Bay of plenty explorer
This 8-day trip takes in the picturesque Bay of Plenty and the constantly intriguing Rotorua before returning to Auckland via the riverside town of Hamilton, giving you plenty of time to explore. The adventure begins in Auckland with island and coastal adventures, followed by a relaxing seaside environment in Tauranga. Geysers, mud pools, and hot springs, as well as a side trip to Hobbiton, will keep you entertained in Rotorua. Before returning to Auckland, take a relaxing riverboat tour or a wander through the famed gardens in Hamilton.
Day 1: Spend the day in Auckland
Auckland is surrounded by 48 extinct volcanic cones and sits between two massive harbors. It's a site where you may experience maritime adventures, wine trails, forest treks, and urban refinement all at the same time. Explore the heart of the city on foot, by public transportation (opens in new window), or on a guided tour. A short boat journey away, Waiheke Island makes for a fantastic afternoon adventure or a full day of touring, dining, and wining. Alternatively, stay in the heart of the city and climb the Sky Tower for a 360-degree perspective of New Zealand's capital. Try a Skyjump or a Skywalk while you're there for a true adrenaline thrill.
Waiheke IslandWaiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand
Day 2: Auckland to Tauranga
The Bay of Plenty's pleasant city of Tauranga is your next stop. Tauranga is easily explored on foot, as it sprawls along the edge of a beautiful harbour. A vibrant café culture, gift galleries, and designer stores provide lots of browsing opportunities. A guided tour of Mount Maunganui will teach you more about this popular Kiwi vacation location. As you walk from the mountain's base to its pinnacle, listen to local Maori legends. As dusk sets, enjoy The Strand's nightlife, which includes live music, taverns, and clubs, or spend the evening kayaking through a canyon illuminated by shimmering glow-worms. The great way to end the day.
Mount MaunganuiMount Maunganui, New Zealand
Day 3: Spend the day in Tauranga
Today, there are a plethora of ways to discover Tauranga. For big game fishing, snorkeling, or dolphin viewing, charter a boat or join a tour. Moutohora (Whale Island), home to some of New Zealand's most endangered fauna, is a must-see for nature lovers. Mount Maunganui is a popular surfing and beach-walking spot nearby. Learn to surf, unwind at the Hot Salt Water Pools, or simply sit on the main beach's sand.
Waimarino Water & Adventure ParkWaimarino Water & Adventure Park Taniwha Place, Bethlehem, Tauranga, New Zealand
Day 4: Tauranga to Rotorua
Today's trip to Rotorua is short, giving you plenty of time to explore. Rotorua is a fun place to visit in any weather and at any time of year. Because the city is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, traces of volcanic activity may be seen everywhere. One or more geothermal parks should be visited. Enjoy a relaxing natural spa after seeing the erupting geysers and steamy pools. Those seeking more excitement will find it here. Rotorua has been a hotspot for adrenaline-fueled activities in recent years, including some truly weird ones like the OGO, shweeb, and swoop.
Te PuiaTe Puia Hemo Road, Tihiotonga, Rotorua, New Zealand
Day 5 - 6: Explore Rotorua and surrounds
Spend the following two days in Rotorua, tasting everything the city has to offer. With a cultural encounter at Te Puia, Mitai, or Tamaki Mori Villages, you may immerse yourself in the unique culture of New Zealand's Maori people. Authentic arts and crafts, such as pounamu (jade), carved bone jewelry, and natural mud or plant-based beauty treatments, are available for purchase. Rotorua is the ideal spot to reconnect with nature, surrounded by mountains, rivers, native forests, and 18 freshwater lakes. Try your hand at mountain biking, horseback riding, or fishing. If you're feeling brave, take a Redwoods Nightlight Treewalk or a white-water rafting adventure down the world's highest commercially rafted waterfall.
Redwoods TreewalkRedwoods Treewalk, Tītokorangi Drive access off Tarawera Road, Whakarewarewa, Rotorua, New Zealand
Day 7: Day trip to Hobbiton Movie Set
Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set, which was featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, to get a taste of the real Middle EarthTM. It's easy to see why Peter Jackson chose this location to play The Shire, surrounded by lush rolling hills. Visit Bag End, Bilbo and Frodo's favorite hobbit-hole, learn about the filming behind the scenes, and end the day with a drink at the Hobbiton local, the Green Dragon Inn. Tours leave from the Rotorua iSITE every day, with hotel pickups available. Allow 5 hours for this Rotorua day excursion.
Hobbiton Movie SetHobbiton Movie Set Buckland Road, Matamata, New Zealand
Day 8: Rotorua to Auckland via Hamilton
Today, go north to Hamilton, a riverbank city. Here you'll find a city split in half by the Waikato River. There are many of attractions to enjoy in Hamilton, including gorgeous botanical gardens, riverboat sailing, and an interesting museum and gallery. A visit to Hamilton Zoo, which houses the country's largest free-flight aviary, will allow you to get up close and personal with some of New Zealand's native species. Zealong Tea Estate is a must-visit for tea connoisseurs, with traditional tea ceremonies and some of the world's purest oolong.
Then make your way back to Auckland, where your journey will come to a conclusion.
Hamilton GardensHamilton Gardens, Hamilton East, Hamilton, New Zealand
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