North of Auckland and the Bay of Islands in 5 nights
- Auckland to Whangarei
- Whangarei to Paihia
- Paihia to Omapere
- Omapere to Dargaville
- Dargaville to Auckland
Distance: 574 km Download: Auckland and the Bay of islands self-drive itinerary
Day 1. Auckland to Whangarei
Pick up your car or campervan in Auckland today. If you are collecting a campervan allow at least one hour for pick up and time to familiarise yourself with your vehicle before you leave the depot.
Depart this morning and follow State Highway 1 to Tarewa Road in Whangarei.
Travel back in time and see the Clapham’s National Clock Museum. An eccentric character himself, Mr. Clapham sold his local clock collection to the council to be put on display. With everything in the form of classic clocks on display, Clapham’s is more notorious for its collection of the weird and wacky. This includes a clock that even has the ability to make tea, you are sure to find something here that you have never seen before.
The Whangarei Quarry Gardens are a community-built natural escape, offering over 60 acres of waterfalls, rainforest, historical remnants and picnic areas. Take a picnic and enjoy exploring the lush greenery or relaxing in the serenity of the park.
Distance: 160 km, 2 hours
Stay: Whangarei TOP10 Holiday Park
Day 2. Whangarei to Paihia
Depart this morning and return to State Highway 1, following signs for Cape Reinga/ Route 1. Continue onto State Highway 11 until you reach Paihia.
When visiting Paihia, an absolute must-visit is a tour to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. This is where the Maori chiefs first signed an accord with the British Crown, the Treaty of Waitangi, which is also known as New Zealand’s founding document. Here you will find a museum, the preserved Treaty house, the Carved Meeting House, and the Ceremonial War Canoe.
Paihia is also a great way to access the Bay of Islands, whether you want to take a cruise out the the various islands and features, or try some water activities. Swimming with dolphins and kayaking are both popular in the area, with frequent tours available.
Distance: 71 km, 1 hour
Stay: Waitangi Holiday Park.
Day 3. Paihia to Opononi
Depart this morning and follow State Highway 11 to Te Ahu Ahu Road in Oromahoe. Follow Te Ahu Ahu Road and Old Bay Road to State Highway 1. Drive to State Highway 12 in Opononi.
Opononi is the perfect town to take a picnic to the beach and enjoy some time to unwind. Pack the swimming costume and lap up the picturesque waters, whilst enjoying the seclusion of a small town’s beach.
If you’re up for an activity, visit the Tane Mahuta Waipoua Forest, and walk through the thick rainforest along the trail. Here you will find a vast array of native animal and plant species. The Tane Mahuta is a giant kauri tree, estimated to be between 1,000 and 2,500 years old and the largest of its kind in New Zealand.
Distance: 85 km, 1 hour 10 minutes
Stay: Opononi Beach Holiday Park
Day 4. Opononi to Dargaville
Depart this morning and head south west on State Highway 12 towards Fairlie Crescent.
Dargaville is a great way to access the Kauri Coast. Whether you’re into canoeing, kayaking or swimming, there are plenty of activities to entertain everyone in the family.
The Museum is Dargaville is worth a visit, as it showcases the history and importance of the area you are visiting. Especially the history of the river that the town sits on, as it was used as a great resource for the locals, but also has a history of shipwrecks.
Distance: 85 km, 1 hour 10 minutes
Stay: Baylys Beach Holiday Park
Day 5. Dargaville to Auckland
Depart this morning and follow State Highway 12 to State Highway 1 in Brynderwyn. Follow State Highway 1 to Auckland.
The Auckland Museum is a must-visit when in Auckland. The Maori galleries offer a fascinating insight into the indigenous culture of New Zealand, detailing their history and the ancestors that came before them. Other galleries of note include the War Memorial Galleries and the evolutionary history of New Zealand.
The Sky Tower in Auckland will take you 220 metres high in the sky, with a panoramic 360? view of the beautiful city around you. Whether you would like to just enjoy the view and perhaps have dinner, there are activities for those who seek adrenaline. The Sky Tower offers a SkyWalk, where you walk on a platform 192 metres up and outside of the building, and a SkyJump, where you can take the challenge of bungee jumping off the 192 metre platform.
Allow 60 minutes to return your campervan.
Distance: 176 km, 2 hours 20 minutes
Stay: Manukau Holiday Park
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