THE LEGENDARY BUCKET LIST WALK

Join us for the ultimate walking holiday in the land of the north where walking legends are made!

  • OVERVIEW
  • ITINERARY
  • ACCOMMODATION
  • IMPORTANT INFO

DAYS

12

KM

100 - 120

MILES

62 - 74

DIFFICULTY

4/5

ACCOMMODATION

Lodge

PRICE

$4950

Under 15 yrs 3000 NZD

WALKING SEASON

Nov-Apr

WALKING TOUR SUMMARY

If there’s one walking holiday to put on your bucket list, this is it!

Explore the very best of the North Island’s diverse and visually spectacular regions in comfort and style on this all-inclusive 12 day tour. From the majestic mountains of Tongariro, to the lush forests of Waikaremoana, and the dramatic coastlines of Coromandel. Soak up the scenery, and delight in the company, accommodation, meals and wine.

  • Departs Rotorua or Matamata
  • Join a small group & expert NZ walking guides
  • 12 days / 11 nights NZ Walking Tour (11 days walking, 1 rest day)
  • 4-7 hours walking each day over varied terrain on formed trails
  • Carry a daypack only
  • Includes: most meals, snacks & wine; return Rotorua transport; 9 nights in 3-star lodge accommodation (mix of shared & ensuite facilities); 2 nights 4.5-star hotel accommodation; dinner in a top Rotorua restaurant; hot spring swims; experienced and caring guides

“Did that trek in 2019… best company ever“

KAREN BRIGHT

“Just do it. The 12 day bucket list is a fantastic package. Smiles all around in our photos.“

ROB COLLINS

Join us for the ultimate walking holiday in the land of the north where Walking Legends are made! Explore the very best of the North Island’s diverse and visually spectacular regions in comfort and style on this all-inclusive 12 day tour.

DAY 1

Arrive, Hike Wairere Falls

We’ll pick you up from Rotorua at approx. 8:30am, or Matamata at 9:30am. Warm up with a 4km hike to the top of Wairere Falls, and view the verdant Waikato Basin from two lookouts over hanging 153 metres of thunderous waterfall.

As we continue north, enjoy views out over the mussel farms of the Hauraki Gulf from one of New Zealand’s classic coastal drives, the Coromandel West Coast. Make a brief stop at Waiomu for refreshments before exploring the Waiomu Kauri Grove – this little known trail heads deep into a protected ecological reserve scattered with majestic Kauri trees – New Zealand’s very own forest giants that grow up to 50 metres tall.

Drive further up the Coromandel Peninsula in the late afternoon to reach your lovely accommodation, and watch the sunset from the verandah with a glass of wine or ice cold brew.

DAY 2

Coromandel Coastal Walkway

If there’s one hike in New Zealand that has it all, it’s this one – the incredible Coromandel Coastal Walkway. After a short drive north from Coromandel township we’ll arrive at the trail head and begin our hike at Stony Bay, a picture perfect isolated beach flanked by green hills and white sand. This historic trail follows an old bridle path once used by gold miners who populated the Coromandel region in colonial times.

Tracing the north eastern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula, we walk through native bush and over high cliff tops with views of Great Barrier Island, Cuvier Island and the Mercury Islands.

We’ll have a picnic lunch at beautiful Poley Bay (a great spot for a swim if you’re keen!) before returning to Stony Bay.

DAY 3

Hike the Pinnacles

After a delicious fresh breakfast we head south to the start of the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail, also known as The Pinnacles. We’ll make our way up through kauri, rimu and kahikatea forests to the Pinnacles that are perched high above the forest canopy. The 360 degree views of bush, mountains and 2 coastlines are simply off the charts, and well worth the effort up the steep trail – don’t forget your camera!

The Kauaeranga Valley is home to forest bird such as tui, bellbird, tomtit, grey warbler, shining cuckoo, north island brown kiwi and kaka, so keep your eyes peeled here as many of them are frequent visitors on the trail.

Option – If the Pinnacles isn’t your style and you would prefer a more relaxing day you have the option of staying in and exploring Coromandel Township. Highlights include the Driving Creek Railway, local artisan workshops, short walks, cafes, and culture. Take the time to relax in paradise.

A fabulous day is topped off with a celebratory meal at one of Coromandel town’s fine restaurants.

DAY 4

Eastern Epic!

Travel east around the Peninsula towards Whitianga. Hike to the golden sand beaches and azure green waters of one of the top 20 best beaches in the world, New Chums Beach. Relax and absorb the natural beauty amidst the bird and marine life that thrives within this precious ecosystem.

Enjoy a short, scenic ferry ride across the Whitianga harbour and a relaxing stroll up to Shakespeares Cliff overlooking Mercury Bay and the beach where Cook set foot on kiwi soil. Stop for a refreshing lunch looking out over the marine reserve and take the well-graded track down to the iconic Cathedral Cove, a natural volcanic archway – a must-see of the Coromandel!

Continuing around the East Coast we’ll complete a loop of the Coromandel Peninsula, then drop you at a 4.5 star Hotel in Rotorua, where you can enjoy a two course a la carte dinner at the onsite restaurant with a complimentary drink.

DAY 5

Hike Whirinaki Forest

After a cooked breakfast at your Rotorua Hotel we’ll pick you up and head east, past Mount Tarawera and into the heart of Te Urewera. Our first stop is the Whirinaki Forest, where we’ll walk through one of New Zealand’s most pristine Podocarp forests with towering trees including giant totara, kahikatea, rimu and matai. Keep an eye out for kaka (a large forest parrot) & whio (blue duck) along the way. This hiking trail also skirts the moss-lined Whirinaki River canyon and waterfall – one of the most picturesque rivers in New Zealand. Don’t forget your camera!

We then journey deeper into the remote Te Urewera area to reach Lake Waikaremoana, where we’ll settle in at our cozy lodge with pre-dinner drinks and nibbles on the lake shore.

DAY 6

Hike Panekire Bluffs

This morning we’ll hike to the spectacular Panekire Bluffs that are a highlight of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk. As we climb higher we’ll see the lush podocarp forest change into cloud forest with trees covered in eerie hanging moss. Arriving at the Panekire Bluffs, we’ll be greeted with jaw-dropping views over Lake Waikaremoana and Te Urewera National Park. There are not many better places in the world to sit back, relax and have lunch! If you’re looking for a challenge, there’s an option to continue hiking higher for a further 2 hours to reach the highest point of the Great Walk track to get views over not only the Lake, but out to the Pacific Coast.

Before dinner we’ll visit a local marae for an informal chat with a Maori elder. This is a great opportunity to get a real feel for the culture in this isolated area, where Maori is still the first language. (Note the marae visit may not be possible if the marae is being used by the local community).

DAY 7

Hike to Lake Waikareiti

This morning we explore a very special area – the pristine Lake Waikareiti, which lies a further 300 metres in elevation above Lake Waikaremoana. Free of aquatic weeds and motorised boats, this picture perfect lake has astonishingly clear water and is blissfully peaceful! If conditions allow, we can take a dip (optional) in the crystal clear water, or rest up on the lake shore. The Department of Conservation and local iwi have worked tirelessly for years to eradicate this area of introduced predators, allowing native birds here to thrive!  

Later, we’ll return to Waikaremoana where there’s an option to walk to a dazzling fresh-water spring, or a walk through dense fern forest to explore the Onepoto Caves.

DAY 8

Lake Waikaremoana to Rotorua

Today we walk another section of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Track. This stunning forest and lakeside trail traverses from a secluded arm of the lake across a peninsula, home to a Kiwi Recovery Program, some gorgeous native forest, and spectacular vistas across the lake. After a lakeside picnic lunch we return to Rotorua, stopping for a soak in an amazing natural hot spring under a canopy of native trees.

Tonight you will dine in one of Rotorua’s finest restaurants.

DAY 9

Rest Day, travel to Tongariro

This morning you have free time to explore Rotorua, or sleep in! There’s no shortage of adventurous or relaxing activities in this town. From indulging in a spa treatment to ziplining high above native forest there’s a little something for everyone here.

At 1:30pm we’ll pick you up from your Rotorua Hotel and head south through the North Island’s heartland of geothermal activity, passing Lake Taupo. Become acquainted with the area and your guide with a short walk, before settling in to your stunning accommodation in time to watch the sun set over the magnificent Tongariro volcanoes with a glass of wine and nibbles, before a delicious restaurant meal.

DAY 10

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Today we embark upon one of the world’s greatest one day hikes, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This trail passes between two active volcanoes – Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe. The scenery is ever-changing and features stunning lava fields, emerald blue lakes, waterfalls, steaming vents and meadows of alpine tussock – there’s nowhere else like it on the planet! The views across to Mt Ruapehu and the Central Plateau of the North Island are truly spectacular and worth every step!

At the end of our Crossing we’ll toast our achievement with a glass of bubbly, before returning to our lodge for a dip in the hot pool, followed by dinner at a lively local pub.

DAY 11

Mt Ruapehu Hikes

Travel around the southern side of Mt Ruapehu to experience some of New Zealand’s rail history on the Old Coach Road trail. Between 1906 to 1908 the road was used to carry passengers and goods by horse and coach, between two railheads on the main trunk line.

Heritage features on the trail include a unique cobbled road, massive steel viaducts, a curved tunnel, railway bridge remains, and old campsites. The 15km walk takes around 5 hours, and also passes through some beautiful stands of native forest with sweeping views across the district.

If conditions allow we will explore the dramatic, rock-strewn landscapes higher up Mt Ruapehu. At 2797 metres above sea level, the North Island’s highest mountain offers jaw-dropping views over the National Park with various hiking options or catch a chair-lift up to NZ’s highest café. Tonight we enjoy a final celebration dinner in The Chateau’s elegant Ruapehu Restaurant.

DAY 12

Hike Taranaki Falls, Lake Rotopounamu, Depart

Today we explore the lower flanks of Mt Ruapehu with a walk from Whakapapa Village through alpine meadows and pretty beech forest to Taranaki Falls. Tumbling 20 metres over the edge of an old lava flow, this waterfall packs a real punch, sending spray right across the boulder-ringed pool at the bottom. If you’re game, it’s possible to walk all the way around behind the curtain of the waterfall – time to put a jacket on!

Then hike around the glistening Lake Rotopounamu, which is nestled in the side of Mt. Pihanga, an old volcanic mountain and totally fringed with lush forest. Walking Legends supports Project Tongariro, an eco-trust that is working to restore the native birdlife to this special area.

After lunch, we’ll begin the short journey north to Taupo and on to Rotorua. You can choose to be dropped off in Taupo or Rotorua, or National Park Village if you are travelling further south. Either way, you’ll be forever changed after the awesome hikes and great times you’ll have had with us in the North Island!

We’ll stay in a variety of boutique and character lodges & hotels, mostly 3 star, which have been chosen for their amazing location & atmosphere. Rooms are twin-share with comfy beds & crisp linen. You’ll have an ensuite room for each of the 11 nights of the trip. All our lodges are in stunning, picturesque settings.

The trip includes 2 nights in a studio room at a 4.5 star historic hotel in central Rotorua on nights 4 and 8 between each ‘leg’ of the journey.

FAQ

Walking Legends van on the Coromandel Peninsula
I suffer from terrible car sickness, what will the roads be like?
Good question! In general, the roads we travel are…
Drinks
Do I Need To Bring Cash?
No, cash is not essential, but you’re welcome to…
IMGP0276
Should I Bring Something Nice To Wear In The Evenings?
You’re on holiday after all, so why not!? We…
restaurant_1
Will I Be With The Same Group For The Whole 12 Days?
Our Bucket List walk consists of three of our…
Two hikers on Great Barrier Island
Specialty Diets – Can You Cater For Me?
Absolutely. We are happy to accommodate guests with specialty…
Pre Dinner
Meals
Our meals are every bit as nourishing and restorative…
WLE Resized_0000_Waikaremoana Holiday Park - for WDT itinerary
I’m Travelling Solo – Who Will I Be Sharing a Room With?
The accommodation on our tours is based on twin…
Accommodation Montage
Accommodation
We’ll stay in a variety of boutique and character…
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Fitness
Most of the walking trails on the Bucket List…
Emerald Lakes
How Good Is This Walk?
This is the greatest 12-day North Island hiking journey…

DAYS

12

KM

100 – 120

MILES

62 – 74

DIFFICULTY

4/5

ACCOMMODATION

Lodge

PRICE

$4950

Under 15 yrs 3000 NZD

WALKING SEASON

Nov-Apr

WALKING TOUR SUMMARY

If there’s one walking holiday to put on your bucket list, this is it!

Explore the very best of the North Island’s diverse and visually spectacular regions in comfort and style on this all-inclusive 12 day tour. From the majestic mountains of Tongariro, to the lush forests of Waikaremoana, and the dramatic coastlines of Coromandel. Soak up the scenery, and delight in the company, accommodation, meals and wine.

  • Departs Rotorua or Matamata
  • Join a small group & expert NZ walking guides
  • 12 days / 11 nights NZ Walking Tour (11 days walking, 1 rest day)
  • 4-7 hours walking each day over varied terrain on formed trails
  • Carry a daypack only
  • Includes: most meals, snacks & wine; return Rotorua transport; 9 nights in 3-star lodge accommodation (mix of shared & ensuite facilities); 2 nights 4.5-star hotel accommodation; dinner in a top Rotorua restaurant; hot spring swims; experienced and caring guides

“Did that trek in 2019… best company ever“

KAREN BRIGHT

“Just do it. The 12 day bucket list is a fantastic package. Smiles all around in our photos.“

ROB COLLINS

Join us for the ultimate walking holiday in the land of the north where Walking Legends are made! Explore the very best of the North Island’s diverse and visually spectacular regions in comfort and style on this all-inclusive 12 day tour.

DAY 1

Arrive, Hike Wairere Falls

We’ll pick you up from Rotorua at approx. 8:30am, or Matamata at 9:30am. Warm up with a 4km hike to the top of Wairere Falls, and view the verdant Waikato Basin from two lookouts over hanging 153 metres of thunderous waterfall.

As we continue north, enjoy views out over the mussel farms of the Hauraki Gulf from one of New Zealand’s classic coastal drives, the Coromandel West Coast. Make a brief stop at Waiomu for refreshments before exploring the Waiomu Kauri Grove – this little known trail heads deep into a protected ecological reserve scattered with majestic Kauri trees – New Zealand’s very own forest giants that grow up to 50 metres tall.

Drive further up the Coromandel Peninsula in the late afternoon to reach your lovely accommodation, and watch the sunset from the verandah with a glass of wine or ice cold brew.

DAY 2

Coromandel Coastal Walkway

If there’s one hike in New Zealand that has it all, it’s this one – the incredible Coromandel Coastal Walkway. After a short drive north from Coromandel township we’ll arrive at the trail head and begin our hike at Stony Bay, a picture perfect isolated beach flanked by green hills and white sand. This historic trail follows an old bridle path once used by gold miners who populated the Coromandel region in colonial times.

Tracing the north eastern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula, we walk through native bush and over high cliff tops with views of Great Barrier Island, Cuvier Island and the Mercury Islands.

We’ll have a picnic lunch at beautiful Poley Bay (a great spot for a swim if you’re keen!) before returning to Stony Bay.

DAY 3

Hike the Pinnacles

After a delicious fresh breakfast we head south to the start of the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail, also known as The Pinnacles. We’ll make our way up through kauri, rimu and kahikatea forests to the Pinnacles that are perched high above the forest canopy. The 360 degree views of bush, mountains and 2 coastlines are simply off the charts, and well worth the effort up the steep trail – don’t forget your camera!

The Kauaeranga Valley is home to forest bird such as tui, bellbird, tomtit, grey warbler, shining cuckoo, north island brown kiwi and kaka, so keep your eyes peeled here as many of them are frequent visitors on the trail.

Option – If the Pinnacles isn’t your style and you would prefer a more relaxing day you have the option of staying in and exploring Coromandel Township. Highlights include the Driving Creek Railway, local artisan workshops, short walks, cafes, and culture. Take the time to relax in paradise.

A fabulous day is topped off with a celebratory meal at one of Coromandel town’s fine restaurants.

DAY 4

Eastern Epic!

Travel east around the Peninsula towards Whitianga. Hike to the golden sand beaches and azure green waters of one of the top 20 best beaches in the world, New Chums Beach. Relax and absorb the natural beauty amidst the bird and marine life that thrives within this precious ecosystem.

Enjoy a short, scenic ferry ride across the Whitianga harbour and a relaxing stroll up to Shakespeares Cliff overlooking Mercury Bay and the beach where Cook set foot on kiwi soil. Stop for a refreshing lunch looking out over the marine reserve and take the well-graded track down to the iconic Cathedral Cove, a natural volcanic archway – a must-see of the Coromandel!

Continuing around the East Coast we’ll complete a loop of the Coromandel Peninsula, then drop you at a 4.5 star Hotel in Rotorua, where you can enjoy a two course a la carte dinner at the onsite restaurant with a complimentary drink.

DAY 5

Hike Whirinaki Forest

After a cooked breakfast at your Rotorua Hotel we’ll pick you up and head east, past Mount Tarawera and into the heart of Te Urewera. Our first stop is the Whirinaki Forest, where we’ll walk through one of New Zealand’s most pristine Podocarp forests with towering trees including giant totara, kahikatea, rimu and matai. Keep an eye out for kaka (a large forest parrot) & whio (blue duck) along the way. This hiking trail also skirts the moss-lined Whirinaki River canyon and waterfall – one of the most picturesque rivers in New Zealand. Don’t forget your camera!

We then journey deeper into the remote Te Urewera area to reach Lake Waikaremoana, where we’ll settle in at our cozy lodge with pre-dinner drinks and nibbles on the lake shore.

DAY 6

Hike Panekire Bluffs

This morning we’ll hike to the spectacular Panekire Bluffs that are a highlight of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk. As we climb higher we’ll see the lush podocarp forest change into cloud forest with trees covered in eerie hanging moss. Arriving at the Panekire Bluffs, we’ll be greeted with jaw-dropping views over Lake Waikaremoana and Te Urewera National Park. There are not many better places in the world to sit back, relax and have lunch! If you’re looking for a challenge, there’s an option to continue hiking higher for a further 2 hours to reach the highest point of the Great Walk track to get views over not only the Lake, but out to the Pacific Coast.

Before dinner we’ll visit a local marae for an informal chat with a Maori elder. This is a great opportunity to get a real feel for the culture in this isolated area, where Maori is still the first language. (Note the marae visit may not be possible if the marae is being used by the local community).

DAY 7

Hike to Lake Waikareiti

This morning we explore a very special area – the pristine Lake Waikareiti, which lies a further 300 metres in elevation above Lake Waikaremoana. Free of aquatic weeds and motorised boats, this picture perfect lake has astonishingly clear water and is blissfully peaceful! If conditions allow, we can take a dip (optional) in the crystal clear water, or rest up on the lake shore. The Department of Conservation and local iwi have worked tirelessly for years to eradicate this area of introduced predators, allowing native birds here to thrive!  

Later, we’ll return to Waikaremoana where there’s an option to walk to a dazzling fresh-water spring, or a walk through dense fern forest to explore the Onepoto Caves.

DAY 8

Lake Waikaremoana to Rotorua

Today we walk another section of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Track. This stunning forest and lakeside trail traverses from a secluded arm of the lake across a peninsula, home to a Kiwi Recovery Program, some gorgeous native forest, and spectacular vistas across the lake. After a lakeside picnic lunch we return to Rotorua, stopping for a soak in an amazing natural hot spring under a canopy of native trees.

Tonight you will dine in one of Rotorua’s finest restaurants.

DAY 9

Rest Day, travel to Tongariro

This morning you have free time to explore Rotorua, or sleep in! There’s no shortage of adventurous or relaxing activities in this town. From indulging in a spa treatment to ziplining high above native forest there’s a little something for everyone here.

At 1:30pm we’ll pick you up from your Rotorua Hotel and head south through the North Island’s heartland of geothermal activity, passing Lake Taupo. Become acquainted with the area and your guide with a short walk, before settling in to your stunning accommodation in time to watch the sun set over the magnificent Tongariro volcanoes with a glass of wine and nibbles, before a delicious restaurant meal.

DAY 10

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Today we embark upon one of the world’s greatest one day hikes, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This trail passes between two active volcanoes – Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe. The scenery is ever-changing and features stunning lava fields, emerald blue lakes, waterfalls, steaming vents and meadows of alpine tussock – there’s nowhere else like it on the planet! The views across to Mt Ruapehu and the Central Plateau of the North Island are truly spectacular and worth every step!

At the end of our Crossing we’ll toast our achievement with a glass of bubbly, before returning to our lodge for a dip in the hot pool, followed by dinner at a lively local pub.

DAY 11

Mt Ruapehu Hikes

Travel around the southern side of Mt Ruapehu to experience some of New Zealand’s rail history on the Old Coach Road trail. Between 1906 to 1908 the road was used to carry passengers and goods by horse and coach, between two railheads on the main trunk line.

Heritage features on the trail include a unique cobbled road, massive steel viaducts, a curved tunnel, railway bridge remains, and old campsites. The 15km walk takes around 5 hours, and also passes through some beautiful stands of native forest with sweeping views across the district.

If conditions allow we will explore the dramatic, rock-strewn landscapes higher up Mt Ruapehu. At 2797 metres above sea level, the North Island’s highest mountain offers jaw-dropping views over the National Park with various hiking options or catch a chair-lift up to NZ’s highest café. Tonight we enjoy a final celebration dinner in The Chateau’s elegant Ruapehu Restaurant.

DAY 12

Hike Taranaki Falls, Lake Rotopounamu, Depart

Today we explore the lower flanks of Mt Ruapehu with a walk from Whakapapa Village through alpine meadows and pretty beech forest to Taranaki Falls. Tumbling 20 metres over the edge of an old lava flow, this waterfall packs a real punch, sending spray right across the boulder-ringed pool at the bottom. If you’re game, it’s possible to walk all the way around behind the curtain of the waterfall – time to put a jacket on!

Then hike around the glistening Lake Rotopounamu, which is nestled in the side of Mt. Pihanga, an old volcanic mountain and totally fringed with lush forest. Walking Legends supports Project Tongariro, an eco-trust that is working to restore the native birdlife to this special area.

After lunch, we’ll begin the short journey north to Taupo and on to Rotorua. You can choose to be dropped off in Taupo or Rotorua, or National Park Village if you are travelling further south. Either way, you’ll be forever changed after the awesome hikes and great times you’ll have had with us in the North Island!

We’ll stay in a variety of boutique and character lodges & hotels, mostly 3 star, which have been chosen for their amazing location & atmosphere. Rooms are twin-share with comfy beds & crisp linen. You’ll have an ensuite room for each of the 11 nights of the trip. All our lodges are in stunning, picturesque settings.

The trip includes 2 nights in a studio room at a 4.5 star historic hotel in central Rotorua on nights 4 and 8 between each ‘leg’ of the journey.

FAQ

Walking Legends van on the Coromandel Peninsula
I suffer from terrible car sickness, what will the roads be like?
Good question! In general, the roads we travel are…
Drinks
Do I Need To Bring Cash?
No, cash is not essential, but you’re welcome to…
IMGP0276
Should I Bring Something Nice To Wear In The Evenings?
You’re on holiday after all, so why not!? We…
restaurant_1
Will I Be With The Same Group For The Whole 12 Days?
Our Bucket List walk consists of three of our…
Two hikers on Great Barrier Island
Specialty Diets – Can You Cater For Me?
Absolutely. We are happy to accommodate guests with specialty…
Pre Dinner
Meals
Our meals are every bit as nourishing and restorative…
WLE Resized_0000_Waikaremoana Holiday Park - for WDT itinerary
I’m Travelling Solo – Who Will I Be Sharing a Room With?
The accommodation on our tours is based on twin…
Accommodation Montage
Accommodation
We’ll stay in a variety of boutique and character…
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Fitness
Most of the walking trails on the Bucket List…
Emerald Lakes
How Good Is This Walk?
This is the greatest 12-day North Island hiking journey…

OTHER WALKS

LAKE WAIKAREMOANA GUIDED WALK

THE BUCKET LIST

Coromandel Explorer Walk

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