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- Minimum length: 450km
- Add 30km for Matamata, 290km for Waitomo and Tongariro
- Minimum duration: 3 days
- Start: Auckland, finish: Napier.
Your first stop on the Thermal Explorer is Auckland, where you can treat yourself to shopping and fine dining, or escape to holiday islands and vast scenic reserves.
The dormant island volcano of Rangitoto erupted from the seabed around 600 years ago. It’s Auckland’s most recognised geographic feature, and a haven for native wildlife.
Standing 328 metres high, the Sky Tower is the largest building in the Southern Hemisphere. Begin your volcanic adventure with an adrenalin-pumping sky jump.
Hamilton – Waikato
Hamilton - Waikato is an emerald-green farming region with a few tricks up its sleeve. Home to hobbits, ancient caves and New Zealand’s most famous surf beach, you’ll find it a captivating stop along your Thermal Explorer journey.
Deep beneath rolling green hills a labyrinth of caves lie secret. Gaze up at glow worms on a pitch-black boat tour, or pull on a wetsuit and crawl, float and swim through the limestone underworld.
Hobbiton Movie Set & Tours, Matamata
With the first of three Hobbit films set for release in December, Tolkien fever is gripping New Zealand once again. Journey through the heart of the Shire to Hobbiton Movie Set, the place where Bilbo and Frodo’s adventures all began.
Rotorua, on the Volcanic Plateau, is one of the world’s most lively geothermal areas. Beyond its bubbling mudpools and relaxing thermal spas, you’ll find Rotorua rich in Maori culture, and overflowing with wild adventure activities.
Here you’ll see (and smell) wafts of steam, simmering cauldrons and boiling mud pools. At Te Puia you can watch the famous Pohutu geyser shoot scalding water 30 metres into the air.
Maori cultural experiences
Attracted by the benefits of geothermal energy for cooking and warmth, Maori settlers arrived to Rotorua around 600 years ago. As a visitor, you'll have the chance to learn about the culture, enjoy the amazing performance art and discover the smoky succulence of hangi (earth oven) food.
Lake Taupo is actually a massive volcanic crater. This picturesque playground offers a myriad of water activities and geothermal attractions.
Sunny Hawke’s Bay is known for its wines, architecture and scenic cycle trails. There’s plenty to see and do, but at the end of your Thermal Explorer adventure, you may just like to sit back and enjoy a glass of excellent sauvignon blanc.
In Hawke's Bay you can kick off your shoes and dine alfresco amidst the vines. More than 40 vineyards are clustered around the river plains, and many have fine restaurants on-site.
Art Deco Napier
After a massive earthquake in 1931, Napier was rebuilt in pure Art Deco style. Its beautiful buildings, tree-lined streets and interesting shops make for a great day out.