ROTORUA WAITOMO TAUPO TOUR – TWO DAY TOUR FROM AUCKLAND
“Three of New Zealand’s top attractions in two days…”
Just a few hours south of Auckland lie some of New Zealand’s best natural wonders. Join us and experience the beauty of the Waitomo Caves, lake Taupo and views of the volcanic mountains beyond, the dramatic Huka falls. Then experience nature’s geothermal wonders at Wai-O-Tapu and Rotorua with our rich Maori culture. All at a relaxed pace with an overnight stay in four star accommodation.
Rotorua Waitomo Taupo Tour
Visit three very special and very different places in our two day small group tour from Auckland.
Day One, we head south from Auckland, guided by New Zealand’s longest river, the Waikato. After passing the sacred mountain at Taupiri that watches over the home of the Maori king, our journey leads us to the Waitomo Valley, gateway to the celebrated caves.
Here in the company of a local guide you leave the beaten track to follow a winding trail through back country farmland. The glow-worm caves offer impressive limestone formations including many stalactites, stalagmites and fossils. Within the caves, a gentle boat ride takes you silently down a peaceful underground stream lit only by the millions of tiny glow-worms lining the walls and roof of the cave. Truly awe-inspiring. Lonely Planet calls the Waitomo Caves a ‘must do’, and you’ll soon understand why.
Our southeast direction sees us climb North Island’s rugged central plateau to Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. Taupo township, once a village, is now a cosmopolitan town with excellent shops, cafés and restaurants. On arrival in Taupo we pause at the lookout for panoramic views over the town and lake to the mountains beyond. We continue on to the bungee jump site – you don’t have to jump but the scenery is beautiful here – its on the headwaters of the Waikato River and is one of the prettiest stretches of the river. In Taupo your guide can pre-arrange one of these activities for you (at an extra cost): The Barbary Cruise – a sunset sailing cruise to visit lakeside Maori rock carvings – is highly recommended in summer. Other options include: tandem skydiving; bungee jumping or jet boating. Or, simply check-in to your lakeside hotel and enjoy the view as the sun sets on the crystal clear lake and the snow-capped peaks of Tongariro National Park.
Day Two begins with a short drive to the dramatic Huka Falls – known to Maori as Hukanui, meaning ‘great body of spray’. Here the Waikato River squeezes through a natural chasm before exploding in a torrent of foam and spray.
Winding north through pine forests we are soon greeted by the billowing steam of Wai-O-Tapu. Meaning Sacred Waters, Wai-O-Tapu is the most colourful and varied thermal area in the region and is home to the beautiful Champagne Pool, the Artist’s Palette and the Lady Knox Geyser. During an easy 1-1½ hour walk on gently graded boardwalks, you’ll witness nature’s fiery geothermal spirit: bubbling mud pools, steaming ground, thermal pools in may colours, large volcanic craters and silica terraces.
From Wai-O-Tapu, it’s north to Rotorua and the living Maori village at Whakarewarewa. Unlike some ‘stage managed’ experiences, Whakarewarewa is home to a Maori community that has lived there for generations. Here, on a guided 1-hour tour, a resident will explain how locals harness the area’s geothermal power, and use its steam for everything from cooking to heating and washing. You’ll then be treated to an authentic Maori cultural performance where, in a wonderfully informal setting, you’ll be introduced to Maori song, ritual and storytelling, culminating in the world famous haka.
Later, we reach the shores of Lake Rotorua with its view of Mokoia Island. Here you can choose between a soak in the lakeside geothermal pools of the Polynesian Spa, a guided tour of the fabulous Rotorua Museum or simply relax by the picturesque lake or browse for souvenirs.
Finally we return to Auckland, arriving back in the early evening.
Rotorua Waitomo Taupo Tour – Highlights
- Glow Worm cave tour, with subterranean boat ride
- Lake Taupo and optional activities
(Barbary Cruise to the lakeside Rock Carvings highly recommended in Summer)
- Huka Falls
- Lady Knox Geyser
- Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
- Whakarewarewa – ‘The Thermal Village’
- Traditional Maori Hangi Lunch
- Maori Cultural Performance
- Lake Rotorua
- Either Polynesian Spa or Rotorua Museum
- Government Gardens
Operates: Daily except 25th & 26th December
Price: $745 per person, twin-share accommodation (single supplement $80)
Children 3-12 years: $395
All prices in New Zealand dollars
Price includes accommodation, breakfast and hangi lunch on day 2, and entrance fees for all activities listed in the Highlights.
Dinner and other meals at own cost. Optional extra activities at own cost.
Times: Central Auckland pick-up approximately 7am and return 7pm the next day
Note: Bring or hire swim wear for the Polynesian Spa. Tell us if you want to pre-book extra activities in Taupo