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About this trip

Please take a few moments to watch this VIDEO from Keith and Michelle prior to booking. It highlights the most important information that we want to point out. 

Experience another side of New Zealand with our New Zealand North Island tour. Vastly different from the South, and spectacular in its own right, New Zealand’s North Island is an incredible destination. This trip is designed for people who want to immerse themselves in Māoritanga (Māori culture and traditions), experience the natural geothermal wonders of the North Island and walk the Tongariro Crossing - the best day hike in the world.

In glorious contrast to the glacial lakes and snow-capped mountains of the South, the North Island of New Zealand is a land of bubbling geothermal activity, lush forests and golden beaches. Designed as a standalone trip, the Sweet North is also the perfect complement to any of our South Island tours. Combine both North and South for the ultimate New Zealand experience. After all, why come all this way if you’re only going to see half of what’s here?

Activity Level: If you enjoy exploring, learning, hiking and the outdoors you will enjoy this trip. We always have easier or more challenging options available so that you can choose how much or little activity you enjoy each day. On the Sweet North trip you will walk between 3 to 5 hours each day on well-formed tracks. The average distance walked is 9km/5.6mi. 

Trip Style: Throughout the trip you’ll enjoy delicious home-cooked and restaurant meals to fuel you for the adventurous days of walking and activities, and sleep soundly at night in comfortable ensuite accommodation that we have chosen specifically for their fantastic locations.


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Day 1

Date : October 12, 2024

Time : 12:00 am

Arrival Day

Arrive and transfer to hotel.

Day 2

Arrive Auckland and journey to the Coromandel Coast

Welcome to the New Zealand's North Island, New Zealand's beating cultural heart. A vibrant and diverse landscape made up of active geothermal areas, dormant volcanoes, pristine beaches, immense forests and subterranean wonders. After meeting our local guide and fellow travelers in Auckland, we’ll head east to the white sand beaches of the Coromandel coast, a favourite spot for Kiwi’s to holiday.

View Majestic Kauri Trees on the Waiomu Kauri Walk
This afternoon we’ll stretch our legs on a hike to the Waiomu Kauri Grove. This trail makes its way through native forest to a grove of ancient Kauri trees, which hold a special place in the hearts of New Zealanders. We'll then travel through to Whitianga, our home for the evening.

Tonight we stay at Beachside Resort, Whitianga (or similar hotel)

Day 3

Date : October 14, 2024

Kayak Cathedral Cove & Explore Hot Water Beach

This morning we’ll travel the short distance along the Coromandel coastline to Hahei and get ready to paddle through tantalisingly turquoise waters out to Cathedral Cove. We’ll then take some time to explore the world-famous Hot Water Beach. Later this afternoon we'll make our way down to Rotorua, a rich cultural hub and geothermal wonderland where we'll spend the night.

Kayak Cathedral Cove
We’ll paddle our way through the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve exploring ancient sea caves and rock gardens along the way. Our destination is Cathedral Cove, accessible only by foot, boat or kayak, this natural rock archway joins two secluded coves shaded by magnificent pohutukawa trees.

Explore Hot Water Beach
This afternoon we head to world-renowned Hot Water Beach, famous for the warm geothermal waters that sit just under the sand. Enjoy a stroll along this gorgeous coastline and dip your toes in the turquoise waters of the Pacific ocean. If the tides are right your guide will help you dig your very own hot pool in the sand, a true-blue Kiwi experience.

Tonight we stay at Distinction Rotorua*

Day 4

Maori Culture, Geothermal Wonderland and Redwoods Hike

Set in a ‘land of lakes’, the bubbling mud pools, spewing geysers and rising steam give Rotorua an otherworldly quality. This morning we'll visit the Whakarewarewa Māori Village where we will see the Māori values of manaakitanga (hospitality) and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) on display. We'll also get to witness the geothermal wonderland that the Te Whakarewarewa valley is famous for and enjoy a hāngi (a traditional Māori feast) together. Before travelling south to Taupō, we’ll pop our hiking boots on and walk amongst the jaw-dropping Redwood forest on the outskirts of Rotorua. We’ll be staying in Taupō for the next two nights.

Geothermal Wonderland & Maori Culture Experience
Whakarewarewa is the legacy and home of the Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao people, who have been sharing their unique way of life with visitors from all around the world for over two hundred years. See the boiling hot pools and bubbling mud, and learn how the Maori residents utilise and respect the ever-changing forces beneath their land.

Redwoods Hike & Huka Falls
Before leaving Rotorua we’ll stop by the Whakarewarewa forest to walk amongst the magnificent Redwoods. It’s an easy walk alongside these gentle giants that originate from California! After travelling south towards Taupo we’ll stop by the legendary Huka Falls and you’ll get to witness first hand the phenomenal power of this 11 metre high waterfall.

Tonight we stay at Anchorage Resort*

Day 5

Hike The Tongariro Crossing

Hiking New Zealand's North Island Tongariro Crossing
We’ll make an early start this morning, taking on the 19.4kms of this famous volcanic crossing. Set high on the central plateau amongst three active volcanoes, the scenery is more akin to surrealist art than real life. With red rocks, deep emerald lakes, steam rising from craters, and the unmistakable cone-shaped mountains, it's as if you’ve stepped back in time or possibly onto another planet. It’s a good climb to the top on a well-formed track, and we’ll stop along the way to hear stories about the area from our local guides. Their knowledge of the area and affinity with the land really bring this place to life. We’ve got the whole day to appreciate our environment and enjoy this very special spot.

Tonight we stay at Anchorage Resort again*

Day 6

Waitomo Caves & Finish in Auckland

It may be the last day of your Sweet North trip, but it’ll be one to remember as we explore the hidden depths of Waitomo, marvelling at the limestone formations, crystal tapestries and thousands of glowworms that illuminate the cave system. We’ll then make our way back to Auckland where we’ll say our farewells. If you’re heading down to the South Island to join us on another trip, we’ll help with a smooth transition.

Spellbound Waitomo Caves
The last activity of our trip is a truly magical one! We’ll visit two vastly different caves and learn all about their formation. Stepping onto a raft, you’ll be transported into a unique environment where it seems the night sky is always shining. With glow worms galore you will marvel at the constellations they seem to create! In the next cave you will slowly wander through whilst gazing at these wonderful creatures that are only found here in New Zealand!

Finish in Auckland
After emerging from underground, we’ll enjoy our last lunch together before hitting the road back to Auckland, allowing plenty of time to happily reminisce about the last five days. New friends and wonderful experiences have had their share in creating a tonne of memories to last you all the way home and beyond.

We’re happy to drop you at the airport or at your Auckland accommodation. We recommend that you combine this trip with one of our South Island itineraries to enjoy the complete New Zealand experience. The Sweet North trip works particularly well in conjunction with the Pure South, if you're short on time, or any of our longer South Island trips if you really want to leave no stone unturned.

*For logistical reasons, we may make small changes to our itineraries or accommodation from time to time.

Day 7

Departure Day

Departure Day - Airport Transfers

  • Airfare
    Airfare is not included
  • Trip Insurance
    We must have your policy number in order to confirm your hotel reservation
  • Additional Meals
    Additional meals not listed in the above itinerary
  • Alcoholic & Other Drink
    Alcoholic or other drinks not listed are not included
  • Additional Gratuity
    Additional Gratuity and Tips not included

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