Rotorua and the Volcanic Plateau

An itinerary of spectacular scenery and awesome adventures, this North Island journey offers overland and underground experiences you will never forget.

Start your holiday off right and explore the wineries of Waiheke Island, just a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland. Experience the buzz of Auckland’s nightlife at the Viaduct before heading out the next day on an America’s Cup yacht.

Then, begin your journey of New Zealand’s volcanic plateau, by heading south past the rolling Bombay Hills. Stop by Matamata and visit the must do Hobbiton Movie Set, a draw card for visitors from around the world.

Continue south until you arrive at the geothermal utopia that is Rotorua. You will notice the distinctive smell of sulphur and the steaming thermal vents in and around the city. The region is famous for its spa and wellness facilities and natural geothermal hot springs. Explore the range of accommodation options and take some time to enjoy a spa therapy with Polynesian Pools, or a mud bath at QE Health & Spa to detoxify and nourish the skin.

Take a water taxi to Hot Water Beach on Lake Tarawera. Dig a hole or build a rock pool to soak in. Go fishing with an experienced guide and let them cook your catch in the in the heated sand. Hot Water Beach can also be accessed by the Tarawera Trail, a 15km walk starting near The Buried Village

A stay in Rotorua wouldn’t be complete without visiting Skyline Rotorua and experiencing the thrill of the luge, the Skyswing, or the Zoom Zipline. Try a glass of the popular Volcanic Hills wine and take a tour of the winery, followed by a meal overlooking the city at Skyline’s Stratosphere Restaurant.

Rotorua is the heartland of Māori culture and the ultimate place for you to enjoy a special Māori cultural performance. Join in with a haka, try your hand at the poi, and taste an authentic Māori hangi - food cooked in an earth oven.

Your volcanic journey continues with a stop at Rainbow Mountain. Mt Kakaramea, or Rainbow Mountain, contains a complex mixture of plant species, some of which are rare and unique to geothermal areas. Further down the road take a left turn to Kerosene Creek hot pool. This is a popular bathing spot for both visitors and locals set in native bush and with a waterfall flowing into the pool.

The resort town of Taupō sits on the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake and is a popular spot fishing, boating and kayaking. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is just over an hour’s drive south of Taupō and is a challenging walk across a remarkable volcanic landscape.

If you prefer to head underground, drive north from Taupō to Waitomo Caves. Thousands of tiny glowworms radiate their luminescent light in the caves for a dazzling display. Combine your glowworm tour with an exhilarating caving and black water rafting tour.

Head back to Rotorua for more adventure and indulgence before returning to Auckland with a trunk full of everlasting memories.

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