Trek through active volcanic areas and visit luscious beaches, while luxuriating in the North Island's relaxed cities.
Click on any of the black place names in the map above to find out more about individual destinations.
We start our journey in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, from where it's a lovely sideways step to the Catchpool Valley for some relaxed camping. Following the coast up to Taranaki, where we can walk round the volcano, climb it, or just sit and look at it, it's then a short drive east to Tongariro. The three-day Northern Circuit is wonderful, but if we're still exhausted from Taranaki, the one-day Northern Crossing is equally good, just shorter. We then strike north for the relaxed lakeside town of Taupo, before heading for the east coast and Napier, the art deco capital of New Zealand. Mahia Beach provides some wonderfully isolated beach camping, and after the drive round the coast through Hicks Bay, we duck inland to check out the volcanic activity near Rotorua. The Coromandel peninsula is our next stop, with its little bays and beautiful sailing, and after a quick stop in Auckland, we head into Northland and the beautiful area round Kerikeri. Cape Reinga is our northernmost destination, after which we drive down the west side of Northland before ending our journey in Auckland, where a day trip to Rangitoto is a great way to finish things off.
The following is only a suggested itinerary, and is based round a journey by car, with overnight stops at camping grounds. All roads are suitable for normal two-wheel-drive cars.
|1||Fly to Wellington|
|2-3||Two days in Wellington|
|4||Wellington to Catchpool Valley|
|5||One day in Catchpool Valley|
|6||Catchpool Valley to Taranaki|
|7-10||Four days walking the Around the Mountain Circuit|
|11||One day in Taranaki|
|12||Taranaki to Whakapapa|
|13-15||Three days walking the Tongariro Northern Circuit|
|16||One day in Whakapapa|
|17||Whakapapa to Taupo|
|18||One day in Taupo|
|19||Taupo to Napier (via Orakei Korako)|
|20||One day in Napier|
|21||Napier to Mahia Beach|
|22||Mahia Beach to Hicks Bay|
|23||Hicks Bay to Rotorua|
|24||One day in Rotorua|
|25||Rotorua to Coromandel|
|26-27||Two days in Coromandel|
|28||Coromandel to Auckland|
|29||Auckland to Kerikeri|
|30-31||Two days in Kerikeri|
|32||Kerikeri to Cape Reinga|
|33||One day in Cape Reinga|
|34||Cape Reinga to Auckland (via Dargaville)|
|35||One day in Auckland|
|36||Day trip to Rangitoto|
|37||Fly from Auckland|