Volcanic Loop Highway

7 DAYS

747 km

Puntos destacados

  • Cosmopolitan Auckland
  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing
  • Geothermal Rotorua

Proximidad

INCLUDES CAR-FREE TRAVEL OPTIONS

From beautiful vineyards and exhilarating adventures to glittering glowworm caves and geothermal wonders, this itinerary introduces you to some of New Zealand's most spectacular attractions.  

Walk the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, skydive from 15,000ft and visit the famous Hobbiton Movie Set when you journey through the North Island via the Volcanic Loop.

Day 1: Spend the day in Auckland

Auckland
Rangitoto Summit Track , Auckland

By Fraser Clements

Auckland

AUCKLAND

Lively city vibe and stunning natural landscapes.

Puntos destacados

  • Climb the volcanic Island of Rangitoto
  • Board a thrilling harbour jet boat ride
  • Indulge in a little inner-city culture

MUST-DO EXPERIENCES IN AUCKLAND

Metropolitan delights, natural landscapes and adventure.

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Spend the day getting to know the vibrant ‘City of Sails’. With outstanding food, natural attractions, and plenty of adventure, Auckland is the perfect place to start your holiday.

Climb the Auckland Harbour Bridge and take in the vistas of New Zealand’s biggest city, from the city centre to the island dotted Hauraki Gulf. While you’re there, bungy jump off the bridge to touch the water below.

Nature lovers should kayak across the harbour to hike the iconic Rangitoto volcanic cone. 

If luxury and relaxation is what you're after, take the ferry to Waiheke and explore the island's many secluded beaches, wineries and walking trails.

Day 2: Hamilton & Waitomo Caves

Hamilton - Waikato
Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Hamilton - Waikato

By TIME Unlimited Tours

Hamilton - Waikato

HAMILTON - WAIKATO

Magical caves, surf beaches and Hobbits.

Puntos destacados

  • Explore caves lit by glowworms
  • Blackwater rafting
  • Bucolic Hamilton Gardens

Proximidad

  • By car: 2 h 40 min | 199 km to Waitomo via SH1 & SH39
  • By bus: 4 h 10 min | by Intercity or NakedBus
  • By : Visit a local iSITE for Waitomo tour info.

Make your way south to Hamilton. Spend the morning with a visit to Hamilton Zoo, home to New Zealand's largest free-flight aviary. Discover a plethora of unique native birds around every corner, including the endangered Blue Duck.

Beyond Hamilton, Waitomo is an underground world of stalactites, stalagmites and glittering glowworms. Explore this extensive network of caves, from a relaxing boat ride through the glowworm grotto or for the more adventurous take a 4-hour abseil journey deep into a lost world.

If you have time after your caving adventure, stop at Otorohanga Kiwi house and meet our national bird. 

Stay in Waitomo for the night or return to Hamilton.

Day 3: Pureora Forest & National Park

Hamilton - Waikato
The Timber Trail, Hamilton - Waikato

By Sven Martin

Ruapehu

RUAPEHU

Volcanic cones, tussocked desert and wild rivers.

Proximidad

  • By car: 1 h 45 min | 143 km via SH3 & SH4
  • By bus: 2 h 30 min | by Intercity
  • By : Stop at Ongarue to access Pureoa Forest Park

PUREORA FOREST PARK

One of the largest tracts of native forest in the North Island.

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Journey on to the beautiful Pureora Forest Park, taking time to explore some of the small towns you pass on the way.

At Pureora hire a bike and spend the day cycling though ancient forests and across graceful suspension bridges, as you follow old logging roads to Piropiro. The full Timber Trail route from Pureora to Ongarue crosses 35 bridges and includes a fascinating array of timber industry relics along the way.

For non-cyclists, an abundance of walking tracks, swimming spots and native wildlife, make this park a must-do for nature lovers.

Spend the night in National Park village or the nearby town of Turangi.

Day 4: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

New Zealand
Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand

By Graeme Murray

Puntos destacados

  • Traverse the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
  • Stand beneath the Taranaki Falls
  • Whitewater rafting

Proximidad

TONGARIRO ALPINE CROSSING

A challenging journey across a remarkable volcanic landscape.

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Just a trip from National Park is Tongariro Alpine Crossing, widely considered New Zealand's best day walk.

The walk traverses the stark volcanic terrain between Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. Taking in lava flows, steam vents, emerald-coloured lakes and an active crater this walk is an unforgettable experience.

If the Crossing isn't for you try whitewater rafting on the Whanganui River or take an easy stroll to the stunning Taranaki Falls.

End the day with relaxing spa at DeBretts Hot Springs in Taupo.

Please note: The Department of Conservation recommends that visitors access the Crossing via a shuttle, a full list of local operators can be found here.

Day 5: Explore Taupo

Lake Taupo
Skydiving above the Central Plateau, Lake Taupo

By Taupo Tandem Skydiving

Lake Taupo

TAUPO

Teeming with outdoor activities and water sports.

Puntos destacados

  • Skydive from 15,000ft
  • Kayak to the Mine Bay Maori carvings
  • Take a thrilling Hukafalls jet boat ride

Proximidad

The volcanic eruption that created Lake Taupo nearly two thousand years ago is said to be so big the effects were seen in Europe and China. Today it is New Zealand's largest lake and a haven for water based activities.

Spend the morning exploring the lake by kayak. Float through secluded inlets and paddle to Mine Bay where you will discover stunning maori designs carved into the cliff-face.

Change pace in the afternoon with a thrilling jet boat ride in the raging waters of Huka Falls, or jump out of a plane at 15,000ft and experience the adrenalin pumping sensation of freefall.

Continue your journey on to Rotorua, where you will spend the night.

Day 6: Spend the day in Rotorua

Rotorua
Te Puia, Rotorua

By Vaughan Brookfield

Rotorua

ROTORUA

Mud pools, adventure and unique Maori culture.

Puntos destacados

  • Mud pools, geysers and hot springs
  • Maori cultural experiences
  • Whakarewarewa redwood forest trails

MUST-DO EXPERIENCES IN ROTORUA

Nowhere in New Zealand does the earth feel more alive than it does in Rotorua.

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Rotorua sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so volcanic activity is part of the city’s past and present. 

Explore Rotorua's fascinating geothermal areas and discover the unique culture of New Zealand’s Maori people.

Rotorua is increasingly becoming a hub for adventure, with a huge range of water sports, some of the world's top mountain biking trails and a growing range of quirky and bizarre adventure activities such as the OGO, shweeb or luge

Day 7: Return to Auckland via Hobbiton

Hamilton - Waikato
Hobbiton™ Movie Set, Hamilton - Waikato

By Hobbiton™ Movie Set

Puntos destacados

  • Hobbiton Movie Set
  • Visit the quirky town of Tirau
  • Explore the stunning Blue Springs

Proximidad

  • By car: 3 h 15 min | 196 km via SH5 & SH27 
  • By bus: 2 h 40 min | by Intercity via Matamata
  • By : Visit Matamata iSITE for Hobbiton™ Set tours

HOBBITION IN 360

Be transported behind the scenes at Hobbiton™ Movie Set in glorious 360-degree still images.

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Your journey back to Auckland takes you though rolling countryside and unique geological features. It's easy to see why Peter Jackson chose this area to play The Shire in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

Visit Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata to see how Middle‑earth was brought to life. 

As you travel, take time to explore the variety of quintessential kiwi towns on the way and get to know a piece of rural New Zealand. 

Putaruru is an easy walk to the famous Blue Springs or pause to check out Tirau's many fascinating corregated iron constructions. 

Driving in New Zealand

Important things you need to know about driving in New Zealand.

View the route below

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