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Auckland to Wellington in 7 days

  • Auckland to Hamilton
  • Hamilton to Waitomo Caves
  • Waitomo Caves to Rotorua
  • Rotorua to Taupo
  • Taupo to Napier
  • Napier to Palmerston North
  • Palmerston North to Wellington

Distance: 888 km
Download: Auckland to Wellington Itinerary

Day 1. Auckland to Hamilton

Pick up your campervan or car 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 branch.

Take the State Highway 1 from Hobson Street and follow to Avalon in Hamilton.

Check out a rugby union match on at the FMG Stadium Waikato, and cheer on the home side as they tackle competition from all over New Zealand. Rugby Union is one of the national sports of New Zealand, drawing fans from each corner of the islands to support their teams, therefore making it a must-do while here.

The Hamilton Zoo is home to over 600 international and local animals, and is a perfect day out for everyone in the family. From monkeys, tigers, and giraffes, get up and close to these fascinating animals, whilst learning about their origin and the conservation put in place by the zoo.

Distance: 125 km, 1 hour 30 minutes

Stay: Hamilton Holiday Park

Day 2. Hamilton to Waitomo Caves

Return to the State Highway 1, and take the State Highway 3 to Collins Road in Melville. Continue along State Highway 39 to Hangatiki, and at the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto State Route 37.

One of New Zealand’s most popular natural attractions, the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves are unlike anything you will ever see. The glow worm is native to New Zealand, with thousands of these creatures lighting up the inside of the cave, creating a mystical atmosphere which is fitting to New Zealand.

Ruakuri Cave is Waitomo’s longest underground walking tour, with a spiral entrance to allow you to get up and close with every aspect of the limestone formations and crystal tapestries. This is also another opportunity to see the glow worms in a different place.

Distance: 72 km, 1 hour

Stay: Waitomo TOP 10 Holiday Park

Day 3. Waitomo Caves to Rotorua

Head northwest on State Highway 37, and at the roundabout, take the first exit onto State Highway 3. Follow Arapuni Road to State Highway 1 in Putaruru, and take State Highway 5 to Lake Road in Mangakakahi. Take State Highway 30A and Tarawera Road to Okareka Loop Road in Lake Okareka.

Spend the day discovering the rich history of New Zealand at the Rotorua Museum. With five constantly changing galleries including multi-media exhibitions, you will find everything from the history of the Maori culture, to New Zealand’s most dangerous volcanoes.

Spend the evening watching a show at the Mitai Maori Village, where the performers take you through the history, tattoos and carvings of the Maori people. A spectacular finale of the haka will leave you breathless at the beauty and fascination of this culture.

Distance: 145 km, 2 hours

Stay: Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park

Day 4. Rotorua to Taupo

Depart this morning and take Tarawera Road and State Highway 30 to State Highway 5 in Whakarewarewa. Continue onto State Highway 5 and follow the Thermal Explorer Highway to Taupo.

For the thrill-seekers, navigating the white water rapids in New Zealand is a must-do! Tongariro River Rafting takes you along the Tongariro River, as you traverse over 60 rapids with an expert along the way to help. The rapids are a grade 3 level, meaning that both beginners and expert river rafters will enjoy the adventure.

Take the afternoon to relax in the Taupo Debretts Hot Springs, and enjoy the serenity of the hot mineral pools. Sneak away for a massage or treatment, perfect to revitalise the body and soul. Children are also welcome, with an interactive playground and hydro-slides to keep them entertained.

Distance: 87 km, 1 hour 5 minutes

Stay: All Seasons Kiwi Holiday Park Taupo

Day 5. Taupo to Napier

Depart this morning and continue to the Thermal Explorer Highway/ State Highway 5 to Thackeray Street in Napier.

Napier is home to the National Aquarium of New Zealand, showcasing marine life from international and New Zealand waters. A particular highlight is the 1.5 million litre Oceanarium, where you can explore from the unique perspective of the underwater viewing tunnel.

For the wine connoisseurs, a visit to the Mission Estate Winery is where you will find the oldest winery and consequently, the birthplace of wine in New Zealand. Take a tour through the cellar and learn about the Mission, concluding with a wine tasting of course. Finish your time with a meal in their award-winning restaurant, where the combination of local produce and wine will whet your appetite.

Distance: 140 km, 1 hour 50 minutes

Stay: Napier Beach Kiwi Holiday Park & Motels

Day 6. Napier to Palmerston North

Depart this morning and take the State Highway 50 to the State Highway 2 in Takapau. Continue on State Highway 2 and drive to State Highway 3 in Palmerston North.

A favourite amongst locals, the New Zealand Rugby Museum is a place to learn about the heroics of the All Blacks (New Zealand’s national rugby team), and have a go at honing your own rugby skills. With relics from as early as the 1870s, trace New Zealand’s rugby history, and see how integral the sport is to the country. The interactive “Have a Go” area allows you to test your skills.

Put on your best walking shoes, and explore the New Zealand wilderness through the Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge Tawa Loop walking trail. The total distance is a relaxing 4.1 km, and is appropriate for people of a low to moderate fitness level. The two-hour trail will take you through the native bush, with plenty of lookouts, and a sculpture of Whatonga, a Maori warrior.

Distance: 180 km, 2 hours 20 minutes

Stay: Palmerston North Holiday Park

Day 7. Palmerston North to Wellington

Depart this morning and head southeast on State Highway 3 towards Walding Street. Take State Highway 56 and State Highway 57 to State Highway 1 in Levin. Follow State Highway 1 to Murphy Street in Thorndon. Take the Murphy Street exit from State Highway 1, and follow to Wellington.

Visit the Weta Workshop for an insight into the New Zealand film industry, with everything from The Lord of the Rings to the Thunderbirds tours, there is something for everyone. The workshop itself houses props from King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia, and of course, The Hobbit. Whether you are a film buff, or a film novice, you will definitely go home wanting to watch more films made in New Zealand.

In the evening, visit the Space Place at the Carter Observatory. Explore the night sky in their state-of-the-art planetarium, and then walk through the exhibitions to learn about space technology from the past and present. On a clear night, it will truly be an experience you will not forget.

Allow up to 60 minutes to return your campervan.

Distance: 140 km, 2 hours

Stay: Wellington Caravan Park



Disclaimer

DriveNow's suggested itineraries are made available to assist travellers create and build personalised journey plans. DriveNow does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of these itineraries and they are provided as is and as advisory only. You acknowledge that any reliance on or use of any itinerary shall be at your sole risk and discretion.

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