Hike to secluded coves on the east coast of the deeply forested Coromandel Peninsula and marvel at the towering natural arches.. Luxuriate in the bubbling waters of a natural sand hot spa, dug with your own hands right on the beach.. Tackle the trails of the world’s best mountain biking regions as you cycle through impressive redwood forest, past panoramic views and glistening lakes.. Learn more about Maori culture with a night spent at a marae, where you’ll enjoy a traditional dinner as you learn about the customs and protocols of the marae.
Join Intrepid on this active escape to the coasts and lakes of the North Island. In just five-days you’ll head from Auckland to hike the trails and chill out on the beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula, cycle the lakes and explore the redwood forests of geothermal Rotorua, and cross to the coast to canyon in caves filled with glow worms in Raglan. Add in the chance to immerse yourself in the Maoritanga of Te Ika-a-Maui at a marae and you’ve got everything you need in a local adventure.
Breakfast Included: 1 Lunches Included: 1 Dinner Included: 1
Auckland to Hahei
Welcome to your active exploration of the North Island. Kick off this adventure with a 10 am meeting at a centrally located hotel in Auckland. Meet your leader and group and get a bit more info on the upcoming itinerary. Make a u-shaped trip to the Coromandel Peninsula, where the dramatic ridges of extinct volcanoes mark the skyline. Pass the deep rainforest of the park on your way to the east coast and Tairua, where the almost touching peninsulas house Mt Paku and the town of Pauanui. Enjoy some free time for lunch in the harbour setting, then continue north up the coast to Cathedral Cove, part of the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve. Take a walk (approximately 3 hours) along a hilly coastal track and be rewarded with the view of two secluded white-cliffed coves separated by an impressive arched cavern. Head to Hahei and your hotel for the evening. Just a few minutes away is the unusual Hot Water Beach where, if the time and tides are right tonight, you can dig your own spa from the hot springs that bubble beneath the sands. Otherwise we’ll try the following morning. This evening’s free for dinner – maybe try a beer from the local brewery.
Leave the peninsula and head south to Rotorua – Maori heartland and still home to many ancient traditions. While this is a land of extensive geothermal activity, of geysers and boiling mud pools, it’s also home to the Blue Spring, a source of incredibly pure fresh water that’s been filtered through rock over decades from a natural underground aquifer. Take a walk through the vibrant green plantlife to see the beautifully clear waters. Arrive in Rotorua in time for some lunch and an afternoon free for whatever activity matches your interests, whether that’s a walk through the tops of a forest canopy or through famous movie sets. This evening, after an optional dinner, perhaps grab a torch for a guided walk through the nearby redwood forests. Get a bird’s-eye view of the canopy as you stroll along suspended walkways in the light of lanterns hung in the 100-year-old trees.
Rotorua - Marae
Get some fuel onboard this morning at breakfast in preparation for a memorable guided bike ride along the trails of the Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest. This is one of the best, most comprehensive year-round trail networks in the world, and you’ll ride past a diverse range of plant species, glistening lakes and geothermal areas while taking in panoramic views. On new to establish trails, your guide will highlight the major points of cultural significance as you take in this unique location from a new perspective. This afternoon you’ll head to a Maori marae, where you’ll spend the night. A marae is a communal and sacred meeting ground, a place to catch up with family, news, and of connection with the ancestors and to history. Make the most of the opportunity to learn more about Maori culture and to speak with members of the tribe. There’ll be a formal welcoming ceremony and you can learn about the protocols and customs of the marae before a dinner cooked using traditional geothermal techniques.
Say ka kite ano to the marae after breakfast this morning as you head to the west coast and Raglan, the Whaingaroa harbour-hugging town that was one of the stopping points of the great migratory canoe Tainui in Maori tradition. Stop for optional lunch on the way and get a taste for the region and its bounty of fresh produce, meat and dairy. Get ready to soak up the outdoors (and maybe get soaked) with one of the highlights of the trip – glow worm canyoning. Equipped with all the gear to keep you safe and dry, you’ll make your way through the freshwater streams that descend from the peak of Mt Karioi, clamber up and rappel down cascading waterfalls as you spot the little green dots of the glow worm tails. Eventually you’ll all turn off your headtorches and be greeted by what feels like millions, shining like a galaxy of stars, like a net of fairy lights strung up on a ceiling. The rest of the evening is free, and your body will surely be calling out for a hot meal and cold drink after all that fresh water.
This morning you’ll leave early after breakfast and return to a centrally located hotel where you trip will come to an end (approximately 10 am). If you’ve got some more time, why not stay in Raglan for some beach time – the surfing here has some of the best left-hand breaks in the world.