Skip to contentSkip to menu

12 Day Bucket List Walk - Lodge Based

Days
12

Pricing From
$4950

Difficulty

Book Now

Overview

This is a walking holiday unlike any other! Discover all the best that the North Island of New Zealand has to offer in terms of natural beauty and diversity as you comfortably tour the region in style. The terrain ranges from the magnificent Tongariro mountains to the thriving Waikaremoana forests and the Coromandel's dramatic coastlines. The local scenery will amaze you while the accommodation, meals and fine wine will make you feel right at home!

  • Join a small group & expert local New Zealand walking guide
  • 12 days / 11 nights New Zealand Walking Tour (11 days walking, 1 day for rest)
  • 4-7 hours walking each day on formed trails over different types of terrain
  • Carry nothing but a daypack

Fitness: Tour Grading: C

In most cases, the walking trails included in the Bucket List walk range from easy to moderate difficulty. They also vary from well-formed trails to less smooth tracks that include rocks, mud and tree roots. Some of the trails, like The Pinnacles and Tongariro Crossing Walks, are more challenging but there are easier trails too. In terms of your personal fitness level, you should be able to walk between 4 and 5 hours a day while carrying a daypack that holds your ater, lunch, a raincoat and jersey.

Cathedral Cove Coromandel Peninsula

Coromandel Peninsula

Lous Lookout Waikaremoana Walk

Waikaremoana Walk

Waterfals on Waikaremoana Walk

Rowboat on Lake Wakaremoana

Whirinaki Forest

Chilled Bubbles

Tongariro National Park Walk

Tongariro National Park Walk

Tongariro National Park Walk

Tongariro National Park

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Pick up Rotorua, Hike Waiomu Kauri Grove3-4 hours walking

(Lunch & Dinner)

Accommodation: Hush Cabins, Coromandel

We'll pick you up from Rotorua at approx. 8:30am, or Matamata at 9:30am. Warm up with a 4km hike to the top of Wairere Falls, and view the verdant Waikato basin from two lookouts over hanging 90 metres of thunderous waterfall. 

We continue north to explore the Waiomu Kauri Grove - this little known trail heads deep into a protected ecological reserve scattered with magnificent Kauri trees – New Zealand’s very own forest giants that grow up to 50 metres tall. Drive further up the Coromandel Peninsula in the late afternoon to reach our lovely accommodation, and watch the sunset from the verandah with a glass of wine or ice cold brew.

 

Day 2Coromandel Coastal Walkway6 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Hush Cabins, Coromandel

Enjoy a hearty breakfast in the alfresco dining area of the lodge, surrounded by native bush and birdsong.

We then head north to the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula to hike one of the best coastal walks in the country. We begin our hike at Stony Bay, a picture perfect isolated beach flanked by green hills and white sand. This historic trail follows an old bridle path once used by gold miners who populated the Coromandel region in colonial times.

The track passes through farmland and native bush to reach the remote and beautiful Poley Bay – a fantastic beach for a picnic! This stretch of coastline offers all the dramatic views that encapsulate the Coromandel.

Day 3Hike the Pinnacles5-7 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Accommodation: Hush Cabins, Coromandel

This morning we head south and enter the hidden world of the Kauaeranga Valley, home to the majestic Pinnacles range. The entire length of the Coromandel Peninsula was once a chain of volcanic cones. This chain has since been eroded and weathered to form the spectacular series of outcrops you see today. The Pinnacles trail climbs through re-generating kauri forest, passing one of NZ’s best preserved kauri dams, eventually cresting the top of the range to reach the Pinnacles Hut. From the hut, an optional scramble to the top of the Pinnacles rock formation rewards you with 360° views of the entire Coromandel Peninsula and beyond.

If the Pinnacles isn't your style and you would prefer a more relaxing day you have the option of staying in and exploring Coromandel Township. Highlights include the Driving Creek Railway, local artisan workshops, colourful cafes, and Kiwi culture. Take the time to relax in paradise. Tonight we dine in an award-winning local restaurant, where we’ll have a chance to sample some of the region’s best local food and wine.

Day 4Epic East Coast!2-3 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Rotorua Hotel

This morning we visit one of the top twenty beaches in the world, New Chums Beach. An unforgettable white sand, crescent moon-shaped beach, fringed by pohutukawa and nikau palms. Finding a secluded beach with no signs of man is an experience not to be missed! Note that this walk is dependent on tides.

We head into the laid-back coastal town Whitianga to catch a short ferry across the harbour and walk towards Shakespeare’s Cliff, which overlooks the beach where Captain Cook first set foot on New Zealand shores. Enjoy amazing views over Mercury Bay and Cooks Beach. We’ll stop for a picnic lunch above the spectacular Cathedral Cove, before walking down to the amazing natural archway - a must do for anyone coming to the Coromandel.

Drop-off approx. 6pm to your Rotorua Hotel, and enjoy dinner in the Hotel restaurant.

Day 5Hike Whirinaki Forest3-4 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Whakamarino Lodge

Pick-up from your Rotorua Hotel approx. 8:30am

We drive east, past the Kaiangaroa State forest, Mount Tarawera and into the heart of Te Urewera. Our first stop is the Whirinaki Dinosaur Forest, where we’ll hike through New Zealand’s most pristine podocarp forest with towering trees including giant totara, rimu, kahikatea and matai.

Keep an eye out for kaka (a large forest parrot) & whio (rare blue duck) along the way as they are known for frequenting the area. This hiking trail also skirts the moss-lined Whirinaki River canyon – one of the most picturesque rivers in New Zealand. After a picnic lunch we continue the incredible drive through the remote wilderness to Lake Waikaremoana, where we’ll settle in to our cosy lodge with pre-dinner drinks and nibbles on the lake shore.

Day 6Hike Panekire Bluffs, visit a Marae3-6 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Whakamarino Lodge

This morning we’ll begin our hike to the spectacular Panekire Bluffs that overlook Lake Waikaremoana. As we climb higher we’ll see the lush podocarp forest change into cloud forest with trees covered in fascinating hanging moss. Arriving at the Panekire bluffs, we are greeted with astounding views over Lake Waikaremoana and the endless forest-clad mountains of Te Urewera. What a place for a picnic!

If you’re looking for a challenge, there’s an option to continue hiking higher for a further 2 hours to reach the highest point of the Great Walk track to get views over not only the Lake, but out to the Pacific Coast, and even Mt Ruapehu on a clear day.

Before dinner we’ll visit a local marae for an informal chat with a local Maori elder. This is a great opportunity to get a real feel for the culture in this isolated area, where Maori is still the first language. (Note that because this is a genuine functioning marae occasionally we are unable to make this visit, due it being used by the community)

Day 7Hike to Lake Waikareiti3-5 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Whakamarino Lodge

After a hearty cooked breakfast we’ll stroll through impressive ancient beech forest up to the pristine Lake Waikareiti, which lies a further 300 metres in elevation above Lake Waikaremoana. Reached onlyby walking track, this lake is free of introduced aquatic plants and motorised boats, so has outstanding water clarity and is blissfully peaceful! If conditions allow we’ll explore this idyllic lake further by rowboat.

Later, we’ll return to Waikaremoana where there’s an option to walk to a dazzling clear fresh-water spring, or a hike through fern forest to explore the unusual Onepoto Caves. Another favourite walk follows the Aniwaniwa (definition = rainbow) River as it plunges over terraces and waterfalls on its journey to Lake Waikaremoana.

Day 8Lake Waikaremoana to Rotorua2-4 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Rotorua Hotel

This morning we’ll hike another section of the Great Walk Track. This stunning forest and lakeside trail traverses from a secluded arm of the lake through gorgeous tawa forest and across a peninsula, home to a Kiwi Recovery Program that is successfully increasing the numbers of our threatened national bird. After lunch we’ll continue to Rotorua, stopping for a soak in a natural hot spring under a canopy of native trees. Drop off to your Rotorua Hotel approx. 5-6pm. Tonight you will dine in one of Rotorua’s top restaurants.

Day 9Rest Day, travel to Tongariro

(Breakfast, Dinner)

Accommodation: The Chateau

Have a day at your leisure in Rotorua after a cooked breakfast in the Hotel’s restaurant. We’ll pick you up approx. 1:30pm and head south, past the shores of Lake Taupo and into Tongariro National Park. Become acquainted with the area and your guide with a short walk, before settling in to your stunning accommodation in time to watch the sun set over the magnificent Tongariro volcanoes with a glass of wine and nibbles, before a delicious restaurant meal.

Day 10Tongariro Alpine Crossing7-8 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: The Chateau

This morning we’ll set off on one of the world’s greatest one day hikes, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This trail leads us through an incredible variety of ethereal landscapes - lava fields, emerald coloured crater lakes, steaming vents, alpine meadows, over an alpine pass, amidst the stunning mountain peaks – there’s nothing like it anywhere else onthe planet! The views across to Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Ruapehu and the central plateau of the North Island are simply spectacular and worth every step!

Fair weather and a good level of fitness are required to undertake this hike. If conditions allow we will have an early start on the track, so we can enjoy the pre-dawn solitude of the mountains and watch the sunrise over the volcanoes – a truly magical experience!

Return to the Chateau and revive your weary muscles in the plunge pool and sauna, before meeting in the Chateau’s stylish lounge for pre-dinner aperitifs. Tonight we head out to a pub / restaurant for a casual meal with the locals.

Day 11Mt. Ruapehu Hikes5 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: The Chateau

Travel around the southern side of Mt Ruapehu to experience some of New Zealand’s rail history on the Old CoachRoad trail. Between 1906 to 1908 the road was used to carry passengers and goods by horse and coach, between two railheads on the main trunk line.

Heritage features on the trail include a unique cobbled road, massive steel viaducts, a curved tunnel, railway bridge remains, and old campsites. The 15km walk takes around 5 hours, and also passes through some beautiful stands of native forest with sweeping views across the district.

If conditions allow we will explore the dramatic, rock-strewn landscapes higher up Mt Ruapehu. At 2797 metres above sea level, the North Island’s highest mountain offers jaw-dropping views over the National Park with various hiking options or catch a chair-lift up to NZ’s highest café. Tonight we enjoy a final celebration dinner in The Chateau’s elegant Ruapehu Restaurant.

Day 12Rainforest and Waterfalls, Drop off Taupo or Rotorua3-4 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch)

After breakfast we pack up and explore more of Tongariro National Park with a walk to Taranaki Falls. Tumbling 20 metres over the edge of an old lava flow, which erupted from Mt Ruapehu 15,000 years ago, the falls plunge into a boulder-ringed pool. The track passes through an interesting range of alpine meadows and beech forest, with expansive views of the mountains. Then hike around the glistening Lake Rotopounamu, a stunning jewel of a lake nestled in the side of an old volcanic mountain and totally fringed by native forest.

Approx. drop-off times: Taupo (4-5pm) or Rotorua (5-6pm)

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Pick up Rotorua, Hike Waiomu Kauri Grove3-4 hours walking

(Lunch & Dinner)

Accommodation: Hush Cabins, Coromandel

We'll pick you up from Rotorua at approx. 8:30am, or Matamata at 9:30am. Warm up with a 4km hike to the top of Wairere Falls, and view the verdant Waikato basin from two lookouts over hanging 90 metres of thunderous waterfall. 

We continue north to explore the Waiomu Kauri Grove - this little known trail heads deep into a protected ecological reserve scattered with magnificent Kauri trees – New Zealand’s very own forest giants that grow up to 50 metres tall. Drive further up the Coromandel Peninsula in the late afternoon to reach our lovely accommodation, and watch the sunset from the verandah with a glass of wine or ice cold brew.

 

Day 2Coromandel Coastal Walkway6 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Hush Cabins, Coromandel

Enjoy a hearty breakfast in the alfresco dining area of the lodge, surrounded by native bush and birdsong.

We then head north to the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula to hike one of the best coastal walks in the country. We begin our hike at Stony Bay, a picture perfect isolated beach flanked by green hills and white sand. This historic trail follows an old bridle path once used by gold miners who populated the Coromandel region in colonial times.

The track passes through farmland and native bush to reach the remote and beautiful Poley Bay – a fantastic beach for a picnic! This stretch of coastline offers all the dramatic views that encapsulate the Coromandel.

Day 3Hike the Pinnacles5-7 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Accommodation: Hush Cabins, Coromandel

This morning we head south and enter the hidden world of the Kauaeranga Valley, home to the majestic Pinnacles range. The entire length of the Coromandel Peninsula was once a chain of volcanic cones. This chain has since been eroded and weathered to form the spectacular series of outcrops you see today. The Pinnacles trail climbs through re-generating kauri forest, passing one of NZ’s best preserved kauri dams, eventually cresting the top of the range to reach the Pinnacles Hut. From the hut, an optional scramble to the top of the Pinnacles rock formation rewards you with 360° views of the entire Coromandel Peninsula and beyond.

If the Pinnacles isn't your style and you would prefer a more relaxing day you have the option of staying in and exploring Coromandel Township. Highlights include the Driving Creek Railway, local artisan workshops, colourful cafes, and Kiwi culture. Take the time to relax in paradise. Tonight we dine in an award-winning local restaurant, where we’ll have a chance to sample some of the region’s best local food and wine.

Day 4Epic East Coast!2-3 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Rotorua Hotel

This morning we visit one of the top twenty beaches in the world, New Chums Beach. An unforgettable white sand, crescent moon-shaped beach, fringed by pohutukawa and nikau palms. Finding a secluded beach with no signs of man is an experience not to be missed! Note that this walk is dependent on tides.

We head into the laid-back coastal town Whitianga to catch a short ferry across the harbour and walk towards Shakespeare’s Cliff, which overlooks the beach where Captain Cook first set foot on New Zealand shores. Enjoy amazing views over Mercury Bay and Cooks Beach. We’ll stop for a picnic lunch above the spectacular Cathedral Cove, before walking down to the amazing natural archway - a must do for anyone coming to the Coromandel.

Drop-off approx. 6pm to your Rotorua Hotel, and enjoy dinner in the Hotel restaurant.

Day 5Hike Whirinaki Forest3-4 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Whakamarino Lodge

Pick-up from your Rotorua Hotel approx. 8:30am

We drive east, past the Kaiangaroa State forest, Mount Tarawera and into the heart of Te Urewera. Our first stop is the Whirinaki Dinosaur Forest, where we’ll hike through New Zealand’s most pristine podocarp forest with towering trees including giant totara, rimu, kahikatea and matai.

Keep an eye out for kaka (a large forest parrot) & whio (rare blue duck) along the way as they are known for frequenting the area. This hiking trail also skirts the moss-lined Whirinaki River canyon – one of the most picturesque rivers in New Zealand. After a picnic lunch we continue the incredible drive through the remote wilderness to Lake Waikaremoana, where we’ll settle in to our cosy lodge with pre-dinner drinks and nibbles on the lake shore.

Day 6Hike Panekire Bluffs, visit a Marae3-6 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Whakamarino Lodge

This morning we’ll begin our hike to the spectacular Panekire Bluffs that overlook Lake Waikaremoana. As we climb higher we’ll see the lush podocarp forest change into cloud forest with trees covered in fascinating hanging moss. Arriving at the Panekire bluffs, we are greeted with astounding views over Lake Waikaremoana and the endless forest-clad mountains of Te Urewera. What a place for a picnic!

If you’re looking for a challenge, there’s an option to continue hiking higher for a further 2 hours to reach the highest point of the Great Walk track to get views over not only the Lake, but out to the Pacific Coast, and even Mt Ruapehu on a clear day.

Before dinner we’ll visit a local marae for an informal chat with a local Maori elder. This is a great opportunity to get a real feel for the culture in this isolated area, where Maori is still the first language. (Note that because this is a genuine functioning marae occasionally we are unable to make this visit, due it being used by the community)

Day 7Hike to Lake Waikareiti3-5 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Whakamarino Lodge

After a hearty cooked breakfast we’ll stroll through impressive ancient beech forest up to the pristine Lake Waikareiti, which lies a further 300 metres in elevation above Lake Waikaremoana. Reached onlyby walking track, this lake is free of introduced aquatic plants and motorised boats, so has outstanding water clarity and is blissfully peaceful! If conditions allow we’ll explore this idyllic lake further by rowboat.

Later, we’ll return to Waikaremoana where there’s an option to walk to a dazzling clear fresh-water spring, or a hike through fern forest to explore the unusual Onepoto Caves. Another favourite walk follows the Aniwaniwa (definition = rainbow) River as it plunges over terraces and waterfalls on its journey to Lake Waikaremoana.

Day 8Lake Waikaremoana to Rotorua2-4 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Rotorua Hotel

This morning we’ll hike another section of the Great Walk Track. This stunning forest and lakeside trail traverses from a secluded arm of the lake through gorgeous tawa forest and across a peninsula, home to a Kiwi Recovery Program that is successfully increasing the numbers of our threatened national bird. After lunch we’ll continue to Rotorua, stopping for a soak in a natural hot spring under a canopy of native trees. Drop off to your Rotorua Hotel approx. 5-6pm. Tonight you will dine in one of Rotorua’s top restaurants.

Day 9Rest Day, travel to Tongariro

(Breakfast, Dinner)

Accommodation: The Chateau

Have a day at your leisure in Rotorua after a cooked breakfast in the Hotel’s restaurant. We’ll pick you up approx. 1:30pm and head south, past the shores of Lake Taupo and into Tongariro National Park. Become acquainted with the area and your guide with a short walk, before settling in to your stunning accommodation in time to watch the sun set over the magnificent Tongariro volcanoes with a glass of wine and nibbles, before a delicious restaurant meal.

Day 10Tongariro Alpine Crossing7-8 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: The Chateau

This morning we’ll set off on one of the world’s greatest one day hikes, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This trail leads us through an incredible variety of ethereal landscapes - lava fields, emerald coloured crater lakes, steaming vents, alpine meadows, over an alpine pass, amidst the stunning mountain peaks – there’s nothing like it anywhere else onthe planet! The views across to Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Ruapehu and the central plateau of the North Island are simply spectacular and worth every step!

Fair weather and a good level of fitness are required to undertake this hike. If conditions allow we will have an early start on the track, so we can enjoy the pre-dawn solitude of the mountains and watch the sunrise over the volcanoes – a truly magical experience!

Return to the Chateau and revive your weary muscles in the plunge pool and sauna, before meeting in the Chateau’s stylish lounge for pre-dinner aperitifs. Tonight we head out to a pub / restaurant for a casual meal with the locals.

Day 11Mt. Ruapehu Hikes5 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: The Chateau

Travel around the southern side of Mt Ruapehu to experience some of New Zealand’s rail history on the Old CoachRoad trail. Between 1906 to 1908 the road was used to carry passengers and goods by horse and coach, between two railheads on the main trunk line.

Heritage features on the trail include a unique cobbled road, massive steel viaducts, a curved tunnel, railway bridge remains, and old campsites. The 15km walk takes around 5 hours, and also passes through some beautiful stands of native forest with sweeping views across the district.

If conditions allow we will explore the dramatic, rock-strewn landscapes higher up Mt Ruapehu. At 2797 metres above sea level, the North Island’s highest mountain offers jaw-dropping views over the National Park with various hiking options or catch a chair-lift up to NZ’s highest café. Tonight we enjoy a final celebration dinner in The Chateau’s elegant Ruapehu Restaurant.

Day 12Rainforest and Waterfalls, Drop off Taupo or Rotorua3-4 hours walking

(Breakfast, Lunch)

After breakfast we pack up and explore more of Tongariro National Park with a walk to Taranaki Falls. Tumbling 20 metres over the edge of an old lava flow, which erupted from Mt Ruapehu 15,000 years ago, the falls plunge into a boulder-ringed pool. The track passes through an interesting range of alpine meadows and beech forest, with expansive views of the mountains. Then hike around the glistening Lake Rotopounamu, a stunning jewel of a lake nestled in the side of an old volcanic mountain and totally fringed by native forest.

Approx. drop-off times: Taupo (4-5pm) or Rotorua (5-6pm)

Similar Tours

3 Day Motatapu Track Guided Hiking
3 Day Motatapu Track Guided Hiking

Read more

3 Day Mount Somers Circuit Guided Hike
3 Day Mount Somers Circuit Guided Hike

Read more

4 or 6 Day Wangapeka Track Hike: Kahurangi National Park
4 or 6 Day Wangapeka Track Hike: Kahurangi National Park

Read more

Rock Peak Morning Guided Hike
Rock Peak Morning Guided Hike

Read more