Road Tripping New Zealand’s North Island via Campervan

Follow avid campervan travelers Nicola and Saxon through ten amazing days exploring the North Island of New Zealand.

Auckland to Waitomo

Day 1 and 2
Distance: 200km Driving time: 2 hour 30 mins

Departing from Auckland early morning stopping in Hamilton for lunch at the beautiful botanical gardens on our way to Waitomo. On arrival, we spent a day and a half with The Legendary Blackwater Rafting Company, exploring the glorious glowworm caves and enigmatic underground rivers. Wow.

Check out more Central North Island self-drive itineraries from Britz here

 

Waitomo to Raglan

Day 3 and 4
Distance: 100km Driving time: 1 hour 30 mins

The day couldn’t have started better with a scenic drive through idyllic green hills and dales on our way to Raglan. What a beautiful beach – glassy, off-shore left-hand point breaks. We stayed at Solscape – an awesome eco-campground perfectly built to the surrounds with amazing sea views. Later that night we treated ourselves to cooking local mussels in white wine sauce overlooking a million-dollar sunset.

 

Raglan to Hobbiton, Karangahake Gorge to Hot Water Beach

Day 5 and 6
Distance: 280km Driving time: All day mission!

We departed Raglan at dawn and arrived in Matamata at dusk. Tip: ensure you arrange a late check-in at your campsite in advance if you plan to arrive after hours.

Hobbiton is simply amazing! An absolute MUST-DO for all fans of the books and movies.
Karangahake Gorge is definitely worth checking out. Crossing ancient iron suspension bridges and dipping your toes in the cold, clear creek water was pretty cool.

Hot Water Beach was a real highlight for us. We had so much fun digging our very own private jacuzzi right there on the beach (best at low tide – you can even rent a shovel!). If you have time to check out Cathedral Cove, then we highly recommend you go for it! Take a Kayak tour and you’ll quickly find out why.

 

Hot Water Beach to Auckland

Day 7
Distance: 250km Driving time: 5 hours

Opt for the scenic route back to Auckland via Coromandel Town for some hilltop roads and amazing coastal views. If you plan to stay for a bit in Auckland, we recommend checking out Takapuna Beach Holiday Park, located right on the beach next to a great café. There’s so much to do in Auckland City, from drives along Tamaki Drive to Mission Bay, the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park, Mount Eden Crater, and, not to be missed, Auckland’s Sky Tower in the heart of the city.

If you’re keen to get out on the water, the Maritime Museum host sailing tours around the Auckland harbour, and wineries on the beautiful Waiheke Island are a well-worth day trip.

 

Road trip highlights:

Where did you experience the best view?
Sunset at Shakespeare Cliff near Whitianga was wonderful.

What was your favourite picnic spot?
Michael Hope Lookout in Raglan – great views of the ocean, surf & cliffs.

Where was your favourite place/town visited and why?
Hobbiton, the attention to detail is so incredible. The gardens are a joy and a permanently maintained film set is a real rarity.

What was your favourite experience/activity & why?
Waitomo. Because caving is just awesome.

Top highlights?
Hobbiton, Black Water Rafting, Kayaking, Hot Water Beach, Purangi Winery, Skytower Skywalk

Favourite pub/restaurant?
The Purangi Winery

Did you have a favourite Holiday Park you stayed in and why?
Solscape, for the chilled-out vibe and stunning views.

What is your greatest memory of the whole campervan holiday?
How approachable and friendly everyone was, as tourist sites can often get a bit hectic.

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