New Zealand: 4-day tour around Auckland
New Zealand: 4 days tour around Auckland. How to share your itinerary to explore the magnificent landscapes, trails and coastline of this country of adventure, fun and relaxation you will find in NZ.
Kia Ora! Welcome to New Zealand! The land where there are long roads, but no part of the country is more than 128 km away from the sea. Place where about a third of the country is protected by national parks. The country that owns Lake Taupo, which covers an area of 616 square kilometers, is the largest lake by surface area in New Zealand and the second largest freshwater lake by surface area in Oceania. Furthermore, it has about 30% of its territory covered by natural forests.
We set up a 4-day tour around Auckland:
- 1 – # 1 Day – Coastal Route, Coromandel, Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach and Tauranga
- 2 – # 2 Day – Tauranga, Mount Maunganiu Trail, Waterfall, Hobbit Movie Set and Taupo
- 3 – # 3 Day – Taupo, Tongarino Alpine Crossing and Rotorua
- 4 – # 4 Day – Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, OGO Park and Auckland
And not to say that:
- Pollution is practically non-existent in the country (kiwis – typical birds of the country – are grateful);
- This is one of the countries with the lowest levels of corruption in the world and one of the best structures for tourism;
- The word New Zealand in Maori means “land of the long white cloud”;
- There are about 5 million inhabitants there, with more sheep than people.
So now that you know a little bit about the curiosities of this country so full of nature, we can start to tell you a little about the ultra intense 4-day tour of the north of the North Island of New Zealand. And to be more precise, a road trip between friends through the cities around Auckland, the largest city in NZ.
I begin by telling you that our entire itinerary was based on tips and places presented as the most beautiful in the country in different rankings. We handpicked the websites we visited, as we didn’t have much time available
This was one of the most intense trips we have ever taken. Intense for the short time, the various activities and the beauty of the places.
So let’s get down to business and lots of pictures to illustrate this little adventure through the fantasy land of JRR Tolkien – creator of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies.
We started our journey on a Thursday night when our flight left Sydney (where we live) and headed towards Auckland. It was a 3 hour flight and approximately midnight on Friday we arrived in this city.
As I mentioned our trip was between friends and there, waiting for us, was already one of our friends who lived in this country. He rented a car and picked us up at the airport. We then proceed to our first night in hostels and motels on the road.
We headed towards Thames, a small town on the southwestern tip of the Coromandel peninsula. As we had looked for accommodation in Coromandel and found it very expensive, we decided to stay a little further down this city and enjoy better values. Done!
We arrived in the town around 2 am and we were soon ready to sleep. The next day was going to be intense and we needed a few hours of sleep. We stayed at Brookby Motel (NZD $ 110 double room) , the best accommodation of this season. Motel super charming and full of details, with a wonderful receptive and outbuildings. Too bad we only stayed a few hours there.
On Friday, we woke up very early, around 7, and drove to our day’s itinerary. We left Thames and went to the first stop of the day: Coromandel. In this, too, small town we stopped for our breakfast, a coffee half lunch, since it was past 11 am. We took a little longer between the two cities because we stopped at several sections for photos. Mountain points, lookouts and beaches. In general, if the traveler makes the journey from Thames to Coromandel it will take about 2h30 without stops.
We stayed in the city for approximately 1 hour and a half, and when 1 pm approached we left there towards our second point of interest of the day: Cathedral Cove. From Coromandel to Cathedral Cove it takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes (always taking into account that we stop and enjoy the vibe of the road).
We arrive at the main parking lot at Cathedral Cove, where the cars must be stopped (for authorized cars they have a small parking lot at the entrance to the trail). From there a bus leaves every 30 minutes, and takes tourists to the entrance of the trail. This journey between parking and the trail entrance takes about 15 minutes by bus.
Once we arrive at the location, we follow the path towards the beach that houses Cathedral Cove – Hahei Beach. This is a 45- to 50-minute one-way trail. As we had arrived a little later in the day and the last bus back to the parking lot was at 6 pm, we had to step up.
On the way, we went a little faster than a usual walk and on the way back, as we had some time off, we came back more slowly. The place is really beautiful and worth the sacrifice of walking on this small trail.
At 6pm we were on the bus returning to the parking lot, and when we arrived we headed for our last point of interest of the day: Hot Water Beach. However, a small detail made us enjoy this place less.
This is a beach where there is volcanic activity, so depending on the time of day it is possible to dig holes and enjoy the hot water that comes from the ground. That’s why it’s called Hot Water Beach. But as we did not research the times when the tide would be low, we arrived at the beach and it was not the right time to see this natural event. On that specific day it was necessary to be on the beach at 12:00 or 00:00.
But as everything is a party when you are on vacation, we take the opportunity to take a walk on the sand. We also enjoyed the sunset a little, and then we made our way to the dorm town that day. We went towards Tauranga. It was approximately 2 and a half hours between Hot Water Beach and Tauranga. We went straight between the two destinations, without stopping, as we still had to eat (a lunch / dinner since we didn’t have a full meal almost all day).
A note about New Zealand: absolutely everything closes very early (commerce and restaurants in general). So, get ready to dine around 7pm every day and have no trouble finding everything closed.
Tonight we booked the Bell Lodge Motel & Backpackers Hostel (NZD $ 180 room for 4 people) in Tauranga. We closed our day with a nice lunch / dinner at a local pub (average price per meal is $ 15 to $ 20 dollars per person).
Our first day script summary was:
- Cathedral Cove
- Hot Water Beach
# 2 Day – Tauranga, Mount Maunganiu Trail, Waterfall, Hobbit Movie Set and Taupo
Our second day of road trip in the land of the sheep, started early. At 8 we were already on our feet and headed towards our day’s walk. We booked the morning to visit Mount Maunganiu, a hill that is at the end of the main beach in Tauranga and has a beautiful view.
The climb takes about 1 hour and is a little tiring, but nothing impossible to do. Because of the heat of the day, it took us a little longer, as we made some stops for water and rest, but soon we were at the top of the hill enjoying the beautiful landscape. Up there, we took at least 1 hour to sit, rest and admire the place. And what a location! And what a view!
On the way back, we went down another path (this trail you can go up and down in different ways) and we took the opportunity to enjoy more jaw-dropping visuals.
On the way back to the car, we made a pitstop for a bid and went to the next destination: Omanawa Falls.
This second stop is a controversy aside, and I will explain the cause. When we looked for information about the place we saw that it was a beautiful spot, but it could not be accessed, it had been banned for some time. Even so, we went to the place to confirm that it was not open. When we arrived we were faced with the access of the violated lookout and the main access of the closed waterfall.
We entered the lookout part, took some pictures and we were satisfied. We saw many people at the waterfall, even with all the devices that prevented access. We also saw some girls trying to jump over bars and entrances to access the site. Total disrespect and lack of sense of security. Anyway, we took our photos and went back to the car, then we went to the last sightseeing of the day. Hobitton was waiting for us.
For this last stop we bought tickets with precedence on the website and reserved the time of 5:45 pm. We left it for one of the last available periods so that we would have no trouble arriving.
The journey from Tauranga to Matamata is 1 hour, and at 5 pm we arrive at the Hobbiton Set. We still have some time waiting for the start of the tour and at 5:45 pm we leave towards the set where the most famous cinema trilogies were filmed.
This is a very peaceful tour that lasts approximately 2 hours. We went out towards the set and walked, with a determined group and a local guide, all the space where the filming was made. Many explanations, many photos and many giant pumpkins. When we finished the tour we were offered a local beer and a short break in the pub within the set.
The day of activities ended on that return to the car. We then headed towards our dorm town: Taupo. Tonight we booked the Taupo Urban Retreat (NZD $ 80 for a double room) .
For our third day on the north island, we booked a tougher trek that would last all day, so we needed to rest our bodies.
Our second day script summary was:
- Tauranga Mount Maunganui
- Omanawa Falls
- Hobbit Movie Set
# 3 Day – Taupo, Tongarino Alpine Crossing and Rotorua
On this day all our strengths were reserved for the trail we took. The day was complete with this crossing called Tongariro Alpine Crossing. But before telling you about this trekking, let’s go to the important details and that hindered us a little in the planning of the trip.
We made a mistake in this step because we did not seek detailed advance information of the crossing, and we did not buy the ticket for the shuttle in advance (but luckily we were able to buy the shuttle on the spot) between the Ketetahi Car Park and the trail’s starting point (Mangatepopo Car Park).
This route is the most common way of doing the trail. The traveler accesses the location by car (and this is how most people usually arrive), to the vehicle at Ketetahi Car Park and takes the shuttle to the beginning of the trail at Mangatepopo Car Park. It is at this point, Mangatepopo Car Park, that the trail / walk begins effectively.
Items that the official website indicates that tourists take:
- Food and lots of water and liquids, especially in summer
- Windproof and waterproof jacket and pants
- Boots for use on volcanic soil
- Warm clothes
- Hat and gloves
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- A first aid kit
- Cell phone
This is undoubtedly a hard path for those who are not fit, are elderly or are overweight. There are stretches of low difficulty, but others of great difficulty and need a lot of physical strength to cross.
The first part takes around 1 hour, and we managed to do the first 4 kilometers in that time. When accessing the second part, the level of difficulty increased considerably. During the next 2 to 3 hours we find a lot of uphill and steeper stretches.
When we arrived in the middle of the trail (after 4 hours walking), we reached the most beautiful and interesting point, Esmerald Lakes. This is the part where most tourists stop for the longest time for photos and to enjoy the local atmosphere. We left from there for the last kilometers of the hike. In this final stage there is a small stretch of uphill (the last uphill), and until the end of the trail it follows only a descent (at that time that the knees scream).
We reached the end of the trail at 6:30 pm. It was exactly 8 hours of walking, many scenarios and some scratches.
When we arrived at the park entrance we still had to walk another 10 minutes to the car park where we left our vehicle. From there we left for the hotel in Rotorua, the penultimate city on this road trip.
Tonight we booked the Rob Roy Motel (NZD $ 170 room for 4 people) .
Final tips on the trail:
- Buy the shuttle ticket between the parking lots at least 48 hours in advance ( see this website ) (there are other shuttels available, search Google );
- Wear boots / special shoes for trekking (there are very difficult stretches that ordinary sneakers cannot handle);
- Take items such as: water, food, toilet paper (there are chemical toilets along the way, but without basic structure), sunscreen and winter items (gloves and hat);
- If you are unable to buy before, arrive at Ketetahi Car Park until about 8 am so you can buy on time and have no problems.
All sections of the trail:
- Starting point Mangatepopo Car Park to soda springs – 1 hour easy walk;
- Soda Springs to the south crater – 1 hour uphill. The descent to the top of Mount Ngauruhoe begins in the southern part of the crater, this is a dangerous and difficult climb with an unmarked section on the trail. During this part of the route, the suggestion is to follow the solid lava trail (allow yourself an hour and a half to climb). Watch out for loose stones and the people in front of you;
- Southern crater to the top of the red crater – 1 hour of difficult climb. Take extra care at the top of the red crater, especially if the winds are strong. This is a narrow ridge and this is the steepest part of the trail. The initial top of Tongariro is in the middle of the descent to the red crater (this part is optional) (allow 1 hour and a half on this stretch);
- Red crater to the emerald pools takes around 10 minutes, but needs special attention, as this is a difficult and sandy descent;
- From the emerald pools to Lago Azul it takes around 20 minutes with an easy walk through the central crater. Attention: you cannot swim in any of the pools!
- From the Blue Lake to the Ketetahi Hut it is an hour of easy descent;
- From Ketetahi Hut to Car Park it is 2 hours downhill, be careful because the steps can become difficult in some parts;
- From Ketetahi Car Park to the security parking, it is another 700 meters walk.
Our third day script summary was:
- Ketetahi Car Park
# 4 Day – Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, OGO Park and Auckland
For the fourth and last day we reserve lighter activities due to the previous day. We woke up a little later, checked out of the hotel we were in and headed for our breakfast. That day we went to Café do MCDonalds, fast and cheap, and then we went on to the first activity of this day: Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland . This site houses a park where the main attractions are: collapsed craters, bubbling pools of volcanic mud, fumaroles, colorful hotsprings and geysers.
We paid NZ $ 32.50 per person and toured the park for approximately 2 hours. The smell of the place is not very pleasant, due to the sulfur and other chemical components of the geysers, but the park itself is interesting.
After that visit the idea was to stop by an Adventure attraction – OGO – and then head to Auckland. And that’s what we did!
At OGO, we arrived with all the gas, but of all the members of this friends trip, only I faced the descent (see the values here ).
This is a very famous attraction in New Zealand and Adventure, where you, with or without friends, descend into a giant plastic ball (with or without water) and follow a predetermined route. The whole journey takes around 3 to 4 minutes. There are different types of routes (direct, zigzag and a higher specific).
We stayed at the location for approximately 1 hour and then we headed towards our last and first destination in New Zealand – Auckland.
We left Rotorua around 2/3 o’clock in the afternoon and in 3 ½ hours we were inside Auckland City. We go straight to check in at the hostel we booked. We left our bags, went out to reconnect the city and for a special dinner to end our road trip.
As we arrived in the city on a Monday of holiday and already dusk, a lot was closed (not that this was very unreal for NZ, because in this country everything closes very early – commerce and restaurants).
We walked through the center (Queen Street) and took advantage of the local climate. We went to the port area and went to dinner at a place called WildFire (a Brazilian steakhouse). We took advantage of our well-deserved rest with good food and stayed in this place for almost 2 hours.
The day was over, but first we decided to enjoy some more and have a beer at a local pub. We closed our evening with friends, beer, wine and a few laughs. Thus, our tour around Auckland and the north of the north island of NZ was finished.
Tonight we booked City Lodge – Backpackers Accommodation (NZD $ 152 triple room)
- Site Oficial do Turismo da Nova Zelândia (em português)
- Explore Bay of Islands
- Auckland City Sightseeing
- Auckland Seaplanes
- Skydive Auckland
- Skydive Taupo
- Be AdventureSmart
- Discover New Zealand
- Auckland’s Best Day Tours
- Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari
- Taupo Bungy
- Driving Creek Railway – Coromandel Town
- Cathedral Cove Boat Tour
- eBike Hire Coromandel
- OGO Rotorua
- Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
- Te Puia – Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve
- Mt Tarawera Volcanic Experience
- Paradise Valley Springs
- Lake Taupo
- Guided Tours
- Tours New Zealand
- Rotorua Tribal Tours
- Volcanic Air Helicopters & Floatplanes
- Hobbiton Set
- Tours NZ
- Bike Hire
- 4WD BUGGIES
- Rotorua Duck Tours
- Tarawera Trail
- Polynesian Spa – Hot Mineral Bathing & Spa Therapies
- Waimangu Volcanic Valley
- The Living Maori Village Whakarewarewa
- Mitai Maori Village
- Tamaki Maori Village
- The Complete Guide to Camping on the Coromandel
- Auckland Day Tours
- Auckland Bridge Climb
- Auckland Bridge Bungy
- Thermal Safari
- Tongariro River Rafting
- Whitewater Rafting
- Sailing Lake Taupo
- Cruise Lake Taupo
- Ernest Kemp Replica Steamboat – Lake Taupo
- Taupo Kayak Tours
- Hukafalls Jet
Confira viagens pelo Brasil e pelo mundo.
Você escolhe o destino e a gente te guia.
We have separated some tips and step by step for you to plan your next trip. Once you start, it won’t stop.
NBe sure to travel because you have no time to plan. We at Soul Viajero have created your itinerary and you care about packing, traveling and relaxing.