THE LEGENDARY BUCKET LIST WALK

Join us for the ultimate walking holiday in the Land of the North where walking legends are made!

DAYS

12

KM

100 – 120

MILES

62 – 74

DIFFICULTY

4/5

ACCOMMODATION

Lodge

PRICE

$5850

Under 15 yrs 3900 NZD

WALKING SEASON

Nov-Apr

Book now

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 unforgettable 12-day guided hiking tour.

From the majestic mountains of Tongariro National Park, to the lush forests of Lake Waikaremoana, and the dramatic coastlines of Coromandel. Soak up the scenery, and delight in the company, accommodation, meals and wine.

  • Departs Rotorua or Matamata, returns to Rotorua
  • Join a small group with expert New Zealand hiking guides
  • 12 days, 11 nights of North Island beauty
  • 4-7 hours walking each day over varied terrain on formed trails
  • Carry a daypack only
  • Includes: nutritious dinners with lots of veggies and salads, energising breakfasts, fresh packed trail lunches, hot drinks, snacks, New Zealand beer and wine; return Rotorua transport; 9 nights in 3-star, boutique lodge accommodation with ensuite facilities; 2 nights in 4.5-star hotel in Rotorua, hot spring swims; experienced and caring guides.
  • Excludes: evening meals in Rotorua on nights 4 and 8 and lunch in Rotorua on Day 9 are not included in your tour package. Take this opportunity to follow your tastebuds and sample some amazing local fare!
Book now

“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 your accommodation in central Rotorua between 8:00am and 8:30am, or Matamata at 9:30am. We’ll warm up with a 4km hike to the top of Wairere Falls, the North Islands tallest waterfall, 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 peaceful accommodation set amongst lush native bush, 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 beautiful scenic drive north from Coromandel township we’ll arrive at the trail head and begin our hike at Fletcher 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 open farmland and 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 Fletcher Bay.

DAY 3

Hike the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail, 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 native forest birds such as tui, korimako/bellbird, miromiro/tomtit, riroriro/grey warbler, pīpīwharauroa/shining cuckoo and kākā, 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!

After a hearty breakfast, we say farewell to Coromandel Town and head across the Peninsula towards the east coast of the peninsula. We’ll take the short hike to the golden sand of New Chums’ beach, one of the top 20 best beaches in the world. Relax and absorb the natural beauty amidst the bird and marine life that thrives within this precious ecosystem. (Please note, access to New Chums’ Beach is tide dependent). 

After a restorative café pitstop nearby, we’ll carry on around for a refreshing lunch looking out over Buffalo Beach in sunny, vibrant Whitianga. 

Continuing around the East Coast we’ll visit the 309 Kauri walk, a 30-minute stroll to a beautiful grove of majestic kauri trees, then have you safely back to a 4.5 star hotel in Rotorua, where you can enjoy a self-catered dinner at any local establishment that takes your fancy! This evening meal is not included in your tour package, so you have maximum flexibility to follow your nose.

DAY 5

Whirinaki Forest Park / Te Pua-ā-Tāne

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

Onepoto to Panekire Bluff

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 the Te Urewera forest. 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.

We’ll share a delicious, informal dinner together, prepared by your guides and watch the sun set over the lake. 

DAY 7

Lake Waikareiti, Te Urewera

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.

In the of this lake is an island, Rahui Island, which has it’s own lake. That’s a lake, on an island, on a lake!

The Department of Conservation, and now 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, and see the impressive hydro-electric power generation system nearby.

DAY 8

Waterfalls & Whistling Ducks

This morning, we share our final lakeside breakfast in the dining room. Then we’ll take a gentle walk along the Black Beech track, a beautiful scenic trail linking our accommodation to Aniwaniwa, with views out over Te Karetū/Home Bay and Lake Waikaremoana.

A visit to Lake Waikaremoana wouldn’t be complete without a short, 60 minute stroll to the beautiful Aniwaniwa Falls, which means ‘Rainbow’ and Papakorito Falls, a wide, thunderous explosion of water falling down a smooth, sloping rock wall. From two lookout points, we’ll be able to view the falls from an upper and lower perspective and give you a chance to spot the rare fleshy-lipped whistling duck or whio bobbing about on the river-side.

We’ll make a quick stop at Mokau Landing for a picnic lunch while we enjoy views of the impressive Panekire Bluff to reflect on our achievements over the past 4 days. We say a fond farewell to the serenity of Te Urewera and make our way out back to civilisation, stopping for a dip in a natural hot spring under a canopy of native trees. We’ll cap things off with a hot soak, a perfect way to finish off a fantastic walking holiday in New Zealand’s last, true wilderness area. We’ll return you safely to the Princes Gate Hotel in Rotorua between 5 – 6pm.

Enjoy another night of culinary freedom in Rotorua, with a self-directed dinner wherever takes your fancy. Your guides will be happy to suggest great local places for you to try.

DAY 9

Rotorua to Tongariro National Park

We’ll pick you up from central Rotorua City or the Rotorua Airport between 8.30am and 9.00am, or central Taupō at 10.00am, before heading south through the North Island’s geothermal heartland. We’ll skirt around the beautiful shores of Lake Taupō, the North Island’s largest lake, and then drive up through stunning native forest onto the mighty central plateau. We can also meet you in Tongariro National Park if you prefer, please just ask us for driving directions.

We’ll get our first taste of the topography and natural character of the Tongariro National Park with a 2-hour loop walk to Taranaki Falls, which is part of the Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk track. These falls tumble 20 metres over the edge of an old andesite lava flow, erupted from Mt Ruapehu 15,000 years ago, into a boulder-ringed pool. You’ll see a fascinating range of beech forest, alpine meadows full of red tussock, five-finger, umbrella ferns and mountain toatoa. This is a great chance to orient ourselves amongst spectacular views of the Tongariro volcanic massif.

We’ll continue to warm-up and stretch out the legs with an easy, 20 minute walk in to see Tawhai Falls, better known as ‘Gollum’s Pool.’ If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, you’ll recognise this picturesque, 13 metre-high waterfall, where Faramir and his archers watch Gollum fish.

After settling into our cozy lodgings, we’ll share a hearty, 2-course Kiwi-style meal and a cold glass of something to toast the beginning of our Tongariro adventure as we watch the sun set over the magnificent volcanic skyline. Have a soak in the hot tub, nurse an after-dinner tipple at the on-site bar, or just put your feet up and prepare for exciting adventures that await us tomorrow!

DAY 10

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

This morning we’ll set off on one of the world’s greatest one-day hikes, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This trail leads us through an incredible variety of ethereal landscapes – lava fields, emerald coloured crater lakes, steaming vents, alpine meadows, over an alpine pass, amidst the stunning mountain peaks – there’s nothing like it anywhere else on the planet! The views across to Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Ruapehu and the central plateau of the North Island are simply spectacular and worth every step!

Lonely Planet recommends a walk amidst the Tongariro Volcanoes as “a life-changing experience not to be missed!” Your guides make this incredible hike even more memorable by sharing local stories and legends and bringing the extraordinary geological history to life. Fair weather and a good level of fitness are required to undertake this hike. 

After a well-deserved trailend celebration, we’ll return to The Park and revive your weary muscles in the outdoor spa pool, before meeting in the cosy lounge for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles. Tonight we head out to a lively local restaurant and bar for a casual meal with the locals.

DAY 11

The Old Coach Road, Ohakune

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 of stone “setts”, 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.

In consultation with the group, and if local conditions allow, we will explore the dramatic, rock-strewn landscapes higher up Mt Ruapehu. At 2,797 metres above sea level, the North Island’s highest mountain offers jaw-dropping views over the National Park.

Tonight we enjoy a final celebration dinner together and raise our glasses to completing a fantastic walking adventure.

DAY 12

Rainforest & Waterfalls

After a final hearty breakfast, we pack up our kit and farewell the National Park and its majestic mountains. If the legs are feeling fresh, we’ll begin our day with one of the many short walks nearby. Our experienced, local guides love the chance to select a trail from their catalogue of personal favourites to make this particular trip a unique experience for everyone.

On our journey out of the park, we’ll finish things off with a rejuvenating hike around the glistening Lake Rotopounamu (Greenstone Lake) nestled in the side of beautiful Mt. Pihanga, a mountain maiden central to the Māori legend that describes how this area was formed. From the carpark, we’ll make our way up a small incline to reach the lake level itself, where the track evens out to circumvent the lakeshore. We’ll enjoy our final picnic lunch on Five Minute Beach in the peace and serenity of lush, native forest. Walking Legends supports Project Tongariro, an eco-trust that are working to restore the native birdlife to this special area, by sponsoring the care of hectare #189. Let us all enjoy time amongst the abundant native birdlife that our conservation efforts have helped to revive.

We’ll have you safely back in Taupo between 3–4 pm or Rotorua around 5–6pm to meet your onward travel arrangements.

Check Dates & Book Now

We’ll stay in a variety of boutique and character lodges & hotels, 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.

Check Dates & Book Now

We supply

  • Generous, nutritious meals full of fresh, local produce; packed picnic lunches with the best sandwiches you’ve ever eaten, trail snacks & chocolate; fresh fruit, hot & cold drinks
  • A glass of crisp Kiwi wine or craft beer per person, each evening; you can purchase more with dinner if you wish.
  • Bed linen, bath towels, pillows & blankets
  • Toilet paper, soap & hand sanitiser

What else do you need to know?

  • There are no drying rooms available but plenty of wide, covered verandahs for drying wet gear
  • Specialty diets; we can cater for a wide range of food allergies and specialty diets with sufficient advance notice. Please let us know at the time of booking if you have specific dietary needs and we’ll make sure you’re well taken care of!
  • Accommodation is based on a twin-share arrangement; if you’d rather have a private room, a single supplement fee of $900 NZD applies (this is for the whole trip, not $900 each night)
  • The lodge has power outlets next to all beds so CPAP machines are easily accommodated
  • Sorry, the use of drones is not permitted
  • You are welcome to bring your own alcohol if you wish; we ask that you drink responsibly
  • Non-walkers are more than welcome to join us! There are plenty of activities to be done that don’t involve walking, please enquire with our friendly reservations team for more information

FAQ

how do I get here

How Do I Get Here?

The 12-day Bucket List Walk departs Rotorua and Matamata…
waikaremoana accommodation

Accommodation

On the 12-day Bucket List guided walk, we’ll stay…
Crackers and cheese spread

Meals

The meals on the Bucket List Walk are every…
Stay safe on your guided walk

Specialty Diets – Can You Cater For Me?

Absolutely, we are happy to accommodate guests with specialty…
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Fitness

What fitness level do you need to join us…
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I’m Travelling Solo – Who Will I Be Sharing a Room With?

The accommodation on the Bucket List Walk is based…
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Will I Be With The Same Group For The Whole 12 Days?

Our 12-day Bucket List walk consists of three of…
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What Should I Pack?

We’ll send you through a full packing list with…
Tongariro Northern Circuit Emerald Lakes

How Much Weight Will I Be Carrying?

On the Bucket List Walk, we take care of…
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Do I Need To Bring Cash?

No, cash is not essential on the Bucket List…
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Do I Need To Pay In Full Now?

There’s no need to pay in full for the…
Walking Legends Tour Van in the Coromandel

I suffer from terrible car sickness, what will the roads be like?

Good question! If you suffer from car sickness, there’s…
Emerald Lakes

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Yes! We strongly recommend travel insurance for the Bucket…
Check Dates & Book Now

DAYS

12

KM

100 – 120

MILES

62 – 74

DIFFICULTY

4/5

ACCOMMODATION

Lodge

PRICE

$5850

Under 15 yrs 3900 NZD

WALKING SEASON

Nov-Apr

Book now

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 unforgettable 12-day guided hiking tour.

From the majestic mountains of Tongariro National Park, to the lush forests of Lake Waikaremoana, and the dramatic coastlines of Coromandel. Soak up the scenery, and delight in the company, accommodation, meals and wine.

  • Departs Rotorua or Matamata, returns to Rotorua
  • Join a small group with expert New Zealand hiking guides
  • 12 days, 11 nights of North Island beauty
  • 4-7 hours walking each day over varied terrain on formed trails
  • Carry a daypack only
  • Includes: nutritious dinners with lots of veggies and salads, energising breakfasts, fresh packed trail lunches, hot drinks, snacks, New Zealand beer and wine; return Rotorua transport; 9 nights in 3-star, boutique lodge accommodation with ensuite facilities; 2 nights in 4.5-star hotel in Rotorua, hot spring swims; experienced and caring guides.
  • Excludes: evening meals in Rotorua on nights 4 and 8 and lunch in Rotorua on Day 9 are not included in your tour package. Take this opportunity to follow your tastebuds and sample some amazing local fare!
Book now

“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 your accommodation in central Rotorua between 8:00am and 8:30am, or Matamata at 9:30am. We’ll warm up with a 4km hike to the top of Wairere Falls, the North Islands tallest waterfall, 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 peaceful accommodation set amongst lush native bush, 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 beautiful scenic drive north from Coromandel township we’ll arrive at the trail head and begin our hike at Fletcher 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 open farmland and 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 Fletcher Bay.

DAY 3

Hike the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail, 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 native forest birds such as tui, korimako/bellbird, miromiro/tomtit, riroriro/grey warbler, pīpīwharauroa/shining cuckoo and kākā, 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!

After a hearty breakfast, we say farewell to Coromandel Town and head across the Peninsula towards the east coast of the peninsula. We’ll take the short hike to the golden sand of New Chums’ beach, one of the top 20 best beaches in the world. Relax and absorb the natural beauty amidst the bird and marine life that thrives within this precious ecosystem. (Please note, access to New Chums’ Beach is tide dependent). 

After a restorative café pitstop nearby, we’ll carry on around for a refreshing lunch looking out over Buffalo Beach in sunny, vibrant Whitianga. 

Continuing around the East Coast we’ll visit the 309 Kauri walk, a 30-minute stroll to a beautiful grove of majestic kauri trees, then have you safely back to a 4.5 star hotel in Rotorua, where you can enjoy a self-catered dinner at any local establishment that takes your fancy! This evening meal is not included in your tour package, so you have maximum flexibility to follow your nose.

DAY 5

Whirinaki Forest Park / Te Pua-ā-Tāne

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

Onepoto to Panekire Bluff

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 the Te Urewera forest. 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.

We’ll share a delicious, informal dinner together, prepared by your guides and watch the sun set over the lake. 

DAY 7

Lake Waikareiti, Te Urewera

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.

In the of this lake is an island, Rahui Island, which has it’s own lake. That’s a lake, on an island, on a lake!

The Department of Conservation, and now 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, and see the impressive hydro-electric power generation system nearby.

DAY 8

Waterfalls & Whistling Ducks

This morning, we share our final lakeside breakfast in the dining room. Then we’ll take a gentle walk along the Black Beech track, a beautiful scenic trail linking our accommodation to Aniwaniwa, with views out over Te Karetū/Home Bay and Lake Waikaremoana.

A visit to Lake Waikaremoana wouldn’t be complete without a short, 60 minute stroll to the beautiful Aniwaniwa Falls, which means ‘Rainbow’ and Papakorito Falls, a wide, thunderous explosion of water falling down a smooth, sloping rock wall. From two lookout points, we’ll be able to view the falls from an upper and lower perspective and give you a chance to spot the rare fleshy-lipped whistling duck or whio bobbing about on the river-side.

We’ll make a quick stop at Mokau Landing for a picnic lunch while we enjoy views of the impressive Panekire Bluff to reflect on our achievements over the past 4 days. We say a fond farewell to the serenity of Te Urewera and make our way out back to civilisation, stopping for a dip in a natural hot spring under a canopy of native trees. We’ll cap things off with a hot soak, a perfect way to finish off a fantastic walking holiday in New Zealand’s last, true wilderness area. We’ll return you safely to the Princes Gate Hotel in Rotorua between 5 – 6pm.

Enjoy another night of culinary freedom in Rotorua, with a self-directed dinner wherever takes your fancy. Your guides will be happy to suggest great local places for you to try.

DAY 9

Rotorua to Tongariro National Park

We’ll pick you up from central Rotorua City or the Rotorua Airport between 8.30am and 9.00am, or central Taupō at 10.00am, before heading south through the North Island’s geothermal heartland. We’ll skirt around the beautiful shores of Lake Taupō, the North Island’s largest lake, and then drive up through stunning native forest onto the mighty central plateau. We can also meet you in Tongariro National Park if you prefer, please just ask us for driving directions.

We’ll get our first taste of the topography and natural character of the Tongariro National Park with a 2-hour loop walk to Taranaki Falls, which is part of the Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk track. These falls tumble 20 metres over the edge of an old andesite lava flow, erupted from Mt Ruapehu 15,000 years ago, into a boulder-ringed pool. You’ll see a fascinating range of beech forest, alpine meadows full of red tussock, five-finger, umbrella ferns and mountain toatoa. This is a great chance to orient ourselves amongst spectacular views of the Tongariro volcanic massif.

We’ll continue to warm-up and stretch out the legs with an easy, 20 minute walk in to see Tawhai Falls, better known as ‘Gollum’s Pool.’ If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, you’ll recognise this picturesque, 13 metre-high waterfall, where Faramir and his archers watch Gollum fish.

After settling into our cozy lodgings, we’ll share a hearty, 2-course Kiwi-style meal and a cold glass of something to toast the beginning of our Tongariro adventure as we watch the sun set over the magnificent volcanic skyline. Have a soak in the hot tub, nurse an after-dinner tipple at the on-site bar, or just put your feet up and prepare for exciting adventures that await us tomorrow!

DAY 10

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

This morning we’ll set off on one of the world’s greatest one-day hikes, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This trail leads us through an incredible variety of ethereal landscapes – lava fields, emerald coloured crater lakes, steaming vents, alpine meadows, over an alpine pass, amidst the stunning mountain peaks – there’s nothing like it anywhere else on the planet! The views across to Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Ruapehu and the central plateau of the North Island are simply spectacular and worth every step!

Lonely Planet recommends a walk amidst the Tongariro Volcanoes as “a life-changing experience not to be missed!” Your guides make this incredible hike even more memorable by sharing local stories and legends and bringing the extraordinary geological history to life. Fair weather and a good level of fitness are required to undertake this hike. 

After a well-deserved trailend celebration, we’ll return to The Park and revive your weary muscles in the outdoor spa pool, before meeting in the cosy lounge for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles. Tonight we head out to a lively local restaurant and bar for a casual meal with the locals.

DAY 11

The Old Coach Road, Ohakune

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 of stone “setts”, 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.

In consultation with the group, and if local conditions allow, we will explore the dramatic, rock-strewn landscapes higher up Mt Ruapehu. At 2,797 metres above sea level, the North Island’s highest mountain offers jaw-dropping views over the National Park.

Tonight we enjoy a final celebration dinner together and raise our glasses to completing a fantastic walking adventure.

DAY 12

Rainforest & Waterfalls

After a final hearty breakfast, we pack up our kit and farewell the National Park and its majestic mountains. If the legs are feeling fresh, we’ll begin our day with one of the many short walks nearby. Our experienced, local guides love the chance to select a trail from their catalogue of personal favourites to make this particular trip a unique experience for everyone.

On our journey out of the park, we’ll finish things off with a rejuvenating hike around the glistening Lake Rotopounamu (Greenstone Lake) nestled in the side of beautiful Mt. Pihanga, a mountain maiden central to the Māori legend that describes how this area was formed. From the carpark, we’ll make our way up a small incline to reach the lake level itself, where the track evens out to circumvent the lakeshore. We’ll enjoy our final picnic lunch on Five Minute Beach in the peace and serenity of lush, native forest. Walking Legends supports Project Tongariro, an eco-trust that are working to restore the native birdlife to this special area, by sponsoring the care of hectare #189. Let us all enjoy time amongst the abundant native birdlife that our conservation efforts have helped to revive.

We’ll have you safely back in Taupo between 3–4 pm or Rotorua around 5–6pm to meet your onward travel arrangements.

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We’ll stay in a variety of boutique and character lodges & hotels, 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.

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We supply

  • Generous, nutritious meals full of fresh, local produce; packed picnic lunches with the best sandwiches you’ve ever eaten, trail snacks & chocolate; fresh fruit, hot & cold drinks
  • A glass of crisp Kiwi wine or craft beer per person, each evening; you can purchase more with dinner if you wish.
  • Bed linen, bath towels, pillows & blankets
  • Toilet paper, soap & hand sanitiser

What else do you need to know?

  • There are no drying rooms available but plenty of wide, covered verandahs for drying wet gear
  • Specialty diets; we can cater for a wide range of food allergies and specialty diets with sufficient advance notice. Please let us know at the time of booking if you have specific dietary needs and we’ll make sure you’re well taken care of!
  • Accommodation is based on a twin-share arrangement; if you’d rather have a private room, a single supplement fee of $900 NZD applies (this is for the whole trip, not $900 each night)
  • The lodge has power outlets next to all beds so CPAP machines are easily accommodated
  • Sorry, the use of drones is not permitted
  • You are welcome to bring your own alcohol if you wish; we ask that you drink responsibly
  • Non-walkers are more than welcome to join us! There are plenty of activities to be done that don’t involve walking, please enquire with our friendly reservations team for more information

FAQ

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How Do I Get Here?

The 12-day Bucket List Walk departs Rotorua and Matamata…
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Accommodation

On the 12-day Bucket List guided walk, we’ll stay…
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Meals

The meals on the Bucket List Walk are every…
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Specialty Diets – Can You Cater For Me?

Absolutely, we are happy to accommodate guests with specialty…
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Fitness

What fitness level do you need to join us…
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I’m Travelling Solo – Who Will I Be Sharing a Room With?

The accommodation on the Bucket List Walk is based…
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Will I Be With The Same Group For The Whole 12 Days?

Our 12-day Bucket List walk consists of three of…
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What Should I Pack?

We’ll send you through a full packing list with…
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How Much Weight Will I Be Carrying?

On the Bucket List Walk, we take care of…
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Do I Need To Bring Cash?

No, cash is not essential on the Bucket List…
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I suffer from terrible car sickness, what will the roads be like?

Good question! If you suffer from car sickness, there’s…
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Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Yes! We strongly recommend travel insurance for the Bucket…
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