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Days: 5 days
Grade: C
(Day hikes only, some uneven terrain, you need to be reasonably fit and enthusiastic)
Start/Finish: 7:00am, pick up zone outside Sky City, 20m from Sky Tower base, corner Victoria and Federal Streets, Auckland
Auckland 6pm
Departs:

Prices:

 

Grab yourself a bargain when you book

 

 

Itinerary

DAY
1

Auckland - Tongariro

10km/3 hours hiking

We drive south from Auckland, with a café halt for those who missed breakfast. The first hike for the day is at Waitomo to see the Ruakuri limestone cave system and enjoy a 30-minute walk through the amazing gorge. Waitomo is world-renowned for its labyrinth of underground rivers, sink holes and caves. After our picnic lunch in this magical valley we drive 2 hours south to Tongariro National Park. Check into the hotel before heading out on a late afternoon hike. A traverse of sweeping tussock lands leads us to the toe of an old lava flow where a waterfall plumes into the bushy valley below. The trail follows the stream down through beautiful mountain beech forest before looping back to our accommodation. With great views across the tussocks to the active volcanoes. Dinner in the hotel restaurant is the perfect opportunity to get to know your companions. 

DAY
2

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

20km/7 hours hiking

Today we do a full days hiking, traversing the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, widely regarded as one of the best day walks in the world. The track is extremely well built and even a novice hiker will handle the gradual ascent up to the top of this series of volcanoes. Your guide will set a pace that lets you stop and admire the views of the Red Crater, Emerald Lakes and steaming vents that make this hike so iconic. If the weather is below par we explore a number of other short walks and stunning spots in this magical volcanic National Park - and save the crossing until tomorrow. Our guide prepares dinner in the communal kitchen tonight - with the odd bit of help! 

DAY
3

Tongariro National Park

2-12km/1-6 hours hiking

Today we either hike the Tongariro Crossing (if it's a better weather day than yesterday) or we will be exploring some of those great walks and secret spots. If your legs are too tired there is also the option for a shorter hikes or no walking at all today for those that have discovered muscles they didn’t realise existed! Those up for the challenge can head to Upper Tama lakes. This track traverses undulating tussock and alpine herb expanses before climbing steeply to the upper lake at 1314 metres above sea level. If your legs are tired from the crossing yesterday there are plenty of other shorter walks to do. 

DAY
4

Lake hikes

5km/2 hours hiking

Today we start the journey north stopping after 30-minutes for a 1-2 hour walk around the stunning Lake Rotopounamu, a little gem of a lake surrounded by mixed southern beech and rainforest. We continue on towards Rotorua, passing the huge Lake Taupo on route. This is the largest lake in New Zealand - a 600 sq km volcanic caldera crater created when the largest volcanic explosion known to human-kind erupted in 186 AD. As we near Rotorua we explore one of the extraordinary Department of Conservation (DoC) thermal parks (price included). Wander at your own pace beside sinister terraces, lakes of unimaginable colours and black bubbling mud pools. Once checked into our accommodation we stroll down to the jetty and take a swim, or just sip a wine and gaze across this beautiful lake. We get together for an early BBQ dinner and afterwards head to the local natural spa baths for a soak or even a restorative mud bath! 

DAY
5

Rotorua - Auckland

7km/3 hours hiking

There is more to Rotorua than just thermal areas. The stunning wilderness lakes and rivers, and lush tree fern forests with a backdrop of distant volcanoes make Rotorua quite unique. The area is also rich in Maori and early European history including the tragedy of the 1886 Mount Tarawera eruption that buried a Maori village. This morning we drive a few kilometres up to the most amazing lake and volcanoes wilderness area and take a 30-minute water taxi ride to begin a bush walk beside this splendid lake. The swimming spots are plentiful and we have time to soak in a natural hot river that flows out of the surrounding bush. After a picnic lunch and a swim at the trail end, we drive the three hours back to Auckland, arriving late afternoon. 

Grading & Fitness

Grade C

  • Up to 7 hours of physical activity on the hardest day
  • At times carrying a backpack of 5-6kgs (11-13 lbs)*
  • Tracks generally in good condition
  • Altitude gains of up to 800m on hardest day
  • No hiking experience necessary
  • Reasonable standard of fitness required

What to Take

New Zealand’s weather is very changeable and cold weather can be experienced at any time of year, especially in the mountains. We recommend wearing lightweight and breathable fabrics while hiking. Merino or polypropylene underwear is great in cold weather and will still keep you warm when it gets wet, unlike cotton. Jeans are not suitable for hiking.

Essential Items:

  • hiking boots or shoes
  • day pack
  • waterproof raincoat (gore-tex or similar)
  • warm fleece/wool jersey (not cotton)
  • shorts or lightweight hiking trousers (preferably quick-dry)
  • polypro/thermals – top & bottom
  • long sleeve shirt (for sun protection)
  • 3 pairs of socks 
  • warm hat
  • sun hat, sunscreen and sunglasses
  • drink bottle (1 litre)
  • spare shoes or sandals
  • insect repellent
  • short-sleeved shirt (quick-dry, polypropylene or wool)
  • casual clothing for travel and evenings
  • gloves/mittens
  • togs (swimming costume)


Recommended items:
walking poles, camera, rain trousers.

We supply:
first aid kit, drinking water, safety equipment and maps.

Luggage:

We allow space for 120 litres per person (one large pack plus one day pack). You may be required to forward excess luggage if you exceed this. Any gear you do not need while hiking can be locked in the custom-built trailer. We highly recommend travel insurance.

Equipment Hire:
We can offer quality hiking equipment for use on your tour at no additional charge. We are able to supply fleece jacket, thermal top and bottom, raincoat, gaiters and walking poles. Requests for equipment must be made at least 5 days before the departure date.  

  Hire gear

5-7 day trip (NZ$)

  Fleece jacket

$20

  Thermal top and bottom

$20

  Raincoat

$20

  Walking pole (each)

$20

Additional Costs

Rotorua spa upgrade - facials, massage, mud therapy packages on the evening of day 4 in Rotorua.

Guides & Safety

An excellent guide can make the difference between a trip of a lifetime and just an ordinary trip. Our handpicked professionals come from a range of backgrounds. Each has extensive outdoor and hiking experience and a passion for New Zealand’s wild and beautiful backcountry. The guides will ensure that your trip is truly inspiring, a huge amount of fun and safe. All guides are trained in Mountain Safety First Aid. The trip will be flexible around the weather; we will use the advantage of small group travel to make the most of conditions. 

Booking Conditions

Payment:

For bookings four or more months in advance of the departure a 25% deposit can be paid with the remainder due 65 days prior to your trip.
For bookings within four months of the departure, full payment is required.


Cancellations:

More than 20 days prior to departure – 80% refund of full ticket price.
20 to 10 days prior to departure – 50% refund of full ticket price.
Less than 10 days prior to departure – NO REFUND. 

Travel Insurance

It is Highly recommended that clients take out comprehensive travel insurance (for things such as medical, damage or loss of gear, and missed onwards connections). When you are having adventures things get wet, things break, and things get left on the roof of the trailer! As Hiking New Zealand does not have insurance that covers these things, nor will we pay out even if it is our fault you would be wise to insure. We can recommend great insurance providers, and they can give you peace of mind on your holiday. This is our advise, the decision is yours! 

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