Whale and Dolphin Watching Half-Day Eco Cruise
- Duration: 4.5 hours
Rotorua is one of the most popular destinations for travelers in New Zealand. The area is well-known for its geothermal activity, like the famous Pohutu Geyser and Lady Knox Geyser, as well as the numerous hot mud pools and springs. The area is rich in Maori heritage, which people can learn about at villages like Te Puia. Finally, take in gorgeous vistas of Lake Rotorua from the Skyline Rotorua gondola.
Be sure to leave early, as it will take around 3 hours to drive the 228 kilometers (141 miles) from Auckland to Rotorua. The bus will usually take an average of four hours.
Head out into the Hauraki Gulf to discover the incredible Waiheke Island. Waiheke has been called one of the best islands in the world to visit for good reason. Wine tasting at one of the many vineyards like Cable Bay Vineyard and Mudbrick Vineyard is one of the favorite activities on the island. Aside from sampling the local wares, visitors also enjoy swimming at Oneroa Beach and the thrill of EcoZip Adventures ziplining. Make sure to admire the works of local artists in the island’s many art galleries.
Passenger and vehicle ferries run the 16 kilometers (10 miles) directly from downtown Auckland to Matiatia and take around 35 minutes. A vehicle ferry also operates from Half Moon Bay to Waiheke Island.
Prepare for a feast of the senses on your day trip from Auckland to Matakana. The town is known for its market, surrounding vineyards, and artisanal food shops, making it a food lover’s dream. Travelers absolutely must visit the Matakana Farmers’ Market and sample the fresh produce and other delicious things to eat. Make sure to stroll along the Bricks Bay Sculpture Trail at the Bricks Bay Winery and hit the beach at Tawharanui Regional Park.
It only takes an hour to drive the 67 kilometers (41 miles) from Auckland to Matakana. There is no direct bus, with transfers taking place at Warkworth. The overall bus journey takes a bit over 90 minutes.
If you’re looking to experience New Zealand’s famed natural beauty, spend a day on the Coromandel Peninsula. Karangahake Gorge is a must-see destination, while Coromandel Forest Park is the ideal place to explore the lush vegetation of the area. Take a ride up the mountain on the narrow-gauge Driving Creek Railway and be rewarded with incredible panoramic views.
Taking the ferry from downtown Auckland, the 45-kilometer (28-mile) boat ride across the Firth of Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula takes two hours. If you plan to drive around the firth, the distance increases to 190 kilometers (118 miles) and takes closer to three hours.
A trip to Hamilton and Waitomo offers something for everybody. Hamilton is one of the largest cities in the country, with many things to do and see, like the formal Hamilton Gardens or the Waikato Museum, where visitors can learn about local art and history. Before heading back, make your way out of town to Waitomo and experience the enchanting illumination of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
Hamilton is situated 125 kilometers (77 miles) south of Auckland, while Waitomo is a bit farther at 193 kilometers (120 kilometers). Driving takes about an hour and 40 minutes to Hamilton, and two and a half hours to Waitomo. If traveling by bus, the trip usually takes around two hours.
Most train routes in New Zealand only run between major cities. The train is not the fastest way to get around, but the views of the country provide an amazing journey and experience of their own.
If you don’t plan on renting a car, the bus is always your best option for traveling around New Zealand. Buses run to almost every town, though they may not be the fastest travel method. Most importantly, the bus is an affordable option for your transportation.
Traveling by car is the ideal way to take a day trip from Auckland. To get out into nature and away from the main towns, a car might be your only option.
With so much to do and see around Auckland, a guided tour is a fantastic option for most travelers. An expert guide can provide you with historical and cultural information that can transform your trip. In addition, guided tours often help you take care of the logistics and transportation so you don’t have to plan a thing.
No matter where you’re headed, always make sure to bring water, sunscreen, and probably a hat. The elements in New Zealand can be harsh, so make sure to check the weather before you head out.
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Absolutely awesome adventure. Thought the experience was fantastic. Everything went perfectly in terms of logistics. We met a delightful couple and formed a solid friendship and we were hosted by Jess and Michael who really made the day perfect. Heather and I would thoroughly recommend this tour to any couple who like wine and banter and beautiful country side
Worried that there would be too many people walking in the same place as us and the birds would not be comfortable to hang about. Once we were on our walk we barely saw anyone else, and we saw lots of birds, and hopefully we have some great photos. Even saw a Takahe ahead on the track, although it disappeared down a bank before we came adjacent to it.
I went with my mum & partner to Hobbiton & Waitomo. We had Michael for our tour & he was so generous & full of knowledge about everything & anything. Also such a great conversationalist . Highly recommend, would love to be on another tour with him. Thank you for a great day out!
A fabulous day at this very special spot. Passionate volunteers shared so much more than we would have been aware of so the guided tour was well worth the $10. Huge growth of the native bush and bird life since we were there over 10 years ago.
Beautiful island, wonderful tracks. It is easy to navigate around and sign posts are easy to follow. Recommend taking the guided walk at the start, we didn't and found it might have helped provide more context.