Three Day Trip Destinations Near Rotorua and Taupo

These two North Island cities have some cool destinations within their reach. And of course, if you’re in one city, make sure you visit the other, too!

1. Hobbiton Movie Set

Photo by Sydney, University of Auckland (home university: George Washington University)

No Lord of the Rings fan can come to New Zealand without visiting Hobbiton, the filming location for the world-famous fantasy trilogy. Enter the world of Bilbo Baggins as you explore his little village of “hobbit holes,” colorful doorways built into hillsides.

Step-by-Step Directions from Rotorua

Arrive at the Downtown Ferry Terminal at 99 Quay St

Take the Fullers Auckland-Rangitoto Island Ferry (see timetable) — 25 min

Arrive at the Rangitoto Island Ferry Terminal on the Rangitoto Wharf

Step-by-Step Directions from Taupo

Arrive at the Downtown Ferry Terminal at 99 Quay St

Take the Fullers Auckland-Rangitoto Island Ferry (see timetable) — 25 min

Arrive at the Rangitoto Island Ferry Terminal on the Rangitoto Wharf

2. Tongariro National Park

Taranaki Falls at Tongariro National Park. Photo by Jared, University of Queensland (AUS) (home university: Syracuse University)

No Lord of the Rings fan can come to New Zealand without visiting Hobbiton, the filming location for the world-famous fantasy trilogy. Enter the world of Bilbo Baggins as you explore his little village of “hobbit holes,” colorful doorways built into hillsides.

Step-by-Step Directions from Rotorua

Arrive at the Downtown Ferry Terminal at 99 Quay St

Take the Fullers Auckland-Rangitoto Island Ferry (see timetable) — 25 min

Arrive at the Rangitoto Island Ferry Terminal on the Rangitoto Wharf

Step-by-Step Directions from Taupo

Arrive at the Downtown Ferry Terminal at 99 Quay St

Take the Fullers Auckland-Rangitoto Island Ferry (see timetable) — 25 min

Arrive at the Rangitoto Island Ferry Terminal on the Rangitoto Wharf

3. Rotorua (from Taupo)

Ohinemutu Village in Rotorua. Photo by Erica, University of Queensland (AUS) (home university: Syracuse University)

Home to the only two living Maori villages left in New Zealand, this popular backpacker town is a hub for indigenous culture. Rotorua is also known for its unique nature experiences, particularly regarding the area’s geothermal activity and abundance of wildlife.

Step-by-Step Directions

Arrive at the Downtown Ferry Terminal at 99 Quay St

Take the Fullers Auckland-Rangitoto Island Ferry (see timetable) — 25 min

Arrive at the Rangitoto Island Ferry Terminal on the Rangitoto Wharf

4. Taupo (from Rotorua)

Taupo Lakefront Reserve. Photo by Kristin, University of Queensland (AUS) (home university: Purdue University)

If you’re looking to enjoy New Zealand nature, Taupo is one of the best places to go, given its location on the nation’s largest lake, from which the town gets its name. It’s also known for thrilling activities like bungy jumping and tandem skydiving.

Step-by-Step Directions

Arrive at the Downtown Ferry Terminal at 99 Quay St

Take the Fullers Auckland-Rangitoto Island Ferry (see timetable) — 25 min

Arrive at the Rangitoto Island Ferry Terminal on the Rangitoto Wharf

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