Hot Rocks New Zealand North Island Tour

Hot Rocks New Zealand North Island Tour

  • Auckland or Wellington
  • 9 or 10 days
  • Auckland or Wellington
  • from NZD$1,995.00
All Flying Kiwi New Zealand tour have guaranteed departures

Flying Kiwi Local's Tip

Mark - Flying Kiwi Guide
"Make the most of swimming opportunities in the North Island, the water is a little cooler down south!"

Hot Rocks North Island Tour - Overview

This full North Island loop the Hot Rocks tour gives you an awesome taste of why the North is so special. Dramatic thermal wonders, Maori culture, golden coastlines, ancient Kauri forests and inviting, turquoise water. You will be spoilt for choice with so much to see and do. What will be a major highlight will be the chance to enjoy one of the best one day walks in the World - The Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

There are plenty of other Hot Rocks highlights including kayaking or hiking to the iconic Cathedral Cove and digging your own hot pool in the sand under the stars at Hot Water Beach.

Your visit to Wai-O-Tapu thermal park (featuring a number of exhilarating mud pools, geysers and sulphur pools) won’t fail to delight. If you’re interested in our culture, Central North Island is a focal point, a visit to Tamaki village is a must! You’ll also have the chance to jump outside your comfort zone with adventurous activities such as zorbing, zip lining, skydiving and bungy jumping.. You can even bungy into a river. New Zealand is the best place to do it so go for it!

You’ll see plenty of diverse scenery ranging from stunning bush and coastal vistas to the impressive Lake Taupo (the Southern Hemisphere’s largest lake). Be blown away with volcanic mountains in the distance including the symmetrical and spiritual Mount Taranaki as well as our celebrity figure, Mt Doom! You can check out thousands of glow worms at Waitomo and black water raft there or enjoy the rural walks or bike rides on offer. You won’t be able to avoid sheep, we have over 30 million woolly friends with a lot of them residing in the North Island!

The Hot Rocks Tour is the perfect trip to experience these incredible features and culture which is the essence of the North Island!


As the Hot Rocks trip is a complete loop of the North Island it means you can start and finish your trip anywhere along the way. Your trip will then finish where you started. The 3 most popular trip options are:

  • Start and finish in Auckland - (South bound, 10 days): Heading south first, this leg takes you directly to the Coromandel and the golden beaches of the East Coast.
  • Start and finish in Auckland - (North bound, 9 days): Heading north first towards the Bay of Islands, you’ll have the option of a quick dip in the water at stunning Uretiti Beach before arriving at Paihia.
  • Start and finish in Wellington - (10 days): Leaving from Wellington we travel the scenic Kapiti Coast towards New Plymouth.

Customise Your Trip: It is possible to customise your trip by only travelling on certain sections of our routes - maybe you want to start in Auckland and finish in Wellington? Talk to our crew in the office about how we can create the perfect trip for you.


If you have extra time why not extend it with one of these great trips:

  • Summer Blast Tour - Explore the four corners of the Mainland on this complete South Island round trip. From the golden beaches of Abel Tasman to the blue ice of Fox Glacier you will get to immerse yourself and experience some of the finest natural wonders in the World. Most popular departure spots are Picton and Christchurch..
  • Southern Light Tour - If you don't have time for a full South Island tour but are keen to revel in a brilliant action packed adventure then check this one out. Starting in either Picton or Christchurch we enjoy the highlights of the South and wrap things up in the adrenalin capital - Queenstown!


We know New Zealand, and we want you to have the best possible experience. So, we have included the following in the Hot Rocks tour which we think shows off the very best:

  • Accommodation: A spacious, shared tent is included in the tour price, two people per tent. There is the option to upgrade to a single tent if you prefer for a small cost.
  • Food: Most meals are included and we can cater for a broad range of dietary requirements.
  • Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland:A visit to Wai-o-tapu which is New Zealand’s most colourful geo-thermal area featuring unique volcanic activity, bubbling mud pools, and steaming geysers.
  • Sports equipment: Bodyboards, frisbee and more depending upon the bus.
  • Hikes: Your chance to do the best one day alpine hike in NZ, the Tongariro Crossing (bus transfer not included) along with numerous short walk options. Let us show you secret spots off the main tourist trails including glow worm caves, 1,000 year old Kauri trees and the roaring Huka Falls.
  • Bike rides: If you have hired one of our bikes then our guides will point you in the direction of incredible daily rides including the chance to explore the many trails of the Rotorua Mountain Bike Park.


We take in many freebees such as access to the Tongariro National Park, dig your own thermal pool at Hot Water beach, Te Papa museum to name a few.

Our bike rides page and the hiking pages give you lots more detail into the rides and hikes our guides will show you along the way.

Our activities page above gives more detail on many of the free and optional activities that you might choose to do on your Hot Rocks tour and how it all works.


If you start your trip from Auckland (south first) or Wellington there will be one night in Auckland where camping isn’t feasible and we stay in a hostel (at your own cost). Your guide takes care of booking this for you and we have dorm beds reserved for everyone. If you would like a private room (subject to availability) please contact us to book this in advance. Payment is made direct to the hostel on check-in.

Please visit our How It Works page for everything you need to know.

  1. Departing Auckland at 10am we head to the Coromandel, renowned worldwide for its natural beauty, misty rainforests and pristine white, sandy beaches. The beautiful Coromandel Peninsula is just a short distance from Auckland but it feels like a different world! It only takes around two hours to reach the region but the volcanic hills, fern forests and stunning beaches make it an idyllic escape from the city. Locals and others are attracted by the endless white beaches, lovely turquoise waters and the great mix of architecture old and new.

    The peninsula is home to some of the most impressive coastlines in the country. We will be dropping you off at Hahei beach where you can make your way to Cathedral cove, here you will find an iconic limestone archway that sits right down at the beach. Take the coastal walkway or take in the coastline from the water while on one the best guided sea kayak trips in New Zealand.

    We will then travel a short distance to camp at Hot Water Beach. This beautiful beach offers a unique experience as geothermal water reservoirs under the ground bring hot water to the surface at low tide allowing you to dig your very own hot pool in the sand.

    • Meals: Dinner
    • Bike Rides: 8km road cycling
    • Walks and Hikes: Stunning coastal walk with views over the Pacific – distances vary
    • Optional Activities: Sea Kayaking
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx 3 hours
  2. Before heading south into the heart of the North Island (where you’ll be amazed by the natural wonderland that is Rotorua), we’ll drive the scenic route out of the Coromandel giving you an opportunity to explore by foot or pedals, the stunning Karagahake Gorge. If the sun is out, we’ll even have a delicious picnic lunch (kiwi styles) to break up the drive.Continuing south we drop off Hobbiton fans then it’s onto Rotorua where you can explore the city, the gardens, spas or take in some Maori Culture at the Tamaki Maori Village. Experience the only native forest zipline canopy tour in New Zealand, enjoy the thrills of OGO or the scenic gondola and luge. Take in the geothermal wonders with walks or relax in the hot pools. For cyclists there is the chance to enjoy a world class mountain bike park and the geothermal featured Te Ara Ahi cycle Trail.

    Bubbling mud pools, geysers and Maori culture are the main reasons that visitors head to the thermal resort of Rotorua. It is the oldest and most established thermal resort in the country and the ancestral home of the Te Arawa people who settled here over 600 years ago.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
    • Bike Rides: Peddle through subtropical forest, mining heritage and don’t forget your headlamp for the tunnels and bridges (trail ride)! In the afternoon, ride through Rotorua to a world class Mountain Bike Forest
    • Walks and Hikes: Enjoy an awesome little walk through Coromandel lush forest and explore early mining history through caves, tunnels and a pretty beautiful waterfall to complete a great walk!
    • Optional Activities: Hobbiton, Tamaki Maori Village, OGO, Luge, hot pools, Zipline Canopy Tour
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3-4 hours
  3. Leave camp for Wai-O-Tapu geothermal Wonderland before continuing on to the impressive Huka Falls. We then head to Taupo, nestled next to one of the largest crater lakes in the World with some great hiking and cycling opportunities. Taupo is also a great place for adventure with heaps of optional activities to choose from. Tonight we enjoy a camp near Tongariro National Park.

    This region is centred around Lake Taupo, NZ's largest lake at 619sq km - about the size of Singapore! The Lake is in a caldera created by the Taupo supervolcano some 26000 years ago and the area is still considered dormant today with moderate geothermal activity in the area such as the mud pools, hot springs and vents.  

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Ride an awesome single track from Huka Falls stopping in for a quick soak in a natural hot stream on your way into Taupo or grab the bike in the city for a cruisey ride around the edge of the lake.
    • Walks and Hikes: Follow the trail from an iconic waterfall alongside the mighty Waikato River winding past a natural hot spring that you can soak in followed by walking past a bungy jump watching adrenaline junkies dive into the river!
    • Optional Activities: Skydiving, bungy, giant swing, Wai-O-Tapu (free - this one is on us!)
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2 hours
  4. Experience one of NZ’s great walks, The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, rated as the best one day walk in the World . This dual listed World heritage area is set to inspire with towering mountains, turquoise lakes, sparkling rivers, lush rainforests and lunar landscapes. For those that don’t fancy the hike, take on some grade 3 whitewater rafting rapids, cycle, enjoy short walks or relax in this beautiful area with an awe-inspiring mountain backdrop. We then head south to our wonderful stunning beach camp – home to amazing coastal sunsets.

    The 80,000 hectare Tongariro National Park is a World Heritage Area, with its centrepiece Mount Ruapehu rising dramatically 2797m from the surrounding area. Next to Mt. Ruapehu are two smaller volcanic mountains - Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings) and Mount Tongariro, which is where you be hiking!

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: If you’re not doing the Tongariro Crossing, leave camp on a bike and head towards to the Tongariro River Trail. Cycle this loop, over bridges and past huts or a trout centre, keep an eye out for trout fishermen as this is the capital for trout fishing!
    • Walks and Hikes: The best one day hike in New Zealand! Traverse the Tongariro, steam vents, crater lakes and more!
    • Optional Activities: Tongariro Alpine Crossing, white water rafting (grade 3 rapids)
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 4 hours
  5. After a short journey to Wellington arriving there by 9am you will have a couple of hours to check out the sights of New Zealand’s beautiful capital city.

    Departing at 11am, travel up the scenic Kapiti Coast towards the Taranaki region – home to wonderful beaches, crashing waves and the spectacular Mount Taranaki, one of the most symmetrical volcanic cones in the world. Our campsite is beside the Taranaki coastline offering a short scenic walk or cycle to camp at the end of the day.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: the coastal walkway, easy path cycling from camp
    • Walks and Hikes: the coastal walkway from camp
    • Optional Activities: Te Papa Museum (free)
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 7 hours
  6. Early departure to the limestone wonderland of Waitomo Caves. The glow-worm (Arachnocampa luminosa) is unique to our shores and thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light through this network of caves. The black water rafting is a totally unique experience – sitting in your rubber ring, your experienced and knowledgeable guides will take you through a maze of underground caves and streams whose ceilings are coated in glow-worms that produce a radiant light to lead you through. There are a range of options to explore the caves, from walks to rafting, dependent upon your adrenalin levels. We take time to enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking farmland before heading to Auckland and a taste of big city life “kiwi style”. Auckland nightlife is second to none and it’s a great chance to join your group for a taste of the harbour bars and restaurants. Camping isn’t feasible in the heart of the country’s largest city so we will be staying in a great hostel with various room options giving you the best access to explore. This is payable locally and we have twin rooms reserved for everyone on board (twin / triple share from $39pp). If you would prefer a private room (from $72 - subject to availability) please contact us prior to your trip. For those that started their loop on the Auckland - Bay of Islands day this will be the last leg of your tour.

    Auckland is bordered by 2 harbours, Waitemata and Manukau and lies at the southern end of the Auckland Peninsula. Auckland is NZs largest city and the main gateway for all elements of commerce, tourism and industry. Although this is the largest urban area its also has great beaches, excellent shopping and the buzzing nightlife and culture you'd hope for in a large city. Auckland is also known as the City of Sails and this has been added to with the America’s Cup event regularly held here.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
    • Bike Rides: If you’re not doing any Waitomo activities, jump on a bike and enjoy a countryside road ride into Waitomo. You’ll be riding through the Waikato District, home to many four legged wooly friends, sheep!
    • Walks and Hikes: Enjoy a trail walk taking you through forest in Waitomo to caves and a lookout overlooking the Waitomo district.
    • Optional Activities: Blackwater rafting, glowworm cave tour
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 4-5 hours
  7. We leave the City of Sails (Auckland) at 10am heading north to the golden beaches and warm waters of the Bay of Islands. On route we take time for a break, and a quick swim for those that are keen, at beautiful Uretiti beach. It’s a great place to relax and make use of the Frisbee, football and rugby ball on board. We then head to the historically significant town of Paihia, the main gateway for the Bay of Islands before doing a highly recommend mangrove walk to the thundering Haruru waterfalls. Our campsite is nestled next to the river and we will be spending 2 nights here giving you time to explore the best of the Bay.

    • Meals: Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Forest trail rides that will give you views of the Bay of Islands, good exercise and go past the Haruru Waterfalls.
    • Walks and Hikes: A great afternoon walk taking you past mangroves, over boardwalks, through forest before ending at the Haruru Waterfalls. A beautiful walk and highly recommended!
    • Optional Activities: Waitangi Treaty House (Maori culture), twilight kayaking
    • Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 4 hours
  8. Experience a full day exploring the Bay of Islands and its turquoise waters. This subtropical region is the perfect playground for water lovers and a great place to soak up the sunshine. With a staggering 144 islands, the Bay of Islands offers swimming, sailing, parasailing, dolphin swimming, kayaking plus much more along with some excellent walks in the native forests. This region is also home to some of the oldest European settlements in New Zealand.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: If not doing an activity hop on a bike to explore Paihia
    • Walks and Hikes: If not doing an activity walk into Paihia or take a trip over to the historic town of Russell
    • Optional Activities: Sailing, fishing, diving, dolphin swimming, kayaking, parasailing, Maori Culture
    • Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
    • Drive Distance: No driving today
  9. Today we cross the top of the north to the giant sand dunes of Opononi for beach fun and optional sand boarding. After time on the dunes we head to Waipoua Forest, home to the giant Kauri trees and a variety of scenic short walks and bike rides. We end the day heading down the Hibiscus Coast to our beachside camp at Orewa. Enjoy a tasty evening meal with a sea view before a spot of star gazing in the crystal-clear skies.

    The roads around this region pass through forest dominated by huge kauri trees. These tower above you at heights of up to 60 metres with a trunk five or more in diameter. These trees are slow growing and some are over 2000 years old. Beautiful Opononi is an excellent stop with its endless dunes lined by beautiful pohutakawa trees (the New Zealand Christmas tree).

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Ride through the Waipoua forest and the historic settlement of Donnelleys crossing and later on in the day there's a short casual ride around quiet estuary walkway
    • Walks and Hikes: Enjoy getting up close and personal as you walk through one of New Zealand’s largest remaining protected Kauri tree forests.
    • Optional Activities: Sand boarding
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3-4 hours
  10. Orewa is often blessed with a beautiful sunrise over the sea which is well worth an early start before we travel the short distance to Auckland arriving by 9:30am where we say our final farewells.

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: 8km – Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway
    • Optional Activities: Sand boarding, hot pools
    • Drive Distance: Approx 50 minutes

2018-2019 TOUR PRICES:

Tour price  $1,995 
Bike hire  $210
Bring your own bike              $65
Single tent upgrade  $90
Sleeping bag hire  $50



MonthDeparture Dates
October '18     16th 25th
November '18       3rd 12th 21st 30th
December '18       9th 18th 27th
January '19 5th 14th 23rd  
February '19 1st 10th 19th 28th
March '19   9th 18th 27th
April '19 5th      



MonthDeparture Dates
October '18      19th  28th
November '18                               6th       15th       24th     
December '18            3rd      12th         21st             30th      
January '19   8th 17th 26th 
February '19 4th 13th 22nd  
March '19 3rd 12th 21st 30th
April '19 8th      



MonthDeparture Dates
October '18       23rd
November '18                               1st        10th         19th            28th      
December '18   7th 16th 25th
January '19 3rd 12th 21st 30th
February '19   8th 17th 26th
March '19   7th 16th 25th
April '19 3rd      
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