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Ultimate North Island Adventure

For those who have a little less time but want to experience the very best that the North Island can offer the Ultimate North is the ideal choice. Explore thermal areas in Rotorua. Trek the best sections of the remote Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk deep in the magical rainforests of Te Urewera National Park. Relax in lodges in beautiful locations. Discover the surreal volcanic wonderland of Tongariro National Park, climbing volcans and staying high above the world in an alpine hut. The Ultimate North has many short hikes and two overnight hikes using backcountry huts. Link this tour with the Ultimate South for the Ultimate New Zealand experience!


6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners
6 nights accommodation: 1 night camping, 1 night lodge, 3 nights cabin, 1 night back country hut
Visit to Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland near Rotorua, boat ride on Lake Waikaremoana
Professional qualified driver/guide
Private vehicle transport
Inflatable sleeping mat
Backpack liner (large plastic bag)
Cooking equipment, plates & cutlery
Snacks while hiking such as chocolate, nuts, raisons, biscuits
First aid kit, safety equipment, maps
Access and concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation
New Zealand Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Explore the bubbling mud pools and spouting geysers of Rotorua
Hike into the remote Urewera National Park to the beautiful Lake Waikaremoana
Enjoy an invigorating boat ride on Lake Waikaremoana to view the Panekiri Bluffs
Visit the mighty Huka Falls at Taupo
Complete the famous Tongariro Crossing, a spectacular day hike across volcanoes and lava flows
Visit Wellington, named as the World's "coolest little capital" with its museums, stylish shops and a vibrant coffee and craft beer culture
Experience real back country New Zealand with wild camping and hutting
Tour Provider World Expeditions
Number of Days
Price From
AUD $2,395
Start Location
Auckland, New Zealand
End Location
New Zealand
Age Range
Min :14
Group Size
4 to 11
Tour Style
Tour Themes
Physical Rating
Easy to Moderate
Tour departure dates
09 Oct 201815 Oct 2018AvailableAUD $2,395
30 Oct 201805 Nov 2018AvailableAUD $2,395
13 Nov 201819 Nov 2018AvailableAUD $2,395
20 Nov 201826 Nov 2018AvailableAUD $2,395
04 Dec 201810 Dec 2018AvailableAUD $2,395
18 Dec 201824 Dec 2018AvailableAUD $2,395
01 Jan 201907 Jan 2019AvailableAUD $2,395
15 Jan 201921 Jan 2019AvailableAUD $2,395
29 Jan 201904 Feb 2019AvailableAUD $2,395
12 Feb 201918 Feb 2019AvailableAUD $2,395
20 Feb 201926 Feb 2019AvailableAUD $2,395
26 Feb 201904 Mar 2019AvailableAUD $2,395
12 Mar 201918 Mar 2019AvailableAUD $2,395
26 Mar 201901 Apr 2019AvailableAUD $2,395
Day 1
We head south to Rotorua (with a caf halt at 9am for those who missed breakfast). Rotorua has thermal areas and stunning lakes, and with a backdrop of distant volcans it is quite unique. The area is also rich in Maori and early European history including the tragedy of the 1886 Mount Tarawera eruption that buried a Maori village. We have a quick stop by Lake Rotorua before driving south and exploring one of the extraordinary Department of Conservation thermal parks (price included). After a picnic lunch we head east and off the tourist route to hike one of tracks in the Whirinaki Forest. This park is huge but relatively un-visited. It is famous worldwide for its Jurassic-like rainforest - the podocarp trees are an ancient off-shoot of the conifer family and evolved before the flowering plants. It is thought that forests like this once covered the super-continent of Gondwanaland over 150 million years ago. We do a short nature walk, wandering amongst these giant trees to the river canyon before driving back to our simple cabin on a farm property with a mix of bunk rooms and camping. Just us here usually. We cook up a meal together and chill out by the outdoor fire brazier. Accommodation: Cabin
Day 2
This morning we drive east and further into the rugged forest ranges of the Te Urewera National Park. Home of the Tuh (Maori tribe) this area was so remote it was one of the last places in NZ where European influence was felt. After two hours winding through the most incredible rain forest we stop for a cuppa (cup of tea) before finally getting to the western arm of the remote Lake Waikaremoana. We drive on to the southern end of the lake and stop for a picnic lunch and a chance to finish organising backpacks for the first hike. Jump into a water taxi and enjoy the 20 minute jaunt across the lake. We usually drop our packs at the lake-side hut or the campsite perched above a small beach before doing a 2 hour lake-side hike to a lovely waterfall. On return we set up camp here and as a group cook a meal. Soak up the surrounds; the reflections of wilderness in the lake, forest and mountains, bird song and tranquillity. On a still evening you can sometimes hear kiwi calls echo across the lake. Activities: 2 hours hiking, 7km Accommodation: Camping
Day 3
Hoist your pack and follow the track as it climbs up through bright green tawa and beech forest to the Panekiri Range, over 500m above the lake. The trail climbs gently at first and later more steeply - so pack lightly! As we trundle along the ridge to Panekiri Hut you get great views beyond Lake Waikaremoana to the contiguous wilderness stretching for hundreds of kilometres to the north, south and west. At the hut take a rest and devour a well earned lunch. From here the track undulates along the ridge through gnarled beech forest and passes many brilliant viewpoints before the final descent to the road end. A 20 minute drive takes us to the sweet little cabins/camp area beside the wharf. Relax, sit on the wharf and drink a beer. We cook a meal together in the communal kitchen. Activities: 8 hours hiking, 17km Accommodation: Cabin or Lodge
Day 4
This morning we hike on an easy 1 hour track up to the usually calm waters of Lake Waikareiti. This tranquil paradise of bird life, ancient forest and pure waters really feels like a forgotten world. Here we can explore a number of other short walks to scenic viewpoints. After, we drive west then south to Lake Taupo. This is the largest lake in New Zealand a 600 sq km volcanic caldera crater created when the largest volcanic explosion known to humankind erupted in 186 AD. On the drive towards Taupo we pause to bathe in a natural hot river, one of those secret spots only the locals know about. There is also time for a stop at the Huka Falls where you can feel the spray as the mighty Waikato River plunges seven metres. At Lake Taupo we either grab takeaway food (own cost) or rustle up a quick 'trailer' meal at a lovely lake-side spot on route. Just relax on the strange pumice beach or take a swim in the evening light while dinner ds it's thing. The sun may set before driving the last hour to Tongariro National Park. Activities: 2 hours hiking, 4km Accommodation: Cabin or Lodge
Day 5
Established in 1887, Tongariro National Park is New Zealand's first National Park, gifted to the people of New Zealand by a far-sighted Maori chief who saw this as a way of protecting the tapu (respect, sacredness, preciousness) of this land in particular the summits of the active volcans. Although most other hikers walk the busy one-day Alpine Crossing, only a fraction explore the remote and dryer east side of this volcanic range like us, and almost no one ds the side trips and short cuts we know about. But rest assured, we do exit (or enter) the area via the 'crossing' so you still see that remarkable scenery - usually when its less busy if we can be cunning about it! After being dropped off at the trail start, hike through waving tussock-grasslands between the volcans to a hut set in an enclave of native beech forest. After lunch traverse across stony deserts to an alpine hut at 1400m, perched on the edge of an old lava flow. From this hut there are fantastic views of the three main peaks in the park: Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruh. It's an extraordinary landscape of active volcans and lava valleys, dynamic and changing even in recent years (2013!). Enjoy the experience of sharing an alpine hut with hikers from all over the world. We usually sleep in the hut but very occasionally camp. Activities: 5 hours hiking, 13km Accommodation: Back country hut
Day 6
Hike up through a moon-like gentle valley of contorted lava flows and ash fields before ascending steeply to the Emerald Lakes. This is where our route joins the spectacular Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Once here we Traverse the volcanic plateau, which boasts lava valleys and steaming explosion craters, flanked by the brooding volcans, before descending on the western side. In good conditions, there is an option to climb one of the volcanic peaks. Tongariro National Park is full of landscapes the likes of which are found nowhere else in New Zealand. An evening drive to a lodge right inside the National Park is the perfect place to relax with a beer and enjoy the million dollar views across to the volcans. Enjoy a meal out in the alpine village. Activities: 6-8 hours hiking, 15km Accommodation: Lodge
Day 7
A relaxing start today allows you to check out the Park Visitor Centre with espresso in hand before departing. Those taking the bus back to Auckland can be dropped at National Park Village mid morning; the train passes through National Park the following day. Drive south, eventually leaving the National Park and the volcans behind. Descend through the beautiful river valleys of the Rangitikei and finally along the coast to Wellington, New Zealand's wonderful harbour capital, arriving in the mid afternoon - cafe stop on route. This giant fault-created harbour is almost encircled by steep suburbs giving it a giant 'coliseum' feel. Nowhere is very far in this stylish little city. Enjoy. You might like to visit the museum of New Zealand, called Te Papa, or the beehive (Parliament House) to see some ranting politicians or you might not. Wellington is well known for its vibrant caf scene and its accessible downtown area. People come into the city to enjoy the lively atmosphere. Activities: 1-2 hours hiking, 1km