Coasts and Culture Tour (Reverse)
- Duration: 7 Days (approx.)
- Location: Auckland, New Zealand
- Product code: Coasts and Culture Tour (Reverse)
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, have underground adventures in caves lit by glow worms, 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 tackle the magnificent Tongariro Alpine 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, 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
Fall in love with Wellington’s cafe and craft beer culture
Check out the views from Matairangi/Mount Victoria, Wellington
Discover what makes Huka Falls the most visited natural attraction in NZ
Follow your nose to Rotorua’s bubbling mud pools
Eat a traditional Māori hāngī meal cooked in an underground oven
See kiwi birds up close and personal
Visit Te Puia - a local cultural centre - to learn more about traditional Māori culture and discover Rotorua’s geothermal wonders
Learn a haka and learn to weave flax with a local iwi (tribe)
A guided visit to the filming location of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy, Hobbiton (for tours starting from 1 September 2023)
Stunning walk to the spectacular arched cavern of Coromandel’s Cathedral Cove
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 – WELLINGTON TO TAUPŌ
Kia Ora and welcome to New Zealand! Today we meet at 8am at your accommodation in Wellington where your guide will have set up continental breakfast. Over breakfast your guide will introduce everyone to the group and run through everything you need to know to maximise your time in New Zealand. Breakfast and the welcome meeting should take around an hour though can take a bit longer with larger groups. Tucked away at the bottom of the North Island, New Zealand’s capital is anything but boring. A fun young city with tons of green spaces and beaches, it feels more like a small town than an urban capital. Packed with quirky bars, quaint cafes, beautiful street art and heaps of things to do, it’s impossible not to love Wellington. In the morning your tour guide will give you a tour of Wellington city and the surrounding bays. This can include a trip to Weta Workshop, where films like Lord of the Rings have been made. We also may visit the parliament buildings, cable car and Mount Victoria. On the way to Taupō we drive along the Desert Road that divides the Rangipo Desert (an area with poor vegetation because of bad soil conditions and drying winds). The climate is harsh and in winter it is not unusual to see snow. However, the biggest attractions on this road are that of Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe, the volcano better known as Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings. On the other side of the road is the lesser noticed Kaimanawa Range, home to a breed of wild horses that can be spotted on rare occasions. We arrive at the accommodation by evening. With a whole day to explore Taupō tomorrow, feel free to relax at the hostel or go out to experience some of the town’s best nightlife!
DAY 2 – TAUPŌ
A full day in Taupō… are you in the mood for peaceful lakeside tranquility 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 3 - TAUPŌ TO MURUPARA
After our morning in Taupō we head to Kohutapu Lodge in Murupara - a living Māori village - where you will be taken on 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.
DAY 4 – MURUPARA TO ROTORUA
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. On the way to Rotorua, we stop at what really makes the town famous, along with giving it its unique smell: one of several extraordinary geyserlands and thermal parks. This evening we include a visit to Te Puia - a well-known Māori culture centre. At Te Puia you can explore Whakarewarewa geothermal valley, visit New Zealand’s native kiwi birds, and learn about Māori history & culture.
DAY 5 – 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 –white water rafting, zip-lining, rolling down a hill in a giant inflatable ball, river sledging and more! 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 6 – ROTORUA TO COROMANDEL
Today we leave Rotorua behind to continue our adventures. For Lord of the Rings fans, a visit to Hobbiton Movie Set is an absolute must-do on the way through Matamata. 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. It’s no secret that many blockbuster hits have been filmed in New Zealand due to our incredible landscapes. Around lunchtime, we head of to the Coromandel to discover them first-hand. We’ll walk together out along the cliffs down to Cathedral Cove (which you might recognise from the Chronicles of Narnia films). Beautiful in its own right, with perfect beaches and massive rock arches and columns it’s one of the most popular spots in the Coromandel and for good reason!
For tours starting from 1 September 2023, Hobbiton will be an included activity today.
DAY 7 – COROMANDEL TO AUCKLAND
Beautiful remote beaches, dense wooded forest and clear blue waters make the Coromandel one of New Zealand’s favourite getaways. At low tide, we’ll make our way out to the world-famous Hot Water Beach. When the tide’s out, you can dig a hole in the sand where natural hot springs bubble up to create your own personal hot tub! Finally, we head to Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city. Auckland sits on the narrow sliver of land where the Northland peninsula tapers south to meet the rest of the North Island. So the sea is always nearby, and it isn't difficult to guess the origin of its nickname ‘City of Sails’. We arrive around 5pm, where we'll say our final farewells and your tour officially ends. But remember your final night of accommodation is included.