Right here’s the proper six-day highway journey itinerary by way of New Zealand’s North Island – together with the place to remain, what to see, and what to pack!
With spectacular volcanoes, seashores galore, historic caves, and cute bohemian cities, you gained’t run out of issues to do in New Zealand’s north island.
New Zealand is made up of two massive islands – the North Island and the South Island — and I just lately had the chance to hire a campervan and highway journey by way of the north. I visited waterfalls, went climbing, and relaxed in geothermal swimming pools. I swam in pristine waters and boated by way of a number of the most lovely glowworm caves on the earth.
As a result of we solely had six days in New Zealand, we targeted on every little thing south of Auckland, however when you’ve got extra time, then going north of Auckland is unquestionably value it too. We visited the Bay of Islands throughout our 17-Day South Pacific cruise, so we determined to move south for our brief highway journey.
Right here’s the proper six-day highway journey itinerary by way of New Zealand’s North Island (together with the place to remain, what to see, and what to pack!)
North Island New Zealand Highway Journey – 6 Day Itinerary
Day 1 & 2: Auckland & Coromandel Peninsula
For my part, Auckland is the proper metropolis through which to begin a North Island New Zealand highway journey. Whereas I solely had the possibility to move by way of Auckland, there’s a lot to do on this metropolis and when you’ve got extra time, it’s positively value a go to.
A few of the high issues to do in Auckland are getting some panoramic views from atop the Sky Tower, visiting the vineyards on Waiheke Island, and occurring a foodie tour (Auckland has a world-class meals scene).
From Auckland, head on over to the Coromandel Peninsula. There’s a ferry that goes throughout the harbor twice every week, however driving this route will solely take you two and a half hours.
Since we skipped Auckland on our go to, we gave ourselves two days on the Coromandel Peninsula. There’s a lot to see right here that we may have simply spent Four days!
On the Coromandel Peninsula, Sizzling Water Seashore and Cathedral Cove are must-do’s, however you’ll additionally discover the Kauri Forest, Historic Coromandel City, Geothermal Springs, Driving Creek Railway, and loads of climbing and biking trails.
Day 3: Hobbiton & Rotorua
Whether or not you’re a diehard fan of Lord of the Rings or not, Hobbiton is an iconic cease for any North Island New Zealand highway journey. Relying on the place you begin your day on the Coromandel Peninsula, driving to Hobbiton will take you anyplace from two to a few hours.
For these of you not within the know, Hobbiton was used as a set within the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit motion pictures and is situated on a farm in New Zealand’s Waikato area. At Hobbiton, you’ll be exploring the distinctive facades carved into the hillsides, having pints on the Inexperienced Dragon pub, and taking too many cute images to rely.
Nonetheless, to go to Hobbiton, you’ll need to e book a guided tour. That is 100% for the most effective although, as you’ll get a lot extra out of the expertise with a educated information telling you all of the juicy behind-the-scenes particulars from the flicks.
When you’ve completed exploring Hobbiton, hop again within the automobile and head over to Rotorua!
Roughly an hour’s drive away from Hobbiton, Rotorua is without doubt one of the most famed nature spots within the space. Comprised of geysers, sizzling springs, lakes, bike trails, nice tenting spots, and tons of tradition, the one draw back to Rotorua is that you simply’ll ultimately need to tear your self away from it.
Specifically, I had a blast zorbing (do you know that rolling round in an enormous inflatable ball was invented in NZ?), tenting lakeside, and hitting up the thermal swimming pools.
Additionally situated in Rotorua is The Redwoods at Whakarewarewa Forest.
There’s a lot historical past and tradition surrounding this space, and there are tons of outdoorsy issues to do. The forest itself covers virtually 14,000 acres and options wonderful hikes, lakes, thermal swimming pools, boardwalks, and excessive sports activities.
If you happen to’re into mountain biking, then that is particularly the place for you as The Redwoods is the hub of the game in Rotorua. In truth, it was awarded gold-level experience standing by the IMBA – the Worldwide Mountain Biking Affiliation.
Day 4: Kerosene Creek & Waikite Valley Thermal Swimming pools
Put in your favourite bathing go well with as a result of Day Four of your North Island New Zealand Highway journey is all about thermal swimming pools!
Technically nonetheless situated in Rotorua, Kerosene Creek is 30km from The Redwoods and is the proper place to go and have a geothermally-heated soak in a stream. Sizzling water bubbles up from a pure spring within the earth and mixes with the chilly water of Kerosene Creek, creating pleasantly heat waters.
There’s no admission price at Kerosene Creek, however it may be a preferred spot so be ready to see fairly a number of different individuals (particularly in the event you go to on a weekend).
From Kerosene Creek, drive simply 10km down the highway to the Waikite Valley Thermal Swimming pools — the most important supply of 100% pure geothermal water in New Zealand. Right here, you possibly can soak within the spring, chill out in a tranquil backyard, head over to one of many many non-public spas, or go on an eco-trail guided stroll.
We stayed the evening at Waikite Valley Thermal Swimming pools and walked proper over to the thermal swimming pools for an early-morning soak. The thermal swimming pools embrace laundry, kitchen services, and a bathe.
Day 5: Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Roughly a two-hour drive from the Thermal Swimming pools, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves are considered one of New Zealand’s most well-known points of interest. Dwelling to the Arachnocampa Luminosa, a form of glowworm solely present in New Zealand, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves function 1000’s of glowing larvae.
In an effort to see the caves, you’ll need to e book your self a guided tour. These excursions will inform you all concerning the historical past of the caves (they began forming 30 million years in the past), the animals that stay there, and introduce you to the stalactites and stalagmites. These excursions have been operating for over 100 years, so occurring one will probably be taking part in a chunk of historical past in and of itself!
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Day 6: Raglan
Positioned 100km northwest of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Raglan is an inviting surf city filled with pure magnificence and tradition.
Right here, study to surf on one of many many seashores (Ngarunui Seashore is particularly in style), go to the towering Bridal Veil Falls, hike Mt Karioi, try one of many many artwork galleries, and take a harbor cruise!
Extra Choices for A Longer North Island Highway Journey
Six days on New Zealand’s North Island is de facto only a taster, and there’s a lot extra to do in the event you plan to remain longer. For some further journey planning inspiration, try these choices:
Roughly an hour’s drive from Auckland, Karekare Waterfall is a 30-meter tall waterfall that’s residence to a bit relaxation space and pool.
When you get to the Karekare Waterfall trailhead, there will probably be a 0.5 mile out and again path to get to the waterfall itself. This can be a fairly simple path to traverse (though it’s not wheelchair pleasant), and it’ll lead you to a shallow pool on the base of the falls.
If you happen to’re up for a water journey, then head over to Lake Taupo within the Waikato Area.
A main spot for kayaking, crusing, swimming, fishing, or different water sports activities, Taupo was created roughly 200 years in the past by an enormous volcanic eruption. Due to this, you’ll be capable of get pleasure from geothermal underwater currents at a few of Taupo’s seashores.
Positioned simply north of Taupo lies Huka falls, considered one of New Zealand’s most visited points of interest. Greater than 220,000 liters of water fall off the cliff of Huka Falls each second, making this 11-meter waterfall completely thunderous.
Bay of Islands
If you happen to’re up for an journey north of Auckland, then try the Bay of Islands. Comprised of 144 islands situated between the Purerua Peninsula and Cape Brett, the Bay of Islands is the place to go to see the Gap within the Rock on Piercy Island, lovely seaside trails, and plenty of wildlife viewing.
For true island paradise vibes in New Zealand, art-filled Waiheke Island is the place to be. Attending to the island is so simple as taking a 40-minute ferry experience from Auckland, and there’s tons to do right here for every type.
On the island, try one of many islands many cliff-top climbing trails, e book your self on a winery tour, or just lay again, meet some locals, and chill out on the attractive seashores.
Simply west of Auckland, Piha seashore options lovely black sand, untouched forest, and a number of the greatest surf within the nation.
Piha seashore is particularly in style with locals within the summertime, however take into account that the currents are likely to run robust right here. There are often lifeguards patrolling the realm, however make sure to preserve to the clearly marked swimming areas.
If you wish to see a cave stuffed with glow worms however with out the crowds, then try Nikau Cave! Positioned simply 90 minutes southwest of Auckland, the cave is residence to all types of wildlife, 1000’s of glowworms, and historic rock formations.
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Positioned in the midst of the Karangahake Gorge about 2 hours from Auckland, Owharoa Falls is an easily-accessible waterfall that can be an important swimming spot and picnic space.
If you wish to do extra within the space, then additional exploring the Karangahake Gorge is advisable. There are many previous walkways, bike trails, and tunnels to discover, and there’s wealthy gold mining historical past to uncover.
One of the vital in style treks for native Kiwi’s, summit Pinnacles hike for one of many nation’s greatest views. The hike itself is 16.6 kilometers lengthy and takes roughly eight hours to loop — if you’d like a extra leisurely day then be ready to pack in a single day gear.
Remember that there are quite a lot of stairs to get to the highest of the top, and also you’ll need to climb up some steel ladders. So, whereas the hike itself is pretty reasonable, there are elements close to the top that can take an additional increase of vitality.
That mentioned, the view from the highest is wonderful and the trek is unquestionably value it.
The place to Keep in North Island New Zealand
Whereas there are tons of lodging choices everywhere in the North Island of New Zealand, we wished the liberty to camp off grid, if essential, so we rented a campervan and stayed at vacation parks and campgrounds — there are many websites to select from close to all of the spots listed on this article.
To search out the most effective campsites, I like to recommend downloading Rankers Camping NZ from the app retailer. You’ll discover opinions for every campground and filters that embrace close by hikes, pure points of interest and helpful campground facilities.
On a lot of our highway journeys all through the years, we regularly e book at Airbnbs as I discover it actually offers us an thought of what it’s prefer to be an area within the locations we go to. So if tenting isn’t your factor, I extremely suggest testing the Airbnb options in these locations.
What to Pack for a North Island New Zealand Highway Journey
Climbing Gear: If you happen to plan on going climbing, then a pair of trusty hiking shoes are a should. I additionally suggest bringing a daypack, bug spray, sunscreen, leggings, a moisture-wicking top, and a lightweight rain jacket.
Heat Garments: Bringing heat clothes is a should for winter in New Zealand, however spring and fall may be fairly chilly as effectively. Pack a warm sweater, some light gloves, a scarf, and fleece-lined leggings for simply in case.