New Zealand North Island road trip itinerary ideas | finder.com.au

New Zealand North Island road trip itinerary

Navigate the North Island like a local with accommodation, activities and sights all covered.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

From Wellington, all the way up to Cape Reinga, the North Island of New Zealand packs a big punch and a self-drive itinerary can help you see the island’s highlights in your own time.

You can make like a hobbit in Hobbiton and marvel at natural wonders like the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

Search for your ride from Melbourne

Recommended itineraries based on length

3-day Rotorua to Gisborne itinerary

Itinerary overview

  • Distance: 774km, round trip
  • Highlights and attractions: Tauranga Bridge, National Arboretum, sunrise and wine tasting in Gisborne, Tolaga Bay Wharf, East Cape Lighthouse, White Island
  • Landscape: Winding hillsides, lakes, coastal and forest views
  • Recommended vehicle type: Economy to large car
DayItinerary
Day 1

Distance: 270km

Approx. drive time: 3 hours 45 minutes

Rotorua to Gisborne
Day 2

Distance: 305km

Approx. drive time: 5 hours 15 minutes

Gisborne to Te Kaha
Day 3

Distance: 199km

Approx. drive time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Te Kaha to Rotorua

4-day Cape Reinga itinerary

Itinerary overview

    • Distance: 951km, round trip
    • Highlights and attractions: Piroa Falls, Waipu Caves, Bay of Islands, Waitangi Treaty Grounds, 90 Mile Beach, Cape Reinga lighthouse, Te Paki Sand Dunes, Waipoua Kauri Forest, Kauri Museum
    • Landscape: Long coastlines, ancient kauri forests, giant sand dunes, white sand beaches
    • Recommended vehicle type: Economy, large car or 4WD for beach driving

DayItinerary
Day 1

Distance: 245km

Approx. drive time: 3 hours 55 minutes

Auckland to Paihia
Day 2

Distance: 92km

Approx. drive time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Paihia to Karikari Peninsula
Day 3

Distance: 261km

Approx. drive time: 4 hours

Karikari Peninsula to Cape Reinga to Kaitaia
Day 4

Distance: 353km

Approx. drive time: 5 hours 35 minutes

Kaitaia to Auckland

4-day Auckland to Wellington itinerary

Itinerary overview

    • Distance: 867km
    • Highlights and attractions: Hobbiton, hot springs at Rotorua, sunset at Lake Taupo, Waipunga Falls, wine tasting around Hawkes Bay, Pukaha National Wildlife Centre
    • Landscape: Rolling farmlands, dairy pastures, wineries, geothermal landmarks and mountain passes
    • Recommended vehicle type: Economy to large car

DayItinerary
Day 1

Distance: 266km

Approx. drive time: 3 hours 40 minutes

Auckland to Rotorua
Day 2

Distance: 87km

Approx. drive time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Rotorua to Taupo
Day 3

Distance: 141km

Approx. drive time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Taupo to Napier
Day 4

Distance: 373km

Approx. drive time: 5 hours

Napier to Wellington
Day 3: Stay at The County Hotel Napier
Day 3: Stay at The County Hotel Napier

Finder Hotels


5-day Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula itinerary

Itinerary overview

    • Distance: 647km, round trip
    • Highlights and attractions: Fletcher Bay, Hot Water Beach, Cathedral Cove, Opoutere, Whiritoa, Karangahake Gorge
    • Landscape: Remote beaches, river valleys, harbourside towns, native forests
    • Recommended vehicle type: Economy to large car

DayItinerary
Day 1

Distance: 168km

Approx. drive time: 2 hours 25 minutes

Auckland to Coromandel
Day 2

Distance: 146km

Approx. drive time: 3 hours 40 minutes

Coromandel to Matarangi
Day 3

Distance: 70km

Approx. drive time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Matarangi to Hahei
Day 4

Distance: 67km

Approx. drive time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Hahei to Whangamata
Day 5

Distance: 196km

Approx. drive time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Whangamata to Auckland
Day 1: Stay at Anchor Lodge Coromandel
Day 1: Stay at Anchor Lodge Coromandel

Finder Hotels

Day 3: Stay at Hahei Horizon Bed & Breakfast
Day 3: Stay at Hahei Horizon Bed & Breakfast

Finder Hotels

Day 4: Stay at Marine Reserved Apartments Whangamata
Day 4: Stay at Marine Reserved Apartments Whangamata

Finder Hotels


10-day North Island loop itinerary

Itinerary overview

    • Distance: 1,797km
    • Highlights and attractions: Coromandel Peninsula, Opoutere, Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Martinborough wine tasting, Cape Palliser, Wellington, Tawhiti Museum, Waitomo Caves
    • Landscape: Thermal parks, remote beaches, pine forests, winelands and lakes
    • Recommended vehicle type: Economy to large car

DayItinerary
Day 1

Distance: 217km

Approx. drive time: 3 hours

Auckland to Whitianga
Day 2

Distance: 174km

Approx. drive time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Whitianga to Tauranga
Day 3

Distance: 83km

Approx. drive time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Tauranga to Rotorua
Day 4

Distance: 83km

Approx. drive time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Rotorua to Taupo
Day 5

Distance: 141km

Approx. drive time: 2 hours

Taupo to Napier
Day 6

Distance: 274km

Approx. drive time: 3 hours 25 minutes

Napier to Martinborough
Day 7

Distance: 81km

Approx. drive time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Martinborough to Wellington
Day 8

Distance: 361km

Approx. drive time: 4 hours 40 minutes

Wellington to New Plymouth
Day 9

Distance: 180km

Approx. drive time: 2 hours 25 minutes

New Plymouth to Waitomo
Day 10

Distance: 203km

Approx. drive time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Waitomo to Auckland
Day 1: Stay at Beachside Resort Whitianga
Day 1: Stay at Beachside Resort Whitianga

Finder Hotels

Day 4: Stay at Gables Lakefront Motel
Day 4: Stay at Gables Lakefront Motel

Finder Hotels

Day 7: Stay at Bolton Hotel Wellington
Day 7: Stay at Bolton Hotel Wellington

Finder Hotels

Day 8: Stay at King and Queen Hotel Suites
Day 8: Stay at King and Queen Hotel Suites

Finder Hotels

Day 9: Stay at Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park
Day 9: Stay at Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park

Finder Hotels


Need a car? Book a ride now

New Zealand overview

  • Weather: You'll find all four seasons in New Zealand. Summers are mild with highs of 30℃ while winters are chilly with lows down to 0℃.
  • Best time to visit: To enjoy sunny skies, the best time to travel is December to February.
  • Recommended vehicle type: Economy to large car. Roads are sealed and well-maintained.

Car hire deals in New Zealand's North Island

DriveNowDriveNow

Campervan hire from $5/day

Available on select routes, dates and locations in Australia, including Darwin, Alice Springs, Cairns and Brisbane, and New Zealand.

Last verified

EuropcarEuropcar

Up to 20% off Australia and New Zealand rentals

Available on 2+ days rentals until 11 December 2021 when you book 21 days in advance. Destinations include Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Auckland and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

EuropcarEuropcar

Up to 15% off 5+ day car hires

Available on select rental dates until 16 April 2021 across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

EuropcarEuropcar

Up to 15% off prestige car rentals

Available on rentals until 11 December 2021 across Australia and New Zealand including Sydney, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Auckland and more. Minimum of 5 days rental required. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Rentalcars.comRentalcars.com

Compare over 800 car hire companies worldwide

Rentalcars.com can help you compare major car hire company rates for the best price. Companies it compares include Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Thrifty, Alamo, Dollar and Budget. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Canada and more.

Last verified

Popular Car Hire coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
7 Apr 2021 Get 25% off first 5 trips in Australia EAS****
29 Mar 2021 Get $20 credit FIN****
6 Apr 2021 Sixth day free + free upgrade on car hires TPN****
6 Apr 2021 Third day free on Australia car rentals TPN****
1 Apr 2021 Extra $24 off car hires with code FIN****

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site