5 Days

Highlights

  • Historic Karangahake Gorge
  • Redwoods Forest
  • Vineyards

Proximity

  • By car: Start your adventure in Auckland
  • By car: Total trip distance: 605km

Take a journey through New Zealand's past on this road trip that covers the spiritual heart of the North Island. Discover historic sites at Karangahake Gorge before heading to Whakatane, home to the Mataatua Marae. Return inland to Rotorua, where adventure meets culture. 

Day 1: Explore Auckland

Auckland
Waiheke Island, Auckland

By Tourism New Zealand

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Auckland

Auckland

Discover the Island of Wine

Consistently voted one of the world's most liveable cities, Auckland is a vibrant city with a vast array of experiences to enjoy. Sample some of New Zealand's best wine on a vineyard tour of Waiheke Island, a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown. Or drive north to taste home-grown delights in Matakana, a quaint town known for its popular farmers' market.

Beneath its cosmopolitan exterior lies a rich cultural heritage. Visit Auckland Museum to explore the world's most extensive Māori and Pacific Island Collection, all housed in one of New Zealand's most outstanding historical buildings.

 

Day 2: Historical Highlights

The Coromandel
Karangahake Gorge, The Coromandel

By Graeme Murray

Top experiences in the Bay of Plenty

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Highlights

  • Wairere Falls
  • Mataatua Marae
  • White Island
Bay of Plenty

Bay of Plenty

Experience the Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway

Make your way to the sunny beach town of Whakatane today, stopping off at the historical Karangahake Gorge on the way. Stretch your legs on a short loop walk that brings you over bridges, through tunnels and past old mining relics.

Once you make it to the beautiful coastal town you can go swimming with dolphins, relax on nearby Ohope Beach or visit Mataatua Marae, a beautifully carved ancestral house that offers authentic cultural experiences. Whakatane is also the gateway to White Island, New Zealand's only active marine volcano.

Day 3: Combine Culture and Adventure

Rotorua
Hells Gate, Rotorua

By Graeme Murray

Top things to in Rotorua

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Highlights

  • Redwoods Forest
  • Geothermal phenomena and hot pools
  • Ziplining, zorbing and luging
Rotorua

Rotorua

Visit Hells Gate Mud Bath Spa

Journey inland today to experience diverse Rotorua, known for its Māori culture, geothermal wonders and adventure activities. Take a thrilling zip-line tour through the trees, tumble down a hill in an inflatble ball or try luging - a gravity-fulled go-kart. Relax in a naturally heated mineral pool before tasting a traditional hāngī at Te Puia. This key part of Māori culture is not only a means of cooking food, but also an important social occasion.

Day 4: Discover Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo
Huka Falls, Lake Taupo

By Graeme Murray

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Highlights

  • Huka Falls
  • Mine Bay Māori Rock Carvings
  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo

Created by a massive volcanic eruption thousands of years ago, Lake Taupo is New Zealand's largest lake (the size of Singapore). Go swimming in geothermal waters at the Wairakei Terraces, enjoy a picnic at the lakefront or fish for a trophy-sized rainbow trout. Visit the thundering Huka Falls, where 220,000 litres of water blast by every second, or cruise to the huge Māori rock carvings at Mine Bay.

 

Day 5: Visit the Art Deco Capital

Hawke's Bay
Craggy Range, Hawke's Bay

By Craggy Range

Top experiences in Hawke's Bay

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Highlights

  • Award-winning vineyards
  • Art Deco architecture
  • Gannet colony
Hawke's Bay

Hawke's Bay

Explore wineries in Hawke's Bay

Step back in time in Napier, famed for its Art Deco architeture. After an earthquake ruined the city in 1931, the reconstruction reflected the style at the time; sunbursts, fountains, and geometric shapes. Take a self-guided tour of the picturesque city centre or do it in style, on a vintage car tour.

One of New Zealand's top wine regions, Hawke's Bay's vineyards can be explored by car, bike or tour bus. Part of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, you can't leave the region without sampling its famous syrah. 

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