Day 1: Auckland to Marae Stay
First up, a visit to Waitomo Caves, then it’s on to our Marae stay. Maori legends and mythology have been passed down orally for thousands of years. You have one night in this sacred meeting house, so pay attention. After learning the tongue-thrusting Haka dance moves of the All Blacks and the finesse of the ladies’ Poi dance, you’ll polish off a traditional maori dinner and end the night feeling like a local. You lucky thing, you.
-Maori Marae cultural talks
-Haka & Poi class
Day 2: Marae to Rotorua
Mud, Middle Earth and massages are the order of the day in the bubbling, sulphur-soaked town of Rotorua. If you’re starting to resemble a muddy prune, flush out the mud by rafting over the waterfalls, head to the spa for a massage, or jump into the real-life landscapes of Tolkien’s dreams on the Hobbiton Shire escape (all optional).
-Hells Gate Mud Baths
Day 3: Rotorua to Tongariro National Park
Geothermal activity gets turned up to 11 with bubbling mud pools, and if that's not enough, you can bungy jump off a ledge as we pass by the largest lake in New Zealand. Lake Taupo was formed by an explosion that extended the Ice Age, so yeah, it's pretty big. It's also time to meet the dessert that's caused a battle between NZ and Australia since someone whipped an egg white: the pavlova.
-Visit Huka Falls
-Visit Lake Taupo
-Taupo bungy jump
Day 4: Tongariro National Park
With dual cultural and natural heritage status, and often described as the most epic hike in NZ, Tongariro NP is home to two active volcans that will hopefully keep a lid on things. The optional Tongariro Alpine Crossing will quickly top your list of favourites if you don't mind heights and the odd dormant lava chamber (and walks from 20 mins to eight hours). Hike to your hearts content, then hit the spa and warm your feet by the fire in an alpine lodge overlooking Mt Doom.
-Tongariro Crossing hikes
Day 5: Tongariro to Wellington
From hiking over lava to readjusting to city life, today we hit the nation's capital, Wellington (no, it's not Auckland!). After you conquer the six floors of the Te Papa museum, you'll probably be ready for a big city nightlife hit. With more bars and restaurants per capita than New York and a well-earned spot as the sporting capital of NZ, you can't go wrong with a craft beer and some local rugby action. What better way to bid farewell to your North Island trip mates?
-Visit Te Papa Museum
-Wellington city tour including Mt Victoria