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8 Day Ultimate North Kiwi Style Hiking

Up to 79 kms hiking

Days
8

Pricing From
$2500

Difficulty

Book Now

Overview

10% discount all departures in October and November 2019.

Use the discount code "SPRINGUN" in the comments section of the booking form.

(Booking must be received before 31 August 2019 and can not be used in conjunction with any other offer.)

For those who have a little less time but want to experience the very best that the North Island of New Zealand can offer the Ultimate North Kiwi Style Hiking tour is the ideal choice. Hike lake trails and explore thermal areas in Rotorua. Trek the best sections of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk deep in the magical rainforests of Te Urewera National Park. Relax in lodges in beautiful locations.

Discover the surreal volcanic wonderland of Tongariro National Park, climbing volcanoes and staying high above the world in an alpine hut. The Ultimate North Kiwi Style Hiking trip has many short hikes and two overnight hikes using backcountry huts. 

Tour Grading: D

  • Average 4-5 hours physical activity per day, up to 8-9 hours on longer days.
  • Pack weights of 10-12kgs* (22-26lbs) on some days (1,2, 5, 6 and 7).
  • Altitude gains of up to 800m (2600ft) per day.
  • Some uneven track surfaces and river crossings.
  • No multi-day hiking experience necessary.
  • Agility and fitness required.
  • You need to be reasonably fit and enthusiastic.
  • Terrain mostly tracks. Some may be slippery or rough; some off-track hiking and river crossings.

*Will vary depending on the weight of personal discretional items.

Please read our General Information guide on Hiking Safaris.

Sunrise in New Zealand

Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk

Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park

Ultimate North Hiking

Oturere Hut

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Auckland - Whirinaki11 kms/3 hours hiking (L,D)

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. We either camp or stay in the nearby hut with an evening campfire and time to enjoy the surrounds. Includes lunch and dinner.

Day 2Whirinaki - Te Urewera16km/5 hours hiking (B,L,D)

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. We usually stay in the simple cabins but occasionally camp. Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 3Lake Waikaremoana17km/8 hours hiking (B,L,D)

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. Enjoy a second night at the cabins (occasionally we camp). Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 4Lake Waikaremoana - Taupo4km/2 hours hiking (B,L)

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. Includes breakfast and lunch.

Day 5Tongariro National Park15km/6 hours hiking (B,L,D)

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. Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 6Tongariro8-15km/3-8 hours hiking (B,L,D)

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. We usually sleep in the hut, but sometimes we camp. Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 7Tongariro12km/6 hours hiking (B,L)

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. Includes breakfast and lunch.

Day 8Tongariro - Wellington1km/1-2 hours hiking (B)

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. Includes breakfast.

Note: Returning to Auckland by bus or train? Contact us for the latest timetable information.

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.
  • Deposits are not refunded.

Travel Insurance:
It is suggested that clients take out comprehensive travel insurance.

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Auckland - Whirinaki11 kms/3 hours hiking (L,D)

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. We either camp or stay in the nearby hut with an evening campfire and time to enjoy the surrounds. Includes lunch and dinner.

Day 2Whirinaki - Te Urewera16km/5 hours hiking (B,L,D)

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. We usually stay in the simple cabins but occasionally camp. Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 3Lake Waikaremoana17km/8 hours hiking (B,L,D)

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. Enjoy a second night at the cabins (occasionally we camp). Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 4Lake Waikaremoana - Taupo4km/2 hours hiking (B,L)

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. Includes breakfast and lunch.

Day 5Tongariro National Park15km/6 hours hiking (B,L,D)

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. Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 6Tongariro8-15km/3-8 hours hiking (B,L,D)

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. We usually sleep in the hut, but sometimes we camp. Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 7Tongariro12km/6 hours hiking (B,L)

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. Includes breakfast and lunch.

Day 8Tongariro - Wellington1km/1-2 hours hiking (B)

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. Includes breakfast.

Note: Returning to Auckland by bus or train? Contact us for the latest timetable information.

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