Experience the best hiking in the Central North Island on this 10-day itinerary. Hike one of New Zealand's Great Walks in Lake Waikaremoana, famous for its pristine rainforests, lake views and untouched greenery. Experience the spectacular scenery of Tongariro Alpine Crossing and climb Auckland's iconic Rangitoto Island.
Beginning at the Onepoto shelter in Waikaremoana, the Lake Waikaremoana track is a 3-4 day hike through pristine rainforest, wetland, herb fields and a magical ‘goblin forest’. Along the way, you'll discover magnificent rivers, waterfalls and ghostly valleys of mist. Department of Conservation huts provide basic accommodation en route and guided tours are available through Walking Legends or Ultimate North. If you're walking independently, you may want to check our Safety in the Outdoors page to ensure you have all the essentials covered.
The trail ends at the Hopuruahine Suspension Bridge. From here, you can catch a pre-arranged shuttle back to Gisborne. For detailed trail information, visit our Lake Waikaremoana Track page.
In the morning, drive from Gisborne to Taupo, where you can take some time to unwind and explore. There are many activities on offer in this centrally located region. For some relaxation, try the mineral pools at Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa. Or to get in some more adventure, try the exciting Hukafalls Jet.
Spend a leisurely morning exploring Taupo before travelling across to Ohakune where you'll find a whole plethora of places to explore including Mount Ruapehu the highest mountain in the North Island. In the winter months (June-September), Ruapehu is home to three different ski fields. Take a scenic flight around the volcanic landscape, or travel south to Waiouru to visit the National Army Museum.
Spend the night in Turangi and access the Tongariro Alpine Crossing from here.
Today you will hike what many call New Zealand's greatest day walk - the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This challenging 19.4 km track traverses the stark volcanic terrain between Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. Taking in lava flows, steam vents, emerald-coloured lakes and an active crater this walk is an unforgettable experience.
Spend your final day exploring Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. Take a ferry to Rangitoto and climb to the summit for panoramic views or travel to Waiheke Island where you can enjoy world-class wineries and secluded beaches. Auckland is also a great place for museums, art galleries and shopping.