‘The Road Trip’ begins. You will be met and welcomed to New Zealand by your own private local driver/guide. We escape the busy city and head straight for the centre of the island – towards the volcanoes and the snow. We stop at Te Kuiti, a small town proud of its title as the ‘sheep sheering capital of the world’. You have a chance to learn about this most kiwi of professions with a visit to one of the areas kiwi fruit plantations. Our final destination for the evening is the Tongariro National Park where we will overnight with stunning views of three volcanoes: Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngarahoe (Mt Doom).
Today after being transported up the mountain by your driver, you can hit the slopes for the first time. Mt Ruapehu is a one of New Zealand’s premier ski and snowboarding areas with superb powder and magnificent volcanic views. Depending on your skill level, we can tailor lessons and slopes to your needs with all equipment being provided. The two slopes, one on either side of the mountain, are the two biggest in the country. What better place to start your New Zealand ski or snowboard holiday.
By now you should be comfortable skiing and you can begin to enjoy the fantastic surroundings! Majestic Ruapehu is an active volcano and the North Island’s highest point at over 2700m above sea level at its highest point. It sits on a central plateau high above sea level amidst a surreal landscape mixing desert, alpine lakes, volcanoes and glaciers. The chairlifts at their highest point peak at 2200m above sea level. Check out the snow-capped Mt Ngaurauhoe, otherwise known as Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings from atop Ruapehu. Tonight be transported down the mountain to your accommodation and enjoy a warm beverage and hot spa and further enjoy the breath-taking views.
Heading north we first reach Lake Taupo, the largest lake in the country and itself a 2000 year old crater caused by one of Earth’s most powerful volcanic explosions. We can also visit the mind-blowingly powerful Huka Falls. Our final stop before we reach Rotorua is Wai-O-Tapu, a wonderland of stunning geothermal activity. We will visit New Zealand’s largest thermal mud pool, sinter terraces and stunning hot and cold pools of many different colours. Rotorua itself is known as one of New Zealand’s touristic hotspots for thermal activity and native Maori culture. We view the stunning government gardens and lakefront and we will have the chance to attend a ‘hangi’. A hangi is an important part of Maori culture and we will be amazed by a greeting, cultural performance and scrumptious 3 course buffet meal.
We leave the thermal hot spot of Rotorua and make the journey north towards Auckland. En route we have one last excitement in store with a visit to Hobbiton. The world famous set was built to be the home of Frodo and Bilbo from The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. This 2 hour guided tour explores the homes and shops of the Shire in the heart of the Waikato on picturesque rolling hill country. We pass through one of New Zealand’s most important dairy regions on our way back to Auckland Airport where your will be transported to the airport for your onward travel connections. We trust that you have had a memorable New Zealand winter Road Trip with us.