Explore a landscape formed by fire and ice
New Zealand’s North Island plateau is one of the world’s most active geothermal wonderlands, an utterly unique and diverse place. More than 20,000 years ago the Taupo super-volcano eruption created a playground of lakes, geysers, volcanos, hot springs and underground caves that still bursts with energy today. In this dramatic landscape, you can experience a winter holiday like no other – full of fire and ice. Enjoy a vacation different than the US and unique to New Zealand.
The North Island of New Zealand is where your journey will begin in Auckland. Our city built on volcanos offers you the chance to see the Waitakere Ranges and twin harbours from the top of Mount Eden. Then get a bird’s eye view of magnificent 360 degree panoramas while dining above the city at Orbit Restaurant, the Sky Tower.
Explore the underbelly of the earth in Waitomo, a picturesque 2.5 hour drive from Auckland. This network of 300 known limestone caverns was created by 30 million years of geothermal and volcanic activity in the Waikato region.
Just an hour’s drive from the ski fields is Great Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand and the epicenter of the volcanic activity that formed this geothermal landscape. Jet boats, bungy jumping, white-water rafting and sky-diving are all on offer in this nature-lover’s paradise or opt for a scenic cruise where you can taking in the Maori rock carvings, incredible trout fishing and fine dining.
If your personal style is more relaxed, you’ll love the cuisine, coffee and local hotspots – whether your taste runs to high tea at the historic Chateau Tongariro in Whakapapa Village, craft brews at one of the local Ohakune pubs or enjoy many a tall stories told over a cold beer seated at the unforgettable wood furniture in the iconic Powderkeg.
Whakapapa and Turoa Ski Areas come alive from early July and offer some of the best terrain in the southern hemisphere. There are over 54 runs to choose from and a great range of packages to suit all skier or boarder abilities or simply enjoy a breathtaking sightseeing chairlift to lunch at NZ’s highest café. The best snow is usually experienced between late July and end of October and there is always plenty of entertainment with a busy local calendar of events supporting this buzzing ski area.
Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland with bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers, and natural hot springs. The city is surrounded by mountains, rivers, native forests and 18 fresh water lakes, making it the perfect place to reconnect with nature. After marveling at the distinctive landscapes and volcanic activity within a geothermal park, there’s no better place to soak away the adventure and adrenaline of the last few days than in the natural mineral waters of Rotorua, the South Pacific’s natural health spa. Soak up healing properties that nature offers – whether in the mineral pools and Sulphur spas, or an outdoor mud bath. Your mind and body will feel reconnected and you’ll sleep like never before.
The next morning, take a 1 hour scenic drive through the rugged Mamaku Ranges and see native ferns, trees and wildlife rising up from the landscape. The beauty of the land will take your breath away before delivering you to a whole other fantasy world. The green rolling hills and idyllic setting of Hobbiton Movie Set will enchant you as you explore one or many of the Tolkien film locations; a legacy where you can experience the real Middleearth.