The North Island’s ‘unique’ place names

The North Island’s ‘unique’ place names

Your friends go on a road trip, and for every picture of a stunning view, hot meal or smiling people they found along the way, you’ll likely see a snap of them next to a road sign.

What is this bizarre phenomenon?

For some reason that we can’t quite fathom, but that we do love, this trend of jumping out of the hire car, posing next to a sign and grabbing a quick pic for the (often virtual) photo album has become the ‘done thing’ on modern road trips.

If this sounds like you, here are our top picks for where to stop and snap in New Zealand.

Warning: What follows is not for the faint of sense of humour!

In the native Maori it means ‘murmuring water’, but on the sign it reads ‘Waipu’. It’s a favourite for tourists and only an hour and a half away when you pick up your rental car in Auckland.

One place sure to get visitors giggling in childish glee (once they realise that in New Zealand the ‘wh’ in many place names is pronounced as ‘f’) is Whakapapa. It even placed first in an online blog entry of the ’22 worst name places in the world’, beating even ‘Disappointment, Kentucky’ and other names that we couldn’t even mention here. This one is four hours from Auckland or Wellington.

Did you know New Zealand is home to the longest place name in the world? We’ll give it a line all to itself.


It’s often shortened to Taumata for obvious reasons, and is only three and a half hours away from Wellington. Good luck getting all of your car mates into the picture with the entire sign!

DriveNow Team

DriveNow Team

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