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The Central Highlights Walking Tour 

9 days from Auckland to Auckland

Explore a variety of landscapes and natural wonders of the North Island on this short walking highlights tour.  Begin with the idyllic Coromandel Peninsula with its white sandy beaches and lush forests.  You then tackle one of the world’s greatest one day hikes, the Tongariro Crossing.  Located in the striking volcanic plateau of Tongariro National Park, a world heritage area of outstanding beauty.  You’ll also have time to discover the unique Maori culture in Rotorua and the fascinating limestone caves and glow worms of Waitomo.

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 This suggested tour costs from per person (twin share, low season) (get instant quote here)
 9 days/8 nights from Auckland to Auckland
 Accommodation suggested on this tour is: Hotel 4 star (Can be customised? YES )
 Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible
 Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation, unlimited kms, airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers
 Tour pack: Includes detailed driving instructions, maps, guide books and much more
 This tour can be customised to suit you precisely - just request here

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Auckland city, New Zealand
Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
 

The Central Highlights Walking Tour - at a glance (See detailed itinerary)

Day 1: Arrive into Auckland where your private transfer will take you to your inner city hotel
Accommodation: SkyCity Hotel Auckland

Day 2: Your rental car is delivered then drive to the Coromandel Peninsula
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 246 kms / 153 miles : 3.6 hours

Day 3: Coromandel Wilderness Adventure Day Walk with Kiwi Dundee
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort

Day 4: Travel along the Bay of Plenty before turning inland towards the lakes of Rotorua
Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Rotorua
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 180 kms / 112 miles : 2.6 hours

Day 5: Your day in Rotorua could be spent discovering Maori culture or thrilling adventure rides
Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Day 6: Rotorua to Tongariro National Park via Lake Taupo - maybe take the Huka Jetboat to the thundering falls
Accommodation: Bayview Chateau Tongariro
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 168 kms / 104 miles : 2.0 hours

Day 7: Today you'll experience one of the greatest one day walks in the world - the Tongariro Crossing
Accommodation: Bayview Chateau Tongariro

Day 8: Journey north through the King Country to the limestone caves of Waitomo
Accommodation: SkyCity Hotel Auckland
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 329 kms / 204 miles : 4.0 hours

Day 9: Depart Auckland today

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 25 kms / 16 miles : 0.4 hours

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The Central Highlights Walking Tour - Day 1

Day 1 - Arrive into Auckland where your private transfer will take you to your inner city hotel

Personal meet and greet, and private transfer to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. The pack contains everything you need for the duration of your stay. It will include a comprehensive, printed and bound version of your itinerary as well as clear driving instructions and maps for each leg of your journey. It also contains all the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - along with relevant brochures and information. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support - details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.

Welcome to Auckland City

Auckland, New Zealand’s self-proclaimed ‘City of Sails’ is the country’s largest metro area. Resting between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, this urban paradise has something for everyone. Surrounded by native bush, rainforests and an abundance of beaches, Auckland is a playground for both the city savvy and those with an eye for adventure. Explore the central museums and galleries on foot, or take a drive through one of over 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.

Your accommodation: SkyCity Hotel Auckland

This modern and spacious hotel allows you to relax in style while enjoying the world-class casino, more than 20 restaurants, cafes and bars, a theatre, free live entertainment on selected nights and the iconic Sky Tower - all right on your doorstep!
SkyCity Hotel Auckland

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The Central Highlights Walking Tour - Day 2

Day 2 - Your rental car is delivered then drive to the Coromandel Peninsula

Choose from our great range of late model rental cars for your driving holiday

Today you’ll take to the road for your New Zealand Self Drive holiday, so take a look through the great selection of late model vehicles available and take your pick.  To help you on your way GPS is included with all rentals.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Auckland to Tairua via Coromandel Township

As you leave Auckland you'll cross the fertile plains of the Hauraki before passing the Thames Estuary - a haven for wildlife and shore birds. After arriving into the historic gold mining town of Thames, choose to follow the scenic route along the Pohutukawa Coast (part of the Pacific Coast Highway). As one of the most spectacular drives in the region leave yourself plenty of time for photos and sightseeing. Plan to arrive into Coromandel Township for lunch before heading down the east coast towards popular seaside destinations Whitianga and then Tairua.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Driving Creek Railway & Potteries - EyeFull Tower Tour

Driving Creek Railway and Potteries has become a Coromandel icon. The dream of Barry Brickell was to establish a pottery workshop on his land. Using a railway he would have access to the clay on the land and the pine kiln fuel. Over the next 15 years the railway developed until in 1990 it was finally licensed to carry fare paying passengers and ever since thousands of visitors have made the trip to Coromandel to experience this unique attraction. The 1 hour return train trip on the innovatively designed trains takes you through replanted native kauri forest and includes 2 spirals, 3 short tunnels, 5 reversing points and several large viaducts as it climbs up to the mountain-top terminus. The pottery is still producing and you can watch the artists at work as well as purchase items.

Your accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort

Puka Park Resort is situated on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula. Nestled amongst 25 acres of New Zealand's most beautiful native bush this prestigious hideaway offers luxury and seclusion at its best.

Meals included: Breakfast

Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 246 kms / 153 miles : 3.6 hours

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The Central Highlights Walking Tour - Day 3

Day 3 - Coromandel Wilderness Adventure Day Walk with Kiwi Dundee

Kiwi Dundee Wilderness Adventure day walk

Ideal for those who enjoy walking and photography. This day will take you into tranquil and remote pristine rainforest surrounded by giant rock faces, rugged volcanic peaks, ancient Kauri, Rimu and Rata trees. Wonder at the world's largest tree ferns, crystal clear rivers and rock pools. Visit historic gold caves, home to sparkling glowworms. Enjoy the fascinating history and learn about the flora and fauna within this magnificent forest. You experienced guided ensures you enjoy the region to the fullest and also carries your picnic lunch. This is a moderately challenging walk over some uneven surfaces.

Your accommodation: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort

Puka Park Resort is situated on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula. Nestled amongst 25 acres of New Zealand's most beautiful native bush this prestigious hideaway offers luxury and seclusion at its best.

Meals included: Breakfast

Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort

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The Central Highlights Walking Tour - Day 4

Day 4 - Travel along the Bay of Plenty before turning inland towards the lakes of Rotorua

Tairua to Rotorua via Tauranga

Today you'll be leaving the Coromandel Peninsula and passing through the town of Whangamata, a popular tourist destination for Kiwi holidaymakers and home to one of the best beaches in the region. Stop in Wahi to view its operational open cast gold mine - just follow the signs to a unique vantage point overlooking the Martha Mine. For rail enthusiasts, be sure to take a trip on the Goldfields Railway along its historic and scenic track. Continue on through the Bay of Plenty and the portside city of Tauranga. Your driving route now takes you along the Pyes Pa Road to Rotorua. If Lord of the Rings is your thing take a detour along State Highway 29 to Matamata, home to the fictional Tolkien village, Hobbiton. As you arrive into Rotorua take in the spectacular lake views along with clouds of steam rising from multiple geysers across the region.

Mitai Maori Village

An evening at Mitai will give you an awe-inspiring introduction to the indigenous Maori culture. Marvel at the beautiful bush setting and see warriors in traditional dress who paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream while trout and eels swim beneath the surface. Enjoy a traditionally cooked hangi meal and round your evening off with a spectacular cultural performance that tells the story of the Maori people, their past, carvings, and ta Moko -Tattoo art. Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat and be amazed by the spine tingling Haka finale. Truly an experience to remember.

Your accommodation: Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Rotorua's largest 4 star deluxe hotel is perfectly situated in the heart of the city overlooking Lake Rotorua. Five levels of accommodation offer guests a wide variety of scenic views.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 180 kms / 112 miles : 2.6 hours

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The Central Highlights Walking Tour - Day 5

Day 5 - Your day in Rotorua could be spent discovering Maori culture or thrilling adventure rides

Explore Rotorua

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. But geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, a visit to the Mitai Maori Village should be high on your agenda, as should an excursion to the Polynesian Spa for an invigorating soak in its natural mineral hot springs.
Live on the edge when you hop aboard a helicopter bound for White Island, New Zealand’s most active volcano. Spike your adrenaline at Agroventures on stomach-dropping attractions such as static skydiving, or a giant swing reaching 130 km per hour. Go up the Gondola for soaring lake views, and ride the luge at night for an extra thrill.
Fans of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit should drive to nearby Matamata and experience the actual movie set ‘Hobbiton’. Make the most of your time in Rotorua with an excursion through the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, one of the area’s most colourful volcanic attractions.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Rainbow Springs and Behind the Scenes Kiwi Encounter

At Rainbow Springs you'll have the chance to see some of New Zealand's native flora and fauna within the majestic forests of Rotorua. Wander the beautiful tree-lined park and take in the flourishing bush, ferns, flowers and plants. Come face to face with, and learn more about, New Zealand’s precious wildlife. See the spring-fed pool with rainbow, brown and tiger trout, then visit the on-site aviaries - home to New Zealand species such kea, kaka, tui, kereru and kiwi. The tuatara, known as New Zealand's living dinosaur can also be seen here.
Go behind the scenes with New Zealand's national animal at the purpose built Kiwi Conservation Centre - created solely to try and stop the extinction of this unique species. Here you will gain first hand insight into the conservation efforts being made to increase the numbers of kiwi eggs being hatched and returned to the wild.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Rotorua Canopy Tours: The Original Canopy Tour

Embark on a three hour adventure through native New Zealand forest. Journey through the beautiful forest canopy via an incredible network of trails, tree platforms, Ziplines and swing bridges. See breathtaking views of the woodland valleys and hills as you fly through tight openings in the trees.
In between the thrill of the ziplines and suspended tree bridges, your guides will share their passion and knowledge for the forest and the conservation challenges to preserve it. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Polynesian Spa Thermal Mud Polish & Aix Spa Massage

Rotorua's Polynesian Spa offers a unique thermal spa experience on the shore of Lake Rotorua. Voted a World Top Ten Spa (medical and thermal spas) by readers of the prestigious Conde Nast Traveller magazine 2004-2007, this is the ultimate in relaxation and regeneration. Begin your spa treatment with a pre-therapy soak in the deluxe lake spa. Enjoy tranquil bathing and lake views in four shallow alkaline rock pools, each with different temperatures (36˚C to 42˚C). Here you are surrounded by revitalising native New Zealand flora, natural rocks, the sound of two waterfalls and a grotto. The pools are filled with soothing alkaline mineral water leaving your skin soft and supple.  You will then be treated to the popular 'mud massage' a signature service of Polynesian Spa. Your therapist will exfoliate your body with the unique Rotorua mud polish to remove dry skin. You'll then rinse off the polish under a warm shower followed by a massage using organic coconut oil while the water is running, leaving your skin feeling soft and hydrated and your body relaxed.  You can then return to the deluxe lake spa for a post treatment soak.

Your accommodation: Millennium Hotel Rotorua

Rotorua's largest 4 star deluxe hotel is perfectly situated in the heart of the city overlooking Lake Rotorua. Five levels of accommodation offer guests a wide variety of scenic views.

Meals included: Breakfast

Millennium Hotel Rotorua

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The Central Highlights Walking Tour - Day 6

Day 6 - Rotorua to Tongariro National Park via Lake Taupo - maybe take the Huka Jetboat to the thundering falls

Rotorua to Whakapapa Village

Today you'll drive from Rotorua to Tongariro National Park along the thermal highway. Pass through Taupo and be sure to check out the Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland or Waimangu Volcanic Valley - both well worth a visit if you can spare the time. Visit the Huka Falls, New Zealand's largest volume of water or take in the boiling mud pools and steam vents as you wander the nearby geothermal reserve, Craters of the Moon.

Continue on to the township of Turangi, known as one of the world's best trout fishing locations before emerging out into Tongariro National Park.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hukafalls Jet Boat Ride

The Huka Jet is 30 minutes of pure fun and exhilaration, skimming close to cliffs, sliding past trees, feeling the adrenalin of full 360 degree spins. The excitement continues right up to the base of the foaming Huka Falls, where you get a spectacular water level view to New Zealand's most visited natural attraction. Nothing compares to watching 220,000 litres per second tumbling over the cliff face towards you.
The water from the mighty Huka Falls runs down the Waikato River through a series of Hydro Power Stations. You'll get a view of the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station in the comfort of a powerful Chevrolet V8 jet boat. This unique Geothermal Power Station uses underground geothermal activity to produce hot steamy water. The Waikato Rivers beautiful environment is varied and unique and is New Zealand's longest river flowing north from our largest lake - Lake Taupō.

Your accommodation: Bayview Chateau Tongariro

Bayview Chateau Tongariro, nestled at the foot of Mount Ruapehu, was completed in 1929 and still retains many of its original features. It is one of New Zealand's few hotels located in a World Heritage Park and offers the most prestigious accommodation in the region.

Meals included: Breakfast

Bayview Chateau Tongariro

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 168 kms / 104 miles : 2.0 hours

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The Central Highlights Walking Tour - Day 7

Day 7 - Today you'll experience one of the greatest one day walks in the world - the Tongariro Crossing

Exclusive Guided Tongariro Alpine Crossing with Adrift

For the exclusive guided trips you'll be provided with a really personal, informative and friendly day you will never forget. This trip is tailored so that group sizes are small, your guides are well informed and are able to provide you with an amazing experience. Your guide will also 'work behind the scenes' constantly assessing the weather and track conditions, timing for your Ketetahi personalised transport pick-up, and other little details that will maximise your enjoyment. They can also tailor the trip to accommodate different fitness levels and know a few tricks about avoiding weather exposed or crowded areas.

Your accommodation: Bayview Chateau Tongariro

Bayview Chateau Tongariro, nestled at the foot of Mount Ruapehu, was completed in 1929 and still retains many of its original features. It is one of New Zealand's few hotels located in a World Heritage Park and offers the most prestigious accommodation in the region.

Meals included: Breakfast

Bayview Chateau Tongariro

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The Central Highlights Walking Tour - Day 8

Day 8 - Journey north through the King Country to the limestone caves of Waitomo

Whakapapa Village to Waitomo

Head through National Park and across rich rolling farmland to the limestone regions of Waitomo and the famous Waitomo Caves complex.

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

Explore a 30 million year old cave network spread across three levels. You'll travel deep underground through the limestone caves viewing stalactites and stalagmites as well as and hearing about the caves historical and geological significance. You'll then hop into a boat and glide silently through the glow worm grotto - a galaxy of tiny living lights.

Waitomo to Auckland City

The lush farmland of the Waikato and the limestone hills of the Waitomo region provide some great scenery as you head north. Visit the Otorohanga Kiwi House en route for a great look at some of New Zealand's native birds in particular our famous flightless namesake.

Your accommodation: SkyCity Hotel Auckland

This modern and spacious hotel allows you to relax in style while enjoying the world-class casino, more than 20 restaurants, cafes and bars, a theatre, free live entertainment on selected nights and the iconic Sky Tower - all right on your doorstep!

Meals included: Breakfast

SkyCity Hotel Auckland

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 329 kms / 204 miles : 4.0 hours

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Day 9 - Depart Auckland today

Depart Auckland today

Explore more of vibrant Auckland city before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 25 kms / 16 miles : 0.4 hours

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