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Ultimate North - Hiking New Zealand - 8 days

Hiking New Zealand

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Highlights

The Ultimate North is the ideal choice for those who have a little less time but want to experience the very best that the North Island, New Zealand, can offer. Hike into a river-side hut in the middle of Jurassic-like rainforest. Explore thermal areas in Rotorua. Trek the high sections of the remote Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk deep in the magical rain forests of Te Urewera. Relax in lodges in beautiful locations. Discover the surreal volcanic wonderland of Tongariro National Park, staying high above the world in an alpine hut. The Ultimate North has short hikes, as well as two overnight hikes staying in backcountry huts.

What You'll Get

Itinerary

Day 1: AUCKLAND - WHIRINAKI 11km/3 hours hiking

Stop At: Whirinaki Te Pua A Tane Conservation Park, Whirinaki Forest Park 3079, New Zealand
We head south to Rotorua, with a café stop at 9am for those who missed breakfast. Rotorua is renowned for its steaming thermal vents, bubbling mud-pools and stunning lakes. The area is also rich in Māori and early European history, including the violent 1886 Mt Tarawera eruption that buried a Māori village. We enjoy a quick stop by Lake Rotorua before heading away from the beaten track – southeast into the Whirinaki.

After a picnic lunch, we sort out gear and pack our backpacks for the hike into the rainforest. A further hours’ drive get us to the south end of this huge park.

The Whirinaki Forest is a preserved remnant of the vast forests believed to have covered the super-continent of Gondwanaland more than 150 million years ago. Our first hike is an easy one, descending 300m on a track through native beech forest, to a simple forest hut beside the stunning Whirinaki river. We cook up our meal together and relax.
Duration: 3 hours

Meals included:
• Lunch
• Dinner
Accommodation included: We either camp or stay in the nearby hut with an evening campfire

Day 2: WHIRINAKI - TE UREWERA 16km/5 hours hiking

Stop At: Whirinaki Te Pua A Tane Conservation Park, Whirinaki Forest Park 3079, New Zealand
This morning we continue down the valley track. This wilderness is off the tourist trail and we rarely see others, but we do often see rare blue ducks and robins, and hear kaka (a large bush parrot)! Lower down the valley, we hike beneath giant tree ferns and some of New Zealand’s most stunning podocarp rainforest trees.

Later in the afternoon we drive east, into the rugged forest ranges of Te Urewera. This is the traditional home of the Tūhoe (Māori tribe) and one of the last places to have been reached by European settlers.

After two hours winding through the most incredible rain forest, we reach the western arm of remote Lake Waikaremoana. We continue around the lake before stopping for the night at a camping area with sweet little cabins. Here we relax and cook a meal together in the communal kitchen.
Duration: 5 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
• Lunch
• Dinner
Accommodation included: We usually stay in the simple cabins but occasionally camp at Lake Waikaremoana

Day 3: LAKE WAIKAREMOANA 17km/8 hours hiking

Stop At: Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk, Onepoto Road, Te Urewera, Wairoa New Zealand
This morning we drive 20 min to the trail-head at the south end of the lake and ready ourselves for some spectacular views.

We climb up the Panekiri Range through gnarled beech and bright green tawa forest ascending to a point over 500 metres above the lake.

From here, we hike along with breath-taking vistas in every direction. After enjoying a lunch stop at Bald Knob, we return back along this undulating trail, and if time permits once back at the road end, we explore the fascinating ’caves’ trail.
Duration: 8 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
• Lunch
• Dinner
Accommodation included: We usually stay in the simple cabins but occasionally camp at Lake Waikaremoana

Day 4: LAKE WAIKAREMOANA - TAUPO 4km/2 hours hiking

Stop At: Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, 201 Waiotapu Loop Road Rd 3, Rotorua 3073 New Zealand
This morning we drive to the Volcanic Plateau where we explore an extraordinary thermal park (price included), bathe in a natural hot river and view the impressive Huka Falls. Feel the spray here as the mighty Waikato River plunges 11 metres into a stadium-like pool. This is New Zealand’s longest river.

Later we arrive at Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand. Incredibly, this 600 square kilometre crater lake was formed in 186 AD by the most powerful volcanic explosion in recorded history.

At Taupo, we either grab takeaway food (own cost) or rustle up a quick ‘trailer’ meal at a lovely lake-side spot. Here we can relax on the unusual pumice beach and in summer enjoy an evening swim before continuing to our cabin accommodation in Tongariro National Park.
Duration: 2 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
• Lunch
Accommodation included: Cabin accommodation in Tongariro National Park

Day 5: TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK 15km/6 hours hiking

Stop At: Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Off State Highway 48 Mangatepopo Valley, Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park New Zealand
Tongariro National Park is the oldest National Park in New Zealand and the fourth oldest in the world. In 1993, the park became a UNESCO mixed cultural and natural World Heritage Site. Although many hikers walk the busy one-day Tongariro Alpine Crossing, few explore the more remote and drier east side of this volcanic range.

Enjoy our secret side trips and short cuts but rest assured we will hike the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing – considered one of the world’s finest day walks – but at a less busy time of the day whenever possible.

We sort out gear and pack our backpacks ready for our two nights away. In the late morning hike out of Whakapapa through tussock-grasslands and over the low saddle that cuts between the volcanoes Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. Late afternoon we arrive at a simple but modern hut beside a quiet stream and among patches of mountain beech forest. There are great mountain-views from the spacious common room.
Duration: 6 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
• Lunch
• Dinner
Accommodation included: We stay at a simple but modern backcountry hut beside a quiet stream and among patches of mountain beech forest

Day 6: TONGARIRO 12km/6 hours hiking

Stop At: Tongariro National Park, Manawatu-Wanganui 4691, New Zealand
The trail to the next hut takes just 3 hours, so we have the morning to explore.

Either amble (about an hour) to the splendid Ohineopango Springs and visit an historic hut and then return to hut for lunch, or we can negotiate an adventurous off-trail route over ash-moraine ridges and skirt lava cliffs to reach a viewpoint high above a remote lake. After lunch continue on, traversing stony deserts to an alpine hut at 1400m situated on the edge of an old lava flow.

We stop to enjoy fantastic views of the Park’s three main peaks: Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. The latter starred as Mount Doom in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films. It’s an extraordinary landscape of active volcanoes and lava valleys.

Evening provides an opportunity to share an alpine hut with hikers from all over the world. Oturere ‘sardine tin’ Hut is small, quite busy, but still our favourite spot.
Duration: 8 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
• Lunch
• Dinner
Accommodation included: Share an alpine hut with hikers from all over the world. Oturere Hut is small, busy, but still our favourite spot

Day 7: TONGARIRO 8-15km/3-8 hours hiking

Stop At: Tongariro National Park, Manawatu-Wanganui 4691, New Zealand
We hike through a moon-like valley of lava flows and ash fields before climbing steeply to the remarkable Emerald Lakes, which have graced the covers of many guidebooks.

From here we join the spectacular Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

The next few hours of hiking take us through an unforgettable wonderland of lava valleys, steaming craters and brooding volcanoes before our descent through bonsai-like alpine foliage and alongside mineral-infused streams. In good conditions, we have the option of climbing high on the volcanic peaks.

An evening drive takes us to a lodge in the heart of the National Park – the perfect place to relax with a beer and enjoy million-dollar volcanic views before dining in the alpine village.
Duration: 6 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
• Lunch
Accommodation included: An evening drive takes us to a lodge in the National Park – the perfect place to relax and enjoy million-dollar views

Day 8: TONGARIRO - WELLINGTON 1km/1-2 hours hiking

Stop At: Central Park, Brooklyn Rd Brooklyn, Wellington 2004 New Zealand
Driving south, we leave the volcanoes to descend through the beautiful river valleys of the Rangitikei and along the coast to Wellington, where we arrive mid-afternoon after a café break.

Wellington is so much more than just New Zealand’s capital. It is also the nation’s stylish hub for arts, culture, cafés and politics. Enclosed by hills and a harbour, this compact city has many attractions within easy walking distance.

Options include enjoying the National Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa) or watching the political shenanigans of the ‘Beehive’ (Parliament House). Many visitors immerse themselves in the vibrant café scene and the accessible downtown area.
Duration: 2 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
No accommodation included on this day.

Additional Information

  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 11 travelers
Inclusions
  • 7x Breakfast
  • 5x Dinner
  • 7x Lunch
  • Accommodation included: 7 nights
  • Entry/Admission - Whirinaki Te Pua A Tane Conservation Park
  • Entry/Admission - Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk
  • Entry/Admission - Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
  • Entry/Admission - Tongariro Alpine Crossing
  • Entry/Admission - Tongariro National Park


Exclusions
  • Personal Hiking Equipment


Departure Point
Skytower 72 Victoria St W, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand


Departure Time
7:00 AM

Duration
8 days

Return Details
292 Wakefield St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand


Voucher Info
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The Fine Print

7-day cancellation rights do not apply; no refunds or exchanges permitted. Voucher valid only for date and time listed; may not be exchanged or redeemed for other dates. Purchaser name and phone number must be provided at checkout; this information will be shared with Viator and the tour operator for purposes of order fulfillment. Groupon promo codes may not be used for this offer. Groupon voucher Terms of Sale do not apply. See the tour operators terms and conditions for this offer here. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised Goods and services.

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