“Thermal Explorer”

4 Day Self-Drive Adventure Tour


Download and print our full ‘Suggested Packages’ here

Day 1         AUCKLAND – HAMILTON                                                       (L)

caveworld0900          Depart Auckland and travel south along SH1 to Hamilton. You then connect to SH 3 heading towards Te Awamutu and Waitomo.

          You arrive at the Caveworld office in the Waitomo Village, 23 Waitomo Village Road. There is parking outside their office in the Waitomo Village.

After checking in with the Caveworld staff, you will be transferred in their vehicle to the Caveworld entrance for your Tube It experience. You will Tube It through their beautiful cave on an inner tyre tube and float under the most amazing displays of glow worms. You get to jump off a waterfall, ZOOM down their hydro slide and if you are keen to get their ‘cave crawl on’ – crawl up to their hidden waterfall which for many is the highlight of their trip….but don’t panic if you’re not into small spaces this part is optional and their team of friendly and experienced guides will look after you!

roselands1430         Upon your return to the Caveworld office you then make your way in your car up Fullerton Road to Roseland’s Restaurant located on an adjoining farm to Caveworld for a BBQ Buffet Lunch, including a selection of meats freshly cooked to your liking accompanied by salads and bread followed by Tea & Coffee served with Roseland’s ‘world famous’ freshly homemade Carrot Cake and Biscuits.

        You then continue your journey on to Rotorua. You retrace your steps back along SH3 to Kihikihi and turn off towards Putararu, crossing the Arapuni Dam towards SH1, then travel north to connect to SH5 to cross the Mamaku Ranges before arriving in the Thermal City of Rotorua.

1830          On your arrival in Rotorua you make your way to your hotel and accommodation for tonight. The rest of your evening and dinner is at your leisure and expense.

Recommended accommodation: Distinction Rotorua Hotel (B&B basis)


Day 2         ROTORUA SIGHTS & ADVENTURE – OPTION 1                     (B,L,)

0725          You will be collected from your hotel for your Greatsights Morning Rotorua Sights Tour. Your tour includes a visit to New Zealand’s Maori Cultural Centre at Te Puia, where you will experience Rotorua’s famous geothermal activity, take a guided tour of the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley and see Te Puia’s woodcarving & weaving school.

0930          From here you are transferred to see our agricultural industry in action at the Agrodome – check it out here, a working organic farm where you can find out about farming life in New Zealand, watch a sheep shearing display and see sheep dog trials where hard-working farm dogs show off their amazing skills.

1030          You are then transferred to Rainbow Springs Nature Park – check it out here to see New Zealand wildlife and natural scenery on display. You will get up close to all kinds of native flora and fauna including the famous kiwi, a flightless native bird.


1200          From here you are transferred to Skyline Skyrides for a spectacular Gondola ride almost to the summit of Mt Ngongotaha to share in the captivating views of Lake Rotorua and the city. While here you will enjoy a sumptuous Buffet meal  while taking in the views. Why not take a couple Luge rides as an optional activity while at Skyline Skyrides.

1400          After your lunch you will be collected from Skyline by a Zorb representative and transferred to the Zorb Rotorua sight for a 3 Ride Zorb Experience. This will consist of 3 rides of your choice from the Straight Fast Zorb, Zig Zag Zorb or take the Drop Track, either way they will be a load of fun!! (extra rides are available at your own expense).

1500          You will be transferred from the Zorb site to the Agroventures Adventure Park site. Here you will have a ‘Pick Two’ pass that will consist of either a Shweeb ride, Agrojet, Freefall Xtreme or a Swoop. (extra rides are available at your own expense).

1600-1630 You will be transferred back to your hotel by an Agroventure representative.

The remainder of your day, evening and dinner is at your own expense and leisure.


ROTORUA SIGHTS & ADVENTURE – OPTION 2                     (B,D)

              You are collected from your hotel and travel south to Rainbow Mountain for a Guided Tour of Geothermal highlights in this area including bubbling mud pools. Continuing south you arrive at the NZ Riverjet base to then take a ‘Scenic’ Jet Boat ride down the Waikato River that includes entry into Orakei Korako Geothermal Park for a self-guided tour, rated by Conde Nast as one of the top 10 Thermal Reserves in the world. Instead of visiting the thermal reserve there is an option to take a thermal bathing experience called ‘The Squeeze’ where you will spend some time sitting under a secluded waterfall of geothermally heated water pouring over your head and back (you will need to bring your own bathing costume for this option). Following either option you then board your Jet Boat for a thrill ride back to base with Hamilton Jet spins and high speed fun. There is time while on either tour option where lunch can purchased at the Orakei Korako café (at your own expense).

On arrival back at the base there are changing rooms available if required for The Squeeze option, before you are transferred back to your Rotorua accommodation.

1430          Arrive back at your accommodation, with the remainder of your afternoon at your leisure before heading out tonight.

rot2b1550-1600 Tonight, you are collected by your Waka (bus) from your hotel for an unforgettable Maori Cultural Experience at Tamaki Maori Village. On your arrival you will share in the Powhiri, our ancient ceremony of welcome. You will also witness the arrival of Maori warriors paddling a Waka known as Te waka Tamaki Rangatira before entering our pre-European Maori Village nestled within a native Tawa Forest. The village comes alive with sights, sounds & activity of days gone by including haka, poi, tattooing, weaving, carving and arts of warrior training. You will have the opportunity to participate in these activities. Witness the earth being scraped away from the hangi pit to reveal baskets of food cooked beneath the ground on hot stones. Enter the ancestral meeting house and enjoy a powerful cultural performance before dining the traditional hangi buffet feast. You are then transferred back to your hotel by your driver in your Waka (bus).

2030          Arrive back at your hotel for the evening.

Recommended accommodation: Distinction Rotorua Hotel (B&B basis)


Day 3         ROTORUA – TAURANGA                                                         (B,D)

0900           Following breakfast you leave your hotel and travel east of Rotorua on SH33 toward Tauranga to arrive in Paeangaroa and the home of Comvita Honey.

          Here make a stop at Experience Comvita to take a 40 minute guided tour discovering the world of the honey bee and the wonder of nature’s intelligence. Explore the healing power of nature through New Zealand’s native plants, including Manuka. See the world through the eyes of the magnificent honeybee and learn how they share the gifts of nature with us. In the beehive, immerse yourself in their world. Following this there is time to venture in the retail world of Manuka Honey, UMF Honey and Propolis and Health & Beauty products to take home or to ship home instead.

1100           You depart Comvita continuing on SH33 to Papamoa and the Blokart Recreation base.

tga21115           Here you will visit the home of Blokart and have a blast on the land sailing machine, which has taken the world by storm. Super easy to use and great fun, these machines are awesome when the wind blows.

1300           Upon leaving Blokart, you travel toward Tauranga and the beautiful Mt Maunganui beach.

1330           The remainder of your day is at your leisure. Take a stroll along Mt Maunganui Beach, visit the Saltwater Geothermally Heated Hot Pools or you could take an optional guided walk to the summit of Mauo (Mt Maunganui) with commentary from your guide, which will take approx 3 hours return. The trip to the summit is well worth it and the views are spectacular.

Recommended accommodation: Trinity Wharf Hotel (B&B basis)

1930-2030 (S) During Summer hours……..

1600-1700 (W) During Winter hours, you are collected from your hotel for your Dinner in the Park experience with Guided Footprints at McLarens Falls Park.

1630-2100 On your arrival a short walk is taken in native bush on groomed pathways to view a waterfall. Upon your return dinner is served, a Kiwi BBQ dinner including an assortment of marinated meats and salad complimented with dessert!  If required warm blankets will be provided to wrap around to keep you warm while you enjoy the cuisine.


At the completion of your dinner you are transferred back to your accommodation for the night.


Day 4         TAURANGA- AUCKLAND                                                        (B)

0830          Following breakfast you leave your hotel and travel north on SH2 toward Waihi.

akl0930          0n your arrival in Waihi you arrive at the Waihi Gold Discovery centre for a self-guided tour of this award winning interactive Gold Discovery Centre – voted the ‘Best NZ Museum Visitor Experience’ in May 2015. This is found at the top end of Seddon Street, the main street in Waihi.

1030          You then depart from the Discovery Centre for your escorted Waihi Gold mine Tour of the Martha Mine, an actual working gold mine.

1200          You then make your way back to Auckland SH2 through the Karangahake Gorge to Paeroa. We would recommend lunch in the Karangahake Gorge at the Bistro at Falls Retreat.  (at your own expense).

You then continue your drive in to Paeroa where we suggest you make a stop to take a photo at the iconic L&P bottle which is a world famous New Zealand soft drink originally made famous by extracting the spring water from Paeroa to make up this iconic soft drink. Why not try sampling some while you are in New Zealand!!

Continuing north, you will later connect onto SH1 heading toward Auckland to then cross the Bombay Hills and make your way down the Southern Motorway.

1700          Arrive back in Auckland or dependent on whether a stop is made for lunch or not, you may choose to drive straight back to Auckland, a 2 hour drive from Paeroa with the remainder of your day and evening at your leisure. Alternatively you could drive directly to Auckland International Airport to connect to your homeward bound flight.

Note: Should you have interest in any of the itineraries, TRNZ encourage you to contact your local New Zealand based Land Operator or DMC to obtain rates and validity.