Discover another world as you journey deep into the heart of the North Island along the Thermal Explorer Highway.
Explore majestic caves filled with glittering glowworms, feel the thrill of a spine tingling jet boat ride or watch in awe as a mighty geyser erupts before your eyes.
Begin your journey south, traveling through green meadows and rolling green hills to Hobbiton.(opens in new window) A guided tour of The Lord of the Rings' original movie set, will take you past the famous party tree, through a village of hobbit holes to Bag End, Bilbo and Frodo's iconic home.
Sample a specialist craft brew at Green Dragon Inn, before continuing on to Rotorua where geothermal wonders await.
Rotorua has a spine tingling array of adventures on offer. Hurtle downhill in the luge or climb aboard an OGO for a true adrenalin rush. For more adventure visit Agroventure Park, home to the shweeb and swoop.
In Redwood Forest, you can explore the forest floor with the network of mountain bike trails then climb into the forest canopy and discover a whole new world above ground with a Redwood Treewalk. At night, 30 specially designed lanterns light your way.
After lunch, head south towards Lake Taupo and visit the magnificent Orakei Korako Cave & Geothermal Park. One of New Zealand's best-kept secrets, the park boasts some of the country's most active geysers and a remarkable 'Pool of Mirrors' hidden within a thermal cave.
Lake Taupo is the largest freshwater lake in Australasia and a great place for water activities of every kind. Begin the day with a boat cruise to the giant Maori rock carvings in Mine Bay or hire a kayak and discover the lake for yourself.
For lunch, head out the Huka Prawn Park, where you can treat yourself to delicious self-caught prawns.
End the day with a thrilling jet boat ride through the raging waters of the Huka Falls. Up to 220,000 litres of water gushes over the Huka Falls every second, as the 200m wide Waikato River forces itself through a 20m gap creating a torrent of stunning blue foam.
Continue your journey north to Waitomo, where a labyrinth of limestone caves lie hidden beneath rolling green hills. Venture underground and enter a majestic world lit by galaxies of glittering glowworms. For the ultimate caving thrill journey deeper when you abseil into the abyss.
After your subterranean tour travel on to the city of Hamilton, and enjoy a relaxing afternoon exploring the beautiful Hamilton Gardens, with its display of themed gardens from Grand Italy to tranquil Asia.
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Travel out to the coast and the laid-back beach town of Raglan, which boasts one of the longest left-hand surf breaks in the world. The relaxed bohemian vibe will soon make you feel right at home. Spend the day learning to surf or explore the town with its many cafes, surf shops and galleries.
If you want to stretch your legs the short walk to Bridal Veil Falls is well worth it or for a longer walk try climbing to the top of Mount Karioi - on a fine day you can see all the way to Mount Taranaki.
From Raglan, it is a leisurely drive back to Auckland through the rolling countryside of the Waikato and the end of your journey.
Getting around the North Island is easy with familiar road signs and a great range of transport options available.
Use this distance calculator to get approximate travel times for your journey.
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