Wellington to Auckland via Tongariro, Taupo & Rotorua

8 days

Indulgence Tours

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Although small by population, Wellington is dense with wonderful attractions, from its stunning harbour, to Te Papa Museum, the famous red Cable Car, the Beehive, and Zealandia sanctuary. Definitely a great place to keep you busy – the fact it has the best restaurants in New Zealand is just a bonus. Take a drive around the surrounding area to Red Rocks and Miramar, or take a hike in the scenic hills above the city from the wind turbine above Brooklyn.

Wellington to Tongariro

294 km, 3h 50min

From Wellington, travel north along the stunning Kapiti coast. Pass through the pastured farmlands of the Manawatu, before coming to the historic riverside town of Wanganui. Ascend the winding, scenic route that leads from the lowlands of Wanganui to the alpine heights of Tongariro. Overnight at the edge of Tongariro National Park, within short reach of the Ruapehu volcano.

Tongariro Crossing

The Tongariro Crossing is one of the best one-day walks in the world. The walk leads one-way from Ketetahi Car Park to Mangatepopo Car Park, and is 19.4km in length. The walk takes 6-9 hours. There are very few facilities on the walk, so be fully prepared with suitable equipment, clothing, food and drinks.

Tongariro to Taupo

130 km, 1h 40min

A leisurely drive journeys around the scenic Tongariro National Park, where impressive views of this volcanic region can be enjoyed, including of the classically conical Mt Ngaruhoe, used as “Mt Doom” in the filming of Lord of the Rings. The famous Tongariro Crossing daywalk could be attempted on this day – or alternatively shorter walks from Whakapapa or Mangatepopo. There are hot pools and white water rafting opportunities mid-route at Turangi, after which you’ll make your way alongside the calm shores of Lake Taupo.

Taupo to Rotorua

82 km, 1h

Just beyond Taupo, experience the sight of 200,000 litres of water squeezing its way through a narrow passage every second at the booming Huka Falls. Continue toward Rotorua through a region of intense, subterrainean pressure, where the Earth’s thermal activity inches close to the surface. Consider visiting the fascinating thermal areas of Waimangu and Wai-o-Tapu, perhaps enjoying a swim in the naturally warmed waters. In Rotorua, a diverse variety of attractions awaits, from thermal areas and mud spas to a Redwood Forest with world-class mountain biking. In the evening, consider connecting with New Zealand’s indigenous culture by attending a Maori performance accompanied by a traditional Hangi dinner.

Rotorua to Auckland via Waitomo Caves

339 km, 4h 10min

From Rotorua, make your way to an ancient limestone region best known for its vast cave systems displaying stunning arrays of stalactites and stalagmites, and occasionally illuminated by glow worms. Experience this for yourself at Waitomo Caves, where numerous tours allow you to explore this underground wonderland. If you have some time, make the visit to the beautiful Marokopa Falls. Heading north to Auckland, consider stopping by Hamilton Gardens – one of New Zealand’s finest!


Auckland’s stunning harbour is the centerpiece of New Zealand’s largest and most international city. This is the ‘City of Sails,’ boasting more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world. Forty-eight dormant volcanoes are located around the city, including Mt Eden, from which you can enjoy superb views of the city. Alternatively, get a superb city from from the top of Sky Tower, in the city center. If you have time, jump on the ferry to Rangitoto Island, where you can climb to the summit of this extinct volcano in the middle of Auckland harbour. Great restaurants abound, including in swanky Viaduct Harbour, on the edge of the city centre.