Bay of Islands to Taupō journey

This thrilling 12-day journey will introduce you to the beauty and culture of the upper North Island. Enjoy Auckland's metropolitan delights and harbour cruises, the Coromandel Peninsula's calm coastal towns, and Tauranga's aquatic adventures. Travel inland to Rotorua and Taupo's geysers, boiling mud pools, and craters. In Waikato, tour caves and Hobbit holes, then finish your adventure in Northland, home to dolphins, gigantic kauri trees, and plenty of history.

Go New Zealand Go New Zealand 1 month ago
Bay of Islands to Taupō journey

Day 1: Spend the day in Auckland

Whether you're looking for relaxation, retail therapy, art and culture, or a natural escape, Auckland will not let you down. Hike Rangitoto's island volcano or visit Waiheke Island's vineyards and art galleries. Sailing on an America's Cup yacht, kayaking, or jet boating are just a few of the waterfront activities to experience. Alternatively, travel to Auckland's west coast, where the lush native forest and craggy black-sand beaches will transport you to another world. You might be interested in experiencing some inner-city culture. Visit the city's various museums and galleries, as well as the designer boutiques and scrumptious cafes in downtown Auckland.

Bay Of Islands
Bay Of Islands
Bay Of Islands, Northland, New Zealand

Day 2: Auckland to Coromandel Town

During the Coromandel gold rush, the ancient settlement of Thames was built. It's a terrific spot to go for a walk, whether it's through town, through the bush, or along the mangrove boardwalk. Discover the history of the area by visiting the local museum. The road leading to Coromandel Town clings to the cliff's edge. You'll be treated to breathtaking views and a never-ending parade of lovely beaches lined with Pohutukawa trees. Coromandel, once a gold-mining and forestry town, is now a haven for artists, crafters, and environmentalists. A railway enthusiast has developed an hour-long train trip at Driving Creek, and there are other wonderful walks in the region.

Coromandel
Coromandel
Coromandel, New Zealand

Day 3: Coromandel Town to Whitianga

Whitianga's busy seaside town is home to a fishing fleet, so you can expect to eat some delicious seafood while you're here. It's also a lovely location for exploring two of the Coromandel's must-see sights. Cathedral Cove is a beautiful photo opportunity, and you may dig your own natural bath at Hot Water Beach. You may visit both of these sights in a single day, but you'll need to plan ahead because entry to the naturally hot water requires arriving at Hot Water Beach within 2 hours of low tide.

Coromandel
Coromandel
Coromandel, New Zealand

Day 4: Whitianga to Tauranga

Tauranga is a thriving city that sprawls along the edge of a beautiful bay. There are numerous cafes and eateries to choose from. Big game fishing, kayaking, and harbour boat trips are all available. Mount Maunganui is a popular surfing and beach-walking spot nearby.

Bay of Plenty
Bay of Plenty
Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Day 5: Tauranga to Rotorua via Hobbiton

Take a diversion to Matamata to see the Hobbiton Movie Set, which was featured in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Before continuing on to Rotorua, wander around hobbit holes and drink a mug of ale at the Green Dragon Inn. If you don't want to go to Matamata, a fast drive from Tauranga up and over the Mamaku Range before dropping to Lake Rotorua, a big crater filled with water, is a good alternative. A Maori cultural presentation followed by a traditional hangi feast or a swim in geothermal hot springs could be among your Rotorua evening activities.

Rotorua
Rotorua
Rotorua, New Zealand

Day 6: Spend the day in Rotorua

Because Rotorua is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, there is a lot of volcanic activity in this area. Explore the geothermal zones with clouds of steam and bubbling mud pools, or relax in one of the many health spas with naturally heated hot pools and healing mud. Rotorua is also becoming a hotspot for adrenaline-pumping activities ranging from rafting, jet boating, and mountain biking to the slightly weird like zorbing and the shweeb. The Redwood Forest canopy tour is perfect for nature enthusiasts. The forest comes alive at night thanks to 30 uniquely crafted lanterns.

Redwoods Treewalk
Redwoods Treewalk
Redwoods Treewalk, access off Tarawera Road, Whakarewarewa, Rotorua, New Zealand

Day 7: Rotorua to Taupō

If you haven't seen enough geothermal activity yet, a journey to Taupo today will provide further possibilities to witness geysers, silica terraces, and boiling mud craters. Orakei Korako and Craters of the Moon are accessible via side roads. Taupo, a tourist town on the border of New Zealand's largest lake, is the ideal location for water sports. Popular activities include kayaking, paddleboarding, boat trips, jet boating, and fishing. If you have spare time, consider going hiking in Tongariro National Park, which is close by. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is the most popular day trek in New Zealand.

Taupō
Taupō
Taupō, New Zealand

Day 8: Taupō to Waitomo Caves

You're on your way from Taup to Waitomo's glittering glowworm tunnels today. Trout fishermen may want to stop by Lake Whakamaru along the trip. Pureora Forest Park is also worth a visit, as it is home to several rare bird species. The Waitomo area is known for its underground beauty. A succession of huge cave systems ornamented with stalactites, stalagmites, and glowworms lie beneath the surface of this limestone region. You can take a walking tour and boat ride into the caves, raft through them on a rubber tube (known as blackwater rafting), or abseil down into the darkness, depending on your hunger for adventure.

Waitomo Caves
Waitomo Caves
Waitomo Caves, New Zealand

Day 9: Waitomo to Auckland via Hamilton

Stop by the kiwi house at Otorohanga on your way north to Hamilton to meet New Zealand's national symbol. Hamilton City is a great place to stop for lunch; the southern part of the main street is lined with wonderful restaurants and cafes. The stunning botanic gardens and a big free fly aviary at Hamilton Zoo are among the local attractions. For much of your voyage north to Auckland, you'll be accompanied by the Waikato River. Side roads will take you to Waingaro Hot Springs and Raglan, a west coast surf resort. Before heading up to Northland, spend the night in Auckland.

Hamilton Gardens
Hamilton Gardens
Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton East, Hamilton, New Zealand

Day 10: Auckland to Paihia

The path you're traveling today is part of the Twin Coast Discovery Highway, which passes through a number of charming communities. Puhoi is noted for its gourmet cheese, and Matakana's wine region is also worth a visit. Whangarei is a subtropical city with sophisticated cafes and restaurants, as well as museums, art galleries, and shopping, on the edge of a magnificent harbour. Take an excursion out to Tutukaka, the gateway to the Poor Knights Islands, if you have the time.

Poor Knights Islands
Poor Knights Islands
Poor Knights Islands, Northland, New Zealand

Continue to the Bay of Islands, which is home to stunning landscape and rich history.

Day 11: Explore the Bay of Islands

A diverse range of villages can be found in the Bay of Islands. Paihia is a great place to start exploring this area. Take a trip to the outer islands, a dolphin-spotting safari, or a ferry ride to Russell, a beautiful city. The historic Treaty House in Waitangi commemorates New Zealand's birth as a nation. Galleries, wineries, gourmet food shops, golf courses, and historic buildings like as the Stone Store and the Mission House may all be found in Kerikeri.

Bay Of Islands
Bay Of Islands
Bay Of Islands, Northland, New Zealand

Day 12: Paihia to Auckland via Waipoua Forest

Waipoua Forest, on the west coast of Northland, is home to New Zealand's largest kauri trees. Another place to go tree-gazing is Trounson Kauri Park. Travel south from here to Dargaville, a town founded in the 1870s during the peak of kauri milling and gum digging. Matakohe's kauri museum is nearby, and it tells the fascinating story of the region. Turn right at Wellsford and proceed towards Helensville for an alternative route back to Auckland. Before returning to the 'City of Sails' and the finish of your adventure, you'll skirt along the Kaipara Harbour and travel through Kumeu's wine sector.

Waipoua Forest
Waipoua Forest
Waipoua Forest, New Zealand

Trip.Social User
Trip.Social User Stories

More from this author

Show more stories

More from Trip.Social