Hot Rocks New Zealand North Island Tour

Hot Rocks New Zealand North Island Tour

  • Auckland or Wellington
  • Auckland or Wellington
  • 9 or 10 days
  • 4.8 / 5.0 (102 reviews)
  • from NZD$1,638.00

Main Highlights

  • NZ cycle trail
  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing
  • Rotorua
  • Bay of Islands
  • Wellington
  • Kayaking
  • White/black water rafting
  • Te Papa Museum
  • Excellent bike rides
  • Sandboarding
  • Thermal pools
  • Accommodation by coasts, mountains & lakes
  • Maori cultural show
  • ....and many more


This full North Island tour covers all the cultural, activity and scenic highlights that make the North Island of New Zealand so unique.  From thermal wonders and Maori culture to golden coastlines and ancient Kauri forests there is something for everyone.  There are a few options to complete your 9 or 10 day loop but all include the following awesome highlights:

- Try the World's best one day walk: The Tongariro Crossing is highly rated as one of the World's best one day walks.  The variety of scenery is unmatched from lunar landscapes to turquoise pools - find out more here.

Travel like a local and experience Maori culture:   We are proud to be kiwi owned and operated.  One thing that makes our tours so unique is our focus on sharing our knowledge and passion for kiwi culture and heritage.  On this tour you will get the chance to learn and immerse yourself in the locations and history that shaped New Zealand.  From historic Maori buildings to the Haka and rock carvings we will share all our historic treasures with you.

- Wake up to spectacular views: This tour has an excellent mix of remote and more commercial campsites with cabin upgrades available most nights (typical cost is around $NZ15 per night).  You will get direct access to spectacular beaches, beautiful forests and also enjoy a big city fix with a couple of nights in the cities of Wellington and Auckland.

- Once in a lifetime activities:  Our tours are designed to enjoy as much adventure as you want.  Every day you will get the chance to choose your own combination of activities, hikes and bike rides.  Some of the activities available on this trip include zorbing, skydiving, black water rafting, kayaking, diving,  sandboarding, fishing, Maori cultural shows, glow worm cave tours, Weta workshops, Hobbiton, giant swing, zip line canyoning and much more.  Check our activity page for more details.

- Lord of the rings experiences:  Lord of the rings fans will be in their element on this tour.  We have an amazing optional visit to the other worldly Hobbiton + you can hike via Mount Doom and in Wellington there's the chance to visit the Weta workshop where you can get up close and personal with life sized sculptures.

- Great, free walks everyday:  We pass through a real diversity of landscapes on this tour and give you plenty of time to stretch your legs and explore.  From towering rainforests to golden beaches you will discover many of NZ's most celebrated landscapes - don't forget the camera!

- Excellent cycle options:  Bikes are available to hire on this tour & we'd highly recommend this option.  We have a range of rides (see itinerary for more details) but as always you choose the distances and terrains that suit you.  There are some excellent road rides and a highlight for many is the awesome off road tracks through the forests of Rotorua.  Bike hire costs just $NZ210 for the entire trip.

- Lots of free inclusions:  Everyone loves a freebie and this tour is crammed with them.  Some of our favourites include digging your own hot pool in the sand under the stars at Hot Water Beach, Wai-O-Tapu thermal park (featuring a number of exhilarating mud pools, geysers and sulphur pools) and the captivating National Museum of Te Papa to name a few.

tongariro crossing on tour

Tongariro Crossing by Camila Rutherford


- 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 just $NZ130.

- Food: Mealtimes are a big thing on our tours - we love and enjoy great food.  We cater for a wide range of dietary requirements and this tour includes 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 7 dinners.  

- Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland: Included in your tour price is a visit to Wai-o-tapu, New Zealand’s most colourful geo-thermal area, featuring unique volcanic activity, bubbling mud pools, and steaming geysers.

- Use of 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.

- Te Papa Museum:  The national museum of New Zealand is full of historical, geographical and cultural treasures.  Its a captivating and fascinating way to learn about the history or our country.

- Dig your own hot pools.  We head to hot water beach where you can dig your own hot pools by the ocean (spades provided!).

rotorua cycling on tour

Cycling in Rotorua by Julian Apse


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!


Campsites and Upgrades: It's the places we stay that make the trip so memorable for many of our clients. Nothing matches opening your tent to views of the Pacific ocean or dozing off to the sound of the waves. All have great facilities and there are cabin upgrades most nights if you fancy a break from the canvas. Cabin upgrades are subject to availability so please contact us prior to travel if you wish to book these in advance.

Hostels: 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 to give you easy access to the city centre. We have dorm beds reserved for everyone but if you would like a private room please contact us in advance as this will be subject to availability. Payment for your Auckland hostel is to be paid prior to travel directly to Flying Kiwi. Please contact us for prices and payment options.

For more useful information visit our how it works page.

  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 giving you the best access to explore the city. We have dorm beds reserved for everyone on board and private rooms can be booked subject to availability. Payment is to be made to Flying Kiwi prior to arrival into Auckland.

    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 from the thundering Haruru waterfalls. Our campsite is nestled next to the estuary 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, dolphin viewing, 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, kayaking, 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

2020-21 TOUR PRICES:

Book with Confidence! Snap up a great deal today and save 25% when travelling between October 2020 to April 2021. If needed, you can also change your start date, free of charge for travel up until April 2022!

Tour price $2185 EARLY BIRD
$1,638 NZD
Bike hire $245
Bring your own bike $110
Single tent upgrade $130
Sleeping bag hire $75



Please note: Due to Covid-19 we have a reduced number of departures for our 2020-2021 season. 

MonthDeparture Dates
November '20       21st
December '20     18th
January '21 14th
February '21 10th
March '21 9th



Please note: Due to Covid-19 we have a reduced number of departures for our 2020-2021 season. 

MonthDeparture Dates
November '20 24th
December '20 21st
January '21 17th
February '21 13th
March '21 12th



Please note: Due to Covid-19 we have a reduced number of departures for our 2020-2021 season. 

MonthDeparture Dates
December '20 16th
January '21 12th
February '21 8th
March '21 7th
Show nearby:

Trip Reviews

  • Had a brilliant time, enjoyed it immensely, meet great people and of course the first days with only 4 people were such a luxury!

    , travelled Hot Rocks New Zealand North Island Tour on 01/11/2020

  • The friendly environment makes New Zealand landscape better, with a shared experience that is really awesome and has not equal (for what is my experience) in he rest of the world.

    , travelled Hot Rocks New Zealand North Island Tour on 01/11/2018

  • Flying Kiwi was one of the best travel experiences of my life! I am already planning to book another trip with you guys and will be recommending you to all my friends :)

    , travelled Hot Rocks New Zealand North Island Tour on 02/11/2019

  • I loved my experience in New Zealand. I will be coming back to do the South Island.

    , travelled Hot Rocks New Zealand North Island Tour on 01/11/2018

  • The mixed ages of the tour group made for a great trip and very different to travelling I've done before. Also, as the biggest solo travelling trip I've done so far it was a great experience, massively helped by Aaron and Tara being so organized, always helping us and being a lot of fun to have as leaders of the tour. Thank you!

    , travelled Hot Rocks New Zealand North Island Tour on 07/12/2019