The road trip is a Kiwi summer must-do. Sunshine and holidays are the perfect excuse to get on the road, explore your own backyard and enjoy some down-time. Here’s a bunch of our favourite North Island road trips to get you started.
Auckland to Cape Reinga
North of Auckland offers picturesque landscape dotted with beaches, historical spots and hundreds of islands all in a subtropical climate. Visit the sea side town of Paihia for dolphin swimming, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and a short ferry ride to historic Russell. From here you can make your way to the very top of New Zealand. At Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach, visit the iconic lighthouse or have a go sand boarding at the famous sand dunes.
Rotorua to Gisborne
Off the beaten track but full of some of the best views and beaches in the country, the East Coast is well worth a visit in summer. Stay a night in Gisborne – you can surf at Wainui beach and feed the wild stingray at nearby Tatapouri. Continue the road trip north east towards Tokomaru Bay for mind-blowing views of untouched landscape and a sense you’ve stepped back in time. On the way is the quaint but beautiful Tolaga Bay. Here you’ll find New Zealand’s longest pier, Tikitiki Maori Church and a local seaside pub.
Just a couple of hours drive from Auckland, the Coromandel makes for a great road trip destination. The area offers an expansive coastline of laid-back beach towns and natural landmarks where you can make your own fun. Visit The Coroglen pub for a feed with the locals, or sometimes an intimate concert on a weekend night. You could take your pick of camping or cabins at a Top 10 Holiday Park in Coromandel town or Hot Water Beach. Cathedral Cove, New Chums Beach and Whitianga are well worth a visit – or take the 4-hour hike up to The Pinnacles if you’re feeling adventurous.
Sometimes named the Lakes District of the North Island, the Rotorua region offers much more than just the mud-bubbling, adventure filled city – including 16 lakes. A relaxed alternative to the classic beach trip, some of the best lakes to stay include Rotoiti, Rotoma, Tarawera, Tikitapu and Rotokakahi (also known as the Blue and Green Lakes). You can opt to chill out lake-side at the friendly campgrounds, or get your thrills white water rafting at Kaituna River followed by a drink at the nearby Okere Falls Store.