Auckland to Wellington: The North Island Road Trip Guide

Taking a road trip from Auckland to Wellington is the picture-perfect way to take in the North Island and the wonders of its dramatic volcanic valleys, verdant trees and parks. The drive from Auckland to Wellington is a 460-mile route and takes about twelve hours, and you may want to stay overnight at one of the friendly inns along the way. It’s a long journey, and you’ll want to make sure that you have a reliable car to avoid any breakdowns on the road. With Europcar Auckland, you can rent a good car that will ensure an uninterrupted trip.

To learn more about the country’s history and ancient people, be sure to kick off your journey with a stop at the Auckland Museum. Along with exhibits, there are Maori cultural performances every day. When you reach Haupai, you can sample fine wines at Coopers Creek Vineyard and enjoy a jazz concert. Get a feel for Kiwi art at the Elephant House. It’s located in the historic Parnell village, and you’ll see works from hundreds of local artists.

The Waikato region features the best hiking in New Zealand. Climb the ancient volcano on the Karioi Summit Track or admire the beautiful kauri trees at the Hakarimata Reserve. Other fun adventures in this region include a stop at Matamata, the city which marks the home of Hobbiton. This picturesque grassy village is home to where the Hobbits lived in the movie Lord of the Rings before venturing off on dangerous journeys. Visitors can also book a tour and stop by Bag End, where you can actually enter a Hobbit hole.

With its steaming volcanoes and hot shooting geysers, the Rotorua region is one of the most popular attractions in Kiwi land. Be sure to stop at one of the many geothermal parks like Wai Ora Spa or Hell’s Gate. It’s exciting to see the large craters of boiling mud and spewing geysers. These parks are located on the Pacific Ring of Fire and have continual volcanic activity.

Hamilton and Lake Taupo are also worth a stop. There are many of volcanoes in Hamilton, and Lake Taupo is well-known for its relaxing geothermal pools. For some indulgent pampering, try a wet massage with lotions made from native beeswax. On the northern shore of the lake, you can take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, and fish or even swim. If you’re staying overnight, there are plenty of inns that offer entertainment with live music.

In Western Bays, there are boat cruises and kayak tours that offer spectacular views of the impressive rock carvings at Mine Bay. The Kaimanawa Forest Park is home to the region’s endemic flora and fauna. Hike the scenic trails or take a dip in one of the sparkling lakes. Campsites and log cabins can also be rented for overnight stays. Further on to Foxton, you can stop at the Te Awa Kopiko cultural centre to admire the Maori artwork. There are also fun workshops to learn about the Maori language, tattooing and carvings. At the Otaki Forest, you can walk among the native totara trees where Frodo from Lord of the Rings frolicked.

The final stop is Wellington, but the fun doesn’t end there. Visitors can book tours to view the Lord of the Rings filming locations, including Minas Tirith and Bree. Along the Wellington waterfront, the streets are dotted with art centres, museums, boutiques and restaurants.

Without a doubt, the road trip from Auckland to Wellington is chock-full of natural wonders and exciting adventures to experience. It’s a slice of Kiwi land that is most memorable.

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