What fitness level do you need to join us on the Bucket List Walk? Firstly, most of the walking trails on the Bucket List Walk are of easy to moderate difficulty. They range from well-formed paths to tracks broken with tree roots, rocks and mud. Some of the trails are harder, such as The Pinnacles and Tongariro Alpine Crossing walks, however these days are optional and we can find other things to keep you busy if you’d rather sit those days out. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is the longest and most challenging track on the Bucket List Walk itinerary – it’s 19.4km and includes a heart-pumping climb up the Mangatepopo Saddle, but boy is it worth it! There’s nothing else quite like it in the North Island.
Secondly, on average you should be able to walk for 6 – 7 hours a day and carry a daypack with your lunch, water, raincoat and warm layers. In preparation for completing the Bucket List Walk, it’s a great idea to start a training program beforehand that includes tracks with stairs. Perhaps complete a few shorter multi-day walks in the months beforehand to satisfy yourself that your fitness is adequate. Of the full 12 day itinerary, we will be doing 2 days of moderate-hard grading, 5 days of moderate grading and 5 days of easy graded walks. On the challenging days, we make sure we take our time and have plenty of short, strategic breaks to rest and hydrate.
Most importantly, every evening, over dinner, your guide will give you a detailed briefing on what to expect for the following day. We like to keep things relaxed so the faster walkers can go on ahead and the ‘plodders’ can take their time at the back without worrying about holding anyone up! If you have any issues with heights, please let us know beforehand and we can alert you to the specific areas of each track that you may find challenging. For more in depth information take a nosy through our helpful blog post on fitness for your guided walk.
On the 12-day Bucket List guided walk, we’ll stay in a variety of boutique and character lodges & hotels, mostly 3-star rated or higher accommodation with ensuites, which have been chosen for their amazing locations and relaxed atmosphere. Rooms are twin-share with comfy beds and crisp linens. You’ll have an ensuite room for each of the 11 nights of the trip.
Between each leg of the trip (night 4 and night 8), you’ll stay the night at a 4.5 star, historic hotel in central Rotorua within walking distance of Government Gardens and EAT St, Rotoruas’ main dining precinct.
Not all rooms are the same, so if you have specific room requirements, please get in touch with our reservations team to secure the best room for your needs.
Do I Need To Book the Tongariro Alpine Crossing?
On the Tongariro Hiking Tour we walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, usually on Day 2 of the itinerary. The Department of Conservation is trialing a booking system for this track throughout the 2023/2024 New Zealand summer hiking season. They would like all independent and guided walkers to make a booking before arriving to walk the track. To keep things hassle-free for our walkers our office team will make and manage bookings for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing for our groups. This is completely free, there’s no extra charge to you. You don’t have to do anything extra – just bring your boots and come ready for a good time!
Specialty Diets – Can You Cater For Me?
We can cater for a wide variety of specialty diets on the Taranaki Discovery Tour, this is something we do regularly. We do appreciate as much advance notice as possible so we can be well-prepared. If we don’t receive adequate advanced notice, we may not be able to fully cater for dietary needs. You are more than welcome to bring any specialty food items you like to have and we won’t be far from New Plymouth township where we’ll be well-served by plenty of supermarkets.
Weather Conditions and Itinerary Changes
The Egmont National Park is a unique and changeable environment with strong weather systems. There’ll be times when the Pouakai Crossing track will be subject to extreme weather conditions and we’ll need to assess whether it’s safe to access the track on our planned day.
Our guides pay very careful attention to the weather in the days before, and during, every trip and this is one of the many tools we use to determine if we need to make any changes. If the weather is going to be extremely unsafe, we’ll plan to complete the Pouakai Crossing on one of our other days. As we’ll be in the National Park for a number of days, we have the opportunity to be flexible and match our days activities to the most suitable conditions. Only the worst weather would keep us off the track, but completing the Crossing is something we can’t absolutely guarantee.
During our shared evening meal each night, our guides will discuss the plan for the following day with the group and make sure everyone is well-informed and prepared.
How Much Weight Will I Be Carrying?
On the Taranaki Discovery Tour, we take care of the hard stuff so you can walk with the least amount of weight possible. We’ve designed this trip with your comfort in mind so that your Taranaki guided hiking tour experience is a truly memorable adventure. All you’ll carry is a day pack, with the essentials you need for that day.
You’ll be carrying the following:
- Raincoat – even in the height of summer our weather can change quickly
- Sunhat & sunscreen – our New Zealand sun is very strong, we recommend a really good sunscreen
- Personal items like medication and your mobile phone
- An extra piece of clothing, like a spare merino shirt, just in case
Do I Need To Pay In Full Now?
There’s no need to pay in full for the Taranaki Discovery Tour at the time of booking. We ask just a $300 NZD deposit, per person, to secure a spot on the walk. When you make your booking via our website you’ll have the option of either paying the $300 NZD minimum deposit, or the full amount. You’re most welcome to pay the full amount at the time of booking, if you wish, but it’s not mandatory. The remaining balance is due to be settled around 30 days before departure. We’ll send an email reminder about a week beforehand and make sure everything is okay before we proceed.
We’ve provided a handy guide to our booking process in our blog, you’ll find lots of helpful information there. We are particularly good at making group bookings smooth and clean for group organisers, so if you’ve got a big group and the administrative burden is weighing you down, let us give you a hand to simplify it all.
Ready to book yourself in for the New Zealand guided walking holiday of a lifetime? Visit our direct booking page to lock it in.
Can Non-Walkers Join This Trip?
Yes, non-walkers are welcome to join us on the Taranaki Discovery Tour. If you know someone who’d like to come along with you but who might be recovering from injury or just not that keen on walking every day, they are still welcome to join us. There may be short walks on the itinerary that they might feel up to doing with us, but there’s no pressure to complete the whole itinerary.
Non-walkers are welcome to relax at the lodge, or take a short trip into New Plymouth township to check out the museums, art galleries, boutique shopping, restaurants, cafes or meander around the beautiful Pukekura Park. The tour package remains all-inclusive for non-walkers, we still provide our full service with accommodation, transport and meals so the tour price remains the same.
If we have non-walkers in the group, we may adjust how we run Day’s 1 and 4 – please just get in touch with our friendly team for more information on the finer details.
The walking trails on the Taranaki Discovery Tour are a range of easy to moderate difficulty, with some short sections classified as hard. We’ll be walking anywhere between 4 to 7 hours per day and you’ll need to carry a daypack with your lunch, water, raincoat and warm layers. Over the course of the 4-day trip we’ll do a wide variety of walks. One or two walking tracks are easy-going underfoot, with a level gradient and little elevation gain. On Days 2 and 3 we’ll do the longer, more challenging walks where the track surface will be less even, rockier, steeper and with more infrastructure to negotiate like steps, platforms, boardwalks and balustrades. Some tracks reach high points or lookouts near steep drop-offs, so those with vertigo or issues with heights may find some of the walks challenging. On the Pouakai Crossing in particular, we’ll be making elevation gains of 900m.
The fitter you are the more you’ll enjoy it. It’s a good idea to work in some stair training into your regular walking schedule before we go, it’s never time wasted! If you are a regular walker, you’ll manage beautifully. Most of our walkers are in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s so we’ve carefully adapted all of our itineraries to suit this demographic. Our guides give a detailed briefing every evening about what is planned for the next day so you can be fully prepared.
How Do I Get Here?
The Taranaki Discovery Tour departs Rotorua during the New Zealand summer hiking season which is from November to April (inclusive).
We can pick you up from your accommodation in central Rotorua. We have options for parking your vehicles in Rotorua while you’re out with us, please get in touch with our team for more information. We will happily drop you back to your car when we return.
Rotorua City is well connected to both Auckland and Wellington via domestic flight routes. If you prefer to travel overland, the Intercity bus service makes regular stops in Rotorua City centre. For more advice and information on where to stay in Rotorua, please contact our friendly team.
If you are self-driving to Taranaki, we’ll let you know where to meet us and at what time and where it’s best to park your vehicles. If you’re taking a different route please check with our reservations team, we can help you find the best solution.
For any bigger groups coming from further afield, we can arrange a private shuttle transfer, just have a word to our team and we’ll set something up.
I’m Travelling Solo – Who Will I Be Sharing a Room With?
We welcome solo walkers! Accommodation on the Taranaki Discovery Tour is based on twin share. If you’d prefer to have your own room, a single supplement fee of $300 NZD applies – that’s for the whole trip, not per night.
Please select the single supplement option in the online booking form and our team will do the rest. This will ensure you have a room to yourself. If you’re happy to share, you will be placed in a twin room with another adventure-buddy of the same gender, in separate beds.
On the Taranaki Discovery Tour we’ll spend 3 nights in beautiful, boutique accommodation in a lush greenbelt on the outskirts of New Plymouth township. The lodge is set high on a ridge looking down over a gentle meandering river surrounded by gorgeous grounds and native plantings. We spend each night of the tour here, so once we’ve arrived you’ll be able to unpack and fully settle in.
Each room is a generous size with an ensuite bathroom, heating, air conditioning, a kitchenette with tea and coffee making facilities and a television.
Accommodation is based on double or twin share, so if you’re travelling solo and you’re happy to share a room we’ll place you in a room with another walker, of the same gender, in separate beds. If you’d prefer to have a room to yourself, we offer a single supplement private room upgrade for an additional $300 NZD, that’s for the whole trip not per night! If you’re interested in the single supplement option, please tick that box in the online booking form or just get in touch with our friendly team.