11 Days


  • Geothermal wonders & hot pools
  • Winter paddle boarding to natural pool
  • Skiing on volcanic terrain


Go touring beyond Auckland on this 11-day itinerary and you'll discover a winter wonderland in the Central North Island just waiting for you.

Explore from stunning the wonders of nature, from stunning underground cave formations to beautiful lakes, geothermal attractions and snowy peaks with spectacular views.

Day 1: Fly into Auckland

Sky Tower, Auckland
Discover auckland


An urban environment in the lap of nature.


  • by plane:

    3hr flight from Australia's eastern cities

Recommended experiences in Auckland

Find out more

A short three-hour flight gets you to Auckland, home to three stunning harbours, beaches (including famous black-sand surf beaches), 48 extinct volcanoes, wineries and exciting cosmopolitan culture.

Visit one of Auckland's iconic landmarks, the Sky Tower(opens in new window). At 328m, it’s the country’s tallest building and boasts 360-degree views. If you’re feeling daring, you might like to attempt the SkyWalk (opens in new window)or the SkyJump(opens in new window).

Day 2: Spend the day on Waiheke Island

Delamore Lodge, Waiheke Island, Auckland
more than just a city


Vibrant city style and spectacular landscapes.


  • Food and wine-tasting
  • Beaches and beautiful landscapes
  • Walking trails


  • by ferry:

    40 min ferry from Auckland

Head to Waiheke Island, one of the world’s most exclusive – and spectacular – wine growing regions which is a short ferry ride from Auckland's city centre, and explore a haven of beautiful vineyards, olive groves and beaches.

The island has something to suit everyone from wine tours to art studio visits or simply relaxing on a secluded beach. There are also a wide array of outdoor activities including zip lining, archery, clay pigeon shooting, sea kayaking, horse riding and golf. It is also known for its local artists and artisans so you can enjoy sculpture, glass blowing, painting and woodwork at the local shops and markets. 

Day 3: Auckland to Ohakune via Waitomo

Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Waikato
cruise under living constellations


Enjoy subterranean wonders in Waitomo.


  • Discover large glowworm grottos
  • Explore stunning limestone caves
  • Thrilling black-water rafting


  • by car:

    2hrs 30min | 195km | Auckland to Waitomo

  • by car:

    2hrs | 150km | Waitomo to Taupō 

Drive south through rich farmland, stopping at Waitomo Caves – one of the finest glowworm caves in New Zealand with stunning limestone cave formations. Thrillseekers can slide down underwater rivers in giant black rubber tubes – also known as black water rafting(opens in new window).

After you’ve explored this subterranean wonderland, continue your journey south to Ohakune – your ideal base at the foot of Mt Ruapehu.


Day 4: Ohakune and Whakapapa Ski Area

Whakapapa Ski Area, Ruapehu


The North Island's winter playground.


  • Whakapapa - NZ's largest ski field
  • Happy Valley Snow Farm for learners
  • Beautiful views of volcanic terrain


  • by car:

    Lake Taupō to Whakapapa

  • by car:

    1hr 15 mins | 97km

The Central North Island is home to New Zealand’s only skiable volcano – Mount Ruapehu. Hit the north-west facing slopes at Whakapapa Ski Area.(opens in new window)

Experienced skiers and snowboarders can revel in the chutes and drop-offs on this expansive volcanic terrain while Happy Valley(opens in new window) serves as a playground for beginners. Ride the brand-new Sky Waka gondola to 2020m above sea level to take in the extraordinary views overlooking the Central Plateau. For non-skiers, there’s three cafes, including New Zealand's highest - Knoll Ridge - where you can relax and soak in the views. 

Day 5: Turoa Ski Field

Turoa, Ruapehu
Enjoy the ride of a lifetime


Have fun on and off the snow.


  • For ski enthusiasts - Turoa Ski Field
  • New Zealand's highest chairlift


  • by car:

    To Tongariro National Park

  • by car:

    1hr 30 mins | 103km

Today explore Ruapehu's second ski field, Turoa, found on the south-western side of the mountain. Turoa offers a massive 722m of vertical descent on New Zealand's highest chairlift. If you’ve got a beginner with you, take a lesson or stay in Whakapapa's Happy Valley instead.

Non-skiers can take a guided sunset walk or a half day Volcanic Explorer walk(opens in new window) on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Or go cycling the Ohakune Old Coach Road and finish at the Powderkeg restaurant and bar with a well-earned drink.

Spend a relaxing evening in Ohakune before heading to our next adventure in Taupō

Day 6-8: Ruapehu to Taupō

Sailing on the lake, Taupō
revitalise your soul


  • Experience the thundering Huka Falls
  • Bungy or skydive in Taupō
  • Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings


  • by car:

    Lake Taupō to Rotorua

  • by car:

    1hr | 85km

After all the fun in the snow, spend the next three days sampling all that Taupō has to offer. 

Taupō sits on the edge of New Zealand's largest largest lake and is blessed with breath-taking natural beauty and a wide array of water activities centred on and around the stunning lake. Start the day by visiting of one the country’s most popular attractions – Huka Falls. Take a jet boat (or river cruise) to the foot of the Falls and feel the thunder. A thrill seekers’ paradise, Taupō is a prime spot to bungy, take a swing off a cliff, or even skydive!

For something more relaxing, enjoy a scenic cruise on Lake Taupō to view the famous Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings or indulge in a leisurely bike ride along the Tongariro River Trails. Wind down your day with a soak in the geothermal waters at Wairakei Terraces or Taupō DeBretts Spa.

For more geothermal activity, Taupō offers opportunities to witness geysers, silica terraces and craters of boiling mud at Orakei Korako(opens in new window) and Craters of the Moon(opens in new window).

Day 9 -11: Rotorua

Hell's Gate, Rotorua
Wander Thermal Wonderlands


The heart of New Zealand's geothermal wonders.


  • Te Puia geothermal park - Pohutu Geyser
  • Discover a rich Maori culture
  • Kiwi bird sanctuary


  • by car:

    Rotorua CBD to Te Puia

  • by car:

    4kms | 10mins

An hour’s drive north from Taupō brings you to Rotorua, which sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, and everywhere in the region the earth is alive with volcanic activity.

Immerse yourself in the unique culture of New Zealand and explore the geothermal wonderland with clouds of steam and bubbling mud pools, or soak in naturally heated hot pools and rejuvenating mud at one of the many health spas.

For thrill-seekers, you can get your adrenaline pumping with one of Rotorua’s many thrilling adventures. Roll down a hill in a plastic ball filled with hot water with Zorbing or enjoy a thrilling ride on a sled with Luge. Nature lovers will enjoy ziplining through native forest or mountain biking in the redwoods. At night, the forest comes alive with 30 specially designed lanterns and you can enjoy the mesmerising nightlights at Treewalk.

Hell's Gate,(opens in new window) home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest hot water waterfall and one of the most active thermal parks in Rotorua, is a great spot to unwind after your day’s adventures. 

In the evening, experience indigenous Maori culture at Mitai Maori Village(opens in new window). View warriors paddling an ancient waka (war canoe), savour a traditionally cooked Hangi (earth oven) meal and enjoy an authentic Maori performance.(opens in new window) Depart for Auckland the next day.