Day 1 – 2 Auckland
Start your North Island road trip in New Zealand’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, Auckland. Popular attractions include Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World, the Auckland Museum and Auckland Zoo. Scale to the top of Sky Tower for a fantasic view around the city and harbour and test your nerves on the glass floor! Or take a harbour cruise to Devonport on the ferry.
Day 3 – 4 Rotorua
Approximate Driving Time 3 hours 20 mins
Suggested stop en route: Tirau – kids will love exploring in the Christmas Heirloom Company shop that’s open year-round!
Travel through green farmland to Rotorua, New Zealand’s thermal wonderland. Take in a Maori dinner with cultural entertainment or visit the many thermal geysers and mud pools that make Rotorua famous including Hell’s Gate and Wai-o-Tapu. Take the Skyline Gondola to the top of Mt Ngongotaha and then enjoy the excitement of the luge ride to the bottom!
Day 5 Taupo
Approximate Driving Time 1 hour
Suggested stop en route: Craters of the Moon – for just a small fee, take a walk around the hissing steam vents and boiling mud pools.
It’s approximately one hour driving to Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. Once a huge volcano, Lake Taupo is now a water lover’s dream with activities galore. Take a cruise on the lake or visit the spectactular Huka Falls on the Waikato River.
Day 6 – 7 Wellington
Approximate Driving Time 5 hours
Suggested stop en route: National Army Museum at Waiouru – a fantastic museum for families to explore.
Travel south through the desolate Desert Road and the Tongariro National Park – don’t forget to stop for those awe-inspiring snaps of the volcanoes! Onward to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city and home to Te Papa, the National Museum. This extensive museum is situated on the waterfront and entry is free. A popular activity is to take a step back in time and travel on the Cable Car to enjoy the beautiful harbour views then make your way down to the city through the Botanical Gardens. Don’t forget a stop at Carlton Observatory for a look at our place in the universe.
Day 8 Wanganui
Approximate Driving Time 2 hours 45 mins
Suggested stop en route: Levin Adventure Park – a huge playground and park with so much to explore and enjoy!
Return northwards to Wanganui. The might Whanganui River can be enjoyed on a paddle boat cruise or visit the beautiful Virginia Lake Reserve. Drury Hill Tower provides a great view.
Day 9 Waitomo
Approximate Driving Time 4 hours
Suggested stop en route: National Park Village – great views of Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro from this adventure hub.
Waitomo Caves are famous for their stunning limestone formations and not to be missed is the silent boat journey through the glow worm grotto. Or take the plunge and travel through the underwater river on an inner tube!
Day 10 Return to Auckland
Distance 195 km
Approximate Driving Time 2 hours 50 mins
Suggested stop en route: Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park – close-up views of our national bird plus view native birds and reptiles.