Volcanic action and vineyards are major features of this 5-day journey to Wellington.
Visit the wine growing regions of Auckland, experience boiling mud, geysers and steaming craters in Rotorua and Taupo, and try trout fishing in Turangi. Napier and Hastings are packed with Art Deco design and world-class vineyards. Then take the tranquil drive through the Wairarapa to fun and vibrant Wellington.
Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city is situated between two large harbours and dotted with 48 extinct volcanic cones. It’s a place to enjoy marine adventures, wine trails, forest walks and urban sophistication. Spend a day exploring the sights and sounds of central Auckland.
If you have time, visit picturesque Waiheke Island where you'll find plenty of vineyards, beaches and artists’ studios. For a taste of wilderness, travel to Auckland's West Coast, where you can explore the rugged black-sand coast.
Further south, Rotorua is alive with geothermal activity and thrilling adventure. Explore the geothermal areas, discover the unique culture of New Zealand’s Maori people or spend the day trying out some of the many adventure activities on offer.
The road to Taupo is packed with geological attractions. Take a side road to Orakei Korako Cave & Thermal Park or Craters of the Moon where you’ll discover geysers, silica terraces and craters of boiling mud. Other diversions include Huka Falls, Huka Pawn Park and a world-acclaimed golf course.
The resort town of Taupo sits on the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake. You’ll find everything a traveller could wish for, including an excellent choice of restaurants. Most accommodation establishments make good use of the underground thermal activity to provide hot spas for relaxation.
Follow the eastern edge of Lake Taupo to reach Turangi. The drive is very scenic and there are many picnic opportunities along the way. Turangi is a mecca for trout fishers, with famous fishing spots in almost every direction.
Further on, National Park Village is well positioned for those who want to explore the Tongariro National Park, with its volcanic peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. In 1887, the local Ngati Tuwaretoa tribe presented this land to the New Zealand people and it became the country's first National Park. It is now a World Heritage area packed with hiking trails including Tongariro Alpine Crossing, regarded by some as one of the best one-day walks in the world.
The major entertainment on the road from Taupo to Napier is the fantastic scenery. There’s a bit of everything - rugged hills, beautiful valleys, gentle plains and huge vistas.
In 1931, a devastating earthquake nearly levelled Napier and its twin city Hastings. They were rebuilt in the style of the times, and are now highly acclaimed for their Art Deco design. Hastings is only 20 kilometres south of Napier and easily accessible by cycleway as are many of the Hawke’s Bay vineyards.
Another attraction is the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers.
Today's journey takes you through the vineyards and small heritage towns of Wairarapa and on to Wellington.
Pause in Masterton, the Wairarapa's largest settlement. Here you will find the beautiful Queen Elizabeth Park, The Wool Shed (the National Museum of Sheep and Shearing) and Aratoi: Wairarapa Museum of Art & History. Masterton is also a great base to explore nearby Castlepoint.
Finish in Wellington, New Zealand's capital city and a hub of culture and heritage. The downtown area of this compact city is ideal for explorations on foot. Spend your remaining time enjoying the many cafes, restaurants, museums and galleries that populate the Wellington area.