From Hobbiton to Hot Springs, explore the best of the North Island. Scroll to discover more.
From Hobbiton to Hot Springs, this North Island road trip takes you on a journey through Middle‑earth. Visit Lord of the Rings filming locations, bathe in natural hot springs near Rotorua, and explore White Island - an active marine volcano.
Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands. This is true of Auckland, where your journey begins. Enjoy the bustling urban centre before heading out to the Waitakere Ranges to discover hidden waterfalls, or kayak to Rangitoto Island as the sun sets.
Make your way south to Hobbiton, where rolling green hills and movie magic surround you. Enjoy peering over a Hobbit’s front gate, dancing under the party tree, wandering through The Shire before finishing it all off with a cold beer at The Green Dragon Inn.
Experience the best of Maori culture in Rotorua with cultural performances and traditional foods at Te Puia, Mitai Village or Tamaki Village. Rotorua is the hub of ‘Maoridom’ and here you will witness both the old and new of this unique culture in action.
Afterwards check out the explosive geysers and geothermal wonders of the region, before getting your adrenaline fix rafting, mountain-biking or ziplining.
Thirty-five minutes south of Rotorua is Kerosene Creek, a geothermally heated stream where you can bathe and relax. Hot water from a natural spring under the earth bubbles up into the cool waters of the creek, creating pleasantly warm waters.
Swimmers have piled up small smooth rocks to create natural pools beside the 2m waterfall. Take a moment to relax on your journey as the sounds of native flora and fauna surround you.
Make your way east to the coastal town of Whakatane. From here you can join dolphin and seal tours which include swimming encounters or enjoy a kayak tour around Ohiwa Harbour or Whale Island.
Alternatively, cruise or take a short flight to White Island - New Zealand's only active marine volcano. The Maori name for the island is 'Te Puia o Whakaari', which means 'the dramatic volcano'. Watch it roar and hiss from steaming vents as you peer down from the crater walls.