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Bucket List Walk     ( (j F, Y) )

Relax in comfy lodges by night...
Relax in comfy lodges by night...
With delicious meals and wine...
With delicious meals and wine...
The Ultimate NZ Walking Holiday!
The Ultimate NZ Walking Holiday!
Top of the Pinnacles! Coromandel
Top of the Pinnacles! Coromandel
Coromandel Forest Walks
Coromandel Forest Walks
From the Coromandel Coastline...
From the Coromandel Coastline...
Journey deep into Te Urewera National Park...
Journey deep into Te Urewera National Park...
To Lake Waikaremoana
To Lake Waikaremoana
To the mountains of Tongariro National Park
To the mountains of Tongariro National Park
Bucket with a view.
Bucket with a view.
Tongariro Crossing Walk
Tongariro Crossing Walk
Spectacular walks by day...
Spectacular walks by day...
12 Days
100 - 120km
(62 - 74 miles)
Depart Rotorua or Matamata
NZD$3000 per child
(15 years and under)

Bucket List Walking Tour Summary

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
  • Includes: most meals, snacks & wine; return Rotorua transport; 9 nights 3-4 star lodge accommodation (mix of shared & ensuite facilities); 2 nights 4.5-star hotel accommodation; dinner in a top Rotorua restaurant; hot spring swims; experienced and caring guides

Bucket List Walk Full Itinerary

Day One: Arrive, Hike Waiomu Kauri Grove


3-4 hours walking (Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Coromandel Lodge

We'll pick you up from Rotorua at approx. 8:30am, or Matamata at 9:30am. Warm up with a 4km hike to the top of Wairere Falls, and view the verdant Waikato basin from two lookouts over hanging 90 metres of 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. Make a brief stop at Waiomu for refreshments before exploring the Waiomu Kauri Grove - this little known trail heads deep into a protected ecological reserve scattered with majestic Kauri trees – New Zealand’s very own forest giants that grow up to 50 metres tall. 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.

Day Two: Coromandel Coastal Walkway

coastal walk 3 pax

6 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Coromandel Lodge

If there’s one hike 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 hike 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. 

Day Three: Hike the Pinnacles

pinnacles top

5-7 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Coromandel Lodge

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.

Day Four: Eastern Epic!


2-4 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Rotorua Hotel

Travel east around the Peninsula towards Whitianga. Hike to the golden sand beaches and azure green waters of one of the top 20 best beaches in the world, New Chums Beach. 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 Cook first 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, where you can enjoy dinner in their restaurant.

Day Five: Hike Whirinaki Forest

toi canyon

3-4 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Waikaremoana Lake Lodge

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 National Park. 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 hiking 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 National Park to reach Lake Waikaremoana, where we’ll settle in at our cozy lodge with pre-dinner drinks and nibbles on the lake shore.

Day Six: Hike Panekire Bluffs

us and girls on bluffs 1 copy

3-7 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Waikaremoana Lake Lodge

This morning we’ll hike 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 National Park. There are not many better places in the world to sit back, relax and have lunch! If you’re looking for a challenge, there’s an option to continue hiking 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.

Before dinner we’ll visit a local marae for an informal chat with a Maori elder. This is a great opportunity to get a real feel for the culture in this isolated area, where Maori is still the first language. (note the marae visit may not be possible if the marae is being used by the local community)

Day Seven: Hike to Lake Waikareiti

Rowboat on Lake Waikareiti2

3-5 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Waikaremoana Lake Lodge

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, or a walk through dense fern forest to explore the Onepoto Caves.

Day Eight: Lake Waikaremoana to Rotorua


2-4 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Rotorua Hotel

Today we walk another section of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Track. This stunning forest and lakeside trail traverses from a secluded arm of the lake across a peninsula, home to a Kiwi Recovery Program, some gorgeous native forest, and spectacular vistas across the lake. After a lakeside picnic lunch we return to Rotorua, stopping for a soak in an amazing natural hot spring under a canopy of native trees.

Tonight you will dine in one of Rotorua’s finest restaurants.

Day Nine: Rest Day, travel to Tongariro

(Breakfast, Dinner)

Accommodation: The Chateau

This morning you have free time to explore Rotorua, or sleep in! There’s no shortage of adventurous or relaxing activities in this town. From indulging in a spa treatment to ziplining high above native forest there’s a little something for everyone here.

At 1:30pm we’ll pick you up from your Rotorua Hotel and head south through the North Island’s heartland of geothermal activity, passing Lake Taupo. Become acquainted with the area and your guide with a short walk, before settling in to your stunning accommodation in time to watch the sun set over the magnificent Tongariro volcanoes with a glass of wine and nibbles, before a delicious restaurant meal.

Day Ten: Tongariro Alpine Crossing


7-8 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: The Chateau

Today we embark upon one of the world’s greatest one day hikes, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This trail passes between two active volcanoes – Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe. The scenery is ever-changing and features stunning lava fields, emerald blue lakes, waterfalls, steaming vents and meadows of alpine tussock – there’s nowhere else like it on the planet! The views across to Mt Ruapehu and the central plateau of the North Island are truly spectacular and worth every step!

At the end of our Crossing we’ll toast our achievement with a glass of bubbly, before returning to The Chateau for a dip in the hot pool, followed by dinner at a local pub.

Day Eleven: Mt Ruapehu Hikes

5 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: The Chateau

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, 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.

If conditions allow we will explore the dramatic, rock-strewn landscapes higher up Mt Ruapehu. At 2797 metres above sea level, the North Island’s highest mountain offers jaw-dropping views over the National Park with various hiking options or catch a chair-lift up to NZ’s highest café. Tonight we enjoy a final celebration dinner in The Chateau’s elegant Ruapehu Restaurant.

Day Twelve: Hike Taranaki Falls, Depart

3-4 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch)

Today we explore the lower flanks of Mt Ruapehu with a walk from Whakapapa Village through alpine meadows and pretty beech forest to Taranaki Falls. Tumbling 20 metres over the edge of an old lava flow, this waterfall packs a real punch, sending spray right across the boulder-ringed pool at the bottom. If you’re game, it’s possible to walk all the way around behind the curtain of the waterfall - time to put a jacket on!

After lunch, we’ll begin the short journey north to Taupo and on to Rotorua. You can choose to be dropped off in Taupo or Rotorua, or National Park if you are travelling further south. Either way, you’ll be forever changed after the awesome hikes and great times you’ll have had with us in the North Island!       

Questions & Answers


picnic waikareiti
Most of the walking trails on the Bucket List Walk are of easy to moderate difficulty, and range from well-formed paths to tracks broken with tree roots, rocks and mud. Some of the trails are harder, such as The Pinnacles and Tongariro Crossing Walks, however there are easier options. On average you should be able to walk for 4-5 hours a day and carry a daypack with your lunch, water, raincoat and jersey.
Please contact us if you have any questions regarding fitness.



A variety of boutique and character lodges & hotels, from 2-4 star, have been chosen for location & atmosphere. Rooms are twin-share with good beds & linen. The Coromandel has a mixture of shared and ensuite bathrooms, the Waikaremoana lodge has shared bathrooms, while your 3 nights in Tongariro will be in an ensuite room. All the lodges are in picturesque settings.

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


whaka lodge balcony2
All dinners are included: 2-course Kiwi style meals, with plenty of fresh veges, salads, and dessert. We provide wine with pre-dinner nibbles; you can purchase extra drinks during dinner. Breakfasts have cooked and continental options, and packed lunches are made fresh daily. We also provide plenty of snacks on the trail. The trip also includes 2 breakfasts while you are staying at the Rotorua hotel, and dinner (excluding drinks) in one of Rotorua's top fine-dining restaurants.


Generally the Bucket List Walk departs once a fortnight on Monday's from November to April, however we may be able to run this trip on other start dates. Just contact us!

You can see our scheduled departures on our Walk Calendar.

Can I bring a suitcase?

Yes! 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 trail is a day pack with your lunch, water, raincoat, hat, sunscreen and camera.

Do I need cash?

No, cash is not essential, but you're welcome to bring a small amount, if you wish, in case we make a spontaneous coffee or icecream pitstop! 

Will I be with the same group for 12 days?

Our Bucket List walk consists of three of our regular tours, completed back-to-back. A Walking Legends hiking group can consist of Bucket List walkers, as well as single-tour guests who join the group just for one area. So depending on the makeup of the group, the cast of colourful characters sharing the trails with you can change from one region to the next. You may also have a different guide for each of the three regions – which is pretty cool because that way you get to really sample all the different kinds of hospitality and story-telling our unique guides offer.

Do I need to pay a deposit?

Yes! We ask a $900 per person at the time of booking to secure your spot. The remaining balance is due one month before departure. Don't worry, we'll send you a friendly reminder in advance.

Should I bring something nice to wear in the evenings?

You’re on holiday after all, so why not!? Our lodge-based tours visit a local restaurant for an evening meal on one of the three nights, so it’s a good idea to have something nice to wear out to dinner. They’re not super formal occasions, so you could say the dress code is smart casual. Gents – no ties or dinner jackets required, but covered shoes are a good idea. Ladies – comfortable footwear and covered shoulders are advisable, but not enforced. 

Evening meals on the Coromandel Explorer are served in a fully covered, semi-enclosed alfresco dining space. There are outdoor heaters, soft lighting, comfortable seats and full height rain screens but if we encounter windy weather, it’s best to bring an extra layer to wear to dinner, just in case.


I'm travelling solo, who will I be sharing a room with?

The accommodation on our tours is based on twin share. If you'd prefer to have your own room, please select the single supplement option in the online booking form. This will ensure you have a room to yourself. If you're happy to share, you will be placed in a twin room with another adventure-buddy of the same gender in separate beds.

I suffer from terrible car sickness, what are the roads like?

Good question! It depends what tour you are taking. In general, the roads we travel are well-maintained, bitumen-surfaced single carriageways. 

The access road to Lake Waikaremoana has a 100 kilometre section of un-sealed, dusty gravel road with many sharp corners. If the road hasn’t been graded for a while there can be surface corrugations that make the trip bumpy. If you suffer from car sickness, please equip yourself with whatever remedies you prefer to use to alleviate the discomfort. The best time to purchase medicinal supplies is in Rotorua before we leave. 

Short sections of road on the Coromandel Peninsula but the road surface is smooth and well-maintained. If you prefer to sit in the front seat to help your car sickness, please do tell your guide! We will do whatever we can to make you more comfortable.


Life has other plans for me, can I get my deposit back?

We completely understand that sometimes the best laid plans go to waste. All is not lost! We can simply transfer you to another date of your choosing. There is no expiry date on transferring your deposit - you can use it anytime in the future! 

If transferring just isn't going to work for you we'll refund your money. The amount we can refund is determined by when you cancel your booking. Click here for or our full terms and conditions, or email

I'm driving myself to the departure point, where can I park my car?

If you are self-driving, it's best to choose accommodation in Rotorua that is happy for you to leave your car in their parking lot while you are out on the trail with us. We will happily drop you back to your car when we return to Rotorua. If you're taking a different route please check with our reservations team - we will help you find the best solution. Just send an email to:

I have a specialty diet - can you cater for me?

Absolutely. We are happy to accommodate guests with specialty diets, we appreciate as much advance notice as possible. If we don't receive adequate advanced notice, we may not be able to fully cater for dietary needs as we sometimes operate in an extremely isolated environment and it is not always possible to access specialty foods. Please ensure you advise us as early as possible if you have dietary requirements.

Talk to Cathy

0800 WALK NZ
Overseas phone +64 7 533 3157
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