Volcanic Explorer - North Island NZ

This 8 day adventure gets us to explore the fiery geothermal heat of the 'central plateau' in New Zealands North Island, hiking among volcanoes,glaciers,boiling mud pools and cascading waterfalls. You'll see a variety of scenery including moon-like open scoria plains, boiling hot sulfur lakes, crystal clear bubbling springs, alpine herb fields and snowy glacier topped mountains - this scenery is a feast for the eyes!

Starting in Auckland with a group dinner and a briefing, this is a chance to gather information and prepare for the adventure ahead!

Hike alongside the thundering Huka Falls.

Hike the famous “Tongariro Crossing”

See the fascinating Silica rapids

Overnight hike on the “Round the Mountains” trail on the flanks of Mt Ruapehu – Tongariro National Park

Caving in Waitomo glow worm caves

Price: from AUD4600.00 per person (Twin Share)

Duration: 8 Days

Trek Ratings: Activity 4 / Conditions 4 / Accommodation 3 / Training/Preparation 4

Best Season: December, January, February, March & April

Country Visited: New Zealand

Trip Start: Auckland

Trip Ends: Auckland

Destination: Tongariro National Park

Trip Route: Auckland – Turangi – Tongariro national Park – Turangi – Auckland

Trip Style: Trekking

Activity: National Park/Forest Trekking

Activity Per Day: Approximately 4-7 hrs

Day 01 Fly into Auckland, meet group. Overnight Crowne Plaza, Auckland
Day 02 Hike Huka Falls track, travel to Turangi. Overnight Creel Lodge, Turangi
Day 03 Hike the Tongariro crossing. Overnight Creel Lodge, Turangi
Day 04 Hike the silica rapids loop. Overnight Creek Lodge, Turangi
Day 05 Hike to Tama Lakes and over to Waihohonu hut. Overnight Waihohonu DOC Hut, Tongariro National Park
Day 06 Side trip to Ohinepango Springs, hike out Waihohonu track. Overnight Creel Lodge, Turangi
Day 07 Caving or exploring Waitomo caves. Overnight Crowne Plaza, Auckland
Day 08 Depart for home after a group breakfast!

Day 01 Arrival into Auckland, meet the group

You’ll ease into your trip by first meeting up with your group in Auckland at the hotel lobby at 5pm. There you’ll have a meet and greet to get to know everyone and the guides will go through a trip briefing – this is your chance to ask any questions and prepare for the adventure ahead! Then we’ll all enjoy a delicious welcome dinner together as we anticipate our next week of hiking!

Overnight Crowne Plaza, Auckland
Dinner

Day 02 Hike Huka Falls track, travel to Turangi  – 4 kms

To start our adventure, we head south towards the geothermal central plateau, with a stop in Taupo along the way to stretch our legs along the Huka Falls walkway, to see the thundering falls of New Zealand’s largest river.
We’ll have a picnic lunch here before heading on towards Turangi, our home for the night. Here we’ll have a pre-tramp briefing and the chance to unpack our bags for the 3 days ahead.

Overnight at Creel Lodge, Turangi
All meals Included

Day 03 Hike the Tongariro crossing – 20 kms
Today is the day where we hit up one of New Zealands ‘Great Walks” – the Tongariro crossing. A short drive will take us to the trail head at Mangetepopo where we get into the swing of things crossing the scoria flats past the Mangetepopo hut. The trail passes soda springs and then gets our hearts pumping as we ascend up the rock to the South crater. From here it’s just and short push up scree slopes to the Mt Tongariro summit!

The views from the top are spectacular, spanning right over the North Island and out to the sea. After lunch at the top we descend pass the brilliant, iridescent blue emerald lakes and the boiling hot sulphur “Blue Lake” – it’s such surreal landscape you’ll feel like you’re walking on the moon!

The trail then winds itself back down the other side of Tongariro, past Ketetahi shelter and back into the forest,
and we’ll rest our limbs this evening with a soak in the local hot pools!

Overnight at Creel Lodge, Turangi
All meals Included

Day 04 Hike the silica rapids loop – 9.5 kms

After the large day yesterday, we’ll take a more gentle approach today, hiking the silica rapids loop from Whakapapa village. After a caffiene fix at the village, we hike out onto the lower silica rapids track, and turn up to follow the rapids – a bubbling stream with a gold-toned bed, coloured by deposits from clays leaching from upstream swamps.

This unique feature is beautiful to look at with it’s bands of gold and yellow earth with crystal clear water flowing over the top. The track itself is a lovely hike through native alpine forests of Coprosma, five finger and broadleaf surrounding the track. Afterwards
we’ll return back to the village down the road and be rewarded with views over to Mount Ngurahoe.

Overnight at Creel Lodge, Turangi
All meals Included

Day 05 Hike to Tama lakes and over to Waihohonu hut – 14.3 kms
This is the day everyone has been waiting for – to hike up to the stunning views of the Tama lakes and over the higher passes to Waihohonu hut! We start the day out from Wahakapapa village, stopping after 45 minutes for a morning stop at the thundering Taranaki falls. After the junction we head up the flanks of Mount Ruapehu towards the Tama lakes – two infilled explosion craters, names after Tamatea, a Maori high chief who explored the area six centuries ago.

We’ll take the 20 minute side trip to the lower lake for a great lunch stop and a chance for a dip in the lake for those brave enough! Afterwards, we continue over the crossing with views up to Tukino peak of Mt Ruapehu on the right, and Mt Ngauruhoe to the left, until we descend down past the historic Waihohonu hut to the modern day hut for the night. We’ll unwind
from the day with a hearty meal by the campfire as we watch the sun set over the horizon of Mount
Ruapehu.

Overnight at Waihohonu DOC Hut, Tongariro National Park
All meals Included

Day 06 Side trip to Ohinepango Springs, hike out Waihihonu track – 7 kms
After our night in the alpine hut, we’ll start our day with a short side trip to see the Ohinepango springs.
These gushing waters are almost the cleanest water you can get, and are mesmerising to watch their crystal clear waters bubbling out from the ground.

Afterwards we’ll grab our packs again as we head outonto the alpine tundra through the alpine herb fields down the Waihohonu track towards the desert road, where we’ll transfer back to Turangi.

Overnight at Creel Lode, Turangi
All meals Included

Day 07 Caving or exploring Waitomo Caves
While we wave goodbye to the volcanic plateau, the adventure is not over yet! We’ll travel north towards Auckland with a stop off at the fascinating Waitomo glow worm caves for some caving.

If you prefer, you can take a walk through Ruakuri cave to learn more about the geological significance of the area.

Or for those keen, you’ll head down to explore an underground cave system. You’ll be fitted with a wetsuit, helmet, headlamp and rubber tube in order to float down a subterranean stream, slide down waterfalls and at one point, switch off your headlamp to check out the incredible glowworms that live on the limestone ceiling of the cave. After a shower and some hot soup, we’ll head back to Auckland for our farewell dinner

Overnight at Crowne Plaza, Auckland
All meals Included

Day 08 Depart for home

After a final breakfast together, we bid farewell and head home, or on to the next adventure!

Breakfast Included

February 14 – 21, 2021

Cost Includes

All guiding services
All transport services
All accommodations including pre and post trek
All meals as per Itinerary
All activities as per Itinerary

Cost Does not Include

Travel insurance and Visas
Domestic and International airfares and airport departure tax.
Alcoholic, hot and cold drinks.
Personal trekking Equipment.
Any others expenses which are not mentioned on ‘Price Includes’ section.

Passport Validity and Biosecurity

As a general rule, passports must be valid for 6 months prior to the travel date, however for New Zealand you passport only needs to be valid for 3 months from the date that you’re planning to depart New Zealand at the end of your trip.

Biosecurity

New Zealand is very strict about checking high risk biosecurity items so it’s a good idea to:

  • Scrub your hiking boots clean and pack them at the top of your luggage. You’ll be asked to declare them and it’s highly likely that they will be inspected. As biosecurity is such a serious threat to our country, you can be fined up to NZD$300 for dirty boots. If you’d like to know more about our customs requirements, please check out this link: https://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/ travel-and-recreation/arriving-in-new-zealand/
  • Declare/dump any food items, especially those that contain produce, meat, fruit or dairy

Do I need Travel Insurance?

As a Getaway Trekking traveller, we require you to have travel insurance which includes medical cover and emergency repatriation at the very minimum. A comprehensive policy that includes trip cancellation and other travel mishaps (e.g. flight cancellations or delays, trip interruption, theft or loss of luggage and personal effects) is highly recommended, so if any of these things happen you aren’t out of pocket.

Do I need Travel Insurance?

As a Getaway Trekking traveller, we require you to have travel insurance which includes medical cover and emergency repatriation at the very minimum. A comprehensive policy that includes trip cancellation and other travel mishaps (e.g. flight cancellations or delays, trip interruption, theft or loss of luggage and personal effects) is highly recommended, so if any of these things happen you aren’t out of pocket.

Do I need a Visa?

If you’re visiting New Zealand for three months or less, and are a citizen of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, or the European Union, they’ll need to go online to secure your Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) and pay the Tourism Levy. The ETA is NZ$12 (NZ$9 on the free app) and the Tourism Levy is NZ$35. Both are valid for two years, and you can do this here: https://nzeta.immigration.govt.nz/
**EXCEPTION: Australian citizens are exempt from both fees, but Australian permanent residents need to pay the ETA.

What type of shape do I need to be in, is this trip for me?

A moderate level of fitness is required to participate on this experience and enjoy the journey!

What type of shape do I need to be in, is this trip for me?

A moderate level of fitness is required to participate on this experience and enjoy the journey!

Will somebody come to pick me up at the airport upon my arrival?

No, you will need to make your own way to your accommodation. Crowne Plaza, Auckland

It’s located about 30 km (20 miles) south-west of the city and there are three recommended transport options. Both options can easily be arranged on arrival. Allow plenty of time if travelling during peak hours.

  • Taxi: 30-45 mins, depending on traffic, approx NZ$80 per vehicle.
  • Airport Shuttle: 40-60 mins, depending on traffic & number of stops, approx NZ$33 per person.
  • Sky Bus (public bus): 60-80 mins, NZ$16 per person

Shuttles & taxis depart from the western side of the International Terminal (turn left as you exit the Customs Hall) and directly outside the Domestic Terminals. Sky Bus departs between doors 8-11 International Terminal, or outside door 4 at the Domestic Terminal.

Does the trek price include airfares?

No – all Getaway Trekking prices are ‘land only’, meaning an airfare is an additional cost.

Please inform our team at the time of your reservation if you require an airfare cost and our Travel Manager will confirm availability and provide a quotation for your consideration.

What type of food is available on the track?

Food

All meals are included in the trip except for any free days indicated in the itinerary. The type of food varies – on some occasions your guides will cook your meals and on other occasions we eat out at restaurants. We also always keep a generous snack basket on the coach. All the food that you eat, be it a traditional Kiwi barbeque, or a packed lunch to take with you on a hike, will be of top quality. All our guides have food hygiene certificates and are well practiced in the art of back country catering! Please let us know at the time of your booking if you have special requirements.

 

Typical Breakfast
Each morning will be a hot cooked meal or fresh muesli, fruit and yoghurt with toast and of course coffee always available. If you’re eating out, you will have the option of choosing you own breakfast or enjoying a lovely buffet spread.ypical Lunch
A fan favourite is our stunning picnic’s our guides provide for a portion of the lunches – a spread not to be missed. Fresh sandwiches, home-made salads, bagels and more on offer as well.

Typical Dinner
New Zealand is the home of fresh and decadent produce and each night the guides will cook with local fare ie. Aoraki Salmon or Fiordland Venison. If you’re eating out, each restaurant has been chosen to boast the famous cuisine for the area.

What is the weather and temperate like?

Seasonality: NZ hiking season runs from October – April, during the Southern Hemisphere Summer. October/November is Spring – can be a bit colder and more rain, but less people. December, January, February are the warm summer months (with Feb as the warmest) but also the busiest, particularly around Christmas/New Years and Chinese New Year (the first 2 weeks of Feb). March and April are the fall months but typically have great hiking temperatures.
In May the weather turns colder and there may be a first drop of snow on the mountains. June, July and August are the winter months – okay for hiking in valleys but any mountains or mountain passes are usually impassable. September starts to warm up but can get a lot of rain.

What will the conditions be like on the trek route?

This is an Active trip with a capital ‘A’. Most of our signature adventures are a level 4. Typically 4-6 hour hikes with options for more, sometimes with limited or no vehicle support and nearly always with ascents and descents.

Is it safe to trek in New Zealand?

Yes, New Zealand is one of the safest treks in the world to travel.

How much spending money should I take with me?

The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar. While it may be possible to use a foreign currency on occasion in New Zealand, we don’t recommend this option.

Your trip fare includes all transportation, guiding, meals and activities (except any optional activities). Meals included are shown in the itinerary. Drinking water is provided, however alcohol and soft drinks aren’t included. You may want to bring some spending money to buy a souvenir or two, try a local activity or restaurant, or buy a round of drinks. We recommend bringing the equivalent of around NZ$300 per person, per trip cash with you, with the option to withdraw more if required.

We recommend you bring a variety of payment options with you to New Zealand – NZ dollars, an ATM card, and a credit card or two. Local currency can always be obtained at the airport upon arrival, and a small amount is useful when you first arrive to cover coffee, water etc.

Can I charge my phone or other equipment on the trek?

New Zealand operates on a 240V AC system with the following plug. Plug adapters are readily available from travel stores and airport shops. If your country doesn’t use a 240V AC system (e.g. USA = 110V AC) you may need a converter, however many appliances have inbuilt ones these days (e.g. iPods, laptops and camera chargers). If in doubt, ask at your nearest camera or electrical store before you leave home. The only location without electricity are the backcountry huts/overnight boat. The guides will carry headlamps and bring candles and headlamps are recommended as part your gear.

Is there any communication while we are on the trek?

Phone service will be limited in some of the backcountry/overnight huts, but will be availalbe in Auckland and Turangi.

Satellite phones are carried for use on the trek if required for emergency situations.

Can I use credit cards in the treks I visit trekking?

Yes

Do I need to tip my guide (and porters if applicable)? How much would that be?

Tipping is neither required nor routinely expected in New Zealand, but it’s appropriate for very good service. In New Zealand you don’t usually tip in restaurants, to catch a taxi, or get a haircut. Many of our clients do choose to tip our guides, at the end of an awesome trip, and in this instance AUD$100 per person per guide seems to be the norm, however less, more or not at all is also fine too. We would suggest that this is done as a group.

What opportunities will I have to shower along the trek?

All rooms will have ensuite bathrooms except when in the backcountry huts, as these will either have a long drop or flush toilet separate from the sleeping areas and there are no showers at the huts. Most trailheads have toilets at the car park, and some of these are flush but some of these may only be pit toilets. While on trails there are often no toilets available unless at the huts, so in between these times clients must use ‘natures toilet’.