You will be spoilt for choice - this region is bursting with natural features including crystal clear lakes and streams, natural spas, skifields, geothermal activity, Maori culture and wineries. Some of the key highlights include:
Waitomo is a district with many natural wonders. More than 30 million years after Waitomo first rose from the ocean floor, it's unique underground limestone formations stand as one of New Zealand's most inspiring natural wonders and a must-see destination. A trip to Waitomo is not complete without visiting Ruakuri Cave, Aranui Cave and the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. For more information about this must see, please see www.waitomo.com.
The Lake Taupo district stretches from Rotorua to the southern boundary of the Tongariro National Park. The landscape contrasts to anything else you will see on your travels around New Zealand. Interestingly, Lake Taupo itself was created by the largest known eruption of the past 5,000 years - so big the sun went hazy in China. Today, what remains is a lake the size of Singapore and the largest fresh water lake in Australasia. Just about everywhere you look you’ll see a volcano. Geothermal steam has its benefits with hot mineral springs to soak and relax in.
This is also the region that the Oxfam Trailwalker event takes place in – a great way to get to see the stunning Taupo area whilst making a difference to world poverty.
Known as New Zealand’s tourism icon, Rotorua is spiritual home to the Maori of Te Arawa, and is set amidst a myriad of crystal clear crater lakes. Here you will experience nature’s earth forces, bubbling mudpools, spouting geysers and hot water beaches. At the end of the day, why not wind down and unwind in a natural geothermal mineral pool. Pure bliss.
If you love food & wine you won’t want to leave the Hawkes Bay – many award winning wines are produced in this region. Indulge in a lazy summer alfresco lunch, a long walk on a beach in the golden light of autumn, a glass of merlot beside a toasty winter’s fire or the dazzling view from Te Mata Peak on a crisp spring morning. Fruit is also plentiful in the Hawkes Bay so stock up your fridge! Other gourmet delights such as olives are also not to be missed. Also make sure you get to see the world-famous Art Deco and Spanish Mission architecture, beaches that stretch for miles, and Gannet birds that come home to nest. For further information, please see www.thermalexplorerhighway.co.nz
The Thermal Explorer Highway touring route starts in Auckland, continuing onto Hawke's Bay (wine country), then through the centre of the North Island into Lake Taupo (New Zealand’s largest lake), Ruapehu (breathtaking mountain scenery), Rotorua (geothermal wonderland) and Waikato (Waitomo Caves).
To follow this campervan driving itinerary, pick up and return your vehicle at our Auckland branch. Visit maui campervan hire Auckland for more details.