Auckland to Wellington via Napier

5 Days


Auckland Central to Wellington Central


  • Wineries
  • Volcanoes and geysers
  • Capital Wellington

Best time of year

All year

Volcanic action and vineyards are major features of this route to Wellington. Visit the wine growing regions of Auckland, Kumeu in the north and Clevedon in the south, then head for Hamilton past the acclaimed wineries of Te Kauwhata.

Enjoy a stroll in the Hamilton Gardens before you move on to the boiling mud, geysers and steaming craters of Rotorua. Taupo has more geothermals to see, while Turangi is the place to try your hand at trout fishing.

The twin cities of Napier and Hastings are rich with Art Deco architecture and surrounded by vineyards. The tranquil drive through the Wairarapa prepares you for the fun of Wellington.


Rotorua's famous Pohutu Geyser shoots hot water and steam up to 30 metres (100 feet) in the air

Photo by Destination Rotorua

Day 1 / 5

Auckland - Hamilton - Cambridge - Rotorua

2 hrs

58 mins

235 km

146 mi


Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, is situated between two enormous harbours and dotted with 48 extinct volcanic cones. It’s a place to enjoy marine adventures, wine trails, forest walks and urban sophistication.

The Waikato River will accompany you for much of your journey through the green countryside. Places of interest along the way include the wine growing area of Te Kauwhata and the coal mining town of Huntly. Before you get to Hamilton, you’ll notice side roads leading to Waingaro Hot Springs and Raglan, a surf resort on the west coast.

The city of Hamilton is carved in two by the mighty Waikato River. Attractions include gardens, riverboat cruising and a giant free flight aviary. Excellent restaurants and cafes can be found at the southern end of the city’s main street.

Cambridge township is located in the heart of the Waikato's affluent horse breeding district. It has a relaxed country atmosphere, lovely tree lined streets and many well preserved heritage buildings. While in Cambridge you can shop for antiques and art, attend a horse show, graze the local restaurants, embark on an eco-adventure or simply enjoy the splendid parks and gardens.

On your way to Rotorua you’ll come across the town of Tirau, known for its antique shops and animal-shaped corrugated iron buildings. Enjoy plantation pine forest and a refreshing patch of native bush, Fitzgerald Glade, before you encounter the unusual terrain of the Mamaku district. Mini volcanic cones dot the landscape, some showing their solidified lava core. The last part of your journey takes you past the gondola and luge rides of Mt Ngongataha.

Rotorua sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so volcanic activity is part of the city’s past and present. Explore the geothermal areas and discover the unique culture of New Zealand’s Maori people. Rotorua is entertaining in any weather, at any time of the year.

Skyline view from Devonport

Start in Auckland Central

This is the heart of Auckland, with a relaxed coastal living vibe by day and a night-time energy shared by the inner-city suburbs that surrounds it.

Be greeted with a Hongi, a traditional Maori greeting, in Rotorua.

End in Rotorua Central

Entertaining in any weather, Rotorua will captivate you with its shooting geysers, intriguing Maori villages and thrilling adventure activities.

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