Experience Bucket List Walk - 12 Days with Tuatara Tours NZ Ltd

New Zealand Walking Tour:

Bucket List Walk


Rotorua to Rotorua


12 days / 11 nights



Tour Start Dates

  • Start Date Status
  • Mon 3 Feb 2025
  • Mon 3 Mar 2025
  • Mon 17 Mar 2025
  • Mon 7 Apr 2025
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The walking holiday of a lifetime!

Explore the very best of the North Island’s diverse and visually spectacular regions in comfort and style.

From the majestic mountains of Tongariro, to the lush forests of Waikaremoana, to the dramatic coastlines of Coromandel.

Be awed by the scenery, and spoilt by delightful accommodation, meals and wine  – It doesn’t get any better than this!

  • Join a small group & expert NZ walking guide
  • 12 days / 11 nights NZ Walking Tour (11 days walking, 1 rest day)
  • 4-7 hours walking each day over varied terrain on formed trails
  • Carry a daypack only
  • 100 – 120km (62 – 74 miles)
  • Depart Rotorua or Matamata

Pushed for time, don’t have 12 days free? No problem, you can book the Tongariro, Waikaremoana or Coromandel tours separately if you prefer.

Please enquire for dates available for these.

Tour Itinerary


Day 1 Matamata / Rotorua to Coromandel

Location: Coromandel Lodge

Distance: 3 - 4 hours,5 km

We’ll pick you up from Rotorua at approx. 8:30am, or Matamata at 9:30am. Warm up with a walk to the top of Wairere Falls the falls are 153m in height, and view the verdant Waikato basin from two lookouts over hanging the thunderous waterfall.

As we continue north, enjoy views out over the mussel farms of the Hauraki Gulf from one of New Zealand’s classic coastal drives, the Coromandel west coast.  Drive further up the Coromandel Peninsula in the late afternoon to reach your lovely accommodation, and watch the sunset from the verandah with a glass of wine or ice cold brew.

Accommodation: Coromandel Lodge – (L,D)

Walking time: 3-4 hours

Day 2 The Legendary Coromandel Coastal Walkway

Location: Coromandel Lodge

Distance: 6 hours,12 km

NOTE: Due to damage during Cyclone Gabrielle in February 2023, the Coastal Walkway is currently under repair. Until it’s completed, we’ll have plenty of alternative tracks to hike and these won’t be more strenuous than the Coastal Walkway.

If there’s one walk in New Zealand that has it all, it’s this one – the incredible Coromandel Coastal Walkway. After a short drive north from Coromandel township we’ll arrive at the trail head and begin our walk at Stony Bay, a picture perfect isolated beach flanked by green hills and white sand.


This historic trail follows an old bridle path once used by gold miners who populated the Coromandel region in colonial times.  Tracing the north eastern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula, we walk through native bush and over high cliff tops with views of Great Barrier Island, Cuvier Island and the Mercury Islands.

We’ll have a picnic lunch at beautiful Poley Bay (a great spot for a swim if you’re keen!) before returning to Stony Bay.

Accommodation: Coromandel Lodge  – (B,L,D)

Walking time: 6 hours

Day 3 The Pinnacles

Location: Coromandel Lodge

Distance: 6 - 7 hours, 16 km

After a delicious fresh breakfast we head south to the start of the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail, also known as The Pinnacles.

We’ll make our way up through kauri, rimu and kahikatea forests to the Pinnacles that are perched high above the forest canopy.

The 360 degree views of bush, mountains and 2 coastlines are simply off the charts, and well worth the effort up the steep trail – don’t forget your camera! The Kauaeranga Valley is home to forest bird such as tui, bellbird, tomtit, grey warbler, shining cuckoo, north island brown kiwi and kaka, so keep your eyes peeled here as many of them are frequent visitors on the trail.

If the Pinnacles isn’t your style and you would prefer a more relaxing day you have the option of staying in and exploring Coromandel Township. Highlights include the Driving Creek Railway, local artisan workshops, short walks, cafes, and culture. Take the time to relax in paradise.

A fabulous day is topped off with a celebratory meal at one of Coromandel town’s fine restaurants.

Accommodation: Coromandel Lodgel- (B,L,D)

Walking time: 6-7 hours.

Day 4 Epic East Coast

Location: Rotorua Hotel

Distance: 2 - 3 hours, 5km

Travel east around the Peninsula towards Whitianga. Walk to the golden sand beaches and azure green waters of one of the top 20 best beaches in the world, New Chums Beach (this walk is dependant on the tides). Relax and absorb the natural beauty amidst the bird and marine life that thrives within this precious ecosystem.

Enjoy a short, scenic ferry ride across the Whitianga harbour and a relaxing stroll up to Shakespeares Cliff overlooking Mercury Bay and the beach where Captain Cook set foot on kiwi soil. Stop for a refreshing lunch looking out over the marine reserve and take the well-graded track down to the iconic Cathedral Cove, a natural volcanic archway – a must-see of the Coromandel!

Continuing around the east coast we’ll complete a loop of the Coromandel Peninsula, then drop you at a 4.5 star Hotel in Rotorua, Tonight is at your leisure to enjoy one of Rotorua’s many eateries (own cost)

Accommodation: Rotorua Hotel – (B,L)

Walking time: 2-3 hours

Day 5 Whirinaki Forest

Location: Lakeside Chalets

Distance: 3 - 4 hours, 8-10km

After a cooked breakfast at your Rotorua Hotel we’ll pick you up and head east, past Mount Tarawera and into the heart of Te Urewera.

Our first stop is the Whirinaki Forest, where we’ll walk through one of New Zealand’s most pristine Podocarp forests with towering trees including giant totara, kahikatea, rimu and matai. Keep an eye out for kaka (a large forest parrot) & whio (blue duck) along the way.

This walking trail also skirts the moss-lined Whirinaki River canyon and waterfall – one of the most picturesque rivers in New Zealand. Don’t forget your camera!

We then journey deeper into the remote Te Urewera to reach Lake Waikaremoana, where we’ll settle in at our cozy lodge with pre-dinner drinks and nibbles on the lake shore.

Accommodation: Lakeside Chalets – (B,L,D)

Walking  time: 3-4 hours.

Day 6 Panekire Bluffs

Location: Lakeside Chalets

Distance: 3 - 7 hours, 9 km

This morning we’ll walk to the spectacular Panekire Bluffs that are a highlight of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk.

As we climb higher we’ll see the lush podocarp forest change into cloud forest with trees covered in eerie hanging moss. Arriving at the Panekire Bluffs, we’ll be greeted with jaw-dropping views over Lake Waikaremoana and Te Urewera.

There are not many better places in the world to sit back, relax and have lunch!

There’s an option to continue walking higher for a further 2 hours to reach the highest point of the Great Walk track to get views over not only the Lake, but out to the Pacific Coast.

Accommodation: Lakeside Chalets – (B,L,D)

Walking time: 3-7 hours.

Day 7 Lake Waikareiti

Location: Lakeside Chalets

Distance: 3 - 5 hours,4-6 km

This morning we explore a very special area – the pristine Lake Waikareiti, which lies a further 300 metres in elevation above Lake Waikaremoana.

Free of aquatic weeds and motorised boats, this picture perfect lake has astonishingly clear water and is blissfully peaceful!

The Department of Conservation have worked tirelessly for years to eradicate this area of introduced predators, allowing native birds here to thrive!

Later, we’ll return to Waikaremoana where there’s an option to walk to a dazzling fresh-water spring.

Accommodation: Lakeside Chalets- (B,L,D)

Walking time: 3-5 hours.

Day 8 Lake Waikaremoana to Rotorua

Location: Rotorua Hotel

Distance: 2 - 4 hours, 5km

This morning, we’ll take a gentle walk along the Black Beech track, a beautiful scenic trail linking our accommodation to Aniwaniwa, with views out over Te Karetū/Home Bay and Lake Waikaremoana.

A visit to Lake Waikaremoana wouldn’t be complete without a short, 60 minute stroll to the beautiful Aniwaniwa Falls, which means ‘Rainbow’ and Papakorito Falls, a wide, thunderous explosion of water falling down a smooth, sloping rock wall. From two lookout points, we’ll be able to view the falls from an upper and lower perspective and give you a chance to spot the rare fleshy-lipped whistling duck or whio bobbing about on the river-side.

We’ll make a quick stop at Mokau Landing for a picnic lunch while we enjoy views of the impressive Panekire Bluff to reflect on our achievements over the past 4 days. We say a fond farewell to the serenity of Te Urewera and make our way out back to civilisation, stopping for a dip in a natural hot spring under a canopy of native trees. We’ll return you safely to the Princes Gate Hotel in Rotorua between 5 – 6pm.

Enjoy another night of culinary freedom in Rotorua (dinner own cost). Your guides will be happy to suggest great local places for you to try.

Accommodation: Rotorua Hotel – (B,L)

Walking time: 2-4 hours

Day 9 Rotorua to Tongariro

Location: The Park Hotel

Distance: 6km

We’ll depart Rotorua between 8.30am and 9.00am, or central Taupō at 10.00am, before heading south through the North Island’s geothermal heartland. We’ll skirt around the beautiful shores of Lake Taupō, the North Island’s largest lake, and then drive up through stunning native forest onto the mighty central plateau.

We’ll get our first taste of the topography and natural character of the Tongariro National Park with a 2-hour loop walk to Taranaki Falls, which is part of the Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk track. These falls tumble 20 metres over the edge of an old andesite lava flow, erupted from Mt Ruapehu 15,000 years ago, into a boulder-ringed pool.

We’ll continue to warm-up and stretch out the legs with an easy, 20 minute walk in to see Tawhai Falls, better known as ‘Gollum’s Pool.’ If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, you’ll recognise this picturesque, 13 metre-high waterfall, where Faramir and his archers watch Gollum fish.

After settling into our cozy lodgings, we’ll share a hearty, 2-course Kiwi-style meal and a cold glass of something to toast the beginning of our Tongariro adventure as we watch the sun set over the magnificent volcanic skyline.

Accommodation: The Park Hotel – (B,L,D)

Day 10 Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Location: The Park Hotel

Distance: 7 - 8 hours

This morning we’ll set off on one of the world’s greatest one-day hikes, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This trail leads us through an incredible variety of ethereal landscapes – lava fields, emerald coloured crater lakes, steaming vents, alpine meadows, over an alpine pass, amidst the stunning mountain peaks – there’s nothing like it anywhere else on the planet! The views across to Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Ruapehu and the central plateau of the North Island are simply spectacular and worth every step!

After a well-deserved trailend celebration, we’ll return to The Park and revive your weary muscles in the outdoor spa pool, before meeting in the cosy lounge for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles. Tonight we head out to a lively local restaurant and bar for a casual meal with the locals.

Accommodation:  The Park Hotel – (B,L,D)                                      Walking time: 7-8 hours.

Day 11 The Old Coach Road

Location: The Park Hotel

Distance: 5 hours,12km

Travel around the southern side of Mt Ruapehu to experience some of New Zealand’s rail history on the Old Coach Road trail. Between 1906 to 1908 the road was used to carry passengers and goods by horse and coach, between two railheads on the main trunk line.

Heritage features on the trail include a unique cobbled road of stone “setts”, massive steel viaducts, a curved tunnel, railway bridge remains, and old campsites. The 15km walk takes around 5 hours, and also passes through some beautiful stands of native forest with sweeping views across the district.

In consultation with the group, and if local conditions allow, we will explore the dramatic, rock-strewn landscapes higher up Mt Ruapehu. At 2,797 metres above sea level, the North Island’s highest mountain offers jaw-dropping views over the National Park.

Tonight we enjoy a final celebration dinner together and raise our glasses to completing a fantastic walking adventure.

Accommodation: The Park Hotel – (B,L,D)                                       

Walking time: approx. 5 hours

Day 12 Rainforest and Waterfalls

Distance: 3 - 4 hours, 5km

After a final hearty breakfast, we pack up our kit and farewell the National Park and its majestic mountains.

On our journey out of the park, we’ll finish things off with a rejuvenating hike around the glistening Lake Rotopounamu (Greenstone Lake) nestled in the side of beautiful Mt. Pihanga, a mountain maiden central to the Māori legend that describes how this area was formed. From the carpark, we’ll make our way up a small incline to reach the lake level itself, where the track evens out to circumvent the lakeshore. We’ll enjoy our final picnic lunch on Five Minute Beach in the peace and serenity of lush, native forest. Walking Legends supports Project Tongariro, an eco-trust that are working to restore the native birdlife to this special area, by sponsoring the care of hectare #189. Let us all enjoy time amongst the abundant native birdlife that our conservation efforts have helped to revive.

We’ll have you safely back in Taupo between 3–4 pm or Rotorua around 5–6pm to meet your onward travel arrangements.

Walking time: 3-4 hours – (B,L)

What’s Included


A variety of boutique and character lodges & hotels, from 3-4 star, have been chosen for location & atmosphere. Rooms are twin-share with good beds & linen. If you prefer a private room a single supplement is available for an additional $900

All lodges have ensuite bathrooms and are in picturesque settings.

In addition the trip includes 2 nights in a studio room at a 4.5 star Hotel in Rotorua.


All dinners are included (except for nights 4 and 8 in Rotorua where you are free at your leisure for dinner) Dinners are 2-course Kiwi style meals, with plenty of fresh veges, salads, and dessert. You can purchase drinks during dinner.

Breakfasts are a hearty hikers breakfast, and packed lunches are made fresh for you daily. We also provide plenty of snacks on the trail.

Safety and Risk Management

To ensure maximum safety for all, our guides are certified first aiders and fully qualified drivers. Tuatara Tours operate under a Safety and Risk Management Plan which is regularly audited and approved by a qualified and independent auditor.

Luggage & Transfers

This is a lodge-based tour so we’ll return to our walk lodges each night. You’re welcome to bring a suitcase, we have plenty of space. All you’ll carry on the track is a day pack with your lunch, water, raincoat, hat, sunscreen and camera.

All transport

Access and Concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation

NZ Goods and Service Tax (GST)

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