4 Days

596 km


  • Adventurous Rotorua
  • Blackwater Rafting
  • Huka Falls



Use Rotorua as a base and take day trips to Waitomo, Taupo and Hobbiton.

Following a North Island loop, discover crazy thrills, soaring geysers and huge limestone caverns filled with glowworms with this breathtaking itinerary.

Following a central North Island loop, discover crazy thrills, soaring geysers and huge limestone caverns filled with glowworms with this breathtaking 4-day Rotorua and Waitomo itinerary. 

Day 1: Auckland to Rotorua

Hells Gate, Rotorua

By Fraser Clements


  • Geothermal attractions
  • Adventure
  • Maori culture


  • By car: 2 h 55 min | 228 km via SH1 & SH27
  • By bus: 3 h 45 min | by GreatSights

Discover experiences in Rotorua

From explosive geysers to fascinating Maori culture, Rotorua has it all.

Read more

Make your way south through the rolling hills of the Waikato. Along the way you might want to visit Matamata for a tour through the Hobbiton Movie Set.

In Rotorua everywhere you look is alive with evidence of volcanic activity. Explore the geothermal areas and discover New Zealand's unique Maori culture.

Also famous for its weird and wonderful adventure activities, Rotorua is a great place to try zorbing, shweebing or swooping! For a different kind of rush, head to Whakarewarewa Forest for some seriously fun mountain biking.

Day 2: Rotorua - Waitomo Caves

Hamilton - Waikato
Waitomo Caves, Hamilton - Waikato

By Shaun Jeffers

Hamilton - Waikato

Hamilton - Waikato

Waikato Accommodation


  • Glow-worms
  • Blackwater Rafting
  • Caving


  • By car: 1 h 55 min | 140 km via SH5, SH28 & SH3
  • By car: 2 h 35 min | by Greatsights
  • By : Visit the Rotorua iSITE for day tour options

Journey through an array of farmland, lakeland and forest on your way to Waitomo Caves. Stop at Lake Whakamaru for a spot of trout fishing or explore the beautiful Pureora Forest Park, home to many rare native birds.

At the town of Te Kuiti turn north and enter the ancient limestone region of Waitomo where you will discover vast cave systems decorated with glow-worms. For a real thrill try blackwater rafting, or abseil into the abyss.

Day 3: Waitomo Caves - Taupo

Lake Taupo
Mine Bay, Lake Taupo

By Alistair Guthrie

Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo

Taupo accommodation


  • Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings
  • Hot Springs
  • Skydiving


  • By car: 1 h 55 min | 150 km via SH30 & SH32
  • By bus: 1 h 5 min | from Rotorua by Intercity

As you journey on towards Taupo you’ll encounter the mighty Huka Falls, one of New Zealand's most visited attractions. Stand and watch the raging water or get up close with a thrilling jet boat ride.

Lake Taupo is the perfect place to get out on the water. Join a boat cruise or kayaking trip to see the Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay. For more adventure, Taupo has skydiving and bungy jumping on offer.

Day 4: Taupo - Rotorua

Kiwi encounter, Rotorua

By Chris McLennan


  • Geothermal
  • Rafting
  • Animal parks


  • By car: 1 h | 81 km via SH5

The road to Rotorua will keep you entertained with its unusual, volcanic geography and refreshing tracts of plantation pine forest. If you have an hour or two to spare, take the side road to Orakei Korako geothermal park, where you’ll discover geysers, silica terraces and craters of boiling mud.

Once back in Rotorua you can explore the animal parks, enjoy some more adventure activities or treat yourself to an indulgent spa therapy

Driving in New Zealand

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

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