Top ten road trip destinations on the North Island

There’s nothing better than a road trip if you want to see the most of New Zealand’s natural beauty and attrations. Strap yourself in for a amazing ride.

Auckland’s glittering harbour provides a great starting point for holidays on the North Island. You can’t miss the Sky Tower (literally – you can see it from almost anywhere in the city) and it’s worth conquering a fear of heights to experience the amazing views of the city and surrounds.

In the distance is one of the best reasons to ‘take a hike’ and another place for great views - Mount Eden is ready to be climbed. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a Bungy Jump from the Harbour Bridge, or get a dose of culture at Auckland Art Gallery. Just out of town, Mission Bay, historic Devonport and Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World are all worth the time to explore.

From Auckland, it’s an easy two and a half hour drive to the Coromandel Peninsula, where Cathedral Cove, Cooks Beach and Hot Water Beach provide perfect spots for relaxation. If you find a great location and you are in a motorhome, you can even freedom camp overnight.  Don’t bypass the Whitianga and Tauranga region – Mount Maunganui is popular with day trekkers and the cities are full of great places to eat and explore.

Hit the coastline again around Gisborne. The sunny seasides in this region are made for relaxed afternoons by the shore, with a glass of wine and some hot chips by your side. If you’ve finished the bottle of wine, head to Hawke’s Bay and the retro-styled city of Napier, where you can easily top up with some of the best drops in the country (and some might argue, the world).

A North Island road trip just isn’t complete unless you’ve had a good whiff of Rotorua, with its famous vibrantly coloured hot mineral pools and natural sulphuric gases. The geothermic mud pools have bubbled here for centuries – so they’re a great backdrop for some cultural exploration into the Maori way of life.

After that, you have permission to point the wheels back to Auckland...but there’s always more to explore. Happy travels!

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