New Zealand Trails

5-21 day, all-inclusive, guided adventure tours

Intro Map Itinerary Reviews Dates Activity Level FAQs

New Zealand North Island Tour - Sweet North

Another New Zealand is calling... Complete your New Zealand North Island hiking adventure.

Experience another side of New Zealand on our Sweet North trip – our New Zealand North Island tour. Vastly different from the South, and spectacular in its own right, New Zealand’s North Island is an incredible destination. This trip is designed for people who want to immerse themselves in Māoritanga (Māori culture and traditions), experience the natural geothermal wonders of the North Island, explore Tongariro National Park and the white sands beaches of Coromandel.

In glorious contrast to the glacial lakes and snow-capped mountains of the South, the North Island of New Zealand is a land of bubbling geothermal activity, lush forests and golden beaches. Designed as a standalone trip, the Sweet North is also the perfect complement to any of our South Island tours. Combine both North and South for the ultimate New Zealand experience. After all, why come all this way if you’re only going to see half of what’s here?

Activity Level 2 to 3: Designed for you to have maximum flexibility. You can scale your activity level up to a 3 or down to a 2 every day so you can enjoy New Zealand at a pace that's right for you. Walk on well-formed tracks and enjoy a mixture of day walks and activities that showcase the best of New Zealand. Click here for a full breakdown of the Sweet North activity level.

Trip StyleThroughout the trip you’ll enjoy delicious home-cooked and restaurant meals to fuel you for the adventurous days of walking and activities, and sleep soundly at night in comfortable ensuite accommodation that we have chosen specifically for their fantastic locations.

 

Click here to download the Sweet North itinerary

5 Days

North
ISLAND

map
Starts

Auckland

Finishes

Auckland

Activity level 2 - 3

Accommodation

Very comfortable lodging

Price
NZD$6599 NZD$6599 AUD$4999 USD$3499.00 +tax GBP£3199 CAD$4599.00 +tax
ALL INCLUSIVE!

Enquire Book now

Sweet North Route Map

SN MAP2

Sweet North Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day

1

Arrive Auckland
Hike Matahuru Valley

Includes

Lunch
Dinner

Meals
Activities
Walking Sightseeing Wildlife
Accommodation

Coromandel

1 Matahuru Valley Walk mountains
Matahuru Valley Waikato3 Guests on Matahuru Valley Walk2

Day 1 – Arrive Auckland and explore Matahuru Valley

Welcome to the New Zealand's North Island, New Zealand's beating cultural heart. A vibrant and diverse landscape made up of active geothermal areas, dormant volcanoes, pristine beaches, immense forests and subterranean wonders. After meeting your guide and fellow travellers in Auckland, we’ll head south to the rolling green hills of the Waikato to enjoy exclusive access to Matahuru Valley. 

Matahuru Valley

Today we've secured exclusive access to the combined land of three private farms. As we explore the lush fertile landscape of the Waikato region, stopping for a delicious picnic lunch, you'll have the chance to get to know your fellow travellers and soak in the spectacular views across Matahuru Valley.

Tonight we stay at Beachside Resort, Whitianga*

Day

2

Cathedral Cove
Kayak & Explore Coromandel

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Meals
Activities
Sightseeing Kayaking
Accommodation

Rotorua

kayak day on sweet north tour
Travel New Zealand North Island with kayaking in Cathedral Cove Cathedral Cove kayaking on New Zealand North Island tours

Day 2 – Kayak Cathedral Cove & Explore Hot Water Beach

This morning we’ll travel the short distance along the Coromandel coastline to Hahei and get ready to paddle through tantalisingly turquoise waters out to Cathedral Cove. We’ll then take some time to explore the world-famous Hot Water Beach. Later this afternoon we'll make our way down to Rotorua, a rich cultural hub and geothermal wonderland where we'll spend the night.

Kayak Cathedral Cove

We’ll paddle our way through the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve exploring ancient sea caves and rock gardens along the way. Our destination is Cathedral Cove, accessible only by foot, boat or kayak, this natural rock archway joins two secluded coves shaded by magnificent pohutukawa trees.  

Explore Hot Water Beach

This afternoon we head to world-renowned Hot Water Beach, famous for the warm geothermal waters that sit just under the sand. Enjoy a stroll along this gorgeous coastline and dip your toes in the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. If the tides are right, you can experience the natural hot springs bubbling up through the sand, a true-blue Kiwi experience.

Tonight we stay at Distinction Rotorua*

Day

3

Rotorua
Maori Culture & Huka Falls

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Meals
Activities
Walking Geothermal MaoriCulture
Accommodation

Taupo

2. Guests walking through Redwoods
Te Puia Poi Sweet North geyser

Day 3 – Maori Culture, Geothermal Wonderland and Redwoods Hike

Set in a ‘land of lakes’, the bubbling mud pools, spewing geysers and rising steam give Rotorua an otherworldly quality. This morning we'll visit the Whakarewarewa Māori Village where we will see the Māori values of manaakitanga (hospitality) and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) on display. We'll also get to witness the geothermal wonderland that the Te Whakarewarewa valley is famous for and enjoy a hāngi (a traditional Māori feast) together. Before travelling south to Taupō, we’ll pop our hiking boots on and walk amongst the jaw-dropping Redwood forest on the outskirts of Rotorua. We’ll be staying in Taupō for the next two nights.

Geothermal Wonderland & Maori Culture Experience

Whakarewarewa is the legacy and home of the Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao people, who have been sharing their unique way of life with visitors from all around the world for over two hundred years. See the boiling hot pools and bubbling mud, and learn how the Maori residents utilise and respect the ever-changing forces beneath their land.

Redwoods Hike & Huka Falls

Before leaving Rotorua we’ll stop by the Whakarewarewa forest to walk amongst the magnificent Redwoods. It’s an easy walk alongside these gentle giants that originate from California! After travelling south towards Taupo we’ll stop by the legendary Huka Falls and you’ll get to witness first hand the phenomenal power of this 11 metre high waterfall.

Tonight we stay at Anchorage Resort*

Day

4

Tongariro National Park
Explore Tongariro National Park

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Meals
Activities
Hiking
Accommodation

Taupo

6 tangariro national park hikes
6 tangariro crossing hiking nz View of Mt Ngauruhoe when hiking in New Zealand North Island

Day 4 – Explore Tongariro National Park

Tongariro is New Zealand’s oldest national park and boasts dual World Heritage site status, acknowledged for both its cultural and natural significance. Today you'll explore this moonlike landscape and discover the beauty and wonder of this incredible National Park. 

We'll spend the morning on one of our favourite sections of the Tongariro Crossing before exploring the heart of the National Park itself. You'll experience the diverse landscape, have options to explore other short walks and learn of the park's history and cultural significance from your expert local guides. This afternoon you'll have the option to walk to Taranaki Falls or enjoy some free time to explore the National Park and Whakapapa Village. 

Tonight we stay at Anchorage Resort again*

Day

5

Waitomo Caves
Glowworms

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch

Meals
Activities
Caving Sightseeing
Accommodation

Today we finish in Auckland

Spellbound Cave Tour on your New Zealand North Island itinerary
New Zealand North Island at Spellbound Cave Hiking New Zealand North Island to see glow worms in Spellbound Cave

Day 5 –Waitomo Caves & Finish in Auckland

It may be the last day of your Sweet North trip, but it’ll be one to remember as we explore the hidden depths of Waitomo, marvelling at the limestone formations, crystal tapestries and thousands of glowworms that illuminate the cave system. We’ll then make our way back to Auckland where we’ll say our farewells. If you’re heading down to the South Island to join us on another trip, we’ll help with a smooth transition.

Spellbound Waitomo Caves

The last activity of our trip is a truly magical one! We’ll visit two vastly different caves and learn all about their formation. Stepping onto a raft, you’ll be transported into a unique environment where it seems the night sky is always shining. With glow worms galore you will marvel at the constellations they seem to create! In the next cave you will slowly wander through whilst gazing at these wonderful creatures that are only found here in New Zealand!

Finish in Auckland

After emerging from underground, we’ll enjoy our last lunch together before hitting the road back to Auckland, allowing plenty of time to happily reminisce about the last five days. New friends and wonderful experiences have had their share in creating a tonne of memories to last you all the way home and beyond.

We’re happy to drop you at the airport or at your Auckland accommodation. We recommend that you combine this trip with one of our South Island itineraries to enjoy the complete New Zealand experience. The Sweet North trip works particularly well in conjunction with the Pure South, if you're short on time, or any of our longer South Island trips if you really want to leave no stone unturned.

*For logistical reasons, we may make small changes to our itineraries or accommodation from time to time.

Don’t take our word for it...

SUE 1001
Fantastic! Amazing, awesome, incredible! Both North and South combined were among the best trips I've ever done. The itinerary was well-designed, hikes and activities were great (I'm running out of superlatives), fellow travellers added to the enjoyment, and we lucked out on the weather. I couldn't have asked for anything more.
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Sue Loring (Sweet North, November 23)

Star
Barbara Bauman 1001
I loved, loved, loved my opportunity to travel to New Zealand. You have a beautiful and amazing country that I highly respect. The beauty that surrounded us each day took my breath away. My photos will only capture a small percentage of the natural beauty that exists. I enjoyed having the itineraries laid out and planned to a "T". Kudos to New Zealand Trails! Keep up the good work!
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Barbara Bauman (Sweet North, December 23)

Star

Customer rating:

Star

4.7

Out of 5 (from 297)
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Photos of the Sweet North

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Frequently asked questions

It's very important to us that you have all your questions answered about our Sweet North trip. We’ve collected some of the questions we get asked most often and answered them below. Or visit our general FAQ page here for more answers!

And if you still can’t find the answers you need, give us a call or send us an email and we’ll help you out!

How fit do I need to be for the Sweet North?

What is the accommodation like on the Sweet North?

What time does the Sweet North trip start and finish?

What's not included on my Sweet North tour?

What's included in my Sweet North tour?

What hikes are included in the Sweet North trip?

What activities are included on the Sweet North trip?

Will I have WiFi or internet access throughout the trip?

Is there electricity at all of the places we stay on the Sweet North trip?

Tell me about your safety standards

What kind of people will be on my Sweet North trip?

Do you need any outdoors experience for the Sweet North trip?

How many people will be on my trip?

Why do you run the Sweet North in two different directions?

How do I get between the North and South Island if I'm joining you on a Sweet North and a South Island trip?

What does going on a guided trip entail?

Can you help with pre/post-trip accommodation and flights?

How do we get around New Zealand? What happens with my luggage?

More frequently asked questions

Activity Level

The Sweet North is an activity level 2 to 3. Designed for you to have maximum flexibility. You can scale your activity level up to a 3 or down to a 2 every day so you can enjoy New Zealand at a pace that's right for you. Walk on well-formed tracks and enjoy a mixture of day walks and activities that showcase the best of New Zealand.

Elevation Maps & Hike Information

Tour dates

With a rich culture and fascinating history, New Zealand's North Island is remarkably different from the South but equally impressive. Over 5 incredible days discover the diverse landscape, from golden sand beaches to huge inland lakes, sleeping volcanoes and otherworldly cave systems. On a journey that epitomises the best of the North Island, you’ll enjoy legendary Kiwi hospitality, delicious meals and very comfortable accommodations.

This trip is designed as the perfect addition to any of our South Island trips, although it also stands alone if you’re short on time.

Check out trip dates below to find your ideal time frame. Places on our trips fill up quickly so keep an eye on availability here too.

Thinking of visiting New Zealand in the next year or so?

We only run a limited number of departures each year and as you can see below, they fill up months in advance! Most of our guests lock in their trips at least a year out from travelling so they don't miss out on their preferred dates. If you have specific dates in mind, let’s chat!

2024

Sweet North
12 Mar 2024 - 16 Mar 2024
Full
Full
Sweet North
19 Mar 2024 - 23 Mar 2024
Full
Full
Sweet North
26 Mar 2024 - 30 Mar 2024
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Sweet North
02 Apr 2024 - 06 Apr 2024
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Sweet North
29 Oct 2024 - 02 Nov 2024
Nearly Full - Only two spots left!
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Only two spots left!
Sweet North
05 Nov 2024 - 09 Nov 2024
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Sweet North
12 Nov 2024 - 16 Nov 2024
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Sweet North
19 Nov 2024 - 23 Nov 2024
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Sweet North
03 Dec 2024 - 07 Dec 2024
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2025

Sweet North
14 Jan 2025 - 18 Jan 2025
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Sweet North
21 Jan 2025 - 25 Jan 2025
Nearly Full - Only four spots left!
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Only four spots left!
Sweet North
04 Feb 2025 - 08 Feb 2025
Nearly Full - Only one spot left!
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Only one spot left!
Sweet North
11 Feb 2025 - 15 Feb 2025
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Sweet North
18 Feb 2025 - 22 Feb 2025
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Sweet North
04 Mar 2025 - 08 Mar 2025
Nearly Full - Only six spots left!
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Only six spots left!
Sweet North
11 Mar 2025 - 15 Mar 2025
Great
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Sweet North
18 Mar 2025 - 22 Mar 2025
Nearly Full - Only three spots left!
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Only three spots left!
Sweet North
25 Mar 2025 - 29 Mar 2025
Great
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Sweet North
28 Oct 2025 - 01 Nov 2025
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Sweet North
04 Nov 2025 - 08 Nov 2025
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Sweet North
02 Dec 2025 - 06 Dec 2025
Great
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Sweet North
09 Dec 2025 - 13 Dec 2025
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2026

Sweet North
06 Jan 2026 - 10 Jan 2026
Great
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Sweet North
20 Jan 2026 - 24 Jan 2026
Great
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Sweet North
27 Jan 2026 - 31 Jan 2026
Great
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Sweet North
03 Feb 2026 - 07 Feb 2026
Great
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Sweet North
24 Feb 2026 - 28 Feb 2026
Great
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Sweet North
03 Mar 2026 - 07 Mar 2026
Great
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Sweet North
10 Mar 2026 - 14 Mar 2026
Great
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Sweet North
17 Mar 2026 - 21 Mar 2026
Great
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Sweet North
24 Mar 2026 - 28 Mar 2026
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See all available dates

Sweet North – ready to book?

Ready to start your New Zealand adventure?

Discover hidden islands, bubbling thermal wonderlands, impressive forests and stunning lakes on this 5-day adventure.

What’s included:

Local guides, small groups

All food (except where noted on itinerary), transportation and activities

All inclusive

All accommodation

NZD$6599 AUD$4999 USD$3499.00+tax GBP£3199 NZD$6599 CAD$4599.00+tax
per person (twin or double share)

new zealand north island adventure with new zealand trails2

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