Ultimate North Island Adventure

  • 11 Days
  • 14 People Max

    This trip has a maximum of 14 guests, plus two experienced Active Adventures guides.

  • Activity Level 3
    • Activity Level 3

      Earn Your Lunch

      I stay active on vacation and love the feeling of relaxing after a busy day on the go. I season my trips with a little fresh exercise.

    Read more about the Active Range

  • Trip Start: Auckland
  • Trip End: Auckland
Ultimate North Island Adventure

Lose track of time as you explore New Zealand's diverse North Island, from rolling green hills to the volcanic landscapes and endless coastlines on our Ultimate North Island Adventure.

The North Island of New Zealand is packed to the brim with incredible landscapes, and there's no better way to experience its vastness than on our 11-day Ultimate North Island Adventure. Discover for yourself your favorite part of the island as you hike the renowned Tongariro Alpine Crossing, bike through redwood forests, snorkel or kayak the Poor Knights Islands and walk through otherwordly caves lit by the mysterious glowworm. With two local guides and every detail looked after, you'll learn about the intimate Maori culture and visit spiritual Kauri forests without a worry in the world. Our year-round Ultimate North Island Adventure is the perfect addition to any of our South Island trips. Starting and finishing in Auckland, all you'll need to do is walk off the plane, and you'll be off on a hiking tour of a lifetime!

Ultimate North Island Adventure ~ Itinerary

Trip Start: Auckland Trip End: Auckland
  • Day 1Arrive, journey north, Waipoua Forest and Footprints tour

  • Day 2Te Pouahi Reserve, hike Puketi Forest, Bay of Islands

  • Day 3Hike Cape Brett

  • Day 4Cruise Poor Knights Islands, snorkel or kayak

  • Day 5Hike Northland coastline

  • Day 6Free day in Auckland

  • Day 7Visit Te Aroha, hike to Wairere Waterfall

  • Day 8Mountain bike Whakarewarewa Forest, visit Te Puia

  • Day 9Hike Rainbow Mountain, hike to Huka Falls

  • Day 10Hike Tongariro Alpine Crossing, soak in hot pools

  • Day 11Visit Waitomo Caves, depart for home

  • Day 1

    Arrive, journey north, Waipoua Forest and Footprints tour

    #446

    If you leave the northern hemisphere on a Sunday evening, you'll arrive into Auckland early on Tuesday morning where we'll meet you. You'll lose a day to the dateline, but you get it back on the way home! Leaving the city behind us, we'll follow the road along the banks of the Wairoa River and head north to Waipoua Forest, where we'll stretch our legs, greeted by native birdlife as we pass beneath huge kauri trees. We'll then continue through to the west coast settlement of Opononi, a harbour town made famous in the mid-1950s by the tame dolphin, Opo, who used to let children ride on his back. Later, after dinner we'll head back out into the Waipoua Forest for a twilight walk, where we'll be joined by local Maori guides. It's a memorable and spiritual experience to witness the greeting of these colossal trees with a spine-tingling waiata (sacred chant). We'll also visit Tane Mahuta (meaning Lord of the Forest), New Zealand's largest known living kauri tree. At a height of 51.2 metres (168 feet), and with a trunk girth of 13.7 metres (45 feet), this silent giant, with ancient limbs, seems to grasp at the stars.
    The Heads, Hokianga Harbour (Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking Time: 3 hours, relaxed stroll

  • Day 2

    Te Pouahi Reserve, hike Puketi Forest, Bay of Islands

    #447

    After breakfast, we’ll board a water taxi to the other side of the Hokianga Harbour to walk the sand dunes at Te Pouahi Reserve. We’ll take some sandboards along too, for those who’re keen to take the fast route down! More than 1000 years ago, Maori warrior chief Kupe and his people were the first to arrive in New Zealand, landing on the shores of Hokianga Harbour. The area was also one of the first points of Maori and European contact. With our sandboarding fix satisfied, we'll head east to the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi and hike along the bush-clad banks of the Waitangi River to Haruru Falls. The journey features a boardwalk section which provides an opportunity to pass through the interior of a mature mangrove forest, and we know we'll be approaching the end of the walk as we'll hear the thundering roar of the Falls. Later, we’ll head to ‘the Jewel of the Bay of Islands’, Paihia, a bustling seaside town with golden sand beaches.
    Paihia Lodgings, Paihia (All meals)

    Hiking Distance: 12 kilometres (1 mile), 5 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    20 metres (65 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    20 metres (65 feet)

  • Day 3

    Hike Cape Brett

    #462

    This morning, we’ll take a water taxi from Paihia out to Deep Water Cove for a ridgeline hike to Cape Brett through the Manawahuna Scenic Reserve. On route, you’ll experience the Bay of Islands from the ridge tops and get magnificent views. This is a 3-4 hour hike with rewarding views of the Bay of Islands the entire way - you may even see dolphins and seals from your vantage point high up on the cliffs. The mountains that we’re crossing are very important to the local Iwi (Maori tribe). The mountain “Rakaumangamanga” is one point of the Polynesian Triangle - Hawaii and Rapanui are the other 2. If you’re not feeling up to the hike, have a chat to our guides and they can arrange an alternative boat trip around the Bay of Islands. Later, we’ll be picked up at Cape Brett, again by water taxi for the scenic cruise back to Paihia. 
    Pacific Rendezvous, Tutukaka (All meals)

    Hiking Distance: 5 kilometres (3 miles), 3 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    473 metres (1,550 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    473 metres (1,550 feet)

  • Day 4

    Cruise Poor Knights Islands, snorkel or kayak

    #454

    After breakfast, we’ll head out for an early morning walk before boarding a purpose-built boat for a cruise to the Poor Knights Islands. This small cluster of islets is home to a wealth of biodiversity both above and below the water. While you head across from the mainland, keep your eyes peeled for flocks of petrels, shearwaters and gannets – many of these shorebirds nest almost exclusively on the islands you’ll be visiting. The Poor Knights is the second oldest marine reserve in New Zealand, and the sub-tropical environment is now an important conservation area for many species of marine-life. Whales, dolphins and orca can often be spotted, as well as a myriad of fish species that constantly trawl the reserve. You’ll visit the world’s largest sea cave, and hear all about the islands’ history including their occupation by ancient Maori. Our guides will then give you the chance to explore under your own steam, by providing you with either a snorkel and mask, or a kayak. If you’re a keen scuba diver, there’s an option to upgrade to diving for an additional fee, including all the necessary gear. This option must be pre-arranged, so please let the team know well before-hand.
    Pacific Rendezvous, Tutukaka (All meals)

  • Day 5

    Hike Northland coastline

    #455

    This morning, we’ll follow the coastal road as it winds its way south alongside tree-lined white sand beaches to Waipu, a quaint village with strong Scottish heritage dating back to the 1850s. Then we’ll make our way to Mangawhai Heads for one of the finest coastal cliff top walks in the country. The walk offers glorious views of the Northland coastline, passing through shady bush and beneath giant old pohutukawa trees, and then returns along the beach. After lunch, we’ll continue south from Mangawhai Heads towards the city of Auckland.
    Sudima Hotel, Auckland (Breakfast, Lunch)

    Hiking Distance: 5 kilometres (3 miles), 3 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    40 metres (130 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    40 metres (130 feet)

    Note: If you're short on time, this is where the first 5-day 'Northland' trip finishes.

  • Day 6

    Free day in Auckland

    Known as the city of sails, Auckland sprawls over a narrow isthmus between the sparkling waters of the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours. Close to a third of New Zealand’s population is settled in this area, and it’s home to the largest Polynesian community in the world. Its vibrant, multi-cultural feel makes for a great city experience. Most of Auckland’s activities and attractions are within half an hour of the central city. Take in the spectacular views from natural and man-made landmarks - the region is home to 48 volcanic cones, many of which provide excellent viewing points. Rangitoto Island is arguably Auckland’s most iconic natural landmark, with its distinctive symmetrical cone and easy access just off the coast. At 328 metres (1076 feet), the Sky Tower is the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand offering views for up to 80 kilometres (50 miles) in every direction. For movie enthusiasts, take the day to visit The Shire in Middle Earth, the ultra-realistic fantasy setting for ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of The Rings’ movie trilogies. Your guides will happily share their favourite haunts and point you in the right direction for your free day today.
    Sudima Hotel, Auckland (No meals included)

  • Day 7

    Visit Te Aroha, hike to Wairere Waterfall

    #457

    If you're short on time, this is where the last 5-day 'North Island Volcanic' trip starts

    We’ll pick you up from your hotel and, leaving the city behind us, drive south to the township of Te Aroha. The town is one of the country’s top tourist spots, celebrated for its naturally hot soda waters and Mokena geyser. Today’s hike winds its way amongst tree roots and mossy rocks, and across several bridged river crossings to a lookout platform at the base of the Wairere Falls on the Okauia fault line. Afterwards we’ll drive to Rotorua, considered the heartland of New Zealand’s Maori culture and the spiritual home of New Zealand’s tangata whenua (original people of the land).
    Sudima Hotel, Rotorua (All meals - please note, breakfast not included for those people starting the 5-day trip today)

    Hiking Distance: 5 kilometres (3 miles), 3-4 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    400 metres (1,312 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    400 metres (1,312 feet)

  • Day 8

    Mountain bike Whakarewarewa Forest, visit Te Puia

    #458

    This morning, we’ll head out to cycle the trails of Whakarewarewa Forest. The cycling in the forest is a real highlight on the ‘Kauri’ trip and we have options to suit all abilities. If you prefer not to cycle, you can stay and soak in the local mineral spas, or explore Rotorua. After a picnic lunch in the forest, we’ll visit Te Puia which is famed for the Te Whakarewarewa geothermal valley – a place of gushing waters, steaming vents, boiling mud pools and impressive geysers. Tonight you’ll enjoy a cultural performance by members of the Te Arawa tribe and share a traditional feast. A hangi, as it’s known, is prepared by wrapping food and burying it in the earth to cook over hot stones. This healthy cooking method is similar to steaming and imparts a wonderful flavour.
    Sudima Hotel, Rotorua (All meals)

    Biking Distance: 2-8 kilometres (1.5-5 miles), 3 hours including bike fitting & bike briefing and depending on ability and preferences, we have plenty of options
    Elevation Gain:
    20 metres (65 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    20 metres (65 feet)

  • Day 9

    Hike Rainbow Mountain, hike to Huka Falls

    #459

    We head south out of Rotorua today to hike Rainbow Mountain, aptly named due to the unusual colour of the soil. We’ll head up through native forest past an impressive crater lake for panoramic views over the volcanic plateau. Then after lunch, we’ll follow the track along New Zealand’s longest river, the Waikato, for a spectacular view of Huka Falls and maybe a dip in some natural hot springs. Travelling further south, we follow the shores of Lake Taupo, an enormous volcanic cauldera and the site of the world’s largest eruption in the last 70,000 years. We’ll stay on the banks of the Tongariro River, New Zealand’s most famous trout fishing river.
    Creel Lodge, Turangi (All meals)

    Rainbow Mountain Hiking Distance: 5 kilometres (3 miles), 3 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    340 metres (1,115 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    340 metres (1,115 feet)

    Huka Falls Hiking Distance: 3 kilometres (2 miles), 1 hour
    Elevation Gain:
    20 metres (65 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    20 metres (65 feet)

  • Day 10

    Hike Tongariro Alpine Crossing, soak in hot pools

    #460

    Just south of Turangi are three massive volcanoes (Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu) – located in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand’s oldest national park and the fifth oldest in the world. Here you’ll have the opportunity to walk what is considered the best mountain day hike in the country, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This full-day hike is challenging and unforgettable – the rewards are definitely worth the effort! The trail takes you through arid volcanic terrain that includes emerald lakes, cold mountain springs, lava flows, active craters and steam vents – it’s unlike anything else in New Zealand. If you prefer, there’s an easier hike available at the base of Mount Ruapehu, the highest active volcano in New Zealand. Tonight, you can bathe in some natural thermal springs before having a celebratory dinner for our last night together.
    Creel Lodge, Turangi (All meals)

    The Tongariro Alpine Crossing in winter (from May until September)
    Whilst eye-catching, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a more challenging hike in winter, with alpine conditions such as snow and ice. If the weather isn’t suitable for the crossing, or you’d prefer to do a hike at lower elevation (away from the snow and ice!), we have a fantastic couple of hikes up our sleeve, to Taranaki Falls and Silica Rapids. Both of these hikes showcase a variety of flora from native beech forest to sub-alpine shrublands, each culminating with a spectacular view; Taranaki Falls is 20 metres (65 feet) high and Silica Rapids has water cascading down a series of creamy white terraces. For those that are keen, and if the weather is suitable, you can still choose to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing with a local specialist guide. We’ll provide you with all the necessary gear such as crampons, ice axes and a helmet.

    Hiking Distance: 20 kilometres (12 miles), 7-8 hours
    Elevation Gain: 1,000
     metres (3,280 feet)
    Elevation Loss: 1,280
     metres (4,200 feet)

  • Day 11

    Visit Waitomo Caves, depart for home

    #461

    For our last day together, we’ll head to the spectacular Waitomo Caves for a morning of caving. If you prefer, you can take a walk through Ruakuri cave to learn more about the geological significance of the area. For those keen, you’ll head down to explore an underground cave system. You’ll be fitted with a wetsuit, helmet, headlamp and rubber tube in order to float down a subterranean stream, slide down waterfalls and at one point, switch off your headlamp to check out the incredible glowworms that live on the limestone ceiling of the cave. After a shower and some hot soup, we’ll head back to Auckland where your ‘Kauri’ trip finishes. We’ll have you at the airport in time to catch evening flights back home, or down south for one of our South Island trips.
    (Breakfast, Lunch)

Departure Dates

  • Upcoming
  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 1 year

This trip is also available in a 5-day option, which The -day option starts on Day 1 of the itinerary and ends on Day 5. Contact us for more information and prices.

USD $5499/pp
6 Dec 2022
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Interactive Trip Map: Click on the map icons to read details for each day

What Our Guests Say About the Ultimate North Island Adventure

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- May 2022

Amazing trip with great guides

"I had a great time on the Jaguar trip - our guides were friendly, knowledgeable,… read more

"I had a great time on the Jaguar trip - our guides were friendly, knowledgeable, organized, and always helpful. Our porters and camp staff also were friendly and highly competent. The sites chosen by the guides for us to visit were always interesting, and the guides were able to provide great information about them. The information provided to us by Active Adventures was helpful and comprehensive - my only comments regarding the pre-trip information would be to update the materials to clarify that guests need a small day pack for biking and day hikes AND a 30L plus hiking bag for the Inca trail, and the pre-trip information could have included information about tipping for the porters and guides. While it is sensible that the company would not want to pressure guests into tipping a certain amount, everyone in my group had a wonderful time and genuinely wanted to show appreciation to our porters and guides. It would have been helpful to know how much cash we should have with us when departing on the trail to be able to tip each individual adequately, as well as information about when in the trip we would have an opportunity to tip both porters and guides. read less

5 Stars (2056 reviews)

Amy, United States

- May 2022

Bucket list trip for sure!!

"After having had my retirement bucket list trip snatched from under me in 2020, I… read more

"After having had my retirement bucket list trip snatched from under me in 2020, I was delighted to finally take it this April. Active Adventures deserves huge kudos for honouring its commitment to the trip. I travelled with two friends, and we were in a group of 15 on the trip - from the US and Canada. What a fantastic group of people! Best of all though, were our two tour guides from the Galapagos, Pepo and Paulo. They were the best ambassadors for the islands and Ecuador - very knowledgeable, professional, kind hearted - and just plain fun. They made us feel safe and relaxed throughout the trip. The islands are gorgeous - and the wildlife does not disappoint. I found deep ocean snorkelling a bit out of my comfort zone, and wished I had practiced a bit in a pool before I left. However, it is an essential part of the trip, and cannot be skipped. Learning about tectonic plates, volcanoes and the conservation efforts for the giant tortoises was food for thought. As for helpful tips, bring lots of sun screen, sun protective clothing, and bug spray. These items are not readily available on the islands, but they are absolutely essential. Also bring a reusable water bottle as recommended by AA, because although bottled water is available for purchase everywhere, it makes more sense to fill up from the large reusable containers provided and not create plastic waste. I would definitely recommend this beautiful active adventure - my first with this company, but not my last. read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Serena, Canada

- May 2022

Bucket List Trip

"We loved our trip to Galapagos! Our guides, Pepo and Paulo were so knowledgeable… read more

"We loved our trip to Galapagos! Our guides, Pepo and Paulo were so knowledgeable about the islands and loved sharing it all with us. The warm weather was so welcome after a winter in New England. All of the logistics were handled smoothly so that all we had to do was enjoy the varied land and marine wildlife. An amazing trip that I highly recommend! read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Claudia, United States

- May 2022

Somethings really do live up to the hype. This was AMAZING!!

"To be honest, I was a little leery traveling with a new company, with new… read more

"To be honest, I was a little leery traveling with a new company, with new people and well, Covid. But this was abso-fricking-lutely the BEST ADVENTURE TRIP! From our guide, Pepo (who completely hit it out of the park), to the places we saw, to the organization behind the scenes and those wonderful meals, this was amazing! If you want the best way to SEE the Galapagos Islands, this is it. I can't say enough great things about Galakiwi (Active's partner) and our guides. They made this trip unforgettable. Pepo and Paolo answered our flora/fauna questions (we had lots!) and happily shared us what makes this place so special. And man, Pepo can dance - and surf! We're already talking about our next Active Adventure - we can't wait! :) read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Lori, United States

Ultimate Patagonia & Chile Adventure - April 2022

Wonderful Patagonia

"Although initially disappointed that the border with Argentina remained closed, the Torres del Paine hiking… read more

"Although initially disappointed that the border with Argentina remained closed, the Torres del Paine hiking with Alvaro and Christian was compensation aplenty. read less

4 Stars (1175 reviews)

Nick, United Kingdom

Ultimate Patagonia & Chile Adventure - April 2022

Bucket List Trip!

"I finally made it to Patagonia! And I couldn't have done it with a better… read more

"I finally made it to Patagonia! And I couldn't have done it with a better company! This was my 5th tour with Active!
The landscape was even more breathtaking than I had imagined. And every guide was so much fun to hang out with and incredibly knowledgeable about the culture and the land. If you are planning a trip to Patagonia and you love being in the outdoors, this is the tour company for you! read less

5 Stars (1175 reviews)

Jolene, Canada

- April 2022

West Coast is a must visit

"This is our second Active Adventures trip and we weren't disappointed. The itinerary was excellent… read more

"This is our second Active Adventures trip and we weren't disappointed. The itinerary was excellent and food and accommodation of a high standard. We loved the West Coast scenery. The walks were amazing, particularly around Lake Matheson and Punakaiki. Kayaking on Okarito Lagoon, heli-hiking on Franz Joseph Glacier and the scenic flight over Mt Aspiring National Park out to Milford Sound were fantastic experiences. Our guide Clare was first class. Everything was organised to perfection and nothing was too much trouble. read less

5 Stars (2 reviews)

Robert, New Zealand

- April 2022

Fabulous trip!

"First “big” trip in 2 years due to the pandemic. Honestly, more anxiety than excitement… read more

"First “big” trip in 2 years due to the pandemic. Honestly, more anxiety than excitement prior to the trip but once I arrived in the Galapagos, the excitement hit and so glad my friend and I decided to go on the adventure together. AA tour made the trip really easy. I really like the balance of being “active” and some downtime of my own. The tour guides were friendly and very knowledgeable. The meals were all very good except for the first night dinner on San Cristobal Island…to me, it wasn’t good. I thought the fish weren’t well prepared and tasted too fishy. Another person ordered the same meal and I noticed she hardly touched hers. Later I found out hers was too salty. Another low light for me was the accommodations on Floreana Island. Apparently, very limited hotel selections on the island. Hotel Wittmer was ran down and we all had cold showers that night. I also found a smashed dead mosquito with blood on the wall! Isabela Island was fun and where we stayed was wonderful. I wish we had more time on Santa Cruz Island. All in all, I had a fantastic trip and would recommend this trip to my friends who enjoy the outdoor and animals! read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Hui-Chien, United States

- April 2022

Wonderful wildlife adventures

"The Tortuga trip was full of once in a lifetime experiences. Pablo, our guide was… read more

"The Tortuga trip was full of once in a lifetime experiences. Pablo, our guide was so passionate about the islands and knowledgeable about the wildlife and all aspects of our trip. We swam with sea turtles, rays, sea lions, and sharks!. The land tortoises were great to see in their natural habitat and in the breeding centers. I learned so much about the history of the islands, the environment, Darwin's studies and plans for the furture on the island. The snorkeling in Los Tunels was the highlight as well as the hike to the volcano lava fields. The Galapagos is truely a unique and fascinating place. read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Barb, United States

- April 2022

Great experience

"Well organised trip read more

"Well organised trip read less

5 Stars (863 reviews)

Adrian, New Zealand

Ultimate Patagonia & Chile Adventure - April 2022

Almost to Antarctica

"The Condor trip and the W Trek were wonderful. I was there in early February… read more

"The Condor trip and the W Trek were wonderful. I was there in early February and the weather was good; clouds mixed with sun, and surprisingly warm…but windy. The guides, as always, were special and took care of everything. The scenery is amazing, and constant for the entire 4+ days. The Argentina border was closed so the trip was modified to include the Chile Lake District, and I opted out of that portion of the trip because it was similar to the Active Adventures Puma trip which I did a couple years ago (also a great trip!). Even doing only the W Trek was great…and I hope to return for the whole trip! read less

5 Stars (1175 reviews)

Mark, United States

- April 2022

Great trip with Great people

"I could write pages about our Tortuga trip in April . Instead I will just… read more

"I could write pages about our Tortuga trip in April . Instead I will just say that we were so surprised how much we enjoyed traveling with Active Adventures. We are typically not "group travel" people but in the Galapagos it seems necessary...so many things to line up and local people and facilities to communicate with. AAdventures did this with amazing competency. Things flowed seamlessly. Our guide Pepo and his assistant Paolo were amazing. They seemed to do all this and yet still ENJOY being with us, answering questions and getting everyone excited for the next adventure. I will advise that this is an active trip, not intense but lots of exercise, sweating and moving every day. It is important to know that and be prepared or know that you might skip some of the longer things. I also want to add that the guides' English was beautiful and Pepo's knowledge about the area, the geography and the animals was impressive. To anyone who is worried about the "group" aspect but needs the logistics AAdventures can provide, be assured. They still respect your privacy, your right to skip something if its not for you and the small size makes it not feel chaotic. Food was also very good, fresh and simple but abundant and well prepared. I had dreamed of this trip since I was a little girl and read about the tortoises in National Geographic. I never thought the experience would live up to the dream, but it truly did and I think Active Adventures had a big part in that. read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Lynn, United States

Ecuador Volcano and Jungle Adventure - April 2022

Tapir with Alberto

"This was an excellent way to see more of mainland Ecuador. The scenery was… read more

"This was an excellent way to see more of mainland Ecuador. The scenery was breathtaking with waterfalls, rushing river and majestic mountains. Got to sample local cuisine with I enjoyed very much. read less

5 Stars (294 reviews)

Sandy, United States

- April 2022

Takahe trip 27 Mar-31 Mar 22

"This was a trip down memory lane for me revisiting old haunts & visiting new… read more

"This was a trip down memory lane for me revisiting old haunts & visiting new ones. I was thrilled with how it all went & with the experience of our guides & their enthusiasm. The weather was perfect & I achieved everything on my bucket list! read less

5 Stars (863 reviews)

Colleen, New Zealand

- April 2022

Our 4th trip with Active

"Another great guide. Beautiful diving, biking and hiking adventures. Great local food and accommodations. We… read more

"Another great guide. Beautiful diving, biking and hiking adventures. Great local food and accommodations. We have loved every single Active Adventure. As always though, the Active guides are what make the trip special. This time Pepo and Paulo were absolutely awesome with their knowledge and communication. The people in the group always seem to come together as great friends and we have the guides to thank for that! Can't wait for the next one! read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Paul, United States

- April 2022

Amazing trip

"We loved our Active Adventures trip. The guides were amazing, super organised and great company. read more

"We loved our Active Adventures trip. The guides were amazing, super organised and great company. read less

5 Stars (64 reviews)

Kate, New Zealand

Active Adventure Assurance

Our Active Adventures Assurance

If your plans change or you decide to travel to another destination, you can change your trip to any of our departures in any destination or request a refund (less deposit) up to 90 days out from your original trip start date.

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Useful Info

What's the maximum group size on this trip?

This trip has a maximum of 14 guests, plus two experienced Active Adventures guides. 

Where does the trip start?

On the first morning of the trip, our two pick-up locations are Auckland airport (AKL) at 9am or the Sudima Hotel in Auckland central at 9:45am. You are welcome to stay at any hotel in Auckland if you arrive before the first day, though you must make your own way to one of the two pick-up points at the pre-designated times.

Where does the trip end?

Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the Auckland Airport (AKL) in time for flights below or anywhere in Central Auckland in the late afternoon/early evening.

What flights would you recommend?

Arrival: If you're flying in on the first day of the trip, we recommend arriving in Auckland by 7am.

Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, we recommend departing from Auckland any time after 7pm for domestic and 8pm for international. If you are considering alternative flight times, please check with us. International flights from Auckland usually leave in the evening, so if you're heading back to North America, you'll get home some time on Friday, even though you left on Friday evening! Flights back to Europe, of course, take a little longer.

How fit do I need to be?

As an Activity Level 3-4 trip, you’ll need a good level of fitness for this trip. While you don’t have to be extremely fit, you should be in the habit of doing regular aerobic exercise, ideally involving some hills, steps and carrying a backpack. Advance preparation means you’ll enjoy the active and outdoor nature of your trip even more.

Please head to our Fitness Guide for great tips on how to prepare along with a workout plan!

What accommodations so we stay at on this trip?

We have selected the accommodations on your trip for their stunning setting, unique character, style and level of comfort. We prefer to stay in quaint, comfortable resorts, lodges and apartments and you may be sharing a two bedroom apartment or bathroom with other group members at some stage. Some places are fairly basic – and the true Kiwi experience makes it all worthwhile.

There are self-service laundry facilities at most locations. We recommend bringing enough clothing to only have to do
laundry a couple of times during your trip. The best time will be during your two night stay in Auckland (on your free day). 

How much luggage can I bring on this trip?

You’ll need one piece of luggage on your trip, plus a daypack. Your main piece of luggage can be anything from a backpack, to a sports bag with wheels or a suitcase and a good quality daypack 25-30 litres (2000 cubic inches) to use throughout the days.

Will we encounter snow on this trip?

In big snow years, the snow may stay on the mountains into October and November. If so, the New Zealand Department of Conservation (equivalent of the USA National Park Service) recommend we don’t travel over heavily snowed terrain for safety reasons and we always heed their warnings. If so, some higher elevation hikes in our itinerary, such as on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, may not be accessible. Luckily, New Zealand has many stunning hikes so we’ll select an alternative hike that allows you to enjoy the snow-capped peaks from a safe distance.

Tell me about the Poor Knights Islands day?

While cruising at the Poor Knights Islands we spend the day snorkelling and kayaking. There's also an opportunity for you to do one or two scuba dives in this fantastic marine reserve. 

All shapes and sizes of wetsuits are provided, which are two-piece 7mm wetsuits with long arms and legs. You’re welcome to bring your own if you prefer. We also provide booties, fins, mask, snorkel, BCD (buoyancy control), tanks with weights, and a regulator with a computer. If you are certified to dive then please bring along your PADI certification card, and there is an option to dive if you have never done it before too. Note; for the beginner diving, this is an average depth of 12 metres, and minimum age is 10 years.

You have the choice of the following dive options:

  • One dive for certified diver
  • One dive for beginner diver
  • Two dives for certified diver on special diving trip

Tell me about the Tongariro Alpine Crossing?

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is often referred to as New Zealand’s best mountain day-hike. It’s a long day hike with a few up hills and a long, gradual downhill at the end. Starting with a gradual uphill walk, you’ll then climb a ridge and traverse over a spectacular moonlike landscape, passing the stunning Emerald Lakes and nearby volcanic features. Good hiking boots are a must as the track, although well marked, has a couple of ridges to climb along and down. There are a few steps too, so it’s a really good idea to have some hiking poles, whether you share between two or use both of them, you’ll be very glad to have them with you.

If you’re booked to come during our winter months from May through to September, you have the option of either hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, or some fabulous lower elevation hikes in the Tongariro National Park. 

Winter Alpine crossing of Mt Tongariro
Mt. Tongariro and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is at this time of the year is typically covered in snow and ice. If you’re keen, and fit - and the weather is suitable, you can still hike over the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It’s a full day out, and we’ll provide all the gear, such as crampons, ice axes and a specialist guide this day. 

Winter hiking Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park has many other hiking trails to explore, a couple of which are the Taranaki Falls waterfall hike, and the terraces of the Silica Rapids. These tracks are away from the higher elevations of snow and ice and are fabulous hiking alternatives for this day!

Tell me about the Waitomo Caves options?

When we visit Waitomo we have two ways to experience these fabulous caves - either wet or dry! Wet option you’ll be floating along through an underground river on an innertube (wearing all the appropriate gear of course), and dry means you can walk through a nearby cave instead. With both options you’ll see limestone formations and masses of glow-worms. 

Cave Tubing at Waitomo (wet)
Waitomo is renowned for its caves and what an awesome way to experience this region by really getting in it! We’ll provide all the gear, such as a head-lamp, helmet, wet-suit and rubber tubes, along with and a specialist guide this day and head off on a subterranean adventure through the Ruakuri Caves. You’ll take leaps of faith over cascading waterfalls, and float serenely down an underground river as you enjoy the glow-worms above you (enjoy lovely hot showers and hot soup after!)

Walking Ruakuri Caves (dry)
A dry option today is wandering through the Ruakuri Cave at Waitomo. Journey down through the spectacular spiral entrance, and see shawl-like limestone formations, crystal tapestries, stalactites & stalagmites - as well as glowworms.

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Why Travel With Us

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Experience adventure the way you want

You’ll be inspired and exhilarated, enjoying mind-blowing scenery on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike - all at your own pace. Get ready for the trip of a lifetime.

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We're proud of our Kiwi roots and you’ll love our professional, warm and relaxed style of hosting. Plus, we’re always here to help with planning, travel, bookings... even hiking boot recommendations!

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Every detail covered, to maximise your time

As soon as your trip starts, we've got everything covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport, superb accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

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Group travel for those who aren’t ‘group travellers’

With our small groups of typically no more than 14 (up to 18 max), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like. It’s all about going at your own pace.

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All our carefully selected guides are highly experienced and have deep personal connections to nature and culture. You’ll enjoy a special experience, authentic local knowledge and an adventure like no other.

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4.54 out of 5 from 17045 reviews. That’s pretty solid.

We could hang around all day telling you how wonderful our trips are... but the best people to hear it from are our guests themselves.

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Ultimate North Island Adventure