Combine bubbling mud pools with golden coastline and the warmth of Māori culture on this refreshing 8-day itinerary. Discover beautiful Waiheke Island, a haven of vineyards and golden beaches in the heart of Auckland's Hauraki Gulf. In Rotorua, tour the fascinating Tamaki Māori Village before relaxing in the thermal waters of the Polynesian Spa. Tour the magical Hobbiton Movie set and then visit Lake Taupō and Mount Maunganui before soaking up the laid-back vibes of Whangamata, a small surf town in The Coromandel.
New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland effortlessly combines pristine natural wonders with urban delights and is a fantastic place to explore for a few days. Located on the edge of a glistening harbour, downtown is within a short ferry ride of a number of beautiful islands - the jewel of which is Waiheke Island. Famour for its high quality vineyards and scenic walking trails, take the Wine on Waiheke Tour and experience a variety of wineries and tastings. Back on the mainland, stroll the Auckland Art Gallery, visit the Auckland Museum or indulge in the gastronomical pleasures of Britomart Precint or the Viaduct.
Journey south to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. Known for showcasing New Zealand’s fascinating Māori Culture, take a tour through Tamaki Māori Village and discover what pre-European New Zealand looked and felt like, deep within a native forest. Sitting on the edge of the Pacific Rim of Fire, Rotorua’s distinctive geothermal energy is evident in bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers, natural hot springs and colourful silica terraces. Visit a geothermal park, stroll through the Redwoods or swim in one of the pristine lakes. When you’re ready to unwind, head to the Polynesian Spa, and soak in naturally heated mineral pools on the edge of Lake Rotorua. For your next stop head inland, through the rolling green hills of Waikato farming country to the Hobbiton Movie Set. Experience the magic of Hollywood with a guided tour through the original Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films.
Home to charming beaches, Māori rock carvings, fantastic trout fishing and beautiful bays, Lake Taupō is a picturesque town with a distinctive New Zealand holiday feel in the central North Island. A short drive south from Rotorua, Lake Taupō is the size of Singapore and was created by a volcanic eruption nearly 2000 years ago. Don’t miss getting out on the lake itself with a scenic cruise to enjoy the pretty coves and intricate Māori rock carvings the area is famous for. For dinner, soak up the views by dining at one of the many lakeside restaurants.
Drive north-east to Mount Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty. A scenic beach town that juts out on a peninsula in the Tauranga Harbour, ‘The Mount’ – as it has been affectionately named by the locals – is home to a well-known surf beach and a lively array of cafes. At the tip of the peninsula sits Mauao, a 230m-high peak where walking tracks lead to spectacular views of the township, beaches and beyond. Before the day ends head to Lake McLaren for a Glow worm kayak tour where you enjoy local wine and cheeses on the lakeside, before paddling to the beautiful glow worm canyon.
Continue north to Whangamata, a laid-back beachside town that looks over a popular surfing beach. Swim in the calm waters of the harbour, try your hand at surfing or body boarding on one of the rolling breaks, wade out to Hauturu Island or simply relax and enjoy a little laid-back beach life. Beautiful hiking waits amidst the Coromandel Forest Park – just behind the town – and when you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy a delicious café meal; seafood and fish are local specialties. Further north lies Cathedral Cove, where a naturally formed cathedral-like archway joins two secluded coves. This natural wonder sits on the edge of a marine reserve – join the Cathedral Cove Classic Tour and experience it for yourself with a local guide.