Tongariro, Waitomo & Rotorua

North Island Volcanic Adventure

  • 5 Days
  • Avg Group Size: 12
  • Activity Level 3
    • Activity Level 3

      Those who take on our Level 3 tours are looking for more challenging hikes that will raise their heart rate.

    Read more about the Active Range

  • Trip Start: Auckland
  • Trip End: Auckland
north island volcanic

Lose track of time as you explore New Zealand's diverse North Island, from rolling green hills to the volcanic landscapes and endless coastlines on our North Island Volcanic Adventure.

The North Island of New Zealand is packed to the brim with incredible landscapes, and there's no better way to experience its vastness than on our North Island Volcanic Adventure. Discover for yourself your favorite part of the island as you hike the renowned Tongariro Alpine Crossing, bike through redwood forests, and walk through otherwordly caves lit by the mysterious glowworm. With two local guides and every detail looked after, you'll learn about the intimate Maori culture and visit spiritual Kauri forests without a worry in the world. Our year-round North Island Volcanic Adventure is the perfect addition to any of our South Island trips. Starting and finishing in Auckland, all you'll need to do is walk off the plane, and you'll be off on a hiking tour of a lifetime!

Download Our Handy Trip Itinerary

Our Trip Itinerary contains all the exciting details you can expect to do on our trips. Get a clear picture of the adventures on this trip.

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North Island Volcanic Adventure ~ Itinerary

Trip Start: Auckland Trip End: Auckland

Download our Handy Trip itenary

Our Trip Itinerary contains all the exciting details you can expect to do on our trips. Get a clear picture of the adventures on this trip

  • Day 1Pick-up, visit Te Aroha, hike to Wairere Falls Track

  • Day 2Hike Rainbow Mountain and Okere Falls, visit Te Puia

  • Day 3Hike to Huka Falls, Bike Tongariro River

  • Day 4Hike Tongariro National Park, soak in hot pools

  • Day 5Visit Waitomo Caves, depart for home

  • Day 1

    Pick-up, visit Te Aroha, hike to Wairere Falls Track

    #11958

    We’ll pick you up from your hotel or the airport and, leaving the city behind us, drive south to the township of Te Aroha. The town is one of the country’s top tourist spots, celebrated for its naturally hot soda waters and Mokena geyser.

    Today’s hike winds its way amongst tree roots and mossy rocks, and across several bridged river crossings to a lookout platform at the base of the Wairere Falls on the Okauia fault line. Afterwards, we’ll drive to Rotorua, considered the heartland of New Zealand’s Maori culture and the spiritual home of New Zealand’s tangata whenua (original people of the land).
    Accommodation: Sudima Hotel, Rotorua
    Meals: Lunch, Dinner

    Hiking: 3.8 miles (6 kilometers), 3-4 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,250 feet (380meters) ascent, 1,250 feet (380meters) descent

     

  • Day 2

    Hike Rainbow Mountain and Okere Falls, visit Te Puia

    #11959

    This morning, we’ll head out to hike Rainbow Mountain, aptly named due to the unusual color of the soil. We’ll head up through the native forest past an impressive crater lake for panoramic views over the volcanic plateau. Okere Falls is our next stop, with a short hike along the track where we’ll view the magnificent waterfalls from viewing platforms, and we could be lucky enough to catch white water rafters making their way down the Kaituna River.

    If you prefer not to hike today, you can stay and soak in the local mineral spas or explore Rotorua.

    After re-grouping from the morning’s activities, we’ll visit Te Puia which is famed for the Te Whakarewarewa geothermal valley – a place of gushing waters, steaming vents, boiling mud pools, and impressive geysers.

    Tonight, we’ll enjoy a cultural performance by members of the Te Arawa tribe and share a traditional feast. A hangi, as it’s known, is prepared by wrapping food and burying it in the earth to cook over hot stones. This healthy cooking method is similar to steaming and imparts a wonderful flavor.
    Accommodation: Sudima Hotel, Rotorua
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Rainbow Mountain Hike: 3 miles (5 kilometers), 3 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,115 feet (340 meters) ascent, 1,115 feet (340 meters) descent

    Okere Falls Hike: 1.6 miles (2.4 kilometers), 1 hour
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 205 feet (63 metres) ascent, 205 feet (63 metres) descent

     

  • Day 3

    Hike to Huka Falls, Bike Tongariro River

    #11960

    We head south out of Rotorua today to hike Huka Falls, we’ll follow the track along New Zealand’s longest river, the Waikato, for a spectacular view of the Falls and maybe a dip in some natural hot springs. Traveling further south, we follow the shores of Lake Taupo, an enormous volcanic caldera and the site of the world’s largest eruption in the last 70,000 years.

    After arriving at Turangi and enjoying lunch, we’ll head out to bike a loop track, winding in and out of the beautiful native bushland, farmland and the Tongariro River, New Zealand’s most famous trout fishing river. With constantly changing scenery, this well-marked, tree-covered trail provides ample opportunities to spot native birdlife or to glimpse our rare Whio (Blue Ducks) who make their homes on the riverbanks.

    We’ll stay on the banks of the Tongariro River tonight.
    Accommodation: Creel Lodge, Turangi
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Huka Falls Hike: 2 miles (3 kilometers), 1 hour
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 65 feet (20 meters) ascent, 65 feet (20 meters) descent

    Biking Distance: 9.3 miles (15 kilometres), 1.5-2 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 130 feet (40 meters) 

  • Day 4

    Hike Tongariro National Park, soak in hot pools

    #11961

    Just south of Turangi are three massive volcanoes (Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu) – located in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand’s oldest national park and the fifth oldest in the world.

    Today we’ll hike to the Taranaki Falls and Silica Rapids around the base of Mount Ruapehu, both of these hikes showcase a variety of flora from native beech forest to sub-alpine shrublands, each culminating with a spectacular view; Taranaki Falls is 65 feet (20 meters) high and Silica Rapids has water cascading down a series of creamy white terraces.

    For more experienced hikers, we have the option to complete the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and this full-day hike is challenging and unforgettable! The trail takes you through arid volcanic terrain that includes emerald lakes, cold mountain springs, lava flows, active craters, and steam vents – it’s unlike anything else in New Zealand. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a more challenging hike in winter (from May until September) with alpine conditions such as snow and ice, and if the weather isn’t suitable for the crossing, we’ll all hike the Taranaki Falls and Silica Rapids. Your option must be confirmed at time of booking.

    Tonight, you can bathe in some natural thermal springs before having a celebratory dinner for our last night together.
    Accommodation: Creel Lodge, Turangi
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Tongariro Crossing Hike: 12 miles (20 kilometers), 7-8 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) ascent, 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) descent

    Taranaki Falls Hike: 3.7 miles (6 kilometers), 2 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 393 feet (120 meters) ascent, 393 feet (120 meters) descent

    Silica Rapids Hike: 4.3 miles (7 kilometers), 2-3 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 721 feet (220 meters) ascent, 721 feet (220 meters) descent

     

  • Day 5

    Visit Waitomo Caves, depart for home

    #11962

    For our last day together, we’ll head to the spectacular Waitomo Caves for a morning of caving. For those keen, you’ll head down to explore an underground cave system. You’ll be fitted with a wetsuit, helmet, headlamp and rubber tube in order to float down a subterranean stream, slide down waterfalls and at one point, switch off your headlamp to check out the incredible glowworms that live on the limestone ceiling of the cave. A shower and some hot soup complete the picture. Alternatively, take in the subterranean beauty on foot with a guided walk through Ruakuri cave system where you’ll learn all about the geological significance of the area.

    Afterward, we’ll head back to Auckland where your trip finishes. We’ll have you at the airport in time to catch evening flights back home, or down south for one of our South Island trips.
    Accommodation: Not applicable
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Tongariro National Park Hike options

Option A: Taranaki Falls & Silica Rapids

The Taranaki Falls and Silica Rapids hikes showcase a variety of flora from native beech forest to sub-alpine shrublands, each culminating with a spectacular view; Taranaki Falls is 20 meters (65 feet) high and Silica Rapids has water cascading down a series of creamy white terraces. 

Option B: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a full-day hike that is challenging and unforgettable! The trail takes you through arid volcanic terrain that includes emerald lakes, cold mountain springs, lava flows, active craters, and steam vents – it’s unlike anything else in New Zealand. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a more challenging hike in winter (from May until October) with alpine conditions such as snow and ice.

Departure Dates

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Included

  • Our own highly experienced guides, driver, and cook, with you from start to finish
  • Industry-leading Guest-to-Guide ratio (averaging 6:1)
  • Your own ‘Account’, an online space with everything required for your adventure
  • Our knowledgeable Customer Service Team to answer your queries - just a phone call, email or chat away
  • Customer Service pre-trip phone calls to ensure you’re 'trip ready'
  • All accommodations for the duration of your trip
  • All meals except where indicated in the itinerary
  • Unlimited snacks to keep you fueled
  • All activities outlined in the itinerary
  • All necessary equipment (well-maintained and safe) for activities, including Hiking Poles
  • All park and other entry fees
  • Transportation in our air-conditioned vans - safe, clean, modern, and comfortable!



What Our Guests Say

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Take 10% off the trip price when you book a trip and pay in full

By paying in full we are able to pass on savings to our guests, but please note that by opting for this payment plan, your booking becomes non-refundable, non-cancellable, and non-changeable. This offer is only valid for reservations where the trip is no sooner than 180 days from the departure date at time of booking.

We highly recommend that you purchase Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) insurance. We recommend Redpoint Insurance - you can find details here.

*Terms & conditions apply – read more here

 

Useful Info

Where does the trip start?

On the first morning of the trip, our three pick-up locations are the Sudima Auckland City Hotel in Auckland central at 8:15am, Auckland International Airport Terminal (AKL) at the Help Desk directly opposite international arrivals at 9am, or the Auckland Domestic Airport Terminal (AKL) directly outside Door #2 at 9.15am. You are welcome to book your pre-trip stay at this hotel directly or any other hotel in Auckland, though you must make your own way to one of the two pick-up points at the pre-designated times.

Where does the trip end?

Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the Auckland Airport (AKL) in time for flights below or the Sudima Auckland City Hotel in the late afternoon/early evening.

What flights would you recommend?

Arrival: We recommend arriving in Auckland by 7am. Many guests like to arrive a day or two early to accommodate potential flight delays and/or explore the city prior to your trip start.

Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, we recommend departing from Auckland after 7pm domestic and 8pm international flight departures. Earlier flight times will require a separate transfer booked at your own expense.

How much luggage can I bring on this trip?

You are allowed one piece of luggage on your trip, plus a daypack. Your main piece of luggage should not exceed 50 pounds (23 kilograms) and can be anything from a duffle bag to a sports bag with wheels or a suitcase. You’ll also want a good quality backpack sized 25-30 liters (2000 cubic inches) to use throughout the days. 

Tell me about the Tongariro Alpine Crossing?

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is often referred to as New Zealand’s best mountain day-hike. It’s a long day hike with a few up hills and a long, gradual downhill at the end. Starting with a gradual uphill walk, you’ll then climb a ridge and traverse over a spectacular moonlike landscape, passing the stunning Emerald Lakes and nearby volcanic features. Good hiking boots are a must as the track, although well marked, has a couple of ridges to climb along and down. There are a few steps too, so it’s a really good idea to have some hiking poles, whether you share between two or use both of them, you’ll be very glad to have them with you.

If you’re booked to come during our winter months from May through to October, you have the option of either hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, or some fabulous lower elevation hikes in the Tongariro National Park. 

Winter Alpine crossing of Mt Tongariro
Mt. Tongariro and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is at this time of the year is typically covered in snow and ice. If you’re keen, and fit - and the weather is suitable, you can still hike over the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It’s a full day out, and we’ll provide all the gear, such as crampons, ice axes and a specialist guide this day. 

Winter hiking Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park has many other hiking trails to explore, a couple of which are the Taranaki Falls waterfall hike, and the terraces of the Silica Rapids. These tracks are away from the higher elevations of snow and ice and are fabulous hiking alternatives for this day!

Tell me about the Waitomo Caves options?

When we visit Waitomo we have two ways to experience these fabulous caves - either wet or dry! Wet option you’ll be floating along through an underground river on an innertube (wearing all the appropriate gear of course), and dry means you can walk through a nearby cave instead. With both options you’ll see limestone formations and masses of glow-worms. 

Cave Tubing at Waitomo (wet)
Waitomo is renowned for its caves and what an awesome way to experience this region by really getting in it! We’ll provide all the gear, such as a head-lamp, helmet, wet-suit and rubber tubes, along with and a specialist guide this day and head off on a subterranean adventure through the Ruakuri Caves. You’ll take leaps of faith over cascading waterfalls, and float serenely down an underground river as you enjoy the glow-worms above you (enjoy lovely hot showers and hot soup after!)

Walking Ruakuri Caves (dry)
A dry option today is wandering through the Ruakuri Cave at Waitomo. Journey down through the spectacular spiral entrance, and see shawl-like limestone formations, crystal tapestries, stalactites & stalagmites - as well as glowworms.

What is not included?

Flights to and from trip start/end points
15% NZ Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Pre/Post Accommodation
Optional extra activities
Travel insurance
Gratuities for your guides
Trekking packs and sleeping bags (if applicable)

Is tipping expected in New Zealand?

Tipping is neither required nor routinely expected in New Zealand, but it is appropriate for very good service. In New Zealand you don't usually tip in restaurants, or if you take a taxi, or get a haircut. Many of our guests do choose to tip our guides and we recommend USD$20 per day, per guest, per guide. You are welcome to tip an equivalent amount in the local currency. There are plenty of ATM’s and banks in the larger towns of New Zealand.

What additional activities are on offer in New Zealand?

You’ll be participating in loads of amazing activities during your tour, however, you may be wondering what other cool stuff you can do before or after your trip to make the most of your time in New Zealand.  

We’ve teamed up with the good folk at Everything Travel and you’re welcome to book any pre or post-trip ‘things to do’ directly with them.  

For trips starting and/or ending in the South Island, check out things to do before and/or after your trip here.

For trips starting and/or ending in North Island, check out things to do before and/or after your trip here.

Make sure any activities you book are before or after your trip only as your tour itself is already filled to the brim with the adventures we offer!

How do rooming arrangements work?

Trip prices are based on shared arrangements (typically two guests per room), unless otherwise stated. For solo travelers, we’ll pair you with another person of the same gender to share rooms and if there’s no one suitable to share with, there’s no forced single supplement. However, if you specifically request your own rooms, you can opt to pay the single supplement. Solo travelers who book within 90 days of departure, where there are no other solo travelers willing to share, will be required to pay the single supplement. 

For Family Vacation bookings, families consisting of four guests traveling with children aged 17 and under will be automatically assigned one shared room. However, the following alternative rooming allocations are available:

  • Families consisting of four guests with all children aged 13 and above are welcome to opt for additional rooms as per advertised double occupancy adult rates.
  • Families consisting of four guests with at least one child aged 12 and under are automatically assigned a shared room. However, families can opt to pay the adult rates for all guests in their family to have an additional room.
  • The same principles apply for families consisting of more than four guests.

Rooming preferences are subject to availability and must be communicated in writing at time of booking. Automatic assignments as per this policy will be applied in the absence of any specification provided by guests. Any request for additional rooms during trips will be at guests’ own expense and subject to rates made available by the accommodation provider at the time. All minors (guests aged 17 and under) must be accompanied by at least one adult.

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