Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park New Zealand: An insider’s guide

Tongariro National Park is a 4.5-hour drive south of Auckland. It is located deep in the centre of the North Island New Zealand. Why bother to go there? Tongariro National Park is part of the North Island’s Central Plateau and is New Zealand’s oldest national park and a dual World Heritage area. This status recognizes the park’s important Maori culture and spiritual associations as well as its outstanding volcanic features.

The park has three active volcanoes: Tongariro, Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom in “The Lord of the Rings” films) and Ruapehu with its ski slopes. All three volcanoes are very much alive, with Mount Tongariro erupting as recently as August 2012.

Expect a diverse landscape of steaming craters, old lava flows and thermal lakes. The mountains of this national park have deep spiritual significance for the Maori people. The lower slopes of the mountains are blanketed with forest where alpine herbs, tussocks and low-growing shrubs provide a habitat for many native birds. In summer, at Whakapapa, you can catch scenic chairlift rides and do a guided hike to Ruapehu’s Crater Lake.

 

Tongariro National Park

Active volcano cone of Mount Ngauruhoe as seen from Mount Tongariro in Tongariro National Park, North Island of New Zealand”

So, for all you outdoor nature buffs out there, make sure Tongariro National Park is on your hit-list. It’s just south of Great Lake Taupo and Rotorua. A must-do is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and for those not game for a full day-hike there are shorter walks to enjoy. Plenty of activities on offer and some great lodges to stay in make this a perfect 2+ night stay.  Expect to enjoy a top New Zealand experience!

Here are some of the key things to do:

Tongariro Alpine Crossing:

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is regarded as the best one-day hike in New Zealand and is considered to be in the top 10 one day hikes in the world! Allow 7-8 hours and expect to see spectacular volcanic terrain sights as well as cold mountain springs, possible lava flows, an active crater, steam vents, emerald coloured lakes and magnificent views. This is a must-see and a truly memorable experience. The freedom hiking season runs from October to May

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Taranaki Falls:

Take a 2-hour return walk from within the Tongariro National Park through beech forest to view one of the most impressive and beautiful waterfalls in New Zealand

Tongariro National Park

Taranaki Fall at Tongariro National park, New Zealand

White-water Rafting:

Have some fun with either a half or full-day white-water rafting adventure on Tongariro River. Expect lots of laughs and crystal-clear waters surrounded by native bush. Fun for the whole family!

Tongariro National Park

Fly-Fishing:

Turangi is the trout fly-fishing capital of New Zealand and only 10 minutes’ drive from Tongariro National Park. Turangi offers a unique experience for all fisherman, beginner or seasoned. Visit the feisty Tongariro rivers and fight your own brown or rainbow trout during their annual migration or test your skills in the smaller local wild streams or on Lake Taupo itself

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park is a must-visit destination for those of us that enjoy pristine nature and the great outdoors. Ask us to include Tongariro National Park in your New Zealand holiday itinerary…

Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands North Island NZ: Top 5 things to do

The Bay of Islands is a 3-hour drive north of Auckland in the North Island, New Zealand.  It is a top New Zealand holiday destination and stunningly scenic! Being an archipelago, it is known for all things aquatic…with over 140 islands to explore there is a wide range of marine and nature-based activities to choose from.

The Bay of Islands is also the home to Waitangi, the birthplace of New Zealand. The Bay of Islands is where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British and the indigenous Maori people in 1840.

So, for all you marine & history buffs out there, make sure the Bay of Islands is on your hit-list. It’s a great first stop on your North Island drive circuit. Apart from Waitangi & the archipelago there are some great towns to explore in their own right. Kerikeri has a horticultural and vineyard bent, and Paihia is the main hub and gateway to the Bay of Islands. Across the Bay from Paihia is the attractive seaside town of Russell which has many bars and restaurants along its foreshore. A great place to relax and watch the sun set! This region has so many activities on offer you can easily spend 3+ nights. Expect many iconic New Zealand experiences!

Bay of islands

Russell, Bay of Islands

Here are some of the key things to do:

Boat Tour: 

Make sure to explore the Bay of Islands archipelago by taking a cruise. Explore all the highlights which will include the Hole-in-the-Rock and Urupukapuka Island. Enjoy beautiful scenery, pristine beaches and most likely some dolphins showing off! A great day out.

Bay of Islands

Bay cruise Bay of Islands

Waitangi Treaty Grounds:

Walk in the footsteps of the people who changed history. Discover the momentous events that shaped New Zealand at the Museum of Waitangi. Enjoy a guided tour and witness spellbinding cultural performances to learn more about Maori culture. It’s fascinating!

Bay of Islands

Meeting House, Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Rainbow Falls:

A waterfall near Kerikeri. A 27-metre spectacular drop with only a 5-minute trek to view makes it a must-see!

Waipoua Forest:

This is a highlight for nature lovers. 2 hours to the west of Paihia, it is well worth the trip. Waipoua Forest is the largest tract of native forest remaining in New Zealand. Plenty of short or longer walks which wind through stands of tall Kauri, Rimu & northern Rata towering trees.

Bay of Islands

Waipoua Forest, Northland

Action Options:

For more action you are spoilt for choice. The main contenders are swimming with dolphins, kayaking and diving. Other options include: Sailing, fishing, cycling, parasailing and of course, golf.

Bay of Islands

Dolphins frolicking, Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is a must-visit destination with beautiful coastlines and famous for its beaches, boating & ocean activities. Ask us to include the Bay of Islands in your New Zealand holiday itinerary…

New Zealand attraction

Rotorua: a major New Zealand attraction

Why visit? New Zealand and the North Island is such a scenic place to visit. People are friendly and have a fun sense of humor. Count on great coffee, fresh local food & wine. Enjoy the feeling of having the road all to yourself, to be able to see the horizon and enjoy the views, to breathe crisp clean air, to wake up to the sound of birds …

Sounds good doesn’t it? Tick that box and plan your NZ visit! Once decided, make sure your NZ dream trip includes a stop at Rotorua. Rotorua is a heavyweight New Zealand attraction. It is one of the most visited places in New Zealand for good reason. It is in the very heart of the North Island and is a 3-hour drive south-east of Auckland. It is the centre of Maori culture as well as the main geothermal hub (think bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers & natural hot springs). Rotorua has so many activities on offer you can easily spend 3+ nights. Rotorua delivers many iconic New Zealand experiences!

Based around Lake Rotorua, the town offers many beautiful sparkling lakes and stunning lush forests. An outdoor paradise with endless hours of fun to be had riding Rotorua’s world-class mountain bike trails, exploring the thermal parks, visiting the living Maori Village, or doing some lake trekking. It is definitely a premier destination with many must-do experiences to enjoy! Here are some of the key things to do:

New Zealand attraction

Whakarewarewa Thermal area, Rotorua, New Zealand. Pohutu Geyser.

Thermal Parks:

You are spoilt for choice! Visit Waiotapu thermal wonderland, Orakei Korako Geothermal Park or Te Puia with the largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere, Pohutu. Explore a volcanic world of gushing geysers, hot springs, and bubbling mud pools at your own pace. Very impressive!

New Zealand attraction

Te Puia Rotorua

Maori Culture: 

Make sure to visit the NZ arts & crafts institute at Te Puia. You can learn about the traditional arts of wood carving and weaving. Experience Whakarewarewa, Rotorua’s Living Maori Village. Consider an evening Hangi & Concert at Tamaki Maori Village.

New Zealand attraction

Hobbiton

Hobbiton:

This is a highlight. Only 1 hour from Rotorua, make sure to do the 2-hour movie set tour and experience the magic! A major movie set location for the Lord of the Rings Film trilogy. Make sure to watch the films before you visit!

New Zealand attraction

Redwoods Treewalk Rotorua

New Zealand attraction

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Action Options:

For more action the premier choice is Mountain biking, or the Treetop walk through the Redwoods Forest. Other options aplenty include: Rainforest Canopy Tours, White-water rafting, Skyline Gondola & Luge rides, horse-rides and the completely original Ogo ride. Visit Lake Tarawera, only a 20-minute drive which is so beautiful and serene (make sure to pack swimming gear, food & drinks). Consider doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the best one-day hikes in NZ. It is a little further afield at 2 hours from Rotorua, and features Mount Ngauruhoe (otherwise known as Mount Doom for Lord of the Rings fans).

Rotorua is a premier must-visit destination with magnificent landscapes and experiences to enjoy. Ask us to include Rotorua in your New Zealand holiday itinerary…