What level of fitness is required for the Sweet North trip?
The Sweet North trip is designed for people who enjoy being active in the outdoors, but you don't need to be super-fit or an outdoor expert in any way. If you enjoy hiking and exploring then you will enjoy this trip. The North Island is well-known for its rolling green hills, cultural assets and thermal wonderland. It's also home to one of New Zealand's most popular "Great Walks", which is a real highlight of this trip and a stunning day hike.
Here's a summary of the hikes and activities you will enjoy on this 5-day North Island tour.
Day 1: Mt Pauanui Loop Track
Passing through native coastal bush, the Mt Pauanui track starts off with a steep climb 387m (1270ft) up to the summit of Mt Pauanui. Rewarded with incredible panoramic views of the Coromandel coast line the track then idles down at a much easier incline down to the coastline and beach. This trail has some uneven terrain but there will be hiking poles provided to help with this. The entire trail is 3.8km (2.4mi) long and takes from 2.5 - 3 hours to walk.
Day 2: Sea Kayak to Cathedral Cove
Paddle out to the world famous Cathedral Cove (easily the most iconic destination in the Coromandel). In very stable 2 person kayaks, exploring the coastline at a leisurely pace is the aim for the day.
Day 3: Short Walks - Redwood Forest and Huka Falls
These short walks are easy walks with great rewards. The world famous Redwood (Whakarewarewa) forest in Rotorua offers the opportunity to see the native New Zealand silver fern set amongst some giants of the forest. The Huka Falls walk offers views of the mighty Huka Falls and the Waikato River (New Zealand's longest river). Both these walks are easy trails on well formed tracks.
Day 4: Hike the Tongariro Crossing
Widely regarded as ‘the best day walk in New Zealand’ this is a day you'll remember forever. Your guides will brief you fully on what to expect, ensure you are well prepared with the correct clothing and equipment and lead the way explaining the interesting volcanic surroundings to you as you go. The trail will take us all day so we will be carrying snacks and a picnic to ensure we have plenty of energy for the 19.4km (12 mile) hike. We will hike through a variety of terrain on a well-maintained and well-marked trail, with several climbs during the first half of the day as we make our way up to the craters and lakes at the top.
Bask in the otherworldly views atop the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Day 5: Spellbound 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.