New Zealand North Island Tour - Sweet North
Another New Zealand is calling... Complete your New Zealand North Island Hiking Adventure.
Sweet North Route Map
Highlights of the Sweet North
1: Waiomu Kauri Grove
Discover our mighty Kauri trees, one of the largest trees in the world, on this hike.
2: Cathedral Cove
A gentle paddle takes you to Cathedral Cove and otherwise inaccessible beaches.
Immerse yourself in Māori culture with a traditional welcome and hangi.
4: Huka Falls
Witness the powerful Waikato River thundering through a narrow canyon at New Zealand’s favourite waterfall.
5: Tongariro Crossing
The best day walk in the world! We’ll navigate this famous trail and enjoy the scenes dotted across the moonlike landscape.
6: Waitomo Caves
Visit the underground treasure trove of Waitomo and discover millions of glowworms in a marvellous limestone cave formation.
Sweet North Day-by-Day Itinerary
Hike Kauri Grove
Day 1 – Arrive Auckland and journey to the Coromandel Coast
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 guides and fellow travellers in Auckland, we’ll head east to the white sand beaches of the Coromandel coast, a favourite spot for Kiwi’s to holiday.
View Majestic Kauri Trees on the Waiomu Kauri Walk
This afternoon we’ll stretch our legs on a hike to a Kauri Grove. This trail makes its way through native forest to a grove of ancient Kauri trees, which hold a special place in the hearts of New Zealanders.
Hot Water Beach
Nestled on the Coromandel Coast, Hot Water Beach is a hidden Kiwi Gem. If we’re lucky it will be low tide and we’ll be able to dig a small pool which will then fill with warm water, we like to think of it as a DIY spa! After checking out this beautiful beach we’ll travel to our accommodation for the evening in Whitianga, the hub of the magnificent Mercury Bay.
Sea Kayak & Maori Culture
Day 2 – Kayak Cathedral Cove & Rotorua Māori Feast
This morning we’ll travel the short distance along the Coromandel coastline to Hahei and then get ready to paddle through tantalisingly turquoise waters out to Cathedral Cove. We’ll then make our way down to Rotorua, a rich cultural hub and geothermal wonderland. This evening we’ll enjoy a fascinating introduction to Māori culture, before being treated to a Māori feast cooked in the traditional way. We’ll spend the night here in Rotorua.
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.
Rotorua Maori Culture
We will visit Te Puia this evening, where we will see the Maori values of manaakitanga (hospitality) and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) on display. We’ll delve into the history of the local Ngati Wahiao tribe and enjoy a hāngi (a traditional Māori feast) together this evening. Tonight, we’ll stay in comfortable accommodation on the shore of Lake Rotorua - it’s a great place for a quick dip at the end of the day!
Mud Pools & Hike Huka Falls
Day 3 – Rotorua’s 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 return to Te Puia to witness the geothermal wonderland that the Te Whakarewarewa valley is famous for. Before travelling south to Taupo, 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 Taupo the next two nights.
Geothermal Wonderland, Redwoods Hike & Huka Falls
Te Whakarewarewa valley is a unique geothermal landscape and home to the Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao people. Here you can witness New Zealand’s largest geyser, Pōhutu, erupt up to 30 metres into the sky. As well as experiencing plenty of geothermal activity, the morning gives you an opportunity to see Kiwi and learn all about traditional Māori art and craft. 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.
Tongariro National Park
Hike Tongariro Crossing
Day 4 – Hike The Tongariro Crossing
Tongariro is New Zealand’s oldest national park and boasts dual World Heritage site status, acknowledged for both its cultural and natural significance. As we make our way across this moonlike landscape dotted with turquoise and emerald lakes, you’ll discover why the Tongariro Crossing is known as New Zealand’s “best day walk”.
Hiking New Zealand's North Island Tongariro Crossing
We’ll make an early start this morning, taking on the 19.4kms of this famous volcanic crossing. Set high on the central plateau amongst three active volcanoes, the scenery is more akin to surrealist art than real life. With red rocks, deep emerald lakes, steam rising from craters, and the unmistakable cone-shaped mountains, it's as if you’ve stepped back in time or possibly onto another planet. It’s a good climb to the top on a well-formed track, and we’ll stop along the way to hear stories about the area from our local guides. Their knowledge of the area and affinity with the land really bring this place to life. We’ve got the whole day to appreciate our environment and enjoy this very special spot.
Today we finish in Auckland
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.
Photos of the Sweet North
Te Puia Pohutu Geyser.
Cathedral Cove, Coromandel.
Waiau Falls, Kauri Grove.
Kayaking Coromandel Coast.
Te Puia Marae.
Coromandel Coast cliffs.
Emerald Lakes, Tongariro Crossing.
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?
Click here to go to a handy page with a summary of the distances and approximate times for every walk and activity on our Sweet North trip!
What is the accommodation like on the Sweet North?
We’ve five days in the North Island to showcase the incredible diversity of our other main island and we’ve chosen three great places for you to stay. Click here to find out more about the accommodation on this trip.
What time does the Sweet North trip start and finish?
Pick up information
We can pick you up on the first day of your trip in Auckland at:
- 9.30am from the lobby of our joining hotel – Adina Britomart Hotel Auckland
- 10.15am from the Auckland International Airport
Drop off information
We can drop you off on the last day of your trip in Auckland at:
- 6.00pm at Auckland International Airport
- 7.00pm at your hotel in the city
When booking your flights, please make sure you:
Arrive on day one no later than 9:30am International 9:45am Domestic
Depart on the final day no earlier than 8:30pm International 7:00pm Domestic
**If your travel plans fall outside of these times please check with us before you book.
What's not included on my Sweet North tour?
Airfares to and from New Zealand. Airfares between the North and South Island of New Zealand if you are joining one of our South Island trips too.
Non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages with lunch and dinner.
What's included in my Sweet North tour?
An experienced New Zealand Trails Guide to guide you on your tour.
Activities, hikes and guides as shown in the itinerary.
Accommodation as indicated in your final itinerary.
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, oversleeping 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.
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.
✓ Local guides, small groups
✓ All food (except where noted on itinerary), transportation and activities
✓ All inclusive
✓ All accommodation
What more information?
Get a free New Zealand Trails brochure!
Too many options out there? Want to “do New Zealand” your way, with expert local guides to help?
Our FREE brochure has 36 pages of detailed itineraries, maps and behind-the-scenes tour info.
All you need – nothing you don’t.POST ME MINE ›
If you’re still not sure, or just want to hear a friendly voice, contact Jodi!Email: firstname.lastname@example.org