Auckland - Auckland

Fly total time: 10 days

This itinerary begins in Auckland where your clients will spend a day or two exploring New Zealand’s largest city before travelling to Gisborne on the east coast of the North Island. Stunning Lake Waikaremoana is home to one of New Zealand’s Great Walks and is easily accessible from Gisborne.

After completing Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk your clients will journey south to Taupo township on the shores of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. A mixture of relaxing and adventurous activities are on offer in this amazing region.

Your clients will then travel to Ruapehu and experience the challenging Tongariro Alpine Crossing, heralded as one of the greatest day walks in the world. Next your clients will travel to travel back to Taupo to catch a domestic flight to Auckland, the end point on this itinerary.

To ensure your clients are well rested after their flight, we recommend they stay a night or two in their arrival city before collecting a rental vehicle. Driving in a new country can be challenging and will be even worse if the driver is tired. The driver should always be well rested, take regular breaks during the journey and plan to drive for only 1-2 hours at a time.

New Zealand has unique road rules and driving conditions that your clients may not be used to. For a safe and enjoyable journey make sure your clients know where to find information on New Zealand’s road rules before they depart for their holiday.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Day 1: Auckland

    Drive Fly 0
    Arrive in Auckland. Spend the afternoon exploring New Zealand's largest city.

    Surrounded by two sparkling harbours, vibrant and multicultural Auckland is the country’s largest city and commercial hub. Home to 1.5 million people, it offers world class accommodation; outstanding food and wine; great shopping; and many attractions and sightseeing options.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 2: Auckland - Gisborne

    Drive Fly 5 hours 53 minutes 483 KMS 300 MI

    Collect a rental vehicle at Auckland airport or Auckland city and self-drive to Gisborne, approximately 5 hours 53 minutes. Your clients have the option to stop in Matamata and visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. There are spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges from the rolling green hills of the movie set.

    Alternatively your clients can take a domestic flight from Auckland to Gisborne, approximately 1 hour. If transferring from an international flight ensure there is at least 90 minutes between connecting flights.

    Gisborne is the first city in the world to see the sun each day and offers a diverse range of activities for visitors to enjoy. The region is steeped in Maori culture and history and offers visitors good food, top-class wineries and stunning surf beaches.

    Recommended activities:

    Matamata Gisborne
    • Visit one of Gisborne’s top class wineries and discover why Gisborne is known as ‘the Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand’
    • Join half day cycling tour and choose one to visit the vineyards, explore Eastwoodhill, the Rere rockslide or learn about the settlement of Gisborne
  • Day 3: Gisborne - Lake Waikaremoana (Panekire Hut)

    Drive Fly 6 hour 30 minutes 167 KMS 103 MI

    Get up early and self-drive from Gisborne to Lake Waikaremoana, approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. Your clients can leave their vehicle at one of the free car parks and pre-book a shuttle bus and water taxi to provide transport to either end of the walk.
    Begin the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk. The Department of Conservation (DOC) provides five huts and several campsites along the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk, these must be pre-booked.

    If walking the track independently your clients will need a Great Walks Pass.

    Today your clients will hike from Onepoto to Panekire Hut, approximately 8.8km. This is the most strenuous part of the trip but the views from Panekire make it well worthwhile. Allow approximately 5 hours to complete this portion of the track.

  • Day 4: Panekire Hut - Waiopaoa Hut

    Drive Fly 4 hours 7 KMS 4 MI
    Today your clients will hike approximately 3 – 4 hours (7.6km). From Panekire Hut they will follow the track down the range to the top of the Panekire descent, then continue on the steep track down into rolling valleys of beech, podocarp and kamahi forest to the lake. At the mouth of the Waiopaoa inlet is Waiopaoa Hut – the campsite is nearby.
  • Day 5: Waiopaoa Hut - Marauiti Hut

    Drive Fly 4 hours 30 minutes 12 KMS 7 MI
    Your clients will depart Waiopaoa Hut and follow the Waiopaoa Steam a short distance before crossing grassy flats and passing through kanuka forest on the lake shore. Just before the Korokoro suspension bridge there is a turn off to Korokoro Falls. The waterfalls are a 30 minute walk up the side track and are highly recommended. Your clients will continue past Korokoro Campsite and Maraunui Campsite to Marauiti Hut.
    At dusk your clients can walk to the edge of the Puketukutuku Peninsula to hopefully hear the call of the kiwi.
  • Day 6: Marauiti Hut - Hopuruahine - Gisborne

    Drive Fly 8 hours 173 KMS 107 MI

    This is the last day of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk. Today your clients will hike approximately 14.2 km, allow approximately 6 hours 30 minutes for this portion of the track.

    After crossing a saddle they will then hike along the shores of the lake and over Puketukutuku Peninsula.  Passing Waiharuru Hut, Tapuaenui Campsite and Whanganui Hut along the way. From Whanganui Hut the track reaches the water taxi pick-up point after approximately 45 minutes. Water taxis must be pre-arranged.

    Follow the grassy Hopuruahine River flats to reach the Hopuruahine suspension bridge and track end, where pre-arranged shuttles will transport your clients to their vehicle.

    In the late afternoon self-drive from Lake Waikaremoana to Gisborne, approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.

  • Day 7: Gisborne - Taupo

    Drive Fly 3 hours 56 minutes 328 KMS 203 MI

    In the morning self-drive from Gisborne to Taupo, approximately 3 hours 56 minutes.

    Spend the afternoon indulging in the multitude of activities on offer in this region.
    The lake side town of Taupo provides visitors with a base to explore the regions many attractions and activities including hiking, mountain biking, golf and geothermal parks. Lake Taupo is the southern hemisphere’s largest lake measuring 616 square kilometres and offers visitors many water-based activities including lake cruises, kayaking and trout fishing.

    Recommended activities:
  • Day 8: Taupo - Ruapehu

    Drive Fly 1 hour 36 minute 101 KMS 62 MI

    Spend a leisurely morning exploring Taupo. In the afternoon drive from Taupo to Ruapehu, approximately 1 hour 36 minutes.

    Mount Ruapehu is the highest mountain in the North Island. In the winter months Ruapehu is the site of two of the North Island’s best ski fields. A large portion of the region is made up of Tongariro National Park, making it a great hiking destination.

    Recommended activities:
  • Day 9: Ruapehu

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    Today your clients will hike what many call New Zealand’s greatest day walks - the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

    Along this challenging 19.4km track your clients will see a cold mountain spring, old lava flows, active volcanic craters and thermal steam vents, not to mention the brilliant emerald and blue lakes – and beautiful native forest to finish. The route is clear of snow from December to May. Allow approximately 6 – 8 hours to complete the track.

    If your clients are hiking the track independently, ensure transport is pre-arranged to the beginning of the track and from the end of the track.

    There are also a number of reputable tour companies offering guided trips of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 10: Ruapehu - Taupo - Auckland

    Drive Fly 2 hours 25 minutes 326 KMS 202 MI

    In the morning drive from Ruapehu to Taupo, approximately 1 hour 35 minutes. Your clients may have time for a relaxing soak in a mineral pool or one last activity before catching an afternoon flight from Taupo to Auckland, flight time approximately 50 minutes.

    Spend the afternoon exploring the many attractions and activities on offer in Auckland, then fly home from Auckland the next day.

    Recommended activities: