Family Road Trip From Auckland to Whakapapa Ski Field

Follow Jay and Sarah's family on their exciting road trip experience from Auckland to Whakapapa Ski Field.

Day One Auckland to Hamilton

Distance: 133km Driving time: 2 hours

We opted to hit the road late at night on our way to Hamilton to 1) avoid the traffic and 2) make it a more enjoyable drive – what a great call.

Having already pre-made our campervan beds before we left, we tucked ourselves up for a good night’s sleep after arriving in Hamilton just after midnight.

Tip of the day: travelling at night is awesome. We quickly found out that driving during the day in traffic, some drivers have less patience than others, and aren’t shy to cut you off when adhering to speed limits, which can be annoying at times, not to mention a tad unsafe.

Day Two Hamilton to Whakapapa Ski fields

We woke to a beautiful brisk morning in Hamilton and packed what we needed for the long-haul drive to Whakapapa Ski Fields, Mt Ruapehu.

On arrival at Whakapapa. We took the time to relax and unwind before enjoying an early lunch in the campervan, which saved us money that would have been spent at the café. There are convenient designated areas for campervan parking, close by the pick-up-points for the free shuttle that takes you up to the ski fields.

The snow was simply amazing, what an awesome day we chose to experience Whakapapa! The kids spent their time enjoying the snow and tobogganing, but we just missed out on the ski lessons, which was a shame. Not to worry, we immediately planned to come back the following season.

After a fun-packed day in the snow, we returned to our campervan, and made our way to Lake Taupo Top 10 Holiday Resort.

*Please note, during June to October, road restrictions apply on all ski field access roads in New Zealand.

Day Three Huka Prawn Park

Distance: 152km Driving time: 2 hours 30mins

We headed off to the Huka Prawn Park to catch a few prawns for lunch. Aiyana, our oldest, was really excited about this part of our trip, as she has a love for fishing and everything outdoors.

Day Four Huka Falls River Cruise

Distance: 118km Driving time: 1 hours 45mins

What a real highlight of the trip! We loved every part of it, especially at the end where you can get right up close to the falls. Amazing. Later that afternoon, we made our way back to Taupo’s Top 10 Resort, which was BLOODY AWESOME! A resort-style lagoon with built in bar – SOLD!

Tip of the day: If you’re travelling with children, be sure to organise and research your road trip appropriately and set a schedule. This way you will know where and what you will be doing every single day and no time is wasted.

Day Five Lake Taupo to Auckland

Distance: 147km Driving time: 2 hours

As with all fun-packed holidays, our Taupo road trip went by far too quickly, and it was soon time to head home to Auckland. We did manage to squeeze in some time before heading off for some sightseeing around Taupo’s lakeside, including the Marae our family (iwi) belongs to.

What an awesome experience. The Britz 6-berth campervan is a dream to drive, such a powerful motor - there was no lagging at all.

Road trip highlights

Where the best view was?
The view of the snow-capped mountains from the Taupo lookout as you enter the town.

Where you stopped for a picnic?
Lakeside in Taupo did it for us. Such a beautiful and tranquil setting.

What was your favourite experience/activity and why?
Whakapapa Ski fields. Simply because we don’t get to see the snow every day! And of course, being blessed with stunning weather on the day.

Did you have a favourite Holiday Park you stayed in and why?
The Taupo Top 10 Holiday Resort. Such a beautiful family lagoon pool with a built-in bar. We swam every night till 10pm!

What would be your top tip for campervan travellers alike?
I found it incredibly handy to pack snacks i.e fruit, yoghurts, and ingredients to make sandwiches etc. Keeps costs down, and minimises fuss. Also, take it easy on the road! Don’t rush…campervan travel is such an enjoyable experience.

Can you share a recipe from something you cooked in the campervan?
Chicken filled pita pockets was a winner.

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