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Mt. Tongariro, Mt. Ngauruhoe, and Mt. Ruapehu

Northern Portion: Auckland to Wellington

Small Group Departure - Example 5 Day Tour
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Discover the Northern Island of New Zealand on a 5-day hiking adventure. From the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, explore the lakeside town of Taupo and hike the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Start your adventure in the majestic Waitomo glow worm caves, which will lead you to the geothermal marvels of Rotorua. Visit the lakeside town of Taupo to see the Waikato River and Huka Falls. Travel to Tongariro, New Zealand's first national park. Take a leisurely walk through the stunning forest around Mt. Pihanga and to the mystical Lake Rotopounamu. See the dramatic volcanic landscapes of Tongariro National Park, which offers challenging trails with rewarding dramatic views. Experience walking on the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing and admire the views of the Red Crater and Emerald Lakes.
Lake TaraweraExperience the local culture of New Zealand.A group fo people enjoying a fire on the coast of New Zealand.Water taxi in Lake TaraweraTongariro Alpine crossingGeothermal area in Rotorua, Te PuiaAuckland, the City of SailsMt. Tongariro, Mt. Ngauruhoe, and Mt. Ruapehu
  • Visit the magical subterranean world of Waitomo
  • Experience the Māori cultural performance and hangi dinner
  • See the spectacular volcanic terrain of Tongariro National Park
  • Discover New Zealand's history in the national museum in Wellington
Places Visited
Activity Level: Moderate
Activities that provide a reasonable level of physical challenge and elevate the heart rate. Focused on more active pursuits including multisport tours. Travelers may be active 5-7 hours total each day. Recommended for travelers with active lifestyles.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Auckland | Rotorua

Meet your North Island guide and the rest of the group in the Heritage Hotel foyer at 7 am before driving south through classic patchwork green farming country alongside the Waikato River. Arriving at the Waitomo Caves area, descend into the vaulted galleries of the Ruakuri Cave with its limestone formations and crystals. Thousands of tiny glowworms that cling to the cave ceiling to simulate a starry night sky will enchant you.

Later, emerge into the sunshine and wander on a loop trail through an outstanding limestone canyon. You will arrive in the volcanically active area of Rotorua late in the afternoon. Enjoy a dinner and a cultural show this evening in Rotorua, which is also the hub of Maori cultural tourism in New Zealand.

Hiking Distance: 1-2 km / 1.5 miles
Hiking Duration: 2 hours

Day 2: Rotorua | Lake Taupo

Hike alongside the beautifully clear Lake Tarawera, enjoying the shade that towering tree ferns and ignimbrite cliffs offer. Plunge into the lake to cool off at one of the tiny pumice beaches as you wait for the others to catch up. As you hike along this trail, you will be amazed at how vast the volcano wilderness, lake, and forest are.

Discover some of the incredible thermal regions situated slightly south of Rotorua during the afternoon. Wander along boardwalks that connect pools of bubbling mud, mineralized hot pools, and plumes of rising steam, and wonder at the uniqueness of this area. Grab a cuppa before driving toward the lakeside town of Taupo.

Feel the force of the Waikato River as it squeezes through a slender rock passageway at Huka Falls. Your accommodation is in Taupo. Relax with a drink and enjoy the views.

Hiking Distance: 8 km / 5 miles
Hiking Duration: 5 hours

Day 3: Tongariro | Tongariro National Park

Drive around Lake Taupo’s shores to New Zealand’s first national park, Tongariro. Take a leisurely morning walk through the stunning forest around the slopes of Mt. Pihanga and to the mystical Lake Rotopounamu (Lake of Greenstone). 

You will be spending the next two nights in a hotel near the park, giving you plenty of time to explore the area at your leisure. Hike to Taranaki Falls in the afternoon, cascading 20 meters over a 15,000-year-old lava flow. Enjoy dinner with the group in the comfort of your hotel.

Hiking Distance: 8 km / 5 miles
Hiking Duration: 2–4 hours

Day 4: Tongariro National Park

Join your guide today for a full day of walking on the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, regarded as one of the best day walks in the world. The well-built track climbs, steeply at times, to the craters of Mt. Tongariro. Stop and admire the views of the Red Crater, Emerald Lakes, and steaming vents that make this hike outstanding. After a sometimes long and physically challenging day, celebrate your achievement at dinner with a bottle of fine New Zealand wine.

Those who prefer a more restful day can find plenty to do at the village: Soda Springs walk, Taranaki Falls walk, or simply drink coffee and view the great exhibits at the Park Visitor Centre. Enjoy your second night in this village.

Hiking Distance: 23 km / 14 miles
Hiking Duration: 6–8 hours

Day 5: Tongariro | Wellington | Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Rest your legs this morning as you drive south through rolling green hill country to the capital city of Wellington. Stroll along the fabulous waterfront and absorb some of New Zealand’s history in the national museum, Te Papa, or get lost admiring the heritage houses along one of the many improbably steep streets. Nowhere is very far in Wellington. Enjoy the vibrant café and restaurant scene here before catching your flight back home.


Distinction Hotel Rotorua

Distinction Hotel Rotorua
Distinction Hotel Rotorua
Hotel reception area

Beechtree Motel Taupo

Beechtree Motel Taupo
Hotel hallway
hotel Backyard

The Park Hotel Ruapehu

The Park Hotel Ruapehu
The Park Hotel Ruapehu
Lounge area

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$2,765 2-3 travelers


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Rates may vary based on current exchange rate.

  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • 4 Nights Accommodations
  • 4 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Professional Mountain Hiking Guide
  • A luxury minibus tows a custom-built trailer with food, equipment, and luggage.
  • Maori Village Experience
  • Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.


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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen
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