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New Zealand North Island road trip itinerary

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

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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

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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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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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

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Available for pick ups from May - December 2020 at select locations across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs and black out dates apply.

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Available for pick ups until 15 December 2020 at select locations across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs and black out dates apply.

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