North Island Hiking Adventure


552 km


  • Lake Waikaremoana
  • Tongariro National Park
  • Volcanic splendours



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.

Day 1: Gisborne



Maori culture, delicious wine and surf beaches


  • Epic surf beaches
  • Historic Tolaga Bay Wharf
  • Delicious local wine and produce


Begin your journey in the Eastland city of Gisborne, where you can surf to your heart’s content, experience Maori culture and gain a new appreciation for Chardonnay. Spend your day exploring the city and relaxing in preparation for your hike tomorrow.

Day 2 - 5: Hike the Lake Waikaremoana Track

Lake Waikaremoana Track, Eastland

By Chris McLennan


  • Te Urewera Wilderness Area
  • Prehistoric native forests
  • Stunning waterfalls and wetlands


  • By car: 3 h | 174 km via SH2 & SH38 to starting point
  • By bus: Visit local iSITE for transport options


Hike through rainforest, wetlands and a magical 'goblin forest'.

Read more

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.

Day 6: Gisborne to Taupo

Lake Taupo
Otuhumeke Stream, Lake Taupo

By @hannahbaker.snaps

Lake Taupo


Explore Australasia's largest lake.


  • Natural hot springs
  • Waiarua twin waterfalls
  • Mine Bay Maori carvings


  • By car: 4 h 25 min | 328 km via SH2 & SH5
  • By bus: 6 h 5 min | via Whakatane by Intercity

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.

Day 7: Taupo to Ohakune

Taranaki Falls, Ruapehu

By Graeme Murray


  • Walking and hiking trails
  • Volcanic cones
  • National Army Museum


  • By car: 1 h 45 min | 135 km via SH1 & SH47
  • By bus: No direct bus route -  see car-free options
  • By : Visit local iSITE for alternative transport


Discover New Zealand's first national park.

Read more

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

Car-free Option

Spend the night in Turangi and access the Tongariro Alpine Crossing from here.

Day 8: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

New Zealand
Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand

By Graeme Murray


  • New Zealand's greatest day walk
  • Active volcanic craters
  • Emerald lakes


  • By car: 45 min | 64 km from Ohakune
  • By bus: DOC recommends accessing the track by shuttle


Discover New Zealand's greatest day walk.

Read more

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.

The Department of Conservation recommends that visitors access the Crossing via a shuttle, a full list of local operators can be found here.

Day 9 - 10: Ohakune to Auckland

Rangitoto Summit Track, Auckland

By Fraser Clements



Vibrant city style and spectacular landscapes


  • Rangitoto Island
  • Markets, wineries and unique eateries
  • Wild black sand beaches


In the morning, travel on to  Taupo, where you can spend some time relaxing in luxurious mineral pools or visiting the dramatic Huka Falls before catching a flight to Auckland.

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.

Driving in New Zealand

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

View the route below

You may also be interested in...

Walking & Hiking →

Recommended Trips →

Travel to NZ →

Visas & Immigration →