From New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, to the active geothermal region of Rotorua and nearby Lake Taupo, created by a series of massive volcanic eruptions over the last 27,000 years, the impact of nature’s forces is easy to see.
Get acquainted with vibrant and multicultural Auckland on a walk around the city’s stunning waterfront. Catch a heritage tram around Wynyard Quarter, Auckland’s newest waterfront destination. Take in sights including interactive displays, a 12-metre-high (39 ft) viewing platform and public piano.
For a birds-eye view of the city, the 328-metre-high (1076 ft) Sky Tower can’t be beaten. New Zealand’s tallest building offers thrill seekers the chance to test their nerves on a SkyWalk around its 192-metre-high (630 ft) walkway or to SkyJump from it. You can also enjoy a meal at the Sky Tower’s The Observatory restaurant or Orbit revolving restaurant.
A 35 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island is home to beautiful beaches, vineyards and olive groves. Relax on one of the golden sand beaches or join an island tour of the many wineries, olive groves and arts and crafts studios.
Nature-lovers and entertainment-buffs will appreciate Auckland’s rugged west coast. Popular TV shows Xena and Hercules, and Academy-Award winning movie The Piano were filmed here, with the pristine native bush, coastal rainforest and black sand beaches providing the perfect backdrop.
Auckland and Rotorua
Rotorua, New Zealand’s most geothermally active area, is located just three hours’ drive south of Auckland. Experience the raw power of nature amongst bubbling mud pools, dramatic geysers and natural hot springs.
Rotorua is also known as New Zealand’s Māori culture capital and offers a wide range of cultural experiences, from a traditional hangi (feast) to cultural performances and storytelling.
Rotorua is home to many unique adventure activities. Agroventures adventure park offers a selection of world-first thrill rides, including the 130km/h (80mph) ‘Swoop’ super swing and the world’s first human powered monorail racing circuit, the ‘Shweeb’. Elsewhere, you can race downhill in a three-wheel luge cart at Skyline Rotorua or try Zorbing - a uniquely New Zealand activity that involves rolling down a hill in a large transparent plastic orb.
Alternatively, hire a bike or walk through the native forest surrounding one of the region’s many lakes. The extensive network of mountain biking tracks in Whakarewarewa Forest are some of the best in New Zealand and have hosted premier mountain biking events including the World Mountain Bike & Trails Champs.
Relax and unwind at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa with a dip in the hot springs or a luxurious spa treatment.
Rotorua and Taupo
Taupo, an hour east of Rotorua, sits on the shores of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest lake, Lake Taupo. The lake was created by a series of massive volcanic eruptions over the last 27,000 years and the pumice stones from the various eruptions can still be seen on the lake’s shore today.
The lake offers a wide range of water activities, from kayaking and waterskiing to stand-up paddle boarding and parasailing. Lake Taupo is a world-class, year-round trout fishing destination and charter fishing operators are on-hand to help you chase brown and rainbow trout.
If speed is your thing, try jet boating at the foot of the powerful Huka Falls, five minutes’ drive north of Taupo.
Taupo, Waitomo and Auckland
Travel back to Auckland via the town of Waitomo, home to an underground labyrinth of caves, rivers and glowworms.
Explore the caves on a guided walking and boat tour or, if you're feeling more adventurous, try a black water rafting tour. Black water rafting allows you to abseil into some of the harder to access parts of the cave system and navigate your way along the underground rivers by inflatable rubber inner tube.
Back in Auckland, head to the waterfront areas of Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter for dinner and drinks at one of the many restaurants, bars or cafes.
While you’re waiting for your flight home, explore Auckland’s Britomart precinct and nearby High Street in the city centre or venture into the up-market suburbs of Newmarket, Parnell and Ponsonby. Keep an eye out for the boutiques of acclaimed New Zealand designer labels such as Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester, World and Zambesi.