Luxury Holidays, Accommodation and Experiences

The Volcanic Plateau

  • Rafting the Tongariro River

Rotorua

Lake Rotorua is one of many crater formed lakes in this region, but relatively small and shallow, making it a perfect setting for natural hot pools and springs around its shoreline. Rotorua has been very much a spa town for the last hundred years. The town is quite large with a population over 50,000, but you can smell the sulphur in the air. It is famous for its mud pools, geysers, thermal hot springs and steam rising everywhere. It is also a significant place for Maori culture and has a sizeable Maori population. You can visit several Marae here and learn about wood carving and Maori art and perhaps experience a Maori hang (a feast cooked over steaming rocks).

The 2,280 hectare Whakarewarewa Forest has become a mecca for mountain bikers with an extensive trail network laid out through its plantations of giant redwood and other exotic trees. Hire bikes and explore the forest and the lake side. Take a cruise on the lake and enjoy a private natural hot spring or fish for your dinner.

Lake Taupo, Turangi and Tongariro

Between Taupo and Rotorua is the Thermal Highway, a region of geysers, hot pools and sulphur terraces. Lake Taupo is New Zealand’s largest lake and unlike the South Island lakes which have been carved out by glaciers, Taupo is an immense crater lake formed by eruptions some 22,000-50,000 years ago. Taupo township is small and friendly with a good selection of shops, cafes and restaurants and magnificent views across the lake to the active volcanos of Ngarahoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu to the south. It is close to Orakei Korako and the famous Huka Falls, convenient for golf at Wairaki Golf Course.

Turangi, on the Tongariro River, as it flows into the southern end of the lake, is a village famous for its fly fishing and also a good base for hiking the awe inspiring Tongariro Crossing and rafting the powerful Tongariro River. 

The whole region has a wide variety of options, from flights over the volcanoes to thermal spas to active adventures (hiking the Tongariro Crossing, rafting the Tongariro river, sailing, golf, fly fishing, biking) to experiencing and learning about New Zealand’s maori history and culture. 

Driving Times

Auckland-Rotorua: 2 hours 40 mins
Rotorua-Taupo: 1 hour
Rotorua-Napier: 2 hours 30 mins
Taupo-Turangi: 40 mins
Turing-Wellington: 4 hours

volcanic heartland