Bay of Plenty Explorer

8 DAYS

651 km

Caractéristiques

  • Beaches and surf at Mount Maunganui
  • Geothermal wonders in Rotorua
  • Hobbiton Movie Set

Proximity

CAR-FREE TRAVEL OPTIONS

With ample time to explore, this 8-day route takes in beautiful Bay of Plenty and endlessly fascinating Rotorua before returning to Auckland via the riverside town of Hamilton.

Auckland kicks things off with island and coastal experiences, then you’ll move on to the relaxed seaside environment of Tauranga. Rotorua will entertain you with geysers, mud pools and hot springs, and a side trip to Hobbiton. Hamilton's ideal for a relaxed riverboat cruise or a stroll through the acclaimed gardens before you return to Auckland.

Day 1: Spend the day in Auckland

Auckland
Adventures on Waiheke Island, Auckland

By Fraser Clements

Auckland

AUCKLAND

Vibrant city style and spectacular landscapes.

Caractéristiques

  • Waiheke Island adventure and luxury
  • Sunset kayak to Rangitoto
  • Skywalk and Skyjump

MUST-DO EXPERIENCES IN AUCKLAND

Discover metropolitan delights combined with natural landscapes.

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Auckland lies between two enormous harbours and is dotted with 48 extinct volcanic cones. It’s a place to enjoy marine adventures, wine trails, forest walks and urban sophistication.

Explore the central city on foot, by public transport, or with an organised tour. Waiheke Island, a short ferry ride away, makes for a fabulous outing in the afternoon or for a day of wining, dining and sightseeing.

Or, stay central and head up the Sky Tower for 360-degree views of New Zealand's largest city. For a real adrenaline rush try a Skyjump or Skywalk while you're there.

Day 2: Auckland to Tauranga

Bay of Plenty
Kayaking in Glow Worm Canyon, Bay of Plenty

By Fraser Clements

Bay of Plenty

BAY OF PLENTY

Spectacular beaches and an active volcano.

Caractéristiques

  • Kayak to glow-worm canyon
  • Mount Maunganui - voted NZ's best beach
  • Nightlife on The Strand

Proximity

  • By car: 2 hrs 40 min | 201 km SH1 & SH2
  • By bus: 4 h | via Thames by Intercity

Your next stop is the sunny city of Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty.

Sprawling along the edge of an attractive harbour, you can easily explore Tauranga on foot. A lively café culture, gift galleries and designer stores offer plenty of opportunity for browsing.

Learn more about this favourite kiwi holiday spot with a guided tour of Mount Maunganui. Enjoy hearing local Maori legends as you wander from the mountain's base to its summit.

As dusk falls, experience the nightlife on The Strand with live music, pubs and clubs or spend the evening kayaking through a canyon alight with twinkling glow-worms. A perfect end to the day.

Day 3: Spend the day in Tauranga

Bay of Plenty
Hot Pools, Mount Maunganui, Bay of Plenty

By Tourism Bay of Plenty

Caractéristiques

  • Salt hot water pools
  • Dolphin and seal nature tours
  • White Island volcanic tours

Proximity

  • By bus: Visit the local iSITE for day trips & tours.

TOP EXPERIENCES IN BAY OF PLENTY

Discover delicious produce, golden-hued coastline and an active marine volcano.

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There's a huge variety of options for exploring Tauranga today.

Charter a boat or join a cruise for big game fishing, snorkelling or dolphin watching. Nature lovers may want to visit Moutohora (Whale Island), home to some of New Zealand's most endangered wildlife. 

Nearby Mount Maunganui is a top destination for surfing and beach walking. Learn to surf, relax at the Hot Salt Water Pools or simply relax on the sand at the main beach.

Alternatively, consider a day trip to White Island - New Zealand's only active marine volcano. Scenic flights depart from Tauranga.

Day 4: Tauranga to Rotorua

Rotorua
Champagne Pool, Rotorua

By Chris McLennan

Rotorua

ROTORUA

Mud pools, adventure and unique Maori culture.

Caractéristiques

  • Champagne pool, geysers and bubbling mud
  • Bungy, luge, and ziplining
  • Mountain biking trails

Proximity

  • By car: 1 h | 63 km via SH36
  • By bus: 1 h 25 min | by Intercity

It is a short journey to Rotorua today, leaving you plenty of time to explore.

Rotorua is entertaining in any weather, at any time of the year. The city sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so there’s evidence of volcanic activity everywhere you look. Visit one or more of the geothermal parks. Once you've seen the shooting geysers and steaming pools, enjoy a therapeutic natural spa.

Those looking for more adventure will find it here. Over recent years Rotorua has become a hub for adrenaline-based activities, including some that are truly bizarre such as the OGOshweeb, and swoop

Day 5 - 6: Explore Rotorua and surrounds

Rotorua
Redwoods Treewalk Rotorua at night, Rotorua

By Redwoods Treewalk

Caractéristiques

  • Redwoods Treetop walk
  • Maori cultural experiences
  • Rainbow Springs

Proximity

MUST-DO EXPERIENCES IN ROTORUA

Nowhere in New Zealand does the earth feel more alive than it does in Rotorua.

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Spend the next two days sampling all that Rotorua has to offer.

Immerse yourself in the unique culture of New Zealand’s Maori people with a cultural experience at Te Puia, Mitai or Tamaki Māori Villages. Shop for authentic arts and crafts, including pounamu (jade), carved bone jewellery and natural mud or plant-based beauty products. 

Surrounded by mountains, rivers, native forests and 18 freshwater lakes, Rotorua's the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Give mountain biking, horse riding or fishing a go. If you're feeling adventurous, try a Redwoods Nightlight Treewalk or plunge down the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world on a white-water rafting trip

Day 7: Day trip to Hobbiton Movie Set

Hamilton - Waikato
Hobbiton Movie Set, Hamilton - Waikato

By Fraser Clements

Caractéristiques

  • Visit Bag End
  • Have a drink at the Green Dragon Inn
  • Stand beneath the party tree

Proximity

HOBBITION IN 360

Be transported behind the scenes at Hobbiton™ Movie Set in glorious 360-degree still images.

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Experience the real Middle‑earth with a visit to Hobbiton Movie Set, as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. Surrounded by green rolling hills, it's easy to see why Peter Jackson chose this area to play The Shire.

Visit Bilbo and Frodo's beloved hobbit-hole at Bag End, discover behind the scenes stories of the filming and end the day with a drink at the Hobbiton local; Green Dragon Inn.

Tours depart daily from the Rotorua iSITE, with hotel pickups also available. Allow 5 hours for this day trip from Rotorua.

Day 8: Rotorua to Auckland via Hamilton

Hamilton - Waikato
Jardins, Hamilton - Waikato

By Sandy Austin

Caractéristiques

  • Hamilton Botanical Gardens
  • Hamilton Zoo
  • Waikato Museum and Gallery

Proximity

  • By car: 3 h | 230 km via SH5 & SH1
  • By bus: 3 h 50 min | by Intercity

TOP THINGS TO DO IN HAMILTON

Spectacular limestone caves and black sand beaches surrounding a vibrant city hub.

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Turn north today, to visit the riverside city of Hamilton.

Here you will find a city carved in two by the mighty Waikato River. With stunning botanical gardens, riverboat cruising and a fascinating museum and gallery, there are plenty of activities to enjoy in Hamilton. Get up close to some of New Zealand's native birds with a trip to Hamilton Zoo, home to the country's largest free-flight aviary. 

For tea lovers, Zealong Tea Estate is a must-do with traditional tea ceremonies and some of the world's purest oolong.

Then make your way back to Auckland and the end of your journey.

Driving in New Zealand

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

View the route below

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