TAUPO – WAITOMO CAVES (via Te Kuiti)
Travel Distance is approximately 163kms (102 miles).
Allow at least 2 hours drive time (not including stops).
After the fun and excitement of staying in Taupo – New Zealand’s year round holiday resort, it’s time to get back to Mother Nature and enjoy the magical offerings that is the breath-taking Waitomo Caves as you travel across-country passing through scenic farmland, lakes and vast forests before arriving in the limestone region of Waitomo.
Some notable stops along the route to Waitomo include:
WAIRAKEI GEOTHERMAL POWER STATION
The power station is situated 7km North of the Taupo township and was the first geothermal plant in the world to use very hot water as the source of steam used to drive the turbines. The Wairakei visitor information centre is open from 9.00am to 4.00pm weekdays. There is a viewing platform 2 km up the road from the rear of the Visitor Centre.
This man-made lake is fed and emptied by the mighty Waikato River and holds good stocks of Rainbow and Brown Trout for fresh water fishing. A great spot to try your hand at trout fishing.
PUREORA FOREST PARK
Straddling the Hauhungaroa and Rangitoto Ranges between Lake Taupo and Te Kuiti, Pureora Forest Park is truly a a hidden wonderland of tall trees, crystal clear waters and unique wildlife. Covering a staggering 78,000 hectares, this DOC park is a great place to stop and enjoy a walk while listening to the abundant birdlife. Some great highlights within the park include the Buried Forest, the Forest Tower, the largest recorded Totara tree, vintage steam hauler, an old crawler tractor and a plethora of flora, fauna and bird life.
This small town is located in the Waikato region and is 19km’s south-east of Waitomo in an area commonly know as the ‘King Country’. Referred to as “The Shearing Capital of the World”, Te Kuiti is home to the world’s largest Shearer, measuring a whopping seven metres high! This is also home to the famous Te Tokanganui-a-noho, the carved meetinghouse that now stands at the south end of Te Kuiti’s main street.
Located in the central western North Island in the mighty King country region, Waitomo is home to some of New Zealand’s best eco-tourism and natural adventure. Waitomo is also home to the world-famous Waitomo Caves and black-water rafting.
Highly recommended Waitomo visitor attractions include…
Altura Horse Treks – Imagine horse trekking over some of New Zealand’s most unique and inspiring countryside with breath-taking views of Mt Pirongia and Mt Ruapehu. Safe horses and all gear supplied.
Black Water Rafting – Imagine going down into spectacular caves and navigating through underground networks with streams, hidden waterfalls and rocky chutes on a guided tour with a black tube! Sounds crazy but incredibly popular with all ages.
Billy Black’s Kiwi Culture Show – Your authentic taste of Kiwi culture in a humorous and interactive stage show. Well rated by Lonely Planet, enjoy the story of how tamed the bush-covered land of the region, including demonstrations of tree felling, live explosions, sheep shearing, farm dogs and even a dancing pig!
Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park – A unique opportunity to view a huge range of reptiles and indigenous birds of New Zealand as you enjoy a guided walk through displays of wetland areas, birds of prey, tuatara, forest birds, geckos and you even get to see a Kiwi!
Ruakuri Caves – Welcome to a spiritual world of mystery and intrigue as you delve down into the caves on a guided journey of natural wonders, including glow-worms, stalactite straws, flowstone and majestic underground formations.
Waitomo Museum of Caves – This award-winning museum is ‘must’ for all visitors before doing a Waitomo Cave tour. Popular with all the family, learn about caves and geological marvels through interactive displays, giant fossils, multi-media shows and much more.
Waitomo is fast developing a name for great eco-tourism, outdoor adventure and dramatic scenery. Accommodation and dining options continue to increase ensuring a wide variety of services are available to meet most budgets and expectations.
New Zealand Itineraries: North Island Suggested Itineraries
Our modern self-drive travel Itineraries have routes specifically for the North Island as well as the South Island, ranging from 5 to 11 days, plus there are some travel routes that take in both the North and South Island’s. Our range of travel itineraries include information regarding travel distances and time to ensure that you can make the best of your time in New Zealand, no longer how short your visit!
- 5 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
- 6 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Coromandel, Coromandel – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua and Rotorua – Auckland
- 6 Day Itinerary (route 2): Auckland – Dargaville, Dargaville – Kaitaia, Kaitaia – Paihia, Paihia – Whangarei and Whangarei – Auckland
- 7 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Napier and Napier – Wellington
- 8 Day Itinerary: Wellington, Wellington – Masterton, Masterton – Wellington, Wellington – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim and Blenheim – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Coromandel, Coromandel – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Gisborne, Gisborne – Napier, Napier – Taupo, Taupo – Rotorua, Rotorua – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
- 9 Day Itinerary (route 2): Auckland – Whangarei, Whangarei – Paihia, Paihia – Hokianga, Hokianga – Auckland, Auckland – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
- 11 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua, Rotorua – Gisborne, Gisborne – Napier, Napier Taupo Napier, Napier – Wellington, Wellington – New Plymouth, New Plymouth – Waitomo and Waitomo Caves – Auckland