White sandy beaches, ancient volcanoes, geothermal hot springs, and plenty more breathtaking landscapes are scattered across New Zealand’s North Island. So, we’ve created the ultimate North Island road trip guide to help you discover the stunning scenery and hidden treasures before summer slips away!
Before you leave Auckland, load up your rental car in Auckland on the ferry and visit Waiheke Island. Known for its beautiful beaches, olive groves, and wineries, there is no shortage of venues to kick your shoes off and enjoy a glass or three as you escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
A short tootle down the road and you’ll be enjoying the sun and sand of the Coromandel. Take your time in this laid-back stretch of green, rural countryside, explore the coastlines, secluded rainforests, and must-see Hot Water Beach. A 45-minute walk from seaside village Hahei takes you through forests, over hills, and eventually to the Insta-worthy Cathedral Cove, where a selfie is mandatory.
Matamata might not seem like the sexiest of hot spots, but thanks to a few blockbuster movies, Hobbiton is a can’t-miss stop on your North Island Road trip. Tucked away inside the rolling green hills of the Waikato, you can sign up for a guided tour of the Hobbiton set and get transported back to Middle Earth.
Hopefully, you haven’t drunk too much at the Green Dragon, because there’s plenty of driving still ahead! Point your car south and you’ll end up in Rotorua. You’ll know you’re getting close long before you arrive, as Rotorua is one of the world’s biggest and most exciting geothermal regions. Don’t worry; you’ll soon adjust to the distinct smell of sulphur as you experience the bubbling mud pools and explosive geysers.
Tongariro National Park
It’s now time to dust the cobwebs off your hiking boots and make your way down to the Tongariro National Park. The Tongariro crossing is a challenging but oh-so-rewarding day hike. If you’re a seasoned hiker or even a complete newbie, the picturesque views of Mount Doom (Ruapehu), the Red Crater, and much more are well worth the effort.
Kick the hiking boots off and make your way to your final destination: Wellington. Holding the unofficial title of craft beer capital of NZ, it may be time to ditch the car hire and enjoy a quality drop. Don’t fret; in this compressed city, everything worth seeing is within walking distance, from Te Papa to Cuba Street. You don’t have to venture far to enjoy yourself in Wellington, so eat and drink your way through the foody atmosphere of Windy Welly until it’s time to find your way home.
Don’t Hesitate – Your Adventure Awaits
A wise man once said, ‘It’s a dangerous business going out of your door. You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.’ So, grab a car from Shore Rentals and use this guide as a road map to start your next adventure. Get on the road and off the beaten track! The North Island is waiting.