geothermal wonders.
See kiwi birds up close and personal
Eat a traditional Māori hāngī meal cooked in an underground oven
Follow your nose to Rotorua’s bubbling mud pools
Discover what makes Huka Falls the most visited natural attraction in NZ
Check out the views from Matairangi/Mount Victoria, Wellington
Fall in love with Wellington’s cafe and craft beer culture
Plus many surprise stops along the way
ALL HAKA TOURS INCLUDE
ORIENTATION TOURS - We give you the low-down on every location
COMFORTABLE TRANSPORT - With plenty of room to spread out
CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST EVERY DAY - Heaps of options for everyone (you too, vegans!)
HIGH-END HOSTEL ACCOMMODATION - Dorm share, upgrades available
EXPERIENCED LOCAL GUIDE - Friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about NZ
SMALL GROUPS - MAXIMUM 16 - Because you're more than just a number!
DAY 1 – AUCKLAND TO COROMANDEL
Leaving the big smoke behind, we head to the Coromandel Peninsula, a veritable 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 the Coromandel with plenty of time for your guide to show you around. Sample the sandy beaches or simply enjoy the vibes.
DAY 2 – COROMANDEL TO ROTORUA
This morning walk 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 this afternoon we head towards Rotorua (or Rotovegas as it is locally known). 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.
For tours starting from 1 September 2023, Hobbiton will be an included activity today.
DAY 3 – ROTORUA
Today is a free day to explore Rotorua and its surrounding area. Talk to your guide for the best free things to see and do in the neighbourhood (Kuirau Park’s steaming and hissing mud pools are a great option). There are also a number of optional activities you can choose from: If adrenaline is your thing, the highest commercial waterfall drop in the world, on the Kaituna River, is begging to be conquered on an exhilarating rafting trip. Perhaps you’d like to try thundering down grassy hills in a giant air-cushioned inflatable ball (aka ZORB )? Or take a guided kayak trip across scenic Lake Rotoiti to the spectacular Manupirua Springs Hot Pools, which are only accessible by boat. Have a leisurely soak while your guide cooks an appetising Kiwi BBQ Dinner. After dinner enjoy a sunset paddle across the lake and a visit to the glow worm caves. However you spend today - be sure to get a good night’s sleep as there are more Rotorua adventures tomorrow!
DAY 4 – ROTORUA TO MURUPARA
This morning we visit Te Puia Māori Village. Here you’ll learn more about Māori 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 Māori 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 hāngi 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.
Please note: Private accommodation upgrades are not available for this night of the tour due to the limited availability of accommodation in the area. In special circumstances other arrangements may be possible - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
DAY 5 – MURUPARA TO TAUPŌ
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.
DAY 6 – TAUPŌ
A full day in Taupō... are you in the mood for peaceful lakeside tranquillity or unlimited adrenaline 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! The tour officially finishes at 8pm today in Wellington, but your accommodation tonight is included.