North Island trips

Central North Island Wilderness and Wineries

4 Days
560km
348mi

Route

Rotorua Central to Rotorua Central

Highlights

  • Lake Waikaremoana
  • Art Deco Architecture
  • Wine tasting

Best time of year

All year

This circular route provides a stunning range of landscape contrasts. You’ll begin with the weird and wonderful geothermal sights of Rotorua, where mud boils and geysers continually force hot water skyward. A wilderness road takes you to beautiful, remote Lake Waikaremoana – a fabulous place for forest walks.

Next is the Art Deco city of Napier, which is framed by swathes of vineyards and world class wineries. Lake Taupo lies over the hills to the west, a massive crater lake known for its superb trout fishing. Explore Taupo’s geothermal attractions and relax in the hot springs before you arrive back in Rotorua.

Info

Looking like a landlocked fiord, Lake Waikaremoana is wilderness at its best.

Photo by Tourism Eastland

Day 1

Rotorua - Waikaremoana

2 hrs

56 mins

155 km

96 mi

Rotorua

Rotorua sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so volcanic activity is part of the city’s past and present. Explore the geothermal areas and discover the unique culture of New Zealand’s Maori people. Rotorua is entertaining in any weather, at any time of the year.

Forest is the dominant scenery on the adventurous road to Waikaremoana. You’ll be driving through the Kaingaroa Forest (one of the world’s largest pine plantations), followed by the native forest of Whirinaki and the Urewera Ranges. Horse trekking, trout fishing, and hiking are all possible activities. Murupara is the only town you’ll encounter – a well-equipped forestry settlement with a passion for hunting and fishing.

Waikaremoana is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful lakes, and the gateway to Te Urewera wilderness area. Walking tracks are well maintained and clearly signposted. The Onepoto Caves are a highlight. Near the shores of the lake is Aniwaniwa, which has a visitor centre. Also on the lake shore is a motor camp with motels, cabins and tent-sites.

Steaming lakes and boiling mud in Rotorua

Start in Rotorua Central

Entertaining in any weather, Rotorua will captivate you with its shooting geysers, intriguing Maori villages and thrilling adventure activities.

There's plenty to do in the great outdoors around Lake Waikaremoana

End in Lake Waikaremoana

Enclosed by the pristine native forest of Te Urewera National Park, Lake Waikaremoana is one of the North Island's most beautiful wilderness escapes.

Things to see and do

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