New Zealand culture & trekking self drive tour

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Following New Zealand’s environmentally friendly lead, we want to offer environmentally sustainable tours that care for land, sea and nature, ‘treading lightly and leaving no trace’. This self-drive vacation allows you to explore the beautiful scenery of the North Island by road and on foot, leaving less of a footprint. We have chosen a hire car company in line with the principles we believe in, also supporting the Tiaki promise. This tour can be priced with any of the rental cars available, and if you want to go the extra eco-mile, there's an option to upgrade to a hybrid vehicle.

And as tap water is safe to drink in New Zealand, we urge you take a reusable bottle to refill on your trip, rather than buy plastic bottles from shops which produce waste.

New Zealand excels in protecting and preserving the land, whilst at the same time proudly showing it off to visitors. This tour allows you to experience nature at its wildest whilst walking in active volcanic regions, through pristine native forests, all because of the work carried out by the Department of Conservation who manage the majority of the parks in New Zealand, running programmes to restore species and heritage, and provide opportunities for people to get into extreme natural environments safely.

Through DOC we can offer a wealth of information including maps, policies, alerts, weather, track information, safety outdoors, litter guidelines, wildlife protection, and care codes. And any money for entrance fees and DOC guides mean we are supporting the ongoing conservation efforts on research and development ideas, and summer scholarship projects, and native species-specific protection programmes.

During this trip you will spend time trekking in Tongariro National Park a protected and monitored region of active volcanoes. Tongariro Forest Conservation Area was protected in the 1980s following protest against turning the area to farming and commercial plantations. It is now a home to a number of threatened plant and wildlife species, including woodrose (Dactylanthus taylorii), two wetland orchids, North Island brown kiwi, kaka, falcon, whio/blue duck, kereru and both long and short-tailed bats. Tongariro Forest hosts one of the five Kiwi Sanctuaries in New Zealand and DOC monitors populations of two of the native birds, North Island brown kiwi and whio/blue duck in this forest area. And money from tourism goes directly to supporting conservation in this region.

Other ways you can support environmental conservation on this tour include;

A trekking tour in the Coromandel’s protected pristine native forest to see ancient Kauri, Rimu and Rata trees, the world's largest tree ferns, and historic gold caves. For this tour we use a local expert guide company which has achieved a Qualmark Silver Award and a Sustainable Tourism NZ Committed Award, to establish that they operate in an ethical, professional and environmentally sustainable way.

Exploring Rotorua, one of the world’s most active geothermic regions with National Parks full of lakes and native forest offer protected conservation habitat for Red deer, Sambar deer, Dama wallaby and goats, as well as regulating pig hunting through the Department of Conservations forestry organisation.

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves Tour, which is over 30-million years old! Here you can be part of 130 years of cultural and natural history of New Zealand.

The Impacts of this Trip

We recognise the importance of supporting local cultures through tourism, and are proud to use local companies on the ground which give jobs to people in the area, maintaining the heritage and localised knowledge, as well as supporting families. By using locally owned and operated accommodation, local expert guides, and local producers we can ensure this happens. We also support the Department of Conservation National Parks which provide employment across the country in conservation, research and tourism.

New Zealand is pioneering in recognising its native people and traditions and the Maori cultural heritage is an integral part of New Zealand. We also want to celebrate the traditions of the Maori people, by giving you the opportunity to visit and learn about their culture on this tour with recommendations of craft markets, heritage centers and Maori cultural performances. On this tour you can enjoy an evening with at the Mitai Maori Village in Rotorua to get an introduction to the indigenous Maori culture, whilst also contributing to the Maori way of life, with all activity fees going directly to support the local Maori community.

Where possible we recommend chances to interact with the local community and send money their way, for example visiting the Coromandel Township. On this tour we also used feature guided trekking tours, such as The Coromandel Wilderness Walk, and The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, using experienced local guides, ensuring you get to learn about the area from the local experts. This also provides income in the areas you visit providing jobs for locals.

In this self-drive itinerary we recommend stop-offs along the way to eat at locally owned cafes and restaurants and go to local shops. These hidden gems give you the real taste of Kiwi culture, whilst also brining tourism to small local businesses.


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